May 30, 2011

Double Concentrated Rabbit Consommé with Swiss Chard Rolls and Tarragon Foam

Time is running so fast and I have been pretty busy lately. Last Thursday, I received an order for two birthday cakes and therefore I spent almost the next whole day with baking. I decided to make two hemispheres with a layer of vanilla pastry cream with fresh strawberry slices, the next layer was a white chocolate strawberry mousse and the whole thing was topped with a layer of heavy cream mousse. I have finished the cakes early Saturday morning. Anyway, now I here with a light soup served with beautiful spring vegetables like sugar peas and swiss chard. I am talking about a double concentrated rabbit consommé served together with a rabbit fillet-swiss chard roll.

2 kg rabbit bones
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots
2 parsley roots
2 onions
1 garlic clove
200 ml madeira
1 bunch fresh tarragon
100 g rabbit fillet
3-4 tablespoons double cream
1-2 tablespoons madeira
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
2 big swiss chard leaves
2 asparagus
sugar pea
1 shallot
1 tablespoon butter
50 ml white wine
200 ml rabbit stock
100 ml cream
1/2 bunch of fresh tarragon
50 g butter
só, bors

Fry bones in olive oil until golden brown. Add chopped veggies, garlic clove and fry until it browns, add madeira and reduce. Pour just enough water so that it is covered and cook it over low heat for about 4 hours. Sieve. Do the same with the rest of the bones, madeira and then pour the previously made stock over it and cook it for another 2 hours over low heat. Season with salt and pepper, sieve and filter. Add tarragon and let it stand for about a half an hour, then remove the tarragon. For the rolls puree rabbit with madeira, double cream and tarragon. Cook swiss chard leaf for about 30 seconds in hot water, then place it onto a foil
and smear rabbit puree on top, put a peeled asparagus into the middle and roll it out. Poach swiss chard rolls in simmering water for 15-20 minutes. For the tarragon foam sautee onion in butter, add white wine, stock and cream and reduce by third. Add tarragon, puree, sieve then add the butter and mix it until it gets nice and foamy.

May 25, 2011

False Acacia Flavoured Crema Catalana

Well, it is not that we live on consuming desserts only, in fact I almost live only on strawberries meanwhile for 2 weeks, but I had some leftover egg yolks. Considering the warm weather I did not like the idea of making a mayonnaise so I needed a dessert. For years I have been searching for false acacia or maybe it is better known under the name black locust tree, and finally this summer I have found one! Black locust has such an amazing fragrance that I felt I have to hold it captive, therefore I prepared some candied blossoms, some flavoured sugar and syrup. And those candied blossoms were just the perfect decoration for my crema catalana.

Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert, that is traditionally served on the 19th of March for the honor of Saint Joseph. There is a dispute between Spain and France about the question which came first: crema catalana or crème brûlée? Both seem to believe that the other has stolen it and changed the name. Though both creams seem to be identical cosidering the crunchy burnt caramel topping, there are indeed a couple of differences. C
rema catalana is usually flavoured with lemon and/or orange zest and cinnamon and it also may be prepared without cream, only with milk. The other main difference is that crema catalan is prepared on the stove with addition of strach, while crème brûlée is baked in the oven and there is no addition of starch. Considering the hot weather I decided to go for the Spanish version this time and it was just perfectly light and fragant!

500 ml milk
zest of 1 lemon
100 g false acacia flavoured sugar
2 tablespoons false acacia syrup
4 egg yolks
20 g cornstarch
icing sugar

Bring mik over low heat with 3/4 of the sugar and the lemon zest to the boil. Whisk egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and creamy, stir in starch and syrup. As soon as the milk is boiling pour it over the egg yolk mixture through a sieve, while stirring constantly. Then put the mixture back on the stove and warm it until it has just reached the boiling pont, but do not let it boil! Remove and pour it into forms, and once it has cooled down put it to the fridge for at least 2 hours. Before serving sprinkle it with icing sugar and caramelise.

May 24, 2011

Chocolate Soufflé with Rose Pepper

If chocolate, well then only dark chocolate comes into consideration, and only if it has 70% of cocoa. That is my favourite. Maybe once every 5 years I feel like eating a piece of milk chocolate, but then it must have loads of hazelnut in it, or it has the be that well-known Swiss trinagle shaped chocolate. Some years ago, I used to prepare chocolate mousse using that famouse Swiss chocolate. I remember, that I could not produce the new portion fast enough, it was incredible, how quickly it was consumed.

Today, I have checked out my pantry, and my eyes spotted on a big bunch of chocolate, that I have hoarded together in a couple of weeks. I thought to prepare a light dessert, and if light, well then it must be a soufflé! Right?
Do not be afraid of baking soufflé! It is not difficult at all and in fact you really can not fail! Just be sure, to keep the buttered forms in the fridge for about half an hour before baking, that way the soufflé is going to rise slower and that is important. On the other hand, be sure that there is not even a tiny bit of fat on the whisk and in the bowl. To be on the safe side, simply sprinkle some lemon juice into the bowl and then rub it out. And be sure that you do not overbeat the egg whites, because then it get crumbly and that way the egg white will not work properly, while baking. The rest is a walk in the park!

125 g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa, but it is better with 70!)
1/4 teaspoon rose pepper
10 g butter + 1-2 tablespoons for the forms
125 g egg whites
40 g sugar

Butter 4 small or 2 bigger soufflé forms and put them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Melt chocolate over water bath, stir in pepper and butter, then set aside. Preheat the oven to 180
°C. Beat egg whites with the sugar and stir about a tablespoon to the molten chocolate mixture. Now pour the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg white and fold the egg whites into the chocolate. Fill the ramequins with the batter and hit the bottom, so that there is no air left in the forms. Bake for about 8 minutes if you want to have a creamy-molten core, or bake it 5-7 minutes longer if you wanted it to be solid. Serve with icing sugar or cocoa powder.

May 20, 2011

Gorgonzola Gnocchi with Asparagus and Morels

Yesterday, I was kind of uninspired as far as the lunch was concerned and I was staring at the shelves of the fridge for at least fifteen minutes. I discovereda bunch of lonely green asparagus and found a piece of gorgonzola in the cheese box.

I thought, oh great, let's cook a risotto, after all it's been a while that I cooked risotto and that would be delicious. But then so to say the reality killed the cat, no chicken stock! Not even a portion of vegetable stock! Ooops, so I needed another idea, as I did not want to wait until the frozen chicken bones thaw, considering that my stomach was already calling for something. So I decided to have a look in the pantry and suddenly it was clear: quickly I boiled some potatoes and after half an hour, the gnocchi was ready to served with morels and asparagus.

500 g floury potatoes
1 egg
100-150 g flour (depending on the starch content of the potato)

60-70 g gorgonzola

Boil potatoes in salted water and then press it through a potato ricer when still hot. Remove the crust of the cheese and press it also through the ricer. Add egg, flour and salt and whisk it all together. The dough is going to be very sensible, so do not try to form gnocchi with your hands, but ladle it to a plastic bag and cut the gnocchi in form with a help of a pair of scissors. When the gnocchi is ready and swims on top of the simmering water, add it into brown butter, carefully turn it around so that is well covered, add butter sauteed asparagus spears, thyme and shallot sauteed morels and serve.

May 19, 2011

Sichuan Pepper Smoked Cod with Ginger Flavoured Cucumber Sorbet on Black Sesame Milk

Well, I have been planning this light, asian inspiried starter for about a week, and finally yesterday I felt like preparing it. There is a tiny detail missing in the title of the dish! Under the roasted sesame seeds on top of the fish there is a thin layer of reduced lemongrass and soy sauce flavoured fish stock.

The spicy fish was accompanied by a refreshing cucumber sorbet and black sesame milk, and the whole dish was topped with rice chips. By the way it is very easy to prepare the rice chips. All you have to do is to cook rice then puree it and smear it on a baking paper in the desired shape and dry it for about an hour on 90-100
°C. The only flaw of the whole thing is that I had very little light, so the photos turned out much too dark.

2 medium sized cucumber
2 tablespoons invert sugar
4 tablespoons waster
1 gelatine sheet
1 limes
piece of ginger

Cut cucumbers in half, deseed and cut in slices, then puree. Press puree through a sieve and soak gelatine in cold water. Cook a syrup out of the invert sugar with the water, then stir in the gelatine, lime juice, zest and grated ginger. Season with a little salt and pour the mixture into the ice cream maker.

May 18, 2011

Lamb with Spring Vegetables

Well, I was wondering for days what dish I could prepare that includes a lot of spring vegetables. Last week, finally I have found local new potatoes. It is strange to me that it was not available earlier as in Hungary you can already find it since weeks. Anyway, I missed the taste of new potatoes so much! During an afternoon walk, while I was watching the sheeps and lambs, I remembered that I have a beautiful piece of lamb in the freezer. I have almost forgot about it. I do not like to freeze meat or fish, but in this case, I had to do it.

I must confess, that I do love a medium or even a rare piece of beef, however as far as lamb or duck is concerned, well it is absolutly not my cup of tea, not even if it is only slightly rosa. If it is a piece of lamb fillet, well then rosa is okay, but not with duck and I think with duck it will not change. With lamb I am on the way of learning to appriciate rosa lamb, but not in case of such a big piece of meat. Anyway, this time I managed to prepare the meal as I planned to. Yeah, finally no changes during the preparation. So I have preheated the oven to
220°C and roasted the salted lamb for about 20 minutes from both sides. While that I've chopped a couple of carrots, parsley roots, onions, garlic cloves and ginger. When the lamb was roasted I added the veggies among some rosemary, a piece of cinnamon, lemon zest and some lavender and then I let the lamb to roast in its own juices. When it was ready I sieved the juices, added some red wine and reduced it all together. It has such a great taste that it hardly needed anything but some salt. I served it among green asparagus, sugar peas, baby artichoke, baby courgette, carrots and new potatoes. It was a perfectly light spring lunch!

May 17, 2011

White Asparagus Mousse Cake with Ginger Flavoured Rhubarb Jelly and Strawberry Foam

Finally, the local juicy and fragant strawberries are here! I have been waiting for so long to enjoy them and it was worth to wait! I could hardly save a small portion so that I could prepare some kind of sweet treat using strawberries. Sunday afternoon I took a pen and a piece of paper, nope, I did not want to write a poem, I just started to plan this cake I am going to post about now. However, it was a mistake to think, that everything is going to be made exactly just like I've planned.

Actually, I wanted to bake a simple sponge, but then I decided to bake on using almonds. On top of the sponge comes the first layer in form of a vanilla flavoured asparagus mousse, yep, you read it right. I was a bit afraid, but as they say no risk, no fun. Well, I had fun, indeed I did! In the middle of the mousse there is little ginger flavoured rhubarb mousse and it is covered by strawberry foam. Well, what have I left out? The plan was to add a rhubarb panna cotta as the middle layer topped with strawberry jelly and on top should have been the strawberry foam. But the amount of cream scared me a bit, so I decided to kick the panna cotta part and save it for another time. The mini cakes were served with meringue, strawberry chips and fresh strawberries.


75 g almond flour
35 g sugar
18 g flour

2 eggs
50 g egg whites
40 g sugar

Whisk together the flour, ground almond with 35 g of sugar and the eggs. Beat egg whites with the rest of the sugar until it makes stiff peaks. Fold beaten egg white to the egg yolk mixture and spread it on a baking paper covered sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes on 170°C.

500 g white asparagus
1 vanilla pod
60 g sugar
3 egg yolks
2 gelatine leaves
200 ml cream

Soak gelatine leaves in cold water. Peel asparagus and cut in thin slices, then cook it together with 30 g of sugar, the vanilla pod over low heat and let it cook through in its own juices, then puree. Beat egg yolks together with the rest of the sugar over a water bath until pale and thick and creamy, then remove and beat it until it cools. Melt gelatine and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture, then stir in asparagus puree. Fold in beaten cream and cool for at least 5 hours.

May 16, 2011

An old favourite...

Well, I have already posted this cake about 3 years ago, but I have just baked it last friday for my birthday, and I wanted to share the photos. I have just found out, that my mother has been baking this cake ever since she was 16. When I was that young, I hardly ever thought about baking. But this cake has been a favourite of mine ever since my childhood. It is so rich and gooey and so far everyone who tried it was totally thrilled.

My mother is absolutly the greatest baker to me. She is simply amazing. It is a pity, that there are no photos of her amazing cakes she baked for me when I was a child. However, my childhood friends could tell you stories! It is absolutly stunning that she actually bakes without using a recipe! Most of the time she just looks around and uses what ingredients she finds and creates creams and stuff on her own. She is just great when one has to improvise. The only problem with this is when I ask for a recipe she can not give one, and that is a pity. Luckily, meanwhile, in case she doesn't forget, she measures the ingredients for me, so that she can share the recipe with me.

May 13, 2011

Goat Cream Cheese Panna Cotta

This week my thoughts were focusing on panna cotta, though I have never been a big fan of this dessert. However, once I had a portion prepared by a friend and that convinced me. Since then I've prepared it already a couple of times. Either simply with vanilla flavour, or with pumpkin or with white chocolate and mint and even with coconut milk.

So this week, after the asparagus panna cotta, I preapared a portion using cream cheese for dessert to be served among the rhubarb sorbet. However, a portion of marinated or caramlised strawberries would have also been perfect with it. I also added a slice of port wine poached rhubarb and a spoonful of almond crumble.

(recipe adapted from Johnny Iuzzini)
112 g cream
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatine
50 g sugar
1 vanilla pod
225 g goat or other cream cheese

Sprinkle gelatine over one tablespoon of cream and let it stand for a minute or two, then melt it over low heat. Bring the rest of the cream together with the sugar and the vanilla pod to the boil. Add dissolved gelatine to the hot cream and pour it over the cream cheese. Stir it until it is well incorporated. Pour it into the desired forms and cool for at least 4-5 hours or even better over night.

May 12, 2011

White Asparagus Panna Cotta

The asparagus season is just fantastic! Almost every week we eat about 2 kilogramms, usually together with a sauce for dinner. Therefore, I am a bit behind my plan with making different meals with asparagus, because when I would go for it, there is no more left.
Anyway, this time I managed to save some for a little experiment and finally, I could preapre the panna cotta. Its consistency is silky and you can taste both the kefir and the asparagus. On top there is a translucent white asparagus jelly with slices of green asparagus, and it is served with green asparagus spears coated with parma ham and morels.

350 g white asparagus
200 ml cream
200 ml kefir
2 gelatine sheets

Peel asparagus and cut in 1 cm thick slices. Cook it together with the cream for about 20 minutes over low heat. Soak gelatine. Sieve, and set the asparagus aside, this can be used for preparing a a soup for example. Stir gelatine into the hot cream, add kefir and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour it into glasses and leave it to cool for at least 3 hours.

May 11, 2011

Orange Flavoured Rhubarb Sorbet

As long as the rhubarb season last, it is sure that I am going to prepare every week something delicious. This year, I have only used them in desserts so far, however I have plans to integrate rhubarb in a main course or even in a starter. I can not wait until the first real local strawberries are available. You can get local ones already, but these are just to early and are far from being fragant and juicy. Anyway, as soon as the strawberry season starts, I am going to combine it with rhubarb and asparagus and I can hardly wait to do so! That is going to be an awesome trio! But anyway, rhubarb sorbet. Nothing cools you better then a ball of fruit sorbet on a warm day, like we have these days. Well, to be exact, this time it is only half fruit sorbet, because rhubarb, as most of us know, is actually a vegetable. Before heading to the kitchen, I have checked a few recipes for rhubarb sorbet, but most of them calls for juice and I have no opportunity to juice the rhubarb so I decided to use puree instead and to create my own recipe. I've found two oranges, I guess I bought them somewhen end of March, so I have no idea how they survived for such a long time, in such a good condition!

For the very first time, I used invert sugar for the sorbet, and I bet that is what made it have such a silky consistency. Just unbelievable! I can not explain, why I've waited for such a long time until I used this magic sugar. Invert sugar syrup is a mixture of glucose and fructose; it is obtained by splitting sucrose into these two components
. It can be easily made at home by adding roughly one gram of citric acid or ascorbic acid per kilogram of sugar. Cream of tartar (one gram per kilogram) or fresh lemon juice (10 millilitres per kilogram) may also be used.The mixture is boiled for 20 minutes, and will convert enough of the sucrose to effectively prevent crystallization, without giving a noticeably sour taste. For an exact recipe see this post (in German). (source:wikipedia)

650 g rhubarb
130 g sugar
70 g invert sugar
90 ml water
juice of 2 oranges
star anise

Trim rhubarb and slice 2 cm thick. Cook it together with the orange juice and star anise until soft, then remove the anise and puree. Cook a syrup out of the sugars and stir it to the puree. Let the mixture cool and leave the rest of the work for the ice cream machine or freeze it for about 50 minutes then give it a good stir and repeat it at least 3 more times every half an hour.

May 10, 2011

Asparagus with Cream Cheese Sauce and Poached Quail Eggs

Well, this sauce was my biggest discovery last week. It happens rarely, that I prepare something again within such a short time, like I did now. I am totally in love with it and I think it is simply amazing! Last week, it was served with fish, however I think it is also great with vegetables. This time I changed it a little: I added some cream cheese to half of the sauce, and the other half got a fresh green colour, thank to some freshly extracted chlorophyll. It was served with white asparagus spears, poached quail eggs and roasted pine nuts.

60 g butter
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cream cheese e.g. robiolina
salt, pepper

Melt butter and let it boil, but be careful and do not let it get brown. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks with the vinegar and the mustard until it is well incorporated. Whisk in the hot, melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream cheese and serve.

May 9, 2011

Vanilla Parfait

It seems that now it is all about rhubarb! Last Friday, I baked one more portion of rhubarb tarts and all of them have been sold! That was a great surprise and made me really happy! Of course, I also wanted to have something sweet during the weekend, so I decided to prepare something light and cold. I thought about making ice cream, but I forgot to freeze the cooling element. So I had no choice, it had to be a parfait. As I had some leftover pastry, I also baked some orange flavoured rhubarb tart tatin to be served among the vanilla parfait.

3 egg yolks
50 g sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 vanilla pods
200 ml cream

Bring sugar together with the water to the boil and cook until the sugar dissolves. Beat egg yolks with the syrup until pale, add vanilla seeds and stir in beaten cream. Freeze for 3-4 hours depending on the sizes of the portions.

May 4, 2011

Potato&Onion and Gorgonzola&Barba di Frate Quiches

This week, I've planned to cook and bake quite a lot, because I simply can not resist all those gorgeous spring vegetables. I have plenty of ideas, now I only need the opportunity to realise them. Friday is going to be busy once more, because I am going to bake some rhubarb tarts for sale again. I am already excited!

These quiches have been on my mind already for a month, but yesterday finally I managed to bake them. One of them is a simple potato and onion quiche with a lot of cheese on top. Feel free to add some bacon, however it stands on it is own and is perfect without it. The other quiche a gorgonzola-barba di frate quiche. In case you can not find barba di frate simply use some baby spinach instead.

(pastry recipe adapted from Michel Roux)
250 g flour
150 g soft butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold milk

400 ml cream
2 eggs
fresh majoram
3 medium potatoes
1 onion
100-150 g cheese e.g. gruyére
1 bunch of barba di frate or 2-3 handful of baby spinach
70-100 g gorgonzola
1 tablespoon pine nuts
salt, pepper

Put the flour in a large bowl and add the butter, salt, sugar and egg into the middle. Rub these ingredients togehter with your fingertips. Then rub the butter mixture into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrums. Add the milk and knead a dough as fast as possible. Chill dough for an hour. The pastry can be kept in the fridge for a week or frozen for 3 months. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out pastry about 2 mm thick and line a tart form and . Line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to cook the base. Let it cool. Whisk together the eggs with the cream, add fresh majoram to the half of it, and season both with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Slice potato and onion with a help of a mandoline and place layers of potato on the bottom of the prebaked tart, season each layer, then put a layer of onion on it and cover with the rest of the potatoes. Pour egg-cream mixture over it and sprinkle with grated cheese. For the other quiche put spinach or barba di frate onto the bottom of the tart, pour egg-cream mixture on it, add gorgozola chunks and pine nuts on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes on 180°C.

May 3, 2011

Zucchini Blossoms and Goat Cheese

My greengrocer told me, that they have just planted the first zucchinis outside, and that soon the first bunch of fennel is going to be availbe. I was thrilled, already fennel? That's absolutely awesome! I miss fennel a lot, especially, when I am making fish stock. Anyway, while talking about the vegetables my eyes spotted zucchini blossoms, and altough they come from a greenhouse, I could not leave them there. It was already the second time this year that I prepared some, every time stuffed with goat cheese. By the way, I get the goat cheese from a local producer and meanwhile I even know them by names. It is an another question that one of the goats has ended up on our plate during Easter. Anyway, I preapred the good old fresh goat cheese mousse to serve it together with the stuffed blossoms and pesto. Usually, one removes the pistils, so did I, but I was curious so I tried one. To me it has a very very slight hot touch and an intense zucchini taste, so why through it away? As far as the consistency is concerned it is kind of swam like. I decided to marinte them with lemon juice and olive oil. The blossoms were stuffed with goat cheese, roasted pine nuts, chervil and a tiny bit of basil. However, this time I have removed the tiny zucchini at the bottom of the blossoms and fried them sliced thin in some olive oil.

8 zucchini blossom
200 g flour
5 g baking powder
350 ml mineral water
1 teaspoon tumeric powder

For the batter whisk together the flour, baking powder, tumeric powder and a good pinch of salt with the mineral water. Dip the stuffed blossoms into the batter and bake them in 180°C hot oil.

Related Posts with Thumbnails