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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:

oysters and all about them












image: wikipedia commons

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

HANDY OVEN TEMPERATURE CONVERSION CHART


Gas Mark
Fahrenheit
Celsius
Description
1/4
225
110
very cool
1/2
250
130
-
1
275
140
cool
2
300
150
-
3
325
170
very moderate
4
350
180
moderate
5
375
190
-
6
400
200
moderately hot
7
425
220
hot
8
450
230
-
9
475
240
very hot


Keep in mind that this is an approximate conversion chart.  There are additional variables that affect your oven temperature eg: type, size, altitude, humidity

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

SPRINGBOK MEDAILLIONS WITH RED CURRANT SAUCE



Ingredients: (4 portions)
8x80 g Springbok medallions
50 g butter
50 ml olive Oil

Marinade:
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

Sauce:
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


Mis-en-place:
Pre-heat oven 180 C/ 350F

Method:

The Sauce:
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.

*A croquette potato mixture with chopped truffles, shaped into small balls, dipped into beaten egg and coated with chopped almonds. The potato balls are deep- fried.

IMAGE: M.MUELLERS

Monday, October 5, 2009

CREME BRULEE



Ingredients: (serves 12)
600 ml Cream
50g Castor sugar
4 Egg yolks
5 ml Vanilla essence
25g Brown sugar

Method:
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

MALVA PUDDING





This is one of those quintessential South African puddings, which you will find in most good restaurants, particularly in the Cape where the Dutch culinary roots run deep.   It is essentially a very homely dish, and not one to include in a restricted calorie diet!   One of the  variants of Malva pudding is Tipsy Tart which includes brandy. 

Ingredients: 

The Pudding
250 gr Castor sugar
30 gr Butter
2 Eggs
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

The Sauce
250ml Cream
125ml butter
125ml sugar
125ml water/Orange juice/Sherry/Brandy
Kiwi fruit, crushed,roasted nuts and poached apricots for presentation.


Method :

The Pudding
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.

The sauce
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
600ml Milk
6-8 Egg yolks (depending on the size of eggs)
50g Sugar
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. 



Presented here on custard, with drops of strawberry coulis; topped with fresh, whipped cream, flaked, browned nuts and kiwi fruit slices



MM.


IMAGE: M.Muellers


Thursday, September 24, 2009

PUFF PASTRY

Ingredients: serves 8 
500 gm (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
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



Method:
Using a food processor, process flour, chopped butter and a pinch of salt until fine crumbs form. 

Add 250ml iced acidulated water and process until just coming together. 
Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth. 
Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
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. 

Turn anti-clockwise so opening is on the right, then turn over pastry, keeping opening to your right.
Roll out pastry to 25cm x 60cm with short side facing you, fold down top third, then fold up bottom third. 

Turn pastry anti-clockwise, turn over and repeat. 
Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate until pastry is firm (2-3 hours). 


Repeat again four times, allowing the pastry to rest in between.


Pastry can be frozen, it's time consuming so make a double batch.



food aficionados