Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spring onion Kimchi

Well I had plans to make another batch of kimchi, the last lot of the fiery fermented cabbage has all but disappeared from our fridge, but wanting to keep the peace and not wanting to devote as much of our tiny fridge space to three very large jars of cabbage, nor the week of wondrous aroma that fermenting cabbage and shrimp paste adds to the general smells of the house, I opted for a much smaller batch, a one litre jars worth, and instead of having spring onion as the background vegetable it would be replacing the cabbage entirely.

Spring onions, enough to tightly pack your chosen jar
½ cup garlic
Thumb of ginger
½ cup fish sauce
1 cup hot chilli flakes
½ cup glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour)
3 cups water
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp belacan (a shrimp paste)
3 g Bonito flakes (optional)

The night before, trim the spring onions so they are about a centimetre or two shorter than the height of the jar, reserve the green parts as they will be puréed later. Fill a large bowl with water and add enough salt to make a 5% brine (50 grams per litre), submerge the trimmed spring onions and weigh down with a plate or two, leave overnight.

The next day, pour the 3 cups of water, rice flour and sugar into a pot and bring to the boil, this will thicken up pretty quick, keep stirring until it forms a thick smooth paste. Tip out into a bowl and leave to cool.

While the the rice glop cools, in a blender combine the garlic, ginger, greens of spring onion, fish sauce, and belacan, whiz until it forms a smoothish purée. Mix into the now cool glop along with the bonito and chilli flakes.

Now is the time that if you don’t have some gloves you’ll wish you did, drain the spring onions and dump into the fiery red fishy gloppy paste and make sure they all get a good coating, transfer them to a sterile jar, then top up with the paste leaving a little head room in the jar but making sure that the spring onions are covered, place on the lid loosely and move to somewhere cool and dark for 3–6 days so the fermentation can begin. After about 6 days tighten the lid and transfer to the fridge.

I’m not sure exactly how long it will last in the fridge ‘until it’s gone’ is my best answer, and I do prefer it to age a little before I crack the jar and start eating, so up to you whether or not you plough into the fiery spring onions straight away or not.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Upside down apple cake

125 g Butter
125 g Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp salt
50 g Cornflour
75 g Wheat flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 Apple
Sugar and Butter to coat
  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  • Grease a large ramekin with butter and sprinkle sugar on the base.
  • Peel and slice the apple very thinly, I prefer to use a mandoline for this.
  • Arrange the apple slices on the base of the ramekin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in the egg along with the vanilla.
  • Sieve in the salt, flours and baking powder, fold the dry mix in, take care not to overwork the batter.
  • Spoon the mixture into the ramekin and try not to disturb the apple layer.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn out onto a plate. Enjoy with lashings of cream, whipped or not.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Smoked Carrot and Ginger Soup

Best laid plans and all of that! Well I had the bright idea of smoked carrot and ginger soup, smoke some carrots cook them in the pressure cooker with a little baking soda so they would caramelise and add a bit of depth of flavour, chuck a bit of ginger in there too, purée that up and hey presto tasty soup. Well, I was quite wrong, putrid foul orangey brown gunk that offended just about every sense one has, binned. The house ended up smelling of this smoky concoction from hell for the best part of a day. Not to be put off by hell carrots I started again, with a little smoky cheat, Al Brown’s Whitestone smoked butter would add that much desired smoky flavour to the soup not the carrots.

1 Kg Carrots
25 g Smoked butter
Thumb of Ginger
25 g Unsalted butter
1 Red onion
Coriander, root and leaves.
1 Scant tablespoon Peanut butter
Peanuts, toasted and crushed
Chilli flakes
Chilli oil
1% Xanthan Gum (1% by weight of the finished product)

Peel and dice the carrots, peel the ginger and slice into large chunks, clean the coriander root, peel the onion and slice into quarters. Place into a pot and barely cover with water, add the unsalted butter, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook covered until the carrots are tender.

Strain the carrots (keeping the liquid), place the coriander root, onion and ginger root along with the cooking liquids into a pot and start slowly reducing the liquid.

Work the cooked carrots through a mouli and sieve, I did this a couple of times to get super smooth purée. Use some of the reduced cooking liquid to loosen the purée to the desired consistency.

Place the soup in a blender, add the smoked butter, peanut butter and chilli oil (to taste), start the blender, when a vortex forms sprinkle in the xanthan gum, let it run for about 30 seconds.

Pass the soup through a sieve into a pot, season with salt as needed, heat to desired temperature. Serve. Garnish with finely sliced coriander, roasted peanuts chilli flakes and chilli oil. I went a little further with it and made a crab meat salad, crab meat, sliced coriander leaf, toasted peanuts, chilli flakes and oil tossed together and placed in the centre of the bowl.