Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bad Mama Marmalade






Fuck Bonne Maman, I've made some really hardcore, bitter marmalade. Much like my women, that is how I like my marmalade - bitter and hardcore.

For years I have wanted to make marmalade but have always managed to fail to do so. January would come and go along with the Seville oranges and I would habitually fail to make marmalade. About 15 years have passed like this. This year was different and quite by accident.

I was making orange juice from some oranges given to me by my brother who is house sitting in the north. I cut through one that looked different to all the rest and Voila! there it was - thick skin and pith, hardly any juice and crammed with pips. I licked it to be certain. Yep, it was disgusting. Bingo I had found them. Cos they are slightly smaller and have bobbly exteriors the tree was easy to locate when I went up to the house that afternoon. I picked about 3 kilos and went home tres happy

(I had actually come across them last year but had once again failed to do anything about it. I was at a pig killing and was wandering about the farm during one of the less interesting bits of the jumbobeanosausagemakingfest. I picked an orange off a tree, peeled it and had a good old bite. Then I spat it out. Immediately. I had bitten into a marmalade orange, much to the amusement of all the Ibicencos watching me. To them it is not a Seville orange, it is a pig orange, named thus cos it is so acrid they use it to rub on the intestines of the pig to disinfect them before they fill them with sausage meat. And that is all they use them for. They of course think we are totalmente loco for using them, but hey, what's new?)

Both my mother and Annie's mother make superlative bitter, hardcore marmalades (perhaps that is how they like their men too....but actually, come to think of it.....that is not a thought process I want to continue) so I made a mixture of both their recipes and came out with some damn nasty stuff even if i do say so myself. Bitter and hardcore. Olé.

RECIPE
1k orange
1 lemon
2ltrs water
2k sugar

  • boil oranges in water till soft and some are deflated
  • remove the oranges
  • cut in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp
  • put the seeds and pulp in muslin and reheat in the water for 30 mins
  • remove seeds
  • add heated sugar and chopped peel
  • stir till fully dissolved
  • turn up heat and boil till it gels when dripped onto a saucer.
  • Remove from heat

Friday, December 5, 2008

let them eat....Spinach Spaghettis





I didnt let them eat this actually as there wasnt enough. It was a byproduct of the spinach I served them with the COQ au vin. I like to pull the stalks off spinach cos otherwise it seems stringy when eating but I do not like chucking the stalks away. So I melted some anchovies in olive oil with some chilli and garlic and the put the stalks in the pan with the mix. I put a lid on it and turned up the volume, lifting the lid off occasionally to stir. When the stalks were cooked (a couple of minutes) I simply poured them out on to my plate and ate them as a starter whilst the staff watched and waited for me to finish before they were allowed to eat their own lunch. Discipline is important in a kitchen.

It worked beautifully on its own and a few days later I did the same thing but added the mix to some spaghetti. The result was equally wicked.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

let them eat....Wild Rocket Soup




Today I cooked them up there a potato based soup finished with wild organic rocket (same as the wild rocket that grows all over the island except that it costs €18 a kilo). The trick with potato soups is to get the potato/liquid ratio right (probably by adding what seems like too much liquid) so you dont end up up with Stretched Potato Soup (AKA SPS). Today I failed and served them SPS

Anyway the recipe is: sweat some onion and garlic in lots of olive oil, add chopped, peeled potatoes, sweat some more, add (slightly more) liquid (than you think), bring to boil, add rocket and blend. Season. It should be a lovely silky vibrant green.

Some funny things are going on with prices these days. €18 is an awful lot for some weeds. I know I sound like a grumpy old Mutfak but it is. Ribeye steak costs €18 a kilo, halibut fillet in the supermarket cost 16 bucks today. I guess its all in the packaging. Have it growing wild in the field next to your house dont look right but have it covered in mud and in a plastic bag such as they have in the veg stalls here and badabing! a desirable object is born.

My favourite has to be the modern marketing/packaging/rebranding of Ibiza salt. If you go the excellent Cash Loto you can pick a kilo of Sal Torres for 36 cents. If you go to the nearest shop selling Sal de Ibiza you can pick up the same salt for up €110 a kilo (yep, 305.5 recurring times more expensive). Now go to your friends houses, and see how many of them have these beautiful, desirable little turquoise pots of God's greatest gift to man besides poontang.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

let them eat....Chicken Freakasay




I was driving up to the house today with Caesar Salad planned cos there was some little gems to use up. I was going to serve it with fried chicken breast - a way of serving this dish that has become popular over the last decade. I am totally against this but not to the point of not doing it if I think no one is looking. I can see where it is coming from but it shouldn't be allowed really.

Anyway the weather was so utterly rubbish that salad as main dish was not really an option so I changed it to chicken fricasee which was ok but not that great. The Ibicenco handyman/henchman really didnt like it. Apart from a few exceptions the spanish dont really seem to dig bechamel/veloute style dishes. Nor do they really like risotto (and before you think it - risotto is in no way similar to paella. It is about as similar as mash potatoes and chips). I think it is because of the butter. The Spanish just dont do butter like the Engleesh. Or Marlon Brando.

Not sure if I mentioned this but have found out recently that the boss came to the villa 3 times this summer. And stayed for 4 days each time. 12 days. 12 days in one year.

Light so crap today couldnt take no photos so just gonna leave a photo of somethingorother.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

let them eat....Spanish tortilla




I dont know what it is about doing recipix of this Spanish classic but I have tried three times over the last year and each time something stops me from being able to complete it; visitors, failure of light and now yesteday's camera running out of batteries. Three times I have tried and three times I have failed.

Shame really cos it was a really good one - soft potatoes with a few bits of golden edge, sweet onion, the centre still moist and perfectly salted.

I have been in Spain now off and on for more than 20 years and the tortilla has been there by my side since day one. I arrived by train in Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia and emerged from the darkness of the subterranean train station into the brilliant sunshine and swarming Plaza Catalunya. I sat down in Bar Zurich to await god knows what. I ordered a beer and a Spanish tortilla bocadillo (bocadillo meaning little bite, but it is invariably an enormous length of phat Spanish baguette, rubbed with tomatoes, drenched in olive oil and spinkled generously, perhaps overgenerously, with salt). And that was pretty much my diet for the first 9 months of my time there.

I cant remember who showed me how to make tortilla but I wish I could so as I could thank them. The recipes I have been shown since are all inferior and in many ways indicative of why spanish food is in decline in the domestic arena. The recipe is (and one day I will manage to recipix it) as follows:

You will need:
1k potatoes
1 large spanish onion
OLIVE oil
Salt
And a good frying pan that will hold all the ingredients and give you a nice thick tortilla at the end. A thin tortilla is a poor tortilla.
And a mixing bowl big enough to mix everything easily.

- Peel waxy or floury potatoes and slice them to the same thickness more or less as 3 euro coins placed together. You want them all to be roughly the same size so they cook evenly.

- Pour olive oil into a good frying pan, put the potatoes in and put on a medium heat.

- Whilst they are frying peel the onion, cut it in half and slice across the grain slightly thinner than the potatoes.

- Pour the potatoes out of the pan into a large bowl, add the onions and generous salt and mix them together adding a bit more oil if it looks dry.

- Use this method of mixing the potatoes and onions throughout and continue cooking until the potato is soft and slightly golden. If there are uncooked bits but the rest is done then put a lid on for a couple of minutes and this should finish them off.

- Break the eggs into the same mixing bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour in the potato and onion and mix it up good. Taste it for salt. THERE MUST BE ENOUGH. THIS IS A VERY SIMPLE DISH AND WITH VERY SOFT FLAVOUR SO THERE MUST BE ENOUGH SALT. ACHTUNG. ACHTUNG. ACHTUNG!!!!!!! ✪ ☁ ☠ ✖ ✪ ☁ ☠ ✖ ✪ ☁ ☠ ☢ ✖ ✪ ☁ ☠ The mixture must be decidedly wet with the potato and onion sitting in a puddle of egg.

- Put the pan back on the heat and coat with a bit more oil. When it is hot pour in the mixture. Let it cook on a medium heat for a minute or two and then send a palette knife all the way round the edge (paying particular attention to any handle rivets that there may be) to see that it is not sticking. (If it is sticking really badly I suggest you give up and just make a hashy mess).

- Place a large flat plate or saucepan lid over it , flip it over and slide it off back into the pan using the palette knife to tuck in the edges so him look nice at end. (This is reasonably easy BUT make sure you do it over a work surface, not the cooker, so if it slips off you don’t have to spend hours cleaning your cooker AND make sure you have cloths or can handle the heat - having to drop it midway would be annoying).

- Cook another couple of minutes and the flip the tortilla back onto a clean plate.

FIN

NB Don’t over cook the egg as a dry tortilla is not easily enjoyed. Keep him nice and moist

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Last Time I Cooked for Eve





The last time I cooked for Eve she was lying in my bed. God what a bitch. Beautiful? Yes. Voluptuous? Yes. Misunderstood? No.

She had come to me crying about something or other. I never did find out what it was but whatever it was, she was really upset. Bawling her fucking eyes out, screaming and cursing. Something about not being fair and why the fuck shouldn’t she and I don’t know what. 

Anyway. I took her in my arms to try and comfort her but as usual she pushed me away spitting out what a useless fuck I was and how all men were the same – spineless, pussywhipped faggots. Man, I guess she hated men. But I didn’t care. I loved her.

I knew what was going on. I knew she how she despised me but I just didn’t care. So long as she kept coming to my bed she could do whatever the fuck she pleased. Goddam I loved that woman.

Another time she had turned upset and crying and in need of comfort. It took an unusually short time to to calm her down and it was achieved with a lot less insults and vitriolic rejection than usual. I took her in my arms and assured her that, yes all men, all men, were vile and wanted only one thing and she seemed to cheer up almost immediately. She suddenly remembered she had to be somewhere urgently and left. Fuck me if the fucking bitch didn’t steal my fucking wallet. Goddam pigskin wallet, best quality wallet money can buy. I’d have given her the fucking money. But oh no, she had to steal it. She was like that. Did stuff to piss people off cos she thought it was funny or some fucking shit like that.

Have you ever noticed how many bad or unpleasant words begin with or feature the letter V? Vile, vindictive, violent, vice, vicious, villian, vampire, vapid, vomit, vaccuous. And what is the predominant letter in that woman’s name? Some people say she has been misrepresented and blah, blah, blah – bullshit. She was a fucking bitch from start to finish. She knew exactly what she was doing with every little goddam thing she did or word she spoke.

Anyway. The last time I cooked for her she wanted her favourite – tarte aux pommes. She loved that dish. Her favourite apple was the Cherry Pippin. She had a seemingly endless supply of them and my God they were good – bright red, shiny and and heavy in my hand. It felt like it could explode at any minute. Bite into it and it did. Badabing!!!!! Mouth flooded with the clear, crisp, sweet flavour making me think of all things pure – blue skies, mountains, rivers and then……..her.

So anyway I made her this tart as she lay screaming and cursing on the bed. I don’t understand how she had the stamina to keep all that hatred and anger at such a pitch all the time. I guess it was her life blood.

I took three of those apples, peeled, cored and sliced them, tossed them in some vanilla sugar and put them on to steep with a gurgle of sauternes and shaving of lemon zest. Leaving the lid on I cooked them until the were soft enough to puree. Then I cooked them some more until they were slightly, ever so slightly, caramelised. Then I strained the syrup and pureed the apple.

Whislt that and the catawalling in the background were going on I took some butter from the fridge, cubed it and rubbed it into some sugar and OO flour. When it was crumbly I stopped, washed and dried my hands, broke an egg into a cup and whisked it with a fork. I poured 2/3 into the bowl and worked it quickly to a dough adding a tiny bit more of egg. When I had the dough, I flattened it, wrapped it and put it in the fridge. I poured myself a glass of calvados and went to the terrace for a smoke and think about this stuff.

When I had finished I took the pastry back out of the fridge. I dusted the marble and rolled out the pastry to a nice thickness. I rolled it on to the pin and then laid it across the tart case. I pushed the corners in to get a good right angle, passed the pin over the top of the case and flattened the upright edges slightly flush. I then lined it with oven paper, filled it with baking beans and cooked it at 140ºC with the fan on for 20 minutes. I then peeled three more apples, cored them and cut them into segments a la tarte aux pommes. I then dusted them with icing sugar and left them to mascerate. Whilst they macerated, I masturbated. No, not really – I had plans for later on but I washed my hands just in case. What I actually did was poach the segments in the strained syrup and to gently heat some apple and calvados jelly.

The tart case was now cooked so I removed the baking beans and paper and spread the puree over the bottom of the tart. Checking the segments were almost soft through I lifted them gently from the syrup with a slotted spoon and laid them out in the fanning circle you associate with this sort of thing. I brushed it with some of the jelly and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes at 140 without the fan.

Whilst it was cooking I went to the bathroom. She was by now passed out. I showered, dried and dressed and walked back past her without shouting “wake up, bitch and get the fuck out of my house.”

What I did do was to take the tart out tof the oven, cut a slice and take it through to her. The moment the aroma hit her nostrils she sat bolt upright and shouted “Where’s my food, you fuck?” I was standing next to her, arms outstretched, offering her this thing I had made for her in one hand and an ice cold glass of sauternes in the other. “Oh” she said , took them and devoured them. “More” she said and the same was repeated. This happened three more times and then she just laid back down on the bed and said “fuck me.”

God I loved that woman.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

let them eat....Rovellones



So. Ha ha. I'm back at the villa cooking for the staff again.

Because of this new breakfast cereal, Credit Crunch, that everyone is talking about, there are cut backs up there. Quite what they are is difficult to say. Where last year there was only one, there are now 2 laundry women to take care of the 14 unused rooms and all the laundry that they dont generate. There is an extra gardener (You there! Basil! Double handful. Now!) which is nice. There seem to be another couple of dogs and I am fairly sure there are 3 cars I dont remember from last year.

There are less people to cook for cos a few people are away. The Belgians have gone. (I heard that they were there most of the summer though because not 3 days after they had finished and returned to where they had come from, there was an electrical storm, the house was struck and the lightening totalled EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT they had installed. EVERY SINGLE PIECE. Three months it took them to install in the first place. All the MASSIVE plasma screens, all the small plasma screens, ALL the speaker systems in ALL the rooms (not just bedrooms but bathrooms, sauna, turkish bath, gym etc etc), all the remote consoles for running all this stuff. ALL OF IT. FUCKED. God I'd love to have seen the bill they presented to the insurers. Come to that, I'd quite like to have seen the insurers receive that bill, poor little darlings.)


But anyway, they're hungry again and it falls to me, Mutfak, to attempt to appease their insatiable hunger for LUNCH. Damn, those chicas can put it away.

It has been really crappy weather so I thought roast chicken would cheer them. (I got into a fight again with my butcher about the appallingly low quality of the chickens available on the island. This is a ongoing battle but now is not the moment to tediousarize you with it except to say that I will win it eventually). Roast chicken and potatoes cos I know they would like it and rovellones for me cos....well, because. And there's an end on't.

Rovellones are a mushroom. Milk cap to be precise. Lactarius deterrimus to be show offy. I have only come across them in Spain. (Which isn't saying much. I am in no way as well travelled gastronomically as I would like to be). They are beautiful fungi bleeding orange when you slice them. They range from the size of a minidisc to the size of a compact disc. They appear at the end of the summer after the early September rains but since there weren't any neither this nor last year they are scarce but none the less delicious for their scarcity. I cooked them with butter, wild young garlic, fino, and chicken stock and them was awful good. Too good for the chicken but what can you do? Recipix to follow.

PD. The below recipix for Pomegranate Molasses is completely wrong. It is however completely right for Pomegranate Jam. Correct Pomegranate Molasses Recipix to follow when I track down some more SOUR pomegranates. Tit.

PD2 re: the pomegranates below again - if you use an orange squeezer with a rotating head you get the nasty bitter taste. If you use one of those one with the arm that you pull down (like the ones you get on the cooler espresso machines) then you wont get the nastiness but will get the juice.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

pomegranate molasses





Pomegranate molasses came into public consciousness (my consciousness, therefore the public's) about 10 years ago. The first I heard of it was in Moro's first cookbook. Since then the public (me) have been hearing of little else, even the twin towers and the credit crunch being secondary in my (the public's) pysche. Pomegranate molasses this and pomegranate molasses that. Every time you open a cook book you have to reach for the pomegranate molasses. In spite of all this and its obvious importance I have yet to even try it. I dont even know what it looks like, though I have a fair idea.


Anyway, it is pomegranate season in Ibiza and as with many of the fruits here it is all the fruit's structure can do to stop the juice literally gushing out. The benefits of pomegranate juice are being extolled a lot these days. But how to juice it? Ha ha!!! You treat it exactly the same as an orange and cut it in half and squeeze. Simple as that. No irritating procedures. Only thing is is it tastes like crap leaving a horrible, bitter, dry aftertaste in your mouth due to the dry membrane within the fruit that separates the different compartments. The reaction you get in your mouth is not unlike that which you get from biting on banana skin. (An interesting and possibly useful aside given your diet or sexual persuasion - apparently banana skin is good for piles. I leave it to you how you wish to apply it). So anyway I have no idea how to get the juice out.


To continue, all the recipes I could find for PGMs (that's short for pomegrohshutup) listed pomegranate juice as the main ingredient. Given the difficulty in extracting the juice as laid out in the paragraph above I can only assume it comes from a carton. So what's the point? Why not just buy it from a shop? I have the good fortune of living in Ibiza where the fruit trees groan. For me it is easy go out and commune with nature, particularly the sheep. Recently I communed and returned with a pile of that most bizarre fruit the pomegranate. I ate a good deal which I enjoyed enormously. The pips are small and can be eaten which is a breakthrough because until recently I was put off them due to the size and hardness of those pips. I guess by the time they reach the shores of your Sceptered Isle they have come a long way and are a sight older than when picked.

Well anyway, I decided to make pomegranate molasses and above is the recipix. When I do something with it I'll blog it up all over the internet. Until then just know it tastes remarkably like pomegranate jam.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

you ever come across these mothers?



I was recently in an Italian suppliers to get some 00 flour cos the flour I have found so far here is rubbish. I was looking at the artisanal pastas and picked up a pack of paccheri which are, 6 months after I first found them, still rocking my world. This time they were made by another company but still very nice, yeah, yeah, blah blah blah but as I was buying them the guy on the counter said ' eh! you! you eva tried dese tomatoes? Dey da best.' I said no I hadnt tried them tomatoes and he said "cazzo, you gotta try dem." So I said alright and I bought some. JESUS Man, oh man oh man oh man. These tomatoes are way out there.

I have never liked tinned tomatoes unless they have been cooked for a minimum of 3 hours in copious olive oil, garlic and onion. The guy in the shop said "3 minutes." I called him a goddam liar. He laughed and shut the door in my face.

So I went home, I boiled my Paccheri for its 15 minutes and in the meantime I fried a little bit of garlic in some olive oil, heated the tomatoes in this blessed mix and cooked for 3 minutes." Goddammit if that little effer wasn't right. These tomatoes are nothing short of wonderful in the true sense of the word given what other things are sold in guise of tinned tomatoes. Sweet. Rich. Dark. Deep. Soft. Dense. Goddammit these are the real thing.

Apparently they feature in the Godfather which surely must be the greatest endorsement of all.

you wanna know more about them? follow this link http://www.gustiamo.com/cgi-bin/front_end/prodotto?id=37

Il Miracolo di San Gennaro
Find them, try them. You will like them

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Escalivada



Above is one way of wriitng recipes. Below is another.

I wrote the below as part of an aborted, failed and futile attempt to get a show on the telly. It was one of the three recipes I wrote for Grilled Ibiza, the book to accompany the promo. For many and varied reasons the promo was rubbish in the extreme. As if to compound its failure the book Grilled Ibiza dissolved itself off iPhoto leaving only a few pictures and hardly any text. AND NOW VERY BIZARRELY it has turned up again. Literally right now. It has been lost inside this MacBook for over a year and has just resurfaced as i did the above Recipix. Freaky. Anyway here it is.....

Escalivada

This salad is a work of art and like all great art, he said pompously, it utterly transcends its form.
It is also simplicity itself. It is an ancient Catalan recipe and very versitile. I prepare it here as an accompaniment to the beef but it can also be served on its own as a salad course, it is sublime on toast with Escala anchovies as a canape or starter and I have even heard of it served with foie gras which I think sounds frankly bizarre.
There are additions people make to it, garlic, tomato, courgette etc all of which is nice but entirely unnecessary. It does in fact distract one from what is a perfect dish. It needs no adornment nor chefs attempts to raise it. Follow the recipe.
It is said that the Catalan flag, La Senyera came in to being in the 9th Century when Wilfred the Shaggy and his old chum Charles the Bald where having a lovely battle against the Moors. At the point of victory the Hairy One drew his blood drenched fingers across the golden shield of The Bald One creating four red bars on a background of yellow. It is my private belief that escalivada emmulates this flag and I alway bear it in mind when laying out the salad.
As I say, this is a perfect dish. This is not my recipe, it is THE recipe. Do not veer from it.

ingredients

2 large red peppers

2 large aubergines

salt

olive oil

NOTHING ELSE

As you are cooking the beef surround it with the whole untouched aubergines and whole untouched peppers. If there isnt enough room on the grill for this then do it after the beef. Or before it, It doesnt matter.

Char the peppers and aubergines on all sides until the aubergine has inflated and then collapsed and the pepper blackend and collapsed.

For this to work you must not balk at the seeming burntness of the vegetables. The flesh of the peppers not only has to blacken to allow peeling but the flesh must also be cooked. Keep it on the grill until it has completely collapsed and the flesh underneath is soft.

Achtung!☠☁✖
The same goes for the aubergines. An un or undercooked aubergine is a revoiting aubergine and if you are ever presented with one throw it at the chef, host, hostess, whoever. It is not to be tolerated
SO
keep cooking the aubergine until it is completely collapsed and its flesh softened

STRIP AND LAY DOWN
Once the peppers are peeled and deseeded and the aubergines peeled pull them into strips and lay them on the plate in stripes. Season them with salt and finish with olive oil. Now stand back and admire what you have done. The chances are, if you have followed the recipe correctly, you will hear the heavenly choirs announcing to God that LUNCH IS READY

Monday, July 21, 2008

Potato Salad




When I left England to come and live on Ibiza one of my biggest concerns was potatoes. Surely that tiny rock in the Mediterranean could'nt produce good ones. No way.

Boy oh boy was I wrong. The first meal we had here was on an easter sunday and was slow roast shoulder of lamb with potatoes and we nearly died of delight. The potatoes were from Ibiza and excellent. We bought them from the veg lady called Maria who has the first stall on the right hand side of the staircase entrance of Santa Eulalia market. She has what I consider to be the best vegetable stall on the island (that I have tried anyway).

My next epiphany was Ensalada Payesa in Cas Pages. Nothing short of celestial. Potato, roast red peppers, olive oil and salt. God loves a simple recipe. The key difference is that the potato is boiled in its skin then peeled. This means the already very starchy potato lets out none of its waxiness and it becomes one sticky little mother. Crush it and oil it and it becomes unctuous. And it glistens. Unctuous and glistening? There can be nothing better.

I almost invariably put in Catalunyas excellent Escalivada - roast peppers and aubergines, in my menus so dont really want to have roast peppers twice. So I needed to come up with my own version. The above recipix is that version. Make it. Enjoy it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I have built me a bar



Gonna use it for drinking.

Negronis, beers, gin and tonics, mojitos, champagnes, sangrias, that sort of thing

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The first time ever I saw your face




The above recipix is the first one I ever did. I was thrilled. Yeah, you know in that special way. I knew these things would make a great slot in some magazine or other. My first thought was for the Guardian on saturday. Then I thought the Observer Food Monthly. Yeah the OFM. A good and sharp friend of mine suggested we package one of my recipix nicely and aim it directly at the editor of the mag. It got sent on a tuesday. Wednesday morning the editor of the OFM calls me up and says yeah we like it, we like it a lot. I get excited. I hit the roof. Goddam. Yeah.

Then it went awful quiet. Then I called the editor and they said they werent so sure and could I wait two weeks. I'm nice. I do what people ask of me. I waited two weeks. Two weeks expires on Friday. I am waiting. Goddam it I wonder what is gonna happen. I really want to get into that publication.

Anyway.................

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Got rid of the wife and got myself a new lover





She weighs in at 66 kilos. She can take all the shit I can give her and she is made of iron.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You goddam fruit cake




Man, these big cakes with soft light sponge and heavy sugar paste icing are difficult. But I have found the answer - fruit cake. Who cares that nobody likes it? It is solid. It has a layer of marzipan to give a smooth surface to ice and IT CAN HOLD UP without putting the fear of god into me each time I look at it.

The bottom cake is 30 cm in diameter 10cms high on each side. That means you gotta roll out icing half a fucking metre wide and then lift it on to the cake without it ripping and then you got to mould the pleats in. There is an awful lot of pleats. This is nerve-racking enough without thinking the damn thing is going to collapse under the weight cos him such lovely light sponge. The icing for the bottom cake alone weighs over 2 kilos. The sponge probably weighs less than a kilo.

So, yeah. fruit cake all the way, baby. Fruit cake all the way.

Revelation




Here is the cake I took for a ride a couple of days ago.
Mounting cakes (not biblically) aint easy and especially if the chocolate is soft. These horrible chocolate cigarettes are fantastic though. They hide all sorts of errors and you can lift the thing easily and MOUNT it. My fear of of wedding cakes is diminishing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

more cake



Driving wedding cakes around the island is nerve-racking. In fact there is nothing about wedding cakes that isn't nerve-racking.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

let them eat...cake




Been doing mucho trabajo recently and this has been one of the things. Goddam wedding cakes are killer. If you screw someones birthday cake up it aint great but it dont really matter. If you mess up a cake for wake nobody is really gonna care. but if you fuck up someones wedding cake they aint gonna be happy. Or maybe they are, I dont know, but I know I damn sure dont want to find out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ruler of my heart



Goddam I love hamburgers. 100% beef. No funny stuff just beef beef beef. The best quality you can get hold of.

Shape it in your hand, handling it as little as possible, add salt and pepper and then fry it. Toast the (sesame seed) buns, add ketchup to the bottom bun. Whilst the burger is finishing lay on the cheapest, crappist, most manufactured cheese you can get your hands on (Dairly Lee is good) so it melts onto the meat, add crisp smoked bacon (Oscar Mayer is excellent for this. Tastes like bacon did back when we was kids. God knows what additives they use to achieve this), pile on iceberg (no fancy leaves), spread sweet Yankee mustard (or Scandinavian; nicer) on the top half of the bun, mount it, squash it down a bit and then try and shove at least 1/3 in to your mouth in one go.

Double fry homemade chips in groundnut oil to go with it and you will probably get what you (really) want for Christmas.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Did you ever.....


......see anything quite so beautiful as this little mother?

This is one of the new crop potatoes that make living in Ibiza just that little bit......more. Aint got a goddam clue what they are called and dont care. I call them Ibiza Red Potatoes. You may call the them what ever the eff you like. Except Ibiza Red Potatoes, which I have already claimed.

These mothers are heaven in a tuber. Scrape away their just forming outer skin to reveal its pink membrane. Boil it with a bit 'o' salt, leave it to cool, crush it with a fork, add too much olive oil, further salt, mix it good, lean your head back and pour it in. Man, oh man.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How I generally like to dine

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Recipix - Rhubarb crumble

Let them eat....Thai Beef Salad



This is nice. 

And it serves four. 

25 minutes preparation. 10 minutes cooking

 

 

Marinade

400g steak (I use entraña)                                            

3 cloves of garlic                                                              

1 bunch of coriander stalks                                   

A goodly amount of ground black pepper                 

a bit of oil                                                                       

 

 

Salad

1 soft leafed lettuce, washed                                   

200 g cherry tomatoes                                              

1 cucumber                                                                       

4 Spring onions                                                               

The leaves from the coriander bunch                                                                                                             

 

Dressing

2 tbsps fish sauce

2 tbsps lime juice

1 tbsp soy sauce                                                              

2 tsps chopped red chilli

2 tsps brown sugar

 

Chop or blend the garlic, black pepper and coriander stalks with the oil. Rub this into the steak. As always rub it in good (ladies) Set aside for 20 minutes minimum, then grill it rare and then let it cool                                            

 

Wash lettuce and rip into nice sized bits. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Peel and chop the cucumber. Chop the white and some of the green of the spring onions. Toss  all together with the coriander leaves (reserving a few tomatoes and coriander leaves to make it look fancy at the end).

 

To assemble

Mix up dressing and dress salad, slice steak and lay prettily on salad and finish with reserved coriander leaves and cherry tomatoes

 

Ibiza bizarre


I have just met the fixer of a potential client for the summer. The client has a new girlfriend so he is going to be throwing parties for her. Then this winter he is going on holiday. To space. But not the club. Outer space. The man is going into space on holiday. Can you dig it?


Oh yeah, and here's a picture of me. Not that I'm vain.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Making Bacon




I dont need to bring home the bacon cos I is MAKING bacon. At home. Yeah.

I have found Iberico pork. You know, the meat that comes from those porkers raised around the town of Jabugo. The ones that roam around freely on a diet of nothing but acorns. The hairy pigs. The stumpy pigs. The beauuuuuuutiful pigs. These are not the serrano ham pigs. These are the PATA NEGRA pigs. 


The meat I have found are the surplus bits. The bits that dont get turned into those incredible Iberico hams, chorizos, and general cured cuts called embutidos (embotits in Catalan which has got to make you smile). So the surplus bits are - belly, ribs, chops and chaps. Has a certain ring, dont it?


This is a relief and a big step forward. I have yet to find organic meat either here in Ibiza or on the mainland. There just isnt the availability that there is in England. Even good quality freerange is relatively unavailable here. 


If you want chickens you can get either battery of the worst sort or massive corral chickens whose weight in bones far outweighs its flesh. You wouldn't want to pick a fight with one of these chickens. And there is nothing in between. No corn fed, no freerange, no organic. There are 2 sorts - shit chickens or dont fuck with me chickens.


The Iberico pork that I have found is good looking stuff. Darker, more marbled flesh. More fat. A lot more fat. Funny thing is, is that it sits in the supermarket alongside the poor quality pork AND IS CHEAPER. Who the hell thought that up? Anyway, I bought a piece of belly and rubbed it with salt, sugar and spices for a week, then hung it for a week, then smoked it for two days. 


The smoking was great. The arch no-no in smoking is using resinous wood chippings. It taints the flavour with a bitter aftertaste. So I smoked it with resinous wood chippings. This was because I wanted to smoke using Sabina. Sabina is juniper and was once all over the island. (Someone figured there was money in them, so now there are hardly any left). It is used in many buildings here and is so very very strong. It also has the most beautiful aroma. I wanted to use this wood.


I had used it once before to smoke some salmon trout and had had to cut away much of the surface cos of its bitterness. But what lay beneath though was heavenly. So to smoke the bacon I decided to wrap it up in a muslin and let that take the bitterness. And lo, it worked. The boy is a goddam wizard. The bacon is goddam beautiful. In every sense. 

let them eat....roquefort ad endive salad



This is one of those celestial mixes along with melon and ham, strawberries and cream, tomato, basil and mozzarell, lamb and rosemary etc. One of those mixes that just cannot be improved upon. There is something so special about the creaminess of the cheese contrasting with the harshness of its blue veins that is then coupled with the bitter yet smooth, soft endive leaf that has a snap as you bite through it. I can't explain it. It just works.



I made the roquefort dressing with yoghurt in a effort to lighten it to please the one who pays me. It is wicked. It really works and loses nothing providing you don't skimp on the cheese. I used Turkish yoghurt (often incorrectly referred to as  Greek yoghurt) which I guess helps with the texture and fullness. The salad has endive, peeled pear, walnuts, lemon, tiny bit of garlic, olive oil, walnut oil. 



I could have cheerfully killed two of the staff who moaned, groaned and bored me to tears with "Is that all there is?" A shockingly scant lunch of the above salad followed by penne, fresh tomato sauce with knuckleduster meatballs, provided FOC to them. I think one of them cant/wont eat pork



I must say I do like to hear of people's various food fussinesses. Nothing could interest me more than to hear about what people dont like. I dont like this..... I dont like that.....Fascinating. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fucking canapes





Jesus H Christ canapes for 150 is a lot of work. 5 Cold, 5 Hot, 2 Desserts over a 4 hour period. 3 staff plus yours truly for 2 full days and then all at it for the set up, service and get out. 100 man hours. 


Spanish tortillas with cured duck
Crab leek and ginger tarts
Rolled bresaola with ricott and rocket
Tuna sushi (not my idea)
Foie Gras (not my idea) with onion and cinnamon jam on crostini


Quails leg lollipops
Queens scallops with ginger, chilli and garlic
Falafel with yoghurt and harissa
Bunyols de bacalao with lemongrass, coriander and coconut milf
Grilled entraña with red wine sauce, yorkshire pudding and horseradish


Chocolate and Cointreau Mousse
Valdespino trifle (unfuckingbelievable)



For  all the above foul language and woeisme, the gig went Phenom, everybody loved the food and I enjoyed the whole experience.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Let them eat....black beans and muddy dorade


I cooked the above dish. The beans were delicious and the dorade was horrid. I have had enough of farmed dorade. I might give it one more chance but if it dont be nice next time thats it. It is a goddam shame. Surely the only future for fish for our table is in farming if this free for all supermarket sweep of the oceans doesnt stop tomorrow. Which it wont. 


The Beans


200g black beans
Bay leaf
Rosemary
1 onion
Garlic 
Chili
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Water (and stock if available)
A nice piece of smoked back bacon. 100g? Optional


Boil them beans with enough water to cover by a couple of fingers. Put in nice swirl of olive oil, bay and rosemay. Bring it to the boil. As it comes to the boil think of Travis Bickle and scrape (wash) all the scum off the top (streets)

 http://www.scorsesefilms.com/mcfarlandbook.htm


As the beans are boiling keep adding more liquid so it always has between one and two fingers. This would be the time to add the stock if you are using. Meanwhile sweat some onions, garlic and crumbled chilli in mucho olive oil until nice and brown and soft. Do this for as long as you can. The more you cook this the sweeter it will become. Add it to the beans and keep cooking. The beans can take anything form 1 - 4 hours to cook if not presoaked. Make sure they are soft. Nobody likes a crunchy bean. A really cool thing to do throughout this recipe is add more and more olive oil. It makes it UNCTUOUS and God loves unctous.


Get at them beans boys, get at them beans.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recipix - Quick chocolate souffle

let them eat....chocolate souffle




We had a very similar quail lunch to the one in february only this time I made the allioli with membrillo. The English call this quince cheese for some obscure reason. It is made of quince, yes and it is eaten with cheese, yes but that does not make it cheese. Jesus. 

Anyway. The Catalans love this sort of thing. Fruit with garlic. Wierd. But wonderful. You make an allioli http://lagrandebouffecatering.blogspot.com/2008/02/recipix-allioli.html but before you add the egg you mash up some good quality quince cheese with the garlic. The smoothness of the egg, bite of the garlic and sweetness of the membrillo form a holy trinity. The Catalans also use apples, sometimes pears. Occasionally honey is added. The eggs can be done away with as well and an emulsion is easily formed with the help of the fruit but as much as I may admire this eggless sauce and the skill it takes to make it I far prefer the smoother eggy version.

I also had revelation in the form of a steam oven. A €30,000 steam oven. Gott in himmel, what an oven. It has been sitting there ever since I arrived and I havent used it due to terror of busting it through ignorance. The chef showed me how it worked and now, at the tender age of 53 I suddenly find myself not being able to live without one. Great.

So, they had quails, grilled and then steamed to finish.  Leeks, asparagus and wild garlic steamed then grilled. Broad beans just steamed (unbelievable). And oven potatoes (unsteamed). Rocket, mizuna and mache salad. Membrillo allioli. It was all nice but the allioli gives it all coherence.

Then they had chocolate souffle. Recipix to precede.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Let them eat....Broccol with anchovy, chilli and garlic


This is a goddam match made in heaven. I made it recently with my new lover Bombardino DeCecco. I accidently overcooked the broccoli quite savagely but it was just for my lunch so I pretended I hadnt and continued. The result was an absolute revelation - soft, silken, smooth. I am always cooking this dish this way from now on. Its nice really cos I think this whole "all vegetables have to be cooked al dente" is a crock. Some vegetables are suited, some are not. Some are versitile. Some are not. Someone once served me al dente asparagus. AL DENTE ASPARAGUS?!?!?!? I mean, Jesus Christ, where's it going to end?

Anyway the staff had a version of the Italian classic of anchovy, broccoli, chilli and garlic but instead of it being with pasta I made it into a soup with white beans playing the part of the pasta. Excellent. I also made bread croutons and some polenta croutons tossed in grated parmesan and baked. Really really good. 

Method? Like this darling, like this:

Good amount of olive oil

6 teeth garlic

4 dynamite chillis (tiny little killer ones)

1 big Spanish onion

8 anchovies in olive oil

Bay

Rosemary

500g cooked cannelini beans and their licor

Stock

1 good head of broccoli - cut into fleurettes and the stalk peeled and chopped

Put heavy bottomed pan on a low heat and flavour oil with 2 crumbled chillis and 3 garlic cloves half crushed under the flat of a knife. Discard chilli if blackened and mash up the now golden garlic. 

Sweat chopped onion in the flavoured oil with lid on. About 20 minutes later put the golden garlic back in with along with the rest of the chopped garlic, the 2 other chillis and the anchovies and their oil. Some bay and rosemary would be nice too. Sweat that mother good. For as long as you are able. 

Add cannelini beans and the licor they were cooked in with some extra stock.

Bring to the boil and add the broccoli .

Boil till broccoli is just past al dente. Remove, liquidise and replace one third.

Season, sprinkle with parsley and croutons and then do a faggoty chef swirl of olive oil at the end to make it look nice. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

oh yeah....easter



I also grilled a milk fed baby lamb on the grill in my garden. Screwed it up. Cant really talk about it. 

Have some eggs.