Monday, December 3, 2012

To hal and byron and .......

this is a moan so stop reading now. for the past two weeks evenings have been spoiled by no-shows. i don't try to turn tables because i don't like to be rushed myself when i eat out but we may have to start because we have lost 20% of our turnover on two nights when we have also had to turn tables away. on top of three of the worst months since we have been open and we simply cannot afford to be wasting money in this way. i realise that the people who read this blog, all 6 of you, are also the people who ring to cancel a table but this has to be said somewhere. it's not good enough to ring a table of 5 who have not bothered to turn up or to let us know that they wouldn't, to be told 'oh i really should have rung'. so thank you byron and hal and all of the others who can't be bothered to ring, you make running a restaurant so much more of a bind.

Monday, October 29, 2012


apologies to a new diner who ordered our meat dish by mistake on friday. this is my fault entirely because for the first time i used the name of the dish without the name of the meat. doro wat is an ethiopian chicken (usually) stew and i should have made that clear. many apologies wayne

tofu or not tofu

this weekend i did a food demo at the cowbridge food festival and the theme for this year was tofu. this is a very versatile ingredient that may not have great flavour but can carry flavours. here are the recipes, fresh tofu bring one litre of soy milk to the boil and add a coagulant. i use one and a half teaspoons of nigari flakes to 150ml of cold water. dissolve and add to the hot milk and let the soy milk turn into curds and whey. you then need to mould the mix. i think that the best moulds would be 2 500g containers of margarine. put some holes into the bottom of one of the containers to let the water run away and line it with some muslin or a clean tea towel, pour the mix in and let the water drain. once the curds are separate, fold the tea towel over and place the second container on top, squeeze and weigh down. place in the fridge overnight, then store in cold water. tofu done simple. cut your tofu into squares and marinate in a mix of tamari or soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. you can leave this for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours and eat it like this or fry in veg oil. cook like a chef burgers break up 200g of tofu and add 100g of mixed ground nuts and breadcrumbs. add a dash of tamari and a tablespoon of tahini then chop up some dill and add. mix together with a fork and taste for balance of flavours. add about 30g of rice flour to help the bind and form into burgers. fry in veg oil until golden brown. thai tofu cakes as above but rather then dill add a tablespoon of red curry paste and some chopped coriander. lebanese tofu cakes as above but add a mix of mint, coariander, parsley, lemon juice, lime juice and ras el hanout. red curry paste. Thai Curry paste 8 chillies. The long dutch ones are the best because they tend to be not too hot. If you like it hotter, use a couple of thai chillies as well. You should probably taste the chillies to decide whether you want to go seeds in or seeds out. Green for a green paste and red for a red paste. A thumb sized piece of ginger. You can also use galangal if you can get it but if you can’t, don’t sweat it. 6 cloves of garlic 1 or 2 shallots, only one if it a good size banana shallot. A small bunch of coriander A few teaspoons of thai basil and kaffir lime leaves. You can buy jars of these in good supermarkets or Asian stores. If you cannot get them throw a few leaves of basil and a few leaves of mint in. The juice and zest of two limes A teaspoon of tamarind extract Half a thumb of palm sugar A tablespoon of ground cumin and ground coriander. Put all of the above into a food processor or blender and blend until a paste forms. You can add oil or water to encourage blending. cheers wayne


Dear all I’ve decided to change the menu after three weeks because we ran out of the boar chorizo. We source this from a supplier in the east of England so for one week it didn’t seem worthwhile. This means that the next menu will last for 5 weeks and will be one of our infrequent ‘specials’ menu. Each week some of the dishes will be changed, some may remain for the menu, some may appear just once. This gives me a chance to rid our freezer and store cupboard of ingredients that we bought/stored for previous menus but did not use. In the freezer at present, we have a box of wild garlic that was picked in the spring for the soup and pesto, so we may use this to make some malfatti. I’ve also got a portion or twenty of the filling that we used for our rice tamales and i’ve been wanting to do some thai style wontons in a coconut broth for some time; two birds etc etc. I could continue but i’ve got some more digging to do. For dessert, i’ve been fancying poached apples since we started poaching them for the crumble. We’ve poached pears plenty of times and we’ve baked apples but not poached and maybe there is a reason for this but we’ll give it a go, use my preserved plums for a sorbet and maybe find something to stuff in the middle. The other dishes, at least to start with, will be a treacle tart and the sticky toffee pudding. (since trying to send this the first time, i came across some Sharon fruit so we’ll be poaching these and serving with sorbet and a thuile) I hope that those of you who ate with us on the last menu enjoyed the food, it was quite popular with the workers. I made three sorbets, plum (beautiful), peach (apparently tasteless) and pear (my favourite), for the crumble and about ten different varieties of crumble. As always it was impossible to plan; different days meant different orders and having had two quiet days on the crumble at the start of the menu, i decided to not bother making any new crumble topping for the first Saturday. The time inconsistency of that plan became apparent when all of the prepped mix went in the first three or four orders. We were then frantically making crumble at 8:45, crushing up some biscuits that had been ordered for Christmas and generally panicking as the crumble refused to brown. Ten minutes later, panic over and from then on plenty of crumble mix wasted at the end of the weekend. The girls were very scathing about my attempts to make peshwari rotis and as these do not exist outside our restaurant, it was a recipe that changed quite alot over the menu. This is how it finished. Place 50g of dessicated coconut and 100g of raisins/sultanas into a small blender and blend until the raisins are finely chopped. Add some kalonji/black onion seeds/nigella and some black cumin, 20g sugar and 50g of ground almonds and blend together. This makes a very nice chutney as well as roti mix. Add a little coriander and chilli and serve it with a thai curry. To make the roti place 300g of flour into a bowl, add 100g of you coconut mix and a tablespoon of oil. Mix together then slowly add water to form a soft bread dough. Cover and place into the fridge for a couple of hours. (if you prefer a more naan-type bread, use a little yoghurt instead of some of the water and add a sachet of fast action yeast). To cook, break off some of your dough and roll out on a floured surface. Heat up a heavy bottom, non-stick frying pan and throw the roti on. Cook until well browned on both sides. Serve with a curry of your choice. The other dish that took a few turns was the chocolate and hazelnut tart. Initially i put the hazelnuts through the sweet pastry mix like so. Place an egg, 40g of caster sugar and 100g of soft butter into a food processor and blend together. Add 100g of ground hazelnuts and blend. Now add plain flour and pulse until a dough forms, up to 200g. The nice thing about this method is that, without the hazelnuts, the dough can be rolled immediately or can be placed in the fridge and rolled later. To bake, roll out the pastry and place into a loose bottomed pan. Because the hazelnuts affect the consistency of the pastry you may have to mould it around the edges to form the crust. You can freeze the pastry and grate it in to the pan. Place a sheet of baking paper in the pastry shell and fill with baking beans. Cook at 180C for ten minutes then take the beans out, turn the oven down to 160C and bake for a further ten minutes to dry out the base. Filling: Heat up 200ml of double cream with 80g of caster sugar, dissolving the sugar. Whilst hot add 7-8 oz of 70% chocolate and whisk to melt. Now add two medium eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 250g of crème fraiche. Blend with the chocolate mix. Pour into the cooled base and cook in a 140C oven for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and serve. The pastry made with the hazelnuts was a little too biscuity and the edges tended to take a little bit of eating because they were a little thicker than usual so version two changed it up a bit. Now make the sweet pastry without the hazelnuts, this can be rolled out more thinly and will be a lot crisper. Place the hazelnuts in the chocolate mix and proceed as above. This weekend i shall be doing a food demo at the cowbridge food festival and i’m still a little unsure about what to do. I may do a tofu demo, starting with making from soy milk, through to all of the different ways that we use it in the restaurant. We’ll see. This is the new menu, starters and mains are not fully decided yet. Imam bayeldi purse with white bean hummous and green sauce “Chicken” skewers with satay sauce Panelle fries with red pepper ketchup Mushroom wontons with curried onion broth Thai-style wontons in coconut broth Wild garlic malfatti in cheese broth Quesadilla/fajita with slasa, guacamole and sour cream Doro wat with injera Chakalaka Herb gougeres with lemon and parsley ricotta and tomato sauce Thali plate Poached apple with plum sorbet Treacle tart with ice cream Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and ice cream Nick and the muso medics haven’t got back to me with anything for this newsletter so the choices are all mine and all heaven 17. If it’s not to your taste, do something about it and let me have some choices. my favourite and this seems to be shadowed in the previous song and i’d forgotten this all that remains is to say that the 2-4-1 winner is elin. Love and light wayne

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

new menu and sorbet recipe

i quite like the new menu; it's very busy in the kitchen, lots of pans on the go at the same time, the polenta need constant beating, but it's enjoyable. as always there are plenty of problems, not least the rice tamales. these are in the shape of a tamale but made using a blend of thai rices; jasmine, black and sticky. by friday i was losing my mind trying to shape the bleeders with the back of a wet spoon. just as i was about to start flinging it around the kitchen i decided to use my head and mould the basic shape with a piece of greaseproof (they're steamed in greaseproof anyway) and then flatten it with my hand. success! it took the same time to make the final ten as it had to make the first two; breakdown and inevitable tears averted. feedback has been positive for the most part and presentation has improved through the weekend but two issues arose. the first regarding the filo pie. it was said that the taste of the filling was lost because of the spicy tomato sauce which cover the green beans. having eaten one myself i had to agree. this week we'll be aiming for a brighter presentation of the pie filling, more herbs and more vinegar/lemon, but the sauce will remain the same. the second issue is down to the gardening skills of the webmaster. i had hoped for bucketloads of free plums but his trees are bare, so we had to go out and buy. we bought some british and some spanish. the spanish ones looked prettier so we used those for the poached plums and i used the british ones to make the sorbet and it was a shame that we din't have (free) welsh plums for both. one customer thought the sorbet the best she had had, so here is an approximate recipe. 300ml of stock syrup. this is about 200ml water and 150g of sugar, brought to the boil and allowed to simmer for ten minutes. put a little cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla in. once the syrup is made take out the aromatics and add about 250g of plums. poach until soft and then blend. pass through a sieve and allow to cool. measure out 500ml and add a dash of lemon juice, then place into the bowl of an ice cream maker and have sorbet. you can freeze and whisk, freeze and whisk for not such a good outcome. cheers wayne

Friday, June 15, 2012

teething problems and nutty issues

first night of the new menu and the usual problems; i hadn't made at least two parts of the menu, the koftas are a little bland and it's a nutty menu. the first problem is easily resolved, apologise and hope for the best. the koftas are a perennial problem, it's very difficult to get the seasoning right on the first night but i didn't mind the slightly bland flavour because the rest of the dish had loads of flavour; i'll bump up the seasoning tonight. the more involved issue is nuts, or rather the amount of them on the menu. we had three new diners in last night, one of whom had a serious nut allergy. the problem with mexican food is that lots of the moles are thickened with nuts so that nuts are used in the kitchen very frequently. we are as vigilant as possible when it comes to nuts, different boards/knives, but could i guarantee that everything has no traces of nuts? no and so a new diner left whose allergy was severe whereas another diner with a less severe allergy ate and everything was cool. nuts

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

a kiss but no tongues

we very much enjoyed saturday night. the menu came together nicely, not bad for three weeks in, and service was nice and busy. one table came in and left without eating and we had a no-show but to counter we also had a few new diners and one comment struck home. we've always made the meat dish as flavourful as we could but it has also been the poor relation. historically many of our dishes were one pot dishes, tagines, curries etc but as we developed the menus the vegetarian dishes tended to become more complex whereas the meat dish stayed the same. chatting to one of the new customers on saturday and they asked why we have the meat dish on. as i have explained many times to many people, in my social circle i am the only vegetarian and i wanted to provide this dish as a welcome to everyone; tony would have been happy to go 100% veggie. on the whole it has worked, although it is mostly interpreted as a gimmick. on the current menu the meat is a stew and rice whereas the veggie equivalentish dish (ethiopian wat etc.) has a beetroot raita, dhal and a chutney. the lack of the accompaniments was described as a kiss but no tongues. here are the recipes for the tongues. beetroot raita. fry onion in oil until lightly browned, turn up heat and add black cumin seeds and brown or slightly blacken. allow to cool. for the best result roast fresh beetroot in foil in 180C oven for one hour, to cheat use vacuum packaged but you will lose the colour. finely chop the beetroot. place a pot of yoghurt (we use yofu, but greek would work very well) chop some dill and add together with the beetroot, onion mix to the yoghurt. season with lime juice and salt and pepper. chutney finely chop an onion and lightly fry. add a teaspoon of black cumin and panch pooram (a mix of whole indian spices) and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. shred or grate some carrots and add to the onions. throw in a tin of chick peas and add 100ml of rice vinegar and 150g of caster sugar. cook until syrupy. season to taste. my brulee recipe this is different to any that i have seen but the results are pretty decent and it takes significantly lees time. makes 10 four egg yolks and two whole eggs in a two litre jug. add two teaspoons of vanilla sugar or a teaspoon of extract and 150g of caster sugar. add 200ml of milk and 800ml of double cream. there should be 1200ml of liquid, add more cream if there is less. use a hand blender to bring everything together and pour in to ramekins. (you can put anything in the bottom of the ramekins, at the moment we have a mix of stewed rhubarb and blitzed stem ginger). place in a deep oven tray and fill tray with boiling water to 2/3 of the way up the ramekin and place in an oven at 130C. cook until there is only the slightest wobble left in the middle of the brulee. place in the fridge for 3 hours minimum. to serve sprinkle sugar on the top and brulee with a kitchen torch. cheers wayne

Sunday, May 20, 2012

6 dinner ladies and some recipes

just spent a very interesting ten minutes reading the dissection of the restaurant undertaken by the 6 dinner ladies. i was not working the night that they came in but they will, hopefully, be happy to know that most of what they subsequently wrote in their blog, was relayed to me the following day; reviewing service and dishes on a daily basis is one of the things that we try to do. you can read their opinions here i've put the recipe for the umeboshi tofu in the newsletter so i'll do the crespelle here. one of the comments that i didn't like, and it is one that has been made before (and i didn't like it then either) was the accusation that we use the correct terminology to confuse or look clever. we don't and when i say we i mean me, the language that i use is the langauage of the food. every pie that we do, whether it be a b'stilla, spanakopita, fatayer, pithivier could also be called a pasty. what would we gain by doing so, we would be doing a dis-service to the food. what should we have called ravioli, cannelloni etc when they were not well known. umeboshi plums are umeboshi plums, there is no alternative. we could call tofu soy cheese but would that be any clearer. i'll continue to do what i do and that is try to produce decent food. i'll call it the name that it was called in the place that it originated and if this upsets you, please feel free to close your mind off further; gregg's sell pasties, we do not. anyway with that off my chest, the pancake recipe. this is a simple dish that is anything but, involving as it does, several different processes. pancakes wild garlic or spinach, a handful plain flour soy milk silken tofu salt and pepper put about 250g plain flour in a jug and add two teaspoons of silken tofu, the salt and pepper and the garlic/spinach. add soy milk and blend with a hand blender. continue adding until you have a pancake batter. using a good non-stick pan make the pancakes. filling. vegan ricotta: place some cashew nuts in a blend and cover with soy milk. blend until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. transfer to a food processor and add a block of firm tofu and season with plenty of lemon juice, salt and pepper. now add some nutmeg and more spinach and wild garlic and blend to create the filling, checking the seasoning. take the pancakes and place some filling in the centre. roll the pancake over and place in the oven. cook until crispy. serve with a salad and tomato sauce (also in the last newsletter but i quite like the arrabiata one of lloyd grossman) cheers wayne

Friday, April 20, 2012

the roller coaster ratings

i never did get to ethos vegan restaurant because time seems to speed up in the second week and any opportunity slipped passed. i did however get to go on many of florida's top rollercoasters; this is the list by park and in the order that we did them.

rockin' roller coaster at hollywood studios

space mountain at magic kingdom

experience everest at animal kingdom

manta and cracken at seaworld

hulk, dragon challenge, rockit, the mummy at universal parks

kumba, cheetah hunt, montu, kwazi, scorpion, sheikra at busch gardens

scariest ride: manta. this coaster has you sitting with legs hanging and then pivots you up so that you are parallel with the ground and all your weight is pressed down against the restraint. this is disconcerting enough when you are stationary but then you are transported in this position up the first incline. the first time that i did this ride i pretty much prayed that i would not fall out and die a horrific, splashy, death. the park had put some netting underneath but this was to catch the shoes and mobile phones that fell out, not bodies. once you ascended the first peak, you were spun and sent around the rest of the ride, never completely at ease with your precarious situation. unfortunately my children loved it and we went straight back on. second time, a little better but still, by a long, long way, the scariest ride we went on.

fastest ride: you would think that this was cheetah hunt but it was sheikra that was the fastest. this was certainly not the best because it was a bit of a one trick pony; taking you up a long climb to a vertical drop, stopping just long enough to encourage a few screams and then dropping you so that you left your seat as you fell. fantastic for that part but catrin, 9 years old and just the required 54", found it boring because that was all that it did.

most anticipated ride; montu. this looked amazing because of all the inversions, 7, but did not live up to its promise, just too damn smooth.

ricketiest ride: has to go to kwazi, simply an old looking wooden structure and boy you got banged around.

ride with a name that made some sense: joint hulk and cheetah hunt. hulk was breathtaking, very fast and very powerful. the start was amazing, catapulting you into the ride with amazing acceleration and never letting up, very hulkish. cheetah humt was based on the movement of a cheetah and like the hulk the first trick was acceleration usinf repelling magnets to eliminate friction but cheetah hunt was power and style. it was very long and graceful with amazing changes of direction and speed.

Best rides:

these were the rides that i enjoyed the most

1. kraken: very fast and lots of inversions. we went on time after time at the end of the day,
2. Kumba: closed when we first went to check but then we did a front and a back ride. excellent.
2. Hulk: power
4. Manta, dragon chalenge and montu

other rides worth a mention

the new rides are hybrids between coasters and simulators and in this genre we went on the simpsons ride, spiderman and harry potter. of the three i would have spiderman first, 3d glasses rather that simulated 3d gave a better overall experience (i flinched both times when the bricks came at me, that dr octopus!) and then it was potter and the simpsons.

best tip: don't go to disney.

second best tip: if you do go to the big parks use the single rider queue. the queues for the harry potter ride were enormous; in the single rider queue we waited for 5 minutes. you sometimes get to ride with a family member but not often but that is usually much better than spending an hour in a queue with them.

third: if you like coasters, do busch gardens. it's also a pretty decent wildlife park.

fourth: use a satnav.

off to the airport and working tomorrow so see you in the restaurant.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

still in the us of a

it's sunday morning and we're watching family guy on demand. i found myself thinking about the next menu at about 5 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. currently i'm probably living in a mid-atlantic time zone; about 2 hours before the US and 3 hours after the UK. done the disney stuff and everyone is now pretty bored with the parks; we only have 5 more to do. will be eating at a vegan restaurant this week, so hope that that will be good. the food thus far has been pizza, and more pizza and pretty much more pizza. i've cooked some mexican and some thai curry and had some nice salad. the best thing is the quality and variety of ingredients, very fresh and varied. the vegan sausages take some beating and the avocados are incredible.

now the dish that kept me up today is beetroot and umeboshi sushi balls with fried, marinated tofu and cashew and wasabe cream. it sounded lovely in my head so let's hope for the best.

will write about the restaurant soon.


Monday, March 12, 2012

the travails of miss burgess

the most important member of the canteen community is leanne. she does the bookings, often correcting mistakes made by yours truly, orders wine, beers, cleans, cooks and keeps us all in check. every now and again, life throws up something that test even her. last week we had to get the electrics upgraded to satisfy new regulations. this meant the pulling up of floorboards in the derelict flat above to do some re-wiring and earthing and sometimes things get knocked that should not. leanne is usually first in on thursday and puts on the heating and the lights, cooks some cakes and does a little cleaning; i'm usually not that far behind. last thursday my daughters were ill off school with a cold that i have now, so i was looking after them. at 11.30 the telephone rang. leanne had turned on the lights, gone to the kitchen and turned on the heating. she came back to find water streaming through the ceiling above the bar and over table one; she turned off the lights and the heating and water stream turned into a trickle. she telephoned me, panicked by imminent electrocution. we agreed that she should go to the kitchen and do all of my work and wait for tony to come in. an houir or so later the problem had been identified but not solved. the electrician had knocked two pipes which had come apart and these were part of the heating system. as this was off, only a little water came out and he assumed that they were redundant. when leanne turned the heating on, the system started up and water was pumped straight out of the open pipe. a pain but one which was sorted by 4 and the place could be mopped and cleaned. well done to leanne, above and beyond as usual.

a recipe

as you know i don't do measuring exactly but i have to for you and for the recipe book. i took the time to measure the ingredients for the roulade, so this is it.

70g butter
90g cornflour (you can use plain flour if not making coeliac and i'd use 65g)
1 pint of milk
5 eggs, separated
salt, pepper and mixed fresh herbs (i use a mix of basil, tarragon, chives and mint)

melt the butter and add the cornflour to make a roux. cook out for a couple of minutes and then throw in the milk. cook on a medium heat, whisking all the while, until the cornflour thickens the milk and it becomes quite stiff. turn off the heat and whisk for two minutes to reduce the temperature.

separate the eggs and place the whites in a clean bowl. take the yolks and whisk them in to the cornflour mixture while it is still warm. this will give a glossy look and will stop the mix from breaking up. season and add the mixed herbs. (4 small packs from the supermarket is probably about 2 times the amount that you want, so add half and then make another to chop and freeze)

whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks and then fold into the other mix, being careful to keep as much air in as possible.

you will need a baking tray, about 16" by 11". cover this with reusable baking parchment or good baking paper. pour the mix on this and move so that it is a uniform depth. cook in a 180C oven for 20 minutes until well risen and browned. if you don't cook it enough, you'll have trouble rolling, as it will stick to the parchment.

take off the tray and allow to cool.

we spread ours with Moroccan onion jam (ras el hanout, onions, vinegar and sugar) but you can put goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, mexican stuff, or anything you fancy.

the hard part is rolling. once you have filled the roulade, starting at one end, release the roulade and roll to form a swiss roll. keep it tightly rolled and place in the fridge for 2 hours minimum.

once cold, unwrap and cut in to portions. you will have enough for 6-8 main course or 10-12 starters. place these in a pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned but souffled. this is a twice baked souffle essentially. serve with anything you fancy.



Monday, February 20, 2012

in case i forget it completely

i've been meaning to post the recipe for the thai tofu cakes that we had on the menu a few months ago and this is it.

to make this coeliac, you'll need to get some coelaic bread. we buy ours from the great bakers at the hungry planet because it is both coelaic and vegan; many varieties that you can buy in supermarkets have egg in them.

some tofu, crumbled. the cheapest stuff you can buy in chinese supermarkets but beware, it can be too gloopy. we ordered a catering pack from hungry planet, made by clearspot i think. this has a better texture and leaves some nice lumps.

coriander and chilli finely chopped and to your taste.

some breadcrumbs, the exact amount will depend upon the water content in the tofu.

some thai basil (you can buy in jars from man fung chinese supermarket on penarth road)

some green curry paste, homemade is best.

a couple of tablespoons of tahini.

a good slosh of tamari.

some rice flour.

i think that that is it. you need to crumble the tofu and then add the aromatics to taste. once you are happy with the taste, then you need to add the breadcrumbs and the rice flour to give you a mixture that you can handle and mould. i would not go too dry, the mixture should still have some moisture. mould in to patties and put in the fridge for a couple of hours. shallow fry and serve with salad and sweet chilli sauce.



Monday, February 6, 2012

leaky bucket

apologies to all the male diners who ate with us on saturday. kelly was in london, so i worked the sink. thankfully it was not that busy, so i managed to keep up ok and also got to talk to some of the diners. the problem with the place is that the upstairs is being left to rot and we have to deal with the consequences. sometimes we feel like the little boy with his finger in the dam, because as soon as we think we've blocked up one hole, another appears and the water comes in. the men's toilet area appears to have the biggest hole. i'll be taking in some plastic sheeting tomorrow and some mastic, to see if we can't stick on a big plaster, but really the place needs to be knocked down and built again. you guys are the most patient people and i would like to extend our thanks to you once again.

here are a couple of recipes.


we're making this vegan and to do so, you have to plan ahead. it is easy to make with good greek yoghurt because that is quite thick anyway but to make it vegan it is best to start by making a labne. labne is a yoghurt cheese that is made by straining yoghurt through a piece of muslin or a tea towel. line a sieve with the muslin and put in the yoghurt. place over a bowl and leave in the fridge for a minimum of one day, better two. this will allow the water to drain from the yoghurt and give you something like a ricotta consistency. at this point you can let your imagination run away with you. add chilli, garlic, herbs, honey, sesame seeds and roll in your hand to make little labne balls to accompany a wide range of Mediterranean food. to make the shrikhand we take the drained yoghurt and sweeten with vanilla sugar and agave nectar (honey would be just as good), then whisk. this is too thick so we now let it down with undrained yofu, in a 2:1 proportion; start with 2 yofus that have been drained, sweeten and then add an undrained yofu back in. you can then add what you fancy. this wek we've used mostly mango but also some kiwi and some mangosteen. serve in a sundae glass.

this week i shall be attempting a vegan barfi to go with the shrikand. barfi are extremely easy to make, especially if you start with condensed milk. just add whatever you like (ground pistachio or other nuts, dessicated or freshly grated coconut) and mix and bang it in the microwave. do it in 1 minute bursts and stir in between. you will feel the texture begin to change as it is cooked and stop when it feels thick. place in a box and allow to cool. cut in to bits and you have a delicious snack. i'll try to make some vegan condensed milk by dissolving lots of sugar in some soy milk and letting it simmer until it thickens. i may add some cardamom pods as well because we had a beautiful cardamom and rice milk sorbet at Park House on saturday. i may even steal that for a future menu. fingers crossed that it works.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

haggis recipe

i was asked for the haggis recipe so this is it.

you will need some millet (cooked). to cook, toast the millet in a dry pan. once it has gone a little golden, add some vegetable stock , about 2 and a half times the volume of millet, and simmer until most of the stock has been absorbed. turn off the heat and put on a lid. leave for 30 minutes and it should cook in its own heat.

some puy lentils: cook as per packet instructions.

finely chop and onion and a couple of carrots. fry until soft. finely chop a few mushrooms and add to the pan. once the mushrooms have released their water, add a teaspoon of cayenne (less if you prefer), a teaspoon of ground all spice, a pinch of rosemary, thyme and lemon thyme (all dried). fry for a minute then add 150g of pinhead oatmeal (you can buy this in the spice of life shop, just off albany rd) and some stock (try 300 ml to start). cook for ten minutes, then turn off cover and allow to steam. season.

to make the haggis use in the following proportions. 2/5 of the mix should be the oatmeal and 3/10 each of millet and lentils. place in a bowl and mix well. add to this mix 150g of potato starch and 2 teaspoons of agar agar powder (if you cannot get this, add a sachet, or two, of vegegel (available in sainsbury's)). mix well. your mix should be neither dry nor wet but should drop off a spoon but not that easily.

now comes the hard part. take some clingfilm, about 14" and place on the surface. take some of your mix and place in the middle of the clingfilm. now, by moving the mix back and forth, form the mix into a sausage shape and put towards the top end of the clingfilm, in the middle about 5" long. bring the top of the clingfilm over and roll the sausage in the clingfilm, just like a cracker. tie off both ends and continue until all the mix is gone. bring some water to the boil and poach your haggis for 15 minutes. cool quickly by running cold water over the haggis.

allow to cool in the fridge and then take the clingfilm off. bake in the oven for ten minutes to serve.

sorry, bit involved that one.