Friday, July 31, 2015

Yuzu Icebox Cake

To continue playing with the flavours of Yuzu, this dessert was born.  Layers of Yuzu custard, laced with coconut, thinly sliced pound cake, chopped pistachios and an adornment of sliced strawberries make up this icebox cake.  The cake is a very strong reminder of Frasier cake.

The assembly starts with a prepared batch of custard, cooled.  Add 3/4th of a bottle of  Yuzu and the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk.  Fold in 4 bloomed gelatin sheets, thinned with 3 tbsp. of water. Blend and pass through a sieve and set aside.  

Thinly slice prepared and cooled pound cake. Set aside.

Slice strawberries, longways. Set aside.

Loosely grind a cup of pistachios.  Set aside.

Enough setting aside, Let the layering begin!

Line the very top of a pudding pan with a light brushing of custard, sprinkle pistachios then a layer of cake.  Then, place sliced strawberries around, upside down, as shown.  Sprinkle generously with pistachios.  Next comes a thick dollop of custard.  Top that with a layer of cake.

Do the whole thing all over again.

More custard, finishing with cake.

Press lightly, cover with foil and press again lightly, as to not displace strawberries and custard.  Chill for 6 hours, before inverting onto a plate with serve.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cold Prawn Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing

I ran across a bottle of Yuzu at the supermarket and instantly wanted to try it!  It seemed to me that it would lend itself nicely to a cold noodle salad, perfect for a hot summer day.  The salad also has plenty of cool, crunchy cucumber and spring onions.

The prawn in the dish is made in the way of ceviche, more about that later.  

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit.  A sort of cross between mandarin orange and grapefruit.  That is exactly what the fruit tastes of a mild grapefruit.  Yuzu gives an authentic Japanese kick to many dishes such as; Ponzu sauce, grated over Miso soup, vinegar, tea, alcoholic cocktails, and many desserts (My next blog will feature a Yuzu dessert).

Yuzu is becoming popular in Western dishes and drinks recently.  One such example is near to my heart, New Belgium in Fort Collins brewed a Weisse style beer including the citrus fruit.

I don't have a sample of the fresh fruit, it would be great to use that someday!  I can imagine the zest would add quite a bit to the right dishes. For now this bottled juice with suffice.

A good noodle for this healthy dish is Soba noodle, with the added nutrition of buckwheat.

Cold Prawn Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing

1 pkg. soba noodles, prepared and rinsed with cold water, set aside
1 English cucumber - peeled, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of spring onions - chopped

Toss gently and set aside in the refrigerator.

To prepare the prawns:

Juice of 2 limes and/or lemons
1/2 pound of prawns - shelled, de-veined and chopped in three pieces.

Cover the prawn pieces completely in the citrus juice.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Turn the prawn pieces every so often, but keep them submerged in the juice. The juice needs to "cook" the prawns, the prawns will be firm, red, and opaque when they are done. Drain the prawns of the citrus juice completely.

Add the well drained prawns and again toss gently.  Now make the dressing:

1/4 c. Yuzu juice
1 tsp. mild mustard
1/8 c. honey
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. Mirin
1/8 c. rice wine vinegar

Whisk together well. Then slowly, like a tbsp at a time whisk in 3 tbsp. mild flavoured oil, such as rapeseed.

Pour the dressing over the noodle mixture and serve.

I finished the salad with a large grain sea salt.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Relishing The Marrow

I have been putting off trying marrow, for years now.  Well, I thought I have, as it turns out I've had them before unknowingly.  Although there are well suited cultivars, marrow is essentially an overgrown courgette/zucchini.  I had always known they were in the same family of veg, and suspected they were more closely related. All you need to do is just look at them to come to that conclusion.  It was confusing however, as I was seeing people refer to them as an English squash, or separate seed packets for marrow and courgette at the garden centre.

Here is a good resource of information about marrow.

Just as courgette, growing marrow can lead to a bumper crop.  They are dead easy to grow!  Bringing them into the kitchen it is good to make dishes other than fried, sauteed, baked, stuffed.  It is a good thing that the veg is well suited to chutneys, preserves, and relish, Marrow is a good way to bring sought after moisture to cakes, and muffins.  It is nice that the said cakes have a dose of needed nutrition added to them.

Speaking of nutrition, marrow is lower in calories, high in fibre, and dense with vitamins.

I made a burger relish with my bought marrow.

Start by peeling a medium sized marrow.  They can grow quite large and become too watery and bitter if they are too large.  Save the larger marrow for size contests.

Cut in half long ways and scoop the seeds and looser centre pithe out.

Grind with a food processor into quite small pieces.  You will want close to 4 cups of finished grind.  Evenly blend in a teaspoon of salt.  Let the ground marrow sit for an hour.  Pour off the somewhat bitter liquid that forms.  Press it through a sieve, and let it set for another hour.  Repeat until the liquid is not so forthcoming. While the marrow drains, make a pickling liquid to set aside:

1 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon additional cinnamon

Add a large onion that is processed into the same size pieces as the marrow.  Place this mixture in a large pan.  Pour in the pickling liquid.  Bring to a boil on high heat, cook this mixture for 5 minutes.  Turn it down to medium high and continue to reduce the liquid and the whole mixture comes together into a thickened relish.

Cool and load it into a jar.

Spoon onto a well grilled burger this summer.  Marrow are best in the late summer months, perfect timing for a summer BBQ!  I can imagine this relish is nice on a savaloy, as well.

Go on tuck in!

You can process in a hot water bath with the proper jars, or keep in the frig among your other stand by condiments.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Fire For Samfire

Samphire is an edible coastal plant, making it a lovely addition to fish dishes.  They like to grow in salt sprayed, rocky, or marshy areas.  The marshy variety is the the more common type available.  It is also referred to as sea asparagus, as it can be prepared like asparagus and slathered with butter for a great side dish.  Other names it can go by are sampha, sea pickle (it is nice pickled, by the way...), glasswort, or sampkin.  It is said to be quite easy to grow, even away from the sea.

Samphire is best in July and August.

It tastes best raw or steamed. This had me thinking that the crunchy texture of it raw and the salty taste would be good for a chicken salad.  Enter Coronation Chicken Baguettes! Here is my version of the well known dish:

For colour I used two kinds of grapes....About a cup's worth.

Slice in halves.

Chop up some raw samphire about 1/2 a cup.

2 cups shredded chicken, 2 gherkins, a tsp. mustard, 1/2 an onion small diced, 1/3 c. mayo, and curry powder to taste (I used 2 tbsps.)

Gently fold together.

Fill a baguette with some of the chicken salad and butter crunch lettuce.