karohemd: (Chef)
Kavey Eats has a monthly ice cream challenge called "Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream" in which I have taken part twice so far. This month's challenge is any theme from the last year so I thought I'd try my hand at a sorbet.

My Riverford box contained blood oranges which were ideal. I zested the oranges then instead of juicing them I peeled them and blitzed them with my stick blender. In a saucepan I combined the juice, zest, half an inch of grated ginger, half a vanilla pod, two short cinnamon sticks, one star anise, five or so bruised cardamom pods and quite a bit of demerara sugar (don't ask me how much, I did this by eye but enough to make the mix taste really sweet), heated the mix until the sugar was dissolved, pulled the pan off the heat, put a lid on and let it cool off and infuse with the spices. After the mix was cool, I strained it into a tupperware container to remove the spices and put it in the freezer.

I don't have an ice cream machine so I took the container from the freezer every hour or so and stirred it through with a fork to break up any ice chunks that were forming. In my low rated freezer compartment it took almost 24 hours until it resembled sorbet or, to be honest, more like a slushie as it melts quite quickly. It tastes nice, though, fruity, tangy and spicy so I'm really happy with it.

Spiced Blood Orange Sorbet
Served in a tumbler with (shop bought) brownie pieces
karohemd: (Photo)
A couple of weeks ago Michelle Gillott, former pastry chef at Midsummer House, cake maker and chef consultant asked if I could take a few photos of her working and the final creations for an upcoming book that is going to feature the work of pastry chefs from around the world. That was an opportunity I couldn't let slip so last Sunday we met up at Alimentum where we divided the shoot between the preparation of the three dishes in the kitchen and the plating in the restaurant.
The photos should give you an idea for the processes involved in preparing the dishes but for the actual recipes you will have to buy the book. :)

Baked yoghurt, strawberries, caramelised oats, honeycomb

Caramelising the oats Honeycomb

Plating the baked yoghurt

Plating the baked yoghurt

Plating the baked yoghurt

Plating the baked yoghurt

Plating the baked yoghurt

Baked yoghurt, strawberries, caramelised oats, honeycomb

Steamed meringue, apricot, grapefruit

Rolling the apricot cannelloni

Preparing the meringue

Preparing the meringue

Preparing the meringue

Preparing the meringue

Preparing the meringue

Preparing the meringue Filling the apricot cannelloni

Plating the meringue

Plating the meringue

Plating the meringue Plating the meringue

Plating the meringue Plating the meringue

Steamed meringue, apricot, grapefruit

Chocolate cannelloni, pistachio foam and cake, cherries, pliable ganache

Building the chocolate cannelloni Building the chocolate cannelloni

Building the chocolate cannelloni Building the chocolate cannelloni

Building the chocolate cannelloni

Pliable ganache

Plating the chocolate dessert Plating the chocolate dessert

Plating the chocolate dessert Plating the chocolate dessert

Plating the chocolate dessert Plating the chocolate dessert

Choc cannelloni, pistachio foam & cake, cherries, pliable ganache

Have a look around Michelle's blog/website if you fancy a beautiful cake or one of her chocolate creations.
karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
The last time we were at Alimentum, a friend said that she wanted to go at some point and only eat desserts. That gave me an idea so as it was her birthday last week, I arranged just that and it turned out the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
We started proceedings with an Espresso Martini (which I neglected to take a photo of, oops) and we opted to have a starter so we didn't only have sweets.

Sweetbreads and Chicken Wing Confit

Sweetbreads and chicken wing confit with wild garlic. Brilliant little dish with crispy sweetbreads and very soft chicken wings. On to all the desserts.

"Black Forest Gateau"

"Black Forest Gateau" Obviously not the rich cake from the 70s but taking the various elements and presenting them in a modern way. The sponge was as light as a feather and the cherry elements varied from sweet to tart, all balanced beautifully.

Next, we shared a portion of the Battenburg which I had last time so have a look here for a description.

White Chocolate Parfait, Passionfruit Rhubarb, White Chocolate Panacotta

On to two dishes featuring white chocolate. On the left a white choc parfait (the ball) with passionfruit and on the right a white choc pannacotta with rhubarb. In both dishes, the tartness of the fruit/vegetable was counteracted by the sweetness of the white chocolate, creating a wonderful balance. Each element on its own would have been too sweet or too tart. We only had one of those and swapped halfway through.

The pernod foam with pineapple and fennel was next. Again, a photo and short description are in this post.

Chocolate and Passionfruit Terrine

Then, the killer: A chocolate and passionfruit terrine with honeycomb. A very rich, dark chocolate ganache with more passionfruit elements. The honeycomb crumbles on top provided a light crunch rather than sweetness. Superb.

Blackcurrant Crumble, Vanilla Ice Cream Crème brûlée

During the final course we again shared two dishes: On the left, a blackcurrant mousse with crumble and vanilla ice cream. Very light, very fruity and flavourful. On the right, a Crème Brûlée with caramelised cassia bark, black cherry sorbet and almond tuile was a sweeter dish but not overpowering. The layer of melted sugar on top was almost transparent. Beautiful.

I am going to amend this with the wine list if I manage to find out what we had (a different one with each course, except the pernod foam), I can't remember them all, my memory became kind of hazy after a certain point. I think I have to take photos of the bottles on my phone to help my memory along.

Huge thanks go to the staff at Alimentum who not only went along with this crazy idea (apparently this was the first time somebody had requested an all dessert menu which I find hard to believe) but made it a very memorable afternoon indeed.
karohemd: (Chef)
It seems Kavey gave me the ice cream bug so yesterday I made another batch. I had five blood oranges in my organic box this week and thought those would make a great base. I first zested them with a grater, then cut off the peels as close to the flesh as possible without leaving any white pith behind, blitzed the lot with my stick blender (quick and easy way to juice oranges) and strained the juice through a sieve. I cooked down the juice with the zest, some sugar, a stick of cinnamon, a piece of star anise, two cloves and the seeds and husk of a vanilla pod to a thickish syrup (probably about 200ml). Into that I whisked a 300ml tub of double cream and set aside to infuse for half an hour. After that I took out the whole spices and brought the temperature up again. Meanwhile I whisked three egg yolks in a bowl with about three tablespoons of sugar until foamy. Into that I carefully whisked the juice/cream mix and then transferred the custard back to the saucepan to finish cooking while stirring, taking care not to boil the mix (or you'll end up with scrambled eggs), until the consistency was right (the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon and won't run when you run your finger through it). It tasted really strong, almost mouth puckeringly tart so I hoped the flavour would be strong enough for the end product. I poured the finished custard into a freezer tub and let it cool down to room temperature before putting into the freezer and forking through every half hour or so.
And lo, the finished ice cream tasted fantastic, really tart, just as I like fruit ice cream to be, almost too tart on its own. I could imagine this going really well with a chocolate mousse or a sweet crumble. ETA: It was perfect with chocolate brownies. :o)

Spiced Blood Orange Ice Cream

This is another entry for Kavey's Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge (click the thumbnail below to go there):


P.S.: In German, the process of cooking the custard is called "zur Rose abziehen" which literally translates as "pull off to the rose" because when you blow at the back of a spoon coated in custard it will fan out in a pattern that looks similar to a flower. Try it (if you care about those things maybe only if you're going to eat the ice cream yourself and don't serve it to others) to see for yourself.

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karohemd: (Chef)
Yesterday I made something I'd never made before for various reasons but mainly because I don't have a freezer in my tiny studio flat, only a tiny compartment in my fridge that just about makes water hard. I'd read and seen on various blogs that you don't need a machine to make ice cream if you stir the mix regularly so I'd considered trying that. I rose to the challenge because fellow food blogger and twitter foodie Kavey posted a Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge on her blog (click the thumbnail below to go there).

The rules for the challenge stipulate that it had to be a custard base recipe so I made one using:
350ml double cream
250ml single cream
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp demerera sugar
the husk of half a vanilla pod I'd kept in my sugar

This I know how to do so it came out really nicely.
For the flavouring I cooked down two smallish chopped apples with 2tsp of ground cinnamon. This I mixed into the custard using a stick blender to ensure even distribution. The final mix tasted great and I was very happy with it. After it had cooled, I filled the custard into a small freezer tub and put it into my freezer compartment, hoping for the best. Every half hour or so I stirred the mix with a fork to break up the ice that had formed and after about four hours or so it had reached a consistency that was very close to ice cream. I even managed to make a reasonably looking quenelle:
Apple and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Now for the disappointment: Unlike the custard, the flavour of the finished product is rather weak. I guess I have to pack in more next time. However, as a first attempt, I really happy with it. Any suggestions more than welcome (please reply with OpenID or include your name and blog/twitter link in your anonymous reply). Many thanks.

Update - A few tips (own experience and others'):
- the initial custard needs to be very strong in flavour, almost too strong to be comfortable when you taste it
- next time I make the above I will cook a stick of cinnamon with the cream and leave to infuse for some time which should intensify the flavour
- use a round container and one is big enough so it's not filled all the way up to make vigorous stirring easier

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karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
Mat Follas, head chef at The Wild Garlic in Dorset (and Masterchef 2009 champion) held a one-off "pop-up" restaurant at Ben's Canteen in London (part of the Canteen's guest chef nights).
As The Wild Garlic is a bit out of the way for me currently (there are no trains to Beaminster), this was the perfect opportunity to taste Mat's cooking so when I read about it, I signed up immediately.
I got there early to chat to Dave Ahern, head chef at Ben's Canteen and try one of his famous Breakfast Scotch Eggs (and it really is stunning, you can taste all the elements). Mat joined us and asked me if I would take some photos in the kitchen as well and of course I jumped at the opportunity. However, let's first look at the menu:

It started with a bowl of "Pesto Popcorn", which was nice and one of the few times I enjoyed a savoury popcorn:

Pesto Popcorn

The starter was Smoked Queenie Scallops, served in their shell. These were only morsels but the taste was superb, the smoky flavour enhancing the sweetness of the scallops. I could easily have had a dozen of those.

Starter: Smoked Queenie Scallops

Now the first meat course: Confit Duck Leg with orange and tarragon. The meat was perfectly cooked and so soft it fell apart. You could pull out the bones cleanly. Surprisingly, the orange sauce worked well for me and really loved the dish.

Confit Duck Leg

Another small course was next but by no means small in terms of flavour. A delightfully and strongly flavoured mushroom velouté that tasted like a pound of good mushrooms compressed into an espresso paper cup. Wow. When I was in the kitchen, I'd smelled this soup as it came out of the Thermomix and that already blew me away.

Mushroom Veloute

Then the main: 12 hour triple cooked pork belly, served in slices off the rolled piece with sweet potato and miso puree and pickled vegetables. Another slow cooked dish that let the simple but very flavoursome meat shine. The puree was an excellent substitute for gravy.

Main: Triple Cooked Pork Belly

The next course was a palate cleanser in the shape of a ball of beetroot (yes, you read that right) sorbet, served on a little china spoon. It sounds bizarre but it worked really well. This was hard to photograph on the table so here's a shot from the kitchen:

Palte cleanser: Beetroot Sorbet

Then, there was only dessert to go but what a stunner that was: Lavender panna cotta with berry compote, salt and pepper ice cream and crumbles of honeycomb. Each part was lovely on its own but a bit of everything on the spoon made my tastebuds dance, a perfect balance of flavours.

Dessert: Lavender Panacotta

This was a fantastic meal. Simple, rustic dishes which high quality ingredients were the stars of the meal. If this is the food Mat Follas and his team are cooking every day at The Wild Garlic, its customers are in for a treat and from what I hear that is indeed the case. Go there now! :)
More photos after the cut.

A few more on flickr.

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karohemd: (Chef)
A friend had given me some Grasmere gingerbread that needed eating and I had blueberries in my organic box this week so I thought "cheesecake". My first cake ever! For that I'm really happy how it came out. The topping (Quark and whipped double cream) was a bit soft but maybe it needed to set for longer. I'll see what it looks like tomorrow. :)
Then I thought presenting it on a black plate with a little dusting of icing sugar would look nice, only for the container to slip and dump a whole lot of sugar on the plate. Not quite my day, I think.
Still, I'm happy how it tasted so that's encouraging.

April 2016

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