Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Grilled Lamb koftas with mint salad and a sumac yoghurt


On my households demand, lamb koftas it is...This recipe is from Jamie Olivers book, Jamie at Home, with a little twist of mine.

500g lamb mince
A handful of mint and parsley leaves
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tsp hot chili powder
4 tbsp sumac, in case you don't find it use zest of 1 lemon but nothing compares to the original flavoring of sumac
Salt and pepper
A handful of shelled pistachios
20g butter

A handful of mixed salad leaves
A handful of mint  and parsley leaves
1 lemon, juice
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Large flat breads or pita bread
Olive oil
150 ml natural greek yoghurt
...some more sumac and chili powder

1. Put your grill or oven on 200C and heat up a griddle pan to maximum heat.
2. Place the lamb in a food processor with the thyme, chili powder, cumin, sumac, a large pinch of salt and pepper and the pistachios. Mix well in the food processor until all the pistachios are crushed.
3. Get yourself some skewers, wet your hands slightly and take a handful of the mix and shape around and along the skewer. Press little indents with your fingers as this will give it a better texture when cooking.
4. In a bowl, mix the salad leaves and mint. Dress with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Place the sliced onion in a separate little bowl, press some lemon juice over it and pinch of salt and squeeze with your hands. The acidity will take the edge off and pickle the onion slightly. Add the parsley to the onions.
5. Grill the kebabs in the griddle pan, turning them so they get a nice color.
6. Once nice and grilled transfer the kebabs onto a trey, put a tiny bit of butter on top of each and place in the oven for 10 min.
7. In the meantime, warm your flat bread in a pan or microwave and divide between the plates.
8. Put the yoghurt in a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon, salt and a pinch of sumac.
8. Place some of your salad on top of the bread. Once your kebabs are done, take them off the skewer and place either whole o break into bits on top of the salad and bread. Sprinkle with some of your pickled onion and parsley, put a spoon of yoghurt on top. Sprinkle with some more sumac on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Cumin spiced Rack of lamb with merguez sausages, lentils and a carrot spaghetti


Yesterday i fancied lamb so i decided to buy some merguez sausages and a lovely rack of lamb. I wasn't quite sure what i fancied to do with it but knew i didn't want to eat any heavy carbs, just something lighter and healthier. Scanned my cupboards and fridge and found some lentils, carrots, celery and herbs.. and this recipe was born. I promise you, my guests were licking their plates to get the last lentil of the plate and god forbid leave some of the jus behind. It looks fabulous and tastes heavenly, a great recipe for a dinner party. It took me 45 min to get this meal together so give it a shot! 


Rack of lamb, count cutlets per person(count 3 bones each), trimmed and cleaned(layer of fat left on)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Ground cumin
1 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
10 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
250ml red wine
500 ml veal or chicken stock
1tbsp redcurrant jelly

4 merguez sausages

Lentils:
300ml lentils
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
salt
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-2mm cubes
bunch of mint, finely chopped
bunch of parsley, finely chopped

6 large carrots, cut into long spaghetti strips using a mandolin
splash of olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Put the lentils in a saucepan, washed with water and drain. Put back into the saucepan, cover with 600ml water, add 1/2 red onion, a garlic clove and pinch of salt. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and cook for 20-25 min. You want them to still have a bite to them, not lentil mush.
2. Rub the rack of lamb with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin.
3. Heat up a frying pan to maximum heat.
4. Color the lamb on all sides, making sure you don't burn the bones. Set the pan aside, don't put into the wash yet.
5. Wrap the bones with kitchen foil to prevent burning in the oven.
6. Put 5 thyme sprigs on an oven trey and put the lamb on top, fat side up. This way when the fat melts slowly in the oven it will flavor the meat. Place the sausages on the trey around the lamb as well.
7. Place in the oven and grill for 25-35 min depending on how you want it cook. I suggest a slight pinkish color to it. You can check by putting a skewer through, pressing on the meat and checking what color the juices are.
9. Place the roughly chopped red onion, celery stalk, carrot and garlic cloves in the pan from the meat and color the vegetables slightly.
10. Deglaze with the red wine and reduce until there is almost none left. Add the thyme, bay leaf, red currant jelly and chicken/veal stock. Bring to boil and cook on high heat for 10 min.
11. Chop the celery stalk and left over 1/2 red onion and herbs for the lentils now if not yet done. Make your carrot spaghetti on a mandolin. Put aside.
12. If the lentils are cooked, drain them and put back into the saucepan. Leave aside.
13. Sieve the sauce into another bowl and put then back into the pan. Keep boiling it until you end up with a spoon cover consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
14. The lamb should now be ready. Take out of the pan and wrap in kitchen foil and leave in a warm place to rest. Keep sausages warm.
15. Heat up a wok pan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the carrot spaghetti and a garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper and cook until cooked but still crunchy, this should only take a few minutes.
16. Add the chopped celery, red onion and herbs into the lentils. Stir around, season with salt and add a spoon of your reduction(the sauce) to the lentils as dressing.
17. Cut up the rack of lamb into equal cutlets.
18. Serve up in a large bowl or plate. Place a large spoon of the lentils first, add a nest of the carrot spaghetti on top, cut merguez into half and put on the side. Finally arrange 3 cutlets on top. Drizzle with the sauce and serve. Bon appetite.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sauteed King Prawns with quinoa in a coriander, ginger and chilli dressing


Quinoa is a tiny ancient, Peruvian seed once considered "the gold of the incas". It has a mild, nutty flavor which goes particularly well in salads, as well as a side dish with meets and fish. It has a protein content that is far superior to that of most grains, because it contains all the essential amino acids. 
This is a delicious lunch dish, that can be stirred up in 30 min with a little preparation in the morning. 
Packed with goodness and flavor, this is a dish you have to try and you'll end up making over and over again.

Serves 4

20 raw King prawns, cleaned and without the shell

Marinade
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
3 cm ginger, grated
1 lime, juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tbsp olive oil
Handful of coriander, chopped

100g Quinoa
Handful of coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the king prawns. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hour at least. The longer the better but not exceeding 12 hours (due to freshness of prawns)
2. Put the quinoa in a saucepan and add 250 ml water. Add some salt, bring to boil and cover with a lid and simmer for 20 min.
3. Heat up a wok or frying pan to maximum heat and add the prawns and all the marinade. Cook for a few minutes until the prawns change color to pink and are cooked through.
4. Pour all the sauce and prawns onto the quinoa and combine. Add the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Lentil salad with celery, apple and mint


I try to prepare lentils at least once a week at home, because their versatility makes it so easy to makes different salads, use instead of potatoes with chicken or lamb or use to make a delicious soup. Packed with goodness for the body and soul, lentils are rich in protein and iron, as well as vitamins and fibers.
This recipe is inspired by the lentil salad i ate at Le Petit Maison in London, i love the combination of crunchy celery and apple. If you want to take it to the next level you can add some feta cheese as well, but i quite like the simplicity of this salad. You can make more of the lentils, use half of it for this salad and refridgerate the rest to use another day with different ingredients.


Serves 4

150g lentils
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
1/2 apple, granny smith, cut into 1-2mm cubes
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-2mm cubes
bunch of mint, finely chopped

Dressing
3 tbsp Olive oil
1 lemon, juice
salt and pepper

1. Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with 450ml water. Add the garlic clove and 1/2 of the onion.
2. Bring to boil and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 20-25 min until the lentils are cooked but still have a slight bite to them. You do not want to end up with a lentil mush.
3. Prepare the celery and apple now. Finely chop the other half of the onion too. Once you have chopped the apple, put it in a bowl with water and lemon juice, otherwise the apple will start turning brown.
4. Drain the lentils and cool down under cold, running water.
5. Put them in a bowl, add the apples, onion, celery and chopped mint. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Pancakes



Pancakes are probably considered to be one of the easiest things to make yet i could never get them perfect until i got this recipe at school. They always tore when i tried to flip them, where a little to thick and bland. This recipe is tried and tested and anyone can end up making the perfect, thin and crisp pancakes. 
You can also cut out the sugar and make savory ones, with some grated cheese,  diced tomato, chives and smoked salmon... delicious as a main course with some salad on the side.

Serves 4

125g flour, sifted
1 egg
pinch of salt
10g sugar, for sweet use
300 ml milk
20g butter

oil for frying

1. In a bowl, mix the egg, sugar and salt.
2. Add the sifted flour. It will look far to dry and lumpy, don't panic.
3. Add milk, a little at the time, mixing thoroughly.
4. Melt the butter and boil it until it starts turning nut brown. This is an amazing trick which will give the pancakes an amazing, slightly nutty flavor.
5. Add the nut brown butter to the mix.
6. Push the pancake mix through a sieve in order to get rid of any lumps.
7. Cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 min. This is very important, you need to let the starch rest, it is the trick in order for the pancakes not to tear and get that elastic consistency.

8. Put some oil in a cup and dip some kitchen towel in it. Just a little.
9. Heat up a pan and grease it slightly with the kitchen towel.
10. Pour some of the pancake mix in to the pan and foe about 30-45 sec on each side.

Serve with jam, marmalade, lemon, sugar and melted butter, nutella, fresh fruit and whipped cream, ice cream.. whatever you feel like! bon appetite!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Maroccan Tagine with chestnuts, saffron and pomegranate served with cous cous



My favorite time of the year - Christmas is lurking around the corner and i am getting into christmas mode more and more with every day that passes. This is a delicious and super easy recipe to make at home with typical winter flavors and scents such as saffron, chestnuts, pomegranate, cinnamon... you will love this recipe.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
pinch of saffron
2 cinnamon sticks
1 kg lean lamb, from leg or shoulder, diced
250 g peeled chestnuts ( buy the ready prepared ones from the shop)
2 tbsp runny honey
1 pomegranate, seeds
1 handful of mint leaves
1 handful of coriander leaves
salt and pepper to season

Fruity Cous cous
350g cous cous
600 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 handful of sultanas
1 handful of flaked almonds
1/2 lemon rind and juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Spicy, lemony yoghurt
150 ml of natural, greek yoghurt
a squeeze of lemon
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Making the tagine:
1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
1. Heat up the olive oil in a large casserole or tagine. Add the onions and garlic and sweat for 3 min until soft and start coloring slightly.
2. Add the saffron and cinnamon sticks, stir and let infuse for a few minutes.
3. Toss in the diced lamb. Stir around and pour in enough water to cover almost all the lamb.
4. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and put in the preheated oven for about 1 hour.
5. Take out of the oven, stir in the honey and add the chestnuts. Cover with the lid again and put back in the oven for another 30 min.

In the meantime, prepare the cous cous:
1. put the cous cous in a large bowl and pour in the chicken stock. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 min.
2. Soak the sultanas in warm water for 5 min until soft and drain of the excess liquid.
3. Put the almond flakes in a pan and roast over high heat and continuously string until golden.
4. Add the sultanas, roast almond flakes, lemon rind and juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Make the yoghurt:
1. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice.
2. Drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

6. Now the meat should be tender and falling apart in your fingers -  then its done.
7. Season to taste, add the pomegranate seeds, mint and coriander. Serve immediately.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Lappland


I am not sure what I was thinking travelling to lappland  in my red lambskin ankle boots and a leather blazer but I blame it on the hangover. When I met my friends in their Canada goose jackets and sorrel boots at arlanda I figured it was time to fish up those awful moonboots and warm jacket from the suitcase.
Only one airline flies up to vilhemina, probably a good indicator of the popularity and population of the place. The airplanes operating are more like small private jets, but why them make the ceiling so low will remain a mystery. The top of my head nicely cleaned the ceiling all the way down the plane.
Once the plance had landed, gracefully gliding on the ice covered landing strip like bambi on ice, the doors of the plane were opened and a cold breeze rushed through the plane, the reason for warm clothing become obvious. I, however, madly in love with snow and the idea of a calm weekend in front of the fireplace, was not worried.
The next thing that took me by surprise, was what I saw once I got out of the plane, the so called airport.  As many times as id flown private or been to small islands with hardly an airport, this was another level. One little hut, departures and arrivals separated by a thin wall, a band for the luggage and a info desk, dealing with immigration, enquiries and car rental. Two minutes and all done. Awesome.
The drive to Gaemo was 1,5 hour in the dark, with snow slapping the car and a road that never seemed to end. Even though one couldn’t see anything, the fresh, crisp air and brightness of the stars didn’t leave any doubt that we were somewhere far north in the middle of nowhere.
The car came to a halt and parked on the street where for the first time in a 100 miles we saw a car. Apperently the arrival of us to the house is as exciting as things get up here and by the next morning half the village had had time to stop by and welcome back our hosts, peaking inside if they had brought any celebrities with them this time. Last time princess Madeleine of Sweden had visited, it was the front page of the local paper for a few months running.
Snowscooters picked us and the luggage up and drove us up a little road through the forest to the house. Pitch dark as it was, I had never expected to wake up in winter wonderland.  Snow and forest as far as the eye could see except for straight ahead of me, a large lake, like a mirror reflecting the snow covered trees and mountain tops. As cold as the morning air was, minus 15 showed the
My 3 days in lappland consisted of long walks in the snow, following moose prints in the snow, waiting to see the lynx family living in the garden or the bear sleeping under the bridge on the estate, sweating in a finish sauna with a cold lapin kulta in my hand, eating a lot of cheese (my biggest addiction) and drinking a lot of coffee(as we Swedes do), sledging down the mountain like a child head first and lying on the couch in front the fireplace, watching tv with a cigarette and a glass of red wine. It is the first time in a long time I got to actually get to know my friends a bit better, to actually spend some quality time.
Got to indulge in some amazing, yes amazing, swedish food such as skagen toast, home made swedish meatballs and venison... all recipes coming up next!
Cannot wait to come back in February!










Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Real life

As I very proudly announced to the world, I had the amazing opportunity to work under a very well known and respected, at least in his industry, chef - Paul gayler, who is currently the head chef at the lanesborough hotel in London.
I was so excited to get some real work experience in a kitchen, see how it is all run, how everything is prepared on the other side of the wall from where I usually am seated.
I have cooked all my life, I would say I am a relatively good amateur chef,i have eaten all kind of cuisines, in some of the best restaurants in the world. I was very excited to have been given this opportunity.
And gosh was it nothing I could ever have imagined. I actually peeled about 500 eggs yesterday! Is that what my job is gonna look like after cordon bleu training? Peeling eggs and turning artichokes? 10 h on my feet in a Michelin star kitchen to shovel down overcooked pasta in the canteen within 10 min... Yes that was pretty much the extent of my break. A coffee and a cigarette. Never I my life have I been so tired when I finally got home. Passed out within 10 min of getting home and putting my feet up. Maybe it was the well deserved and desired glass of wine that knocked me out, but it does not surprise me some chefs become alcoholics!
I didn't even mind peeling those eggs or being exposed to the lovely smell of 50kg of fresh from 9 in the morning but when a bunch of uneducated losers with a superiority complex kept looking for shitty jobs for me to do I occasionally had the urge to have a slip of the knife or pick that bloody seabass up and snack somebody in the face with it. I guess all of this is part of climbing the professional ladder.
Taking a deep breath and jumping on the next opportunity, raymond blanc, let's see how this will turn out:)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

More macaroons


Since I successfully made my own macaroons the other day it has become an obsession. All i think about are macaroons, flavors, colors!
SO here are some more macaroons and flavor combinations on my mind, especially with christmas lurking around the corner:
Vanilla with crushed pistachio on top and pistachio creme patissiere, Gingerbread cream and bronze dust, praline filling and hazelnut decoration, redm white, green colors, chestnut cream filling, mandarin filling, dark red macaroon with chocolate ganache filling and a cherry in the middle...





Friday, 5 November 2010

Macaroons



Macaroons are to patisserie what a chanel bag is to fashion. These delightful, small, chewy mouthfuls of heaven are what everyone wants to put their hand on and lick off their fingers.
In terms of baking, they have been my everest. The numerous books and articles i read, the different ingredients and methods i used, the endless attempts to make a perfect macaroon... and nothing. ALL the things that can go wrong, you name it, have happened to me. Discoloration, cracking, lack of a "pied", too dry, not cooked enough... all of them. And im one of the most stubborn people one can ever meet. I do not give up and never surrender to failure or defeat. I was trying, trying to correct my mistakes, but every bloody time something else went wrong. So, after i had wasted enough ingredients, i decided to sign up for a macaroon class.
So today the spell have been broken and i finally succeeded. Under the supervision of a professional patisserie chef but never mind. I made my own, beautiful batch of macaroons.
Im gonna write this recipe as straight forward as i can, although its really not a straight forward recipe and add a little square of tips and tricks at the end that i learnt today.
I'm giving you recipes for 3 different fillings, three different kinds of fillings which you can change around as you wish. 

Macaroon Shells
250g ground almonds
350g icing sugar
215g (7-8) egg whites
150g caster sugar

Fillings:
Salted Butter Caramel filling:
170g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
140ml double cream
pinch of salt

Vanilla Cream filling:
250ml milk
Vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
30g corn flour
100g caster sugar
100ml double cream

Lemon Buttercream filling:
50g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 lemon, juice and zest


Making the macaroon shell:
1. Preheat the oven to 160C
2. Whisk up the egg whites slightly and add the caster sugar in one go. Keep whisking until you have a stiff and glossy meringue mixture.
3. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds together and sieve the mixture. Make sure you have a very fine, lump free powder.
4. Incorporate 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the meringue with 5 big movements. Don't press the meringue, fold it in, keeping the meringue mix as airy as possible. Scoop from the bottom and fold.
5. Add the rest and of the dry mix and fold until you end up with a smooth and shiny mixture.

6. Fill a piping bag with the macaroon mix and pipe the macaroon mix onto a baking trey covered with parchment paper. The piping is one of the most important bits of making a good macaroon. Place the nosil on the trey and press out the mix to the size of the macaroon that you want. Stop pressing when you have reached the size but stop pressing while the nosil is still in the mix. Then lift it. Try to make them the same size. Lift one side of the trey slightly and bang it on the table to remove the air. Do the same with the other side.
7. Leave the macaroons out to dry for about 15 min in room temperature until they form a skin. You can check this by touching one of them and if it does not stick to your finger its dried enough.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 min. Do not open the oven door before 10 min has passed for them not to collapse.
9. Leave them to cool on the treys.


Adding coloring:
this is an important part where i was making the mistake. Although a lot of books tell you to add liquid coloring, this is what ruins it all. When you add a liquid to the mix it completely changes the consistency. So use POWDER coloring. I only know a couple of places where you can buy it, which is online or in the l'atelier the chefs store on wimpole street, but will continue searching.

Making the filling(s)

Making Salted Butter Caramel

1. Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and allow to melt without stirring. Do NOT put a spoon in as  the sugar will crystalize. Shake the pan if you feel the need to move the sugar around:)
2. Once you have a golden caramel, add the butter, of the heat, a little at the time allowing it to melt before you add the next batch. 
3. Put back on the heat and add the cream. Stir around and cook until it has thickened up a little bit and then remove the mix from the pan into a bowl and allow to cool.

Making Vanilla Cream Filling:
1. Place the milk and the split vanilla pod and the seeds in a saucepan and bring to boil. 
2. Mix the egg yolk, sugar and corn flour in a bowl. 
3. Add 1/2 the warm milk into the egg mix and stir. 
4. Pour it all back into the rest of the milk in the pan and whisking continuously cook on a medium heat for 3-4 min until you end up with a thicker custard consistency.
5. Transfer into a bowl, cover with cling film(make sure the cling film touches the filling) and chill in the fridge.
6. Whip the cream and gently fold into the cooled vanilla cream. 

Making Lemon Buttercream:
1. Place the softened butter, sifted icing sugar and lemon zest and juice into a bowl. Beat together until you have a smooth, thick buttercream.

Once the macaroons shells have cooled down, put the fillings into piping bags and pipe onto one shell and top with another one of the same size.

Qualities a macaroon must have:
A crispy shell with a chewy center
A 'pied', the foot of the macaroon.
No discolorations













Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Quick Quiche Lorraine



For this tart you should be making your own shortcrust pastry, which is delicious, however requires some work. If you wanna make a quick dinner, use the pre made one you can buy in the form of a block in the supermarket and i must say it turns out absolutely delicious too. Serve with a simple green salad on the side and dinner is served!
My chefs at cordon bleu saw my edges of this tart i think they'd fail me but hey, it tasted amazing.

Serves 4-6

You need:
Pie form

500g short crust pastry, one block
Flour, just for dusting

Filling:
150g bacon rashers, chopped into small pieces
100g gruyere cheese, grated

2 eggs
300g double cream
salt and pepper, to taste
nutmeg, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. For best results, remove the pastry from the fridge 15 min before use.
3. Dust your working area and roll out the pastry to 0.3 mm thin.
4. Roll it up on your pin and roll out over the pie tin. Press down the edges and roll the pin over the tin to cut off excess dough. Discard of it.
5. Dot the bottom of the tart with a fork(see picture).
6. Line the pie with baking parchment and fill with rice or beans to "blind bake" the tart.
7. Blind-bake in the oven for 20 min.


8 .In the meantime whisk the eggs up in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
9. Add the cream and season with nutmeg. Leave to rest in the fridge until use.
10. Fry the bacon in a pan until golden and crispy. Dry out the fat by putting it on kitchen towel.
11. Once the tart is pre baked, sprinkle the bottom with the bacon. Cover with 2/3 of the grated cheese, pour the cream and egg mix on top and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. 
12. Bake in the oven for 20-25 min until golden on top. 
13. The filling should be like a creme caramel, slightly wobbly but set. You can put a knife through and if its dry, its ready. 
14. Leave it to rest for 5 min before serving. Serve up with a salad on the side. 


Lanesborough


I will be working in the kitchen of a michelin star restaurant on thursday at the lanesborough hotel under Paul gayler!
http://www.paulgayler.com/

Monday, 1 November 2010

LCB Superior Autumn Dinner

My old class mates are in superior... i just can't believe the time has passed so quickly and they are about to graduate soon. 
I was invited to an amazing dinner party they had prepared as part of their course and i was not disappointed...
A beautiful, seasonal, autumn menu including pumpkin, beetroot, fois gras, truffles, veal with a berry reduction, spiced pears, and apples and vanilla. Just mentioning these ingredients brings back the memory of the flavors and makes my mouth water.
Dinner starting at 18.45, my friend Kat and I run late, as usual, and make an entrance at 19.30! Missed all the fabulous finger food.Great. Never mind, to start off the dinner an amouche bouche of beetroot ravioli was served with a sage and parmesan sauce( i believe) which was the perfect mouthful and soo yummy. I loved the idea of a beetroot filling, so earthy, seasonal.. just delicious. 
The starter was a pumpkin soup with fois gras and chicken liver parfait, personally not a fan of liver, love fois gras but only in the form of a terrine complemented by a sweet chutney or fruit. The soup however was a beautiful, bright orange color, smooth and delicious. The main course - a duo of veal with a parsnip puree, spiced pears and a wine and grape reduction. Incredibly thought through dish with everything from the meat to the garniture completing each other in flavor. If you ever were to try to describe a plate of autumn -  this would be it. Veal, spiced pears, parsnip puree, red wine and grape reduction, even a chestnut to decorate the plate. Phenomenal. My friend Kat, a devoted vegetarian, even had a bite of the veal tongue - maybe not aware of what it was at the time but she sure loved it!
After that a little cheese platter was served consisting of goat cheese with a truffle honey which, to me being a truffle lover, was the best thing of the evening. 
To round up the evening a trio of apple and vanilla was prepared which are both ingredients I adore. A petit tarte tartine, mini custard tart, vanilla ice cream with crumble and a shot of creme anglais with green apple foam. Im one of those people who always crave something sweet after food but im usually satisfied with one spoonful. So desserts like these are a bit too much to me but i loved the concept and combination of flavors.
Last but not least, it wouldn't have been the same without two special guys making sure my wine glass  was always full and i was taken care of! :) you know who you are. 
Congratulations guys!

Veal Scalloppini with lemon butter and rice

Serves 4

4 x Veal escalopes, cut into 3
100g flour
Salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
100g butter
2 lemons, juice
Handful of parsley, finely chopped

approx 200-300g rice

1. Wash and cook the rice. Set aside.
2. Cut the escalopes into the size of a palm and flatten to 0.2mm thickness.
3. Sieve the flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper. Combine.
4. Coat the veal evenly by dipping in the flour.
5. Heat up a frying pan to maximum heat and add the olive oil.
6. Add the veal and cook for 1 min on each side. When you turn the veal over, add 1/2 of the butter to the pan. Remove the veal from the pan and keep in a warm place.
7. Add the rest of the butter and cook until it starts becoming a golden color. Then add the lemon juice to stop the cooking. Add the chopped parsley at the very end.
8. Serve the veal on a warm plate with rice on the side and drizzle the meat with the browned lemon butter.
9. Decorate with a sprig of parsley and lemon wedge.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Chocolate Mousse


180g caster sugar
125g(4-5) egg whites
250g dark chocolate
300 ml whipping cream

Decorate
50ml whipped cream

1. Put the egg whites into a free standing mixer and whip up a little bit. Add the sugar in one go and whip until you have stiff peaks.
2. Whip the cream.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, take off the heat and place in an ice bath. Keep stirring until the chocolate start cooling down a bit, you'll feel it getting a little bit thicker (about 25-30C).
4. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate. Once incorporated add the rest gradually.
5. Add the whipped cream.
6. Divide the mousse into martini glasses or any other glasses.
7. Cover the glasses with cling film and refridgerate for an hour.
8. Serve up with a rosette of whipped cream.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with honey and chiliflakes



Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1/2 chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1kg butternnut squash or another sort of pumpkin, chopped
1l chicken stock
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cream, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Garniture
Chili flakes
Parlsey, finely chopped

1. Pour a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and saute for a couple of min on low heat. Add the chopped celery, carrot, garlic, chili and rosemary. Cook without coloring for 10 min.
2. Add the pumpkin, stir around and cover all the vegetables with the chicken stock. Cover the saucapan with a lid and bring to boil.
3. Turn down the heat and cook for about 20-30 min until the butternut squash is soft.
4. Puree everything and put back in the saucepan.
5. Season with salt, pepper and honey.
6. Add the cream just before serving.
7. Serve in a large bowl or in a hollowed out pumpkin.
8. Sprinkle with chili flakes chopped parsley and a drizzle of cream.

Serve with small croutons or my witches fingers for a halloween feel.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Home made Pizza

 

The clue to making the best home made pizzas is the "pizza stone". You can purchase one in most kitchen appliance shops or places like john lewis etc. It will cost you around £10 but it is definately worth the purchase.
It is so much easier to make pizza then anyone could imagine and it is so much fun. Its a great thing to make on a saturday night with friends. 

Pizza Dough:
1 kg flour, type 00
650ml water, lukewarm
15g dry yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar

Tomato Sauce:
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 banana shallot, chopped
handful of basil, chopped roughly
2x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
400ml tomato passata
salt and pepper

Toppings:
To bake: Mozzarella cheese, buffalo mozzarella, chorizo, sliced mushrooms, olives, ham, basil leaves
Fresh to put on once pizza is baked: parma ham, rocket, basil leaves, olive oil

Making the pasta dough:
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl or onto a cleaned surface.
2. Put the yeast in a bowl with the luke warm water, olive oil and sugar. It is really important that the water is luke warm, around 37C, anything much above will kill the yeast and water not warm enough won't provide the right environment for the yeast to be activated and grow.
3. Leave this for a couple of min to allow it to react. You'll see it frothing up a bit.
4. Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid in.
5. Using a fork start incorporating the liquid into the flour with circular movements.


6. Once all flour has been mixed in starting working the dough with you hands or place it in a free standing mixer with the dough attachment. Work until it doesn't stock anymore and you are left with a shiny, smooth dough.
7. Put in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to prove for about one hour, until it's twice the size.
8. Now heat up the oven to maximum temperature and put you granite block or pizza stone in as well.

In the meantime make the tomato sauce:
1. Pour a couple of generous glugs of olive oil into a saucepan on medium heat.
2. Add the garlic and chopped shallots and saute for a few minutes.
3. Pour in the tomatoes, passata and chopped basil. Bring to boil and then take it off the heat and sieve the sauce, pressing out as much sauce as possible into a new saucepan.
4. Put the strained sauce back on the heat and bring to boil. Reduce the sauce for about 10 min until you reach the right consistency. You want it to cover the back of the spoon.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Leave aside to cool until you need to use it.





Finish the dough:
1. Remove your dough from the bowl and put on a lightly flour dusted surface.
2. Now you will have to 'knock the dough back', meaning you have to work it for another 5 min to get the air out.
3. Divide the dough into equal sized balls, i usually manage to make around 8-10 pizzas from this size of the dough.
4. Dust the ones you are not using with some flour and cover with a cloth.
5. If you dont want to use the dough immediately, you can cover it with cling film and leave in the fridge.
6. Roll your dough ball out to about 0.5cm thick on a floured surface.
7. Ideally you want it to rest for 10-15 min before putting in the oven.

In the meantime you can prepare all your ingredients so that they are handy.

8. Take the trey with the pizza stone on out of the oven. Please use the right protection for your hands at it will be very hot, and please, please do NOT touch the stone.
9. Slide the pizza dough over on the stone and you will see it starting to bubble up from the heat, all good!
10. Quickly put some tomato sauce all over the pizza and add your desired toppings, such as some mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, ham, chorizo, olives and sprinkle with a few basil leaves and/or oregano.
11. Bake in the oven for a few minute, you'll see it starting to get golden, this will take probably about 5 min, not much longer.
12. Slice using a pizza slicer on the stone and serve. If you want to use any of the cold toppings add just before serving.
Yum!




Monday, 25 October 2010

Stockholm


Stockholm is one of the most beautiful, forgotten cities in Europe. Built on 14 islands, connected by hundreds of bridges, with an archipelago of islands surrounding it. Full of beautiful people, stunning architecture, cosy cafes on every corner, so clean You'll find it a challenge to find a chewing gum on the street. I believe, not to be biased, that all in all it is the most beautiful city in Europe. 
Compared to London, for example, which only has one, okey, maybe two seasons a year, sweden has four wonderfully colorful seasons. Spring, with early snowdrops pushing through the melting snow, transforming to yellow fields of tussilagos and the blond, beautiful swedes crawling out of their hiding during the cold, white winter. Summers spent out in the sun, buzzing on a boat from one little island with the traditional red house with a swedish flag to another in the archipelago...and autumn, with blinding red, orange and yellow colors as far as the eye can see. 
Do i sound pathetically enthusiastic? 


Places to visit in Stockholm:


Where to eat and drink:

Cafe Saturnus
A super cosy cafe renowned in stockholm for its tear and share "kanelbullar"(cinnamon buns) and huge coffees... definately a place worth paying a visit. 


http://www.cafesaturnus.se/ 
 Papa Italiano on Riddargatan
Probably the trendiest place right now if you wanna mingle with stockholm elite and spot a celebrity. Very small and cosy venue in the heart of stureplan, tasty, rich italian food served on the biggest plates you've ever seen and smily good looking italian waiters, yes, waiters(!). Get a table at the bar, if you can!


Teatergrillen
One of the restaurants owned by a swedish group of guys that also run Riche and Sturehof. One of the hottest places in Stockholm at the moment, good scandi food but prepare to spend a few hours there as i think they might be catching the fish in malaren while you wait.
http://www.teatergrillen.se/

Where to go and what to see:
Saluhallarna
http://www.saluhallen.com/
For people that do not know swedish food, you have to visit this place. To me, a food and cookoholic, this is what a toy store is to a child. I absolutely love this place. Love it, love it. Every stall knows me by know because i spend my days there, jumping food stands like a bee jumps flowers in spring. You can find local specialties such as all kinds of herring, local fish, smoked deer and elk meat which is sooo good. Amazing breads, cakes. You can pop by and buy the best ingredients to cook a meal at home or sit down in one of the restaurants.
Its in this beautiful, old building, been around for more than a century and is well known for hosting the best suppliers. A place you can not miss out on if you visit stockholm.



Skansen

On the island of djurgarden, in the very heart of stockholm, you can find skansen, which is an open air museum and zoo, containing a wide range of scandinavian animals including the wolf, brown bear, lynx and moose. Don't underestimate the size of this place, you can easily spend half a day walking around. It will give you a great insight of the swedes love of outdoor.

Rosendals Gardens


At the far end of the islands of djurgarden is the rosendals tradgard. 

http://www.rosendalstradgard.se/section.php?id=0000000073

Where to stay:
Story Hotel and Restaurant, Bar

Best Whisky Sours in the world

A super trendy hotel in the heart of stureplan, located at the beginning of riddargatan. Stone throw away from riche and all the restaurants and shopping. 
It has a New York feel about it, hence i love it. Very cool restaurant and bar downstairs, jam packed with stockholms coolest people.


Lydmar Hotel




Located right next to the grand hotel, overlooking the water and old town, 2 min walking distance from NK, the HN of stockholm, this is the right now hottest boutique hotel in stockholm.
The hotels entrance is disguised so the hotel is not a place you walk by, it is a destination.
Cool art decorate the walls, buzzing restaurant where you are sure to bump into a celebrity,  super friendly staff, spacious rooms. 
My favorite hotel in town. 


Going out at night:

Rose Bar

Cafe Opera


Swedish Almond Cake - Toscakaka


One of my absolute favorite cakes when i was a child, simply delicious. A light, fluffy sponge with a delicious crispy almond glaze, perfect to serve with afternoon tea or coffee.

Base:
100g butter, melted
3 eggs
150g caster sugar
200g flour

Glacage:
200g flaked almonds
150g butter
125g sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp milk

1. Set the oven to 175C
2. Butter a round springform baking tin with a removable base.
3. Melt the butter and let it cool down slightly.
4. Put the eggs and the sugar in a free standing electric mixer or put it in a large bowl and use a hand mixer, whisk it all together until you have a fluffy, almost white mix.
5. Add the cooled butter and flour at the end.
6. Transfer the mix into the form and bake in the lower part of the oven for 20 min.
7. In the meantime make the almond glacage.
8. Place all the ingredients for the glacage in a saucepan on very low heat. Do not bring it to boil as it will cause it to split.


9. Take the cake out of the oven and spread the glacage on top.


10. Put back in the oven and bake for another 15-20 min until golden.
11. Let it cool in the tin and store covered so it doesn't dry out.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Grilled tuna steak with avocado salsa


I love a well cooked(pink) tuna steak with a salad. This meal takes 10 min to put together and is packed with goodness. If you want a meal thats a bit more filling serve it with a bowl of sticky rice on the side. 

Serves 2

2 tuna steaks
olive oil
salt and pepper

Marinade (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soya
1tsp honey
1/2 lime, juice

Avocado Salsa
2 avocado, roughly chopped into small chunks
1 spring onion, finely sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
handful of coriander, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juice
salt and pepper

Garniture
Coriander sprigs
Wedge of lime

1. Marinade the steaks for an hour at least. 
2. If you don't have time to marinade, which is fine, rub the steaks in olive oil and season with salt and pepper just before grilling.
3. Make the salsa by mixing all the ingredients. 
4. Heat up a riddled pan(preferably) to maximum heat. Grill the tuna steaks for about 1-2 min on each side. You want it to be pink ideally, which is about 1 min each side, but you can cook it to your liking. For well done, grill at least 3 min each side. 
5. Serve the salsa on the plate beside the tuna steak and decorate with a sprig of coriander and lemon wedge.