Tuesday, June 22, 2010

salad sandwich

just got back from the allotment, to where i have not been as often as i should. i think that i was due a phone call, much like the one that mervyn king gets when inflation is too high, telling me to get up there and get those weeds out. i was at my children's sports day first and the allotment is very close by so it was with great relief that i left the school grounds and got stuck into two hours of hard graft. two hours later it was with far greater relief that i got away, although i had to go back to get my glasses because i left them on the bin. the allotment was looking better, although two lettuce and eight radish had been lifted by me. most of those lettuce and four of the radish are now working their way through my body as i have just eaten them in what could have been the largest salad sandwich in history. accompanying the radish and lettuec was some cheese, four tomatoes and a whole avocado that had been in the fridge for a week. i cut it without much hope but to me great surprise it was still green, soft but still green. stuffed between two slices of wholemeal and with regular escapees hitting my plate, only to be brought to justice eventually, i scoffed the lot. it is this kind of impromptu food that i like best and the recipe that i am going to write is for the filling for our current filo offering.

this filling first saw light because i had all the ingredients in the house and fancied some pasta; it was the pasta sauce. but i don't like doing pasta at the restaurant, save for ravs, and so it had to fill a pie.

fry some onion until soft then add some diced courgette and mushroom and gently fry as well. once softened add a few cherry tomatoes, the zest and juice of one lemon, and some fresh chilli or chilli flakes and cook out. open a jar of artichoke hearts (i love these) and some fresh parsley and mint, chopped. this is great on pasta, sould be amazng with a touch of cream, would make a fantastic lasagne and does make a bloody good pie filling. (in the restaurant we cook everyting separately so that it's not too wet for the filo, you can always put it in a sieve to drain, unlike the jumblies)



Saturday, June 12, 2010

hooray for england

having just watched three of the six nations lose at rugby to southern hemisphere opposition, it is with much delight that i look forward to tonight's match in the world cup. i'm really not too bothered about who wins, my other eye opened up some years back so i lost the inherited antipathy for all things england, the reason for my appreciation is that we've only got three tables booked on a saturday night and things should be nice and easy and i'll be home early.

go england go.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carolyn's cheesecake

This has been one of the undoubted winners of the menu, even being described as the best dessert a customer had ever eaten. it was suggested by carolyn, who fancied the combination of ginger and lemon. this is my basic cheesecake recipe and can be adapted to your desires to be savoury or sweet.

the basic recipe is 250g of quark and 150g of cream cheese. 3 medium free range, organic eggs. blitz this with a hand blender and ignore the bubbles (unless you're very fussy). to make the savoury style you can add in savoury stuff like blue cheese, mustard, herbs etc. to make the sweet we add melted white chocolate and cream (200g, 200ml) or for a simple version, the one i like best, a tin of condensed milk. this removes the need to blend the sugar and make sure it is dissolved.

so to your egg/cheese mix add one tin of condensed milk, the zest of a lemon and the juice of two to three. the ginger is the preserved stem ginger that we have blitzed to a puree. you could finely chop if you like biting on little bits. i add about three heaped teaspoons to the mix and then blend it all together.

for the base i make some coeliac biscuits because they cost heaps and their not hard to make. my basic recipe for this is equal quantities of butter and sugar, cream in a food processor, the same volume of ground nuts (hazelnuts are great for this) and about twice the volume of gluten free flour. i usually add some buckwheat of gram flour to a doves farm plain mix. stick this in the food processor and blend together. it will not come together so add water a little at a time until a dough forms. roll out and cut into biscuits, then cook in a pre-heated 180C oven until lightly browned. allow to cool then blitz to a crumb, add more butter and pack into the base of a 9" springform pan. cook at 180C until golden and firm. allow to cool, then cover the pan with a double layer of foil, up to the rim. pour your cheesecake mix over the base, put the pan in a roasting tray and pour in an inch of boiling water (into the tray not the pan). cook in a pre-heated, 140C, oven for about 30 minutes. you want the cake to be just set. allow to cool, then refrigerate for a few hours. cut with a warm clean knife.

next menu, the cheesecake belongs to ben, who suggested a dark chocolate and ginger.