OYSTERS SANS TABASCO
I love OYSTERS and I like my oysters 'Au Naturel'. To get that right takes great care, understanding and skill, and of course the presentation is vital.
The ideal is to take a walk along a pristine beach, pick a few oysters off the rocks, shuck and enjoy. So, when I ask for Oysters in a restaurant, I am asking for the vision, smell and taste a of that pristine beach, on a plate.
Crushed ice emulates the white breaking surf; salt - the smell of sea and sand; a twist of lemon - the cleansing sea breeze and a touch of finely ground black pepper (one turn of the grinder) - the hint of warmth from the sun.
Don't throw some oysters on a plate .... transport me!
'To master simplicity, master complexity.'
As for tabasco, I don't get it. I enjoy the condiment on a variety of dishes, but not here. Perhaps for those who like the feel of scorching sand on bare feet ... or a sunburn?
Apparently, artificial oyster beds were being formed in China long before they came to be cultivated by the Romans. That means that we have been enjoying the art of eating oysters for about 1900 years.
For a fascinating, all encompassing history of the Oyster:
image: wikipedia commons
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
8x80 g Springbok medallions
50 g butter
50 ml olive Oil
30 g fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely pasted
4 only juniper berries, finely crushed
5 g white milled pepper (6 turns)
75 ml olive oil
250 ml red wine
1 fresh pear, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
5g fresh rosemary
5g white milled pepper(6 turns)
100 ml apple juice
50 g red currant jelly
Beurre manie (as required) approx 50 g
Pre-heat oven 180 C/ 350F
Simmer the red wine with the pears, rosemary and pepper until reduced by half.
Strain, add the apple juice and red current jelly and simmer for approx. 5 minutes.
Check the sauces consistency and add some beurre manie to give the sauce a sheen.
Adjust flavour to suit your taste.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinade the springbok medallions in the fridge for about an hour.
Remove the springbok medallions from the fridge 5 minutes before cooking to bring the meat to room temperature.
Heat the olive oil/butter mixture and pan-fry (sear) the medallions for approximately two minutes on each side.
Place pan into a pre-heated oven for a short time (approx 2 minutes).
Remove from pan.
Nape/cover with the sauce just before serving.
Presented here with red cabbage on a poached apple slice, Cape gooseberries, field mushrooms, pearl onions poached in late harvest wine and Pommes Berny*. Garnished with a sprig of rosemary and fresh sage.
Monday, October 5, 2009
600 ml Cream
50g Castor sugar
4 Egg yolks
5 ml Vanilla essence
25g Brown sugar
Place cream in the top of a double boiler, gently bring to the boil.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Mix egg yolks, castor sugar and vanilla together in a bowl.
Add warm cream to the mixture, whisking constantly. (cream should be sufficiently cooled so as not to cook the egg at this stage otherwise you will have scrambled brulee!)
Place moulds, ramekins or brulee dishes into a deep tray or bain maire.
Pour mixure into moulds.
Carefully pour water into the tray, around the moulds to about half way up the sides.
Cover the whole tray with foil.
Place in oven at 160°C / 300° F for about an hour until set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Chill overnight in the fridge.
Before serving sprinkle with brown sugar and glaze under grill/salamander or a blowtorch (if you must!) until medium brown.
Presented here with strawberries halves, lavender flowers and violet crystallized pansy flowers and topped with spun sugar.
IMAGE: M MUELLERS
Thursday, October 1, 2009
250 gr Castor sugar
30 gr Butter
150 ml Milk
15 ml Apricot jam
40 gr Grated chocolate
20 gr Cacoa powder
280 gr Flour
5 ml Bicarb of soda
pinch of Salt
125ml water/Orange juice/Sherry/Brandy
Kiwi fruit, crushed,roasted nuts and poached apricots for presentation.
Beat the eggs, add sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Mix in the jam.
Sieve the dry ingredients twice.
Melt butter and add milk.
Fold the dry ingredients into milk mixture
Fold this wet mixture into the egg mixture.
Pour mixture into the moulds.
Bake at 180 C for 35-40 minutes.
Boil sugar, butter and water/orange juice/sherry/brandy ( 60ml water plus any combination of ) until syrup forms. Remove from heat, add brandy. Pour hot syrup over just baked pudding. It should be completely absorbed.
Custard to serve
6-8 Egg yolks (depending on the size of eggs)
1-2 Vanilla pods
Split the vanilla pods lengthways
Scrape out the vanilla seeds.
Bring milk almost to the boil, remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds and pod(s).
Allow to stand for 15 minutes to infuse
Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, beat until thick and creamy.
Remove the vanilla pod(s) from the milk and slowly beat into the egg mixture.
Place in a heavy based saucepan and cook over a low to medium heat (do not allow to boil) , stir constantly, until the custard thickens.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
125 gm butter, coarsely chopped
2 x 250gm blocks of butter, each thinly sliced lengthways into 10 slices
250 ml Iced acidulated water - add juice of half a lemon to 1 cup of water
Using a food processor, process flour, chopped butter and a pinch of salt until fine crumbs form.
Roll out pastry on a floured surface to 25cm x 60cm, with short edge facing you.
Arrange half the butter slices in a single layer over middle third of pastry, then fold down top third of pastry.
Arrange remaining butter slices over folded pastry, fold up bottom third.
Roll out pastry to 25cm x 60cm with short side facing you, fold down top third, then fold up bottom third.