Archive for February, 2012

Delicious (Though I Say It Myself) Orange And Earl Grey Cake

Saturday, February 25th, 2012
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Some Recipe Ideas For Laura Santtini’s Alchemical Larder Ingredients

Friday, February 17th, 2012

I have been asked by several people to give some starting ideas for the various goodies within Laura Santtini’s Alchemical Larder box that we provide to Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges amongst others.  So while there is a small card insert in the boxes, it does not contain any recipes.  Here are a few ideas and if anyone has there own suggestions please insert them into the comments section below.  It’s a bit of a list, so many apologies for that.

Easy Tasty Magic chicken breasts

Serves 4

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1tsp East Tasty Magic rubs – any of Carnal Sin, International Jerk or White Mischief

Pre-heat oven to 180oC/ 350oF.

Place the chicken breasts onto a baking dish.   Brush with the olive oil.

Sprinkle over the seasoned salt and thyme and rub into the breasts.

Bake for 30 minutes until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut.

Carnal Sin beef fillet

Serves 4-6

1.25kg beef fillet, rolled and tied
125ml red wine
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp of dried thyme
1tbsp Carnal Sin rub
2 red onions, cut into 6 wedges
2 heads of garlic, cut across 1 cm from the top
Olive oil
Salt of the Earth and freshly ground black pepper

For the horseradish cream sauce:

6tbsp crème fraîche
2tbsp mascarpone
2tbsp horseradish (fresh or bottled or dried)
1tsp dried rose petals
Pinch of yellow mustard powder

Spread the onion wedges and garlic heads in the bottom of a roasting tin, douse with olive oil and season with Salt of the Earth and ground black pepper.

Remove the leaves from thyme and chop finely, then mix into the Carnal Sin rub and add enough water to make into a paste – around 1tbsp water.  Pat the fillet dry with some kitchen paper and massage all over with the Carnal Sin rub paste.  Place onto the onions and garlic in the roasting pan and leave to infuse the flavours at room temperature for ½ an hour, or in the fridge overnight.

While the beef fillet is marinading, make the cream sauce by mixing all the ingredients together, adjusting the seasoning as you see fit, then bung into the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF.  If the beef is in the fridge, take out to return to room temperature while the oven is warming up.

Place the beef fillet into the centre of the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, pour over the red wine and return to the oven.  Cook for a further 30 minutes, or longer if you prefer it medium.  Leave to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

While the beef is resting, put the roasting tin onto the hob.  Heat the onion mixture, deglazing the pan with some more red wine and season to taste.

Carve into chunky slices of about ½ cm thick and serve with the red wine gravy and the horseradish cream sauce.

Spicy parsnips Dauphinoise

Serves 4

750g large parsnips (about 3), sliced thinly
425ml double cream
250ml vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
½tsp grains of paradise, coarsely ground
¼tsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground
Freshly grated nutmeg – 2 larger pinches
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF.

Place the sliced parsnips into a steamer.  Steam over boiling water until just tender, which takes 4 – 5 minutes.

Lightly grease or butter an ovenproof dish, then arrange and layer the parsnips in it.

Heat the cream and vegetable stock into a heavy bottomed saucepan.  When warmed, add the garlic and season with spices and sea salt.  Stir and remove from heat just before it boils, as small bubbles start to form on the edge of the sauce.

Pour the sauce onto the parsnips, cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Take off the aluminium foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Season the top with a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

Smoked paprika potatoes

Serves 6

1kg good potatoes, sliced medium thick
150ml soured cream
300ml vegetable stock
1 medium onion, sliced thinly, then chopped into small pieces
2tsp (level) smoked paprika
30g butter
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF.

Place the sliced potatoes into a steamer.  Steam over boiling water until just tender, which takes about 5 minutes.  Lightly grease or butter an ovenproof dish, then arrange and layer the potatoes in it.

While the potatoes are steaming, melt the butter in a pan and cook the onion until translucent and soft.  Stir in the smoked paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add in the soured cream and season with sea salt.  Add the vegetable stock and stir together and bring to boiling point, and remove from heat

Pour the tomato sauce over the potatoes, cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Take off the aluminium foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Pink peppercorn poached salmon

For the poaching stock:

250ml rosé wine
125ml water
4 slices of lemon
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1tsp white peppercorns (whole)
1 blade mace
½ vanilla pod, sliced down centre (optional)

For the wild salmon:

1tbsp sunflower oil
25g finely chopped shallots
4 salmon fillets
¼tsp Salt of the Earth
¼tsp coarsely milled black pepper
100ml double cream
1tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

Put all the ingredients for the poaching stock in a pot and bring to the boil with the lid on the pot.  When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes with the lid on, so letting all the flavours infuse into the stock.

Pre-heat the oven to 100oC/ 210oF and put a plate or serving dish in the oven to warm up for later.

Lightly oil a heavy bottomed, metal casserole dish and then sprinkle the chopped shallots over the base of the pan.  Place the salmon fillets on top of this and then season with some sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.  Gently pour in the poaching stock (or rosé wine plus lemon slices) half way up the fillets, reserving any of the excess stock for later.  Put the lid onto the casserole dish and gently poach in the stock for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on the size of the salmon, but try not to overcook.  Lift out the poached salmon and place on a warm plate, cover in foil and keep warm in the pre-heated oven.

Pour the juices into a clean pan through a sieve to remove the bits and add any of the excess stock reserved earlier.  Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid to about 150ml.  Add the cream and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken a little.  Add the crushed pink peppercorns.  Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, but do not add black pepper under any circumstances as it will ruin the effect.  Sprinkle over with another pinch of Salt of the Earth.

Serve on warmed plates.  Firstly, arrange the salmon fillets onto the plates, then pour over the sauce.  Serve with new potatoes, fresh green vegetables or salad – perhaps a watercress salad.

Spicy tomatoes

900g ripe tomatoes, peeled and deseeded then chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1tsp organic cumin seeds, dry roasted
1tsp sumach
½tsp paprika
½tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
½tsp Salt of the Earth, or more to taste
2tbsp sunflower oil
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a heavy casserole dish, heat the oil then sauté the garlic until translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Stir in the black pepper, sumach, cumin seeds and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve and eat with couscous, or allow to cool and serve with pitta bread or toast as an appetizer.

Homemade Marshmallows

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

It is not very often that I rip out pages from cookery magazines for use at a later date, so it was a surprise when the other day I found some pages I had ripped from a copy of the magazine, Delicious, from some years back.  In it, I had obviously fallen for some beautiful photography of brightly coloured and divine looking marshmallows.

I love marshmallows.  They are one of those things that I know I should dislike but really love – another guilty secret is Haribo sweets, which we used to buy as a treat when we went to Munich to visit relatives back in the 1970s, but which are ubiquitous nowadays.  Many years ago I tried to make my own marshmallows but they came out as a truly gloopy mix – a cross between a sweet and jelly cubes.  So I liked the idea of creating something really fluffy and delicious.

This recipe really does work and the key is getting the fluffy, bubblegum stage in the middle just right.  Interestingly, after a week, they had the texture and flavour of shop-bought marshmallows, which just goes to show how different freshly made is from manufactured foods.

I reckon that you could make deliciously flavoured versions with orange extract or rose water (or better rose oil), or matcha.  The bittersweet of matcha tea against the sugar syrup of the marshmallow would go well, and the colour would be weirdly enticing.

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

Recipe for marshmallows

120ml /4¼ fl oz liquid, cool
23g / ¾ oz gelatine
440g /1lb caster sugar
160ml / 5½ fl oz golden syrup
115ml /4 fl oz warm water
Vegetable oil for greasing
Cornflour for dusting

Line a baking tray of rough dimensions that’s 2cm (½ inch) and 30cm by 20cm (12 inch x 8 inch).  You should use clingfilm for this that has been well oiled with the vegetable oil.

Pour the cool liquid into a mixing bowl, ideally the bowl for your mixer.  You can use this stage to get a good flavour into the marshmallows, for example we used citrus and berry smoothies.  You could use matcha tea or spice flavours (see notes later), but if you want to add cocoa powder or coffee or fruit liqueurs or spice extracts, these should be added later.  If you are adding flavours later, just use water at this stage.  Sprinkle over with the powdered gelatine.  Set aside to allow the gelatine to absorb the liquid; it may need a stir to ensure that any dry patches are fully dampened.

Put the caster sugar, golden syrup and warm water into a heavy bottomed pan, then over a medium heat dissolve the sugars to create a syrup.  At this stage, you should stir it gently to help with the creation of a sugar solution, brushing down any sugar crystals on the edge of the pan as these could burn later.

When dissolved, increase the heat and let the sugar syrup start to boil.  Let it boil pretty vigorously, but obviously without going over the top of the pan.  Do not stir, but check the temperature every so often.  When the temperature gets to 130C/266F, take off the heat and let cool for 1 – 2 minutes.  Do not let the temperature rise above 140C/284F, nor use below 130C/266F.

As it is cooling whisk the gelatine-liquid mix in a food mixer using a balloon whisk attachment.  Slowly drizzle the sugar syrup down the side into the mixing bowl; do not pour into the middle directly on to the whisk as this will crystallise out the sugar.  Whisk for some time to allow the mixture to cool down and to expand in size to an opaque bubblegum texture.  You can add flavours like coffee, chocolate, cocoa, fruit liqueurs or vanilla extract at this stage, or maybe rose oil or matcha tea.

Whisk Up Marshmallow Mixture To Bubblegum Texture

Whisk Up Marshmallow Mixture To Bubblegum Texture

Pour Marshmallow Mixture Into Tin Lined With Clingfilm

Pour Marshmallow Mixture Into Tin Lined With Clingfilm

Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray, then smooth over the top with an oiled knife or spatula.  Cover and leave to set for at least 2 hours by which time the top will be firm, but very sticky.

When set, dust a surface with some cornflour and turn the marshmallow on to this surface.  Gently remove the clingfilm, which will be pretty tightly stuck with the marshmallow.  Then with an oiled sharp knife cut into cubes and then dip into cornflour to counteract the stickiness.  Eat and enjoy.

As alternatives, you could use an infusion of mug of matcha tea or perhaps 1 cinnamon quill infused in boiling water for 15 minutes, then allowed to cool.  It is important to let the liquid for the gelatine be cool, so place in fridge to make sure of this.  Then for a colourful outside, you could grind some freeze dried fruits or berries in a coffee grinder, or you could use desiccated coconut.