Chilli and lime coconut ice cream

10 07 2012

I know it may sound a little odd to have chilli as one of the key flavours in an ice cream but trust me it is really subtle and really,really good.

The chilli, lime and coconut blend together wonderfully to give a real tropical / South-East Asian vibe.

Enjoy,

Ingredients.

800ml  coconut cream or coconut milk
250g caster sugar
4 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
8-10 limes
250ml double cream
1 litre ready-made vanilla custard

Method:

Juice your limes and set to one side for later

Pour the coconut milk/ cream into a pan and bring to the boil. As soon as reaches boiling point remove from the heat and add 250grams of caster sugar and the lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely

At this point add your chopped chillies and the zest of two limes and leave to infuse in the mixture until it is cool.

Once the mixture has cooled add in the 250ml of double cream and the litre of ready-made vanilla custard.

Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze. Stir your ice cream once an hour for the first 3 or 4 hours it is in the freezer to break stop any large ice crystals from forming.

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Beef and Green Olive Tagine

5 07 2012

We’ve some people coming over for dinner on Saturday night and whilst it might only be midday on Thursday I can already feel myself being completely lazy.

I know shocking isn’t it!

Seeing as how I am suffering from premature laziness I have decided it is time to break out some good old fashioned one pot cooking. In this case a lovely, healthy beef and green olive tagine – yum.

Just a quick aside before I launch into things. A tagine is actually the name of the special conical pot which is used for cooking, not the name of the sauce, just wanted to clear that up as one of my colleagues has spent the past 15 minutes arguing pointlessly about it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds stewing steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 shallots
1 large potato
2 large carrots
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt
1/2 jar of pitted green olives
Olive oil

Method:

Mix together the paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat the  about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the tagine and fry the chopped shallots, potatoes, and carrots until they begin to color and soften. Remove and set aside for later.

Add the beef and brown on all sides. Return the vegetables to the tagine along with the chopped tomatoes and any remaining marinade. Cover and cook over a low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until the beef is tender.

Add the parsley, season with salt, and stir in the olives. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.





Some like it hot! – a little update

21 06 2012

So, those who were paying attention will remember that I recently announced the imminent release of my new cookery book – Some like it hot!

Well I figured I would give you a little update on how things are going…
At the moment we are well on track for our scheduled release at the end of July.

The recipes have all been compiled and finalised, pictures have been taken and a lot of very, very tasty food has been consumed!

The only real sticking points have the foreword and the cover. I think I must have gone over each about a dozen times at least!

Still as of late last night I have finally settled on a cover design which I actually like, hoooray!  All that remains now is to polish off the foreword and give everything a quick once over.

Some like it hot! will be available in both Kindle/ebook format and old-school dead tree format via Amazon and selected book stores in the UK and Ireland before gradually spreading from there to conquer the World….

Stay tuned closer to the time for a chance to win some free copies.





Spicy shrimp pasta salad

14 06 2012

 In honour of last weekends double birthday and our recent engagement we decided to throw a bit of a party last Saturday.

Now even though the weather seems to have decided otherwise it is actually Summer here in Ireland and as such that means it is time for me to break out the BBQ.

If there is one thing that every good BBQ needs to really tip it over the edge it is pasta salad…

Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking how old school and boring can you get but I love pasta salads.

As for being boring my spicy shrimp pasta salad is anything but!

 

Ingredients:

500g fusilli or farfalle pasta

200g shrimp (shells and heads removed)

2 red bell peppers

1 piri piri chilli (you can use a jalapeno if you like)

1 large dill pickle

Good quality full fat mayonnaise (I make my own but you don’t have to)

Heinz tomato ketchup

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp cognac/brandy

2tsp Smokey Paprika powder

1tsp Cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

Cook the pasta, drain and set aside to cool

Cook your shrimp and leave to cool (if you are tight for time this is one of the only times I would advocate those bags of frozen shrimp)

Deseed and chop your bell peppers into 1/4 inch cubes

Finely chop the dill pickle

Combine together equal amounts of ketchup and mayonnaise with the cayenne pepper, paprika, lime juice, chopped chilli and brandy and mix until you have a light pink coloured sauce with a nice smooth consistency.

Add the pickle, bell pepper and shrimp to the pasta and mix together well, then pour over the sauce and make sure everything is well coated.

 





The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings

24 05 2012

Hi Chums,

It has been rather a while since I last recommended a book to the World at large ,that would be you lot by the way.

In the main this is because I have been far too busy working on my own cookery book which will be launching rather soon. Hint Hint…

As such it is rather fitting that the book I am all in a lather about is one that dovetails nicely with my own.
The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings 

The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings

Here is what those nice chaps over at Amazon have to say about it:

“An illustrated sourcebook to these all-important cooking ingredients includes information on more than two hundred herbs, spices, essences, edible flowers and leaves, aromatics, vinegars, oils, teas, and coffees”

I on the other hand will stick to simply issuing an instruction –

IF YOU COOK  AND DON’T OWN A COPY GO AND BUY ONE. NOW.

Not quite Wordsworth but hopefully the point comes across. I very rarely encounter anything that I look at and think wow this is something which everyone should own. However on this occasion I really am that impressed.

Not only are they lots of high quality pictures, excellent descriptions of various herbs, spices and flavourings and their uses but there are also over 200 recipes so you can leap straight in and start applying all this new-found knowledge.





The most expensive ingredients in the World

14 05 2012

After my recent move into the new house some people have started to wonder whether I haven’t developed ideas above my station.

Well just to cast aside all doubt here is a quick round-up of some of the most expensive ingredients in the World…

Saffron – $1,000/lb

A classic contender for World’s most expensive ingredient. Saffron is the dried stigma of the cunningly named “Saffron Crocus” or Crocus sativus to give it’s proper name.

For anyone who is wondering why some dried pieces of a flower are so expensive have a look below at what wikipedia has to say…

“To glean an amount of dry saffron weighing 1 lb (450 g) is to harvest 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of an association football pitch‘s area of cultivation; 110,000–170,000 flowers or two football fields are needed to gross one kilogram. Forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers.

Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500 to US$5,000 per pound, or US$1,100–11,000/kg, equivalent to £2,500/€3,500 per pound or £5,500/€7,500 per kilogram. The price in Canada recently rose to CAD 18,000 per kilogram. In Western countries, the average retail price is $1,000/£500/€700 per pound, or US$2,200/£1,100/€1,550 per kilogram. A pound contains between 70,000 and 200,000 threads.”

White Truffles: $ 14,000/kg

Another long time heavy weight of the culinary World, white truffles have long been sought after by discerning gourmets for their earthy taste and pungent fragrance.

Native to the Piedmont region of Northern Italy although they can also be found in parts of Croatia. White truffles are the rarest and most costly of all the various species of truffle and as such carry the biggest price tag, the highest price ever paid for a single truffle was set in December 2007, when Macau casino owner Stanley Ho paid 330,000 USD (£165,000) for a specimen weighing 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb), discovered by Luciano Savini and his dog Rocco.

Bit different from paying 99 pence for a kilo of button mushrooms in Tesco!

Edible gold: $90-100/gram

Though gold has no nutritional value, 24k gold is perfectly edible and adds a luxurious and beautiful decoration to dishes and drinks.

Edible gold leaf is popular in cake decorating and for adding a bit of flair to certain cocktails. The metal apparently passes directly through the body unaltered, not sure I would want to try and retrieve it though!

 Ass (Donkey) Cheese $700/lb.

Home to 100 Balkan donkeys, the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve along the Zasavica River produces a smoked donkey’s milk cheese that they call “Pule.”

They justify the obscene price of the cheese by quoting the rarity and  value of the milk used…Not sure I would want ass milk either to be quite honest!

 

 Hop Shoots $1300/lb

Hop shoots are funnily enough the young shoots of the hop bine, yes bine not vine.

Hop shoots are only available between January and mid April. Because of the short period of availability, labour intensive cultivation and low yields hop shoots often rank as the most expensive vegetable in the World!

 

 





New cookery book coming soon!

14 05 2012

Hey all.

Today seems like a good day to indulge in a little bit of shameless self promotion!

As such I am proud to announce that work on my new cookery book “Some Like it Hot” is very nearly complete… just a few finishing touches to be made and will be launching soon.

More updates and a sneak preview to follow shortly so watch this space!








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