Monday, 30 July 2018

If you hurry you´ll be late

"Salt, sand and sitting around eating sardines and custard tarts: in the Eastern Algarve you will find yourself exhausted by doing absolutely nothing. Not a bad way to appreciate the good life".Take it from one who knows

Amid the sunscreen-smeared hullabaloo that is August, the question arises: Is there an alternative Algarve? A less-trod Algarve? An Algarve where a bit of serenity and the flavour of the past have been preserved? Lush valleys, meandering hillsides and hilltop villages offering some of the most  under valued and understated countryside.
the answer is yes,the East Algarve.
Portugal’s Algarve is almost too popular these days, so one needs to head to its little-visited eastern end? Here the long white beaches are secluded and the towns and villages are sleepier, but do not worry there’s no shortage of gelados and pastry shops.Like France and Spain, Portugal’s beach-filled southern coastline has long been considered the country’s summer playground. And while the west side has enjoyed the lion’s share of the tourist trade since the early 70s, the east side, stretching from  Faro to the Spanish border, is far more relaxing and way way cooler.
This is where the smarter Europeans, mainly the Italians and French,(before prime minister António Costa bows to Macron´s request and pulls the plug on their golden card, Portugal’s ‘non- habitual resident’ tax regime ) are buying (and renting out) their summer properties, and where hip expats are opening boutique hotels and hot restaurants. The sleepiness of the tiny towns and empty beaches weeds out the people who can’t sit in a chair for more than 10 minutes. The common denominator here, for both locals and tourists, is an innate ability to appreciate  a life less ordinary.

Sun, sea, authentic experiences, small miracles of gastronomy,for me this is the essence of The East Algarve summer.Day after day one culinary treat follows another. The East Algarve summer is full of buzzing markets overflowing with flavours and aromas; wild greens,buxom beef steak tomatoes, fragrant fruits, legumes, vegetables, cheese, warm bread, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fish and seafood, homemade produce. Every corner of the East Algarve has its own gastro-microclimate. Every village and town,a recipe and a story to tell. Whether you are walking along the beach with a slice of juicy watermelon, or indulging in a gourmet meal made with local produce, whether you’re dipping a slice of bread into pure olive oil or eating an oyster straight from the sea or demolishing a dessert of smoky carob ice cream with a reverence for Algarvian flavours,the delicious flavours will delight your taste buds.

Must have local specialities
Amêijoas – Ria  formosa clams
Raia alhada-Olhao
Octopus salad Santa Luzia,the 'capital of octopus'
'Bife atum Tavira'
Estupeta Vila Real de santo Antonio
“Estupeta” is a particularly interesting local speciality of raw tuna, thinly sliced and served with salad. The best choice of tuna dishes is available in restaurants in Vila Real de Santo António and Monte Gordo and especially in August when the annual “Rota de Atum”or tuna gastronomic festival celebrates the region’s much-loved fish.

Estopeta de atum  500g de atum escuro de barrica,da parte do lombo  ( 500g tuna.The dark brown part of the tuna loin) I large onion 2 firm tomatoes 1 green or red pepper or both 2 medium boiled eggs Olives Juice of I lemon 300ml extra virgin olive oil 125 ml white wine vinegar salt and pepper to taste lettuce leaves Clean the tuna and soak it overnight in cold water. Change the water once or twice. After soaking, cut into small pieces of around 2 cm.Wash them again in cold water and squeeze well.
Peel and slice the onion into little dice, do the same to the pepper (green or red) and clean 1 tomato, cut it into little cubes also.
In a bowl, pour all the ingredients, ie, tuna, onions, peppers and tomatoes, season to taste with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar and mix.
In a salad bowl or platter, place a few lettuce leaves, cleaned, and on top, place the tuna mixture in a pile or as desired. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over the tuna.Keep the estopeta chilled in the fridge for a good two hours before serving.
Garnish around with slices of the other half of the lemon, another tomato, egg, olives and, if desired, onion rings.

.....And when all is said and done and you are eager to take home those flavours, pop in to Ex Libris Gourmet,my favourite deli stuffed to the rafters with beautifully packaged sweet tomato jams, exotic liquors, tinned sardines,artisan flor de sal, wines and olive oils. “The concept is food and design,” Owner Tiago Centeno, who is yet another refugee from the rat race. After 10 years in the Portuguese military,he and his wife moved to Tavira “because it’s more quiet and peaceful” than other parts of the region.I rest my case.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Not just plain ol' couscous

Because it’s convenient and goes well with everything, couscous is a staple that I always keep on hand in my pantry.I have long been a fan of cous cous as it cooks quicker than you have time to blink. In its plain state, however, it can be a tad underwhelming, like polenta, unless you have lots of sauce or juices to pour over it to spice it up.Couscous pairs beautifully with a number of flavours in a main dish or as a side,accordingly I serve it in different guises to many of our guests,and the response  is  always "I love cous cous"
And who is of the school of thought that couscous is actually just another form of pasta?  
Some foodies consider this grain product to be a type of pasta, but the similarity is ostensible — couscous is made of crushed durum wheat semolina, not the ground type used for pasta. That couscous is less refined is good news for health-conscious cooks.The traditional way of making couscous is a pretty cool process. Instead of combining the semolina with water and egg to make into a dough as one would for pasta, couscous is produced by moistening the semolina with a little water or oil between your hands until it crumbles into tiny granules or pearls.
Couscous is a treasured staple food in the Middle East. When it is bejewelled, say, with pomegranate seeds and almonds, and presented with tagines and other accompaniments, it does indeed look a feast fit for a sultan. But couscous does not need to be complicated. In fact, at its simplest, it is much quicker to prepare than pasta or rice. 
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have a couscoussiére in my batterie de cuisine.
 I don't think a couscousiere is an essential tool for anyone, to be perfectly honest, it is more of a Moroccan kitchen contraption than an essential awesome culinary indulgence.It's a rather large piece of kitchen bling,that does have multi tasking going for it.The upper steaming portion is just perfect for steaming anything you want to be flavoured by what is being cooked in the lower portion.Meat, Fish, vegetables, or Cha siu bao, if the mood took you! If you have a small kitchen and want to make authentic couscous whats wrong with just using a metal colander that fits snugly inside a large pan. Don't worry about the holes being too big. You will lose a couple couses, but what the heck,why not do what I have always done.

Smoked Paprika, Almond and Herb Couscous
 This side dish is so smoky and fragrant, you may find yourself like me pushing aside the main course so that you can focus your attention on it. Smoked paprika not only lends its intense flavour to the couscous, but it also adds a glorious colour, creating the most beautiful auburn hue. Toasted sliced almonds add textural crunch to the dish (something I find that is all too often missing in plain ol' couscous), and a slew of chopped fresh parsley brings its pop of green freshness to the equation. Enjoy this as a bed for pork tenderloin roast chicken, grilled steak, or even just a pile of juicy roasted vegetables for a simple, satisfying meal.Dont be surprised when I say I would be happy to to eat bowl of it all on its own.
Serves 6 to 8 portions as a side dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
250ml cup vegetable stock
150g (5oz) couscous
3/4 teaspoon Flor de sal
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or casserole until shimmering. Add the garlic and almonds and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the nuts are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the paprika and sauté for 10 seconds more.
Add the stock, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the couscous and salt. Cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. Mix in the parsley and serve.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Is it a pudding? Is it a tart? No its a Shrewsbury Pudding Tart

 No kidding,no instagram filters,just beetroot

Here´s one for you if you are adventurous, love beetroot and have a sweet tooth.It has a history too.This recipe was conceived 156 years ago in 1862 by a rather eccentric cook,Georgiana Hill, not to be confused with the Georgiana Hill (8 December 1858 – 29 March 1924), who was a British social historian, journalist, and women's rights activist. My mischievous nature and affiliation with all things eccentric drew me to it.You can see where I am going.It is quite amazing where the internet can take you and what you can come across.God forbid I should have got caught caught up in a porn cycle, easier said than done.As is my wont in many a discussion to come up with non sequiturs this perhaps is a classic example.I was actually looking for information about the history of "the summer pudding" and somehow  digressed to a "Shrewsbury tart",something I had previously not heard of,all to my advantage I would say,my sweet tooth was appeased.
 I am a sucker for beetroot,love to rise to a new challenge and was driven to distraction by the crazy colour.Is it a pudding? Is it a tart?, no its The Shrewsbury Pudding Tart.Well that´s what its called now, as the recipe has been tweaked slightly over time and baked in a pastry case for ease of serving. The original method was for a buttered-and-breadcrumbed bowl.The flavour is very light and delicate, the lemon counteracting a lot of the beetroot’s sweetness.Having tasted the batter before it went in the oven I see no reason, with a bit more tweaking, why the pastry shell could not be abandoned and the filling served in glasses as a thoroughly modern mousse (more on that story later,Kirsty ).
This recipe comes from a book originally published in 1862 as Everybody’s Pudding Book,to be re-published by Macmillan in August this year, with the new title of A Year of Victorian Puddings.It is a complete collection of seasonal, traditional English puddings for every day of the year.For those who love their puddings and want to try their hand at some history of traditional recipes that have long deserved a revival such as this one, this cookbook is as relevant today as it was in the Victorian era.
Georgiana 'Browning' Hill was the author of a number of cookery books in the late 1800s, which include "How to Cook Game in a Hundred and twenty four dishes", "The gourmet's guide to rabbit cooking, by an old epicure", published in 1859, The Breakfast Book, published in 1865 and How to Cook Apples, also published in 1865. Her early cookbooks offered simple food for the middle classes and sold in very large numbers at six pence each. She enjoyed success with her later titles which became more adventurous, with recipes from Spain and France, and were aimed at more serious gourmets. The dates of her birth and death are unknown.The recipes are accompanied by  the author’s no-nonsense and often amusing advice on seasonal ingredients and the appropriateness of puddings for certain occasions.
In both cases, Hill shows herself to be a skilled cook, who also expected skill of those she addressed, as in her recipe for ‘Pommes Farcies’ where she instructs that the apples are to be baked for half an hour ‘in a gay oven.’ I had never thought of my oven as being gender specific LGBT.These are recipes which were to be followed by cooks comfortable with the basics of the kitchen, and who had the confidence to follow instructions which left much to the discretion of the cook. 
The Shrewsbury Pudding Tart
1 x 24cm blind-baked sweet pastry shell

225g cooked beetroot

115g unsalted butter – melted
150g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
3 large eggs
60ml brandy
150-250g fresh white breadcrumbs
    Preheat the oven to 150°C, 130°C Fan.
    Puree the beetroot until smooth.
    Add the butter, sugar, lemon, eggs and brandy and whisk thoroughly.
    Add in the breadcrumbs BUT not all at once. You want them to absorb a lot of the moisture in the filling, which will vary depending on the freshness of the eggs and the moisture in the beetroot. You might not need all of them.The lemons I used were particularly large and therefor e produced more juice,therefore I used all the required breadcrumbs plus a tad more The texture should be similar to a sponge cake mix, but still pourable.
    Add the filling to the pie shell and place the tin on a baking sheet.
    Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling has set. Turn the baking sheet around after 15 minutes to ensure even baking.
    Cool on a wire rack.

      Thursday, 19 July 2018

      Le Déjeuner sur le sable Português,summer is served.

        "look where I will...hampers are flying open and the green downs burst into a blossom of lobster salad.Weather allowing and bubbles al fresco,each parcel of joy like lunching on lawns"

      Believe it or not we are almost halfway through the year now and hurtling full speed into midsummer.Sun,grass,sand and good food—this may be the closest thing to a peaceful getaway some of us get this season. So for those seeking to escape the fast pace of their working lives,take a look at some of the finest places to relax and de-stress while grazing on some exquisite finger food alfresco.Up until yesterday I had forgotten how wonderful a picnic can be.For the practice of outdoor lunches,Portugal offers some of the world’s finest places to relax and de-stress.Wide open airy spaces where you can extend the towel and enjoy the sound of the sea and the birds and the surrounding nature.While In the Algarve its so easy pack a hamper and head off to the beach.Clickety click, it was my 66th birthday and we made the spontaneous decision to do just this,celebrate alfresco. More déjeuner sur sable than déjeuner sur l´herbe,alas the nubile nude lady to sit between us was missing but,Zut alors,some things take a while to get finished.Did George ever finish that hat?
       How it all began,one of the earliest picnics
       The earliest known picnics were extravagant outdoor meals meant for groups of medieval royal hunters. Picnics would remain fancy meals for the wealthy for many years, before eventually shifting to simple meals that anyone could pack in a bag and enjoy in the sunshine. Now, cultures across the world have added their own spin on eating outdoors, adding games, specialty foods, and specific holidays to enjoy dining alfresco.
      Ah! The picnic- what other meal is so synonymous with summer? Drawing it’s name from the 16th Century French word pique-nique which means “to pack a trifle”. picnicking began as a kind of pot luck dinner where everyone brought a dish to be shared.France is credited with not only coming up with its name, but also for perfecting this outdoor dining experience as an art! (Edouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and all that) Why not do as the French do and stay in keeping with their love of joie de vivre!....and what a coincidence,yesterday. we just happened to have French neighbours for our pique-nique sur la plage However If you want to follow in English footsteps, whether its hats off at Henley, dining al fresco glitterati at Glyndebourne,having all the balls in your court at Wimbledon or languorously lounging like an Eva Langoria Bastón of good taste at Latitude,take a picnic blanket, a full hamper and choose a perfect spot to sip some Pimms.So wherever you are in the world,spending Sunday afternoon on the La grande jatte, down Franklin Engelmann´s way or otherwise,weather permitting,pack up a hamper and head to a beauty spot,lay out a spread and enjoy what´s left of summer.Saúde (Sow-OO-de) as we say in Portugal.
      The word picnic did not appear in print in English until the early 1800’s.In England Picnic-ing became very popular at the turn of the nineteenth century. One of the most famous picnics for any Jane Austen fan takes place in Emma, when Emma and company take a trip in a courtege of barouche landaus to Box Hill (above).

      Tuesday, 17 July 2018

      Dinner in the Gnudi: Not Pasta, Not Gnocchi, but something deliciously different

      Do you feel like getting Gnudi tonight? If you've never tried gnudi (pronounced nude-y), tender, gnocchi-esque pasta dumplings, then you've got off at the right stop. These creamy ricotta creations are actually deceptively light and shine with simple sauces and fresh ingredients. And it's the perfect season to add fresh herbs straight from the market or your garden to your gnudi tonight!
      These delightful little dumplings are also called malfatti, which means ‘poorly put together,’( a fine description of my early attempts  exactly) or gnudi, which means ‘naked,’ depending on the area of Tuscany you hail from. Gnudi are very simply that: ravioli filling without the pasta encasing. They’re light, fluffy and don’t miss the extra starch one bit. They’re also not fancy, and very quick and easy to make,( once you´ve got the hang of it).Happily, they’re considerably easier to make than either ravioli or gnocchi, so if you’re yet to sample the pleasures of the naked lunch, or indeed dinner, throw caution to the wind and tuck in.once in the Gnudi ,always in the Gnudi.

      Serves 2
      I wanted to try a version that’s a little more refined and thought the white would contrast nicely with summer colours, so I made a pea,leek and broad bean cream,topping it with some more peas and shredded spring onions. 
      250g fresh Requeijao (Ricotta) 
      50g freshly grated Parmesan 
      generous gratings of nutmeg 
      250g carôço de milho( semolina), approx.
      salt and pepper to taste 
      extra grated Parmesan to hand at table
      For the sauce and garnish:
      1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas, shelled
      1/2 cup frozen broad beans

      2 tablespoons of chopped leeks, light green part only
      1/4 cup white wine
      1 tablespoon herbs mix — mint,parsley,basil
      Half a cup of vegetable stock

      1 spring onion,plus extra shredded for garnish
      chives for garnish
      Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
      Your favorite spring vegetables, lightly cooked in olive oil, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish

      Sauté leeks spring onion and shallot in olive oil,add the wine and boil off till reduced, add half the peas and half the broad beans, salt pepper and stock, cook for a couple more minutes.Transfer mixture into a blender or food processor with fresh herbs and purée.Thin with some milk if you want a thinner creamier consistency. Season with salt and pepper, ladle some sauce to cover the bottom of a soup plate, top with gnudi and garnish with spring onions the rest of the peas and broad beans.
      Put the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg into a bowl and beat together until smooth.
      Pour the semolina into a shallow tray. Slightly wet the palms of your hands and briefly lay them in the semolina. Now take up a small piece of the ricotta mix [a large teaspoon, say], gently roll it into a ball about the size of a big marble and drop it into the semolina. Push the tray back and forth to fully coat the ball with semolina and continue this process until all the ricotta mixture is used up. Transfer the gnudi into a tub, sprinkle semolina between each layer and on top, making sure the dumplings are well covered.
      Place in the fridge, covered, overnight.
      The next day, carefully lift out the gnudi from the semolina and put onto a large plate lined with kitchen paper.
      Put a large, wide pot of lightly salted water on to boil [also, have four hot plates ready to hand].
      Spoon over the warm sauce and serve without delay. Hand extra parmesan at table for those who want it: Me.

      Thursday, 12 July 2018

      Clams and ham, Almejas al fino con jamon

      Clams, garlic, pimentón, jamón and sherry… does it get more irresistible?

      I imagine myself seated amid the hustle and bustle of a typical tapas bar somewhere in downpueblo Andalucia. On the battered old zinc counter, the saucers of clams with ham clatter down like a drum roll.I have a glass of fino in hand and I am ready for what o mio host is about to put before me.Sweet clams and salty ham are a perfect combination, and this tapas dish or sharing bowl is idiot-proof and can be made in minutes.
      Clams always look good served in small deep bowls scattered with fresh coriander or parsley.Put a big soup plate in the middle of the table for discarded shells.The two different salty-sweetnesses, of cured ham and clams, combine to make something larger than lunch,especially with some parsley, a little chilli, a glass of cold fino and not forgetting good white bread for blotting up those complicated briny juices.In 
Catalan, cloïses amb pernil.So if you  have a voracious appetite and a purse that can compensate go out and fetch yourself a sack of Amêijoa-Boa now, and if you don´t you will only live to regret it.It is a crime that is not too hard to tolerate.

      1 tbsp olive oil
      6 cloves garlic,peeled and halved
      ½ shallot, very finely chopped
      1 teaspoon plain flour
      1 teaspoon hot pimentón, although the sweet variety will do as well
      handful of coriander, stalks included, roughly chopped
      500g fresh clams
      50g serrano ham coarsely chopped
      100ml fino sherry
      handful of chopped parsley leaves and/ or coriander for garnish

      Wash the clams thoroughly,discarding any that have broken shells or are open.In a deep  pan with a lid, heat the oil and cook the onion for 5-7 mins till softened but not coloured. Add the ham and garlic to the onion  and cook for 1 min. Add the flour and pimentón and stir-fry for 20 seconds to cook the flour. Add the sherry, stirring all the time and then quickly flambé by setting light to the pan using a lighter or long matches. If you don’t want to flambé the sherry don’t worry, just cook for 1 minute so that the alcohol evaporates.Add the clams to the , cover and cook for 4-5 mins shaking the pan vigorously until the clams have all opened (discard any that haven’t). Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley and a grating of black pepper.

      Tuesday, 10 July 2018

      Neat Nootropic Nespera

      Nootropics (English pronunciation: /noʊ.əˈtrɒpɪks/ noh-ə-TROP-iks), also known as smart drugs and cognitive enhancers, are drugs, supplements, and other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.
      Neat- simply your alcohol of choice all by itself at room temperature – no mix or ice.
      Licore de nespera
      Liquor made from Loquat (Nespera) Seed Pits 
      This liqueur tastes just like Amaretto. The recipe originaly came from Italy. It is not as strong as the French L'eau Du Vie which smells like fruit but has no taste except pure alcohol. 
      1 cup loquat(nespera) seed pits
      Pinch crushed vanilla bean
      6 rose petals
      4 lemon balm leaves
      350ml pure alcohol ( aguardente bagaciera )
      350ml bottled water
      250g caster sugar

      Spread the seeds out on a sheet of paper or on a baking sheet and dry them in the sun for ten days peeling away the papery brown covering off of the seeds.
      After the seeds are dry you place them in an air tight clear glass jar with the lemon balm leaves, the vanilla, the rose petals and the alcohol. Boil the water and dissolve the sugar in it and add this into the jar with the other ingredients.
      Now close the jar tight and let it sit in the sun for a month, shaking the jar up several times throughout the month.
      After the month is up strain all of the ingredients in the jar through a filter paper into a dark glass bottle. Cork it and allow it to sit undisturbed for three more months. Then you can serve it.

      Saturday, 7 July 2018

      Almond and polenta sponge cake with yuzu and cherry drizzle

      Add a touch of Japanese flavour to a Portuguese favourite.Moist and firm, Castella (カステラ Kasutera) cake was brought to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and Japan has been enjoying it ever since.Traditionally Castella cakes are baked in a wooden hako (hako means box) and are a specialty of Nagasaki.Unlike their Portuguese counterparts Japanese cakes aren't usually overly sweet, but I have made this a sweet cake by flavouring it with honey. It is said that Portuguese traders brought over the Pão de Castela, meaning "bread from Castile"(Portuguese sponge cake) and it was taken on by the only port open to trading at that time, Nagasaki. It became essentially a rather Western sponge cake. It is a beautiful cake in its simplicity and only calls on just four ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour and honey.I decided to make a drizzle cake inspired by but not entirely true to the castela cake, and put some Japanese flavours into something that was originally Portuguese, Macha green tea and Yuzu.Yuzu is a refreshing citrus fruit whose juice and rind is often used in Japanese and other varieties of East Asian cooking.Its flavour, for those familiar to it, is not dissimilar to Elderflower. Sponge cake is a basic pastry tool to have in one´s repertoire, a light cake to soak up all those delicious juices from our luscious fresh fruit of the spring and summer season. It's versatility means it can also be used to create trifles, charlottes, simple jam cakes or tiramisu. So it's a good versatile cake to master. Yet a lot of bakers aren't very comfortable working with genoise or sponge cake recipes because they can sometimes be fussy to produce. However, this recipe is one of the easiest cakes I've ever made. With just a few ingredients and the substitution of olive oil for butter, it assembles in no time and bakes off beautifully with no collapsing and any excessive dryness is counter balanced by the drizzle.
      I have taken a bit of a different approach altogether to both ingredients and method. Most sponge cakes call for cake flour for a very delicate crumb, and in the case of the castela sponge bread flour and turbinado sugar is used( more on that story later Kirsty).My  cake uses a combination of almonds and polenta, which  helped to keep it sturdy.I added the olive  slowly, drizzled into the mixer rather than the classic method of folding in the fat at the very end. The cake bakes in two stages.It is baked for 35 minutes, then the heat is lowered to 160C/gas mark 2 and baked for a further 35-40 minutes.
      Since we're now luxuriating in the soft fruit season, I thought it would be fun to pair this cake with a simple honey and vanilla cherry compote and creme fraiche. Apricots,fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches or any fresh fruit would also be perfect. Just macerate the fruit in sugar to produce some delicious juices,which are used to drizzle the cake with.
      I have taken artistic licence to call it a "sponge" cake because it's  imbibed with a liquid. For the purpose of the photograph, I cut circular slices from the cake  so you can see the beautiful crumb, but be sure to serve the cake with plenty more compote syrup and creme fraiche.

      1/2 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
      220g golden caster sugar
      180g very finely ground almonds
      220g fine polenta flour
      tsp baking powder
      zest of 1 lemon
      1/4 cup yuzu and macha green tea cordial

      400g cherries, halved and stoned
      3 tbsp honey
      160ml macha green tea and yuzu cordial

      Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.Grease the base and sides of a loaf pan, measuring 20cm in length,line the bottom with baking parchment.In a processor beat the eggs and caster sugar together till pale and fluffy.Mix in the ground almonds polenta and baking powder.Blend thoroughly then add the lemon zest and through the funnel stream in the olive oil followed by the cordial.Make sure everything is well combined.spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 35 minutes then lower the temperature to 160C and continue baking for a further 35 to 40 minutes until firm.While the cake is cooking halve and stone the cherries.In a small pan warm through the honey and yuzu cordial.Add the cherries and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit has given off some of its juice and the cherries have made a compote.Strain the juice into another pan and reduce to a syrup.When the cake is ready, remove from the oven, then pierce all over with a metal skewer. Spoon some of the syrup from the cherries over the surface of the cake so it runs down through the holes into the crumb of the cake, then leave to cool.Remove the cake from its tin, then serve with the cherry compote creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt and some fresh cherries.


      Thursday, 5 July 2018

      Love at first bite, Broccoli cous cous

       Broccoli cous cous
      As more and more health-conscious individuals make a life choice to adopt gluten-free, low-carb and plant-based diets, a growing number of us are following the trend by using vegetables to replace flour, rice and other simple carbs.Shoppers are turning to cauliflower in particular because of its mild flavour and versatility, using it to make an array of recipes that have spread across social media, from muffins and mash, to gnocchi, and even pizza base.One of the most popular ways to prepare the cruciferous vegetable is to chop or pulverize it into grain-size particles, which many people use as a substitute for rice. I’m late to the Broccoli / cauliflower rice party. I was skeptical at first. How could blitzed raw cauliflower, warmed in a sauté pan, taste anywhere near as satisfying as fluffy, steaming white rice? It can but it needs needs some help from other flavours to send me back saying "please sir may I have some more?"
      I looked for broccoli rice or couscous recipes on the internet and I drew a blank. My first thought was that people might have tried and either didn’t like it or it didn´t work. But I was determined to give it a try anyway. I followed the same steps as I did to make cauliflower rice and guess what? It worked, it was so delicious! I served it as a side to a pork curry.The flavour would be an ideal accompaniment to any pork dish,and a whole lot more interesting than a bit of old steamed broccoli floret.
       This is my broccoli cous cous kicked up several notches by some of my favourite Mediterranean ingredients. Fresh parsley, lemon, garlic, toasted almonds, anchovy and red pepper flakes make this plant-based grain an irresistible side dish.For starters you will need just broccoli, a little butter and olive oil to make this amazing side dish. What you add to the equation after that is entirely up to your own taste.
      Broccoli cous cous
      1 head broccoli
      3 tbsp butter

      1 tbsp olive oil
      Dash of Garum, colatura de alici, nam pla or any other anchovy based sauce
      3 cloves garlic
      Generous handful flat leaf parsley chopped

      Salt, to taste
      Cut the broccoli into medium pieces:
      Transfer the broccoli to a food processor - work in batches if necessary.
      Pulse the broccoli until completely broken down into couscous-sized granules.
      Pull out any unprocessed pieces, transfer broccoli rice to a bowl and re-process the large pieces.
      In a large sauté pan, melt butter, olive oil anchovy essence. Chuck in the garlic and processed broccoli and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add any further ingredients of your choice, toasted almonds, chilli flakes pistachios. Season with salt, pepper to taste.Serve.

        Monday, 2 July 2018

        Rolinhos de filetes espadarte fumado com espargos verde e pesto gengibre,hortela,coentros e manjerico

        codfish rolls with lemon foam
        I stumbled upon some smoked swordfish fillets in the fish market and my curiosity got the better of me. On returning home they rested in the fridge until I got my head around how I was going to incorporate them into the casa rosada repertoire of local produce. We had recently been served marinated codfish rolls with green asparagus and lemon foam at cha com agua salgada.I am no great fan of foams and always think they make a dish look like it has been subjected to passing cuckoo spit.Foam aside,my signature ginger, mint ,basil and coriander pesto sprang to the fore.I whipped up a batch and set about composing a dish for starter or tasting menu.With local seasonal produce of fresh peas and radishes and some  
        in-season inspiration from chef Marco and Diana Henry´s delicious new cookbook "How to eat a peach" I was ready to go....simple starter in 10.

        Smoked swordfish rolls with asparagus and 
        a ginger mint basil and coriander pesto
        The pesto here is rich, so you need the radishes to provide a clean contrast.

        1 small piece of smoked swordfish fillet per portion
        1 cooked asparagus spear trimmed to about 8-9 cm long
        Ginger mint basil and coriander pesto
        fresh peas and thinly sliced radish
        Lay out however many piece of fish you need. Spread the pesto all over the fillets lay an asparagus spear on each fillet and carefully roll up.Drizzle some pesto diluted with extra olive oil over the top of the rolled fish and garnish with peas and radish.