Monday, 29 July 2019

Roasted, toasted, nutty sticky rice powder (Khao Khua)

Khao Khua or toasted rice powder is simply just rice, quite often sticky rice, pan toasted to a deep golden brown, cooled, then ground to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar. It really is just like pan toasting dry spices for an Indian recipe.It is debatable if ordinary rice, arborio (risotto), bomba (paella), any white or even brown rice will do just as well if you don’t have access to sticky rice or glutinous rice.
It is used in salads like larb (laab), in soups as well as dipping sauces. Not only does it add a nutty, smoky flavour to your dishes, it also adds a pleasant texture and as far as soups go, it acts as a mild thickener.
Khao Khua is a common pantry ingredient in Northern Thai and Lao cuisines. It lends a textural element and nutty flavour to dishes, and is also used as a thickening agent in soups and dipping sauces.Making it at home is a breeze, though it does take some patience: This recipe calls for an extra-long toasting process in order to evenly cook the grains of glutenous rice and bring out all of their deep nutty flavour and popcorn-like aroma.Slow and steady is the best way to coax these flavours out of toasted-rice powder.
Khao Khua ( toasted rice powder )

12 tbsp ( 1/2 cup )  sticky rice or rice of your choice
        Heat a frying pan or wok on medium heat.
        Add the plain raw sticky rice (not rinsed) to the hot pan, and dry roast, slowly stirring continuously. After about 10 minutes, the grains of rice should begin to turn from milky white to golden yellow, and they should also start to smell like popcorn.
        Keep dry frying for about 15 minutes, until the sticky rice is golden in color, then remove from heat and set aside.
        To grind the sticky rice into powder, you can either do it by hand using a mortar and pestle, or you can grind it in a food processor or blender. You're looking for a coarse powder.
        Use the toasted rice powder immediately for best taste, or you can store in a bag or jar for later use (probably within 1 - 2 weeks is best)

          Thai sticky rice (also sold as "sweet" and "glutinous" rice) can be found online and at Asian shops.

          Wednesday, 24 July 2019

          Sweet, Salty, Sour and hot

          Simple though they may be in technique,Thai soups encompass an enormous array of tastes and textures.It can however be so easy to get carried away when making these stock based soups. Since the essence is in simplicity,you are relying on the quality of your stock and only a few ingredients need to be added to perfume that stock.Contrary to what you would normally expect of me, I would recommend exercising restraint.A little fresh ginger,some garlic,some spring onion, coriander and perhaps a cabbage leaf is all that is required. This particular soup is an exercise in that simplicity.
          Dtom yam gung 
          Hot and sour prawn soup 
          Tender prawns and squishy, slurpable noodles swim in this spicy broth of deliciously satisfying hot and sour soup. To most people dtom yam is this ubiquitous hot and sour soup of prawns, but dtom yam in fact encompasses a vast range of dishes from extremely basic to highly complex - dtom simply means to boil and yam to mix or toss together.At its most identifiable a dtom yam is a soup that is flavoured with lemongrass,perfumed by kaffir lime leaves and seasoned with lime juice,fish sauce and chillies resulting in a balance that is sweet salty, sour and hot.When done well,and it can easily be achieved at home, it is easy to understand why this dish has become a culinary classic,However when poorly executed it becomes a culinary cliche.This can be avoided simply by using fresh quality ingredients:freshly squeezed lime juice.pungent birds eye or piri piri chillies,fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.
          Servings 3
          12 uncooked prawns,unpeeled
          1 medium sized chilli sliced
          4 cups stock,chicken,fish or vegetable
          6 birds eye chillies
          large handful coriander stalks finely chopped
          2 stalks lemongrass.finely minced
          4 kaffir lime leaves
          2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
          3 garlic cloves, minced
          teaspoon Sriracha sauce
          dessert spoon golden caster sugar
          4 cups prawn broth
          tablespoon lime juice, half a lime,reserved after juicing
          reserved half a lime quartered
          for serving
          chopped spring onion
          fresh coriander and basil leaves

          Peel the prawns, keeping the heads and shells. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the prawn shells and heads with the sliced chilli until they have toasted and changed colour. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.after 8 to 10 minutes strain and set aside.
          Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and submerge. Allow to soak according to package directions. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water. 

          Set aside.
          Coat the bottom of a medium pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass coriander stalks and chillies. Cook about 5 minutes to soften. Add sriracha  lime juice, quartered lime sugar, soy sauce and prawn broth, Taste test and adjust seasonings if desired. Raise heat and bring to a simmer.Add the reserved shelled prawns at the end and cook until they change colour.
          Divide noodles and prawns into bowls and ladle broth and over noodles and prawns. Top with spring onion, coriander and basil leaves.

          Monday, 22 July 2019

          In times of peas

          I have always believed......

          "Someday it'll come along
          The dish I love
          It'll be bold and strong
          The dish I love
          And when it comes my way
          I'll do my best to make it stay
          It'll  look at me and smile
          I'll understand
          Then in a little while
          I'll take my fork
          And enjoy the sensation
          I know I won't say a word
          about the dish I love..."
                                                                with apologies to George Gershwin

          And it has come along in the form of Nigel Slater’s squid with pea and coriander chutney.Fresh and raw,still in the pod, peas makes a delicious snack. But even in a cooked dish like this, they can become the star ingredient.
          Whether you toss them in a salad, mix them with bacon into a gorgeous risotto, or turn them into a bright green soup, nothing embodies the sweet, light freshness of summer like the humble pea. For me this  is such a superb summery supper or part of a lazy langorous lunch in the jardim. I will be making it again and again before the season´s out.
          There is an ease to early summer cooking that comes from a starting point of having the finest of the season’s ingredients to hand. Fuss free, carefree and effortless,we should enjoy this as long as it lasts.
          Our verdict:The dish overall is very rich,and I thought the given quantity for the squid was enough to make a decent main course for two.As it turned out it was only enough for two starter portions.This did not matter as we found it very filling.The quantity of green chutney was more than enough and I put what was left over in the fridge to use in place of mayo in sandwiches as Slater suggested.

          Other pea dishes I love
          Pea fritters
          Risi and bisi
          Peas pappardelle and parmesan
          Pea crostini with goats cheese and burrata
          Pea pesto
          Pea kachori

          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.