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scare with eggs in the late eighties, the making of Mayonnaise has become something of a forgotten skill as it has been replaced by the use of commercially made substitutes that taste nothing like the real thing.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)!