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.