Friday 27 June 2014

World Cup Food Challenge - Pavlova, Australia

Last but not least, the whipping boys of Group B: The Aussies.

It's a bit unfair to call Australia the whipping boys of the group, considering Spain's performance. As far as I'm concerend they have had a decent tournment considering the group of death they were put in. I had good plans for this country mainly revolving around kangaroo but several things got in the way of me getting hold of some and by then it was too late. However, I have got it in my head and I've found that Leeds Markets stock kangaroo fillets, so they will be cooked and sampled at some point.

Even though this is World Cup challenge, Wimbleydon, got into the swing of things on Monday and everyones favourite Brit (for now) as got off to a flying start so to incorporate all things Australian and all things British, I decided to make a Pavlova with Strawberries and Cream but.... if you have an aversion to all things Aussie, drop it into a glass and boom, Eton Mess.

4 eggs whites
250g caster sugar
1tsp cornflour
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp white wine vinegar

tub of strawberries, chopped into chunks
600ml double cream
2tbsp icing sugar

Seperate the egg whites into a bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk until stiff peaks form.
Whisk in the caster sugar 50g at a time until fully combined.
Whisk in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and set aside.
Preheat the ovento 120 C (fan) and draw a circle on a sheet of non stick baking paper.
Spoon the meringue onto the circle, with high sides and a well to hold the cream and strawberries.
Bake for 1 hour then switch of the oven and allow the meringue to cool inside.

to prepare...
Whip the cream until it holds a soft peak and then whisk in the icing sugar, pile high on the meringue and top with lots of strawberries.


World Cup Food Challenge - Churros, Spain.

Oh Spain, I had such high hopes for you. My tapas feast for the finale was well underway and then.....and had to get completely hauled over the coals, utterly ripped apart and made to look like a Sunday league team by the magic of RVP and Robben. A staggering performance from the incumbent World and European champions.

So with my tapas dream turning to ashes, I was left with only one chance to cook from Spain. This was a difficult job with there being no shortage of tasty Spanish food, recipes and ingredients available. Was I to stick with my tapas feast? or choose something else?

Well it had to be something else, the feast just wouldn't be the same with Spain being unceremoniously drop kicked back across the Atlantic, so instead I opted for a recipe that I've always wanted to have a go at but never got round to. Churros.

For the uninitiated, Churros are the Spanish (and Mexican) equivalent of a doughnut, only instead of being round and filled with Jam, they are long and thin, coated in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and then dipped into whatever you fancy. I personally recommend a fruit compote or melted chocolate.

This recipe is simplicity in itself but.... it is far easier with two people.

First off, make your dough....
250g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
50g of butter
350ml water
pinch of salt

Weigh out and seive together the flour and BP into a bowl, make a well in the centre.
Boil the water and pour over the butter and vanilla extract in a measuring jug, stir until fully melted.
Pour into the well and beat with a wooden spoon until a thick smooth dough is formed, allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Thats the easy part all done. Now...

Set up two trays, one with 150g of sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon, mixed together and spread out. the other tray is to be covered with kitchen paper to absorb excess fat.

Next , fill a pan with about a litre of sunflower oil and slowly bring to about 150C, a piece of bread dropped in should brown within a minute.

While the oil is heating, transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a medium star nozzle, or a circle one if you don't want ridges.

Pipe into the oil to the desired length then, preferably with another person, cut off the end of the churro once the desired length as been piped.

Deep fry until golden brown, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon onto the paper and then roll in the sugar. repeat until all the batter is used.


Thursday 26 June 2014

World Cup Food Challenge - Escabeche, Chile.

To South America and the next country in Group B; Chile.

Chile have had a decent start to their world cup campaign, coming second in their group which can be considered a successful outing so far as they weren't the favourites to escape to the last 16 with the European powerhouses of football Spain (ha!) and Holland, taking up residence.

So what to cook...

Chilean cuisine has very strong Spanish influences and because of its location of the west side of South America has vast amount of seafood at it disposal. Scouring the internet I stumbled upon a recipe for escabeche, something I've wanted to but never had the opportunity to try.

Escabeche simply means 'pickled' and consists of fillets of fish, quickly fried or poached then soaked in a pickling liquor to marinade until serving.

So having decided to give Escabeche a go, I needed a recipe, enter River Cottage with this delicious recipe: Escabeche of mackerel. The recipe is also available in River Cottage Fish, which you really need to have in your collection.

I stuck to the recipe instructions with everything apart from the fish, I fancied rainbow trout and after trying it, it works fine.

The end result was delicious, lightly pickled fish, not to the extent of rollmops, and with a lovely spicing. You can almost feel yourself filling with virtue at the healthy deliciousness of it all. Give it a go.

World Cup Food Challenge - Appel Taart, Holland.

It's hard getting back into this blogging lark after a period of absence, a fairly lengthy period of absence looking back at the date of the last post. I have had stuff to blog, but little time or motivation to do it. I needed a challenge....

Fortunately the second greatest show on earth, The FIFA World Cup kicked off just under two weeks ago now and a team of crazy bloggers have been rounded up by @ewanmitchell to cook dishes from the all the participating countries, sound familiar? The good news this time, is there is only 32 countries and each blogger is responsible for 4 of them to cook with them through the tournament.

My Teams:
Group B
Lets start things off with my team of the tournament and my tip for World Cup glory; The Dutch.
The Dutch have had a blinding start so far, 3 wins out of 3 and Van Persie and Robben on blistering form. While wondering what to make for this country I was told to give their apple tart a go and they didn't have to tell me twice when it comes to baking or pies.
It's an interesting recipe this one, a bit of a cross between a pie and cake, with a bread style crust. it's very simple to make, far easier than the English apple tart and taste delicious with slightly tart apple, spicy cinnamon and sweet bread/cake holding it all together.
175g butter
175g plain flour
175g self raising flour
1 egg
1tbsp water
zest of one lemon
3-4 large slightly tart apples, think Braeburn not Royal Gala, cut into small pieces
50g sultanas
1tsp cinnamon
50g sugar
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp Apricot Jam
Make the filling, add the juice of the lemon to a bowl
Core the apples and slice into small chunks, add to the lemon and stir to make sure they don't colour.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well, set aside.
Beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the flours, the egg, water and zest of lemon. mix together to make a soft, not sticky dough.
Remove a third of the dough and set aside. press the remaining dough into a lined 20cm cake tin, making sure it is even and goes up the sides of the cake tin.
Fill the tin with the apple mixture.
With the reserved dough, make a lattice effect over the top of the cake and then place into a preheated oven at 170C for 45-50 minutes until golden on top.
Melt the jam in a small saucepan and stir until smooth, brush the top of the cake once removed from the oven
Serve with sweetened cream or vanilla ice cream