A starter and a main course – inspiration for an alternative New Year’s feast?

Lately I have been a bit lazy recipe-wise and have been focusing on articles. Therefore I decided to get back in the kitchen and create some new recipes for you (and me!). Both are super delicious although I will only share one recipe with you. The second one is a bit funky but I promise that thefirst one can be made in anybody’s kitchen. Anyways. Check ’em out and do comment!

Image

STARTER: Beluga lentil and sweet potato croquetas. Spicy carrot puree with argan oil, mint, chili and cumin. White port wine, balsamic vinegar and apple vinegar reduction with raisins. Toasted fennel seeds.
This recipe is fairly easy and the combination of flavours is sublime. The carrot puree consists of classic Moroccan flavours and packs a little spicy punch while the Christmassy (almost glühwein-ish) vinegar reduction contributes with a tangy and delicate sweetness that really supports the crispy, yet fluffy, croquetas. Yum! The fennel seeds do a wonderful job bringing all the flavours together.

So… Here we go!
Croquetas
80 g. / 2.8 oz. Beluga lentils
150 g / 5.2 oz. peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt
7 tablespoons bread crumbs  + extra for coating
Wheat flour
Vegetable oil
Wash the lentils and add to a pot. Add enough water to cover, and cover with lid. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft. Meanwhile add the chopped sweet potatoes to another pot, cover with water, and lid and cook until soft. Once the sweet potatoes are done leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. This ensures that most of the moist will vaporize. Blend the sweet potatoes and add the lentils to the puree. Taste with salt and pepper, and make sure that it is extra salty as you still have to add eggs and breadcrumbs. Add the 7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and the two eggs and mix it well. Transfer to a bowl, cover with lid and refrigerate for minimum two hours. Get three small bowls. In the first you add flour, in the second you add the two remaining eggs (beaten!) and in the last you add breadcrumbs. Using your hands make small round balls, transfer them to the flour bowl, then to the beaten eggs and finally cover with breadcrumbs. Transfer the croquetas to a clean plate and deep fry in vegetable oil for a few minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Carrot puree
250 g. peeled and chopped carrots
1½ tablespoon cumin seeds / ground cumin
1 tablespoon argan oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Chilli powder (as much as you like)
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mint leaves
Add the carrots to a pot, cover with water and simmer until soft. If using cumin seeds add to a pan and toast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic. Grind the seeds by using pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. Add all the ingredients except the mint leaves to a bowl and blend until smooth. Save the mint leaves for decorating.
Vinegar reduction and toasted fennel seeds:
½ dl / 0.2 cups white port wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
4 tablespoons cane sugar
4 tablespoons raisins.
4 tablespoons fennel seeds
Add all the ingredients except fennel seeds to a pot and cook uncovered until reduced to a think, dark dense syrup/glaze. Toast the fennel seeds on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic.
Plate all the elements and enjoy!

Image

Main course: Smoked paprika chicken. Sweet beetroot chips. Whiskey barrel smoked celery puree with pecorino. Winter salad with apples, red onions, kale, radishes, sunflower seeds and pomegranate. Pearled Spelt.
OK. So when I made this i didn’t measure any of the ingredients as I was just freestyling (which is what I do best!). Anyways, since i smoked the celery puree using whiskey barrel oak wood and a hand held food smoker (which you probably don’t have?) I don’t think it makes much sense explaining how, what, why and when. If you are interested in the recipe please contact me or comment and I shall provide you with a list of ingredients and a link to a website, so you can buy your very own handheld food smoker!

Cooking several courses for the pescatarian crowd!

ImageButtermilk and raspberry sherbet with almond caramel

I recently cooked a six course vegetarian (or pescatarian) feast for a smaller crowd. I had created all the recipes from scratch and today I am going to share some of them with you! I know I have had some of the pictures on my Facebook page for many days now – sorry for the delay!

Pescatarian. Vegetarian. Vegan. All three are very interesting to me. It is no secret that I love to cook, and by limiting myself to fewer ingredients I have to be more innovative and creative. I love meat – I really do. But I am not one of those persons who cannot survive without a T-Bone and half a pound of bacon. These thoughts inspired me to go almost entirely vegetarian for a week, forcing myself to explore simple and humble ingredients. I like to make food look good and I love ’high-class’ dining. With these thoughts in my head I went into my own little think tank and started creating the dishes for this minor event. The theme was high class vegetarian (or pescatarian) dining (one dish contained salmon).

Trying to keep this post relatively short I will only post some recipes and some pictures. In case you are interested in more please do comment or contact me and I shall provide you with more details.

The recipes I will share with you are the following three:

Image

Caramelized pear and onion. Acidic pear crisp. Horseradish and parsley coulis.

3 big handful fresh parsley (NOT FLAT LEAF)

3 dl / 1.2 cups cream

1 dl / 0.4 cups milk

2,5 cm / 1 inch piece of horse raddish (chopped)

Half an onion

One red onion

One pear + one extra for crisps

Freshly grated horseradish

Oil

Salt and pepper

Apple vinegar

Cut one of the pears into thin shavings and transfer to a bowl. Add apple vinegar and leave for at least half an hour. Remove, pat dry and transfer to a dehydrator. Dehydrate until crispy. They will be sweet and slightly acidic in taste. Cut the onion and the other pear in four pieces. Brush with oil and bake in the oven for two and a half hours at 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit). Blanche the parsley for one minute in boiling water and transfer to an ice bath. In a saucepan add cream, onion and horseradish and reduce to one third. Add milk and the blanched parsley and blend. Run through a sieve. Taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Arrange on the plate and sprinkle with freshly grated horseradish.

Image

Smoked cream cheese mayo. Pink lady apple shaving. Shavings of radish. Croûton fried in cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Horseradish and chives.

2 egg yolks

2 dl. / 0.85 cups Oil

2 tablespoons crème fraîche

2 tablespoons smoked cream cheese

Apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

Bread cut into squares

1 dl / 0.4 cups chopped chives

½ dl / 0.2 cups chopped or grated horseradish

1 pink lady apple

4-6 radishes

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Grated horseradish and finely cut chives

Whip the egg yolks for half a minute and SLOWLY add the oil – few drops at the time. Once all the oil has been incorporated add the crème fraîche and the cheese and taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

Fry the croûtons in cold-pressed rapeseed oil for one to two minutes on each side and transfer to a paper towel. With a speed peeler peel the radishes length-wise and make the shavings look like a rose – this is a little tricky and will take you a few minutes. Trial and error is the way to go. Cut the apple into thin pieces/shavings and organize everything on a plate and sprinkle horseradish and chives. This is a great appetizer.

Image

Pearl barley risotto. Salmon with lemon zest. Green asparagus. Leek coulis.

Risotto

300 g / 10.5 oz pearl barley

1 onion

1 dl / 0.4 cups white wine (dry)

1 l / 4.2 cups vegetable and fish stock

75 g. / 1.4 oz Parmesan cheese

40 g. 0.7 oz butter (divided)

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Lemon zest

A small handful of thyme

Add half the butter with a few tablespoons of oil in a pot. Fry the onion on low heat on 3-5 minutes. Add the pearl barley and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and stir. Once the white wine has vaporized start adding the stock a little at the time. Once the pearl barley has cooked (around 20 minutes) turn off the heat. Add the rest of the butter, the Parmesan cheese, the lemon zest and the thyme and cover with a lid for 2 minutes before serving.

Asparagus

12 green aparagus

Lemon zest

Salt and pepper

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil

20 g. / 0.35 oz butter

Cut the bottom of the asparagus. Add all ingredients to a pan and fry the asparagus on medium heat until done (4-8 minutes depending on the size)

Salmon:

400 g / 14 oz salmon cut in equal sized

Lemon zest

Cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Lemon juice (3-4 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper

Sprinkle the salmon with the oil, zest and juice, and salt and pepper, and grill in an oven or BBQ on very high heat for 5-8 minutes (or until done).

Leek and mint coulis:

4 dl / 1.7 cups cream

½ red onion

1 tablespoon of chopped Moroccan mint

1 leek

Apple / apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

Add all ingredients besides vinegar, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and cook on medium high heat until reduced to half. Blend and taste with vinegar, salt and pepper. If you want a more ’silky’ coulis run through a sieve before serving.

Plate the four elements and serve.

I hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Chris’ chocolate, licorice and raspberry trio

Image

Dense chocolate ice cream with fluffy licorice meringue and acidic raspberry sauce (serves 8 people)

I love licorice. Salty, sweet, chewy, hard, soft – you name it. Being a licorice lover it often bothers me that the flavor is such a rarity in not just the dessert kitchen, but in general. I have been to Iceland twice and my family has good friends from Iceland so I remember receiving packages for Christmas with Icelandic candy while growing up. One particular flavor combination that I really liked was chocolate and licorice – something I had not tried anywhere else in the world. It is a flavor combo that I have seen very few times since although it works so very well together. A week ago I decided to buy some raw licorice root powder to try to experiment a little and bring back a distant memory from my childhood. Licorice is ‘Nordic’ and very trendy, but essentially the decision was made because I am a sucker for licorice and I wanted to rediscover the flavor combination of licorice and chocolate.

Trying to re-create childhood memories I started brainstorming. I wanted to make a dessert, which would bring in a dominant chocolate flavor with a hint of licorice. Overwhelming licorice flavor would most likely scare some people off so a subtle hint was what I was looking for. At the same time I did not want to invent or reinvent anything, but rather bring in licorice as an addition to classic flavors and textures, which was why I chose to work with ice cream and meringue. Also, both licorice and chocolate are quite heavy flavors so I needed to bring in some contrast. As the licorice has a salty dimension and the chocolate will work as the main sweetener I wanted something acidic to ‘lighten’ up the dish. I decided to use raspberry as it has a clean and crisp flavor, and accompanies dark or dense chocolate very well.

So…. Here you go. Chris’ Chocolate, licorice and raspberry trio. Enjoy!

Image ImageImage

Chocolate ice cream
350 ml / 1.5 cup heavy cream/whipping cream

350 ml / 1.5 cup whole milk

120 g / 4 oz. semi sweet chocolate

1 dl / 0.4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1½ dl / 0.7 cup sugar

1 vanilla pod

4 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

Heat the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile melt the chocolate on a double boiler. Take the milk off the stove. De-seed the vanilla pod and mix the seeds with a little bit of the sugar. Now whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla sugar, melted chocolate and a pinch of salt in the warm milk and cream. In a separate bowl whisk together the four egg yolks until pale yellow and thick. Add about one fourth of the hot chocolate milk to the egg yolks while whisking vigorously, and then pour it back into the saucepan. Heat the chocolate and egg yolk mixture on low heat for about 5 minutes (until it is thick and covers the backside of a wooden spoon). Remove the mixture from the stove and leave to cool. After 45 minutes transfer the mix to the fridge and leave until completely cold, and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for at least one hour (several hours or even overnight is recommended).

Licorice meringue
4 egg whites

110 g sugar

110 g icing sugar

3 teaspoons raw licorice powder + 1 teaspoon to sift on top

Whisk together egg whites until they start to thicken. Combine licorice powder and sugar. Add one tablespoon of the licorice sugar at the time while whisking vigorously. Once the mixture is very stiff sift one third of the icing sugar over the mixture and fold it in with a spoon or spatula. Repeat until all the icing sugar has been combined with the egg mixture. Arrange the meringue on a baking tray and sprinkle/sift one teaspoon of licorice powder on top, and bake at 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour and 15 minutes in a conventional/gas oven or 1 ½ hour in a fan oven.

Raspberry sauce

80 g / 3 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries

4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons water

Combine water and raspberries in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Mash the berries using a whisk. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid. Heat the liquid again and add sugar and lemon juice. Reduce by one third and remove from stove. Let the sauce cool before use.

Arrange as you like and enjoy!!