Tuesday, June 30, 2009

elderflower hunter

so we've got elderflower and gooseberry fool on the menu at the moment and i remembered this morning that i hadn't made the elderflower cordial. i was in the car and thought about all the lovely lanes around here; there must be elderflower in abundance. thirty minutes later i'd stopped the car about five times and had the same number of elderflower bunches. getting desperate i decided to drive to my special tree, the one i use for berries. twenty minutes later, another couple of bunches. things were getting desperate, so desperate that i contemplated invading the hedges of houses. having stopped myself from doing so i lucked upon a veritable elderflower orchard in llanharry cemetery, ten minutes later i had increased my haul fifteen-fold and had still left thousands of flowers for the bees.

at the restaurant, elderflower suitably prepped, we needed a recipe. all recipes call for citric acid, the need for which is to do something i guess. where to find that? the chemist? yes but they have none, not since it was discovered that it can be used for more nefarious purposes. that is one of the problems of clifton street i guess. to get some now do i have to go to a drug dealer?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

recipes and a promise of more

so, two days into the new menu and things are going well. the star starter, at least in terms of orders, is the lavash nachos. the star dish, full stop, is the szechuan tofu. this was a nightmare because i'd never really cooked chinese before, buddha's delight as a possible exception. so it was with a sense of, 'i'm sorry but this is of the menu tonight', that we trawled the web for recipes. with a non-exhaustive list of ingredients written down and an unsteady hand, i put a recipe together. i'll let you have that soon because i haven't measured anything yet but it is very nice.

the two recipes for today are the risotto, requested on thursday, and the tuile biscuits, which do not even appear on the menu but accompany the spiced plums.


1 Onion, 1 stick celery both finely chopped.
500g Arborio rice
mint, lemon zest and juice, shelled broad beans, peas
glass of white wine
veg stock

Saute the onion and celery in oil until soft. Turn up the heat a little, add the rice and coat with the oil. Add the wine and wait until it is absorbed. Now add the stock. I’m not one for adding a little by a little, so I would add about 500ml of vegetable stock now. What is important is that you don’t stop stirring. Once this amount is absorbed, then add more a little at a time until the rice is cooked. once the rice is just about there add the peas, zest, mint and broad beans. to finish, add some butter and cheese at this point if desired.


this recipe is vegan and is basically stolen from the veganyumyum blog. it is a different recipe because i tried hers, which is based on US ingredients, and it didn't work. so this is the recipe i used


1 tablespoon of flax eggs, ground in a coffee grinder.
65 ml water
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of plain flour
pinch of slat
teaspoon of vanilla extract

put the groand flax seed and water into a food processor with blade attachment and run on full speed. once the mixture thickens, add the veg marg, the sugar, salt and the vanilla and continue to blend until everything is nice and smooth. don't worry if it looks separated. now add the flour and continue on full power until everything is nicely incorporated. heat the oven to 180C, fan-assisted, and spread out a teaspoon of the mix onto good baking paper or a re-usable baking sheet. spread it very thin with a palette knife. you can use a template at this time and circles work best although i find it's easier if you don't have a template to spread them into rectangles.

place into the oven and bake util the edges beging to brown. using a palette knike remove them from the baking sheet and shape as required, eg cones, baskets, long thin ones that you didn't get to quickly enough but that will go with the plums anyway, that sort of thing. follow the link above for the general idea.



Friday, June 12, 2009

avocado sorbet

one of the pleasant surprises of last night's menu opening was the popularity of the beetroot gazpacho. when we are thinking about recipes, we will usually take a trawl of the internet to see what others have done and then pick out the bits we like. well the gazpacho pretty much takes care of itself but on my trawl we noticed an avocado sorbet accompaniment by a two michelin star chef whose name i can't recall but recipe i can. this is not his because i had no limes when making it so now it's (kind of) ours.

take 150ml of hot water and place in a jug and add 150g of caster sugar. place in microwave and heat to make a sugar syrup. add the zest and juice of a lemon and the flesh from two large avocados. blitz with a hand blender. place in the fridge to cool. once cooled trasfer to an ice cream machine and churn until frozen.

hope the guys from the embassy cafe had a good time and have found this recipe. i'm popping in for lunch on my way to work.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

that coeliac profiterole recipe re-visited

well, i can never settle. the recipe i posted before, i'll not look at again. this is better

100ml mix water and milk
2 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
40 g gram flour
20g rice flour
10 g tapioca flour
40g butter
2 medium eggs

melt butter in water/milk mix and bring to a rolling boil. in one go add the seived flours, sugar and salt and beat together with a wooden spoon until your arm explodes. let mixture cool. beat in the eggs bit by bit. i used a nice moulinex mixer with the dough attachments which worked wonderfully. if only anyone read this thing i might get another for free. take spoonfuls (why only one l? just spent 2 minutes checking the spelling) of the mix and place at intervals on a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated 185c oven. bake until nicely risen and golden.

yum yum

Monday, June 1, 2009

good times at UBC high

many many years ago i was a student at the University of british columbia. the two tears that i spent at UBC was when i discovered what good food could be. well, what a samll world because on staurday i found out that one of regular customers was there around the same time. in fact we overlapped for one year. Now this lady was also kind enough to lend me a couple of the moosewood cafe cookbooks as well and i've ordered some online so may well be thefting recipes soon.

during the conversation it also transpired that we had both played intra-mural sports at bc lions dome. i played co-ed field hockey and football. our football side was billy the fish and, but for me not getting sent off in a bad-tempered semi-final, we could have done okay. i've also just finished reading the auto-biography of chris donald, who started viz and enjoyed that so much that i thought i'd stick up an old photo of the whole team.

they are, from the left, back row first

forgot, benoit delage, yours truly, rene van diepen, pat kenny.

front row

henry thille, chris worswick, pat francois (economist and aussie rules player extraordinaire) nils von hinton reed (no kidding) and sorry, forgot.

they were some of the nicest people i ever met, and i mean some.

anyway on to some recipes. i was talking to a couple on friday and i promised some recipes, so here they are.

coeliac profiteroles

2 eggs
100ml water
100ml milk
70g butter
dash of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
130g gluten free flour. we use a mix of rice, gram and soy flour (don't use a ready made mix as it already has gums in it and reacts badly in the first stage)

heat butter, water, salt, sugar and milk in a suacepan and when boiling add the sieved flour in one go, beating with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and comes away from the side of the pan.

put on a plate and allow to cool. beat the eggs then, once the dough is cool, beat them into the flour mix. pipe or spoon dollops of the mix onto a baking sheet and bake at 190c until risen and brown.

if you want the recipe for the gluten-in profiteroles, we sue ramsey's F-word recipe.