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Saturday, July 9, 2011

A blog about me......

At this url there is a blog from a news paper journalist who can to the links recently and i have the opportunity to talk to and feed, so she done a small piece in the Heralds Weekend Post dated 9 July 2011, it makes for some interesting reading and is alot of what i am about so follow the link and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blue Cheese, apple and almond "strudel" with strawberry compote and fresh cream

Hello Everybody,
here is a quick little recipe of a blue cheese, apple and almond strudel i made the other day that really was to die for first thing you going to need is some either store bought puff pastry or homemade puff pastry, if you look further down in my blog the dark chocolate fondant with strawberry mille feuille has a beautiful homemade puff pastry recipe, i must warn though, puff pastry is not easy to make and you will take a couple of goes to get it right, and it takes around 3 hours to make, but it is worth every drop of sweat and stress that it takes to make it.

 .......for the pie
About 300g Ready rolled puff pastry
1/2 bag of granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
+/-200g Dolce Latte gorgonzola (i choose this over other blue cheeses as it is soft, creamy and not as strongly flavour, so most people will enjoy it)
150g brown or treacle sugar (you can use white)
150g almond flakes
1/4 tsp pimento (all spice) optional
1 big handfull of bread crumbs.
2 Tablespoons brandy

......for the strawberry compote
250g frozen strawberries
125g white sugar
125ml good semi-sweet or dessert white
125ml water
1 vanilla pod split and scrapped (use 1 teaspoon essence if no pods)

firstly put all the ingredients for the strawberrys into a small saucepan/pot and cover with a lid and let it "mascarate" for around 3 hours on a really really low heat, you don't want it to simmer, there may be a few bubbles but generally not a simmer as you don't want the fruits to break apart, but you want them to inpart with their beautiful flavours.

now for the pie
put the apples, pimento, sugar, blue cheese, brandy and almonds into a mixing bowl and leave covered for around 30 min, whilst letting the apples sit, roll out the puff pastry so that is it around 2-3mm thick, it will be a very big square.
now that the apple mixture you see it will have alot of liquid in the bottom of the mixing bowl, that is a mixture of the apple losing some of its water along with the sugar melting and so on, you don't want to throw that away, it is about the best part, but if you just put it into the pastry like that it is going to make the pastry very moist and soggy so no throw in the bread crumbs to absorb this moisture and mix everything together thoroughly, then take this mixture and place it onto you puff pastry to form a long line in the middle of the pastry from one end to the next, now you need to take 2 eggs and beat them with a little milk (25ml) this is your egg wash. now around the mixture "paint" the pastry with the egg wash, then take the bottom half of the pastry and fold it over the mixture tightly, but be carefully not to tear the pastry, then paint the pastry that is now on top of the mixture, then fold the rest of the pastry over that piece as to close all the mixture in pastry, now you should have a long log like roll, with 2 layers of pastry on the top, take a buttered baking tray and roll the log over so that the two layers of pastry are sitting on the bottom, and pinch the ends tightly closed, now paint the all the visible pastry with the egg wash then take a sharp knive and cut slits into the top of the pastry (should look like the cuts on a french loaf) then place it in a preheated over at 180c and bake for around 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Now to serve slice nice big slices of the strudel top it with the strawberry compote and whip up some fresh cream until soft peak and serve with that.

This dessert really is something that i think is going to make it onto one of my menu's soon, it really really is awesome i loved it and think that anybody who likes blue cheese will as well.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rabbit Liver, prune and vanilla parfait with tomato jam

Hello guys here is a quick little "amuse bouche" that i done last night for a small dinner party, i was preparing rabbit and of course when you buy rabbit, the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs are still in the animal, so i decided to make a liver parfait. Now this is a very rich dish so i served it pre-starters and was a big hit.

liver from 2 rabbits
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp flour
1/2 onion cubed
8 prunes pitted
1 vanilla pod scrapped
1/2 teaspoon garlic
150ml rabbit stock (made from the bones of the 2 rabbits)
200ml fresh cream
50ml port
salt and black pepper to taste
homemade tomato and chilli jam
mini melba toasts

Get a small pan nice and hot put about 1 tablespoon of olive in and add the butter, as soon as the butter starts to "sing" and bubble add in the livers leave them for around 2 minutes on each side then add in the garlic and onions, saute this for around another 3-4 minutes and then add in the flour and let it be absorbed by all the fat in the pan, when their is no white of the flour visible in the pan add in the port to deglaze for around 1 minute then add in the stock and cream and season, add in the vanilla and pitted prunes and drop the heat and cook covered for around 5-7 minutes. Then take out the solid and put them into a food processor and blitz them up adding in the liquid as needed, you will end up using all the liquid, stop the food processor every 30 seconds or so and scrap down the side to ensure that everything is being puree'd. Then take it out of the processor and push it through a very fine sieve to get out all the impurities.

To serve i used tall shot glasses and i put a pitted prune in the bottom then piped the liver in about half way and topped it with a homemade tomato jam, then took the vanilla pods that i had scraped and used the beans to make the garnish and served with two small little pieces of melba toast.

I must say to any body who doesn't normally like liver, you should really give rabbit liver a try it is amazing, i think it is one of those foods that is going to be on the up in a big way in the next couple of years.

Enjoy next up i will blog a lovely rich Fricassee of Rabbit with tagliatelle, mushrooms, garlic, onions and white truffel oil. lovely dish i made this dish also with the stock from the 2 rabbits from above and then the meat of them.........until then Bon Appetit