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Wednesday 22 February 2012

Recipe: Black Garlic King Prawn Kebab w/ Cucumber & Lime

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

Due to some bad planning and a rather rushed weekend I managed to end up with a rather large handful of uncooked shell-on king prawns I had to cook. That, or they would have gone to waste!  Now I don't believe in wasting anything, and I try and find good ways of preserving if possible: freezing, curing, whatever makes most sense. In this case I had some stunning ingredients left over from the supper club so I thought I'd treat my flatmates to some special kebabs!! Here's what I made for them . . . . .

Lemon oil, black garlic and prawns are a fabulous combination of flavours!!
ingredients (serves 2)
for the prawns
16 raw kingsize prawns (head off or shell off)
40g fermented garlic butter (in slices) - (here's how to make it!)
1/4 lime (juiced)

for the sauce
125g natural yogurt
10 leaves fresh mint (finely chopped)
1/2 cucumber (medium/large dice)

for the naan bread
2 fresh plain buttered naan (lush home made naan here)

for the garnish
5g coriander leaves
1/2 lime

(and cast-iron pan and grill - if making naan)

Mix the mint, cucumber and yogurt together and season. The salt you add here will balance the sweetness of the black garlic prawns. Maybe worth dipping one in when they're cooked, just to test the seasoning you understand ; ) chef's privilege.

I love making my own naan, mostly because I'm not that often near a place where I can get a really good one!
If you're lucky enough to have a good authentic local, and you're short on time go get 'em, but if you're relaxing on the weekend, maybe cooking for the family or friends you can very simply make your own. Here's how : )

Add a knob of butter to the wok and throw in the prawns, add the chopped black garlic butter, and mix well moving the prawns continuously to they cook, and coat evenly. Take care not to over cook them, they should moist on the inside! Once ready turn off the gas, leave them in the wok while you plate so they don't go cold!

to serve
If you are using head-on shell-on (HOSO, in fact, with any shell at all) serve the kebab open. With the naan bread butter side up, dress with a generous serving of cucumber mix, load the prawns on top and garnish with coriander and a squeeze of lime juice!
Serve immediately.

I might have had a little nibble of that there naan, was quite peckish!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Basics - Recipe: Fermented Garlic Butter Stack - Black Garlic

I came across fermented garlic, also know as black garlic in the kitchen at the Chancery  when helping out Sabrina Ghayour doing the charity event: The French Laundrette Supper Club the proceeds of which went to Action Against Hunger. Post about that coming soon!

It's garlic, but not as we know it!! For a start it's black, secondly, its texture is completely different to garlic: having been fermented at high temperature for around a month, it's actually quite soft and pliable. It has a history of use in Asian cuisine, and is much, much milder than raw garlic. It has a subtle sweet flavour . . . .

Time to put it to the test at ferdiesfoodlab!

This is a component / basic recipe and recipes that use it  are . . . . coming soon.  King Prawn and Black Garlic Kebab, Gargantuan Madagascan Prawn with Lemon and Black Garlic Stripes and Paprika Churros. If you like to see one posted first leave a comment tell me which! : )

ingredients (a 280g block)
for the butter stack
250g butter (unsalted)
30 cloves (3 bulbs) black garlic (peeled)

chef's knife
plastic cutting board

Put the butter in the deep freeze for 15 mins or at the back of your fridge (where it's coldest) so that it's around -2C / 35F.
While the butter cools, take the cloves and spread them as thinly as possible on a plastic cutting board. (not wooden as shown here) Put a few drops of water on the board and wet your knife. Squeeze a clove so that it's just under a millimetre thick then loosen it from the board and use a spreading action,  to make it thinner still. Repeat for each clove, maintaining a wet board and knife throughout.

Once the garlic is ready, remove the butter from the cool (the fridge or freezer) and cut a 2-3mm slice off across its width, cover in a film of black garlic, and repeat until a stack is created. Squeeze the stack down to remove any air from it.

Start the stack
and continue stacking until the butter's used up


Store at the back (coldest part) of the fridge until required. Cut lengthways to reveal stripes across the slice of butter.

thinking ahead
The butter stack will live happily in the freezer or fridge for a month or more.


what could go wrong?
Using a dry blade or board will mean that the garlic will stick to one or the other, or both, and be difficult to spread thinly, giving you curly wedges more suitable for a noodle recipe!! : / Make sure both the blade and board are wet!

to serve
Cut a thin slice off and melt onto toast!

more on black garlic
on twitter @blackgarlicUK, on facebook, on their homepage

recipies using black garlic coming up
Gargantuan Madagascan Prawn with Lemon and Black Garlic Stripes and Paprika Churros
King Prawn and Black Garlic Kebab (I couldn't resist a quick dip of yoghurt - thus the missing naan, oops!)

Friday 3 February 2012

Recipe / Leftovers: Celeriac and Potato Rösti

Still learning from me mum! Perfect rostis!!

Cooking is a lot to do with confidence, and, usually, that comes with experience. A random accident, phone call or some sort of improvisation that takes your fancy - basically experimentation - although often a recipe wrecker can some yield a cracking result!!

But there are some recipes that no matter how many times you try them the result is still a turkey where no turkey was initially involved!! Sooner or later, crestfallen from the lack of progress, you give up on something maybe never to return to it again!! Filed as an Achilles heal : /

Röstis are that thing for me, they never come out, tried loads of recipes and they always come out like nasty, dry pancakes, boo! So you can imagine my flabergastedlyness when my mum turned out some stunners to go along with the leftover turkey pie I made over the Christmas break. 

There was turkey left over from Christmas day, and pastry from the sausage rolls, it was a no brainer, turkey pie! Angels singing in the background, hallelujah . . hallelujah, hallelujah : ) big smiles!

A quick bit of industrial espionage - in the shape of me getting me mum to show me how to make them - and here's the low down. . .

ingredients (makes 6 - 8 patties)
for the röstis
1 medium celeriac
2 medium potatoes
large pinch basil, thyme or rosemary (dried)
ground black pepper
2 tbsp plain flour (enough to bind shredded potato)

for the garnish
10 fresh basil leaves

apparatus / equipment


Peel the potato and the celeriac and shred them using a food processor with a small grating disc.
Some folks squeeze the water out of the shreds using a tea towel, but it isn't necessary and the excess water helps bind the röstis together.
Put all ingredients, bar the flour, into a mixing bowl and season it.
Add half the flour and form into patties about 3/4 inch (1.8cm) thick and 2.5inches (6cm) in diameter.
If they don't hold together add a little more flour until they form the required patties.
Then shallow fry in vegetable oil on a medium heat, and I quote, "until golden brown and yummy!!"
Turn them once until they are crunchy and brown on the outside.
Serve immediately.

what could go wrong?
Try not to make them too "frizzy", the outer strands will burn - not a good look! - and pollute your oil.
Don't make them too flat or they will be dry, if they're around the 3/4 - 1 inch mark the centre will be soft and the outside crunchy!

to serve
Place on a platter and serve with scattered basil leaves and baby plum tomatoes for a light snack, or as a potato accompaniment to turkey pie, replacing chips or mash for example.

A little salad, turkey pie and a touch of wine! Bliss!
Röstis are best made with root vegetables. If you fancy using a wetter root vegetable such as beetroot - which adds a lovely flavour to a rösti - remove as much liquid as possible and balance it with potato.

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
Fancy getting stuck in? Click on the image above and to see how : ) . . . hope to see you soon.

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
If there's something you've tried at ferdiesfoodlab or a technique you want to know about drop us a line at and I'll put up a post about it!!


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