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Archive: Aug 2011

Fresh ginger ale with lemongrass

This is a ginger ale for grown-ups, a spicy, not-too-sweet, ultra refreshing drink that combines fresh ginger, lemongrass and chilies in a way you’ve probably never had them.
It makes 1 quart of syrup, enough to make at least 10 glasses.  The syrup keeps for weeks, refrigerated

Thanks to Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

1lb fresh ginger root, unpeeled and cut into small dice
2 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small chilies, stems removed
1 1/2 cups white sugar
soda water
lime wedges

Combine the ginger, lemongrass and chilies in a food processor and process until minced, stopping the machine periodically and scraping down the sides, if necessary.

Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 quart water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Cool, then strain and chill.

To serve, place about 1/4 cup of the syrup in a glass full of ice. Fill with soda water, taste and add more syrup if you like. Garnish with a lime wedge, then serve

Thai chicken, cucumber and coconut salad (CleanCuisine)

I made this last night and we were blown away by the flavors. It’s light, healthy and full of flavor!
You can buy palm sugar in Asian supermarkets like “99 Ranch” (in Los Angeles)

Serves 4

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
165 mls coconut milk
40 grams palm sugar, (shave it off with a knife) or if you can’t find any, demerara sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 large English cucumber
2 long sweet red chillies, thinly sliced  (I noticed that Trader Joes has these)
small bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
1 good sized thai shallot or regular shallot, finely sliced
50 grams roasted peanuts. crushed

Put the chicken between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin or heavy pan to flatten a little so it is all the same thickness.

Put the coconut milk, palm sugar and fish sauce in a wide, shallow pan. Add the chicken to the cold liquid then gently bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool in the liquid, turning it a couple of times.

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the cucumber into long thin ribbons.

Take the chicken from the poaching liquid and slice as thinly as possible, then mix all the ingredients except the roasted, crushed peanuts.
Serve drizzled with some of the cool poaching liquid and sprinkle with the peanuts.

It’s SO delicious!

Tortilla Pie

Once you have the hang of what you can put between the layers of this stunning creation, you can please meat lovers, vegetarians, adults, children….
It goes down very well with everyone, is delicious and a beautiful display!


14 (8 inch) flour tortillas

Meat layer
1 tbsp vegetable oil
14oz can chilli beans, drained
1/4 oz package taco seasoning mix
1lb lean ground lamb

Pinto/Salsa layer
4 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of your favorite salsa
4  cloves garlic, crushed

Black bean/salsa layer
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 (15oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes

4-6 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, or Mexican blend
1 cup sour cream
1 avocado diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 inch round loose bottom cake tin

For the meat layer
Heat  the oil in a large non stick frying pan, add the ground lamb and cook for 5 minutes or until brown, breaking up the lumps with the back of a spoon. Drain off the excess oil, add the seasoning mix and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chilli beans until heated through. Set aside

Black bean/salsa layer
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Pinto bean / salsa layer
In another bowl, mash the pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and the garlic.

Now depending what you’re using in your layers, this is roughly how you assemble it. You, of course, can improvise depending what people like.

Place one tortilla in the bottom of the cake tin.
Spread 1/2 cup of the lamb mixture on top. Spread 3/4 cup of the pinto/salsa mixture on top of the lamb and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
Cover with another tortilla then spread 2/3 cup of the black bean/salsa mixture on, then 1/4 cup ground lamb and 1/4 cup grated cheese on top.
Cover with another tortilla, then continue the layers of whatever you want, always putting grated cheese on top before adding another tortilla.
Lightly press down each tortilla as you go, so it stays as flat as possible.
When you run out of fillings or the pie is getting really high, end with a tortilla and some pinto/salsa mixture and lots of grated cheese on top.
Cover lightly with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, removing the foil at the last 15 minutes so the cheese can brown.
Cool slightly, remove from tin carefully and put on a nice dish.
Cut into wedges and top with a dollop of sour cream and the diced avocado.
Serve with a salad.

Bacon and leek risotto with poached egg

Serves 6
PREP TIME: 50 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes
Recipe c/o Jill Duplex
So tasty and comforting!
6 large eggs
5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 large)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice (about 10 ounces)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)
Additional finely grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Bring large skillet of water just to simmer over medium-low heat. Sprinkle water with salt. 
Working with 1 egg at a time, crack into small bowl and slide egg into simmering water. 
Cook eggs until whites are cooked through but yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. 
Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer poached eggs to medium bowl filled with ice water.
 DO AHEAD Eggs can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate in same bowl of ice water
Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan; cover to keep warm. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, stirring occasionally. 
Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add leeks to drippings in pan; cook until soft but not brown, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 2 generous tablespoonfuls leeks to small bowl; reserve for garnish. 
Add rice to pan; stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup warm broth to saucepan; stir until broth is absorbed. Repeat adding broth and stirring until rice is tender but still firm to bite and sauce is creamy, stirring almost constantly, about 23 minutes total.
 Add bacon, chopped parsley, butter, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Meanwhile, heat poached eggs in medium skillet of simmering water just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide risotto among 6 bowls. Top risotto in each bowl with poached egg. 
Sprinkle egg with salt and pepper. 
Sprinkle with parsley leaves, additional cheese, and reserved leeks.

Summer Pudding with Rum Whipped Cream

I make this a lot any time of the year and it’s gorgeous! Thanks to the Barefoot Contessa.

Serves 8.
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons framboise (raspberry brandy)
  • 1 loaf brioche or egg bread (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
Rum whipped cream recipe follows;
Combine the strawberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan and cook uncovered over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the raspberries and all the blueberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer, and simmer for a minute.
Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise.
Slice the bread in 1/2-inch-thick slices and remove the crusts. In the bottom of a 7 1/2-inch round by 3-inch high souffle or baking dish, ladle about 1/2 cup of the cooked berry mixture.
Arrange slices of bread in a pattern (this will become the top when it’s unmolded) and then add more berry mixture to saturate.
Continue adding bread, cutting it to fit the mold, and berries.
Finish with bread and cooked berries, using all of the fruit and syrup.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over the pudding.
Find a plate approximately the same diameter as the inside of the mold and place it on top.
Weight the mold with a heavy can and refrigerate. Remove the weight after 6 to 8 hours.
Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, run a knife around the outside of the pudding and unmold it upside down onto a serving plate. Serve in wedges with rum whipped cream.
Rum Whipped Cream:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure really good vanilla extract (I use the Madagascar variety)
1 tablespoon dark rum
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla, and rum.
Continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Serve cold.

Coconut tuna tartare with avocado mousse

It doesn’t get much better than this!  (c/o chef John Doherty of the Waldorf Astoria)

1 pound sushi grade tuna; cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 tbsp grated coconut; toasted
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp toasted almond slivers; chopped
4 tbsp currants
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp fresh ginger; minced
1/2 tsp garlic; minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 ripe avocados
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Prepare Coconut Tuna Tartare with Avocado Mousse
In a medium stainless mixing bowl combine the diced tuna, coconut, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, rice wine vinegar, almonds, currants, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.
Toss well and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Peel and halve the avocados and remove the pits. Give them a rough chop and place them in a small stainless mixing bowl.
Add the remaining lime juice, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and olive oil.
Mash the seasoned avocado with a sturdy whisk until creamy in texture and season with salt and pepper.
To serve:
Divide the avocado mixture equally into the bottom of 8 martini glasses.
Separate the tuna into eight equal portions and spoon on top of the avocado

Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom dauphinoise

This is almost sexy in it’s unctious creaminess!!
Make sure the artichokes are tender when you cook them, because when I cooked this the first time, they weren’t!

1 1/2 lbs Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced onion
2 crushed cloves of garlic
5 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2/3 cup light cream or whole cream
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon, grated zest only
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook artichokes in lightly salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add 1 sliced onion and 2 crushed cloves garlic and saute for 3 minutes until soft.
Increase the heat and add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 to 10 mins tossing occasionally, until golden.

Drain the artichokes and refresh under cold running water. Drain again and peel.
Slice any large artichokes into thirds and arrange in a shallow 1 1/4 quart dish with the mushroom mixture.

In a bowl mix together the sour cream, (or creme fraiche)  light cream, whole grain mustard, freshly grated nutmeg, grated zest of a lemon and chopped parsley. Season well and pour over the vegetables.
Sprinkle the top with the grated gruyere cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Serve immediately.


Mock garlic mashed potatoes

We eat these a lot and they contain no carbs!


Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 4.57.09 PM

Serves 4

1 medium head cauliflower
1 tbsp cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp straight chicken base or bouillon
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chopped fresh or dried chives
1 tbsp butter

Clean and remove all the green leaves from a cauliflower. Put it into a steamer and steam until tender.
(You can also cut the cauliflower into florets and boil them till tender)
Drain well, do not let cool and pat the cooked cauliflower very dry with several layers of kitchen towel.

In a food processor puree the cauliflower with the cream cheese, parmesan, garlic,chicken base and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives and serve with pats of butter.

HINT- try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a whole new taste!

Carrot puree with ginger and orange

This is one of our favorite side dishes.    serves 8

3 lbs carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
4 tbsp sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cook the carrots and 3 tbsp sugar in a large pot of boiling salted water until the carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain well. Return carrots to same pot. Stir over medium heat until any excess moisture evaporates.

Meanwhile, bring the orange juice to a simmer in a heavy, small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, ginger and orange zest, whisk until the butter melts.
Whisk in the lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp sugar.

Puree half the carrots and half the juice mixture in a food processor until smooth. transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining carrots and juice mixture.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead)
Cover and refrigerate.
Re-warm carrots in a microwave on high for about 4 minutes or re-warm in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Roasted cherry tomato clafouti

Printed with permission from Rose Murray.

2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 1lb)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp granulated sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup cream
3 extra large eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 to 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow 6-cup baking dish.
Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme,garlic, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Roast in oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the skin shrivels slightly.

In a blender, blend the cream, eggs and flour until smooth. Pour over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Serve immediately with a salad and crusty bread.