Flavours of Black Forest

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Seriously what’s not to like?

I always loved black forest gateau, so when I decided to create a dish using the same flavours I was feeling the vibe from the start.

I love the chocolate, cherry and kirsch combination (kirsch is a clear, colourless fruit brandy traditionally made from double distillation of Morello cherries) I added some twists like kirsch infused chocolate brownie, Italian meringue, dark chocolate mousse and a forest fruits ice cream! This is a seriously indulgent desert that is guaranteed to be a memorable ending to any dinner.

One of the great things about this desert is the ice cream! It takes less than 10 minuets to make and you don’t need an ice cream machine.

Brownie

300g Dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)

115g unsalted butter

450g light soft brown sugar

6 large free-range eggs

160g plain flour (sifted)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

Splash of Kirsch

Preheat oven to 150℃.

Line a rectangular baking tray with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat proof bowl, set over a sauce pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water) Once they have completely melted give it a good stir making sure they are mixed together then leave to cool.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs and the vanilla extract together, add the sugar, then the cooled chocolate mixture and add a splash of Kirsch (be as generous as you wish) mix again until all the ingredients are combined.

Finally add the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold together using a wooden spoon and pour into your lined baking tray.

Bake for 30-40 minuets in the centre of the oven.

Leave to cool in the baking tray before cutting (you will find it easier to portion by refrigerating first)

Chocolate Mousse

150g good quality dark chocolate (I used 7o% cocoa)

50g caster sugar

150g double cream

Pinch of salt

Place the broken up chocolate and a small pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) leave to slowly melt stirring occasionally.

Separate your eggs so you have whites in one bowl and yolks in another. Add the sugar to the bowl of yolks and beat with an electric whisk until sugar has dissolved and its silky and smooth. Whisk the whites until they form soft peaks (you should be able to turn the bowl upside down with out them falling out)

In a third bowl beat the cream until slightly thick and just whipped.

Add your cream to the egg yolks and mix then fold thru the melted chocolate until fully combined. Finnish by folding in the egg whites, keep folding until the mixture is full incorporated, then refrigerate for an hour until mixture is set (I put mine into squeeze bottles to set)

Italian Meringue

200g granulated sugar

100ml water

4 egg whites

Put sugar and water in a pan. Dissolve over a low heat. Once sugar is dissolved brush down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in the water. Increase the heat and do not stir the sugar. Using a sugar thermometer boil the syrup until it reaches 120℃.

Whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl to stiff peaks, continue to whisk until the whites become stiff. When tested to peak will hold a vertical position.

As soon as the syrup reaches 120℃, pour it steadily into the egg whites with the electric whisk still running (try to avoid pouring directly onto the whisk) Continue whisking until mixture is cool and stiff.

Place into a piping bag until your ready to plate up.

Forest fruits ice cream

375g frozen shop bought forest fruits

100ml whipped cream

40g icing sugar

Blitz the frozen fruit until smooth (I used my Nutri Bullet Pro)

Whip your cream until think (don’t over whip)

Fold the blitzed berries thru the cream adding the icing sugar to taste.

To finish I made a black cherry coulis. (I made sure the coulis was a bit tart to balance out the dish) I blitzed some Oreos to make a chocolate soil to sit my ice cream on. I used a shop bought jar of black cherries soaked in Kirsch and shaved some dark chocolate to garnish.p1050609

Ragstone Goats Cheese Tortellini

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With Autumn in the air I felt the need to check out Borough Market and see what’s about. The first thing to catch my eye was these shiny chestnuts. Instantly my mind started ticking and a dish started to appear in my minds eye.

For the pasta I only used egg yolk, as i wanted this dish to be rich and luxurious. My ratio was 200g of pasta flour and 6 large egg yolks (I saved my egg whites, I’m sure I will find away to use them later).

I decided to make Ragstone goats cheese tortellini with roasted chestnuts, truffle cream, parmesan crisps and a baked parmesan foam finished with a healthy shaving of black autumn truffle.

Before I roasted the chestnuts I made a small cross incision in each shell. Then roasted at 200℃ for 30 minutes. When I took the chestnuts out of the oven I noticed one wasn’t peirced! Stupidly picking it up, burning my fingers then dropping it. The chestnut literally exploded when it hit the floor making a loud bang covering my kitchen in chestnut! So be careful of that! Definitely not the one.

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For the truffle cream I sweated off garlic and shallot in butter then added a splash of white wine. Once the wine had cooked out I added grated truffle, double cream, seasoned and reduced. To finish I blitzed it all in my Nutri Bullet Pro adding a small cube of cold butter to emulsify. Then passed through a fine chinois to make sure the purée was as smooth as possible.

I baked finely grated parmesan until golden brown (leaving a few bits for the crisps) added it to 75ml of double cream and 75ml of semi skimmed milk, heating slowly to allow the cheese to melt. I then added 5g of lecithin. Once the lecithin was fully incorporated I passed through a fine chinois. To create the foam I used a stick blender in a tall beaker: make sure the stick blender is half in and half out of the liquid to create the foam. Lecithin is optional but will definetly help stabilise your foam. You can buy it on Amazon.

This is a very simple dish to make. I find making pasta therapeutic. It gives me time to think and relaxes me. I love the whole process from start to finish.

All you need to do is follow a good pasta recipe, give it some love and reap the rewards.

This is a perfect dish for a cosy autumn night in. Try it out!

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28 Day Dry Aged Ribeye Steak

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If your into red meat and earthy flavours this plate is for you! The dry aged ribeye has some serious flavour on its own but paired up with this lot is off its head. On the plate you can see sauté wild mushrooms, mushroom ketchup, pickled and charred shallots, chive oil, truffled ricotta and caramelised onion jus. The truffled ricotta was made by heating whole milk, cream and a pinch of salt (without bringing to the boil) adding a squeeze of lemon juice. I let it sit for 10 minutes until i could see clumps of milky white curds and a thin watery yellow coloured whey. I strained the curds using cheese cloth and left to drain for 60 mins. Once fully drained I used truffle oil to flavour and  finished with shaved black truffle.

For the mushroom ketchup I made a mushroom stock using dried wild mushrooms, fine diced carrot, onion, leek, celery, sprig of thyme and a couple of garlic cloves. I roasted chestnut mushrooms to create colour and intensify the flavour. Then deglazed the tray with white wine and added to my mushroom stock. Once the stock was ready I passed thru a fine chinois and reduced until the flavour was concentrated. I added chardonnay vinegar till I had the right balance in flavour. Then used Ultra-Text to thicken and blitzed it in my Nutri Bullet Pro to finish.

The ribeye was seasoned well and cooked medium rare in a smoking hot pan to create some nice colour in turn creating some mad flavour. I covered the ribeye and left to rest for 5 minuets.

 

Homemade ricotta cheese blog post coming soon!

 

Tomato Water

tomatoAll you need to make this amazing tomato water is 1kg of vine ripened tomatoes, a good blender (I used my Nutri Bullet pro) and some muslin cloth.

I love how the tomato water serves a purpose all year round. In the summer months it can be used as a refreshing cold drink, added to your gazpacho or even used as your secret weapon to enhance the flavour of your bloody mary. In the cooler months you can heat it and have as a tomato tea adding a small bouquet garni to infuse (a bouquet garni is small bundle of herbs tied together with string).  I have also used star anise in my tea I think it adds another dimension of flavour.

Blitz the tomatoes with a pinch of salt. A clove of garlic and a small bit of celery can also be added to pimp the flavour up (you won’t need to add anything if you get quality ripe tomatoes). Once the tomatoes are completely blitzed place in a triple layer of muslin and leave to slowly drip into a container for 24 hours (try and elevate the tomatoes it will speed the whole process up).

You will be left with the purest rose coloured liquid this is your tomato water. This stuff is seriously amazing and hassle free to make!

You could also try reduceing it until concentrated and pour into ice cube moulds then freeze. The frozen tomato water can then be added to your sauces when cooking. A guaranteed game changer!

Check it out – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

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Artisan Sourdough Rye

 

img_6354Ingredients:

  • Sourdough starter 70g 
  • Tepid water 400g
  • Rye Flour 245g
  • Stronge white bread flour 245g
  • Molasses 45g
  • Fennel seeds 8g
  • Anise seed 2g
  • Caraway seeds 3g
  • Salt 12g
  • Zest of 1 orange  

 

Instructions:

Using a mixing bowl, mix the starter with the water. Add the molasses, all the seeds and the orange zest. In a separate bowl combine the flours and salt.

Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a dough whisk or a spoon until the flour is well incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling-film and rest for 15 minutes. Mix again for a minute or two. Again let it rest for 15 minutes. Mix one more time.

Now cover the bowl with cling-film and leave at room temperature for 14 hours.

After the long 14 hours proving, stretch and fold the dough into a round or oblong shape for baking. Cover again with cling-film and rest for 15 minutes then put into your proving basket for the final rise (if you don’t have a proving basket line a bowl with a well floured tea towel) The final rise should last about 1-1 1/2 hours keep the dough covered with cling-film or a tea towel to stop it drying out.

Pre heat oven at 245℃ half an hour before baking

Score the dough with a razor or a sharp knife and bake for 40 minutes. To check if the bread is ready tap the bottom of the loaf, if it sounds hollow its done! Get it on a cooling rack for and hour.

When following this recipe I usually get my mix ready in the evening and get up early to bake. Alternatively you could get it ready in the morning and prove in the fridge for 16 hours baking in the evening. I used the dutch oven method to bake my bread. I baked for 30 minutes with the lid on then 15 with the lid off spraying the crust with a mist of water 3 times. 

If you follow the recipe word for word you won’t have any problems. When you have made it a couple of times you will find yourself switching things up a bit adding different seeds etc and playing around with the proving time. I sometimes use a tea spoon of honey I’m convinced it makes a difference but who knows!

I usually bake this loaf at 6am on a Sunday morning ready for breakfast.

Check it out and let me know how you get on!

 

Making A Sourdough Starter

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Making a sourdough starter is easy! All you need is flour, water and a little bit of patience (that’s the hard part). The process is almost as good as your first sourdough loaf!

First lets talk about wild yeast.

What is wild yeast?

Wild yeast is key to our sourdough starter!

Before we used active-dry yeast we used wild yeast which lives everywhere. Domestic commercial yeast replaced wild yeast because it is easier for companies to produce and its easier for bakers to store and use. It also proves breads and pastries in a fraction of the time.

Wild yeast needs more looking after and can be finicky if its not kept in the right environment. It also needs to be fed regularly to keep active. Wild yeast also likes cooler temperatures, acidic enviroments and works a lot slower when proving breads. The reason we still use wild yeast today is because it’s amazing stuff! The flavours and textures we can get from wild yeast are not contest to breads made with commercial yeast. The flavours are complex and interesting and no sourdough starter is the same. Also the texture it gives is on another planet!

What is a sourdough starter? 

A sourdough stater is how we cultivate the wild yeast in a form that we can use for baking. Since wild yeast also lives in flour the easiest way to make the starter is simply combine flour and water at let it sit several days. I used 50g of strong unbleached bread flour and 50ml of filtered water.

After a day or two bubbles will start to form in the starter indicating that the wild yeast has become active and is multiplying. To keep our starter happy we feed it for the next 5 days with equal quantities of flour and tepid filtered water. Once the starter is bubbling and frothy with a sour smell your starter is ready to use for baking.

I tend to use half my starter every time I bake and again feed with equal quantities of flour and water. To keep your starter really active and feed every day or two disgarding (or baking with) half the starter.  If I’m going away or not going to use my starter for a while I will feed it and keep in the fridge feeding every now and again to keep active. By putting it in the fridge it slows the feeding and multiplying process right down.

You can make a starter using any flour. As you can see in the picture i have a white starter and a rye starter. Over time your starters flavour will change and that sour taste in a good sourdough will become more powerful and complex.

Make your starter today and get ready for some serious baking!

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Sourdough bread blog post coming soon!

 

Ox Cheek-Dukkah-Carrot

IMG_7937.JPGThis dish delivers not only on taste but also gives a stunning visual worthy of any social media! The Ox cheek has been slow cooked for 24 hours at 75℃ over a trivet of vegetables, a bunch of thyme and half a bottle of red wine. Once the cheeks were cooked (so tender they could fall apart) I chilled them down, trimmed them up and brought back up to temperature using the liquor from the tray they were slow cooked in continuously turning and basting the cheeks. (make sure you reduce the liquor enough to coat the cheeks till they are sticky and glossy) For the Dukkah I used coriander seed, cumin seed, sesame seed, toasted hazelnuts and sea salt. Toast the spices together once the flavour is activated grind them using a pestle and mortar. Once the spices are ground to your desired consistency add toasted sesame, toasted hazelnuts and season to taste with the salt (Dukkah is an egyptian condiment typically used for dipping bread and fresh vegetables in). For the carrot elements I’ve made a roasted carrot purée, a pickled carrot gel and pickled baby carrots. I’ve also added a buttermilk fluid gel made using agar-agar (I will go into the process in another blog post soon). Since making this I have tried other variations like a BBQ carrot purée and BBQ baby carrots definitely a game changer. This dish is pretty cheap to make as the humble Ox cheek isn’t a primary cut but delivers some serious flavour.

 

Get involved and re-create this dish! Let me know how you get on!

Fennel Cured Salmon-Variations Of Beetroot-Horseradish Ice Cream

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This dish has many dimensions of flavours and textures. The salmon is cured using sugar, sea salt, toasted fennel seeds, Pernod, lemon juice and zest. I slow roasted the baby beetroot, pickled the discs and made a beetroot ketchup. The pickled beetroot and the ketchup help cut through the creamy horseradish and salmon, while the apple battens leave a crisp taste in your mouth cleansing your palate ready for the next bite .The fried crispy quinoa adds a crunchy nutty flavour that balances this dish out nicely. The horseradish ice cream was made by making a un-sweetened custard with crème fraîche, milk, fresh horseradish, lemon juice and zest, dijon mustard and seasoned to taste. I used an ice cream machine to churn. (I also used an ice cream stabiliser) I used micro red vein sorrel to garnish.

It’s common knowledge that salmon, beetroot and horseradish is a winning combination. These paired flavours take this dish to a whole new level! It’s earthy, creamy, crunchy, fresh and crisp all at the same time.

 

Blog post on ice creams savoury and sweet coming soon!

 

 

 

Christmas In New Zealand

IMG_4546Spending a month in the North Island of New zealand over Christmas was one of the best experiences I’ve had to date. With picturesque views, lovely weather, the cleanest air and some of the freshest produce you have ever seen! This is a place I would eventually like to lay roots. It took me a while to shake off the London mentality and fully embrace my surroundings but once I did I felt a sense of freedom.

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On Christmas day everyone created a dish to add to the spread. I chose to do a salt crust baked salmon. It added a bit of theatre to the table and delivered some serious flavour. Salt baking is designed to keep all the juices and flavour of the salmon in tact. As the steam hits the grease proof paper the juices are forced to drip back onto the salmon. You will know what I mean once you have tried it for yourself!

Fillet the salmon and removed the pin bones. Cut grease proof paper to the shape of the fillet covering the top and the bottom (it’s important to make sure the salmon is completely covered, you don’t want the salt crust touching the salmon – that will definitely kill the vibe)

For the salt bake crust use 1.5kg of sea salt and 2 large eggs. Combine the egg and salt to create a paste. Using a baking mat or grease proof paper on the tray (to stop it sticking). Spread a layer of your salt paste about 1cm thick on to the tray, place the salmon fillet onto the salt and incase the salmon in a salt shell using a pallet knife (or your hands).

 

Preheat the oven to 160℃ 30 minutes before cooking.

Bake the salmon for 25 minutes.

Crack open your salt crust and enjoy your sweet succulent salt baked salmon. The smell is unreal and I guarantee everyone will be looking on as you crack open that crust.

To accompany the salmon I made a fennel and orange salad with capers, radish and a lemon dressing garnished with fennel tops and borage flowers all picked from the garden.

 

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Salt crusts and salt doughs are also great for baking root vegetables keeping all the natural flavours locked inside!

I will do a blog post on salt baked vegetables soon!

 

Peanut butter mousse-Maple syrup ice-cream-Banana loaf-Bacon dust

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with Salted peanut brittle-Caramelised Banana-Toffee Popcorn-Beurre Noisette Crumb

I created this dish on a rainy day in my East London apartment. Not only did it taste and look amazing but it kept me entertained for the afternoon. The flavours and textures of this dish are well balanced and work!

Check it out for yourself!

 Peanut butter mousse

  • 370ml double cream
  • 64g caster sugar
  • 125g smooth peanut butter
  • 2 gold gelatine leaves (softened in ice water)

Method

  • To make the peanut mousse, place 150ml cream, caster sugar and peanut butter in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir to combine and heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and add your bloomed gelatine. Stir to combine and set aside to cool.
    Whip 200ml cream to soft peaks, fold in cooled peanut butter mixture and place in the fridge.

Banana Loaf  

  • 140g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Method

  • Heat oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas 4. Grease a 2lb loaf tin with butter and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
    Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add the eggs with a little flour. Fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and bananas. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack.

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Maple syrup ice-cream

  • 200ml canadian maple syrup
  • 240ml double cream
  • 75ml whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks

Method

  • Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, simmering until it’s reduced by a quarter, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  •  Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until light in colour and thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  • Once the milk mixture is simmering, remove from heat and pour about 100g into the yolks, whisking constantly. Return the yolk mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove the custard from heat and stir in the maple syrup reduction and salt. Pass the custard through a fine chinois into a large heatproof bowl and place over the ice bath until chilled, about 20 minutes.
  • Once the ice cream base is chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

**If you don’t own an ice-cream machine there is always the option on purchasing a shop bought alternative just make sure you get a good one!

Bacon dust

  • 50g maple cured streaky bacon

Method

  • To make the bacon dust, place frypan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook 2 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Add milk powder and cook, stirring, until toasted and golden- about another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place on kitchen roll. You can used a dehydrator to dry out or your oven on 50℃. Set aside once chilled pulse it in an electric coffee grinder.

Salted peanut brittle

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g un salted peanuts
  • 1g maldon sea salt flakes

Method

  • Melt the sugar in pan until  golden
  • Add crushed peanuts
  • Spread thinly on baking parchment
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Leave to set 10 minutes

Beurre Noisette Crumb

  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 50g milk powder
  • 7.5g icing sugar

Method

  • Place the butter and powdered milk in a saucepan bring to the boil and cook, while stirring for about 5 minutes or until the butter turns brown and the powdered milk is caramelised.
  • Strain off the butterfat, keeping the solids in the pan.
  • Allow the solids to cool then fold through the icing sugar.

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