Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts

Monday, 4 April 2016

Recipe from my travels: Rome Carciofi Alla Giudea

Carciofi Alla Giudea recipe

Carciofi Alla Giudea, which literally translated from the Roman dialect, means 'Jewish-style artichokes' is an 'antipasto' (starter) that originates from the Roman Ghetto; a Jewish ghetto that was established in 1555.

This dish is a must when visiting Rome, one of Celebrity Cruises destinations. A visit to the Jewish Quarter,  where once stood the ghetto, full of small restaurants and taverns you can taste this Jewish-Roman dish.   In the Spring, the local community in the region of Lazio celebrate this vegetable with artichokes festivals.

This classic dish is very simple to prepare, but this method of preparation can enhance the aroma and flavor of this vegetable. The artichokes are quickly fried to so that they become crispy and nutty while the tasty artichoke hearts become tender and earthy.  This is a favorite local dish during the spring months when the local artichokes from the north-west coastal region of Lazio are in season. Artichokes are a typical 'contorni' (vegetable and salads) of the Lazio cuisine, especially the city of Rome, where this dish was invented.

time:  1h30m
serves: 4

Carciofi Alla Giudea recipe - This recipe was first published at The Great British Chefs site
 I am a contributor to GBChefs site. 

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Salpicão, Brazilian chicken salad

It’s the season of colourful rainbow, heirloom vegetables, fruits, plants and flowers, like tomatoes, melons, carrots, potatoes, and many more.  These beautiful ingredients are grown from seeds that are passed down from generation to generation, they rely on natural pollination from insects or the wind under traditional techniques. They are grown is small scale, making them a bit pricier; and they can be found at local farmers’ markets and some upmarket grocery stores.

Here I used the seasonal rainbow carrots to make a very tasty and filling Brazilian salad called Salpicão, chicken in the main ingredient and carrots are the supporting element of this dish. It is a must on the barbequere table. Carrots are crammed with a plethoda of nutrients, They are low in calories. carrots contain vitamin A and very healthy. Here’s a brief break-down of carrots benefits, I found on my reaseach:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment that promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is crucial for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is linked to lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to better eye health and cancer prevention
  • White/light yellow: The nutrients comes from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Salpicão, Brazilian chicken and vegetable salad

(wheat, diary and gluten free*)

Serves 6-8 people
Cook time: 20 mins

Prep time: 30 mins


500g of poached chicken breasts, shredded
150g of cubed smoked ham
150g of corn kernels, cooked and cooled
150g of peas, frozen or fresh
150g of carrots, peeled and shredded, I used the seasonal rainbow carrots, please feel free to use a generic type of carrot.

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 small fennel, shredded (approx 100g)
1/3 cup of seedless raisins (a handful is more than enough)

1 green apple cores, peeled, diced

100ml of mayo, shop bought is fine
200ml of Greek yogurt
a handful of finely chopped spring onions
handful of chives , salt and pepper to taste
handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 pack of shoestring potatoes (it can be found in Brazilian and Portuguese shops)


    1)Prep all ingredients. Poached the chicken in water, 5-6 peppercorns and a handful of rosemary, you can used any other flavouring you have or wish. Drain and leave it to cool for 10 mins, shred it. While the chicken is poaching prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2) In a large bowl mix very well the shredded chicken, ham, corn, peas, carrots, raisins, fennel, red onion, apple and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3)  In a separate bowl mix the mayo, yogurt, parsley, chives, spring onion. Add this sauce to the chicken mixture. Mix well.

4)    Add half a pack of the shoestring potatoes, into the mix.Test for season.

5)    Place all in a nice dish and decorate with the rest of shoestring potatoes.

Tips: 1) chicken: use left over roasted chicken, it tastes even better!

         2) corn and peas – canned and drained is okay to use too.

         3) * use vegan mayo and diary free yogurt

*Quick Vegan mayo:
¾ cup of soy milk
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Combine soy milk, lemon juice and mustard in a blender or with a wand blender for about 30 seconds. While blending, slowly add in the oil until emulsified and it thickens. Add the salt and pepper and blend. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Anticuchos, Peruvian ox heart recipe

I love Peruvian cuisine and I can't resist this traditional Peruvian dish can be make of any meat, but the most popular is ox heart. Ox heart is such an underused offal and it's not expensive cut of meat. Peruvian food is delicious and easy to make. I give you a couple of places where to buy the ingredients in the UK and USA.
Anticuchos consist in small marinaded pieces of grilled skewered meat accompanied by boiled potato and aji (chilli sauce).  When buying a whole ox heart ask your butcher to clean the veins, arteries and fat and portion them. It's quite big, just think a whole cow, obviously it will be a big heart!  You can cook some, portion the rest (about 300gr per portion)  and freeze them.  Each 300gr portion is plenty for 2-3 portions of anticuchos. A whole heart will give you about 2.5-3kg of meat.  I bought my ox heart from a very famous butcher in Clapham Common, they wouldn't butchered it for me, despite the high price tag.  I love a challenge so I did it myself. This video was very helpful: Offal Good

yield: 4 portions

3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup ground aji panca
salt and pepper to taste
1 desert spoon of cumin
¾ cup vinegar
1 tbsp of fried achiote in 3 tablespoons of

(achiote is a spice made from the red seed of the annatto tree)

500gr ox heart, clean and free of grease
aji amarilllo

Soak the heart in salted water for 2 hours. Wash off the salted water and patch dry.

Mix the marinade ingredients.
Clean the beef heart by removing fat and veins. Cut into approximately: 6cm lenght x 0.5cm thickness.  Place in a bowl and pour over the marinade mixture. Marinate the beef heart at least 12 hours in the fridge. Take the beef hearts out of the fridge for at least 30 mins.
Assemble the screws: 3 pieces in each stick

Heat the grill or bbq and accommodate the
skewers smearing each one with a mixture of minced fresh yellow pepper and oil. Turn and wait for them to cook.

Serve hot. Usually served two skewers per person accompanied by a boiled potato, corn and hot pepper sauce.
If there is no beef heart can be prepared with beef tenderloin and proceed in the same way.

Tip: The aji amarillo and panca (chillies) in this recipe can be replaced with scotch bonnet (without seeds) or they can be found on sale in the UK: at Borough Market (chilli stall) and online (Amazon) and VivaPeru . In the USA is much easier to find latin ingredients, one of many sites is Latin Merchant

Monday, 9 September 2013

Broad beans, beetroot and Quinoa Salad

The inspiration for this salad comes from Martin Morales Ceviche masterclass a few weeks ago. Read all about it here. Recently I was sent two packs of organic express quinoa, from Quinola. It takes 2 minutes to prepare. It's a easy, convenient and gluten-free, the ideal substitute for rice or pasta.

Broad Beans, beetroot and quinoa salad
200gr cooked guinoa (I used the white & red pearls)
300gr of cooked broad beans
400gr of cooked and diced beetroot
2 red onion finely diced 
20gr of butter
1 tsp of spring onion finely diced
juice of 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 tsp of olive oil  
chives to garnish 

Serves: 4
especial equipment: food rings 7cm dia by 7cm height.

1) start by making the beetroot sauce, sautee 1/2 red onion in a pan with the butter add the beetroots and cook further 10 mins. Place the beetroot and onion mix with 1 tsp of olive oil, 1/2 cup of water and salt and pepper to taste. Sieve. Reserve. 
2) mash the broad beans, mix with finely chopped spring onions,  some lime juice, 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Per portion: place the ring on a plate add the mashed broad beans mix firmly at the bottom of the ring.
3) mix the beetroot, red onions, salt and pepper to taste. Place a layer of this mix on top of the broad bean layer.
4) Mix the cooked guinoa with the 2 tsp of olive oil, garlic, rest of lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, chives finely chopped.  Place a good layer on top of the beetroot. press firmly. 
5) remove the rings, add the sauce to the plate and garnish with chives

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

roasted cod with wild garlic

Wild garlic is also known as ramsons, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leak or bear’s garlic is a wild relative of chives and a member of  the lily family which can cause mistakes in identification. When foraging, for an accurate identification just rub the leaves against each other, wild garlic produces a garlic-like smell. It comes into season at end of February till end of May at the latest in Europe.  It grows in woodlands with moist soils with a slightly acidic conditions.  Farmers consider it to be a pest, because the parts of the plant can infiltrate into the farmer’s picking grain, resulting in a lower price for their crop and dairy cattle that eat the plant can produce odorous milk. Despite these flaws, wild garlic has an important place in herbal medicine. The consuming or application of wild garlic in herbal remedies made from the plant can be beneficial, consult your physician before using this herb to treat any medical condition.

Wild garlic is said to be important to the Native Americans in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases. In addition to harvesting the bulbs for food, some tribes chew them to assist breathing and to treat digestion and intestinal gas. During the Middle Ages, the herb was instrumental in cholera treatment and prevention of plague. The fresh juice of small bulbs was also used as medicine.
Studies have determined that the wild garlic can be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure. It contains allicin, which may be responsible for the herb health benefits. Allicin is known to be anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and a potential effective antioxidant. One of the possible uses include the treatment of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and high cholesterol. It can also act as a diluent for blood, making it useful for reducing the risk of blood clot formation. Evidence of all these benefits still to be proven.
The use of wild garlic comes with potential side effects. Frequent contact with the fresh plant can result in irritated skin or an allergic reaction. The use of gloves are highly recommended to harvest the grass. Do not give it to children or pregnant women in raw or medicinal state unless directed to do so by a physician. Wild garlic harvested from a farmer's field may contain traces of pesticides or other chemicals.

Whatever you believe in it’s potential medicinal effects or not, wild garlic  is one of  those culinary treats. In salads, sauces, soups, sandwiches and the most popular pesto, replacing the basil leaves in the recipe. Wild garlic pesto is a good way to preserve it and to last into the summer. Last year I whizzed the leaves in the food processor with olive oil only to make a paste. Then I placed the mixture into individual small jam jars topped with olive oil and kept them in the fridge.  It's a very concentrated paste which I  apply in my cooking as and when required. It can also be frozen in ice trays. This year I’ve make some of the paste again.

Here is a nice fresh recipe using the paste, roasted cod with wild garlic served in a bed of lentils. Here is a infographic designed to help you to buy sustainable cod : info

Roasted Cod with Wild Garlic 
yield: 4 portions

800 gr of cod steaks - de-boned 
300 gr of puy lentils 
1 white onion finely diced
4 red whole chillies
2 bayleaves
1 Italian lemon - juiced and zest
Olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Wild garlic paste ( recipe above) 
1) cook the lentils according to the packaging. Covered it with water, boil for 10mins, reduce the heat, add the whole chillies and bay leaves and cook in low heat for a further 35 mins. Reserve.
2) place the cod steaks in a heat-proof dish slightly buttered.  Add the cod and drizzle with olive oil.  place the steaks in a pre-heated oven and roast the cod for 20mins in high heat (200C)
3)  while the cod steaks roast in the oven, prepare the lentils by placing the diced onions in a pan with1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the onions till tender
4) add the lentils to the onions cook for 5 mins. Salt and pepper to taste.
5) in a pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of wild garlic paste, the zest of a lemon and juice of the lemon
6) by now the cod should be ready. 
7) plate the lentils and place the cod on top.
8) drizzle the wild garlic and lemon sauce on top of the cod steaks.
9) enjoy it!


Friday, 15 July 2011

Great British Chefs - challenge no. 2 - The Starter: Haddock Ballotine by Frances Atkins

Frances Atkins is one of six Michelin-starred female chefs in the UK and was ranked No.14 in The Times Top 100 Food List in 2010.  She is the head chef at the Yorke Arms in Yorkshire.
I must thank Fin & Flounder for the wonderful knife skills, fresh fish and prompt service. 
Read about challenge no. 1  here 

Smoked haddock ballotine with an artichoke vinaigrette, liquorice and pineapple relish

clearly I need to work on my presentation!

Cooking  time:  2 hours 30 minutes
Serves : 4
The ballotine here is made from very thinly sliced smoked haddock, rolled around a creamy scallop and potted shrimp mousseline

Main Ingredient         
2 undyed smoked haddock fillets

Artichoke vinaigrette
4 fresh globe artichokes
1½ lemons
1 tsp Yorkshire heather honey
1 tsp grain mustard
150ml olive oil

Scallop mousseline         
6 king scallops
1 medium egg
145ml whipping cream
55g potted shrimps

Pineapple relish
2 large shallots
1 small golden pineapple
knob of butter
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
4 red chillies
110g caster sugar
1 tbsp verjuice

Curried butter sauce
1 shallot
250ml white wine
250ml chicken stock
30g cardamom pods
2 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bunch of fresh thyme
cream to drizzle

Liquorice sauce
 1 tbsp liquorice essence
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Step 1 To make the pineapple relish, finely chop the shallots and dice the pineapple into small pieces. Sauté in the butter along with the mustard seeds
Ingredients   2 large shallots, 1 small golden pineapple, knob of butter, 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
Step 2 De-seed and finely slice the chillies and add along with the sugar to the relish mixture
Ingredients    4 red chillies, 110g caster sugar

Tip      The natural juices and sugars should caramelize and turn the pineapple into a luxurious sticky mass
Step 3 Add the verjuice for a hint of piquancy. Season generously with salt as the flavours will be less pronounced when served at room temperature
Ingredients    "1 tbsp verjuice, salt
eventually I found it at John Lewis Food Hall Oxford Street

Step 4 Cool the completed relish and transfer to a clean heatproof container or jar
Step 5 Clean the scallops and remove the roe. Place the scallops and salt in a food processor and blitz until puréed
Ingredients   6 king scallops, salt
Step 6 Separate the egg and add the egg white and cream, then fold in the shrimps
Ingredients   1 medium egg white, 145ml whipping cream, 55g potted shrimps
Step 7 Place in a clean container and store in the fridge until needed
Step 8 Take the fillets of haddock and slice them horizontally as thinly as possible
Ingredients    2 undyed smoked haddock fillets
Tip      The haddock should be as thin as smoked salmon
Step 9 Make a small rectangle with cling film and place a single layer of thinly sliced smoked haddock in the centre
Step 10  Spoon the scallop mousseline along the centre of the smoked haddock and wrap up in a sausage shape
Step 11  Twist the excess cling film at each end to make a cracker shape. Make sure the sausage (or ballotine if you wish to use the French name) is an even shape and that the ends are airtight
Step 12  Once all the ballotines are completed, put them into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set
Step 13  Remove from the fridge and poach in boiling water for 10 minutes
Step 14   Prepare the artichokes by peeling, trimming, cutting the tops off and breaking off the woody end of the stalks
Ingredients    4 fresh globe artichokes
Step 15   Cook in water with the juice of 1 of the lemons for about 45 minutes to 1 hour
Ingredients    1 lemon

Step 16   Whilst the artichoke is cooking, make the vinaigrette dressing by mixing together the honey, mustard and olive oil in a jug
Ingredients   1 tsp Yorkshire heather honey, 1 tsp grain mustard, 150ml olive oil
Step 17   When the artichoke is cooked, discard the hairy core, which should come away easily, and coat the artichoke hearts in the vinaigrette

Step 18           
To make the curried butter, chop the shallot and put in a pan with some salt and pepper. Add the wine and chicken stock and reduce by half
Ingredients    1 shallot, salt, pepper,
250ml white wine,
250ml chicken stock
Step 19   Grind the spices and herbs and pass through a sieve. Roast in a dry pan
30g cardamom pods,2 star anise,1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 bunch of fresh thyme

Step 20   Add the wine and chicken stock reduction to the pan, finish with the cream and reduce to a spooning consistency
Ingredients    cream to drizzle

Step 21  Heat the liquorice essence and balsamic vinegar and cook until the liquid has reduced by half
Ingredients    1 tbsp liquorice essence
Tip      It should be sticky with a pronounced flavour
Step 22   Heat the artichoke hearts in a small amount of vinaigrette until warm

Step 23  Remove the smoked haddock from the poaching water, take off the clingfilm and cut each ballotine into 3
Step 24   Place the haddock with an artichoke on each plate and add a little pineapple relish, light scrape of liquorice sauce  and finish with a little curried butter sauce
The feedback
Despite the tight timings given to test this recipe, over bank holiday weekend, with no time to internet shopping for two of the ingredients, I found almost everything, apart from the liquorice essence ( I used liquorice root when reducing the balsamic vinegar)  I don’t know if that makes  any difference as I haven’t tasted liquorice essence before. Also, the Verjuice, I couldn’t find it, even though apparently they sell at Waitrose/John Lewis food hall? Instead I used apple, lemon juice & white wine mixture to make up the piquancy.  It worked very well.
The pineapple relish is delicious, I think would be a good idea to add a note to keep an eye on it when cooking as it can caramelise too quickly and burn.  The same goes  to the balsamic and liquorice reduction. Also, my pineapple didn’t mash as much. To get the fish filleted thinly requires skills I don’t possess.  Instead, I asked the fishmonger (Fin & Flounder)
It’s a winner that requires a bit of cooking knowledge, attention to detail and certain organization prior start the cooking process. I need to work on my presentation!

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