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Sunday 29 July 2012

Basics - Recipe: Pesto (& Spaghetti for my lover!)

This is so simple to make and you can vary the ingredients to bring out the flavours that you prefer, or tailor them to your favourite (more frequent) dishes, a little spaghetti for example, some parmesan shavings and some quartered cherry tomatoes makes you a tasty slow energy release meal in under 10mins!!! 

Or if you fancy something a little more exotic, it goes very nicely with a little goats' cheese stuffed into courgette flowers!!

ingredients (200ml jar)
for the pesto

3 (45g) basil - spinach - wild garlic
1 (15g) grated parmesan
1 (15g) toasted pine nuts
8 (120g) extra virgin olive oil
1/3 (5g) rock salt
1/3 (5g) crushed garlic (optional)

mini food processor

Blitz everything but the oil until a smooth paste forms. The salt helps with this process. Then add a little oil and blitz to loosen the paste. Add the rest of the oil until smooth. Done!

thinking ahead
If nothing protrudes through the top layer of oil in the pesto jar, the oil forms a protective barrier, stopping the mix of herbs, nuts and cheese from oxidising and going off!!. Don't forget to sterilise the jar and lid by putting them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

use in spaghetti for 2 : )
10 baby plum / cherry tomatoes
140g spaghetti (Barilla no.5 cooked 7mins in salted water and drained)
1 tbsp pesto
16 cooked tiger prawns (defrosted)
1/2 lemon
10g parmesan shavings and a couple of basil leaves for garnish

Mix the lot together in a pan serve and garnish with parmesan and basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Fast and tasty, your sweetheart will love you for it : )

If you can make this look as good as it tastes please get in touch!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Ski series - Recipe: Rice Pudding w/ Crunchy Sugar Coating

This was another left overs one but came out rather tasty! Big smiles all around except for a 5 year old who flicked a big spoonful of it into his dad's eye, and came very close to . . . .  well what would you do with him? Anyway, given that kids are pretty choosy, I'll take that comment on the chin, or in the eye!! ; )

ingredients (serves 12)
for the rice pudding

2.5L     milk
12     star anise
1kg     pudding rice
1     orange (zest)
450g caster sugar
0.5L     cream

to serve
brown sugar
raspberry syrup

star fruit
physalis peruviana (inca berry)

big pot
blow torch
ring mould to serve

rice pudding
Bring milk to boil w/ star anise and then leave to simmer and infuse for about 20 mins.
Add the rice and sugar, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20mins with a lid, adding the orange zest after 10mins.
Check occasionally to make sure it's not dried out. (Add a little more milk if it has!)
Once the rice is cooked, add the cream and mix it through the pudding, heating until it starts to bubble and mixing slowly to get the cream evenly mixed into the pudding.

Don't forget the mix needs to be stiff enough to keep it's shape when you lift the ring mould.
Decorate the plate with syrup then place the empty ring mould. Fill it with rice pudding, flatten the surface a little and coat it with brown sugar.

WARNING: The ring mould will get very hot so remove it before caramelising. Just because it doesn't glow doesn't mean it won't burn!! (As my hostess found out!! - Soooorry, my bad!)

Next set to it with a blow torch until the sugar starts to bubble and caramelise, spread the heat evenly so as not to burn the caramel.

To make fruit syrup put equal amount of sugar and water into a pan and bring to the boil, add the desired fruit and leave to simmer. Don't disturb the fruit once it's in, simply pass through a sieve when the syrup is of the desired consistency and flavour, and it will remain clear.

Monday 16 July 2012

Recipe: Breakfast Rolls (60g)

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

Bread making is definitely a skill acquired with practice. I've put this recipe together so as to eliminate problems that might arise when making free form breads, it's simple and takes very little work - 20 mins to make the initial dough and less than 10 minutes to portion it into the tray! 10-15 minutes to savour for breakfast with marmalade! : )

ingredients (makes 16 rolls)

for the dough

500g strong white bread flour
325g water
10g salt
5g dried active yeast
10g extra virgin olive oil

high sided baking tray 30cm x 25cm
food processor
mixing bowl - for dough


Boil 1/3 of the water and add to the remaining cold water (the water will be 35C - perfect for yeast!). Now add the yeast and stir. Leave 12mins
Add the dry ingredient s to food processor with a plastic dough blade fitted.
Once the yeast is ready (completely dissolved), run the motor and add the water & yeast mix and oil.

A dough will have formed by the time all the water is in. Run the motor for another 2mins to knead the dough.
Pour a touch of oil into the mixing bowl and use the dough to spread it around.
Then turn the dough over so it's oil side up, and cover with cling film. Leave to ferment until it's doubled in size - about 60mins.
It doesn't need to be in a warm place - it just takes longer if it isn't.

forming and placing
Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knock it back to release the CO2 from the dough.

Cut into 60g pieces and shape into balls, placing them into 4 rows of 4 in the baking tray.
Leave them to ferment further until they have grown to the intended size of the bap!
Cook at G6/200C/400F on the middle shelf for 15-20mins until golden brown!

thinking ahead
You can make these days in advance and freeze them for whenever you want. Don't forget to cut them in half before you freeze them, so you can toast from frozen if you like!

If you want to make burger baps cut the dough into 90g balls and place 6 of them into the tray:

. . bake at G7/220C/425F for around 15mins . . .  RESULT!! 


Friday 13 July 2012

Experiment - Recipe: Hearts of Palm, Crab and Tomato Salad (low carb high protein)

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

I always like to try out new ingredients, and I'm nearly always trying to make something that tastes good but keeps this pounds off the waistline, so when Cook's and Company sent me some Hearts of Palm in the mail I thought I'd give them a try. They have a similar taste and texture to artichokes, and reminded me a little of white asparagus.

After a little hunting around the kitchen for some ingredients I decided on a salad type ensemble: Tomato, shredded Egg White Omelette, Crab & Palm Hearts dressed w/ Egg Yolk coated Rosemary Croutons, Basil, Coriander & Lemon Zest with a touch of White Balsamic Reduction

I don't think I'd change this at all, it was absolutely gorgeous! The flavours work really well, if you don't go mad with the sauce it's extremely healthy.

ingredients (serves 4)
for the heart of palm & crab salad
3 beef tomatoes (coarsely diced)
400g white crab meat (cooked, torn into chunks)
2 egg whites (fried / shredded)
220g (1 tin) hearts of palm (sliced into 4mm think slices / rings)
2 tbsp mayonnaise or heart of palm sauce to taste (see variations)

for the egg yolk coated rosemary croutons
100g rosemary infused brown seeded batch or focaccia (roasted)
2 egg yolks (50C & whipped)

for the garnish
coriander leaves
basil shoots
lemon zest
poppy seeds (optional)
a though of white balsamic reduction

blender if you're making the sauce (instead of using mayo)

heart of palm & crab salad
Prep the ingredients as indicated in the list.
Whisk the eggs season them and make a thin omelette from them. Once cooled slice into thin stops.
Remove the centres of the hearts of palm and cut the remianing tubes into rings reserving the soft centres for the sauce. If you're using mayo instead simple slice the centres and add them to the rings.
Mix the tomatoes and the mayo, then add the crab and the egg and lay on the plates ready to dress.

egg yolk coated rosemary croutons
Lightly whisk the egg yolks over a bain marie just to make the mix homogenous and warm it up to 50C.
Cut the bread into crouton sized pieces and roast in the oven at 180C for 8mins or until golden, them remove and add them to the yolks,  mixing well with a fork until all the yolk coats the bread and season with a little salt.

to serve
Dress the salad with the croutons and palm hearts, add sauce at this point if you've made it, and garnish with the lemon zest, coriander, basil and poppy seeds. Serve immediately.

thinking ahead
The sauce will keep for a few days, just be sure to keep the palm heart rings in their liquor in the fridge.

techniques used

If you fancy a really complimentary dressing don't use the mayonnaise, make a sauce from the liquor the palm hearts come in. Use the the same method as for mayonnaise here but:

use these ingredients:
1 egg yolk
100ml liquor
palm heart soft centres put aside (add with liquor)
10ml lemon juice
salt to taste
around 200ml sunflower or rapeseed oil

It should come out about half the viscosity of mayonnaise, and complements the crab and this salad very well!!

with thanks to Cooks & Co for the product - Hearts of Palm see here for more info!

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
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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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