Saturday, 7 July 2012

My mom's chocolate cream (for cakes)

This needs to be cooked over a steaming pot (Bain Marie)
Mix together 3 whole eggs, one cup of sugar and 3 Tablespoons of Cocoa powder.
I often use pure solid chocolate chopped up, instead of the powder. The same quantity, or God forbid, even up to 4 Tablespoons at times.

Stir gently for about 20 minutes, until the mixture thickens nicely and darkens in colour.

Then cool down to room temperature.

Add in about 200 grams of butter and zap it up with a mixer until nice and silky.

Spread over your chosen sponge.
As you can see, my sponge has collapsed on me. I really shouldn't be posting pictures of such failures in the future. It is not very uplifting for my audience :)

I am always satisfied with this cream though.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Thai minced chicken with basil

A very aromatic Thai style dish, made with minced chicken.

I saute some chopped ginger, garlic, chillies and Spring onions.
Add in the minced chicken, stir fry it until it changes colour to white, then add the sauce:

Palm sugar or brown sugar, one Tablespoon.
Oyster sauce, one Tablespoon.
Soy sauce, one tablespoon.
Fish sauce, one tablespoon.
half a cup of water or chicken stock.

Bring to boil.  The chicken will be done in a bit more than 5 minutes from this point.  When it's done, toss in a LOT of fresh basil leaves. I use about 15 leaves for the quantity of one chicken breast.
Squeeze the juice of half a lime into the whole mixture, and serve with Fresh cucumbers and crispy lettuce. And perhaps steamed rice if you wish.  Vermicelli (rice noodles), also go well with this.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Spiced carrots

I believe this has something to do with Morocco.

Boil your chunkily chopped carrots for 4-5 minutes, then drain and cool. This was six medium carrots, a bit more than I need but I'd like to tuck into it tomorrow as well, when it's nicely chilled.
The dressing:
                                 Paprika powder (I used smoked Paprika)-1 teaspoon
                                 Cummin powder-1 teaspoon
                                 Lemon Juice -2 Tablespoons
                                 Olive oil- 2 Tablespoons
                                 Chopped parsley- 2 Tablespoons
                                 Salt -to taste

A great summer lunch.   Or a great little side dish.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sloppy potato gnocchi in Roquefort and cream sauce

Professionals have a particular way of fiddling with these gnocchis to make them the "perfect shape", but it needn't be fiddly, I'm telling you. The less you knead this dough the lighter your gnocchi will be as you cook them.
So I chose a way that is really simple, by boiling 4 medium potatoes in their skin, cooling them down, peeling them and adding them to a food processor with one beaten egg and about one cup of all purpose flour. A pinch of nutmeg and a little salt added. Zap it up quickly with a few pulses, not more. It will be gooey, but don't mind that. Some may call it,  uhm, "rustic"?

Bring your salty water to a boil and scoop out (by heating a spoon for few seconds in the boiling water between each scoop), some wallnut sized dollops. When they surface to the top of the water, they are done. Freeze the rest for next time. First on a tray, then pop them in plastic bag.  You  will need only about 6-8 dollops per serving. Or if you live in the US of A, or happen to have a massive appetite, double that.
(I see food portions at restautants there are massive)

Yes, they are not the shape as they supposed to be by Italian professional standard, made nicely with the fork incisions, but as you can see they are also not too bad to look at either.  And the taste is just the same. If not better. I am nor Italian, nor professional, so I have the perfect excuse for making sloppy gnocchis. Yay! And perhaps so do you.

Choose the tastiest potatoes you find. I chose the red skinned variety that is mostly used for salads. Nice firm texture, deep yellow in colour and tasty as hell. Here in Spain, they simply call them Patatas Rojas (Red Potatoes).

For the sauce, I heated up a good spooful of sour cream, with a little water, same amount of roquefort cheese, few springs of fresh thyme and a dollop of olive oil. It will take less than a minute, untill your cheese melts into the heavenly mixture.  When it all melted down switch off the heat, cover it up and let the Thyme infuse.   You can of course use the real cream instead of sour cream if you prefer, but in that case omit the water.   Voila.  Home made sloppy gnocchi!

Steamed Salmon with Cucumber salad, Sichuan style

 Have you ever asked yourself why grilled Salmon skin in this bubbly and crunchy state is so heavenly? When I steam my salmon, I always treat myself to the skins popped under the grill for few minutes (after rubbing them with olive oil and salt). Mmm!   It's the best bit.    Do make sure you scale the skin first. It will be messy, but worth it :)
 I placed the salmon (with the skin stolen!) onto some foil parcels, and topped it with a mixture of :
garlic, ginger, spring onions, chilli, sesame oil, cooking oil, black bean paste,  ground sechuan peppercorns, salt sugar, vinegar, chinese wine (or sake)  Steamed for 10 minutes. The steaming time will depend on the thickness of your salmon. This was about 3 cm thick.

For the cucumber salad I used Lebanese cucumbers (the short variety) de-seeded and salted then drained... crushed garlic, toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns, few chillies.  For the dressing: regular cheapest roughest white Vinegar, white sugar, sesame oil and a little black pepper.

If you have any questions RELATED TO THESE DISHES, feel free to email me: