Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stock take...

Well I think I have been banging on about homemade stock for a while now... Try this once and supermarket stock cubes will be but a distant memory… its simple, it’s banging and the base for all my sauces, soups etc.

Remember, you are saving carcass and bones from the butchers skip, and your butcher will only be too happy and obliging to saw and chop down those big bones if you do not have a meat cleaver knocking about your kitchen (in my experience butchers for the most part tend to be foodies drooling at the mouth listening to what mesmerising delights you intend to do with their produce)…

My stock recipes are for the most part sourced from Robuchon… a French culinary bible, expensive but essential in any cookbook repertoire and do not expect glossy pictures and food photography… The complete Robuchon is all about the recipes, French cuisine and banging flavours and I highly recommend it.

How to
Bang the bones into a tall, heavy-bottom pot that will hold the ingredients snugly. Add just enough cold water to cover the ingredients, by little, by little. Whacking in too much water all at once will make a weak tasting stock or as I say “kills it”… Pinch of salt… Bring this to a bubbling at the surface heat and reduce to a simmer. Skim the fat, and impurities that rise to the surface with a ladle or spoon. Now bang in mirepoix, and bouquet Garni or sache… on your stove and that simple… Bang!

Mirepoix …  Mirepoix is simply a mixture of onions, celery and carrots, added to deepen the flavour of the stock. The basic ratio for classical mirepoix is:

2 Parts Onion

1 Part Celery

1 Part Carrot

…and banging guide… For every five pounds of bones, you will need roughly 1 pound of mirepoix.

...Also do not be afraid to add to your mirepoix, leek, garlic... experiment for different flavour...

Sachet/ bouquet Garni/ faggot … A sachet or bouquet garni basically refers to aromatic herbs and spices that are tied up in a cheesecloth pouch and simmered with soups, sauces, or stocks to add extra flavor. A basic sachet for a stock will usually include:

Bay Leaf

Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

Whole Black Peppercorns

Whole Cloves

Parsley Stems

Note: Its rare I limit myself to just these aggot ingrediets. Whatever is in the larder is usually order of the day. Whether it may be tarragon, coriander, chervil, dill even you will be hard pushed to find a herb that does not add bang factor to the finished product... The amount of each ingredient you add to your stock is based on personal preference and how much stock you will be making...

Chicken Stock


Roughly 6 lbs chicken carcass (or enough to 3/4 fill your pot)
6 Celery sticks 
3 Onions
3 Carrot
Rosemary/ Thyme... roughly chopped 
Season to taste

How to
First and foremost we want to brown our bones ... Into the oven at 180 for circa forthy minutes... (Browning increases the flavour) Bang! 
Transfer the leftover bones and skin from a into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. If possible add water little by little instead of all at once. Devil is in the detail, this prevents misty or watery stock.
Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots, rosemary and thyme, season lightly.
Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Cook the stock at a bare simmer for 3 hours. Never let it boil… I mean just a gentle simmer and checking in on it every half hour or so, skim and ladle fat from the surface. Use a ladel and start with small circular movements frm the centre of the stock surface outwards... spoon fat off. After  four hours the stock should be reduced by half to two thirds…

Strain the cooked stock through a cheesecloth-lined colander, set over a large pot… nearly there. Bin the solids… into a container with stock, cool at room temperature… Bang into fridge, next day, you will see remaining fat has settled, congealed on top through refrigerating process…. Spoon off bang!!

If you would like a more concentrated flavour from your stock, or if you feel it is still weak in flavour well then reduce it some more.  If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by simmering a few hours longer to make it more concentrated and easier to store. Always taste your stock if you feel it is lacking reduce further...

To make a basic beef stock… Follow the directions for chicken stock recipe… replace chicken carcass’s with beef bones… Bang!

To make a basic fish stock - Follow the direction for making basic chicken stock (above), but use the carcass and trimmings of lean fish, or use leftover shells from peeled shrimp to make shrimp stock. Reduce the simmering time to 40 minutes… Bang!

To make a basic vegetable stock - Follow the directions for making basic chicken stock (above), but use a combination of aromatic vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery and cabbage along with herbs such as parsley, bay leaf and thyme. Bang in as much as you like, let your imagination run riot the only ingredient I that for me does not have a home in vegetable stock is broccoli, for me it takes over…


Your stock will keep for months on end… conundrum being, how you decide to store your bad boy to maximise your freezer space… I would like to say freezer ice cube trays for convenience… but I use stock so much I have succumbed to the deep container frozen method… scooping as I need…. Bang!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marvellous, Magnificent, Mystical, Magical ehm …Marble Eggs

So flicking through some old and retro cook books at work and came across this bad boy recipe that got me very, very eggcited (excuse the poor pun. Read on) the person that conjured up this creation should get some kind of egg Nobel award. I would love to meet them and get behind their thought process, pick their brains so to speak. Ingenious and I am still a slightly puzzled as to why this technique is not more widely used, never made it mainstream or main stage even. It is visually stunning. I love it.

So I must admit I had my reservations of posting this on underpressure firstly and foremost because of the stunning visuals of the end product and secondly because of the scope, the elaboration the recipe is crying out for because as you will see the finished product has bang factor written all over its soft exterior although unfortunately, for me and my culinary colleagues it lacks in flavour and verges on the borders of bland. The due elaboration I, and others are thinking of and the greedy reservations subsided. Food is to be loved, to be shared and as long as I have like-minded foodies reading my blog, inevitably, I will share…
So this is Chinese in origin and that is about as far as my knowledge goes on his technique. I am guessing the reason the technique has not been incorporated into top end cooking stems from the blandness o the finished product. What would Heston do I wonder?

6 eggs

3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise

2 tea bags
1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn

2 strips dehydrated tangerine or mandarin orange peel

How to

Bang your eggs into a pot of water and bring to the boil… lower the heat and let simmer for a further three minutes. Lift your eggs (leave your pot to one side, do not discard water) refresh in ice water to prevent cooking. Now using the back of s spoon gently tap the egg surface. Gently being the operative word. Do not break the shell surface. Think ballerina thoughts, light and delicate. The more cracks incorporated the funkier the design… Bang!

Now whack in all your ingredients to the pot. Add the eggs. Return to a boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer for around thirty minutes. Then kill the heat altogether. Put a lid on the put and let steep overnight. Strain and peel to the next morn to marvel at your marvel delights. Stunning.

Hmmmm... Heston
..And then there is the food dye. Bang factor through the roof. So, so visually stunning, but that does not shift attention from the fact they taste like a flip flop. So... it has as it happens, or happened, occurred that I have a few ideas on how to enhance the flavour of the finished product but my trail of thought inevitably leads back to what would the ginger genius himself would do posed with such a conundrum? Oh …but for an hour of his time! So I severely doubt that Heston shall be knocking on my front door with a half dozen egg under one arm and a half dozen brew under the other anytime soon so I am open to any suggestions or thoughts you guys have on marbled eggs. Help me enhance this bad boy. Bang…

The Sexuality of Scallop

Fish fetishs…

I gave serious consideration to naming this post “I am getting s@*t hot”… but forsake of modesty I opted for “the sexuality as scallops’ tittle”. Less controversial and pompous …only by the skin of your micky as my granddad says …Bang!

So in advance I apologize for poor picture quality. It is not easy shooting whilst all around you mayhem ensues, a restaurant full of diners with hungry stomachs vying for your attention not to mention the penguin like waiters hovering, no swarming to and fro like ants in front of your pass (Ok slightly dramatic analogy) …what am getting at is the fact that it is hard to shoot snaps in service as much as i would love too, most nights it just ain’t possible…

This is by far my favourite dish on starters for two reasons. Reason one being it is fish and I am a feign for anything originating from the big blue sea (definitely to do with my upbringing… thank Poseidon himself!)… reason number two being for me, and I am pretty sure you will agree, it is sexy, sexy mouth salivating food. So enough chitter chatter, show me the money as the agitated Gerry Maguire once put it …Here is the money Gerry.
Actually, an afterthought, or a third reason. Third reason being why I love this dish so much, as well as its aesthetic and sexual values is the clean, simple and uncomplicated ingredients. All in season and screaming summer. All lessons I am learning in the kitchen and in anticipation I am eagerly (perhaps slightly geekishly) awaiting winter to see what seasonal dishes and culinary creations are introduced to the menu. Cooking …You have to love it …Now Gerry. Here is the money …Bang!

1/2 Dozen scallop …Roe and muscle removed

1 cucumber

½ cup of broad bean… blanched shell removed
1 bunch wild asparagus

¼ cup double cream
½ cup fresh pea …blanched

4 shallot …minced
2 tblspn Oil

Knob butter
Season to taste

How to

Okay Gerry. First and foremost lets bung our minced shallots into a pot with the double cream. Bring the cream to the boil seasoning with salt and pepper. Be gentle a pinch of each then reduce heat to a simmer. Bang in blanced fresh pea and turn your attention to the cucumber.
Ideally you want a mandolin as your weapon of choice, set to one of its lowest cutting widths. Half your cucumber. Using a teaspoon scrape down the centre of the cucumber inside and discard all unwanted seeds. Run down mandolin (watch your pinkies) producing long cucumber ribbons. Set aside.

Blanching wild asparagus takes a surprisingly little amount of time. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Whack in asparagus for no longer than thirty seconds. Done… into ice water to refresh.
Bang your pea mixture into the blender on full tilt. We do not want any skins or pea sediment floating about so so pass through a fine chamois or muslin after blending. Nearly there…

Lightly season one side of your scallop. Add oil to a pan on a high heat…when your oil begins to smoke add scallop and do not touch for two minute. We want an caramelized affect. Whilst turning, add the butter and spoon over scallop. Bang into the oven on a low temperature for a further two minute. All components are there. Plate up. Show me the scallops!

Money... Shown...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Purity Of Puree

Hooray for Puree

So to the finer points in refined cooking… queue swipes, stripes… spots and dots of pure banging flavours all made possible through the art of puree or puréed ingredients. From the Sunday roast to an elaborate dinner party this is the perfect technique to concentrate combined flavours in a sophisticated “how’s your father method” that will surely raise eyebrows and conjure questions…
*nature of questions: bewilderment, tainted with jealousy!

*nature of eyebrow rising: bewilderment, tainted with jealousy! (…God damn it... I wish I had of thought of that for my party)

Also a pre warning once you delve into the murky world of puree’s you will want more, it’s highly addictive and you will be thinking of where and when to get your next fix… be warned!

If you’re not already familiar with the term Puree let me give you a crash course (that perhaps fine dining establishments might not like us average Joes to think) …the crash and the course being that the process is extremely simple (for the most part) providing you have a good blender and a good imagination. Take your time and think about your dish as a whole…

One book I will recommend is the “Food Thesaurus”, and in particular for this post its content is a must have. It gives the a to z of ingredients, and what each ingredient should, or could, be paired with and do not think it covers the obvious (sugar and spice all things nice approach) …no this book goes way outside the box …my favourite example goats cheese and chocolate. Yeah. Indeed. Initially… that’s exactly what I thought too. Buy the book you shall see what i blabber incoherently about and you shall, i gaurantee... laaaave it Darling. Bang!  

The little brother with the big personality is a bit of a Gandalf when it comes to the old puree business and unfortunately I cannot give up his own creations on underpressure. I can describe some of them in one word however… the word being “Stunning”… Oh and boundary pushing, but that’s two words… I can however give you mine (and simplified versions of his just don’t tell him). The thing you will find though with a puree is what you pair your creation with… needless to say If I give you an apple puree, don’t present it on a plate with caramelised granny smith segment!
Okay captain obvious get on with it I hear you say… Right so… To the puree mobile Robin

Carrot Puree
This is original… a rather back patting epiphany I had whilst prepping soups a couple of weeks. The soup being my own carrot soup recipe (I normally would glance over carrot soup on a menu imaging bland and boring) …so decided to go for underlying earthy tones. The type of flavours that resonate on the roof of your mouth… giving what  i consider a dull soup… a new lease of life laced with butternut squash, peppers and onion and various herbs invited along to the party… it ticked all the boxes and I did indeed try to pat my own back and also made up a batch in the puree’d form for garnish… It goes a little something like this...


One cup finely diced carrot
¼ cup of butternut squash …finely diced

Tbspn of Onion… guess what? Yes finely diced
Pinch of thyme… finely diced

Pinch of rosemary… finely diced

Butter… couple of knobs

Season to taste

How to
Sautee off all ingredients until soft to the touch... I find a low heat over a prolonged period works better than a rapid high heat. Prolonged concentrates juices and flavours, as opposed to burnt flavour. So be gentle. Take your time… put on the kettle. When ingredients  gently squash between two fingers you are nearly there. Okay time for the puree mobile indeed Robin (the blender) All ingredients into the blender and whack on full tilt. Done…  If you want a silkier, smoother puree pass your mix through a chamois.

Beetroot Puree
Now I should mention before we proceed with Mr Beetroot here, that this is a way simplified version. Last time I made this puree I pickled the beet myself with lots of star anise, cloves, bay leaf and not to mention the agar agar to set it… then blend it to get the most fabulous fluid gel that absolutely bursts with bang factor. But for now, and at home, we shall roll with a not so long winded, elaborate and expensive process. Simple is as simple does…

500 g  beetroot 

4 tbsp  sherry vinegar 

½ star anisee

1 clove

100 g natural yogurt

salt, to taste 

How to

Leave the star anisee and clove marinating in the vinegar overnight to give that extra edge. Bang all ingredients, minus your cloves and anisee  in a blender and process until smooth and silky (add another teaspoon vinegar if need be or add more ogurt to get that flourescent glow from your puree)… Done….

Chilli puree

2 medium red chillies… de stemmed, de seeded

5 medium dried red chillies… de stemmed and de seeded 

1   jalapeno chilli… de seeded… finely chopped 

2 garlic cloves… minced 

2 tbsp  vegetable oil 

2 ½ tsp  cumin… ground 

Hot water 

How to

Okay to re hydrate the chilli, soak in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, strain then bang into a blender and process with the rest of your ingredients adding water little by little.. we do not want to lose that thickness.  This is hot and it is adviseable to counteract with something contrasting whether that be a cold meat or crème fraiche… Variety is the spice of life… Bang!

Chestnut puree        
This, for me, is like the Mona Lisa of puree. No disrespect to Mona. I am not saying la joconde has a head like a chestnut. No indeed I am a big art lover and Da Vinci admirer. What I am saying is that for me, this is a puree that is elegant, sophisticated and spanks of class, sat beside wild game, a rich jus and seasonal veg… Yes indeed…


750 g  chestnuts, peeled 
200 ml  double cream 

5 tbsp  butter 

1 tsp  sugar 

Salt to taste 

How to

In a bowl, cover the chestnuts with boiling water. Allow to stand until the skin can be peeled off easily with a small knife or even your fingernails
Into the cream and cook on a low heat until chestnuts are soft to touch (squish between the finger test)... Remove from the heat and bang into a blender.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chestnut purée and sugar. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. If too dry, add more milk, the purée should be creamy. Season to taste with salt… Bang!

Dill and zucchini

1 medium  zucchini 
120 ml  buttermilk 

1 tbsp  fresh dill 

¼ tsp  nutmeg… ground 

1 ½ tbsp  chicken or vegetable broth 

Season to taste 

How to
Scrub zucchini, trim, and cut crosswise in half. Cut each half into 8 wedges. Heat a large sauce pan and bring to the boil. Add salt. Add zucchini and boil until tender. Drain well.

Bang boiled zucchini, buttermilk, dill and nutmeg in a blender and process until smooth. Thin the sauce with enough broth to make it workable... Nice swipe across  plate with steamed fish or vegetables… Done

Caramelized Onion
4 onion... roughly chopped
tub of butter
Smoked oil taste
season to taste

How To
This puree is so, so simple but worth it. Lots of butter into a pan... bang in the roughly chopped onion and let simmer on a low, low heat for a couple of hours. Strain butter. Blend carmelized onion with a drop of smoked oil. Wow... deep deep falvours wheter it be on a burger, sunday roast dinner or served with game... deep, deep flavours and if your mammy likes onions as much as my mammy likes onions... she will love you for this puree... Bang!

So Subject to the aforementioned
So I suppose you are beginning to see a pattern in the puree recipes. The pattern being the same, simple technique applied to puree any ingredient. Boil it. Blend it… and it gives your plate that extra edge…

Imagine the plate your canvass and you a culinary Picasso (maybe a bit carried away there) but that is sometimes how I feel plating food, making ingredients dance and jump and sit just perfect. Swipes, stripes are the foundation of this art.
Simple task… Arm yourself with a spoon (varying sizes) spatula and a piping tube… blank plate and off you go practise dragging the back of your spoon across the plate and through your ingredients… Put dots around the plate. Pipe one large dot and swipe away quickly. Arc your miniature spatula through a heap and you will see the effects I am talking about even if you practice with regular ketchup… and do not be disheartened if it does not work out at first it took me weeks of plating many dozen plates a night to gain confidence and fluidity in my hand… If you do try this you shall see just how addictive it is. Wiping. Retrying until you get it just perfect. You will see what I mean.
I hope to get feedback on some of your puree recipes and pretty much the primary message of this is to experiment and try out in your kitchen with the children, for a party or just for the fun of it and let me see your culinary creations... Bang!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Salmon Terrine... (dare I say sexual salmon)

Salmon terrine with a hazelnut side

it has been nay upon six days since my last post and I even have lots
of more humorous excuses and charming excerpts to sugar coat my blogging
absenteeism… just not enough time to do so (at least not today that is)
…In a nut shell the story is story is, you’ve guessed it, extremely
busy in the restaurant and s always the good news is I have lots of
banging recipes queuing to join underpressure archives. Until then enjoy
my smoked salmon terrine.

the beauty of galantines and terrines for me is the colours, the
contrast in colour and the swirling or twirling design rolled or
compressed to produce amazing flavours… the results can be quite
spectacular. They adorn every restaurant worth its salt for just this
reason. That and the fact they are pre prepared and easy to bang out
during service, a similar philosophy to be applied at home, for a dinner
party or just a spanking pre dinner appetiser… Bang!

follow the Monkfish Octopus rolls I wanted to bring you something just
as exquisite, a recipe, up there in the interesting stakes… a recipe
that spanks of bang factor. There is a terrine recipe on the Victoria
menu (the restaurant I am working at) …but it is complicated, with many
ingredients and techniques involved, the end product though stunning and
that is not a biased opinion!

good news is I have that recipe in my little black book and it will
make its way to underpressure for those of you that really want to knock
the socks of your diners with something spectacular but like I said the
ingredients are expensive. The technique, complicated and laborious so
for now we shall roll with a somewhat simplified, fishier (of course)
version. You will, however, fall in love with this terrine process,
guaranteed. Just like galantines… Bang… Bang… Banging factor!


700g sliced smoked salmon

400g unsalted butter at room temperature

1 lemon, rind finely grated

200 white anchovies, drained and pat dried with paper towel

2 slices brioche

¼ cup of Olives

Avocado cream

1 avocado

15ml lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup double cream

Hazelnut salad

60ml olive oil

1/4 cup hazelnuts

30ml hazelnut oil

1 tsp chestnut honey

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

15ml sherry vinegar

1/2 cup baby endive hearts

2 tbsp chervil leaves

2 tbsp baby basil

 2 tbsp baby parsley

1 tbsp red kale

How too

first and foremost we want to trim our smoked salmon. Neatly trim off
any brown bits of fat and square off each side leaving you with a nice
rectangular slice.Fire p the oven at about 180.

Add anchovies, olives, butter and rind into your blender and whack on full tilt until you have a consistent paste...

the inside of your mould (worry not if you are not in possession of
expensive terrine moulds, bread moulds, anything long rectangular and
ovenproof is the business, just grease well) …line with cling film
allowing an overhang all round. This is were the magic happens…

the base of the terrine with one layer of smoked salmon. Take your
time. Make sure the salmon is spread even and covers the base (we will
call this step one) Now we want a layer of our butter mixture, spooned
in delicate and even, think gentle soothing thoughts (we will call this
step two) So repeat process one and two alternating until you are
roughly half way up your mould… fold over overlapping cling film…

terrine therapy concluded, time to get the bad boy ready to set so we
want something spongy, say, to compress our mould. I usually use a pre
cut bit of foam wrapped in lots of tape, or whatever is knocking about
the kitchen. Once it gently weighs down your terrine. So sponge in
weighed down by a few food cans… Into freezer for roughly half an hour
then into fridge for similar amount of time. Done!

The Mousse

down… time to work on our salad… First and foremost clean out your
processor. To make the avocado cream, bang together avocado, cream and
lemon juice until thickened then slowly add your oil thus slightly
emulsifying the cream giving you a mousse like texture... leave in the
fridge to further firm.

The Salad

nearly there… Firstly for the salad I wanted to sweeten proceedings. I
thought it would add an extra dimension and it did. So make simple stock
syrup (one part water to one part sugar) and bring to the boil. Bang in
hazelnuts and remove from heat… give around five minutes then remove
nuts to a non-stick surface and allow to cool. Then to candy our wall
nuts deep fry or oven cook (I always prefer to deep fry trust me the
candied affect work better this way)

bang some roasties in there for that different texture and earthiness

For the dressing lace remaining olive oil, honey, mustard and vinegar in a bowl, whisk to combine. Done…  Add
the hazelnuts to the vinaigrette mixture. Toss salad leaves through the
dressing to lightly coat. Season with sugar and sea salt to taste…
Sugar? Yes, sugar you will see/ taste what I mean.

retrieve the terrine (nice alliteration barry!)…from the fridge and
turn upside down. After removing weights etc… A nice sharp bread knife
is your only man here (we do not want taking lumps out of our terrine
with a blunt blade) …cut your terrine into slices and trim if need be.
Now you see what all the trouble is about. The terrine lined pattern of
salmon and the butter mix. Dare I say sexual…

Cut your brioche to a similar size as your terrine and toast…

serve if you have a wooden surface it works superb bring out colours
and enhancing that rustic feel of the dish… an upside down chopping
board even… so first on with brioche, terrine slice on top and mousse to
top off. Your hazelnut salad and enjoy… earthy flavours, richness of
the anchovies and olive butter in contrast to the lightness of the
salmon all multiplied by the explosion of flavours in the salad… zingy,
sweet and earthy… Bang factor eleven out of ten!

Subject to the aforementioned

of you lucky enough to own a television set may have noticed a certain
advert doing the rounds promoting a certain cooking programme that will
be broadcasted at a certain time in the very near distant future… very
vague indeed… I am talking about Masterchef… The advertisement looks
great it is nearing time to grab a pillow from which to cringe/ grimace
behind whilst viewing. How unusual it shall be I imagine but more on
that soon… Bang!

Again apolologies for the poor posting punctuality... I shall be back in the coming days with serial blogging and food...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cute quail shots... (non alcoholic)

Quail egg shots…

I was an egg… it would definitely be quail. Seriously they are mega and
not just because of their taste. For me, it is more so to do with their
speckled shell, their pettiness, their… eh cuteness (can food be
cute?)… They are a banging little ingredient that lend themselves
proudly to fine dining menus around the world.

I have heard of many quail recipes… but until a couple of days ago
doing egg shots was an alien concept. Well I have done egg shots and the
good news is I did not get drunk… and was amazed by the strange, silky
textures, foreign flavour… so much so I tried another one, and another,
and another trying to put my finger on what it was my taste buds
searched for... until I finally arrived at the conclusion, they are a
smashing little canopy and then I had another (just to make sure!)

Just like I mentioned in my cod
quail egg post. Do not be discouraged by ingredients like quail eggs.
They are easily accessible. It is just knowing where to reach. Your
local oriental store, gourmet supermarket or farmers market and trust me
they are inexpensive (I usually pay less than two euro for a baker’s

So cute...


14 cute quail eggs

2-4 streaky rasher…. Fat removed

2tsp finely chopped chives

Coarse sea salt to serve

How to

So simple, so succulent and so, so tasty… Here we go..

of water on high heat… Pan on its neighbouring stove ring and bang in
some oil… small bit of butter just before you add the bacon. Cook to
crisp leave to one side…

the quail eggs into your boiling water… Now this may seem slightly anal
but trust me you want twenty seconds (not a second more or less)…in
order to achieve the perfect egg, so I would recommend a timer… and
doing them in batches on say a slotted spoon or sieve… Once boiled
straight into a large bowl of iced water to refresh… Perfectly cooked
quail egg… Bang!

Dice up crisped bacon… finer the better and likewise with your chive… Nearly there…

this is the tricky part, well I say tricky. I mean fiddly… be prepared
to lose a few little soldiers. So we want to cut the eggs about two
thirds the ways up. Scissors work… but I think a good sharp knife should
be your weapon of choice and like I said be prepared to lose a few
little soldiers (perks of the job)

serve… spoon the sea salt on to a serving dish, cut the tops off the
quails' eggs, stand them in the salt and spoon the bacon mixture on top
of each one… Done!  

Subject to the aforementioned

you do decide to make this at home… I would recommend a pea puree (nice
and runny) in a shot glass to accompany. Apart from the fact of looking
banging, stood side by side, I just think the eggs need something to
lift their silky subtle flavours which do tend to get monotonous after
munching on about seven or eight of the little devils… so yeah that is
what I will be doing the next time I knock this puppy out… Bang!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Curry Popcorn...

Curry Popcorn...

…critiques review...and the popcorn…

breaking out the popcorn (none of that microwave business) … for movie
night with the little sous and a thought/ idea occurred to me. Something
fun, simple and a new take on something so traditional… Queue curry
flavoured popcorn.

I came across this in the Victoria… We make it or the bar… funky little
ramekins filled with golden glowing popcorn adorn the walnut worktop
and they are a big hit with the punters. Bang!

night off and perfect opportunity to try this bad boy out on one of
Irelands most fiercely renowned popcorn critics, Abbie (AKA the little

So… At
home I like infuse oils… infused oils are oils that have the taste of
either herbs or spices combined with their own flavour adding another
dimension, a deeper flavour and big bang factor. They are simple to make
and I always have curry oil in the larder… the longer in storage the
more it fuses and trust me the depth of flavour combined with a good oil
will surprise you… but for now we shall roll with fast and simple… I
will however bang in my curry oil fusion recipe at the bottom


1/4 cup popcorn kernels

3 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or garlic salt

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin

How too

Get the little sous to mix all of
the above, minus kernels into a bowl… Pot on high heat… Bang all in. Lid
on and wait for that magic popping and more importantly your golden
curried nuggets… Movie on. Enjoy!

Curry Oil Fusion

1 1/2 cup curry powder

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp oregano

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

¼ tsp minced ginger/chilli/garlic

3 cup canola oil

How to

simple is as simple does… I usually cook off a large pot of curry oil
that usually lasts for a while, and to be honest I found myself
scratching my sally noggin (head)…and then it occurred to me why… nope
not headlice… reason being every time I knock this out it is a case of
herbs and spices, bit of this and sprinkle of that, pretty much whatever
I in the larder. You will find nothing doesn’t work with curry oil, as
long as the basics are there… curry powder and granola… experiment!

pretty much all the ingredients above into a pot… onto a very low heat
and allow to heat gently for two hours… not boiling or simmering… a
gentle heat… allow to rest for a further hour then pass through a sieve.
I like to store my oil in tall milk bottle like glasses with a little
chilli at the bottom. Bang!

So subject to the aforementioned…

curry popcorn adventures have got me thinking about other popcorn
ideas… so far I Have tried dehydrated bacon, bltzed and sprinkled over
popcorn. Works but extremely salty for my palette. What really got me
excited was my left over dehydrated scallop roe… again blended and
dusted over the popcorn… and on a strange, somewhat Heston level it
works… I think… further experimentation required for sure.

The Critiques review

*slowly crunching into her curry flavoured popcorn, eyes raised as if
searching the inners of her critics store room, sharp intakes of breath
she lowers her eyes to her awaiting audience (thats me).. and says

"Hmm"... and returns her gaze to the movie... Bang!