Archive | November, 2011

Palmiers easy bickies

28 Nov

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Palmiers are an easy snack that you can make without any fuss or bother. Either savoury or sweet you can choose my favourite is just using brown sugar. Parmesan and a big dash of Tabasco is also a favourite.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 5 people 6 biscuits each
$1.40 per head

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 lb puff pastry (1 sheet store bought rolled already if possible)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Directions:

    Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until it forms a paste. You do not have to use the butter but it acts as a good binding agent.

    Roll the pastry dough into a large rectangle, about 15-inches by 12-inches. Using a pastry brush or spoon, spread the cinnamon sugar paste in a thin, even layer over the dough. Starting at the long ends of the rectangle, loosely roll each side inward until they meet in the middle. To hold difficult pastry together, brush it with the egg, if needed.

    Slice the pastry crosswise into 1/4-inch palmiers – they’ll look like little scrolls – and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, until they puff and turn golden brown. Remove them from the baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Head chef and good backing

    22 Nov

    I have just got to Australia and for me sydney and Melbourne are two of the worlds food capitals, why? The produce here will just simply blow your taste buds. All you have to do as a chef is embrace the quality you have at your disposal. I have got a job as a head chef for a wonderful Sydney company Cique, my boss Natascha is a virtuso of food and has an unrivalled thirst for food which I cant help but admire. I cooked for my proprietor David tonight lamb shank, chestnut puree and cramalized seasonal vegetables, mmmmmmm

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    Turnip talk and emigration

    9 Nov

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    I am emigrating to Australia and my stay in my beloved French home is coming to an end. I will not be blogging for a week or so.

    I thought I would leave you with an autumn winter revelation turnips. Peel off the outer skin which is bitter. Then use them in stews. Cut them up in quarters and blanche them in milk and use this milk plus turnips to make mash potatoes. Blanche them in milk and pour half the milk away and blend with a stick blender and serve with a medium rare steak and watercress dressed in olive oil. Cut into quarters and boil in a cup of water with a tablespoon of butter to serve as a side.

    Will be back soon…

    Proper pies

    4 Nov

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    A good pie is a labour of love, there is no quick pie. The beauty of pies is you can create your own combo housed under your choice of buttery pastry. I have fond memories of a duck, ginger and spring onion pie that a chef friend of mine makes. This is where I struggled to be able to impart to you a pie which I could call my ‘favourite’ I love rabbit, red wine and pancetta. But my favourite at the moment is Veal and pale ale.

    The techniques I pass on in this recipe can be adapted to your perticular favourite combo. The important thing is the cooking time of the meat. For example chicken will take a lot less time to stew then the veal. The reason for the length of cooking time is you will be using stewing cuts of meat. This is meat with a higher complexity of fat as it has worked more, the veal I used was leg. The second class cuts as their know in the trade are cheaper. This does not mean they are less flavoursome, famous chefs often take great pride in creating something special from a cut of meat that is considered inferior. It is all about the preparation of your chosen meat.

    Preparation time: 24 hours
    Cooking time: 4 hours
    Total time: 28 hours
    Serves: 4
    Cost per person £2.23

    Prices are based on http://www.sainsburys.com apart from veal which can be bought from a butcher, you can substitute with stewing beef

    Ingredients:

  • 500g diced veal leg
  • 750ml beef stock
  • 1 bottle of pale ale or 1 can of lager
  • 3 large carrots chopped
  • 50g flour
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 3 potatoes diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Pastry

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g butter
  • Roughly 50ml of ice cold water
  • 1 whisked egg for egg washing
  • Directions:

    First of all you are looking at the prep time and your saying ‘he is shitting me’ This is my first important tip and will aid the meat to be melt in the mouth. Marinate your meat in your ale cover and put in the fridge for 24 hours. This helps break down the fat in the meat and enriches the meat with flavour.

    Then make your pastry I used home made short crust. Which I used a slightly different technique with. I grate the cold butter into the flour then breadcrumb them together. Then I bring the mix together with stone cold water, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest.

    Take the meat out of the ale (keep the ale) and pat dry with a kitchen towel then cover in seasoned flour. This flour will help thicken your pie liquor. Fry the the veal chunks in a very hot oil to sear them, take them out and set aside when they are a nice golden brown. Put into a saucepan the ale that you marinated the meat in, reduce over a high heat skimming the froth or impurities from the top.

    Meanwhile sweat the onions until translucent, then add the stock, reduced ale, garlic and herbs. Bring this mixture to a boil add carrots potatoes and veal, bring back to a boil then simmer for an extra 5 minutes or so. Transfer the mix into to a oven dish, setting aside some of the liquor. Bake in a oven at low heat 180-160 degrees Celsius for 2 to 3 hours. Check mixture occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the dish and taste. Take out when satisfied and set aside to cool.

    Roll your pastry to over hang the sides of your pie dish slightly. Egg wash the edges of your pie dish and put your cooled pie mixture in. Then drape your pastry over the dish, use a fork to slightly depress the pastry around the edges of the dish. Egg wash the top of the pastry and cut a blow hole in the centre this will allow the steam of the hot mixture to escape when you bake the pie. Place the pie in the fridge to rest the pastry for half an hour. Then bake the pie for half an hour or until the pastry is a golden brown all over at 200 degrees Celsius.

    I have served my pie with some of the set aside pie liquor reduced. Also with Brussels sprouts that have been boiled in water from cold until just tender. Then cut in half and fried off with some bacon lardons and a zest of a lemon. Mmmmmmmmm

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    Lentils love

    2 Nov

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    I love lentils they are in my mind essential for any store cupboard, why? Most importantly lentils are not only a accompaniment for a dish or soup they are a meal in their own right. A hugely inexpensive meal at that Dahl or dal or daal. You could survive on Dahl as lentils are so high in protein, in fact most of India does. You just have to forgive yourself a little wind.

    Dahl is a perfect way for you to find your feet with spice and flavours you love. Just remember the key to spice is to roast it in a flat non stick pan from cold until you begin to smell the flavour. Remove from the pan straight away, because burnt spice is bad and bitter. If you want to take it to the next level use a coffee bean grinder as a spice grinder and powder your own spice.

    My recipe is not a curry purists version it is more of a homage to the beauty of Dahl and the use of what you have in your cupboard.

    Preparation time: 30 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 60 minutes
    Serves: 4
    Cost per person £0.49

    Prices are based on sainsburys.com

    Ingredients:

  • 400g Puy lentil
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons of roasted coriander seeds crushed and roasted
  • A Kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 chopped green chill
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 3 carrots diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • A pinch of pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • Directions:

    Start by making your flavour base from your onions. by sweating them until they are translucent then add all the other ingredients apart from the stock and lentils. Incorporate the lentils together with the other ingredients then add the stock. Just make sure you are careful with the garlic do not burn it. Cook for 30 mins stirring often add a tiny dash of water if the mix gets to dry.

    That is it you have a filling meal. I have served mine with homemade lemon garlic flat bread and chopped coriander stirred through natural yoghurt. Mmmmmmmmmm

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    Above is a botanic picture of a lentil plant.
    Types lentils are:
    Brown/Spanish pardina
    French green/puy lentils (dark speckled blue-green)
    Green
    Black/beluga (not actually true lentils; see urad bean)
    Yellow/tan lentils (red inside)
    Red Chief (decorticated yellow lentils)
    Eston Green (Small green)
    Richlea (medium green)
    Laird (large green)
    Petite Golden (decorticated lentils)
    Masoor (brown-skinned lentils which are orange inside)
    Petite crimson/red (decorticated masoor lentils)
    Macachiados (big Mexican yellow lentils)