Monday, January 4, 2010

Chilli Jam

What you'll need
500 grams (1 lb) roma (egg) tomatoes
1 small onion julienned
3-4 small red chillis (chopped)
6 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 small knob of ginger (chopped)
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp mustard seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Black pepper corn mill

What to do
Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 fahrenheit)
Cut tomatoes in half and drizzle them with olive oil and roast in the oven until skins start to blister.
Sweat the onions in a pot in a touch of oil on low flame until they turn soft and translucent.
Add the remaining ingredients to the onions and sweat a few more minutes.
Add the roasted tomatoes to the pot, reduce the heat to very low, cook out for 1-2 hours season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once all the ingredients are cooked out, allow to cool and puree in a food processor, refrigerate and use as needed"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hollandaise Sauce

This would have to be Angie's favourites sauce and one of the main reasons we go out for breakfast, having this thick creamy sauce poured over her eggs and grilled ham (eggs benedict) or for me with smoked salmon and sauteed spinach with poached eggs. Also great on grilled salmon and fresh steamed asparagus.

What you'll need
400 grams (14 oz) unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
White wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Ground white pepper

What to do
Fill a medium sized saucepan approx 1/3 full with water and put on to boil.

Place the butter in a clear microwave safe dish and microwave on high for approximately 5 minutes, (until the butter has separated).

Pour the clarified butter off the top into another container and discard the white liquid left at the bottom.

Reheat the clarified butter a further 2 minutes and skim any impurities off the surface.

In a large stainless steel mixing bowl place the egg yolks with a few drops of water and whisk together and then whisk in 2 tsp of vinegar.

Place the bowl over the saucepan of boiling water and whisk until the egg yolks have thickened and become lighter in colour.

Remove the bowl from the pan and place it on a folded slightly wet towel.

Gradually add the still warm clarified butter in a steady stream whilst whisking the eggs.

Keep adding the butter as long as the eggs will hold it, (if the sauce gets a slightly shiny oily appearance, hold off with adding the butter and continue to whisk until the oily appearance has disappeared).

Once all the butter has been incorporated add the lemon juice, (if the sauce appears too thick whisk in 1 tbsp of tepid water).

Season to taste and serve (the sauce can be kept in a slightly warm spot or in a Bain Marie)."

Reduced Balsamic

Ever wondered what that black sticky sauce is on the plate when you dine out, well its a reduced balsamic vinegar, used more as a garnish by some restaurants than for its flavour.

Reduced Balsamic is one of those incredibly simple items to prepare, yet expensive to buy, it is simply Balsamic Vinegar that has been reduced over heat till a thick sweet surup is formed. This is a great ingredient to have on hand in any kitchen. It's sweet yet slightly tart flavour not only is the perfect complement to many dishes but makes a very visually appealing garnish.

What you'll need
Balsamic vinegar (about 2/3rds of the volume will be lost, so you'll need to decide before you start how much you would like to be left with.)

What to do
Pour the Balsamic vinegar into a saucepan.

Bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes or until reduced by 2/3rds.
Allow to cool and use as desired.
I pour mine back into the bottle and mark it as 'reduced'.
It will keep for months and months in the pantry.

why not try infusing it with different flavours like
lemon - great for seafood dishes
rosemary - perfect for lamb
tyme - for beef dishes
orange - drizzle over fresh strawberries
chilli - to add some heat

Just add the jest or a sprig in the last 15 minutes of simmering s not to ver power the balsamic flavour

Chicken Stock

A good stock is the basis of many a great, soup, stew or sauce. Without a good stock recipes don't have the great depth of flavour required to bring out the best in any dish. While it is possible to purchase ready made stocks from the supermarket, i find many of them far to salty and lack that true natural chicken flavour. So why not make a batch and freeze in portions and you will have months of chicken stock on hand to add to any dish.

What you'll need
6 chicken carcasses approx 1.5-2 kilos (4 lbs)
2 medium onions (peeled & quartered)
2 celery stalks (washed & roughly chopped)
2 peeled carrots (peeled & roughly chopped)
3 bay leaves
5-6 black peppercorns
Cold water
Makes approximately 3 litres of stock

What to do
Place all the ingredients in a large pot and cover with water.
Bring it all to the boil.
Once boiling immediately reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 4 hours.
Every hour skim the foam off that accumulates on top and discard.
Strain the stock.
Discard the solids (if you used meaty carcasses, feel free to pull any of the meat off and use as desired).
Strain the stock through a fine strainer to remove any fine solid particles.
Refrigerate over night, (the following day remove and discard they layer of hard fat that has solidified on top overnight).
The stock can now be used as required, refrigerated for 2-3 days, or portioned and frozen to be used at your convenience for up to a few months.

If a very clear broth is desired, leave out the carrots and simmer for only 2-3 hours.
If a richer, darker stock is required brown the bones first in a 200 degree oven (400 Fahrenheit) and simmer for 6-8 hours (this may require adding more water during the simmering process to prevent the stock drying up)."

Mushroom-and-Goat-Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs

what you need
1 rasher of bacon
500gr (4oz) finely chopped button mushrooms
1 shallot finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped tyme
250gr (2oz) fresh goast cheese
8 boneless chicken thighs
1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon plain flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and papper to taste

what to do
"Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. In a medium pan, cook the bacon over high heat, stirring, until crisp, about 6 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the thyme and goat cheese and let cool slightly.

Arrange the chicken thighs on a work surface, skin side down. Using a meat pounder, lightly pound the thighs until they are a scant 1/2 inch thick.
Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the thighs and roll them up; the skin should almost wrap around the meat. Tie each bundle with kitchen string in 2 places.

In a large, ovenproof pan, heat the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add the bundles to the pan. Cook over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken skin side up.
Transfer to the oven and roast for about 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Pour the chicken fat and pan drippings into a bowl and skim off the fat, reserving 1 teaspoon in the pan. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat until foamy. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan with a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour the reserved pan drippings and any accumulated juices from the chicken into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Remove the strings from the chicken thighs, drizzle with the sauce and serve witgh creamt mash potatoes.