Monday, 30 May 2011

Limoncello Gelato with Brandy Snap Crumble

As soon as I saw the recipe for Gelato in Olive I had to have a go, I love the taste of lemon ice cream and I wasn’t disappointed. It is, without reservation, unashamedly lemony and that, for me, makes it well worth doing

The dish as a whole came out of dessert gone wrong. Once I’d made the Gelato I wanted to create some Brandy snap baskets and then sit a generous ball of Gelato inside each basket. Unfortunately the Brandy Snaps went wrong and were too hard but tasted great.

I didn’t want to waste them so I hit on the idea of putting them in the food processor and reducing them to crumbs.

Limoncello Gelato (From Olive Magazine)
3 Lemons, Zested and Juiced
190g Icing Sugar
450ml Double Cream
3 Tbsp Ice Cold Limoncello

115g/4oz butter
115g/4oz caster sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp brandy
115g/4oz plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger

For the Gelato
Finely grate the zest of the lemons into a bowl, then add their juice the stir in the icing sugar and leave for 30 mins. Whip the cream and the ice-cold Limoncello  until softly whipped, then whisk in the lemon mixture. Turn into a tub and put in the freezer. Freeze over night

For the Brand Snaps
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
For the brandy snaps, melt the butter, sugar, syrup and brandy in a saucepan.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour and ginger. Set aside to cool.
Drop teaspoon sizes of the mixture onto the baking tray and space wide apart. Bake in the oven for 5–7 minutes.

At This point I shaped the discs, whilst still warm, over Dario moulds and although I achieved the basket shaped they were too hard.
To make the crumble put the cooked brandy snaps, once cold, into a food processor and pulse until you get a crumb like effect.

Line a Ramekin Dish with cling film, spoon the gelato into the Ramekin pressing down as you go until there’s 7-10 ml of space left at the top. Now top with the crumb mixture and press until firm. Put the Ramekin upside down on a plate, hold the Clingfilm down and gently lift the Ramekin. Finally delicately remove the cling film and add what decoration you feel good with.  

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Spicy Prawn and Chorizo Potatoes

I have seen this somewhere before, I cant remember where though and therefore I've sort of made this up with some inspiration.

This dish suits any night of the week, the chorizo gives a wonderful level of flavour, the potatoes give it some body and the egg, if runny delights you with  a gorgeous richness to it

4 Medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, about 1 Inch
1 Packet of supermarket cooked prawns
1 good length of Chorizo, sliced
1 Red onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove finely chopped
100 ml of white wine
1 egg per person
1 Chilli de-seeded and sliced
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 Handful of fresh parsley chopped

Heat the oven to 200 Degrees
Bring a pan of water to the boil, salt it and add the potato cubes, cook for 5 mins, drain, season and drizzle with Olive oil add the Cayenne and gently toss. Leave to rest for 10 mins, Tip into a roasting tin and place in the oven for 30 mins or until crispy and golden.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic until soft
Put a separate pan of water onto boil for the poached egg

Add the chorizo, turn up the heat , stir until the chorizo starts to release its oil, lower the heat add the chilli and cook simmer gently for 10 mins.

Add the prawns, cook for 2-3 mins, add the wine turn up the heat and cook until wine has evaporated. Then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked. You may have to turn the heat off whilst the potatoes are cooking.

Add the cooked potatoes to the pan and stir gently so that the potatoes are coated in the sauce

Put the eggs onto poach and cook for 3 mins
Stir the parsely through the prawn, potatoes etc ...
Pile up into a large dish and place the poached egg on top
Drizzle over any remaining oil from the pan

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Triple Chocolate Neapolitan

This made all the woman in my house go a bit weird and make nom nom hmmm noises. The rate with which this disappeared suggests that it's actually quite good.

As I'm no pudding expert I used this recipe straight from Olive Magazine and is now available on BBC Good Food 

There are some things to be wary of if you're going to attempt this
  • You'll need a mixer, not essential but its knackering if you haven't
  • Don't over whip your cream otherwise it wont mix properly with the egg whites and the Ice Cream will have a weird texture
  • The Recipe suggests you fold the melted chocolate into the creamy egg mix, I tried this but it made the chocolate harden so and left bits in it. So instead I very very gently used a whisk to combine the two.
  • Oh and make sure you get first go otherwise you might not get any, especially if there are women about.

Other than the method changes above I haven't really tried anything else yet accept adding some Vanilla Tuiles which went quite well

Oh and a learning opportunity for me here, the method for mixing the egg whites with the sugar is like making an Italian Meringue apparently and not something I'd done before

Serves about 8 
or 2 Choc crazed females

flavourless oil such as groundnut oil or vegetable oil, for the tin
175g golden caster sugar
2 egg whites
600ml pot double cream
100g white chocolate
100g milk chocolate
100g 70% dark chocolate

Lightly oil then line a 900g loaf tin (I used a plastic Sandwich Box) with a double layer of clingfilm, leaving overhanging edges. Put the caster sugar in a pan with 4 tbsp water and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved, then boil for 2 minutes.
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks in a large bowl. When the syrup has boiled for 2 minutes, carefully pour it into the egg whites a little at a time, with the beaters still running. Whisk until it has all been mixed in. Beat for 2 minutes to cool. Softly whip the cream in another bowl. Fold the cream into the egg whites, then divide the mix into three.
Melt each type of chocolate separately and leave until cooled but still liquid. Mix each into a different bowl of the base mix so you have dark, milk and white chocolate mixes.
Tip the dark mix into the lined tin,level it, then freeze for 45 minutes until just firm. Keep the other mixes chilled in the fridge until you need them.
Spoon the milk chocolate mix over the dark chocolate, then level and freeze for another 45 minutes or until just firm.
Finish with the white chocolate layer and cover with clingfilm.

Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. Give it 20 minutes out of the freezer to soften a little before turning out to slice.

Take how much you want, issue the ladies with spoons and stand well back

Monday, 16 May 2011

Mozzarella Suprise Burgers

Burger recipes are like Flat Screen TV’s, Annoying Neighbours and Opinions on the NHS reforms …. Every buggers got one.

I’ve developed mine over time with the most recent addition being a little piece of mozzarella in the middle that melts into a delightfully stringy mess that kids love.

You could, I suppose, try other cheeses so long as they melt into something sufficiently oozy to keep your diners happy

The rest of the ingredients are my personal preferences but the guidelines are there for you to follow and get all inspirational and stuff

400g Quality Beef Mince
1 Red Onion Finely Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic Finely chopped
2 Handfulls of Breadcrumbs
1 Teaspoon of Capers chopped
1 Chlli Chopped
10 basil leaves chopped
1 Handful of freshly grated Parmesan
1 Beaten Egg
1 Teaspoon of Sun Dried Tomato Paste
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

So, couldn’t be simpler really place all the dry ingredients in the bowl, mix the wet ones together. Then mix the dry and the wet using a big wooden spoon and season well.

When sufficiently combined, place to one side and tear of nice chunky of mozzarella about the size of a walnut.

Now you’re ready for shaping your burgers.
Grab a chunk of the burger mix, its difficult to explain so grab a piece, roll it into a ball and then flatten into burger shape. Too Big take some out, too small … well you get the idea.

Ok so now you have your perfect size and still at the rolling into a ball stage.
Make a big Hole in the middle , push one of your mozzarella pieces into and then close the burger mix around it.
Flatten out into burger shape and place on a plate.
Repeat for all burgers and place in the fridge for 30 mins

Heat your cooking method of choice be it BBQ. Griddle or Frying pan and cook for around 10 mins flipping occasionally  but carefully as homemade burgers lose their shape quite easily

To test , stick a knife into the middle, pull out and touch against your lip .. if its ow that’s hot then its done, if not keep cooking

Serve how you like your burgers to be served

Friday, 6 May 2011

Seared Beef Carpaccio With Rosemary Flowers

Whaaaaat! Flowers!!!

Yeah really, flowers, honest guv.

I’ve seen many a TV chef type try to convince us that flowers are edible. Whoaaa steady on there.
I’ve just accepted that cheese and Jam are an acceptable flavour combination and now you expect me to believe I can happily chomp my way through the colourful section of the Garden Centre.

Erm, as it turns out, to some extent, they’re right.

The Rosemary in my back yard recently started sprouting flowers, so, tentatively; I plucked one of the purple blooms and had a little Chew. Wow, a delicate sort of flavour explosion thing was cavorting around inside my mouth. So confirm this was a new (to me) taste sensation I gave some to Lisa who quickly confirmed that they were indeed flavoursome and that I hadn’t been enjoying too much of the big orange thing in the Sky

Many ideas sprang mind around how to get the best out of the flowers and two things were paramount: What would be complemented by a rosemary hit and what would do justice to the delicate beauty of the flowers.?

Taste wise I think I achieved this, visually, did I do them Justice?

Serves 4 as a starter

1 Small, quality beef fillet steak
2 Radishes very thinly sliced
Handful of rocket and/or leaves of your choice
1 Tomato de-seeded and cut into fine cubes
8 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard
Baguette cut into 2cm thick slices, 3 per serving
Small amount of groundnut oil
Small amount of Rosemary flowers

On a clean chopping board lay down a good amount of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roll your steak in the salt and pepper so that you get a nice even coating all over the steak

Heat a frying pan until it is very hot, add the groundnut oil and very quickly sear all sides of the steak. It’s best to use a pair of tongs if you have one. Put the steak to one side to rest

In a bowl mix the mayonnaise, oil and mustard, whisk together then slowly whisk in Lemon juice and seasoning to taste.
Once the Steak has rested cut into slices as thin as you can get whilst keeping the pieces whole.

Take two sheets of Clingfilm and place one steak slice in-between the Clingfilm sheets.
Using a heavy object (rolling pin or meat mallet thing) batter the meat until it is wafer thin, repeat this process for all your slices.

In the same pan fry/toast your slices of bread until they take on a golden colour

Now your ready to assemble the dish how you want.

I started with the bread base, added the meat , then the leaves , the flowers and finished with a drizzle of the mustard mayo

Lisa did hers slightly differently

So, the taste then, what about that?
I think I matched the deep flavour of the beef , the peppery-ness of the rocket and acidic creaminess of the sauce very well with the fragrant rosemary bursts. 

You know what?
I think this eating flowers lark will grow on me ….. Ha Ha Ha Ha …. Erm I’ll get my coat

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Chilli Chicken with Basil

It seems an absolute age since I last blogged. I think that's more to do with all the brilliant weather we've been having than anything else really. It's just been too nice to sit tapping away at a laptop when I don't have to

Lisa is getting to grips with her camera, hence the additional photos

So time to start getting some new stuff down and I though I'd share with you an old favourite of mine

This is a tried and tested recipe that never fails to disappoint I usually use beef but, as in this case, chicken works just as well.

A word of warning this is spicy and if you use the right chillies it can be tear your face off hot.

It has everything you'd want from a Thai dish, sweet, savoury, sour and heat.

I occasionally use Holy Basil but this is hard to come by so normally I use standard Basil

Serves 4
6 Tbsp Groundnut Oil
16-20 fresh Basil Leaves
3 Chicken Breasts
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tspn Soft Brown Sugar
2 Red Chillis sliced into rings
3 Garlic Cloves chopped
2 tsp Ginger Chopped
1 Shallot Thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
Juice of half a lemon

Steamed Rice to serve

Heat the oil in a wok and when hot, add the whole basile leaves and fry until they crisp up.

Slice the Chicken into thin strips, place in a bowl, add the fish sauce and the sugar mix well and leave to marinate for 30 mins

This wont take long and be WARNED they spit like crazy when you fry them

Lift them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and put them on kitchen paper to dry

Drain all but a tbsp of the oil and reheat. Add the Shallot , Garlic, Ginger and Chilli for around 10- 20 seconds. This will give off a very pungent aroma that can make your eyes water and make you cough. It's supposed to do this

Add the chicken and fry for around 3 mins, stirring continuously 

Flavour with the lemon juice and black pepper to your taste. Stir in the chopped basil and serve with the rice, topped off with the fried basil