Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun
Highly useful kitchen gadget

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adventures and Explorations in cuisine and flavour.

I just had a craving for some pancakes. So I made these rice flour and coconut milk beauties. Served with lime, peach and maple syrup.

Exploring Korean Flavours!

So first up in my Korean inspired dinner is potato. This is first sauteed with onion in a little veg oil. Then add some soy sauce, corn syrup, sugar and water. I didn't have corn syrup so I used maple syrup.

 Next up is some pork croquettes flavoured with lemon, spring onion and coriander. This is served with a sauce of soy, garlic, red chili paste, Korean red pepper flakes, brown sugar, apple vinegar, sesame oil and onion.

And I also did some carrots with sesame oil, salt, green onion, soy sauce, black pepper, butter and sweet chili sauce.

And here is my completed little assemblage of Korean inspired dishes. 
Admittedly, this is not the most stunning looking plate but all the flavours work really well together and I have ideas floating around in my minds eye and imagination on how I would really like to serve this.

Food, glorious food. Cooking up some spaghetti with chorizo, mushroom, tomato and Japanese pepper

A close up on the pot if you will, please, Clive. Here we have the pasta sauce simmering away. Also have some smoked garlic and dried birds eye chili in there. The Japanese pepper gives a nice citrus note to the dish.

 And lunch is served. A good sprinkle of grated Parmesan completes the dish.

Today for lunch I'm cooking up a stir fry of minced pork, spring onion, garlic, ginger, red chili paste, peanut oil, Korean red pepper flakes, black bean, lemongrass and chicken stock.

And this is this finished dish, topped of with shredded scallion and diced tomato for freshness.

Experimenting again. Cooking up a pate of Lambs liver, pineapple, coconut water, Japanese sansho pepper and mushroom/ seaweed seasoning. Watch this space for further information.

And this is the Lambs liver, coconut water, pineapple and sansho pepper pate all pureed, passed and ready to go in the fridge to set. I added a good amount of butter when I pureed it. More on this later.

Tonight for dinner I'm doing a chicken breast filled with minced pork. The pork is flavoured with ground coriander, black pepper, red chili powder, guindilla pepper, cilantro, egg, Dijon mustard, onion garlic and ginger.

I am also doing a Lentil and potato dal. The spicing/ flavouring for this consists of onion, garlic, ginger, whole red chili, fenugreek, fennel seeds, black cumin seeds, turmeric, red chili powder and salt.

And here is tonight's dinner. Drizzled with mint yogurt and cilantro oil for that final touch. The acidity of the yogurt being a great counterpoint to the heat of the spices.
So, after getting in from the office and feeling hungry, I raided the fridge and put this together. Heritage tomatoes, pork tongue, my lamb liver/ coconut water & pineapple pate. Onions pickled in Chinese black vinegar, celery/ apricot chutney, sansho pepper and teriyaki seasoning.

So for dinner tonight I did some pork loin slow cooked in a broth of garlic powder, onion powder, celery seeds, cassia bark, star anise, tarragon and Korean apple vinegar. Once the pork was cooked, the broth was strained, reduced and finished with white chocolate. This was accompanied by some root vegetable ( swede, turnip and parsnip) that had been poached in duck fat. There was a hoi sin/ strawberry emulsion, fresh strawberries and Japanese togarishi. This creation was inspired by David Munoz of DiverXO. I personally really enjoyed eating it and found it to be a great mix of flavours and texture. Sorry there is no photo but the ones I took were all far too blurred.

Strawberries, honey + yogurt, a red chili/ maple syrup/ sour cream butter sauce and szechuan pepper.


Soup and sandwich anyone?

Lunch.......Spiced turkey meatloaf, green zebra tomato, little gem lettuce, summer fruit/ ginger compote, onions pickled in Chinese black vinegar & radish all packed in a brioche bun spread with an avocado/ coriander butter.
A little late night snack. Ham, pepper jack cheese + heritage tomato toasted sandwich with Dijon mustard and black treacle.
A creative Chef/ cook will find ways of utilising everything in the kitchen. This is a Ham + Thai fragrant rice broth scented with garlic powder, ajwain seeds and black mustard seeds. The soup was actually made from the stock created during the cooking of a ham. It is garnished with broad beans, breakfast radish and smoked pork sausage. The final note in this amazing concerto of flavours is drizzle of Greek extra virgin olive oil. 

Inspiration comes from everywhere, even the cartoons of my childhood. Remember those humongous sandwiches that Scooby Doo and Shaggy used to make? So without further adoo, I present to you The Scooby Snack. Granary bread, avocado butter, rhubarb/ ginger relish, little gem lettuce, heirloom tomato, breakfast radish, pickled beetroot, ham, turkey meatloaf and mature cheddar cheese.

This is something that is definitely still in the realms of R&D/ experimentation. A mushroom/ seaweed broth with radish greens and cottage cheese, celery/ peach + Chinese black vinegar chutney and mustard oil. The mushroom and seaweed is actually a seasoning mix that I buy at my local Asian food store and is made from dried Kombu and dried Shitake mushrooms which give the broth a nice combination of saltiness pepperyness and the radish greens ad further pepperyness. The cottage cheese adds a touch of creaminess and then there is the heat from the mustard oil. The chutney adds some sweetness from the peaches, a little crunch from the celery and the Chinese black vinegar combined with some molasses adds an interesting licorice flavour. As I said, this is still very much in the experimental stages but overall is an interesting combination of flavours.

I think it was the legend who was Julia Child that said, "life's to short to eat boring food"! In the time it took to grill a couple of Linolnshire sausages, I also sauteed some peppers & onions with garlic powder, turmeric, ground coriander, black mustard seeds and red chili flakes. Along with some pork sausage, shredded little gem and pepper jack cheese, I ended up with a seriously scrumptious sausage sandwich. A tremendously tasty treat for Thursday.

For lunch today I have prepared one of my own personal classics. A tomato, carrot, coriander and coconut soup. I've never come across this combination any where, so I thinks that It's kind of unique

For lunch today I did a sandwich of sauteed chicken with garlic, ginger, Korean red chili pepper, soy sauce and honey. Served on some toasted granary bread with kimchi and wasabi mayonnaise.

So here is something that takes a little inspiration from Wylie Dufresne of WD50 in NYC. A pea and avocado soup, fricasee of mussels/ chipotle chili/ sour cream, Japanese sansho pepper and dill oil.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New ideas, experiments in flavour and inspirations.

This evening I've been delving into and exploring my spices this evening. Here we have a grilled fillet of Cod, tomato/ dill/ star anise and mirin fondue. Accompanied by some braised sweet potatoes with fennel seed, fenugreek, chili and pineapple.

Cooked this for dinner last night. Beef slow cooked with peanut butter and Chinese five spice powder. Accompanied by confit vegetables ( turnip, sweet potato, tomato and radish ) and a lime butter.

This may be different but the idea, the inspiration for the dish came from one of the reviews I read on Madrid 3* Michelin restaurant, DiverXo. The dish that David Munoz ( Chef/ proprietor of DiverXo ) had created used beef, peanut, lime, tomatoes and herring. The sharpness of the lime in the lime butter is a great contrast to the sweetness of the peanut butter and the natural sweetness of the confit vegetables.

A couple of nights ago I was feeling a little peckish and decided to raid the fridge. I threw some peaches, pineapple, cottage cheese, dark brown sugar and maple syrup in a bowl. That lead to this. Rice paper spring rolls filled with cottage cheese, maple syrup and peach. These are deep fried until crisp and served with a sauce of pineapple, rum, dark brown sugar, coconut and mint.

Tonight I've been trying a really wacky combination of flavours and techniques but the end result was very pleasing to eat. This is some confit vegetables ( sweet potato, turnip, bell peppers & breakfast radish ) which is glazed with Monterey jack cheese. It is served with a sauce made from tomatoes, onion, garlic powder, celery seed, yellow mustard seed, whole fenugreek, black cumin seed, turmeric and coarse black pepper.  

So while I've been out and about I found this pasta that originates from Sicily called CASERECCE and is shaped like parchment scrolls. Doing it with a three cheese ( oak smoked cheddar, Monterey jack and Parmesan ), wholegrain mustard, Spanish Guindilla peppers and Japanese Togarashi.

And here is the finished pasta dish. I suppose it's best described as a pimped up Mac 'n' Cheese.

Got some chicken legs marinating in cayenne pepper, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder, turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder and red colouring. Tandoori chicken for dinner.

Well, the Tandoori chicken turned out really well. Served it with mint yogurt, cilantro oil, heirloom tomatoes and onions in lemon butter. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Breakfast Menu!

And so today for a delicious breakfast @ #paulsplayground we have......Porridge enriched with butter and demerara sugar, a summer berry/ ginger compote, dark and white chocolate & maple syrup

3 egg omelet, smoked bacon, mushrooms, peas + broad beans & Parmesan.  

Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most satisfying. Like a few slices of Ham, some heritage tomatoes, simply grilled and a couple of fried free range eggs. 

Terrifically, tantalisingly,tremendously tasty toast for a truly scrumptious Tuesday breakfast. Peanut butter French toast, chocolate/ hazelnut yogurt, rhubarb/ ginger compote and maple syrup.

Cheese & tomato, ham & eggs, ham + tomato, all great flavour combinations. So for a wildly wonderful Wednesday breakfast I'm having a wicked omelet with ham, cheese and tomato. I actually used two different cheeses in this, some mature cheddar and pepper jack ( Monterrey Jack with the addition of red pepper) and of course, I made use of some of the heritage tomatoes that I had bought at the Farmers market.

A truly tasty breakfast. Heirloom tomato, simply seasoned with Cornish sea salt & cracked black pepper, granary toast and proper scrambled eggs, done in a pan on the top of the stove with butter and double cream.A useful tip when making scrambled eggs is to wait until they are nearly cooked before seasoning them or the eggs take on a horrid, grayish colour. 

A seriously sensational and seductively scrumptious creation for Sunday breakfast (or brunch). Poached eggs, mature cheddar cheese toast, sushi seasoning and mint butter sauce and tiger tomatoes seasoned with smoked Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper. Sushi seasoning is a blend of rice vinegar, water, salt and sugar and can be found in all good Asian and oriental food stores.

The other day I was on Google looking up some information on Hash browns. The real deal (as opposed to those things they serve at a certain fast food joint) is very easy to make. Simply grate some potatoes, squeeze out the excess water, mix with some finely chopped onion and egg and fry in an oil and butter mix for 2 or 3 minutes on each side. But don't forget to make sure that the potato mixture is well seasoned. Anyway, today for breakfast I did these sweet potato hash browns with smoked bacon, fried egg and grilled tomato.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Latest creations.

I came across the menu for a restaurant in Miami called GB and they had a rather interesting salad that included heirloom tomatoes, smoked cheese and toasted coconut. So taking my inspiration from that, I have concocted this salad of heirloom tomatoes, oak smoked cheddar, little gem lettuce, toasted coconut, breakfast radish and a wholegrain mustard/ lime & cilantro dressing

I had some pork left from yesterdays dinner and so I cooked some rice with black cumin seeds, star anise, orange and mint. The flavours in the rice make a nice contrast to the gentle warmth of the spices in the pork.

Jackson Pollock didn't do cheesecake.........but if he did. This is a Cream cheese/white chocolate/ Dijon mustard iced parfait, summer berry compote, rhubarb puree, lemon curd custard, custard cream biscuit crumb and shavings of dark and white chocolate. The idea of the white chocolate and Dijon mustard came from reading a review of DiverXO in Madrid and that combination was used in one of the desserts. It's just a subtle hint of mustard that is just noticeable. For me it works. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Delving further into the world of ingredient and flavour transformation.

Slow cooked ham flavoured with black mustard seeds, ajwain seeds + garlic powder. Then cooked some rice is cooked in the resulting and flavourful broth and pureed. Served with french style peas and caramelized cauliflower. I've reserved some of the cooked rice to do my special fried rice. The remaining ham + rice broth will be used as a soup garnished with broad (fava) beans and smoked sausage. Dinner tonight @ #paulsplayground 

OK.........lets have a quick trip around the ingredients for my special fried rice. We have egg, ham, smoked sausage, king prawns, scallions, red onion, garlic, ginger, orange pepper, peas, egg, rice (of course), dark soy sauce, black pepper and radish. The rice for this was cooked in the stock from the ham and is richly fragrant with ajwain seeds, black mustard seeds and garlic powder.

And for your dining pleasure, the finished fried rice.
Gone for the Asian flavours again this evening for dinner @ #paulsplayground........Wholewheat egg noodles in a rich broth fragrantly scented with star anise, ground coriander and fish sauce. Accompanied with some turkey meatloaf, grilled spring onions, roasted baby yellow pepper, breakfast radish and red chili flakes.

And note the runny egg yolk from the soft boiled egg, which I forgot to mention.

From my perspective, a recipe is not something that should be considered as being set in stone. You should always feel free to get creative and add your own touches wherever the feeling and need arises. I had made some red eye gravy last Saturday and put the leftovers in the freezer (once it had cooled down). So today, I defrosted it and reheated it withe the (tasty) addition of coconut milk. I served this tuna steak in a crust of tandoori spices and some sauteed new potatoes with thinly sliced onions.

Here is some information on Red eye gravy. You can also add a mirepoix of finely diced onion/ carrot and celery. Cook this in the roasting fat from the ham until the celery & onions are softened and then add some garlic, chili powder, Jalapeno chili and cook for a minute or two. Then add the coffee, Worcester sauce and a quantity of chicken equal to the amount of coffee. Let this simmer and reduce on a medium heat until it coats the back of a spoon. From what I've seen of red eye gravy on TripleD, it's one of those things for which everyone has their own recipe and ideas. The key thing to remember are the essentials. Ham, Coffee and Worcester sauce.
 Red eye gravy!

And so I'm back to doing some ingredient and flavour transformation @ #paulsplayground A classic way of cooking pork in the Liguria region of Italy is to braise it in milk. Normally this would be done using a pork shoulder. Here I'm using some diced pork. First I softened some finely diced onion and peppers in olive oil. Then I added fennel seed, celery seed, cumin seed, garlic powder, whole fenugreek, tarragon and Hungarian paprika. This is seasoned with smoked Maldon sea sat flakes and cracked black pepper. Letting it simmer gently for a couple of hours until tender.

And this is the finished pork dish. The reduced and thickened cooking juices are enriched with butter and cream. The garnish is fresh cilantro, puffed rice and chopped dill. The overall flavour of the dish is kind of reminiscent of a korma curry.

I found these in the garden shed. After a good soaking in a strong solution of bleach, a good scrubbing with disinfectant and being rinsed with loads of boiling water, I thought they would be really cool for some food pictures.