Friday, 19 July 2019

Poke fun.Barely seared and and cured teriyaki salmon poke

Let’s be frank, the Hawaiians stole the poké (po-kay) bowl from the Japanese and their original“chirasushi”,just as the Japanese borrowed tempura from Portugal.Poke and “chirasushi”, or scattered sushi, are flavours united by the huge Pacific Ocean.
The Hawaiian dish poké was traditionally made by fishermen, combining trimmings from their catch of “ahi” tuna (or sometimes octopus) with seaweed and sweet onions. Serving it on a bowl of rice with soy sauce and sesame oil is a nod to the Japanese migrants who worked on the Hawaiian pineapple and sugar cane plantations in the late 19th century. 
Far more recently, poké’s popularity has been lifted by hipsters and health-faddists. For the former, it fits with their obsession with sriracha, mayonnaise and pickly, fermented stuff, and for the latter with their carb-, gluten-, meat-free urges. As poké slips neatly into both camps’ food arsenal, it has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Gone are the days when pasta restaurants were the only ones where one could choose everything that made up the dish, from the type of pasta to the ingredients and the sauces. The same logic is now available in spaces with poké bowls, trendy Hawaiian bowls that look good on any Instagram feed and are eaten with chopsticks.
They began to become famous a few years ago in cities like New York or London. The Portuguese are among the largest consumers of rice and fish in the world and so the Portuguese cities not wanting to be left behind now abound with establishments where you can poke to your hearts content.
 Having become a dedicated follower of the new fashion of the tropical Hawaiian poké and the delicate Japanese chirasushi, I am stealing the concepts back and making them even better by combining the the smokiness of slightly scorched salmon pieces with the delicacy of smoked salmon,avocado, cucumber and shredded nori for a more interesting poke.
Barely seared and and cured teriyaki salmon poke bowl
150g skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned 
150g smoked salmon
2 spring onions, white part very finely chopped, dark green part finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp minced ginger
1⁄2 tsp shichimi togarashi or dried chilli flakes, plus extra to serve (optional)
1 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 tbsp honey
1 dessert spoon sesame oil
150g sushi rice, well rinsed
2 baby baby cucumbers, sliced into rounds
dessert spoon rice wine vinegar
1 small ripe avocado, sliced
1/2 sheet nori, shredded

Cut the salmon into 1.5cm cubes and place in a bowl. Add the white part of the spring onion, garlic, ginger, shichimi togarashi or chilli flakes, soy sauce, honey and 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil and toss until well combined. Set aside in this pimped-up teriyaki sauce to marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the rice in a saucepan, add 500ml water and bring to
the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stand, without removing the lid, for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir through the dark green part of the spring onion and the remaining sesame oil.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the marinated salmon and cook, turning, for 1–2 minutes or until the sides are slightly scorched. Remove from the heat.
Toss the cukes with the vinegar in a bowl.
Divide the rice among four bowls and top with the smoked salmon, scorched salmon, cucumber, avocado and shredded nori. Scatter over extra shichimi togarashi or chilli flakes, if desired, and serve.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Todo retrato conta uma história,por trás de cada prato um outro.Every picture tells a story,behind every dish another one.

Homage to a time honoured tradition,cured sardines on a washing line
Todo prato pode contar mil de histórias, se houver alguém para prestar atenção. No entanto, a culinária de Portugal é mais narrativa do que a maioria, uma complexa tapeçaria de invasões e colonizações que escorrega e desliza entre continentes e religiões. 
Tal como muitas tradições em Portugal, as técnicas e técnicas mais populares e consagradas pelo tempo permaneceram connosco ao longo de muitos séculos, desde o período do domínio dos Mouros em Algarve.

A secagem em ar livro, utilizando sol e vento, tem sido praticada desde a antiguidade para preservar alimentos. A água é normalmente removida por evaporação (secagem ao ar, secagem ao sol, fumo ou secagem ao vento). Não sao se ainda é uma prática existente aqui no Algarve, e outras partes de Portugal, mas lembro-me claramente há doze anos de ver os senhores mais velhos da aldeia aqui a pendurar peixes para secar ao ar e ao sol nas linhas municipais de lavagem fora dos balnearos publicos.Para saudar este tradição tempo honrado eu criei um prato para ser incluído como parte do nosso menu de degustação,( uma coleção de pratos inspirados e influenciados pelos nossos doze anos de vida aqui em Portugal.
Every dish can tell a thousand stories, if only there’s someone to lend an ear. Yet Portugal’s cuisine is more narrative-heavy than most, a complex tapestry of invasions and colonisations that slips and slides between continents and religions.
Like many traditions in Portugal, the most popular and time-honoured skills and techniques have remained over many centuries dating right back to the period when the moors ruled El al Gharb, the Algarve.
Open air drying using sun and wind to preserve food has been practiced since ancient times .Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying).I dont know if it is still an existent practice here in the Algarve and other parts of Portugal,but I quite clearly remember twelve years ago seeing the older gentlemen of the village here hanging pepared fish up to dry in the air and sun on the municipal washing lines outside the balnearos publicos (public bathhouse)To compliment this time honoured tradition I have created a plate to be included as part of our up- coming tasting menu, a collection of dishes inspired and influenced by our twelve years of living here in Portugal.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Get the mojo working

Is time worth more than small pleasures that pass us by? The crunch of raw vegetables against a steel blade,the fragrant and heady aroma of hand torn basil. The pungent tear inducing sting to the eyes of finely sliced onions.These are fabulous sensations that I feel give a dimension to food prep. Certain rules must be observed however- we know basil must be hand torn not subjected to the steely precision of a knife, otherwise it will bruise.Lemon juice is essential to stop avocado discolouring.A happy medium can be achieved however between hands-on cooking and labour saving devices.
Grinding your own spices for example, has the advantage of price: it’s much cheaper and less time consuming to buy bulk spices in their whole form than air dry peppers and chillies, parsley, mint and fruits in the sun.A bag of freshly ground spices can save you so much time and effort as long as you make sure you use it pretty pronto and dont let it slip to the back of your spice rack for months or even years.
Second rule of thumb is to ensure you buy from a reliable source with a responsible use by date on the product.You just dont know how long those unstable stacks of glass jars you always knock over in the supermarket,have been sitting there under bright lights.
 I have always bought my dried herbs,seasonings and spices from Algarve spice.They always have something new to offer each time we visit their stall.At the recent Mercadinho de Verão em Cacela Velha the promotion was Mojo  verde.Once sampled there was no looking back, this seasoning is a spark of genius.
Mojos (pronounced "MO-hos") originated in the Canary Islands and are sauces made with vinegar,fresh herbs, garlic,chilli and oil. They are served cold as an accompaniment to potatoes, meat, and fish.or just as a dip to dunk your fresh bread into. There are generally two versions: mojo rojo (red sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce), and they can sometimes be spicy.The red one always more so than the green.
Fresh coriander, parsley ,green chilli and  cumin gives this mojo an intense flavour and deep green colour, but it does not add too much  heat. Make this mojo ahead of time,just add some extra virgin olive oil and store in a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate to have on hand as a sauce to serve with lunch or dinner dishes.This is not to be confused with its  visually similar counterpart chimi churri. Its great with prawns but I have to say my favourite way to get my mojo working is with new potatoes cooked in lots of Flor de sal so they go wrinkly and then soak up the sauce.I buy bags of tiny weeny new potatoes in the market and our dinner guests love them and on one occasion there was even a request for "those tiny little herby new potatoes we had last night."So glad you enjoyed them Dhr.Van Delft.

1/2 Kg of small potatoes
100 gr of coarse Flor de sal
handful mint leaves

Green Mojo Sauce
1 tbsp mojo verde dry seasoning 
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 
Spanish sherry vinegar (to taste)
Mojo prawns with baby potatoes 
green beans and mojo dressing
serves 2
The dressing on this salad really brings it all together ,the piquancy of the mojo and the saltiness of the capers with the freshness of the herbs will give you a little pick-me-up during your day.
400 g shelled raw prawns 
100g green runner beans
top,tailed cut in half and then sliced again lengthways   
500g Baby potatoes
Make up 1 quantity of green mojo sauce as above.
pour half the mojo over the prawns and save the rest.Set aside in the refrigerator to marinade until ready to cook.
Boil the potatoes with the salt and mint ( 20 mins or until tender)Set aside to cool.
cook the runner beans and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile in a bowl large enough to take all the ingredients make up your mojo dressing.
Mojo dressing
1/4 cup basil leaves
!74 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 tbsp capers
tsp dijon mustard
sherry vinegar to taste

When ready to serve, toss the potatoes in the mojo dressing,add the green beans and finish with the prawns on top

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Turks-mex pork koftas with sweet-and-sour onion petals and brava less potatoes

Lamb mince is the preferred meat for koftas but as a pork enthusiast, I thought I’d make these boundary-less koftas with pork mince instead.There are countless variations around the globe, but they’re all based around a fatty, juicy, unctuous piece of meat on a skewer and a set of condiments that are ideally matched to it, as well as to each other.
 This version is Tex-mex which has been tweaked to the Turkish palate,Turks-mex  I call it. Pork is healthier, leaner yet equally as delicious. Spiced with cumin, cinnamon, all spice, black pepper and cayenne, these plagiarised koftas are not falling short when it comes to flavour. Garlic and the crucial herbs, aromatic mint,peppery parsley and crushed coriander bring these koftas to life. The infusion of the dried thyme, chilli flakes and lime zest are what make this dish so special. But what would you serve them with? Some sweet and sour Ottolenghi onion petals, swimming in a tart pomegranate syrup.They are a perfect companion to grilled meats, because they cut through the fattiness like a knife.You could serve some creamy guacamole for dipping on the side,but I opted for some roasted red potatoes with an aioli sauce,omitting the spicy tomato sauce that would have made them bravas.
 I wanted to do it without frying them.  Of course, I am not saying you cant fry them, but I try to avoid it when possible (except with the croquettes, there is just no way around that one).  I used a trick to make these potatoes really crispy even though they are baked –  Baking soda!  Its magic.  First you give the potatoes a quick par boil in water with baking soda, then you bake them.  The baking soda breaks down the cells of the potato which creates more surface area, so they almost make their own coating that gets them extra  crisp in the oven. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for that little gem.
Turks-mex style pork koftas 
makes 8 kofta kebabs
500g Pork Mince
2 Garlic Cloves, minced

50g breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, Finely Chopped 

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
½ Teaspoon Ground Allspice 
1 teaspoon pul beber, Aleppo chilli flakes
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin,
1 Teaspoon cayenne

1 Teaspoon turmeric
finely grated zest 1 lime
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1tsp dried thyme
1½ Teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1½ tsp seasoned Flor de sal

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Soak your wooden skewers in cold water for at least 15 minutes.
Set your oven to 180c and a line a baking tray with tin foil. Smear a tablespoon of oil over the foil to help prevent the koftas from sticking to the bottom.
Place everything in a large bowl, and get your hands in there only if they are clean and begin to mix all of it up, making sure all those spices get over all the mixture.
Once thoroughly combined, roll up 8 equal balls. Begin to roll them between your palms into a cigar shape once you have the shape stick the skewer through the middle. Continue 
till they are all done. They roughly come out about 4 inches long. shape into fingers or patties and carefully place them on the oiled baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

Ottolenghi Sweet-and-sour onion petals

500g golf-ball-sized red onions (about 12), peeled and halved lengthways
75ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
400ml 100% pomegranate juice
3-4 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 220C /425F/gas 7. In a large bowl, toss the onions with two tablespoons of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until softened and charred, then leave to cool.
While the onions are roasting, bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Turn down the heat, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 70ml and is the consistency of a loose maple syrup. Leave to cool; it will thicken as it sits. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the chives with the remaining 45ml oil and a good pinch of salt.
Pour the pomegranate syrup on to a large platter with a lip, and swirl it around to cover most of the plate. Use your hands loosely to separate the onions into individual petals, then scatter them haphazardly over the syrup. Spoon over the chive oil and serve with the grilled kebab.

Friday, 5 July 2019

O taco com tentaculo e favas Algarvia

I am currently developing a new tasting menu.When Luciana Bianchi stayed here in July 2017 she convinced me that a tasting menu should tell a story not just be a self indulgent evening where a chef shows off those which he considers to be ten of his best dishes.It has taken me all of two years to get my head round what the story behind a Casa Rosada tasting menu should be.The penny finally dropped and I decided that it would be a perfect chance to showcase a selection of the finest classic Portuguese dishes that I have learnt to love and cook over the last 13 years.Each one has a story. The menu will be called "Uma historia culinaria"and will take the epicure through the history and development of Portugal and Spain in ten dishes.Along the journey, among many other themes, there will be an opportunity to discover and enjoy what the Portuguese took to Japan in terms of cooking and how Vasco de Gama´s legacy from the spice trails  influenced the way we cook in Portugal today.Some of the dishes came easily to me and I have ended up with too many to present.The recipients of the menu will be epicures not Gourmands, (I hope).So now the whittling process begins and for two of the themes I have combined two classic dishes to make one plate.The most revered octopus in Portugal comes from Santa Luzia, a small village near Tavira in the Algarve. The locals proudly call it the octopus capital, and on the other side of Tavira is the coastal town of cabanas where Noelia,whom I consider to be the most intuitive cook in the region, taught me how to cook "favas algarvia" (broad beans with portuguese chouriço) one of my favourite dishes on her menu.So with too many dishes to present I have found a way to highlight octopus from  Santa Luzia with the classic favas algarvia,brought together on one taco shell. 
"Favas à Algarvia"
serves 4-6
500g (1lb) shelled fresh (or frozen) favas (broad beans)
(about 3kg/6lb12oz in their pods)
2 tbsp olive oil
160g (53/4 oz) Chouriço sausage,chopped
1 small red onion,chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
125ml(4 fl oz /1/2 cup ) white wine
handful of mint and coriander leaves torn
splash of red wine vinegar

Rinse the shelled beans and put them(or the frozen beans if using) in a pan of lightly salted boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes.Drain and peel off the outer skins.many of them will split in half but that´s fine.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sautée the sausage chunks for a couple of minutes.Add the onion and cook,stirring,for a few more minutes until the mixture is sticky and the sausage is brown.
Add the garlic and stir until you start to smell it,then add the white wine and a couple of twists of pepper.Cook until the wine has evaporated a bit,then stir in the broad beans and cook for acouple of minutes over a high heat so the flavours mingle.There should be just a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan.Stir in the mint and coriander at the end with a splash of red wine vinegar.Check for seasoning and spoon over a warmed through taco.Top with a portion of grilled octopus tentacle.Serve.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Take a break. Frozen organic Yogurt Bark with fresh blueberries and rasberries

Survive the heatwave.Frozen yoghurt ,blueberries and raspberries,whats not to like? Inspired by, and a new take on, a retro dessert from The Ivy.
 Back in the nineties,it was the simplest and most moreish pudding you could ever have wished for.Served up in every house you were invited to, it was the go to dinner party classic. All you had to do was keep a bag of mixed frozen berries in your freezer.When you wanted to wow your friends you just put some frozen berries on to dessert plates and leave them at room temperature to lose their chill for a few minutes.A white chocolate and cream sauce was then poured over them before serving. This reinvention is even simpler and can be served at any time of the day.Frozen yoghurt bars studded with gorgeous blue and red berries. This is so straight forward, even a child can do it.A very “cool” recipe for summer: cold bars of organic blueberry yogurt, with fresh blueberries and raspberries.Make a batch and its always to hand in the freezer when you feel like snacking.Just break a bit of bark off to make the perfect lazy breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack or dinner dessert with a difference.

Frozen organic Yogurt Bark
with fresh blueberries and rasberries

The Ingredients
Organic Blueberry Yogurt
Fresh blueberries
Fresh Raspberries
chopped nuts optional if you want to make it more "barky"

How its done
On a flat pan, suitable for the freezer, lay a base of  organic blueberry yogurt without removing much, so the colors don’t mix. Add fresh blueberries and raspberries on top, and freeze it all for at least six hours. When it’s frozen, take it out of the container and split it into small portions with your hands.
Add pistachios or your favourite nutty obsession for a bit of crunch 

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The little green salad

A little green salad can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be

Sometimes I think of this blog as an ever-expanding cookbook and very often I feel that certain gaps need filling. So what’s missing? Yesterday as I was throwing together my interpretation of what I consider to be a standard green salad, I realized what is missing is a side salad recipe. Every cook needs a little green salad recipe in their repertoire, in the same way as every style conscious woman needs a flattering little black dress in her wardrobe. They’re both fundamental building blocks.There is perhaps nothing worse than a boring bowl of green leaves served at a table with a meal.I know it’s hard to get over enthusiastic about salad and let’s be honest salads do not generally excite people.The main ingredient in a green salad is the lettuce. But just as lettuce by itself does not a salad make, using only one kind of lettuce in a salad can be dull, and a dull salad means a missed opportunity.A perfect green salad strikes just the right balance of textures, flavours and colours. Colours? Should a green salad just be composed of a perfect blend of ONLY green ingredients ? It appears not.Red onion, radish and tomato all seem to pop up on "green" salad recipes.More often than not, a green salad is eaten as an accompaniment to another dish – often a wildly unsuitable one. No, a green salad is meant to accompany just-warm or room-temperature foods. It works best with either a good steak, or as a counterpoint to rich and/ or salty foods where the salad acts as a consistent,complementary palate-cleanser.That all American classic combo soup and salad is exactly what I´m talking about.The French will often eat a green salad as a separate course. Throw an oeuf mollet at it and let some crispy lardons do the talking and you have a meal in itself. So here´s what we have if we decide to go green.The choice is yours on the green leaf front ...Green leaf, baby gem,crunchy Cos or Romaine Lamb’s lettuce, Mizuna, Butter lettuce,iceberg,watercress,rocket and spinach are just some of your options.If you want some vegetables for a contrasting texture add.....French beans,asparagus,avocado,fava beans,green olives, endamame beans.Just make sure your broad beans dont still have their knickers on .There is nothing worse than a broad bean still in its skin looking like pants that have greyed with age.To add a bit of colour use Oak leaf lettuce (feuille de chêne as the french call it) radish, slivers of red onion,cherry tomatoes,kalamata olives. Finally,the dressing:KEEP IT SIMPLE,lemon, olive oil and some parmesan should do it.For best results, use a vinaigrette dressing,mayo-based dressings are way too heavy for this kind of salad,although,as you know I´m a great fan of Caesar.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

O bolo chocolate da fraude com azeite e flor de sal

It was the Thespian´s birthday this week, and we all know how much he loves his chocolate. Although he has been a little abstemious of late, I thought I would surprise him with a chocolate cake.This is an amazing cake for cheats.The olive oil keeps it lovely and moist, it might have something to do with the subtle, earthier quality olive oil imparts in chocolate. Typically, any good quality oil could be used but I opted for an extra virgin olive oil that imparted a slightly sweet and fruity flavour, with an almost imperceptible presence of bitter and spicy notes. Instead of real chocolate you use cocoa powder.The proportion of cocoa powder to flour in the recipe is relatively low; it yields a rich brown cake, but not one chocolatey enough to please the likes of me. I changed the proportions of the specified cake tin to make it taller and tweaked the cocoa quantity to lend more dominance and ended up with a nearly pitch-black cake. I found in this the perfect chance to realize my chocolate olive oil cake dreams. I think we should all stop what we are doing right now and make this,especially when flecked with Flor de sal.How can you possibly resist ?
He loved it!!!!
Cheats Olive oil chocolate cake
Serves 10
7 eggs separated
1 cup caster sugar
425ml (1 2/3 cups) delicate flavoured olive oil
1 cup self-raising flour,sifted

13/4 cups cocoa,sifted
125ml (1/2 cup) warm water
1/4 cup sugar when beating the egg whites

Preheat the oven to180C(350F)
Beat the egg yolks with caster sugar until fluffy.If the mixture tends to be thick,add 1 tablespoon of warm water.This will help the mixture turn fluffy again.
With the beater on medium speed add the olive oil bit by bit,as you would making mayonnaise.Add the dry ingredients to the mixture on low speed and beat until completely combined.Add the water.Whip the egg whites until thick,add the sugar and beat until it dissolves.Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and gently but swiftly fold in the egg whites.when well combined pour into a greased 8x8inch(20 X 20cm) square cake tin. and bake for 1 hour until cooked.

165g dark chocolate cut into small pieces
135ml whipping cream
35g unsalted butter diced
1 Tbsp Amarguinha,Amaretto or other almond liqueur

 Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.Put the cream in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling point,then pour it over the chocolate using a rubber spatula to stir until all the chocolate has melted and come together with the cream.Add the butter and liqueur and beat until smooth.
Transfer the icing to a clean bowl and cover with cling film.Leave at room temperature until the cake has cooled completely and the icing has started to set.You need to catch it at the point where it spreads easily but isn´t hard.DO NOT speed things up by refrigerating.
Spoon a generous amount on top of the cake and swirl with a palette knife

Sunday, 16 June 2019

The slotted spoon can catch the potato!

 Pure summer comfort

Question:What happens when you mix one nations ancestry with another  nation´s deeply rooted traditions?

Answer:One nation´s flavours are in the blood and the other nations are in the method.

There is a classic example of this in a soup most aptly named Réconfort.The name comes from the French word to comfort and restore the body and soul.At first glance this soup appears to be traditionally French,full of bright flavours and even brighter colours but bears a huge similarity to a classic Italian minestrone.Making this soup brought to mind one of my favourite Songs from  "Into the Woods" when Stephen Sondheim gave Jack´s mother the wonderful lyrics
Slotted spoons don´t hold much soup..
....but a slotted spoon can catch the potato!
In terms of a Réconfort soup the particular recipe would not include potato but should include some sort of meat,whether it be meatballs as in this version,shredded chicken or perhaps beef. I suppose it depends what time of year you are serving it and how hearty you intend it to be.This incarnation features veal meatballs.It makes a lovely light summery supper with a difference, and I feel it restores body and soul perfectly.
serves 6
2 white onions,peeled and halved
1 red onion
4 carrots
2 celery stalks,halved
5 garlic cloves
3 large ripe fresh tomatoes,peeled,seeded and coarsely chopped
7oz8200g) parmigiano reggiano rinds
8 asparagus spears,halved
Flor de sal
5oz(140g) orecchiette pasta or other short pasta
9oz(250g) stale bread,cut into large cubes
generous 3/4 cup (200ml) milk
1lb 2 oz (500g) finely minced veal
teaspoon dried oregano
teaspoon dried basil
teaspoon dried parsley
teaspoon dried chilli flakes
teaspoon crushed garlic
Flor de sal
freshly ground black pepper
In a large pan,combine the onions,carrots,celery,garlic,tomatoes,parmesan rinds,and 2 litres of water.Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.Fish out the carrots and celery,slice,and set aside.Continue cooking for 2 hours.Strain through a fine mesh sieve and return to the pan.Cook over medium heat until reduced by one third,about 10 minutes.Add the sliced carrots and celery and the asparagus.Season to taste with salt and set aside.
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat.Add the pasta and cook until al dente.Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the bread and milk and let soak until soft,about 5 minutes.Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.Return to the bowl,add the veal,the dried herbs and seasonings and mix until well combined.Season with salt and pepper and mix again.Form 24 x  3/4" (2cm)  meatballs.Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat.Add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes.Add the pasta.ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Roasted vegetable gazpacho

sunshine radiating from a bowl of soup
I thought recently while making yet another variation on the theme of gazpacho,that I could write a book about it, then I discovered that one was already in existence.On examining the contents of the book I realised that I had never made any of the 50 types of gazpacho on the list.The chief reason I suppose being that most of my recipes were my own creations,or re-interpretations.I have notched up ten gazpachos to date and continue my search for further inspiration.
Gazpacho is a hearty soup that is served cold, making it a perfect way to cool down and replenish the body on a hot, summer day in Andalucía. There is the classic gazpacho recipe, but there are many other variations. Gazpacho is typically served along with the main course, or afterward. Some Spaniards serve it in a glass, as a beverage to accompany the meal. 
Here are my top ten favourites

Cordoban samarejo
Beetroot gazpacho
Ajo blanco
Melon and ham gazpacho
Avocado gazpacho
Cherry gazpacho 
Tomato and Pequillo pepper Gazpacho with Sherry
Indian gazpacho
Watermelon gazpacho
Roasted vegetable gazpacho (above)

My favourite to date has to be the watermelon incarnation.The amazing thing here is that coincidentally it is gluten free.Traditionally gazpacho is made with day old or stale bread.The watermelon gives the soup the same texture.
My most recent venture was the  Roasted vegetable gazpacho from the young Irish chef Mark Moriarty,who cooked the soup at Reffetorio.I had cooked all the ingredients the night before as a side dish for our guests,so all I had to do was add some passata and blitz it all in the blender.The soup would work equally well made from scratch.Here is the recipe.....
Serves 6
2 garlic bulbs
2 aubergines,peeled and sliced 1/2inch (1 cm) thick
4 courgettes,sliced 1/2 inch(1cm)thick
2 red bell peppers
1 fennel bulb,trimmed and thickly sliced
6 canned whole peeled tomatoes
10 basil leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp flor de sal
1/2 cup(125ml) extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF(180ºC) gas mark 4.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Wrap the garlic in foil and bake until soft,about 30 minutes.Let cool,then squeeze out the garlic and set aside.Meanwhile arrange the aubergines on a prepared baking sheet and bake until soft,about 20 minutes,set aside.
Arrange the courgettes on the second lined baking sheet and bake until soft,about 15 minutes,set aside.
Char the peppers over the open flame of the stove until the skin is completely blackened.(If you dont have a gas stove,char under a hot grill.)Transfer to a bowl,cover,and let sit for 5 minutes.peel,seed and roughly chop,set aside.
In a food processor combine the aubergine, courgette, peppers, fennel, tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinegar, sugar,and salt and pulse until smooth.
With the machine running,stream in the olive oil.
Season to taste with more salt.
Transfer to a bowl,cover and refrigerate to chill.