Visions in Cuisine!!!!!
As I have already mentioned, as a chef, I draw my influence and inspiration from a vast range of sources. One thing that always fascinates me is the descriptions used on wine labels to describe the characteristics and flavours of the wine. I always fine it amazing and rather amusing that wine seems to taste of everything and anything except grapes.
As an example of this, I was going through one of my many note books and found some notes I had made on wine that I had drunk with dinner one evening about three years ago. The wine in question was a South African Cabernet Sauvignon and it was described as being 'Dark Ruby Red Characterized by a bouquet of Chocolate and plums with a full taste'.
This got me thinking about doing a dish with Chocolate and plums and on the same page of my note book I had made a note of the following;
Chocolate with wasabi!!!
This is made as follows;
4grams Wasabi paste
100grams Dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted.
From a roll of 50mm wide acetate, cut eight strips about 100mm long. Lay four of them flat them flat on a work surface. Using a palette knife spread the acetate with wasabi paste and then over the top of this spread chocolate and then carefully lay a second sheet of acetate on top of the chocolate/ wasabi mix. Smooth over the mixture with the palette knife and the place in the fridge to crystallize. Once the chocolate / wasabi mix has crystallized and set firmly, remove from the fridge and peel away the acetate sheets, being careful not to break the chocolate. Reserve in a cool place until needed.
Also, in the same section of the said note book, I had written a recipe for a plum sauce but I have made some adaptations to that recipe to create a cold plum dressing.
250grams plums, halve and pitted
100mls plum wine
Place all of the above ingredients into a liquidizer and blend to a smooth paste. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve until required.
100mls Plum wine
100mls Rice vinegar
2 strips of orange peel
25grams Mint leaves
Place all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and reduce by two thirds. Add the plum purée, bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer very gently for fifteen minutes and then pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool completely and pour into a squeezee bottle and set aside until required.
Having got these two stages of a potential dish formulated, I started to think about what I could serve with them. What immediately sprang to mind was a tartare of some description. Beef was the obvious choice but then I began to think about something possibly more interesting. Thinking about the flavours that I have so far, namely chocolate, plums and wasabi, I decided to think about a venison tartare and the following is the idea that I came up with.
500grams minced venison saddle
2 Shallot, very finely diced
1 egg yolk
10grams coriander seeds
10grams black mustard seeds
10grams Cumin seeds
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Hawaiian Red Alaea salt to taste
Coarse Ground black pepper to taste
Heat a non stick sauté pan on the stove and dry fry the coriander, black mustard and cumin seeds until they take on a golden colour and then finely grind in a mortar and pestle (or, if you have one, use and electric coffee grinder).
Place the minced venison into a large mixing bowl with the spices, lemon juice and zest, finely diced shallot,and the egg yolk and mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Season to tats with the salt and pepper.
Place a chocolate/wasabi sheet onto each of four serving plates (personally, I thought about using oblong shaped pieces of Welsh black slate for serving purposes). Using two dessert spoons, form the venison tartare into twelve quenelles and place three onto each chocolate/wasabi sheet, ensuring that they are evenly spaced. Drizzle over some of the plum dressing and serve.
IDEAS FOR FURTHER ENHANCEMENTS!!!!!!!
At the risk of becoming somewhat repetitive, inspiration is gleaned from a wide range of sources. Recently I have been scouring the internet for suppliers of seeds for unusual and rare vegetable seeds. One company I discovered, (whose brochure I requested), REALSEEDS, a UK company based in Pembrokeshire. They have some really interesting stuff in the aforementioned brochure. Any, a couple of thing that caught my attention, that could be used a finishing touches in this dish are;
Fine leaved Shungiku......An edible Chrysanthemum from Japan
'Tsoi Sim' Japanese shoots and leaves. Described as an amazing vegetable from Japan with vividly glowing green leaves and flowering shoots.
'Yukina Savoy' Leaf green. Another Japanese green that is described as having tidy rosettes of dark green savoyed (crinkled) leaves.
Venison, Chocolate, wasabi, plum, Japanese greens. (Alinea style description)!!!!!
Tartare of venison served on a bitter chocolate and wasabi plank with a sweet and sour plum dressing, garnished with a melange of Japanese greens. (Poetic description).
Some concepts and ideas under formulation!!!!!
Sweet and sour pork lollipops!!!
I suppose the idea for this comes from Ferran Adria. The idea that I had was to make a honeycomb from Isomalt (a form of sugar that has a very low water absorbency rat, is low calories but with the same sweetness as normal sugar)!
Anyway, the concept is to make a caramel with the isomalt, pineapple powder, orange powder and Chinese black vinegar and then to add bicarbonate of soda to make a honeycomb. Once set, this would be cut into pieces of about 5 or 6cms in length with a width of around 2cm and placed onto a bamboo skewer. The lollipops would then be rolled in a very crispy pork crackling, which has been ground to a fine powder in an electric coffee grinder).
The idea would be to serve these as an amuse bouche/ canapé.
Sweet and Sour Prawns!!!!!
Recently, whilst watching a video of Chef Ferran Adria, I saw him preparing a Sardine dish in which he wrapped the cooked Sardine in CANDY FLOSS. This gave me and idea for doing an avant garde version of SWEET AND SOUR PRAWNS.
What I would do is to take a large TIGER PRAWN, which has previously been cooked. In the CANDY FLOSS machine, I would place a mixture of sugar, tomato powder, pineapple powder, vinegar powder and orange powder and as the sugar caramelizes and begins to form the floss, I would wrap this around the prawn, thus creating my SWEET AND SOUR PRAWN.
Serve the above two items as a single menu item under the title of SWEET AND SOUR TWO WAYS!!!!!!
YET ANOTHER CULINARY VISION!!!!
Something that I have been doing recently is researching suppliers of Herb, Fruit and Vegetable seeds. One company that I came across is REALSEEDS, which can be found on this link..........http://www.realseeds.co.uk
Anyway, the following are a few interesting items that I came across in their catalogue.
'Pattison Orange' Patty Pan Courgette.......Orange coloured through out the fruit. Picked young and cooked like a courgette. Good nutty flavour.
'Sweet Chocolate Pepper'........A bell pepper with a Chocolate – brown coloured flesh which grows well in Northern areas and makes a rich sauce.
Quillquina......South American herb with a citrus spicy scent and flavour. Can be used in place of coriander. The plants have pointy leaves with an attractive blue – green colour.
Red Perilla.....Also known as SHISHO in Japan and similar to basil in flavour terms. Bright red - purple leaves with a fruity scent.
From just reading and thinking about these few ingredients, I have imagined the following dish!!!!!!
Pan Fried Fillets of Red Mullet, quenelles of Salmon scented with Lime Basil, Sweet Chocolate pepper sauce, garnished with Quillquina and Red Perilla.
Note on some of the ingredients used in the Sweet and Sour dish!!!!!
The orange, pineapple, tomato and vinegar powders along with the isomalt can be purchased from the following supplier.........www.msk-ingredients.com