Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun
Highly useful kitchen gadget

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some new Inspirations!!!!!

Some new Inspirations!!!!!

The last week or two I have been watching the semi – finals and the finals of the BBC TV programme Master Chef: The Professionals. The contestants have been
producing some really exciting, innovative and totally inspirational food with some really daring and esoteric flavour combinations.

In the first stage of the finals on Monday, (12th December 2011), the contestants had to produce a starter and a main course using beef and chicken. The Chicken
cam complete with the giblets and offal. Anyway, having watched the show, it got me onto thinking about the dishes that I would have produced if I wad in that
situation. And thee following are my ideas.

As far as the beef is concerned, there was a choice of cuts, including Fillet, Sirloin, Rib, Rump and Bavette (skirt steak). Anyway, I personally would have used the
Bavette for my first.

Oriental Inspired Beef Salad!!!!

For this dish I would cut the Bavette into steaks weighing about 100grams each. I would then season them with Sea salt and cracked black and then seal the steaks in a very hot pan with a little groundnut oil. Once the steaks had been sealed and nicely caramelized on the outside, I would plunge them into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Before sealing the steaks, they would have to be quite heavily seasoned as the excess salt and pepper would be removed once the steaks are plunged into the iced water. I would then place the steaks into individual vacuum bags along with some Sesame oil, Indonesian soy sauce, mint leaves and Muscavado sugar. The bags would then be sealed and left to marinate for one hour.

To accompany the dish, I would serve the following;

Broccoli Tempura (To give the dish some crunchy texture)
Soy sauce, maple syrup & mint dressing
Butternut Squash (confit and a puree flavoured with orange, lemon and
rice wine vinegar)
Garnish of micro Celery and purple pak Choi.

For my Chicken dish I would do something along the following lines:

Breast......Cooked on Sous vide at 68 centigrade for one hour. The seasoning's for the chicken would include Kaffir lime leaf,
Lemon grass, Szechuan peeper and star anise.

The resulting juices would be reduced with a little coconut milk and cream, finished with butter and seasoned with a touch of soy sauce.

The thighs would be confited and once cooked, the meat would be removed, shredded and mixed with some shredded spring onion, garlic and
ginger and made into a spring roll using filo pastry.

For the drum sticks, I would remove the skin, trim the meat from bone and then form it into a sort of ball shape on the end of the bone. The top part
of the bone would be also be remove so that you are left with something that resembles a Chicken. The meat would then be rolled in a blend of Ricotta and wasabi and roasted. This would be served on a salad of Watercress with an Amontillado sherry, avocado and hazelnut dressing.

Other accompaniments to the dish would include:

Syrup of red beet juice and roasted black mustard seeds.
Almond and pistachio emulsion
Fondant potato
Fricassee of Seasonal vegetables

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts and, when I get the opportunity, I will be doing some experimentation to turn these ideas into

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Roasted Salmon, Carrot – Passion fruit Sauce, Spinach Emulsion, Char grilled Spring Onion!!


4 x 200g Salmon Escalopes
Smoked Sea Salt and Cracked Black pepper (To taste)
30mls Virgin Rapeseed oil
20g Salted butter

Carrot – Passion fruit Sauce!!

200mls Carrot Juice
100mls Fish Stock
1 Star Anise
50 grams Finely diced shallots
Juice of Three Passion Fruit
50 grams Salted Butter
2 tbl spoons Double Cream

Spinach Emulsion!!

200grams Picked & Washed Spinach
2 Egg Yolks
150 mls Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of Xanthana gum

Spinach Powder!!!

100 gram Spinach
½ tsp Smoked Sea Salt
1 tsp Caster Sugar

Char grilled Spring onions!!

1 Bunch spring onions (trimmed of the root and
about a ¼ inch from the top of the green part)
20 mls Virgin Rapeseed oil
NB...Allow five spring onions per person

To Make the Sauce!! Place the Carrot Juice, Fish stock, shallots, Passion fruit juice and star
anise into a sauce pan and place on the heat. Bring to the boil and reduce by half, allowing the flavours of
the star anise and shallot to infuse with the liquids. When reduced by half, strain into a clean pan and bring back to the
boil. Add the cream and whisk in the butter a little at a time to create a rich, shiny sauce.

Spinach Emulsion!!! Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the Spinach for one minute and then plunge
into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and set the colour. Remove the spinach from the iced water and squeeze
out the excess moisture. Place the Spinach into a liquidizer and bled to a smooth purée and then pass through a fine sieve.
After washing out the liquidizer jug, add the sieved spinach purée, egg yolks and Xanthana gum. On a high speed, blend everything
together until well emulsified and then slowly drizzle in the oil to form a Mayonnaise type sauce. Season to taste with Salt and pepper.
Place the emulsion into a squeezee bottle and reserve until needed.

Spinach Powder!!! Finely shred the Spinach and deep fry in hot sunflower oil ( at a temperature 180 c) until crispy but not
too brown. Drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper and toss through the salt and sugar. Place on baking tray and dry in a very
low oven for four hours. Place into a an electric coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.

To Char grill the Spring onions!! Place a griddle pan on the heat and toss the spring onions with the oil. Put the onion on the griddle
pan and grill until nicely browned both sides

To cook the Salmon!!! Season the salmon with the salt and pepper and, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and butter
until the butter is foaming. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down and cook for three minutes or until the skin is crispy
and golden brown. Turn the salmon over and cook for a further two minutes. Remove from the salmon form the pan and drain
on a clean kitchen towel.

To Serve!!! Into the centre of four warmed serving plates, spoon some of the Carrot – Passion fruit sauce and on top of
the sauce, place an escalope of salmon. Around this, randomly arrange five squirts of the Spinach emulsion. Place a spring onion on top of each of the squirts of Spinach emulsion and sprinkle over the Spinach powder. Serve and enjoy.



500 grams Sage and onion stuffing mix
250 mls Boiling water
500 grams Pork Sausage meat
100 grams Button Mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 Medium sized onion (finely diced)
100 gram Cranberry Sauce
50 mls Dry Sherry
50 mls Tawny Port
50 mls Brandy
2 Large eggs
20 grams Butter
20 mls Rapeseed oil

Place the sage and onion stuffing mix into a large bowl and pour on the boiling water and mix
thoroughly. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and add the onion and cook until softened
and then add the mushrooms and continue to cook until softened but not browned (also ensure that any
liquid form the mushrooms has evaporated completely). Degalze the pan with the Sherry, Port and Brandy
and reduce until there is almost no liquid left in the pan. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix together the
sausage meat, eggs and the sage and onion stuffing. Then add the cooled onion and mushroom mix to bowl and
mix thoroughly. Lay out a double layer of aluminium foil on the work surface (this needs to be at least 18 inches
long), and then place a double layer of cling film on top of the foil. Note that the length of the cling film should be slightly
than that of the foil. Place the stuffing mix onto the foil/ cling film and form into a roll of about 5cms in diameter. Then roll
very tightly in the cling film/ foil. Place in a roasting tin and fill it half full of boiling water and place in an oven that has been
pre – heated to 150 degrees centigrade and cook for one hour. Set aside and leave to cool. When ready to serve, slice the
stuffing into pieces about 1cm thick and place on baking sheet and reheat in a hot oven for three or four minutes.


500 GRAM Brussels Sprouts
100 grams Blue Stilton
50 grams Butter
50 mls Double Cream
2 Cloves garlic (peeled)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the sprouts. Boil until the sprouts are tender(about
5 minutes) and then drain and plunge the sprouts into iced water. This stops the cooking process and also aids
in keeping them a vibrant green colour. Refill the pan with water and bring back to the boil to reheat the sprouts.
Once reheated, drain the sprouts and place in a food processor with the Stilton, butter and garlic and blend to a smooth paste.
Next add the cream and blend in thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside in a bowl until needed. When ready
to serve, simply reheat the sprouts in a microwave on full power for two minutes.


For this I like to use the small, round Chatanay Carrots for their visual appeal.

500 grams Chatanay Carrots
100mls Lemon Juice
100mls Orange Juice
¼ tsp Dried Thyme
100 grams butter
75 grams Caster Sugar

Slice the tops off the carrots and bring a pan of water to the boil and add the carrots. Boil them for ten minutes and then
drain in a colander. While the carrots are cooking, place the remaining ingredients in to another sauce pan and reduce on
a medium heat to syrupy consistency. Add the carrots to the citrus syrup and and toss to thoroughly glaze the carrots.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Taste of Things to Come.......

This is my prliminary idea for my Xmas menu 2011!!!!!

Xmas Menu 2011!!

A Taste Of Thing To Come!!!

Salad Of Beetroot and Goats Cheese, Sherry Vinegar and Maple Syrup dressing

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup, Crème Fraiche, Honey and Walnuts

Roulade Of Smoked Mackerel and Cucumber, Pineapple and Curry Vinaigrette

Pan fried Escalope Of Turkey, Brussels sprout and Stilton Purée, Braised Red Cabbage, Roasted Potatoes
and Turkey jus

Poached Scottish Salmon, Carrot and Passion fruit Sauce, Spinach Emulsion, Char Grilled Spring onion

Roasted Cauliflower, Braised savoy Cabbage, Puffed Rice and Peach Sauce
Chocolate Mousse, Fresh Lemon Curd, Coffee Crumble

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Guinness Toffee Sauce, Pickle blueberries

Selection of Cheese, Red Onion Confit & Biscuits

Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Nights Fish Special...

This is the fish special from last night that I mentioned in yesterdays post.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New dishes at work!!!

Did a really great soup of the day last night and here is the recipe for you all.

Mushroom, Lemon and Garlic soup!!

500 grams mushrooms (roughly chopped)
2 Lemons (Roughly chopped)
1 Leek (Roughly chopped)
1 Onion (Roughly chopped)
5 Clove Garlic (Peeled and roughly Chopped)
1 table spoon plain flour
1 Vegetable stock cube dissolved in 500mls
boiling water
Salt and Cracked Black pepper
250mls Double Cream
20mls Vegetable oil
20grams butter

Heat the oil and the butter in a pan and then add the vegetables and garlic. Cook over a low heat for ten minutes until the leek onion have softened and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and the simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Whisk in the flour and boil for two minutes and then add the cream and bring back to the boil. Pout the soup into a liquidiser/ food processor and blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper and serve with some good quality crusty bread.

Bon apptite!
 As a fish special we had; Poached Salmon, Carrot and Passion fruit sauce, Spinach Emulsion and Char grilled Leeks. The dish was very popular with the guests and was a total sell out.

Tonight, as the fish special, I'm doing Sea bass, Red Cabbage, Spinach powder.
The red cabbage is being served in three different ways.
1) Pickled in a honey and balsamic emulsion
2) Braised with red wine, molasses and chili flakes.
3) Red cabbage juice at the base of butter sauce with garlic an spring onions

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu ideas and concepts!!!!

Spiced Cabbage Soup, Smoked Mushrooms, Slow Cooked Egg, Bacon Powder

Soy Cured Salmon, Wasabi Ice Cream, Japanese inspired red Cabbage, Honey/Lime/Curry Vinaigrette

Peach and Watermelon Gazpacho, Italian Cured Meats, Forest Berries

Seared Scallops, Textures of Passion fruit

Roasted Beetroot, Smoked Sheep's Milk Yoghurt, Crispy Potatoes, Micro Greens

Smoke Mackerel Mousse, Nori, Licorice, Pineapple

Pan fried Red Snapper, Cous Cous, Tomato/Dill/Lemon Broth

Poached Scottish Salmon, Tomato and Ginger Butter, Leeks in Various forms

Slow Cooked Brisket, Red Cabbage, Flavours of Olde England

Breast of Corn Fed Chicken, Pink Grapefruit, Green Tea and Cinnamon

Potato Gnocchi, Yellow pepper broth, Poached Egg

Rack of Lamb, Sweet potato, Goats cheese, Smoked Aubergine

Chocolate and Beetroot Cake, Turmeric Custard, Blackcurrant Sorbet, Gelee of Molasses, Cointreau and Beet juice

Coconut, Lemon grass and Palm Sugar Panna Cotta, Purple Basil Sorbet , White Chocolate/Honey Sauce

Apple and Lancashire Cheese Lasagne, Carrot Sorbet, Banana Foam

Vodka and Cranberry Cake, Tomato, Celery and Tabasco sorbet

Dark Roast Coffee Bavaois, Medium Roast coffee Ice Cream, Walnut Tuille, Maple Syrup

A vegetarian Tasting Menu!!!

Roasted Beetroot, Sheep's Milk Yoghurt and crispy potatoes

Carrot, Tomato, Coconut and Coriander Soup

Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Yellow Pepper Sauce, Poached Egg
& Basil Oil

Char grille Polenta, Seasonal vegetables, Truffle &
Spinach purée, Pea Shoots

Selection of Artisan Cheese, Biscuits & Chutneys

Composition of Lemon, Chocolate & Coffee Soil

Delights Of The Sea Menu!!!!!

Lobster Won Tons/ Sweet Chilli & Black Bean Dipping Sauce

Smoke Mackerel Mousse/ Nori / Licorice Mayonnaise/ Hot & Sour Pineapple

Flash Seared Squid/ Citrus Fruits/ Micro Celery/ Walnut Oil

Red Mullet/ Salmon & Basil quenelles/ Ratatouille /Roasted Garlic

Poached Halibut/ Lemon Mash/ Apricot Curry / Citrus Braised Carrots

Gorgonzola Ice Cream / Red Wine Poached Pear

Chilled Coconut Rice Pudding / Passion fruit Sorbet / Mango Coulis
WebRepOverall rating

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some more recipes

Water Melon and Peach Gazpacho!!!!!
( serves four as a substantial lunch or
six as first course or soup course for a tasting
menu or dinner party)!

500 grams Water Melon
6 Peaches, skinned and stone removed
300 grams Tomatoes
2 Clove Garlic
200grams Stale Bread ( a good Ciabatta
or sour dough is ideal for this recipe)
150 grams Finely Diced white onion
500mls Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt and Cracked Black pepper (to

To Garnish!!!

Assortment of Italian meats i.e. Salami, Bressaola,
Parma Ham, mortadella (around 300 grams in total)!

Assortment of Mixed berries (Strawberries, blueberries,
raspberries, blackcurrants. This is dependant on what is
in season)!

Selection of Micro Greens ( i.e. zesty mustard green frills,
Broccoli sprout, Dark Opal Basil. Celery Leaves. Again, this is
dependant on what is available)

Place all the ingredients for the Gazpacho into a bowl (except for the salt and
cracked black pepper), cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for 24
hours. After 24 hours, remove from the fridge and liquidize (preferably using a liquidizer
for a smoother texture but a food processor can be used for this stage). Pass through a
fine sieve into a clean bowl and season to taste with the salt and cracked black pepper.
Store in the refrigerator until required.

To Serve!!!

Divide the Gazpacho between four soup plates and decoratively
and artfully garnish with the meats, berries and micro greens.

Spaghetti Sakura!!!

(Serves Four)!

400grams cooked Spaghetti ( allow 100
grams per person)
500 grams Shitake Mushrooms (stalks
200mls Sake
2 Cans unsweetened Coconut milk
Soy sauce (to taste)
1 red Chilli, very finely chopped
30mls Peanut oil
1 Bunch coriander, finely chopped

Place the Sake in a sauce pan and along with the stalks from the
mushrooms and gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave
to infuse for two or three hours. The reason for this is that the stalks of the Shitake
mushrooms are very tough and inedible. However, they do contain a huge amount
of flavour and this stage of the recipe helps to extract that flavour. After completing this
stage, strain the sake through a sieve and discard the mushroom stalks.

In a wok, heat the peanut oil until it is almost smoking and than add the thinly
caps of the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and then add the
Sake and reduce by ¾ . Then add the chilli and Coconut milk and reduce by half and then
toss the cooked spaghetti through the sauce, ensuring that it is heated thoroughly. Add half the
coriander to the sauce and then divide between four warmed pasta bowls. Sprinkle over the remaining
coriander and serve.

Note!!!.........For an additional flavour boost, I like to use some dried Shitake mushrooms
(available from all good Asian and Oriental food stores) that I have ground to a fine powder.
This is sprinkled over the dish at the last minute, and, as I said, gives the whole thing that extra and
additional boost of flavour. An electric coffee grinder is the ideal solution to this but, failing that. You
can use a food processor but you will have to sieve the resulting powder.

Squid Ink Spaghetti, Seared Tuna Loin, Pink Grapefruit, Spring onions!!!

400 grams cooked Squid ink Spaghetti (allowing 100 grams per person)

4 x 150 gram Tuna Loin Steaks
30 Mls Vegetable or sunflower oil
1 tsp Dried red Chilli Flakes
Salt and Cracked Black pepper to season

For the Sauce!!!

200mls Pink Grapefruit juice
50 mls Dry Sherry
100 mls Double Cream
Finely shredded green of 1/2 bunch spring onions
50 grams Salted butter
200 mls Fish Stock
1 Clove crushed Garlic
1 tsp Fine julienne of ginger

To Garnish!!!

Pink Grapefruit Segments
Finely shredded white and the remaining green part
of the bunch of spring onions

To make the sauce....put the Pink grapefruit juice, dry sherry, garlic, and
ginger into a sauce pan and reduce by ¾. Then add the fish stock and reduce by half
before finally adding the cream and again reducing by half. Whisk in the butter, a little
at a time until it is all incorporated and then add the green part from the spring onions.

Dip the Tuna steaks in the oil and season with the salt, cracked black pepper and chilli flakes
and cook on a pre – heated griddle pan for two or three minutes per side (this is dependant on whether
you like your Tuna medium rare or medium).

To serve.......reheat the spaghetti in the microwave for two minutes (ensuring that it
is hot)! Divide between four pasta bowls and top each mound of spaghetti with a Tuna steak.
Garnish with the pink grapefruit segments and the spring onions.

Notes......When whisking the butter into the sauce, it must be done over a low
heat so that the sauce does not boil, otherwise, it will split.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The other day, one of my Chef friends Norman Van Aken, at Facebook posted this status update.........I am looking for a Pastry Chef who wants to rock Miami's mind. Come see us. Ask for Jeffrey or Travis. 415 NE 2nd Ave. Tuyo (Restaurant).

In response, I commented that if he would organise the work permit, visa, plane ticket and accommodation, then I would take the job.Anyway, the following of the dessert are t ideas that I mentioned in my response.




And an idea that is currently under development......VODKA AND CRANBERRY CAKE, TOMATO, TABASCO AND CELERY SORBET.

This last one is inspired by  a dessert that they are doing at the vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847 in Mnchester UK. Their dish is a Gin and Tonic cake with a cucmber and black pepper granita. The thinking behind my idea is my love of the combination of Vodka and Cranberry juice. As far as the sorbet is concerned, Tomato juice, Tabasco and celery are all elements of a Bloody Mary, so why not turn them into sorbet?

Another concept that I was thinking about recently is a dessert called Sweetcorn and Popcorn. This wouls cocsist of the following elements:

Sweetcorn Sorbet

A sweetcron and corn and corn syrup sabayon

A butter and maple syrup powder (made with Tapioca maltodextrin)

Popcorn, seasoned with a little smoked salt for a true contrast of falvour.

The wer some other elements that I was thinking about but I can't remember them at the moment.

Anyway, I think these dessert would be enough to rock anybodies mind, let alone the people of Miami. And, hopefully, they would be described as other worldy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flavour combinations.

A few days ago on Facebook, I posted as my status that I was researching new flavour combination ideas. If you take the time and trouble there is a huge wealth of inspiration to be found out there.

Anyway, still on the subject of Facebook, one of my musician friends on there mentioned last night that she was drinking a steaming mug of Maple and Walnut coffee and this kind of started giving me ideas about possibilities for using these flavours in a dessert.

On this I was thinking along the lines of doing two things with the coffee, using bean that are roasted to different degrees ( i.e...Medium and Dark) to offer some flavour contrasts. Maybe a Panna Cotta with the Dark roast and an ice cream with the medium roast. Then, for some crunchy texture, maybe a Tuille biscuit featuring the walnuts and some kind of foam or gelee with the maple syrup. These are just a few ideas that I've had. I'm still formulating and making notes on the potential possibilities for this one!

A few days ago I also someone drinking a Carrot, Apple and Banana smoothie. With this I was thinking about my Apple and Lancashire Cheese Lasagna, still featuring the cider sabayon but also with the addition of a Carrot sorbet and some roasted Banana with a rum and orange syrup.

Another friend that I have recently added at Facebook is a Tunisian based pastry chef by the name of ...Miao Yi Francois Seurin. He is doing some great dessert featuring amazing combintions of flavours that would really excite and tantalise the taste bud. A few ideas from him are:

Port, Figs, Orange, Cinnamon, Gorgonzola, Walnuts.

In the dessert that he does with those ingredients, he actuaally uses the Gorgonzola to make an ice cream. A great idea and something that could be served as a transition form the main course to the dessert course.

Another one features;

Pineapple, coconut, cucmber, mint and passionfruit.

Or how about something combining;

Vanilla, kiwi, pineapple, sage, sticky rice and Japanese Adzuki Beans?

I also had a great marketinf idea/concept the other day. Many of the dishes thaat I have propsed for the new menu where I work feature fruit and here are some examples.......

Peach and Water melon gazpacho, Italian meats and assorted berrie

Squid ink Spaghetti, Seared Tuna, Pink grapefruit and spring onions

There a few others, but I don't have my note book with me and can't remember them off the top of my head. But anyway, my marketing concept would be called.....FRUIT THE NEW VEGETABLES. Personally, I think that it's a pure stroke of genius.

Anothe way in which I get inspirations for falvour combintions is from reading restaurant revies in magazines and I read a really good one in one of the Sunday supplements for a restaurant in London called GALOUPET. I paid a visit to their web site and dwonloaded the menu. The restauran is doing a very interesting blend of Mediteranean/ Asian cuisine and it has offered a great wealth of new ideas and possibilities.

Anyway, a mjor part of my culinary vision is to find a way to be able to bring all of these ideas to fruition in some form. I will keep you posted on all developments with regards to this.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dialogue and discussion!

I've been having some interesting dialogue going on on Facebook and I want to share that with you.

Firstly, I sent musician friend Bekki Williams a tomato sauce recipe and a few uses for the base sauce. This is that recipe;

Tomato Sauce!!!

2 Tins chopped plum tomatoes in juice
2 Carrots, peeled
1 Medium onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt (to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)
2 Table spoons Olive oil
1 Tea spoon Oregano

Using a food a food processor, finely chop the carrots, onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the garlic, carrots and onion.
Cook over a low heat for twenty minute and than add the tomatoes and oregano. Bring to the boil and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.
Lower the heat and simmer gently for one hour.
Once cooled Store in the fridge for up to three days.

The sauce can be used as it is. Just reheat and toss with your favourite pasta. Fresh basil is a great addition to enhance the flavour.

Or, fry some diced smoke bacon and red onion in a little oil, add 1 finely chopped red chilli and some of the tomato sauce. Then toss in your favourite pasta and sprinkle with
freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Or fry some thinly sliced button mushrooms in a little oil, add some diced ham, the tomato sauce, a little double cream. Bring to the boil and reduce until thickened and then toss
 in your favourite pasta. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. That led onto the following discussion;

In response to the tomato sauce recipe. Using the carrots adds a natural sweetness as they are very high in natural sugars and olive oil gives a greater depth of flavour to the sauce. I like your use of honey as it reminds of something I read the other day. It was an article on Rene Redzepi, the worlds number one chef and owner of Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. He said that he always uses honey as a sweetener as sugar is the enemy. Anyway, anytime you want recipe or food ideas just drop me a line. Always happy to help in that department!!!

Bekki Williams; Tell you where I love the use of carrots (really finely diced, so they almost disappear in the dish eventually): Cottage pie. Just made one for myself and a couple of mates who are due over in a bit, and it's such a simple recipe that a kid of 5 could make it - but my goodness, it's lovely! Real 'comfort food', really rustic. Would love to hear your recipe for that, as although mine really is nice, I'm sure it could be improved by a chef's take on things. :)

Paul Walker; I always add carrots to cottage pie. You need to create depths of flavour in a dish, no matter how simple.

Bekki Williams; The thing I love about rustic and homely food like this is that not only is it easy and fun to prepare, it tastes like what it's supposed to. Had a meal once at a restaurant where everything was shaped and stacked into a massive pile - noooooo! Gimme food that looks and tastes like the stuff it actually came from!

Paul Walker; At home, I keep things simple butr I don't think you would like my reataurant food. But having said that, my opion is, that, when you go out, you want to be excited and have somethinng that you just couldn't do at home.

Bekki Williams; Hmm, I suppose. But then again, this is probably why I don't visit restaurants. (Well, that, and being agoraphobic! Although nowhere near as bad as I used to be). Personally I like to grow stuff and cook it. You'd probably hate my food! That said though, we both appreciate depth, texture and taste in our cooking. Obviously you more than me, being a chef. But at least I'm not one of the 'ready meal' brigade! :D

Paul Walker; I've done a lot of research into vegetables and there is an amazing wealth of varieties out there that you jus can't buy in the shops. Growing your own is the future and the real forward. Also, very eco friendly as it leaves a zero carbon footprint.

Bekki Williams; Exactly! The other thing is, it's seasonal. Nowadays you can buy anything at any time of the year in the shops... and I don't like that. I like to look forward to tomatoes, and apples, and cabbage, and all kinds of other things at certain times of the year. You make the most of things that way and come up with some amazing recipes. :)

Paul Walker; Yes and thst is what is Inspires me about Rene Redzepi, who I mentioned earlier!

Bekki Williams; Sounds like you have some great inspiration... and therefore must be a passionate and wonderful chef. Ooh, I wish you lived in Derby, I'd pay you to come and do me a meal! :D

Paul Walker; Yes, I do have some seriously great inspiration and I am very passionate about my cooking. Maybe someday soon, I'll have the chance to cook for you?

A recent staus update on facebook was this.......My dream job is out there but it's not in the job centre or any website but it will find me!

I was aked to define my dream and the answer that I gave was as follows!

My dream job would be to have an employer who would encourage me to develop my ideas in terms of creative and innovative cuisine to there fullest potential. An employer who would be encouraging and not afreaid to venture into the unknown and is willing to develop new concepts and ideas. Somone who is not afraid to look at things from a different perspective and who, like me. likes to think outside the box!

Then I thought about the restaurant Frantzen/Lindeberg in Stockholm and I borrowed their philosophy as a part of mine answer to defining my dream job and this is......

Our philosophy is to let whatever raw materials available to us at the time dictate and decide on our menu. To awaken your desire and imagination, we offer the finest ingredients we can find. What we create with these ingredients is then presented as a finely-crafted series of surprises at your table. Each list of ingredients and produce is the result of intense daily discussions with local livestock farmers, growers, fishermen and wine makers – with the understanding that they deliver the absolute best quality to us.

The result? Instead of being locked into set menus, we give ourselves the freedom to use whatever are the best quality ingredients at the time.

In our world, and out of respect for all our guests, we constantly strive for perfection.

We look forward to welcoming you in to share that world.

(copywright Frantzen/Lindeberg 2011)!

I added the following in addition to that;

It's the way forward and the future. Freedom from the constraints of having to work to something that has been preconceived.

That then led onto more dialogue with another Facebook friend that went something like this;

Lee M Sanders;
Interesting reading Paul. Makes me think about some of the crap we eat, pre-produced microwave crap. I try to cook as much as I can, but not always possible.

Paul Walker; I know what you mean. Too many chemicals and unnatural substances in so much pre - packaged food.

Lee M Sanders; Allergies etc. E numbers aghhhhh. What do we put in our mouths. Insecticides, pest control chemicals etc must get into us somehow.

Paul Walker; That's also why I'm interested in growing my own produce. You know how it has been produced and you can also find hundreds of really unusal varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs that you can just can't get from rugular supplie sources!!!

Lee M Sanders; Interesting stuff, always open to try new things. Wish I had a garden to that kind of thing. So much out there in the world i know little about.

Paul Walker; I've done loads of research on the subject and it's fascinating. A chef in chicago has built a greenhouse on the roof of his restaurant and is using a system to heat the greenhouse with excess heat from the kitchen. He will be able to grow all kinds of exotic produce with zero carbon footprint. Very eco friendly.

Anyway, that is some of the food related stuff that I've had going on at facebook this week. Hope it is of interest to you.

Also on the subject of Fratzen/Lindeberg, I like this from the Restaurant Magazine website;

Owners Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg's rise thus far has been nothing short of meteoric, with their restaurant Frantzén/Lindeberg gaining two Michelin stars within just two years of opening, and the pair are tipped for even greater things.

What makes their Stockholm restaurant so exciting is that there's no traditional menu – instead they cook 'free-form' based on what comes in that day – with many dishes feature intriguing ingredients. The result is a truly magnificent dining experience.

(copywright 2011 William Reed Business Publishing Ltd)!

ANd to round things out, enjoy this video og the restaurant Frantzen/Lindeberg!!!

Well, that's all for now and I hope that this has given you some more insight into my culinary thinking and inspirarions!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More culinary insights!!!!!!

Firstly I would like to thank all of those of you have taken the time and trouble to view this blog and I hope that you
have enjoyed my thoughts, views, opinions and overall, my vision and concept of cuisine.

Sometimes, in all the rush to explore new technology and new techniques, coupled with the use of a fantastic and fascinating array of new products, it is so easy to forget that there are literally thousands of tried and tested combinations of flavour combinations out there. Not only that but there are also many, many tried and tested techniques that in today's world of food are being forgotten about. Going off on a tangent here for a moment, one thing that many of today's young chefs have no idea about is the great skill of making a classic hollandaise sauce as it is so often the case that these days many establishments just use a packet Hollandaise sauce. The problem with this is that traditional skills are slowly but surely being lost. It is the same with Mayonnaise. Ever since the Salmonella scare with eggs in the late eighties, the making of Mayonnaise has become something of a forgotten skill as it has been replaced by the use of commercially made substitutes that taste nothing like the real thing. The very same can be said with the packet Hollandaise sauce. All
you need to make a classic Hollandaise is butter, egg yolks, a few black peppercorns, some white wine vinegar and that's about it. But look at a packet of pre – made hollandaise and it contains a mass of other ingredients that are just not necessary and the product ends
up tasting nothing like the genuine article.

Anyway, enough on that subject. One of my favourite menu creations of this year is Pan Fried Sea Bass, Cous - Cous, Tomato, Dill and
Lemon butter sauce. I won't bore all you chefs and foodies that are reading this with the details of how to Pan Fry a fillet of Sea Bass as I'm sure that that is something that you are very much experts in. However, the subject of Cous Cous is an entirely different matter. Many people often say to me they have had this North African delicacy and not enjoyed it. That is probably due to the fact that it was
prepared in to simple a way. On it's own, it can be very bland and so here is my recipe for Cous – Cous!

200g Cous – Cous
200mls Chicken Stock (fresh is preferable but a stock cube will suffice)!
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 Lemon.
Finely grated zest and juice of one orange.
3 cloves garlic, crushed.
50 grams salted butter.
50 Mls extra virgin olive oil.
50 grams chopped parsley
50 grams chopped coriander
50 grams chopped mint
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Place the Cous – Cous, fruit zest and juices into a bowl along with the olive oil and butter. Bring the chicken stock to the boil and
pour over the Cous – Cous. Cover with cling film and leave for ten minutes. After the ten minutes are up, remove the cling film and stir everything together, Season to taste with the salt and cracked black pepper and stir in the herbs. Divide the mixture between four ramekins and cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed. When required, simply reheat in the microwave for two minutes.

I occasionally add finely chopped black and green Kalamata olives along with some diced red chilli to give an extra depth of flavour.

Now, onto the Tomato, Lemon and Dill Butter sauce.

For this you will need:

1 litre of fish stock (again, fresh is best but it will work with a fish stock cube)!
500 grams of ripe Tomatoes
2 Lemons (cut these in to quarters and remove the seed and central pith)!
100 mls Dry white wine.
1 Bunch of dill, finely chopped
100 grams of butter

Place the fish stock into a pan along with the tomatoes, white wine and the lemons. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer gently for one hour until the tomatoes have completely broken down. Place the sauce, a little at a time into a food liquidiser and blend until very smooth. Then pass through a fine sieve to remove the skin and seeds from the tomatoes along with any other unwanted solids.
Repeat the process until of the sauce has been liquidised and passed. Put all the sieved sauce into a clean pan and pan and bring back to the boil. Then, over a low heat, whisk in the butter a little at a time until has all been incorporated and then stir in the chopped dill. Serve with your Pan Fried Sea Bass Fillets and Cous – Cous.

Onto some other culinary creations that I have developed this year!

Tartare of Tuna, Bitter sweet Lemon dressing, guacamole!

For this dish I cut the tuna into a small dice and seasoned it with some smoked Cornish sea salt, cracked black pepper and lime juice. Then I added some very finely diced shallots, chopped chives and coriander and left that to marinate for a few hours. The Bitter sweet lemon dressing was made by making a simple syrup of equal quantities of sugar and water. You then take four lemons, cut them in quarters, removing the central pith. These are then placed into a liquidiser and, as the machine is running, you pour in the syrup to create a dressing of you desired thickness. I also tried it with the addition of fresh basil and that also created a great flavour combination. Once you have liquidised your lemons, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

For my Guacamole, I take 2 avocados, cut them in half and remove the stone and the skin and then place the flesh into a bowl with the juice of 2 limes, 1 finely chopped red chilli (if you like it hot, then leave the seeds in)! To this, I add two tomatoes which have been skinned, de-seeded and finely diced, halve a small red onion, again, finely diced. This is then just mashed together with a fork and seasoned to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. To serve, I usually quenelle the guacamole with a couple of teaspoons.

OK, so there you have the components of another dish. Just use your imagination as to how you would like to present it!

Some other combinations of flavour that I have worked with this year are!

Roast Hake, Lemon Mash Potato, Apricot curry sauce, Citrus braised carrots!

With this one, I would like to try the idea of puréeing the potatoes, lemon and cream in a food processor and then placing them
in a cream whipper (the type you can get for hot liquids) and then charging it up with a couple of N2O cartridges and serving it as a foam. The carrots in the dish are braised in butter with honey, lemon juice, orange juice, black pepper and thyme. As an interesting additional texture to the dish, I would use Tapioca maltodextrin to turn the butter from the carrots into a powder.

I also did a great Rack of Lamb with a Sweet Potato Cloud (based on a Ferran Adria technique) and Smoked Aubergine stuffed with
Goats Cheese. The whole dish was rounded off with an Orange, garlic and rosemary jus. I almost forgot to mention that the Sweet potato cloud also contained Maple Syrup. This is a wicked flavour combination that I learned from a Canadian chef that I used to know!!!!

Well, I hope that that has given you some food for thought (excuse the pun)!