Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simplicity... Rose Petal Brulee, Apricot & Saffron Jam, Glazed Shammali

Simplicity is something we all forget, how and where we started what we do today, I for one have extremes in my food play, sometimes over complicated, sometimes keeping it simple, here I opt for the simple approach in appearance but deep in flavour to finish off my time of playing with these middle eastern flavours

Rich Brulee lifted with light and delicate flavours of rose petals steeped in the cream, they are fundamental to Persian and north African dishes and not forgetting Turkish delight, so using their delicate flavours to help the vanilla is a perfect balance here with that solid caramel topping. I flavoured my caramel with fenugreek which becomes intensely bitter, from the already natural bittersweet flavour obtained from the small pods, roasted ground and boiled into the caramel its pungent aromatic taste a bit like lovage

The elements of the dish represent a breakfast, a sunset breakfast dessert, in the past making a fruit taffy or leather on the side to bring in other possibilities which were representing "bacon" of a breakfast, but this is about simplicity. So the 3 elements are the egg, shammali "soldiers" & jam, the smooth texture of the brulee is perfect for taking the edge of the slightly over sweet apricot, saffron & vanilla jam, eating with fun, dipping the soldiers into the brulee spooning on the jam..

Shammali.. A Turkish-Cypriot cake of semolina, almonds and yoghurt, to be representative of the flavours I added a pinch of cardamon, which I have to adopt as my new favourite ingredient the beautiful aromas from ground cardamon powder I can never seem to get enough of now, joining the realms of my love for vanilla it excites the palate no end. The Shammali when baked and still warm is drenched a slightly sweet syrup and allowed to steep, then cut and gentle glazed in a hot pan, those crystallised crusty edges remind me of pain perdue in a Paris cafe early in the morning

There are other elements that could have been included here to lift the dish and make it more "breakfast" like, but this again would risk over complicating things for what gain? I find its simplicity satisfying and its in depth surprising flavour elements really do invoke the saying the.. the proof is in the pudding..

Now from one extreme to the other, Martin Lersch of http://khymos.org/ has set the new TGRWT#15 which is smoked salmon and dark chocolate, Mexmix is hosting this round and you can get the details at http://mexmix.blogspot.com/2009/02/tgrwt-15-dark-chocolate-and-smoked.html this is the food blogging event that has us put together seemingly strange pairs of ingredients that share a certain number of chemical components, thus, making them "compatible". Could be interesting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Banana & Clove Won Ton, Golden Raisin Consomme, Vanilla Straw, Saffron, Rose Ice Cream

It has been far too long since my last post, I have been looking for that next bit of inspiration, yet too find it, so rather than wait any longer, here is a recent dessertEveryone who knows me, knows I love Vanilla....

You can use vanilla in so many applications, one of the worlds most expensive ingredients along with saffron also used in the dish, because of my love of vanilla I like to use all of it. I love to make vanilla straws, for this they are used to sip the warm flavours of the golden raisin consomme which is so light and delicate sipping through the straw adds that little bit of depth to deeply flavour the clear soup. I find with vanilla that there can be a fine balance when used in cooking going from balancing a flavour to completely overpowering in just a slight adjustment either way, this is a way of giving that subtle hint without the use of it in cooking it too much into the dish. Cut the ends off of a vanilla pod and with a bamboo skewer push out all the seeds, you'll need to do it several times, save the seeds, leave the pod on the bamboo skewer and dry out until hard..

Golden Raisin Consomme.. its fantastic just warm, I like to use a Rooibos tea base and blend the raisins making it into the clarification. I made this whole dessert while I was working with the middle eastern flavours, years ago I used to make a rum & raisin consomme with banana gnocchi & mincemeat ice cream, a real christmas dish, which I'll go back to around christmas again and play with the flavours although with the temperature here last week it would have been good then. To the base tea stock I added extra anise flavour, later adding a few raisins to the consomme to serve which had been soaked in a saffron solution I later used for the syrup..
TGRWT11.. Banana & Clove, I know this combination is old to a few of you, to some others maybe new http://blog.khymos.org/2008/10/02/tgrwt-11-banana-and-cloves/ anyway banana & clove won tons, I baked the bananas in their skins studded with cloves and removed the flesh, added a touch of cardamon powder for me it just lifted it a little. The mix was wrapped in phyllo I added a very delicate flavoured clove syrup between the layers....

The won tons baked and drizzled with a saffron and honey rich syrup, I wanted a thick syrup rather than soaking the whole thing and making a baklava..

There we have it, I just added a little rose syrup to the ice cream, brings all the flavours together..