How to make a blackberry jam on youtube

Since the beginning of the week, I have been working on a new aspect to show and explain my recipes.

Earlier today, I have posted a FORAGED BLACKBERRY JAM recipe on my website and also on YouTube.

I have set up a YouTube Channel, Fab Cuisine Channel, where I will be sharing recipes with easy to follow videos and instructions.

This is just the start for me and I am learning, so ear with me!

Hope you are going to enjoy the first one.

FAB x

NUTRITION: COOKING BEETROOTS FOR MY LUNCH

Today, I have been lucky enough to receive 1 bunch of red baby beetroots and 1 bunch of golden baby beetroots. Receiving fresh products is always a joy and an excitement. A multitude of  ideas are coming and the desire to realise a stunning dish is priceless.

So, after a few minutes thinking how I could use the all part of the beetroots, I finally came up with an idea. The most important for me, was not to waste any parts of the beetroot. Leaves were green, crunchy and appetising. Stems were colourful, juicy and crunchy too. Beets are one of my favourite vegetables. From root to leaf, the greens and stems are edible, it means that the options to make different dishes with beetroots are countless.Below I will explain to you my favourite ways to cook and plate beetroot, using the whole vegetable. Heaven on a plate for everyone in love with beets and vegetables.

Start trimming the leaves and stems to the beetroots. Wash everything separately. To roast the beets, cut two pieces of foil (one for the red, one for the golden beets), add a splash of olive, salt, pepper and one garlic clove in each. Make a little parcel and roast them in an oven turned to 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes with a splash of water on the bottom of the tray to create a steam environment. The beets will cook faster. When cooked, open the foil and start to take the skin off the beetroot. Do this by using a paper towel to wipe the skin off. (Don’t forget to wear a pair of gloves, if you have some at home and don’t burn yourself!)

Meanwhile, finely chop the beetroot stalks. Shred large beetroot leaves and reserve the small beetroot leaves to garnish.

Heat oil in a medium sized pan over a high heat. Add 2 diced shallots, 2 garlic cloves grated and some spices (I recommend a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of All Spice). Cook, stirring continuously until softened. Stir in the chopped beetroot stalk and shredded leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until stalk begins to soften. Add a tablespoon of chopped dill and lemon juice, and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl. From earthy and crunchy to sweet and tender, this salad is sublime for anyone loving beetroots.

PS: Leaves and stalks are nutritious. High in fiber and minerals, beet stems contain betalain pigments, a powerful source of antioxidants good for reducing inflammation and preventing heart disease.

GNOCCHI

The way how to make those gnocchi might differ from what you will find in your favourite cooking books, but this recipe aims to show an easy and practical technique for making a gorgeous plate of food at home with only 5 ingredients.

I have learnt to make the perfect gnocchi after many hours (days!) of sweating in a certain London restaurant (not to be named!) and today I am sharing it with you. Making gnocchi is not rocket science but it can be challenging to achieve the level of perfection you get in a high-end restaurant. But as they say, ‘Practice make perfect’! Determination, hard work and consistency are key for a great result. Indeed, making gnocchi can be fun at home, but when you are making gnocchi to serve a high profile clientele in Mayfair you must make sure that the 500 pieces of gnocchi that are being shaped must look all the same! This recipe is easy for all abilities to follow, and even if the shapes aren’t perfect, they will all taste delicious!

Creating these little beauties from scratch is very rewarding. It might take one hour to make these little potato round delicacies but don’t think about the time, think how special you are going to feel when you are going to enjoy them. Of course, you can buy a bag of fresh gnocchi at Sainsbury’s or Tesco, but they will never compare what you are going to make. So let’s start by baking 2.5 kg of Maris Piper potatoes wrapped in a foil at 180 degrees Celsius. (In the restaurant we wrapped them individually, but you can wrap them in 1 big parcel.) Potatoes that are all the same size, will cook faster and heavenly. When cooked through, take the foil off and cut them in half to release the steam contained inside the potatoes then put them back in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes to dry them out.

Ingredients: 2.5 kg of Maris Piper uncooked, (1.5kg dry mash), 250g Flour 00 (pasta flour), 2 beaten eggs, 65g grated Parmesan, 25g Maldon salt.

Scoop the potato out of the skin and mash. (If you’re lucky enough to have a potato ricer then use this.) Speed is important at this stage so make sure you have you other ingredients already prepared.

While the potato mash is still steaming, mix it with the grated Parmesan and combine the flour and beaten eggs to it. Work the mixture into a dough with your hands. The dough must be homogeneous and smooth.

Divide the dough, I will recommend to divide it into 20 even sized blocks. Flour your worktop and take a block of gnocchi and start rolling it into a sausage shape with your fingers. Keep doing the same with remaining blocks of dough. Everything must be the same, size, diameter and shape. With a sharp knife cut the dough in to ‘pillows’ about 1cm long. Above, the pictures are showing you step by step what it should look like.

Get ready with a pan of boiling salty water. Boil the gnocchi in batches of approximately 50 pieces. You will know they are cooked when they pop up to the surface (or about 1 minute). Drain the gnocchi then pour into a tray with olive oil and roll them in. They must be glazed with the olive oil as it will prevent them sticking all together. A soft and smooth little pillow is ready to be enjoyed.

Many options are available to finish the gnocchi. You can eat them plain or with some grated Parmesan on top or with some sun-dried tomatoes and black olive or with a cream sauce and finish with truffle.

You can store the gnocchi for a couple of days in the fridge and then reheat when needed in a pan of boiling water. Have fun!

WILD GARLIC SOUP AND WILD GARLIC PESTO

Spring time brings a wild range of products at its best. A few weeks ago, Jayne and I went for a walk to pick up enough wild garlic to make a small batch of wild garlic pesto. At this time, it was only the start of seeing the wild garlic blooming everywhere. After a series of walks in West Sussex, we have been lucky to find more patches of wild garlic, or should I say a sea of wild garlic!! You can’t really miss it as the smell is pungent – I love this smell! Taking with me a pair of scissors and a small bag, I went foraging for wild garlic and I came back with a full bag.

We haven’t been in London for the last 6 weeks and I start to find my time in West Sussex really pleasant. That’s amazing how a bit of fresh air and different scenery can help to reset your mind. Just on our doorsteps, a multitude of wild products are growing, see my next post about Elderflowers. When you realise the “Bienfaits” of eating wild garlic, you will find a new hobby, foraging. Exploring your neighbourhood and discovering what is on offer to you is one of the best feelings, you will be really satisfied. Below are a couple of recipes I have made this Spring with wild garlic. I would like to insist that the recipes that you can read on this blog are about sustainability and seasonality and the two recipes demonstrate that with time, flair and passion, great dishes can be served on a table.

But before you start, read the following carefully: when foraging, please be mindful where you pick your wild garlic. Do not pick from the roadside as the risk of pollution from passing cars is high. Go deeper into the woods to find clean leaves. Take care to pick only the leaves and do not tug as you may pull the bulb out. You want to leave the bulbs in the ground for next year! I recommend using small scissors to cut the leaves. Do refer to pictures to make sure you are selecting only wild garlic. Remember to wash thoroughly when you get home before using in a recipe! And, happy foraging!

To make the wild garlic pesto, only five ingredients are used.

Ingredients: 100 g wild garlic; 50 g grated Parmesan; 1 tsp of mustard mustard; vegetable oil; 50 g grounded almonds

Method: In a blender, or Nutribullet, add all the ingredients together with a pinch of salt and 25 ml of vegetable oil. Add gradually the oil into it to obtain a paste consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

I am cooking from home with the ingredients available in the kitchen. You can add your own twist too. You can add some rocket to get a lighter garlic flavour. You can use olive oil to get a stronger flavour. I have used ground almond but you can use toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts.

WILD GARLIC PESTO

This pesto goes well with barbecued meat/fish, with crudités (use as a dip) and pasta. A spoon of wild garlic pesto with your pasta and grated Parmesan on top, you can’t go wrong! Or with a warm potato salad like we had last night. The choice is yours! The pesto can last for a week in a plastic container in the fridge.

This is already a wonderful vegetarian dish or, leave out the Parmesan and you have a delicious vegan dish to serve to friends and family, or just to enjoy yourself!

Something different, but as tasty as the pesto: Wild Garlic Soup.  Wild garlic soup is so simple to make and has a beautiful freshness. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish. Substitute the butter and cream for a vegan option – they’re all delicious!

Ingredients:  40g butter: 8 new potatoes sliced; 1.5L vegetables or chicken stock; 500g wild garlic; 50ml double cream or a tablespoon of creme fraiche; salt and pepper.

Method: Melt the butter over a medium heat and sweat the potatoes with a pinch of salt until soft. If you keep a lid on then it will help to cook faster and to have a better result. When soft add the double cream or creme fraiche, then the vegetable or chicken stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the wild garlic to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Blend the soup until smooth, the vibrant green colour should indicate you when to stop blending. Do it by small quantity. Less soup in the blender bowl, faster it will go and better the result is. 

And so, the list of recipes using wild garlic is endless. Here, a few examples I’m going to be trying over the next few weeks: wild garlic butter, wild garlic and cheese tart, wild garlic chimichurri, sautéed wild garlic in a pan with a knob of butter served with a warm potato salad… let me know how would you want use it and I’ll try it!

CARAMELIZED RED ONION TART

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Yesterday, “My leek and Wild Garlic Tart” was on the menu. I used homemade shortcrust pastry to make it. Today, to use the left over shortcrust pastry I have made a red onion tart. In the kitchen, the smells of the red onions being caramelised in a pan are making everyone hungry and excited. The aim of this blog is to introduce to you recipes which are easy to recreate at home because cooking is not rocket science but a pleasure to have a great plate of food. That’s why today,  I have used only a handful of ingredients to make a red onion tart. Actually, the  idea came up this morning when I was checking out my mother-in-law’s larder. A few carrots, a couple of parsnips and a few red/white onions. Nothing really you would say but an idea crossed my mind. When you are working for chef/owner, every penny counts so when you have to make the staff food, you must improvise and use creativity. So, for lunch today two mains items and seasoning have been necessary to create a good looking tart! My left-over of shortcrust pastry and the red/white onions found in the larder.

Method: Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Start peeling the onions and cut them in half from the root to the top. In a tray, sprinkle salt on the cut side. Leave them for five minutes.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, start making a dry caramel. When the sugar has started to melt and you have a golden brown colour add the onions. Colour them on a medium heat until they are heavenly caramelised. Add a generous knob of butter and cook them for a few more minutes. Deglase with balsamic or red wine vinegar. Display them nicely with the caramel in a tart case mould (7 inches- 18cm) and cook them until soft, roughly 25-30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry and lay down on top of the onions. Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes. When cooked, turn the tart upside down onto a  wooden board. Enjoy a slice of tart with a green salad.

PS: The tart case mould is smaller than a traditional one because I used the shortcrust pastry trims.

Leek and Wild Garlic Tart

Where to start from? Spring has officially arrived but the temperatures are still chilly. We were all expecting to cook BBQ and having light lunches through the next few weeks to come but it looks like that a need of comfy and rustic foods are going to be appreciated in the coming days.

This recipe is a winner with a light budget and no effort. You will find making this tart enjoyable as it’s an easy recipe to realise and so good! But before starting you must decide if you would like to challenge yourself by making your own shortcrust pastry, it takes roughly five minutes, or to get your pastry from the shop? Personally, I have found it difficult to find what I really needed at the shop and I will not compromise with quality!

So If you are going for option A, you will need, 125g soft butter, 250g strong flour, a pinch of salt and 1-2 tablespoons of water. In a mixing bowl,  rub with your fingertips the butter and flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt and the water. Knead the dough and leave it rest for a few hours in the fridge.

Ingredients: 1 block of shortcrust pastry ; 2 large leeks; 200ml milk; 100ml double cream; 150g grated cheddar, 3 eggs; salt, grounded nutmeg.

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat the butter in a pot and stir in the leeks, add salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes with a lid on. At the last minute add the wild garlic leave and cook for one minute. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, double cream, eggs, salt and grounded nutmeg. Leave it on the side.

Lay down the shortcrust pastry in a tart case mould, add the leek and wild garlic, then pour the mixture on top of it. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and bake for 40 minutes.

The leek and wild garlic tart goes well with a green salad or a tomatoes salad.

MUSHROOMS SOUP

“Les bienfaits” of eating mushrooms are great. Mushrooms contain B vitamins and selenium, a powerful antioxidant, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.

PS: Jess, I hope that you will enjoy the soup as much as you did when we were working together in London.

MUSHROOMS SOUP

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