Sunday, 22 February 2015

Passionfruit Crème Brûlées (includes Thermomix method)

A decadent and delicious classic, infused with the fragrant flavour of fresh passionfruit.

There's something quite special about cracking open the crust of a crème brûlée with a teaspoon, and spooning out the rich and creamy custard from beneath. It's one of those really rich and special desserts that tends to accompany 'special occasions', or indulgent meals out.

And yet, it's actually deceptively easy to make - and lots of fun caramelising the sugar at the end, too!

This recipe makes six crème brûlées (in 150ml ramekins) and the cooked custards will keep happily covered in the fridge for a few days (mine were still fine after one week), so you can make them in advance, and caramelise the tops just before serving.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Seared Sesame Tuna with a Soy, Ginger and Lime Seaweed Salad and Daikon Noodles (includes Thermomix method)

When you eat out... and enjoy it so much you want to eat it all over again at home!

Not an exact replica of what I ate, but my interpretation of the flavours I enjoyed the most with a few extras... I do *love* eating sashimi, and the flavours of Japanese food - and I also love the additional flavour that is added by just searing the outside of fish like tuna and salmon before slicing it.

I love the umami flavours of seaweed and soy, perfectly balanced by the acidity of lime juice, and the fresh, crisp heat of radish and the nuttiness of toasted sesame seeds and oil - my seaweed salad is inspired by Kaiso salad.

And the best thing? Not only is this ridiculously tasty, and a real 'treat', it's really easy to throw together with minimal cooking AND... what's more, it's incredibly good for you too, which is just a coincidental fringe benefit! Recipe serves one, easily doubled (or quadrupled!), from 297 calories a portion.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Butter Poached Lobster Tail, Lobster Mayonnaise and Asparagus with Watercress and Grapefruit Salad

A delicious starter, or even light meal for when you want something a bit special...

Yet, this is surprisingly, actually really easy to make, for the most part! If you didn't want to make the mayonnaise you could still make the lobster oil if you fancied, and use that in the dressing for the watercress salad instead, or you could cheat completely and use ready made mayonnaise and mix in a little lemon juice, and a tiny bit of tomato puree, and maybe even a a little crushed roasted garlic?

Either way, I'd love you to try this lobster and see how delicious and easy to cook it really is!

Serves two, easily doubled or tripled (although the mayonnaise makes a full 300-350ml quantity, so you won't need to double that!).

Easy Butter Poached Sous Vide Lobster Tails (includes Thermomix method)

The most succulent and tender lobster tails cooked to perfection...

Cooking at a precise temperature means you will get the very best out of your lobster - and with this method, inspired by Thomas Keller's way of poaching lobster (à la French Laundry Restaurant) there's no chance of over-cooking it and ending up with rubbery or dry lobster.


This is best made using either a sous vide machine (or equivalent) or a Thermomix, to control the temperature - however, if you're patient, you can make it by heating up a very large pot of water until it reaches the correct temperature, and then stand and monitor it for 15 minutes while your lobster is in there and maintaining the temperature by turning the heat underneath off and on! (I've done this in the past with salmon and steak, when I didn't have so many gadgets in my kitchen!).

This will serve two people as a starter or light lunch - however you can easily increase the number of lobster tails and butter as appropriate (just keep them two to a bag - if cooking in a Thermomix, you may only be able to fit in three as a maximum). See my blog here for serving suggestion of lobster mayonnaise, buttered asparagus, watercress and grapefruit salad and crostini.

Lobster Mayonnaise (or Langoustine Mayonnaise)

A beautiful accompaniment to butter-poached lobster, langoustines, or prawns for a special occasion...

This will make a whole batch of mayonnaise, so not only can you enjoy it with lobster, you'll have plenty left over that you can enjoy in other ways - whether you mix in some juicy fresh prawns or crabmeat and top halved avocados, or have in a baguette, have as a topping for jacket potatoes, or even mix a spoonful into eggs for a tasty rich omelette...

It's no different to making 'normal' mayonnaise (which I think is actually quite easy), you just flavour the oil first - my recipe for lobster oil is here and just takes 20 minutes plus cooling down time.

My preference is to make mayonnaise in a bowl with a whisk by hand, as I've never had a fail that way, it only takes a few minutes and you can see that the egg yolks are emulsifying as you go - however I've included videos for making it with a normal food processor or a Thermomix.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Lobster Oil or Langoustine Oil - includes Thermomix instructions

A richly flavoured oil, perfect as the base for mayonnaise or dressings, or just to drizzle decadently over fancypants food...

Inspired by the idea of langoustine oil à la Tom Aikens from a distant memory of the Great British Menu, and wanting to make full use of the shells from the lobster tails I bought for a starter to a special meal, I decided to make a 'lobster mayonnaise' - with the lobster flavour coming from an oil infused with lobster shells and other classic flavours.

Now, what I should have done when making said lobster oil, is pour the finished article into a pretty bottle, hang a rustic tag around it, and write 'Lobster Oil' upon said tag, in some pretty handwriting. Maybe even go deep sea diving, and balance it against an old shipwreck / treasure chest, with lobsters prowling around it for an atmospheric photo... But this didn't even occur to me, as I was 'in the moment' and far too busy worrying about the mayonnaise I was going to make splitting... (yes, more about that in another blog!).

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Lactose Free Thick and Creamy Yoghurt - with Thermomix and Easiyo method

Delicious lactose free yoghurt without the hefty price tag and with only two ingredients!

If you'd like to make your own lactose free yoghurt (if you're catering for lactose intolerance - this is not the same as dairy free though), it's no more difficult that making normal dairy yoghurt - you just need to get hold of a lactose (or dairy) free yoghurt with live bacteria in it, to start it off.

Having a few dairy yoghurt fails myself when I first started making my own in the Thermomix was what prompted me to do a bit of research on why, and then perfect my method in order to get the same result every time. Then I met someone who used lactose free products to cater for one of their children and was interested in making their own lactose free yoghurt, so decided to give that a go, after a little reading as to whether lactose free milk was viable to make yoghurt with (it is!).

This is my third post on making yoghurt, as the first one was quite long because it included reasons why your yoghurt could go wrong, and how to make it using various methods. So if you don't have a Thermomix or an Easiyo, have a look here for other ways to make it - the methods are the same, it's just the ingredients which are different (see below), although without the temperature controls you have with the Thermomix, and by using an Easiyo as per my method, you're not necessarily guaranteed success every time, as this method has proved to be foolproof (although if you have a yoghurt-making machine I'm sure that will do the job!). For regular, no-fail thick and creamy dairy yoghurt in the Thermomix, see here.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Skinny San Choy Bau for the Thermomix

A delicious Chinese classic that's the perfect starter to a Chinese meal or can make a low fat, low carb lunch or dinner.

I don't care to admit just how many years ago it was I first experienced San Choy Bau, but it was definitely love at first bite - the unusual combination of hot and juicy minced pork packed full of delicious Chinese flavours wrapped in a refreshingly crisp leaf of lettuce was a crunchy, tasty surprise!

Over the years the ingredients I've included have evolved, especially as the availability of oriental ingredients has become more accessible and diverse, although every ingredient here (bar one optional ingredient which can be substituted) should be easily sourced from most peoples' local supermarkets. And now the method has evolved too, from wok to Thermomix! If you would like to cook it in the more traditional manner, you can find my recipe and method here.

Serves four as a main, with accompaniments (e.g. rice, noodles, cauliflower rice, zero noodles etc.) or other dishes, or four as a light meal on its own - or serves up to eight as a canapé/starter. The cooked meat freezes well too, and can be re-heated and served with noodles or rice with a splash of extra stock and a little soy sauce or tamari to taste.

Calories: 290 per main serving if made with pork (274 if made with chicken) and split between four people.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Italian Style Deliciously Moist Roast Pork

With flavours redolent of the Italian classic, porchetta, this is a delicious way to give new flavours to roast pork.

You can use this rub on any cut of pork you like, whether a roast pork loin, or a slow-cooked shoulder, cooking methods below.

Delicious served with roasted vegetables such as peppers, red onion wedges, thick slices of courgette and aubergine (eggplant), slow roasted in olive oil and a little splash of balsamic vinegar with a little optional oregano. You can also deglaze the juices in the bottom of the pan with a little white wine and/or pork or chicken stock to make a light gravy.

Serves six.

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