Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Apple Tempura

Hello bloggers,

Yesterday we decided to cook dinner for Maria who is leaving after being with us for four months.
I wanted to cook Asian food for a change and I was set on the entire menu except for the dessert part. I looked in the numerous cook books that we have but nothing stood out enough - I wanted to make something light, with an Asian influence to complement the rest of the dinner. And then it came to me: why not try something completely new and original... What if I were to make tempura for dessert? So I looked inside my fridge and found beautiful red English apples. That's when I decided to make apple tempura. I had absolutely no idea how it would turn out but I knew it needed something sweet on the side. I originally wanted to make a cinnamon sauce for dipping but once we finished dinner, which included a rice noodle salad with grilled peanuts and coriander, a teriaki halibut with sesame seeds and green vegetables on the side, I was a bit reluctant to make a cinnamon sauce considering it is made of condensed milk, butter and sugar.... I thought I'd better stay away from that for now since we're a few weeks away from bikini season (girls I know you understand my point here), which is why I simply decided to sprinkle icing sugar and ground cinnamon instead.
The result: it was simply delicious, the tempura was fluffy and very crispy - just the way you want it to be. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take the calories out this time, that's why a 10km jog was added to my schedule this morning... Definitely worth every bite!

Apple Tempura
Apple Tempura for 4-5 people
3 apples (medium size)
Icing sugar
Ground cinnamon

Tempura Batter
2 egg yolks
350ml iced water
1 teaspoon cornflower
200g flour

1) Peel the apples and cut in thin slices - set aside
2) To make the batter, simply mix the eggs with the iced water, then add the corn flour and flour, then mix.
3) Soak your apples in the batter.
4) In a hot pan, deep fry the apples using vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is very hot so the tempura doesn't get soggy. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.
5) Remove from the pan and rest on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
6) Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Felipe's Breakfast

As I mentioned in the previous post, Felipe hosted a breakfast yesterday and I was meant to bring something... but because I woke up with a slight hangover from Alex&Carol’s gathering, I was shattered… almost didn’t make it to breakfast let alone cook something … so it was all down to Felipe to impress his guest and oh yes, he did a great job!

When I arrived everything was beautifully prepared, from fruit salads to baked eggs and fresh homemade brioches (prepared the previous day) and to accompany the meal, Felipe made a very punchy “A la Flip Bloody Mary”. It was delicious however he added garlic to the mix and although I LOVE garlic, it didn’t quite work for me with this drink. And note that if you plan on going out, don’t go near it… or you will be smelling of garlic from a distance!

For me the 'Oeufs en Cocotte' were the winner: they were beautifully cooked and so tasty! Felipe used Julia Child’s recipes for both the eggs and the brioches from the bestselling cook book of all times 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. The book is fabulous and has all her recipes, the only downfall is the fact that there are no pictures to go with each recipe, something we find quite essential. 

Thanks Felipe for such a lovely breakfast and if you decide to share the secret on your fabulous brioche, I’m sure our readers will be very pleased!

Oeufs en Cocotte (baked eggs)
from Julia Child – Mastering the art of French cooking

Per ramekin:

1/2 teaspoon butter
1 ramekin 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches high
2 tablespoons whipping cream
A pan containing 3/4 inch of simmering water
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter ramekin/s. Break an egg into the ramekin. Pour in a spoonful of cream over the egg and top with a dot of butter.

2. Place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The eggs are done when they are just set but still tremble slightly in the ramekins. They will set a little more when the ramekins are removed, so they should not be overcooked.

3. Season with salt and pepper and serve. The ramekins may remain in the hot water, out of the oven, for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. To prevent overcooking, remove eggs from oven when slightly underdone.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Coconut Muffins

Hello Bloggers and Friends

 With the weekend approaching and the sky looking so grey, why not a tip for the weekend? Baking ...?

Felipe will be hosting a breakfast on Sunday  and I’m already thinking of what tI can make to bring to his house… Until I figure it out, here is our last Sunday baking session, a beautiful and moist coconut muffin, it’s so easy to make and its perfect for an afternoon tea.

Watch the space for Felipe’s breakfast on Sunday, we have been promised a “Brioche a la Flip”, looking forward to i!

Have a great weekend all!

Makes 12

4 eggs
2 cups of sugar
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup orange juice (250ml)
2 tbspoon of grated coconut
50gr butter
1 teaspoon of baking powder

For the covering:
1 small can of coconut milk
1 can of condensed milk
125gr of grated coconut ( fresh works best)  

1.Using a food processor whisk the egg whites until snow forms
2.Add the sugar and butter and continue to whisk for another 3 minutes until smooth
3.Add the egg yolks, the flour , the juice and continue beating until forming a homogeneous mass
4.Add the baking powder last and whisk it for 40 seconds to mix it all together  
5.In a muffin tray place the baking cups and add the mix up to ¾
6.Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until golden  

1.In a bowl mix the coconut milk and condensed milk, add 3 tbspoon of water and the coconut for last
3.As soon as the muffins are baked, remove them from the oven and pierce the top with a fork to allow the topping to penetrate to make the muffins very moist.
4.Pour the covering onto each muffin while hot and sprinkle some fresh coconut on top
5.Let sit in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours before serving

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

3 Course dinner - Catching up with old friends

Preparing a 3 course dinner on a week day after work can be quite hectic , but there are many simple things you can make that can really impress your guests and you can still eat at reasonable time. We love picking up ideas from our cook books and I must say the Jamie Oliver 30 min meals is great , I love how simple and delicious his dishes are !!! This time I picked up the chocolate Ganache from his book  and it was just what I was looking for: quick , tasty and beautiful (you just can’t go wrong with chocolate).
I hadn’t seen Monica and Patricia in a long time and Monica always says how much she misses my food ,so I was on a mission to make something that would remind her of why she missed it , something simple but full of flavor. I went for a pan fried scallops  with chili sauce served with rocket salad, followed by a spicy crusted cod fish served with butter beans and crunchy purple broccolis. Then to finish the meal off, chocolate Ganache … 

Everything went well, the food was delicious but there was one little disaster: I used a super hot chili for the fish crust and for those who can’t take hot spices, I certainly wouldn't recommend it, it was burning hot … so be careful when choosing your chili peppers , make sure you know how hot they are .

pan fried scallops with chili sauce

purple broccolis with garlic

spicy crusted cod with butter beans

chocolate ganache

Pan fried scallops with rocket and chili sauce
Scallops (3 per person)
For the sauce :
1 tblspoon Coriander
1 Lemon
2 Chilies ( red and green)
Olive oil , salt and pepper for seasoning
Rocket leaves for serving

Place the scallops on a paper towel to absorb the moist, meanwhile prepare the sauce: finely chop the coriander and the chili,  add to a small serving bowl, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and drizzle some olive oil on top. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to taste . Once it’s  ready, put aside.
In a hot frying pan , drizzle some olive oil and gently pan fry the scallops, turning only once , leave it until its golden 5-7 min depending on the size
For serving , place a few rocket leaves on a plate and place the scallops on top , drizzling some of the sauce on top , ready to serve

Spicy crusted cod with butter beans
Fillets of Cod (without skin )
100 g crusty bread
100 g corn flour
½  leek
1 spring onion
½  celery
1 chili
1 onion ( finely chopped)
2 lemon
1 tomatoes
Small bunch of fresh coriander

Using a roasting tray , place the cod and drizzle olive oil , salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lemon , rub and toss the fillets in the flavours ,then put it under the grill in the middle tray of the oven for 5 min while you make the topping
For the topping :
using a food processor :
mix 1 - whiz onions , celery , spring onions and leek . put it aside
mix 2 - repeat process with the chopped bread making the crumbs adding the corn flour in the end . put it aside
in a large frying pan with high heat drizzle some olive oil and add mix 1  gently fry it until golden
In a large mixing bowl add mix 1 and 2 together and the chopped tomatoes,  squeeze the lemon of 1 juice and mix it all together you should get a moist crumb past.
Get the fish out of the oven and spread the mix on top of the fish , drizzle some olive oil and put it back in the oven for another 10 min , until crumbs are golden and crispy

150gr pancetta
2 tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of butter beans
Some fresh herbs , coriander or parsley
1 finely chopped onion

In a sauce pan drizzle some oil and add the pancetta , with medium heat , toss occasionally until it’s crispy , leave on the side
Using the same pan (fremove the extra oil from  the bacon put aside) fry the onions with a drizzle of olive oil and add the chopped tomatoes, with the onions golden, tip in the beans and their juices and the bacon let it simmer gently to cook the liquid down . sprinkle some coriander on top and ready to serve  

400gr purple broccoli
3 cloves of garlic ( finely sliced )
1 red chili  ( finely sliced)
2 tbsp Cider vinegar
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Juice of half lemon

Put the broccoli into a pan of boiling water cook for a couple of minutes until tender , don’t cook it too much , you want to keep it quite crunchy , once cooked drain the water and place it in a serving platter
For seasoning using a small frying pan add the finely sliced garlic with a drizzle of olive oil , tossing occasionally until golden brown . 
For the sauce , mix olive oil , cider vinegar and the lemon , shake it until it all mix together
On the platter dress the broccoli with the sauce and toss quickly so it spreads through , sprinkle the garlic and chili on top

2 x 100G bars of good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
A large knob of butter
300ml single cream
2 clementines
Some biscuits for serving

Pour boiling water into a deep cooking pot and place a large bowl on top (bain marie)
smash up the chocolate bars into the bowl and add the butter and cream with a pinch of salt . Finely grate in a zest of 1 clementine, gently stir and leave it to melt
once melted, give the chocolate a good stir and divide them into small serving bowls or espresso cups  , arrange the Clementine and biscuits on a platter and ready to serve

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Tostadas de Pollo by Carlos Jax

Continuing with the South American theme (we seem to be hooked these days), here's a recipe you will all love. Our friend Carlos came to visit us last week and made chicken tostadas, a traditional Mexican street food found throughout the country. This is a very simple recipe using fresh, simple ingredients. It got a little more complicated for us though as we decided to make the corn tortillas from scratch, which requires time and patience… Overall: great success and thanks to Carlos who brought us a tortillero machine, we can now try this recipe in many different variations from home. Keep an eye out for future recipes…

Tostadas de pollo (serves 5 people)
15-20 x corn tortillas
4 x chicken breasts
1 x peeled onion
2 x fresh tomatoes
A bunch of coriander
1 x fresh chili
1 tsp of ground cumin
Salt & pepper

1) Place the chicken breasts to boil in a large pan with one tablespoon of vegetable bouillon. Add one whole peeled onion and 3 whole garlic cloves. Add the bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 20-30minutes.
2) Once done, remove the chicken and set aside. Keep the chicken broth from the pan on low heat to finish off the soup later.
3) Shred the chicken breasts into pieces, then mix in the chopped tomatoes, onion, chili and coriander. Add one teaspoon of ground cumin, salt and pepper. If the chicken is a bit dry, add a couple of table spoons of chicken broth to keep moist. Your filling is ready.
4) Serve with extra chopped coriander, tomatoes and onions, shredded lettuce and top off with spicy salsa and sour cream. You can also add a variety of ingredients such as cheese and avocados, just remember the more you add, the messier it gets (but the better the taste)!

Our home-made corn tortillas

Tostadas de Pollo

Consome de Pollo (chicken soup)
chicken broth
1 x tablespoon vegetable bouillon
1 x tablespoon olive oil
1 x onion
1 x can of chick peas
1.5 x cup of cooked rice
2 x bay leaves
3 x cloves of garlic
the juice of 2 limes
salt & pepper
fresh coriander for topping

1) The chicken broth should already have the vegetable bouillon, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
2) Drain the chickpeas and add to the broth and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes.
3) Remove from the heat and add the juice of 2 limes and the cooked rice.
4) Serve with freshly chopped coriander, onion and lime juice to taste.

Consome de Pollo