Friday, December 25, 2009

Crab Salad in Black Sesame Tulles




Savory tuiles/cornet recipe
From Thomas Keller “the French Laundry Cookbook”

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)**
8 tablespoons (114 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter (it is easier to work on the Silpat before it is put on the sheet pan). Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. After baking the first batch of cornets, you will be able to judge the correct thickness. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.

There should not be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds. (In my cornets, I used 4 tbs of black sesame powder). Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.

Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door. This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff to roll. Flip a cornet over on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down and place 4-1/2 inch cornet mold at the bottom of the round. If you are right-handed, you will want the pointed end on your left and the open end on your right. The tip of the mold should touch the lower left edge (at about 7 o’clock on a clock face) of the cornet. Fold the bottom of the cornet and around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the cornets around molds; as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other, to prevent from rolling.

When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven shelf, close the door, and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown. If the color is uneven, stand the cornets on end for a minute or so more, until the color is even. Remove the cornets from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so. Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Remove the Silpat from the baking sheet, wipe the excess butter from it, and allow it to cool down before spreading the next batch. Store the cornets for up to 2 days (for maximum flavor) in an airtight container. (Mine kept okay at room temperature for 3 days.)

Crab Salad

1 cup of crab meat
2 tablespoons seafood sauce
1 teaspoon chopped chives
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Mix together and place in molds.

Layered Mousse



Avocado Mousse

Ingredients

2 avocados
1 1/2 teaspoon gelatin or vegetarian alternative
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons finely chopped or minced spring onion
1/2 pint hot vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons double cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 teaspoons lemon juice


Method
Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and either mash and sieve it or blend in a food processor.
Add the lemon juice.
Season and add the onion.
Dissolve the gelatin in the water over a very gentle heat and when dissolved add the hot stock to it.
Allow to cool.
Add this mixture to the avocado and blend until smooth.
Leave in fridge until completely cold and then fold in the mayonnaise and cream.
Put into a buttered mould and leave to set for at least 3 hours.


Red Pepper Mousse

Red peppers; roasted, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoons Soft thyme leaves
2 tblesp Extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves garlic; finely diced
1 tblesp Balsamic vinegar
2 teasp Unflavoured gelatin
8 Ounce double cream
Salt and ground black pepper

In a heated frying pan put the garlic, thyme and 1tbsp of oil from the peppers. Sweat down then add the sliced peppers, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into a liquidizer and blitz for about 5 minutes then decant into a bowl. Heat the balsamic vinegar and gelatin in a pan and whisk together. Add a little of the puree and mix, then transfer this back into the bowl of puree and fold in. Put a bowl of ice under the puree to chill it down. Whisk the double cream to form soft peaks. Lightly oil 8 mould dishes. Mix the cream into the puree, folding in with a spatula. Spoon the mixture into the moulds and put in the fridge for 3 hours

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Turkey Roulade stuffed with pistachios and served with spiced black cherries





1 whole, boneless turkey breast, butterflied
2 tsp. sea salt
20 slices peppered prosciutto
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped toasted pistachios
2 tablespoons of butter

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil, then set aside. Now, lay your bacon out length-wise on your work surface. You want each piece to slightly overlap the piece before it. Place the butterflied turkey breast on top of the bacon, with the butterflied, split portion perpendicular to the bacon. You want the bacon to wrap around the turkey when you roll it up.
Sprinkle the turkey with salt. Layer the cranberries and pistashios on the turkey, making sure to spread the filling out in an even layer, or your turkey will be hard to roll.
Using both hands, start rolling the turkey onto itself like a fruit roll-up, stuffing the filling back in if it escapes. Wrap your butcher’s twine around the turkey breast. Place the turkey on the prepared cookie sheet, seem side down,
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. It’s done when the bacon is brown and caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then slice into 1 1/2 – inch rounds and place on your serving dish. Or allow to cool overnight at serve cold.

Spiced Cherries

Ingredients
250ml (1 cup) water
155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1 x 8cm-strip orange rind
700g fresh cherries, pitted
250ml (1 cup) port

Method
Wash a 1L (4-cup) capacity glass preserving jar with plastic lid in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Drain on a rack.
Place the water, sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the cherries. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until cherries soften slightly.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind to the glass preserving jar.
Bring syrup to the boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens. Add port and bring to the boil. Use a candy thermometer to ensure syrup reaches 85°C. Pour syrup over the cherries in the preserving jar and seal immediately. Turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cool. Label, date and store in the fridge for up to 1 mon

Eggnog



12 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1000ml heavy cream

2 cups of Drambuie
1 1/2 cups of dark rum

Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff. Keep the whites cold.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl placed over a boiling pot of water. Gradually beat in the sugar and spices.
Stir it thoroughly so the portion on the bottom of the bowl doesn't overcook. Stop stirring when the mixture coats the spoon or spatula. Test by dragging your finger across the spoon or spatula; if your finger leaves a clear path through the eggnog and the mixture doesn't run, it's ready. (This might take as long as 20 minutes. Keep the heat low and don't rush it, or you might scramble the eggs.)

Chill. Add Liqueurs and beat until smooth.

Whip cream until it has soft peaks, then fold into egg mixture. Fold in egg whites. Ensure it is all well combine. Pour into bottles seal and chill.

Enjoy.

Hanuman Oysters





If your ever in Cairns or Darwin make a point of visiting this guys restaurant. Amazing flavors, inventive dishes. The only modern take on Asian flavors I've ever tasted, that hasn't veered into the icky world of fusion.


Serves 6
Ingredients

2 stalks of coriander, roots attached
1 stalk of sweet basil, leaves removed, stems reserved
½ teaspoon finely grated galangal
2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon grass, white part only
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
60ml (¼ cup) lime juice
30ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
36 Pacific oysters

Method
Cut roots and 5cm of stems from coriander and chop finely, reserving leaves. Finely chop basil stems. Process roots and stems, galangal, lemon grass, chilli, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Check for the balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot and adjust if necessary. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Makes ¾ cup and will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Place oysters on an oven tray in a 200C oven or under a hot grill for 1 minute or until warm. Thinly slice basil leaves. Drizzle each oyster with ½ teaspoon of sauce, scatter with basil and coriander leaves and serve with remaining sauce passed separately

Serves 6

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gougeres filled with sliced ham and chimicurri creme




Soft little mounds of flavor that pop in your mouth. A different take on some traditional ingredients.

Gougéres
Recipe from The Tartine Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 30

• 1 ¼ cups non-fat milk
• 140g unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 5 large eggs
• ¾ cup Gruyére cheese, grated
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Topping
• Pinch salt
• Grated Gruyere, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
2. To make the choux pastry, combine the milk, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 3 minutes.
3. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next. The mixture should be thick, smooth and shiny.
4. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the cheese, pepper and thyme and mix in with a rubber spatula. Use a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 4-5cm apart. Lightly sprinkle the top of each pastry with grated cheese and a small pinch of salt.
5. Place in the oven immediately and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they have puffed and are nicely browned. Serve hot or warm, or at room temperature. Or they can be cooled completely and re-crisped in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.

Chimichurri

2 cups fresh parsley and cilantro, firmly packed
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
3 cloves of garlic roasted
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or plum vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Preparation:
Pulse the garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped.
Add the parsley and/or cilantro, and oregano if using, and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.
Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar, and stir. (Adding the liquids outside of the blender gives the chimichurri the correct texture. You don't want the herbs to be completely puréed, just finely chopped).
Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste; store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, mix in equal portions, with mascarpone or ricotta.

Dukkah rolled Labneh Balls on a Poppy Seed Biscuits





The good thing about this dish is everything can be prepared a few days before hand. There is a lot of prep time but its all pretty basic, so you can knock each step over quite fast. Very impressive once you plate up, and it's something alot of people haven't had.


Poppy seed biscuits

8 ounces cheese - finely shredded
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt
1 cup of poppy seads

In a large bowl place the finely shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt, pepper, and sugar.
As quickly as possible combine, it should be coarse textured and not sticking together. Use your hands to form it into a log. Roll in poppy seads. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

An easy way to stick the poppy seeds to stick; is to spread them over the plastic wrap, your going to use to wrap it in.

Can be frozen at this point, till you need it.

When needed slice into ½ inch rounds and bake for 15 -20 minutes.

Serve hot or cold


Labneh

600g thick yogurt
1 tsp. salt

a cheesecloth
a sieve
a bowl

Put a sieve onto a bowl and spread cheesecloth over it. Mix yogurt and salt. Spoon the mixture into the prepared sieve. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth up and tie it into a knot. Return it into a sieve and put everything (together with the bowl) into the refrigerator. Let it drain for two days. After that, remove the drained yogurt (Labneh) from the cloth, shape it into little balls and chill for an hour. Roll the cheese balls into dukkah.

*This recipe is a part of Fbi rukavice, a monthly food blogging event created by Maja of Cooks and Bakes.


Pistachio Dukkah

1/2 cup roasted salted pistachios, shelled
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a finely coarse mixture is obtained. Store in an airtight container.

Panettone Bread Pudding




Christmas morning breakfast, is a fine balancing act. You want something a little bit special, but you don't want to be cooking, and you don't want to fill people up to much. This year I'm testing panattone pudding, which has the added bonus of being able to be made two days before and frozen, ready to pop in the oven Christmas morning. A strong espresso, and a forkful of spicy, citrus christmassy flavors, topped with a smooth creme. Its a happy holiday.


1 Panattone sliced
½ cup of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of milk
6 eggs
Cinnamon
Vanilla sugar


Preheat oven to 180
Grease a tray and line with baking paper. Layer the panettone in tray. Beat eggs, cream, milk and vanilla together. Pour over panettone. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and vanilla sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Mix together Mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla, keep chilled.

Serve warm with dollop of Mascarpone crème

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread




The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I made a very ugly/cute gingerbread house with Caleb. We covered it in sprinkles and marshmallows, with green coconut grass and marshmallow snow men. Then we made gingerbread men and stars with the extras.

The following is not the recipe I used or even the recipe from the challenge; this is a recipe that ‘Chef Allison’ has used for years. When I saw her results I was so impressed that I’ve put her recipe here instead. Check out her blog for some amazing gingerbread houses. (http://www.partytrayforyou.blogspot.com/)

Have to say I would quadruple the spices used though, I worked with that amount of spice per one cup of flour. I would say defiantly season to taste.

Gingerbread House Recipe
Recipe By : Sullivan County Extension Homemakers Club
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
7 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour -- 7-8 cups
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3 Teaspoons Ginger
1 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Unsulphered Molasses
2 Each Eggs
1 Cup Additional Flour -- 1-2 cups

Royal Icing:
3 Each Eggs Whites -- room temp
4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
Sift together first 5 ingredients. Blend together molasses, shortening, sugar and eggs. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. Add enough of the additional flour to make a dough stiff enough to be shaped into a disc. Refrigerate overnight for easier handling. Can be frozen.
Will make 4-5 small gingerbread house using this pattern.
Roll to about 1/4" thickness on a floured cookie sheet. Trace the house pattern pieces onto typing paper and cut out. Arrange pattern pieces on cookie dough and carefully cut around each pattern being certain to allow 1/2" space between pieces to allow the dough to expand as it bakes.
Cut the dough with a sharp paring knife or the edge of a metal pancake turner. Be certain the walls and roof are the same size as the patterns. Remove scraps leaving house pieces on the cookie sheet. Do not attempt to shift pieces once they have been cut out. This will stretch the dough and distort the shape. Bake at 350 12-15 mins.
Carefully loosen then remove each piece with a metal pancake turner. Cool on a wire rack. When the walls are completely cooled, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the cookie sheet shiney side up. Arrange the walls on the foil. With a hammer, pulverize a few pieces of hard clear candy in a plastic bag. Spoon some of the crushed candy into each window. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and bake a few mins in order to melt the candy. Watch carefully, the candy melts quickly. Remove pieces from the cookie sheet and cool on a rack. When completely cooled (don't rush this cooling step) peel the foil from the backs of each wall. The foil will peel easily from the window if it has cooled sufficiently.
Assemble using Royal Icing as "glue". Glue the walls together first. When icing has hardened (about 15 mins) then glue on the roof. Glue on the chimney and door. When icing has hardened you may begin decorating the house with additional icing and candy.
Suggested candies: cinnamon red hots, starlight peppermints, candy canes, gum drops, miniature marshmallows, M&M's, sweettarts, silver dragees.
Make a larger house by increasing the size of the pattern pieces. As you assemble a larger house, stuff a small string of miniature Christmas lights inside the house with the cord sticking out. Your gingerbread house can glow with the lights are plugged in. Make a gingerbread house for your pet. Use yellow, pink, or orange hard clear candies for the windows.
Royal Icing: Purchase Wilton Meringue Powder where cake decorating supplies are sold and follow the recipe on the can for Royal Icing. Or, use the scratch recipe above. Do NOT use a shortening based frosting. When making Royal Icing, it is essential that all mixing utensiils are grease free. The slightest bit of oil or grease will case the Royal Icing to break down. Royal Icing dries quickly so keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times. Can be refrigerated.
Beat all icing ingredients at high speed for 7-10 mins. Add more sugar for a stiffer consistency if necessary. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shepard's Pie



Sometimes you need warm, scoupable food, in your life. During this season of partying, working too much, and crazy people, a simple healthy meal can make it all bearable.


Shepard’s Pie

500g mince
1 Onion diced
3 cloves of garlic diced
½ a cup each of cubed carrots, beans, peas and corn.
250ml of thick roasted vegetable sauce
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of mashed potatoes
¼ cup of strong cheese

Brown onion and garlic and mince. Add vegetables, sauce and salt and pepper.

Place meat in a deep baking dish. Scoop potatoes over the meat, spread evenly in pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 40 minutes at 200c.

Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Brittle




1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) orange juice
2 cups of nuts
½ cup of chocolate chips
½ cup of cranberries

.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, boil without stirring, on a low heat, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

Line a pan with lightly greased baking paper. Mix together your nuts, chocolate and fruit, spread out on the baking paper. When the caramel is ready, pour evenly over the nut mix, tilt the tray from side to side to ensure even distribution. Place in the fridge to cool for around 20 minutes. Once cool break into rough pieces, and store in an airtight container.

If your in one of those nice countries not plagued by creepy crawlies, these would make lovely Christmas decorations. Simply put the nut mix in greased cookie cutters, before pouring the caramel.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Macaroons



Makes 25-45

10 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons of cornflour
Insides of one vanilla pod
600g moist coconut flakes
250g dark chocolate


Preheat oven to 180

Line a tray with baking paper and lightly spray with oil.

Beat egg whites and sugar together until thick and creamy. Mix in cornflour Add vanilla and coconut. Using your hands combine together all ingredients.

Press together mounds of the mix and place on baking tray. Bake for aprox 15 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool.

In a Bain Marie melt chocolate. Take off heat but leave bowl over hot water, so it will stay soft.

Dip the bottom of each macaroon in chocolate and place, chocolate side up, in the fridge to cool.

Store in an airtight container


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Salmon en Croute




The 2009 December Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute

The photo is her's as well. Unfortunately I didn't get to photograph mine before they were eaten. Thats how tasty this simple dish is.


This is a very rich dish, if you wanted to make it a little healthier, you could swap the shortcrust pastry for filo, and the cheese for yogurt. Serve with lots of veges and you have a very healthy meal.


Salmon en croute
Ingredients
Mascarpone or creamcheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr

I also added salt, pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, zest and juice of a lemon.

Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butterversion such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized
Directions:
1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test wether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.