21 June 2013

Gravlax Sauce

A few weeks ago we were asked to do a "chef's table" seated birthday dinner for 14 people. (That is to prepare and cook all the courses in front of guests) The client told us that as it was her special evening she wanted to choose her all time favourite dishes. So in reverse order the menu included Tiramisu for dessert, Halibut and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce for the mains and seared carpaccio of beef to kick off. We had great fun cooking and very much enjoyed being so involved with the guests all evening and watching the fare disappear from the plates almost a quickly as it was served!

Afterwards we were complimented all round but quickly discovered that one item in particular seems to have stolen the show. We had decided to dress the carpaccio with a gravlax sauce more commonly seen on smoked salmon but we find goes equally well if not better with meat.  This is a great little condiment and people have been asking for the recipe ever since! So here it is...


2 Tbsps honey mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1Tbsp White wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Castor Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk
150 ml Rape seed oil
Dill chopped
Ground black pepper


Whisk the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar together in a small blender or mixer. Slowly drizzle in the oil. The mixture should emulsify, that is become thick and creamy. Stir in the chopped dill and spoon over the meat or salmon. Please take note the ingredients are intended as a guide so once the basic sauce is made don't be afraid to calibrate the levels of sweetness and sourness to your individual taste by adding more sugar, salt or vinegar as appropriate.

By the way the carpaccio of beef is prepared by dusting the beef with a mix of garlic salt chilli powder, salt and ground black pepper and quickly searing it all round on a smoking hot pan. Allow it to cool and wrap tightly in cling film. It will be much easier to slice thinly after a couple hours in the freezer.

Posted by incredibly fed

14 June 2013

Street Food!

A few days ago a client asked us to cater for a corporate event his company was hosting. We had already catered a private party for his birthday in April and were delighted to be asked back so soon to cook again. This time it was to be an evening of corporate entertainment, the main event being a performance by the "Pop Up Opera Company" but also included was a book signing by the author Garry Hunter of copies of his study of recent street art from around the world. Our client asked us to come up with an original theme for corporate entertainment. After some thought the suggestion was a world street food fair to compliment the book's "World Street Art" subject.

We suggested the food should be served from a street stall, an idea which the client loved and provided a menu of street food from around the world which we thought would be appropriate. The list included amongst other dishes fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs from Great Britain, stuffed vine leaves from Greece, various kebabs from the middle east, bhajis and peckoras from India and noodle and rice dishes from the Far East.
"Posters" advertising our wares... 

In the end the client plumbed for Great British fish and chips, summer rolls from Vietnam, Falalels with hummus and tabouleh from the Lebanon, tandoori chicken from India and Asian rice noodle boxes all accessorised with heaps of prawn crackers, poppadums and a variety of delectable sauces and dressings!  Desserts were retro fruit skewers with salted dark chocolate sauce and poached pears with ginger and mascarpone.

Once the choice was made Andrew our trusty IT support consultant designed and printed off posters to adorn the stall. So "Alfie's Falafels", "Tandoori Junction", "Saigon Vegetarian Rolls", "The Great British Fish and Chip Supper" and "Capa Street Noodles" all made their debut but for one night only...

All hands on deck during the interval! 

On that night we erected a garden gazabo indoors which made the perfect street "stall". Very much relieved that the tent structure actually fit into the room we set up shop underneath. Serving food had to be done pre- and post- the opera perfermance as well as during the interval. Luckily with the A Team of Ghaz, Emma and Maria manning the fort all the guests were "Incredibly Fed" in double quick time!

Posted by incredibly fed

7 June 2013

Asparagus Spears

"Paneed"Asparagus with Goats' milk Camambert 
Neatly sandwiched between the medal winning blooms at Chelsea at the end of May and the thrilling tennis at Wimbledon at the end of June we have what has to be one of the most pleasant periods of the year, the delightful asparagus season. The appearance of those uniquely flavoursome green spears herald the advent of the summer months and the balmy days of the season to come.

Now those of you who are regular readers will spot instantly that we have already posted about asparagus. Almost a year ago while staying at a friends' chateau in the Gers region of south west France we raved about white asparagus and bemoaning it's rarity on these shores. This time we'll talk about the green cousins which are more in favour here in the UK.

If you are one of those people who steam their asparagus, very well, but as we pointed out a few weeks ago baking, roasting and griddling will get far more flavour and sweetness from your vegetables so in this case we strongly recommend baking!

Try "paneeing" the spears. Literally "to bread". Peal off any hard skin from the base of the spears and sprinkle with a little plain flour. Beat an egg and roll the spears in it followed by the breadcrumbs. (You can use Japanese panko crumbs or more economically normal bread crumbs as shown here) then place on a baking tray in the oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes. You can finnish off by placing under a hot grill for a minute or two to bring up the colour. Serve with Hollandaise sauce and a strongish cheese such as grilled goats' milk Camambert and fresh crusty bread.

Two weeks ago we were invited with Joyce my visiting cousin from Dublin to Rebecca's North London chateau for dinner after the Chelsea flower show. We volunteered to prepare the starter and chose to use two of her favourite ingredients. Joyce is addicted to  asparagus so on this occasion the green spears were paired with smoked Scottish salmon (another of her favourites) and placed on top of a mooli and carrot slaw with lightly boiled quails eggs (boil for one minute remove from heat and leave to stand for a further minute) and walnut crumbs with an orange vinaigrette. For added panache the spears were arranged in what Rebecca dryly termed "Bonfire night" fashion!

Posted by incredibly fed