Monday, 20 September 2010

Mirepoix

Mirepoix


One of the most important components in french cooking is mirepoix. A classic french mirepoix is composed of a 2:1:1 ratio of onions to carrots to celery.

Sometimes carrot is substituted with leek, then its referred to as 'white' mirepoix.
Mirepoix, wither raw, roasted or sauteed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces.











Nouilles Alfredo

Nouilles Alfredo - Pasta with Parmesan Cream Sauce

One of the ultimately classic italian pasta dishes, a basic sauce that will start of your culinary journey into italian food. I choose to decorate it with a tomato concasse, as i find it aesthetically beautiful (red tomatoes, green herbs and a white sauce -italys colors), and i find that the cold tomatoes give it that crisp and fresh flavor, adds a dimension to the otherwise very simple and classic dish. 



Serves 2

200g Tagiatelle or fettucine  pasta
100ml chicken stock
5g cracked black peppercorns
100ml creme fraiche
50g unsalted butter
100g parmesan cheese, grated
fresh basil and oregano leaves, finely chopped


Garniture
Tomato concasse using 2 large tomatoes

Making tomato concasse
1. Blanch the tomatoes- Make a cross at the top of the tomato with a knife and place into boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove and place into cold water.
2. Remove the skin by pulling the skin off starting where the cross has been made.
3. Quarter the tomato and remove and discard of the seeds.
4. Cut each petal into 5 mm2 and leave aside.
tomato concasse
Pasta:
1. Boil the pasta according to instructions on packet. In the meantime start making the sauce.

Sauce alfredo
1. Place the chicken stock and peppercorns in a pan and bring to boil. Take of the heat and leave aside to infuse for 5 min,
2. Put the creme fraiche in a pan on medium heat.
3. When it starts melting add the infused chicken stock and bring to simmer. Reduce until the right consistency is reached -  you want it to cover the back of a spoon ( see picture)


4. Take the sauce of the heat and stir in the butter until it melts from the heat of the sauce. 
5. Add some of the grated parmesan cheese, season and add the chopped herbs just before serving.
6. Decorate with the tomato concasse and a sprig of oregano or basil. 



More soup basics

Consomme Celestine - Clear Beef Broth with pancakes

consomme celestine

This is a classic recipe for a clear beef broth. It is not as easy to make as it may seem as the slightest discoloration or cloudiness disqualifies it from the title... However it is worth trying as it is an old time classic. Here it is served with "pancake noodles", but anything from noodles, small pasta or dumplings can be added, or simply served clear.

1l good quality beef stock ( not cube), chilled
400g beef shin, lean minced
4 egg whites
150g mirepoix - 80g white onion, 35g carrot, 35g celery, all finely chopped approx 1cm2
pinch of salt
12g mignonette (crushed peppercorns wrapped in muslin cloth) - for infusion
Pancakes
125g flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
300ml milk
20g butter
Decoration
10g mixed herbs such as chives, parsley, tarragon
30-50g butter or oil

Start off by making the pancake mix:
1. Melt the butter and allow it to boil a little longer until it is a rich, hazelnut color. Leave aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg, salt and flour ( it will look really thick and dry)
3. Add the milk, a little at the time, continuously whisking. Add the hazelnut butter.
4. Sieve the mix and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 20 min.
5. Chop the mixed herbs and put aside as well.

Mirepoix


Making the broth:
1. Cut the mirepoix finely place in a thick bottomed pan. Add the minced beef.
2. Whisk the egg whites by hand until foamy and mix in with the beef and cut vegetables.
3. Add the chilled stock gradually.
4. Place the pan on the stove on medium temperature and warm up to simmering point. Do not allow it to boil and stir only occasionally. Once its reached simmering point, turn the heat down to minimum and leave for 20 min. Do not stir once this stage is reached.
5. The soup will start to coagulate all all impurities will rise to the surface and form a crust.
6. After 20 min make a crack in the middle of the crust and then leave for another 15 min.

cracking the crust


Now you can finish making the crepes:
6. Add the herbs to the crepe mix and heat up a pan.
7. In a seperate pan melt the butter.
8. Brush the pancake pan with a little bit of butter and pour a ladle with pancake mix into it.
7. Fry the pancake for approx 15 sec on each side, you just want to cook it, without coloring it.
8. Cut the pancakes into as large squares as you can make out of it, cut into half and then roll it up and cut into strips.
pancake strips


Finishing the broth:
7. Once its cooked for 15 min, add the mignonette and seasoning through the crack. Let infuse for 5 min then take off the heat.
8. Prepare a bowl or a new pot with a colander and a washed muslin cloth inside and use a ladle to to transfer the broth from the pan to the bowl. Never pour the broth in nor squeeze the cloth once done. This will cause the consomme to become cloudy.

9. Now bring the clear broth back to boil a skim the fat off that will rise to the surface.
10. Plate it - put the pancakes strips at in a bowl and pour consomme on top. 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Soup Basics



All soups serve 4

Puree Julienne d'Arblay (Leek and Potato soup)



125g onion, chopped
125g leek, white part only, chopped
50g butter
500g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1l chicken stock

Decorations(optional)
50g carrot, cut into julienne
50g leeks, cut into julienne
50g celery, cut into julienne
knob of butter
 or
chives, chopped
swirl of cream
chilli


1. Melt the butter in a large, deep pan and sweat the onion and leek on low heat. Add the potatoes.
2. Add the chicken stock, bring to boil and simmer 20-30 min. 
3. In the meantime cut the vegetables for the decoration into julienne. 





4. Once the vegetables are soft, put 1/2 into a blender. Sieve the second part into a new pot. 
5. Add the blended mix into the pot as well. In case its too thick, adjust with chicken stock. Season.
6. Sweat the julienne vegetables in a little butter and decorate on top.


Creme Dubarry - Cream of cauliflower soup



300g cauliflower florets, chopped
150g onion and white leek, chopped
50g butter
50g flour
600ml milk
600ml water
50ml double cream, according to consistency
salt and pepper

Decoration
50g cauliflower florets
4 slices bread, cut off the edges and cut into small cubes
100g clarified butter
salt
leek, white and green, cut julienne

1. Put oven on 100C
2. Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onion and leek on a low heat. Add cauliflower florets.
3. Add the flour and stir until it is absorbed by the vegetables. Add first the water and while stirring the milk. Bring to boil and let simmer for 20 min. 
4. Place the bread cubes on a large trey, toss in the butter and season. Put in the pre heated oven until golden-about 15-20min.
5. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil and place the florets for decoration in for a couple of min a remove and put into a bowl of cold water. Repeat process for a couple of seconds before serving to reheat the cauliflower.
6. Once the soup is ready cooked, place all in a blender and puree it to the right consistency. Sieve it through a chinois preferably into a new pan. You don't wanna have lumps in your soup. 
7. Add some cream to taste and bring to boil until you reach the desired consistency. Never leave it out of your sight and keep stirring as it may burn at the bottom otherwise. 
8. Serve in a large shallow bowl and decorate with florets, croutons and a swirl of cream or olive oil.

Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee - Classic French Onion Soup


100g red onion, sliced
400g white onion, sliced
50g butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
15g smoked bacon, blanched
50ml sherry
25g flour
1l brown veal stock(if cant find use mix of beef and chicken stock)
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper to taste

Garniture - decoration
1/4 baguette
50g butter, melted
200g gruyere cheese, grated

1.Place the bacon in a pot with water, bring to boil and take off the heat and leave in the water for about 10 min. Take out and refresh in cold water. Dry off with kitchen towel and put aside
2. Heat up oven to 200C
3. Melt butter in a large shallow pan and add the sliced onions. Sweat for 3 min and add the chopped garlic. 
4. Caramelize the onion, stirring regularly to prevent it from burning. 
5. Once golden, mix in the flour and add the stock. Add the blanched bacon and bouquet garni. Bring to boil and reduce the temperature and let simmer for 35-45 min. Skim the soup occasionally removing all the impurities.
6. In the meantime slice the baguette, put on a trey, brush with some melted butter and toast in the oven until golden- approx 5-8 min.
7. Remove the bacon and bouquet garni from the soup after 35 min and season. Add sherry to taste.
8. Fill a deep bowl 3/4 with soup, put the toasted baguette slices on top, cover with grated cheese and place in the over for 2 min until the cheese has melted.




Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup


Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke. It is a species of a sunflower native to eastern parts of USA.



2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 kg jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 l chicken stock
80 ml double cream
Salt and pepper to season

Garnish: Truffles, truffle oil, chili flakes, croutons….

1. Heat a large pan and add the olive oil and butter. 
2. Once the butter is melting, add the onions and crushed garlic clove and sweat for 3 min until onions soften a l     little. 
3. Add the chopped artichokes, parsnips and celery, stir around and add most of the chicken stock. Bring to boil, cover and leave to cook on a low heat for about 30 min.
4. Take it off the heat and put in a blender to make it a puree.  Make sure there are no pieces of vegetables left, the soup needs to be perfectly smooth. Pass it through a sieve if necessary.
5. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.

Bon appetite!

Jerusalem artichokes and truffles are just a match made in heaven. So naturally I will say the best serving option is to add a couple of shavings of the fantastic delicacy on top, but due to its short season, dearness and difficult to get hold off, a good drizzle of truffle oil does do the trick too.

If you have some left over bread at home, making your own croutons and letting the toast while the soup is cooking is a great addition as well. Simply tear bits and pieces of bread apart, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in the oven at 150C until crispy and golden!


Made in advance: cream added at the end when heated up. 



Classic thickening agents


Classic Thickening Agents




Les Roux-blanc, blond, brun (white, sandy and brown roux)
50g butter
50g flour
Melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until desire color is obtained according to the sauce.
I  White - would be required for a béchamel sauce
II Sandy – would be required for a veloute sauce
III Light Brown – would be required for an espagnole sauce


Beurre Manie-Butter and flour paste
50g butter
50g flour
Knead the butter and flour together to form a well-softened paste.
Used only in small quantities for finishing usually a vegetable or fish dish. Its in that case added in small pieces to a boiling liquid and cooked out very briefly, just until thickened.


Bechamel Sauce
50g butter
50g flour
500ml milk
1/2 onion, studded with 4 cloves
1 bouquet garni
nutmeg, grated
salt and white pepper
1.Place the milk in a pan with the studded onion and bouquet garni. Heat up and leave aside to infuse for 5-10 min. Remove the onion and b.garni.
2. Melt the butter in another pan. Take off the heat and add the flour.
3. Whisking continuously add the milk gradually. Once all the milk has been added, bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring at all times.
4. Take off the heat and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper.


Sauce a la Crème – Classic Cream Sauce
This cream sauce is a base for many pasta or seafood sauces.
500ml sauce béchamel
100ml double cream
1.Make the béchamel, according to instructions above.
2.Add cream off the heat and bring to boil.




Sauce Persille – Parsley Sauce
This sauce is very often used with white fish such as cod.
500ml béchamel
30g parsley, finely chopped
1.Make the béchamel, according to instructions above.
2.Add the chopped parsley before serving.

Basic Dressings and Vinaigrettes

Basic Dressings and Vinaigrettes

Vinaigrette
50ml white wine vinegar
150ml olive oil
salt and pepper
  1. Put vinegar in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper, whisk.
  2. Continue whisking and slowly incorporate the olive oil.
French Vinaigrette
20g Dijon mustard
50ml white wine vinegar
150ml olive oil
salt and pepper
  1. Place the mustard, vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl-whisk together.
  2. Slowly incorporate the olive oil whilst continuing to whisk.
This is the base for any dressing. I always follow the 1/3 acid to 2/3 olive oil ratio. Regardless of further inclusion of ingredients or quantity, the acid/oil ratio remains the same.

Some ideas to use instead of white wine vinegar
Other kinds of vinegars
Red wine vinegar
Sherry vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Flavored vinegars (raspberry, passionfruit, fig, cherry - available in stores)
Acid fruit juices
Lemon juice
Lime juice (often used in oriental cooking)
Orange or tangerine juice (often used with duck dishes or Christmas cooking)

Balsamic glaze
20g Dijon mustard
15g honey
½ clove of garlic, finely grated
50ml balsamic vinegar
150ml olive oil
salt and pepper
  1. Place mustard, honey, garlic and seasoning in a bowl and whisk together.
  2. Add vinegar and mix well.
  3. Slowly incorporate the oil whils

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Beauty comes from the inside...

On average 70% men and women in the UK believe their own diet to be "quite healthy" while only 10% believe it to be "not very healthy or very unhealthy". With these statistics in mind one would think that the nation as a whole is quite healthy, right? Who would have thought that nations average BMI (kg/m2), the indicator used by the government to identify overweight and obesity, would be 26.5 which lies in the overweight bracket? 66% of the UK population is overweight or obese! 
Every start of the new year, all magazines, whether for men or women, are filling pages with the newest diets, diet book sales soar, everyone wants to start off the year by losing the few pounds they claim to have gained by consuming far too much gravy on the turkey and plucking to many chocolate decorations of the christmas trees. 
What i wanna find out, whether there is in fact a sustainable diet, which will fit in with my hectic lifestyle, travel schedule, nurture my love for traditions and passion for cooking, make me feel good on the inside as well as the outside and allow me that treat that i cant possibly live without. 
No matter how much make up one applies, how many niptucks we have, real beauty comes from the inside, from what we feed our body and soul....


Monday, 13 September 2010

Just Jussi

About Just Jussi


People find escapism in many forms. Some people practice yoga, some find it at work or just relaxing in front of the TV, I find it in cooking. When I am in the kitchen I think flavors and aromas… nothing else. My mind is filled with creativity and passion and it seems no troubles in the world exist except for making sure the soufflé does not collapse!
My whole life I have always searched for new challenges and aimed to widen my horizons. I was born in Sweden and moved to Poland at the age of thirteen to focus on a career as a tennis player. Soon a realized I wanted more and relocated to England to complete my education.
I have always been a rational, determined and ambitious person. I now have a degree in Mathematics and Economics and I have always had a particular interest in science. After I graduated in 2004 I worked with a fashion designer. I applied my business knowledge to succeed as well as having an opportunity to express my artistic side.
Having done what I had considered the appropriate stages in my life-education and work, I realized none of it made me jump out of bed in the morning. So I decided I want to achieve something in a field that is a true passion of mine. Cooking.
Ever since I was a young child I had a passion for food and the art of cooking.
Every opportunity I had I travelled to all corners of the world to experience different cultures and was always fascinated by the wide range of cuisines the world has to offer.
Cooking was one of the few constants following me regardless of occupation or geography. I have found the ultimate combination of all my skills and passions in the kitchen. The process of selecting the ingredients and creating the perfect balance is a science and the final presentation on the plate is an artistic masterpiece.
Making sure the chocolate fondant is runny inside and baked on the outside, the crème patisserie has the perfect consistency, my hollandaise has the ultimate balance between richness of the butter and tang of the acid, and watching the dough rise in the oven has brought me excitement and happiness throughout all my stages in life. 

SO I am going to treat this blog as my diary of recipes and food experiences. A journey I believe you, as the fellow food lover might enjoy to embark upon.