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Friday, March 30, 2012

Stocks ooh beautiful Stocks

Today's a day where i am making stocks, i have a wedding tomorrow night and i need stock to make Fondant potatoes and well as gravy, i also need chicken stock to make pie fillings for our halfway house so i am making chicken stock as well, so i am going to blog both, and as an added bonus i am busy steaming 6 rumps in our rational oven at 63degrees C i put them in the oven yesterday afternoon and will only take them out tomorrow morning so that is a full 36 hours in the oven, they are going to be absolutely amazing, it's based on sous vide, except i do not have a sous vide bath so i steam them in the oven. i rubbed them with a mixture of garlic, black pepper, salt, rosemary and then vacuum packed them.
for those of you who don't know what is really happening, i will explain, you see the different "doneness" of all meats and poultry is based on temperature, so now i am cooking these at a temperature that would give me Medium, so it doesn't matter how long you cook it for as long as the temperature doesn't go higher the meat cannot overcook, but i will have the added benefit of the collagens and connective tissue in the meat breaking down, therefore the meat will become extremely tender!!!!!!.

Now back to the stock making.......Basic Beef Stock
as any chef or cook will tell you the only thing that is going to make one chef's food that much more different to another is his stock, it is the foundation to soo many things in the kitchen from sauces to soups, stews and many more things, so if you have a really good tasting stock, your halfway to a good meal already. Despite popular belief stocks are not cheap to make, and they are time consuming.

2kg Carrots roughly chopped
10 medium Onions roughly chopped
2 bunches of Celery roughly chopped
2 Bunches of Leeks roughly chopped
10 fresh ripe tomatoes
big handfull fresh parsley
small handfull Thyme
small handfull Rosemary
3 star anise
3 heads of garlic cut in half
100g whole black pepper corns
500ml Ghee (clarified butter)
30kg meaty bones

 above is all the vegetables, without the tomatoes chopped up, everything has been washed but nothing has been peeled as this is where alot of the flavour lies.
 All the herbs are separate to the vegetables as you need to start by frying off the vegetables in ghee first, until you get a nice dark roasting colours on them.
 Whilst you are frying off the vegetables roast the meaty bones in the oven at 220 for about 30 minutes until the are nicely coloured
 Once all the meat is done and the vegetables are browned off add the meat the the vegetables along with all the herbs and tomatoes, the reason for not using the tomatoes in the beginning is that they have to much water and will cause the other vegetables to stew instead of frying.
 Now this is something that i have picked up in some of the books that i have been reading lately and that is the fact that when you are making a stock, you are looking at concentrating flavours, but as the stock cook, they let off steam and this in turn is valuable flavour, so i now cover my stock with a heavy duty clear refuse bag, to stop any steam from coming off it, and trust me, it most definitely works!!!
The stock shouldn't boil or simmer, i keep it at a temperature just where there would be bubbles forming on the bottom but it never boils. i will have it like this for a minimum of 24 hours,now the next step is to strain all the liquid off, press the meat to get any juice out that are in them, then place the liquid in the fridge and let it get cold so all the fat sets on the top of the stock, you can then scrape them off. That is basic beef stock, now from here i will melt it down again because it sets into a jelly in fridge, then when it has melted down i will strain it through a Chinios strainer and then again through a muslin cloth, this is to remove any impurities that may be in the stock, then it gets put into 1lt bags and frozen until needed.

Brown Chicken Stock
is very much the same as making beef stock except it doesn't  take as long to make and it doesn't have the tomatoes in it.

1kg Carrots roughly chopped
5 medium Onions roughly chopped
1 bunches of Celery roughly chopped
1 Bunches of Leeks roughly chopped
big handfull fresh parsley
small handfull Thyme
small handfull Oregano
1 head of garlic cut in half
25g whole white pepper corns
150ml Ghee (clarified butter)
2 whole chickens

Now the process is exactly the same as the beef stock, fry off the vegetables first and roast the chicken in the oven, once the vegetables have got nice colour to them add the whole chickens and the rest of the ingredients and cover with water and let it cook out for a minimum of 4 hours, strain it, then place the liquid in the fridge and let it get cold so all the fat sets on the top of the stock, you can then scrape them off. Now from here i will melt it down again because it sets into a jelly in fridge, then when it has melted down i will strain it through a Chinios strainer and then again through a muslin cloth, this is to remove any impurities that may be in the stock, then it gets put into 1lt bags and frozen until needed.

Happy cooking guys, hope this is informative

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cooking Truly is the most amazing art in the world, this is why.....

Hello to all readers, well it's been a couple of months since my last blog, so this one is basically about everything that has been happening since then, i have gone through a couple of culinary changes, i have gone through a couple of professional changes as well, most of you that have been reading my blog will know that i have been experiment with a little molecular gastronomy, and enjoy it thoroughly, well nothing has changed on that front except for the fact that i have put the experiment on the back burner for a little while for two reasons the first being my kitchen really needs more of my attention as i want to grow more professionally, and then i came to a realization that i went about it the wrong way, i guess that is the beauty of life.

So what i am doing now is starting from the basics that i needed to from the start i am currently ready a book titled ...On Food and Cooking, the science and lore of the kitchen by Harold Mc Gee for those of you who don't know who he is, he is one of the prominent figures in the molecular gastronomy movement he was inspired by a quote from Nicholas Kurti that is "I think it is a sad reflection on our civilization that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés." and after reading that he started his research into what happens in our food, and has inspired the likes of Heston Blumenthal and many other chefs, his work is not easy ready however as it is all about the "why's" on everything in cookery, but i can say it is a must read for any chef who wants to further the skills as when you start to understand the why in cookery you can start to figure out the how in what you are doing, it is the building blocks that any good chef should have behind them, i remember always saying that cooking isn't rocket science, well now i have realized that it isn't, it's more detailed than that!!

i have now ordered another book by Herve This (pronounced Thess) to back the book from Harold Mc Gee, i feel that after that as my backing and start to what i want to accomplish i should find the experimenting alot more fun and interesting, and will have the knowledge that i need to do it professionally.

Now what alot of people don't realize is that this is study the chemistry of food, the molecules in food and how the react to certain ingredients, etc etc it is really hectic, i have been trying to read Mr Mc Gee's book as fast as i can but realize very quickly that it is not a quick read as you need everything to makes since in your own mind before you can carry on to the next thing.

In my studies thus far i have come to realize 2 things, Milk and Eggs are the most amazing natural ingredients on this planet, like seriously mind blowing, the reason why i say only 2 things i have only covered 2 chapters in this book and they are on Milk and Dairy products and eggs!!!! Mind blowing when you know How and Why!!!!!!

Any way as i keep ready my books i will keep my blog updated, if you would like some recipes i do a recipe of the week in the online so go to that site and you will still get some good recipes of mine.

Bon appetit