Friday 27 May 2016

Experiment / Recipe: Squid Ink Charcoal

I was doing a little flavour profiling the other day - aka dicking about in the kitchen -  I’d been trying out an idea with black ribs for a course called “rack and black 2.0”. Still needs work, but one of the elements uses squid ink to introduce the black element.

rack of rose veal w/ black ribs

black ribs w/ pa amb tomàquet

Anyway, the result were OK but nothing to write home about so I settled into a glass of wine and catching up with Masterchef. It was the heat where the contestants had to cook for Michael O'Hare (The Man Behind the Curtain).  The task: to make a dish from his restaurant (obviously). A dish that caught my eye (mostly because I had most of the ingredients in the kitchen) was a dish with Iberian pork (two ways), an edible eggshell filled with egg yolk (Onsen tamago style) topped with squid charcoal.  It looked unusual, really tasty I’m sure & the pork looked spectacular!

Anyhow, I’ve never made and edible egg shell or squid charcoal, and since I had the ingredients for for the squid charcoal I had a stab at it! 

Here's the recipe and the results . . .  

for the veal stock (makes 250 - 400g)
2 sides veal ribs (sliced into ribs, browned)
1 onion (quartered & charred)
2 star anise
20g ginger (sliced & charred)
1L water
Brown off the veal ribs.
Char the ginger & onion.
Put all the ingredients on to boil then turn down to a simmer.
Simmer for 90 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and reduce for another 90 minutes.
Keep going until it coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the ribs, and store for later use.
Remove ginger and star anise, then blend the onion in with an immersion (stick) blender.

for the squid ink stock (makes 440g)
90g squid ink
350g veal stock (or a good gelatinous or white stock)
Add the ink to the boiling veal stock, mix well and put aside until needed.

for the squid ink charcoal (makes ~180g)
155g old bread
170g squid ink stock
200ml milk (semi skimmed)
6g salt (will depend on how salty your stock was)
Blitz the bread and the squid ink stock until it’s homogenous. It will be thick enough to roll into balls.
Loosen the mix with milk, and season. 
Spread a layer 2mm thick onto a silpat / heatproof baking sheet, and bake 100C / 3hrs. 
(145g for a 24x18cm baking sheet - 1g/ 3cm2 - made 50g)
It’s more of a dehydration process than baking.
Once it’s brittle, it’s ready!

I kinda forgot I had the first batch in the oven and ended up with a sheet of actual charcoal . . . oops!
Best to check it every hour!

A quick re-run gave me a very passable result:

Next week . . . prince party nougat (beetroot, orange & pistachio. . . delish)

Sunday 22 May 2016

Recipe: Duck Hearts w/ Fennel & Basil (Chicken hearts work too!)

This has been an experiment after eating Duck hearts at BAO Soho (it was as good as folk say!) - the duck hearts were on as a special - they were so soft and tender I just had to work out how to achieve the same texture. Turns out it’s actually pretty simple: Brine the hearts, then halve them and trim them. Fry on a medium high heat for 2 minutes turning once! Succulent & tender!

I made this salad to demo how to use fennel for my flatmate, it’s a healthy salad and has a broad range of textures and complimentary flavours.

C- for presentation, must try harder!

Sorry about the presentation .  .  .  looks like a duck heart spider with poached pear legs sat on a cucumber birds nest!! Tastes good though!

ingredients (serves 2)

for the fennel salad
400g 1 fennel (top removed for garnish, finely sliced, leave 240g edible)
180g 1/2 cucumber (shredded)
6g basil (chopped at the last minute)
6g coriander (coarsely chopped)

4 poached pear quarters (cut into thirds & diced, keep one for garnish)
35g pickled cauliflower
60g maple dressing
1 dried chilli (finely chopped)

for the maple dressing
100g maple syrup
100g sherry vinegar
100g olive oil

for the duck hearts

300g duck (or chicken) hearts (cut into halves, fat removed)
660g brine (10% - 600g water / 60g salt)
50ml olive oil
25ml ponzu

for the garnish
fronds form the fennel
dried chilli
basil shoot
poached pear

fennel salad
Slice up the fennel first and leave in ice cold water to keep it crunchy and fresh!
Prep the ingredients (chop the basil and coriander at the last minute and mix in).
Mix in a salad bowl, season and toss.

Put the fennel in iced water so it keeps it's crunch!

maple dressing
Mix all the ingredients in a vinaigrette bottle. Keep until required. (Will last a month in the fridge)

duck hearts
Put the duck hearts in brine for 2hrs before frying them.
Hold each heart down flat and slice through it, then remove the top part of each half where the fat and tube are.
Put into a tub with the oil and mix well so all the halves are coated with a little oil.
Place the hearts into a hot frying pan so they are not touching. (Don’t crowd them.)
Cook for 1 minute, then turn them. Cook for another minute, add a little ponzu to deglaze and coat the hearts.
Repeat until all the hearts are cooked.

Cut the hearts in two and remove the fat & tube at the top!

to serve
Pile the salad into the centre of the plate to give a little height then add duck hearts and dress with fennel fronds, dried (or fresh) chilli, basil shoots and poached pears. Add some sea salt and serve immediately. 

Thursday 19 May 2016

Comments from last event . . . London Supper Club

Lovely different and fun evening with really good food.

I love the idea of BYO so often you end up paying over the odds in restaurants. Thanks to Simon the chef for the hard work & imagination. Will be back soon!

Fantastic night folks! Highlights- Cube-abs & Green bomb All great but the above favs. Wicked wicked good food! Keep on doin it Karen

The lamb cubes & beef were especially delicious - everything was lovely - really enjoyed the food. Thanks

Really nice. Lamb cubes were scribble & fell apart in the mouth . . . worked really well

Wonderful concept. If I were @aagill I'd give you 4 stars - the meat was cooked to perfection

I love the idea of BYO so often you end up paying over the odds in restaurants. Thanks to Simon the chef for the hard work & imagination. Will be back soon!

Loved the food - ingenious and tasty! Marcus

Delicious food . .  meat was perfect . . A really good evening overall

Very nice food! Wanted more intros - who chef - intro courses - very enjoyable evening would go again!


Fantastic food as usual! Lovely friendly serving staff Would be nice to hear the story behind the food! 

Place has warmed up!! Katie xx

A wonderful evening! Thank you. The food was devine XX
10 out of 10 'NUF SAID - Val

Great job Simon!! Will blog it ASAP!! Keep your eyes peeled! LINK

Excellent standard. Good work with just four staff

A lovely lovely lovely lovely eveining - loved the beef and liquorice - massively totes heart tonight!

Lovely range of dishes for a vegetarian - really interesting flavours - thoroughly enjoyable evening thank you Nadia

Awesome! Beef! Seconds? Seriously V.Good

V. Good, loved the lamb cubes & the beef. Awesome Thanks

We loved the food, thanks so much

Every course was full of flavour. The ribeye was exceptional - this course had so much flavour and each element worked well

Pistachio cake was great. Thank you for a delicious meal & a lovely evening

Very impressive food - will definitely book again! Thank you

Please make sure the first course is sold in supermarkets very soon



Friday 6 May 2016

Low Carb Experiment - Recipe: Fruit Salad w/ Prawns, Cauliflower & Vanilla (365kcal per serving - Vegan)

I’ve been having a go at one of those low carb / fasting days diets thingies. For each day (lunch & dinner) there’s a description of what you should eat. The brief for lunch was: 

“Fruit salad, any combination of fruits, as much as you want. Coffee/tea” 

which basically reads 

“You’re eating fruit mate!”. 

Now I’ve done this a couple of times and I can handle a banana, apple and a pear for lunch with a good chog of water melon, but watermelon is out of season at the moment so I came up with this instead. I know cauliflower is not a fruit, I know that! But you need something to bulk it out that isn’t going to blow you out of the water on the calorie front!

The flavour comes from the herbs, fruit and prawns. The  prawns, almonds and cauliflower give it a much broader texture than a normal fruit salad. 

Conclusion: At 365kcal per serving and a banging flavour profile it’s a keeper!! (and it’s vegan . . . crazy talk!!) Ahem, if you take out the prawns cough.

ingredients (serves 2)
for the fruit salad
250g cauliflower (1/2 cauliflower, blended)
140g black grapes (cut in halves)
180g tangerines (6 peeled, halved along the equator, then in segments)
50g dates (6 dates stoned & chopped)
6g coriander 
6g mint 
3g sage
1.5 dried chillies (initially I thought half this - but it was fine)
1g ea salt & pepper
50ml pear & vanilla juice
100g prawns per portion (frozen weight - thawed)
30g toasted flaked almonds (just right to give a nice texture and flavour)

Total for 2 servings = 729 (365 cal each)

Prep the ingredients as required and mix everything but the almonds and prawns.
Add the almonds and prawns just before you eat the salad.

thinking ahead
If you want to eat half the following day or later in the evening, add the prawns and almonds just before you eat it.
The mix will keep for a day no problem, add them when you eat it!

If you don’t like coriander just don’t add it, it remains a very tasty salad.
To make it vegan simply don’t use prawns!

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More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
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