Saturday, September 10, 2011

some recipes at last

since i've been banging on about other stuff recently, i thought i'd better do what this blog is supposed to and put some cooking in it. i'll put some of the recipes from this menu and start with the carrot and sweet potato bhajis.

you need to grate a couple of carrots and a decent sized sweet potato. you can add a very finely sliced onion as well. season with salt, add some thai green curry paste, thai taste is best if you haven't made your own, and a good slosh of lime juice. you need to let this sit for a couple of hours to allow the salt and juice to start the cooking of the vegetables. this will draw out a little moisture and you know add gram flour to this mix and you should add enough to make a loose batter; too much and the bhajis will be too bready. the best way to do this is to test by deeo-frying a test one, if it breaks up, add a little more flour.

heat oil in a deep-fat fryer to 190 and fry until golden.

red pepper humous

one tin of chickpeas
one small shallot
one clove of garlic
a tablespoon of tahini
two roasted red peppers, or a small jar in oil and use the oil (aldi do some nice ones)
salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

blend in a food processor until smooth

variations: add any veg that you want to your basic hummous mix, e.g. roasted pumpkin (see a forthcoming menu) or spice, e.g. black cumin.

vegan mousse cake

this is a very nice cake but as i called it white chocolate, everyone is expecting a milky bar moment. it isn't that chocolatey because we use vegan white chocolate, which isn't as rich as the dairy version because of the lack of cream etc. i'm pretty sure that i've put our white chocolate cheesecake on this blog somewhere, so this is the vegan version.

a biscuit base of blitzed non-dairy digestives mixed with some melted soy margarine. put into a springform pan and bake until golden in a 180 oven.

wet mix: 350g of white choc chips in a jug just covered by soy milk. microwave for 3 minutes then blend with a hand blender. add a packet of silken tofu and blend until smooth. in a separate jug mix two teaspoons of no egg (ener-g is best but orgran is ok) and 50 ml of soy milk. blend with the hand blender to bring together and add to the tofu-chocolate mix and blend. pour over the cooled base and bake at 130 until risen and set, about 30 minutes. it shouldn't wobble.


pick fresh blackberries and elderberries.

elderberry syrup.

take elderberries of the stem with a fork. wash and put in a pan. cover with water and bring to the boil. allow to simmer for ten minutes then mash with a potato masher. separate the juice from the pulp and measure the juice. the recipe for jam/jelly is 1 pint of juice to one pound of sugar, so if you're doing this, and i shall be, add the correct amount of sugar, some lemon juice or ascorbic acid, and bring to a rolling boil. check the setting temp, 107C, with a sugar thermometer or just let it go for five minutes and pour a teaspoon onto a cold plate. if it jellies slightly, i'm happy. i like mine a bit more runny. for the syrup, halve the quantity of sugar.

to serve, poach some blackberries in some syrup.

elderberry syrup is amazing, the flavour complex and it's, sugar excepted, pretty much free.

take some scissors and cut some elderberries.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

taking the hits

today we are back at the restaurant to do our pre-autumn big clean. we get all the ovens shifted, cleaned, the back tiles done, hand and knees on the floor, scrubbing brush in hand, shelves to clear etc etc. so that we can start afresh for the autumn. the first few menus will be transitional, we'll be trying to use as much of the allotment produce that we can before we have to move to root based menus later in the year. i've not been up there too much but i've not received the letter asking me to pack my stuff yet so it can't be that bad.

i'll be struggling a little with the cleaning as i'm still suffering a little from the holiday. during the white water rafting we were offered the chance to float down the river on our backs for a couple of hundred metres. floating has never been one of my strong points and this was exposed quite starkly when about 30 metres in my coccyx was hit by the first of three rocks, bang, bang, bang. my offered cursing had no effect on the pain and i found sitting, but especially getting up, painful for the next few days. fortunately we didn't get our mountain bikes until the pain had subsided quite a bit, but every day after that the smashing of backside against, extremely small, seat lengthened my period of recovery.

add to that a slip off the pedal which brought the pedal smashing back into my shin and i've still a few aches and pains to get rid of before i can start my training proper for this year's half marathon.

those said the worst hit of the week was walking my son to school on his first day of comprehensive school. as we neared the school he said he was ready to walk alone, i said ok and before i had a chance to say goodbye he was gone. biggest hit.



Sunday, September 4, 2011

the food ratings

i don't remember all of the food that we have eaten at the christiania but here are my ratings of what i did eat.

Lentil and kidney bean stew (7)

very tasty, nicely seasoned and a good start

Goat cheese salad with chilli jam (8)

very nice jam and goat cheese is a favourite of mine. only an 8 because it was starter and there was not enough salad. made the forgettable main better although i can't remember what it was.

Red pepper risotto (5)

rice a little undercooked but not as much as the vegetables. too dry.

Leek crumble (2)

the low point. we were to have chickpea dijonaisse but this sounded good. no leeks, no flavour and the crumble was baked baguette that was as inedible as the toast we served with the beetroot tartare, sorry about that by the way.

Chocolate tart (4)

my children loved it, so too sweet and pastry not good.

Fruit crumble (5)

the crumble was good but the fruit had little flavour, even though it had been poached.

Veg sausage and burger with fries (1) positional

this is a positional result because it was a meal after rafting. we came in last, the fries had been cooked in one go and by the time that we got to them there were more stuck to the tongs than in the bowl. a mess that could have been averted had the fries been cooked in batches. i'd rather wait than have soggy, greasy mashed potato.

Chocolate fondant (5)

decent attempt but no saucy middle and drowned in aggressive chocolate sauce. if you wqant to make these, cheat. take some of the sauce and freeze it in small portions. when you put your mix in ramekins, pop your cube in the middle and bake. guaranteed oozy centre.

Thai curry (5)

nice enough but lacked the thai element. buy some decent curry pastes in the UK and supplement with fresh coriander etc.

stuffed pepper with red cabbage and dauphinoise (6)

this is for the cabbage. the pepper wasn't far from raw and was only half a pepper anyway. possibly stuffed with the forgotten chickpeas and topped with cheese.

i'm looking forward to the new menu now. i feeel inspired to cook and eat.



Friday, September 2, 2011

nice surprises and not so nice ones

five days in to our activity holiday in the ski resort of les gets and, bizarrely, i bump in to one of our customers in a hot tub at the hotel at which our friends are staying. it's a small world, or so they say, but i've also bumped in to thousands of people that i've never met and who haven't been to the restaurant. so, very nice to meet you luke.

the food has been a curate's egg. a nice lentil dish on the first night followed by a disastrous leek crumble the following day. that said, it was to be a chickpea dijonaise but that was deemed to bad, i'm assuming and the leek thing had no leeks. tonight was a decent curry with heart attack soup to start.

off to do the quiz now and enjoy the rest of the holiday.