Blinis & Caviar


Yum! Blinis & Caviar

Yum! Blinis & Caviar

Serves 4

Hey guys, been a long time. So I am kicking off this new series in style. It looks like the summer is about to leave us so, what more than a small treat to wave goodbye (maybe see you soon) to the London summer.

Orange White and green

Orange, White and Green. Delightful

I wasn’t looking for it when I purchase it in Waitrose. It was affordable and I was looking for a treat. So, here it is. Simple, Moorish, VERY VERY rich Blinis & Caviar for 4 under £10 from Waitrose.

Ingredients:

  • 16 blinis
  • 50g Elsinore Salmon Caviar
  • 100g French Crème fraiche
  • 2 onion leaves (grown on my balcony) you can use spring onions from the shop

Method:

Simple: Open the packets and copy the photo. Layer as follows using a teaspoon:

Only 50g just the right amount

Only 50g just the right amount

Generously spread crème fraiche on the blinis, then add ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of caviar on top. Sprinkle spring onion on it to break up the fishiness. Enjoy in 2 to 4 very slow mouthfuls.

Please note this caviar is very salty, so, be more generous with the cream as it counters the saltiness often the caviar.

Just layer, no fuss

Just layers, no fuss

Do not eat more that 4 or you will be sick. This is a very rich treat. Drink something fizzy or acidic with it.

Seat down. Enjoy!

See you next week. x

Baked Cod loin with Cavolo Nero


Baked cod & Vine

Baked cod & Vine

Serves 3

  • 600g fresh Cod loin from the counter
  • 6 vine tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 banana shallot
  • 1 orange sweet pepper

    Ingredients for the dish

    Ingredients for the dish

  • 150g rice (Basmati & wild rice)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 100ml white wine
  • 6 leaves of cavolo nero – Black cabbage leaves
  • 25g butter
  • 10 mix colours olives (antipasti)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Ground black pepper
  • Mustard oil

Method:

Marinated and ready to bake

Marinated and ready to bake

Rinse the cod and place in the large oven dish. Slice the fish in as many pieces as required (here 3). Crush the stock cube and sprinkle it on the fish, also crush the garlic over the fish. Add black pepper and a drizzle of mustard oil and massage the fish making sure that the garlic and stock cube cover the fish in every sides including between slices… Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven.

In the meantime, cut the orange pepper in wedges, cut one half of the shallot in about the same size. After marinating the fish for 30 minutes, bring the oven dish out and scatter on the fish, the pepper and shallot wedges. Also add the vine tomato. Sprinkle salt on everything and another glug on oil then place in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°C. Do not forget to base every 5 minutes it as it will dry out.

Once the fish is in the oven, put the rice to cook following the instructions on the package. Add a pinch of salt and 1 spoon of mustard oil.

Steamed Cavolo Nero

Steamed Cavolo Nero

The cabbage.

Black cabbage and olives

Black cabbage and olives

Time to prepare the Side dish of cavolo nero. Rinse and remove the spine of the cabbage leaves then cut in 2-3 each leave. Place the cut cavolo in a heat proof bowl then add the antipasti olives with a drizzle of oil from the olives jar. No need to add salt as antipasti’s olives are already vinegary-sharp. Mix well and set aside. This bowl will need to go in the microwave for just 5 minutes just before serving.

The mustard sauce.

By the time you start on the mustard sauce, the fish should be resting.

I did not get tipsy during the cooking... lol

I did not get tipsy during the cooking… lol

So, collect the juices from the now resting fish and pour it in the sauce pan with the quartered leftover shallot. Add a tablespoon of butter about 25g. Also add 100ml of white wine (I used a French white chardonnay) and black pepper. Leave the mix to simmer and the wine to evaporate a bit. This should take 3 minutes. Watch out for the foaming. When the wine stops foaming. Add the mustard and stir continuously for 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and switch off the heat.

The combo white wine and mustard can be a bit acidic, which can be very good for fish. But if you don’t have white wine, use lemon juice instead.

 

Serve as suggested with a steamed Basmati & Wild rice and a side of warm Cavolo Nero with mix olives.

Enjoy!

Serving suggestion - the sink just has a good light... lol

Serving suggestion – the sink just has a good light… lol

 

Apple Tart & Chocolate sauce


DSC00187 12

Serves up to 8

Ingredients for the tart:

  • 500g dessert pastry block
  • 12 apples
  • 50g sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 20g butter (for the oven dish)
  • 25cm tart dish

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:

  • 100g 50% dark chocolate
  • 25g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml water

Method:

Preheat the oven at 180°C.

  • Peel & core the 12 apples and place them in a bowl full of water and a half lemon to prevent the apple from
    Cooked apples

    Cooked apples

    darkening.

  • Cut 7 of those apples into small pieces and place in a small pan with 500ml of water and 50g sugar. Cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Once the apples are cooked pour into a sieve to remove the excess water. Using a hand blender, blitz to obtain a very smooth paste… That paste is called compote.

Set the compote aside.

  • Remove the pastry block from the package, place it on a flat surface (or kitchen worktop) dusted with flour. Then, using a rolling pin or a wine bottle, press down the pastry evenly, but not too thinly. What you are looking for is the pastry wide and thick enough to fit in to the cake dish.

    Compote, Orange zest and apple slices

    Compote, Orange zest and apple slices

  • Once that is done, gently flip the pastry on the rolling pin, then transfer it on the baking dish. Now, using your hands flatten the dish on the base of the dish, then prick it with a fork to allow steam to escape from the base while the cake is baking. Trim and remove the excess pastry*.
  • Now pour the compote over the cake base, then thinly slice 5 apples and align the slices as shown on the photo.
  • Once the whole surface of the cake is covered, place the tart in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 180C.
Cooked tart

Cooked tart

In the meantime prepare the chocolate sauce.

  • Melt 25g of sugar in 50 ml water. Set aside.
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof dish.
  • Bring water to boil in a sauce pan, then place over it, the dish containing the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until the chocolate is fully melted. Now add the butter and continue to gently stir until the butter disappears.
  • Take the mix away from heat, then add in the sugar & water mix. Stir quick to make a smooth sauce.

Following these proportions the sauce should be liquid enough not to set even when it cools down.

Chocolate sauce

Chocolate sauce

Once the tart is ready, allow 30 minutes to cool down before serving. The  little hearts on the photos are made from the extra pastry trimmed further up. Using my rolling pin again, I rerolled the pastry and cut it in hearts and lips shapes.

The shapes were baked for 10-15minutes, cooled down, and then dipped into the chocolate sauce just after I melted the butter in it.

 

Plate and serve as above.

Enjoy.

Smoked oysters salad


Lettuce gem, oysters, tomato

Lettuce gem, oysters, tomato

Oyster salad for 4.

Ingredients:

  • Smoked oysters – 1 tin
  • 2 Garlic & Herbs Naan breads
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Lime, Salt (both optional)
  • Garlic & Herbs Naan bread x2

Method:

  • Remove the Naans form the package and place in the oven to heat up. Follow the instructions on the package.

    Smoked oysters

    Smoked oysters

  • Rinse and quarter the tomatoes.
  • Separate the lettuce gems and wash the leaves one by one as they can be very very sandy. Roughly cut the bigger leaves by hand in 2 or 3. Place them in a colander to release the extra water.
  • Open the smoked oysters.
  • Now that all is ready, in a big bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato and oysters (without the liquid from the tin).
  • The oysters are slightly salty, but you might have to add a very little pinch of salt and pepper to it. Drizzle the oil from the smoked oysters on the salad and also the juice of a half lemon. The lemon is optional. The salad doesn’t really need it.
  • Plate and serve.
Serving suggestion with warmed up Naan bread

Serving suggestion with warmed up Naan bread

Another way to make the oyster starter can be found on a post published previously here.

Enjoy

Toasted Madeira & whipped Cream sandwich soaked in a Jack Daniels & fruits syrup


Syrup absorbed...

Syrup absorbed…

Toasted Madeira & whipped Cream sandwich soaked in a Jack Daniels & fruits syrup

For 4 people.

 Ingredients:

  • 200g readymade Madeira cake

    The necessary

    The necessary

  • 12 fresh cherries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 150g tinned pineapple
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 200g sugar
  • 50ml 40% Whisky (or even rum. Both are optional)

 

Method:

The citruces

The citruses

Start by making and cooling the syrup.

De-stone and chop 6 cherries, set aside. Cut the orange in 4 then in very thin slices. Cut the lime and set aside. Open the pineapple tin and drain. Set aside.

Chopped cherries

Chopped cherries

In a small deep pan, combine the citrus fruits, pineapple and chopped cherries. Add the sugar and 500ml water and 50ml Jack Daniels whisky. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes… what we are looking for is for the skins of the citruses to be very soft and edible. Once they are soft enough, the liquid in the pan should have diminished.

After 20 minutes open the pan and leave to simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. The consistency of the liquid should be almost the same as oil, but light enough to be absorbed by a pastry or even bread.

Once the right consistency is obtained, transfer the content of the pan in a bowl to cool down for at least 1 hour, then place in the fridge to make it really cold.

The cooked fruits in Jack D syrup

The cooked fruits in Jack D syrup

Meanwhile, pour the cream in a bowl and whisk continually for about 2 minutes until it forms firm picks, then, spoon into a piping bag then place in the fridge in the piping bag.

Now, cut the Madeira cake into 8 slices of 9cm long and a width of 4.5cm. Each person will have 2 slices.

Once all the slices are cut place them in the toaster for a minute and a half to harden them. The reason for this is so that the Madeira will have a much more resistant consistency and will

Madeira slices

Madeira slices

not crumble away once the syrup hits it. The toasting also add another taste to the dessert.DSC03037

Once all the slices have been toasted, place them on a baking rack not only to cool them, but also to stiffen at room temperature.

Now that all the elements of the desserts are ready, set them aside and only mount them just before serving the first course of the dinner.

Mounting the dessert, lie 4 slices of Madeira on a flat surface, pipe on each, 3 large squirts of the cream. Now carefully place the second slice of Madeira on each of the slices and pipe another 3 squirts of the cream on the top layer. On the middle cream squirt, carefully place the best of the leftover cherries. And place them on the serving plate and back in the fridge.DSC03039DSC03040

Bring the plated dessert out about 5 minutes before dessert time. Carefully and artfully display the sliced of the fruits from the syrup around the dessert then, pour at least 2 tablespoons of the Jack Daniel Syrup over the cake and leave the cake to absorb the syrup before tucking in and degustating every single mouthful.

Bon appétit!

Serving suggestion

Serving suggestion

Fusilli & Meatballs


Fusilli & Meatballs

Fusilli & Meatballs

Lunch for 4

Ingredients for the mincemeat:

Preparing the meatballs

Preparing the meatballs

  • 500g mince beef
  • ½ medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Curly parsley

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce:

  • 10 tomatoes
  • ½ medium onion
  • Ketchup

For the pasta:

Fusilli

Fusilli

  • 500gr Fusilli pasta
  • Curly parsley

Method:

Start by the meatball: Remove all packaging from the meat and place in a bowl.

Finely chop half of a medium onion, garlic, a handful of curly parsley and add to the mince. Also season with salt & pepper, then combine well using your hand.

Ready meatballs

Ready meatballs

Now form the meatballs as big or small as you’d like. And place them in the saucepan you will be using for the tomato sauce. You would have noted that there is no eggs or bread crumbs added here as they are not really necessary. Meat has a natural binder.

Now place the pan on a medium heat making sure to very gently turn each meat ball from side to as the meat browns. Allow 1-2 minutes per side. Once this is done, remove the meat from the pan leaving the pan on the heat.

As the meat cooks, it will release fat and we are going to use that fat to make the tomato sauce.

For the sauce, chop the remaining half onion and fry it in the meat fat for 2 minutes on high heat.

Now add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cover for 10 minutes.

for the sauce

for the sauce

After the 10 minutes, stir the content of the pan, then add the meatballs and ketchup.

Stir and add 200ml water or stock if you wish.

Adjust the seasoning, stir and leave to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Now time to cook the pasta.

Follow the instruction on the package.

Boil the water with a table spoon of oil and salt. Just before serving, chop the remaining Parsley, add the pasta and toss.

Plate and serve.

Enjoy.

 

 

Mexican Green plantain & black beans stew


Plantain, chicken, beans, corn

Plantain, chicken, beans, corn

Green plantain & black beans stew.  Mains for 6.

Ingredients for the Marinade:

Marinated chicken

Marinated chicken

  • 50g diced onions
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil or any vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • Salt

Rinse the chicken, make few deep scoring on the chicken pieces. Pour the marinade over the chicken, mix well and leave in the fridge overnight.

The stew ingredients:

  • 1kg marinated chicken

    Stew ingredients

    Stew ingredients

  • 3 green plantains
  • 2 big carrots
  • 200g black beans – soaked for 24hrs & Cooked for an hour if using dry beans
  • 2 corncobs – shave off the kernels as on the picture
  • 100g chopped tinned tomato
  • 1 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 big garlic cloves

    Shaving the corn kernels

    Shaving the corn kernels

  • Halves of 1 green, orange and yellow sweet peppers
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • Corn oil

Prep: Don’t forget to soak the bean the day before and boil them for an hour before using in the stew.

Also marinate the chicken for few hours before using it.

Peel the plantain

Peel the plantain

Remove the skin of the plantain and cut as in the picture, cut in 2cm thick and slanted. Do the same for the carrots. Set aside.

Rinse the black beans now boiled. Rinse the corn kernel, set both aside.

Cut the red onion in big chunks or wedges, cut the sweet pepper in about the same size. Peel and crush the garlic, set aside.

Method: Use a big pot with a lid. Heat 4 tablespoons of corn oil (or any vegetable oil) fry the chicken pieces to seal in the flavours and obtain a brown crispy skin. 2 to 3 minutes on each side should do. Once all the pieces have been fried. Set aside and cover.

Browned chicken

Browned chicken

In the same pan, add the onion and brown. Then, add the plantain, carrots, beans, corn and half of the stock. Also add the chilli, ground cumin, ground coriander, crushed garlic and salt. Stir and cover to simmer for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to keep an eye on it so the liquid won’t dry out.

After 30 minutes, add the sweet peppers, tomato, the fried chicken pieces the rest of the stock and adjust the seasoning. Stir.

Add another 200ml of water if necessary as the contents of the pan should almost (not completely) covered with liquid to keep everything moist. Cover the pan and leave it to simmer for another 30 minutes…

From the time the plantain is added, the total cooking time should be 1hour and by adding the chicken half way, it means that the chicken won’t fall off the bones but will be very well cooked and as soft as the plantain.

That is it! Enjoy!

See you next week.

x

 

Nutter Scallops salad – Luxury!


Scrunk scallops, but SWEEEET!

Shrunk scallops, but SWEEEET!

Ideal for a light dinner or brunch for 2

Ingredients:

  • 150g beansproutsFoodnutter scallops salad
  • 100g beetroots
  • 60g macadamia – crushed
  • 20g red onion cut in wedges
  • 150 Peruvian scallops (Waitrose)
  • 60g watercress
  • 1 sprig of thyme

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 2 spoons malt vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt + pepper
  • 1 garlic clove

Method:

Remove the beansprouts from the package and put them in a heatproof bowl. Using the kettle, boil some water (about 500ml) and pour over them for literally 2 minutes. Drain with a sieve and rinse immediately with cold water. Set aside.

Clean and cut the beetroots and onion in wedges, set aside. Remove and rinse the watercress leaves.

Wash the scallops, dust with salt & pepper and also thyme.

caramelised scallops and onion

caramelised scallops and onion

caramelised scallops and onion

Mix the vinaigrette by adding all the elements in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously taste and adjust seasoning.

In a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown the scallops and the onions for 4 minutes, 2 minutes on each side. The scallops are supposed to be cooked only 1 minute on each side, but by leaving them in longer, they release a caramel like sweet substance. “The caramel” will also add to the sweetness of the red onion wedges while it browns. The result will be a sweet salad with warm scallops and onions without added sugar.

Assembling the salad

Assembling the salad

Now in a big bowl, combine the beansprouts, watercress, macadamia, onion and scallops. Toss and plate up then, drizzle the vinaigrette just before serving. This is such a sweet crunchy and slightly peppery from the still almost raw red onion… this salad is a festival in the mouth with 3 different types of crunchiness (onion, watercress and sprouts, then the frank crunch from the macadamia!) and 3 types of sweetness (scallops sweetness, beetroots and ketchup). I certainly enjoyed it! Can you tell I love my greens?

Enjoy this with a glass or 2 of wine followed by dessert.

See you next time!

Sweet scallops salad - Served

Sweet scallops salad – Served

Marrow & potatoes layer with beet & sweet corn stir


Fresh Corn, Beetroots

Fresh Corn, Beetroots

Remember this dish I made with the marrow? I did promised a vegan option and ha forgotten to post it. Here it is.

Serves 3

Ingredients for the layer:

  • 600g Marrow

    Ingredients for the dish

    Can you see the Tofu slices?

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 3 medium firm tomatoes
  • 100g Tofu sliced and deep-fried to give it texture
  • 1 small red onion (optional)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 30g butter (dairy free)
  • 100ml Alpro single cream
  • 50g Flour
  • 1 Maggi stock cubes
  • White pepper
  • Salt

Preparations:

How to layer the elements of the dish

How to layer the elements of the dish

1 – Peel the marrow and keep the skin strips for decoration. Now slice the peeled marrow in 1cm width and set aside. Peel the potatoes and cut in slices about the size as the marrow. set aside. Now do the same thing for the tomato and red onion. Make sure that your Tofu is deep-fried as it will give texture to your dish. Set aside.

2 – for the batter: The batter will help to hold everything together. Melt about 25g of the butter and crush the whole stock cube in it to dissolve. Add the cream to the mix then, the flour and the finely chopped garlic. Mix well, add salt and white pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

Layering completed

Layering completed

Method:

Butter a regular size loaf tin, place 1 layer of potatoes, then a layer of marrow, then onion, then tomatoes, then tofu.  Dust with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Then repeat the process. If you can, make sure that a layer of potato is at the top of the dish simply because you will use it as indicator to judge if the dish it cooked. Potato is the hardest of all the vegetables used here.

The dark green strips you see on this photo are strips of peels from the marrow that I am using to decorate my dish. The strips were placed on the bottom of the baking tin, then folded over the dish and held with tooth pick just before placing it in the oven.

Ready to serve

Ready to serve

Once the layers are done. Stir the batter previously prepared and pour it, not on top, but on the sides of the layers.

Now place your dish in the oven for 1h20 minutes.

Now time to prepare the accompaniment.

Beet & corn stir

For this, you will need:

  • 1 big fresh sweet corn cob
  • 1 precooked beetroot or a fresh one if you can find it

    Corn kernels

    Corn kernels

  • 1 yellow sweet pepper
  • 1 very small red onion
  • 50g roughly crush walnut
  • 2 twigs of thyme
  • Fresh parsley
  • 25g Butter (dairy free)
  • Black pepper & salt obviously

Start by shelling the corn kernels from the cob or simply go through the cob with the knife like I did on the picture above.

Chop separately all the elements of your dish then set aside.

Ingredients for the stir fry

Ingredients for the stir fry

Now, in a frying pan, melt the butter and fry the chopped onions and thyme until brown. Now, add the sweet corn and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the sweet pepper in the mix, stir for 2 minutes, add the beetroot and the fresh parsley, stir well for 1 minute and add the crushed walnut. Season with salt and pepper, Mix, cover and remove from the stove and cover so the steam will finish softening the vegetables. It is ready.

Time to check on your layers in the oven. The hardest ingredient in the dish is the potato. If you put a knife through the dish and it goes through smoothly, and comes up just slightly moist, then your dish is ready. if not, add cooking time to your oven.

Please note: not all oven perform with the same power.

Bursting with colours and flavours

Bursting with colours and flavours

Leave your dish to cool for few minutes then, serve.

Don’t forget to post a comment!

Voila! Bon appétit.

Strawberry tart


Glorious Strawberry tart

Glorious Strawberry tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-rolled pastry
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g ground almond
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 200g caster
  • 600g strawberries
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod – Split and scraped
  • Jelly

Method:DSC05932

Preheat the oven at 180C. Wash and cut the strawberries. Put them in a colander to drain. Place in the fridge.

For the pastry case: Butter a 24cm tart dish and unroll the pastry unto it making sure there is no air pocket left at

Cooked pastry case

Cooked pastry case

the bottom of the dish. Remove the extra on the edges and prick (lots of picks) the bottom of the dish before bake to avoid it bubbling up. If you’ve got baking beans for blind baking, use them. Place the pastry in the oven for up to 30 minutes at 180C depending on how golden you want it.

Once this is ready, remove from oven and allow 30 minutes to 1 hours to cool down completely.

For the filling – Crème Patissiere: Split the milk and put 400ml in a deep pan with the split vanilla pod and seeds. Set aside.

Transferring the cream

Transferring the cream

In a bowl, combine 100ml milk, all the egg yolks, and the sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ground almond and sieve in the flour. Mix well and set aside.

Place the pan with milk on heat and let the milk simmer until it starts bubbling up. Turn down the heat, remove the vanilla pod and slowly add the content of the bowl containing the mix with eggs, sugar, and almond while continuously whisking the mix. Once the bowl is empty, remove the pan from the hob and continuously whisk until the mixture becomes silky and homogenous with the consistency of a natural yogurt.

Now transfer the contents of the pan into a clean bowl and leave it to cool down.DSC05945 DSC05946

Glorious Strawberry tart

Glorious Strawberry tart

Once both the pastry case and crème patissiere are cold, fill the case with the cream and assemble the strawberries as you wish.

Once that is done, gently brush the strawberries with melted jelly to keep it shinny. And plce in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1hour to allow the jelly to set. Serve. x

Enjoy