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A little indulgence: Meringues with Macha Ice Cream and Thyme Ganache

Thyme Ganache

  • 20g of Thyme
  • 50ml of port
  • 125ml of whipping cream
  • 140g of 70% bitter chocolate, chopped
  • 40g of butter, softened

Macha Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp of Macha (Japanesse Green Tea)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 50g Candied beetroot
  • Raspberry Espuma (fresh Raspberry Couli mixed with Cream)
  • Bluberries

Baby Macha Meringue’s

  • large organic egg whites, at room temperature
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • Crispy Seaweed
  • Chocolate soil –( Caramel sugar and chopped 70% chocolate )
  • Bread and cheese flowers

Method

Preheat the oven to fan 100C/ conventional 110C/gas 1⁄4.

Tip the 4 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl (not plastic). Beat them on medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.

Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.

Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy, almost like a snow drift. Add

Scoop up a heaped dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another dessertspoon, ease it on to the baking sheet and spread evenly over the silpat or grease proof papaer. Or just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer. Bake for 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4 hours in a fan oven, 1 1⁄4 hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour. Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.) Serve two meringues sandwiched together with a generous dollop of softly whipped double cream.

For the chocolate ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Bring the port and cream to the boil. Add ½ of it to the chocolate, add the butter and beat until fully combined

Add the remaining cream to the chocolate mix and leave to cool. Chill to set

Ice cream:

Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and stir in to the cream mixture just before removing from the heat.

Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath until completely cool.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions

Now the main components of the dish are made, simply get your serving plate, Drag the chocolate ganache across the plate, sprinkle chocolate soil around, place the fresh blueberries around the plate with the candied beetroots, drizzle the sauce of the beetroots around the plate. Break up the crispy seaweed and quinelle the ice cream onto the plate, add the flowers and serve…

 

Healthy Ingredients

Thyme – Found to stimulate the immune system and relax smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.

Blueberries – Contain an abundance of anti-oxidants that fight free radicals in the body which cause cell abnormalities such as cancer.

Macha – Macha is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that effects the brain’s functioning to promote a state of well-being, alertness, and relaxation. L-Theanine is common in all tea, but macha has 5 times more than any other black or green tea.

Healthy Nutrition Tips for Eating Sushi

Sushi is an amazing food option that combines beautiful colors, designs, and patterns. Most sushi options with a combination of seafood, seaweed, rice, and vegetables are very nutritious, high in protein, and low in calories. However, you can still over do it if you’re not careful. So here are a few tips to keep you on the right track.

  • Try to avoid the tempura. Tempura is deep fried and battered which is going to have significantly more fat and calories.
  • Watch out for extra ingredients. Sometimes rolls will have added mayonnaise and cream cheese, which can again add some significant calories quickly.
  • Go with the veggie roll. You can’t go wrong with vegetables. Things like peppers, avocado, cucumber, and carrots. Don’t forget you can always add a bit more flavor with the wasabi and a dash of soy sauce.
  • Choose tuna, shrimp, and salmon rolls for a boost in your daily protein intake and a low calorie seafood/fish option.
  • Start with a salad or a bowl of miso soup to fill you up before the sushi arrives so that you don’t over eat. As a general guideline, 2 rolls should be a sufficient portion size for each person.

Enjoy your next sushi meal with these few guidelines in place and you’re sure to be eating a healthy and nutritious meal!

Fermented Foods: Why Should I Eat Them? Part 1

In part one of this short series we will discuss why fermented foods may be necessary to include in your diet and in the upcoming articles wewill talk specifically about different types of fermented foods and drinks.

You may have noticed that fermented foods are drawing much attention in the discussion of healthy nutrition lately. So what’s the deal? Is this just another fad that will come and go? Or is there really some substance behind the health benefits claimed about foods and drinks such as Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchee, and Kefir?

Recently you may have heard our gut referred to as our second brain. That is because it contains over 100 million neurons which outnumber those in the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. Through research it has brought us to a point where we understand that our gut controls much more than just our digestion. In fact, a large part of our immune system is made up in the gut and if we have certain bacteria that outnumber the good bacteria we may end up with many troublesome health issues. Symptoms are often disguised and diagnosed as other conditions such as IBS and chronic fatigue, but may in fact originate from the gut.

So why should we consume food items that are fermented? To keep the healthy bacteria thriving. By incorporating fermented food and drinks along with other probiotics we can keep our guts happy and healthy and avoid detrimental health conditions that originate from the gut.This is where fermented foods come into play. Fermented food and drink increase the healthy and beneficial bacteria in our gut. This is also why probiotics and prebiotics are increasingly used by those trying to maintain gut health. It is especially important in those who have compromised immune systems to keep healthy bacteria in place. It is also especially important for those who have consumed multiple rounds of antibiotics which kill ALL bacteria, good and bad in the gut.

Hopefully this short intro explains why fermented foods may a beneficial addition to your diet. Stay tuned for the upcoming articles on some of the specific foods and drinks that you can look for and add to your nutrition.

Mahi Mahi wrapped in nori, wakami, edamame beans and fresh garden peas with mint, carrot spaghetti, chia seed, paprika and tomato oil

What you will need

  • 2 liter of fish stock
  • 1 x Bunch of dill
  • 50 g peppercorns
  • 3 x lemons
  • 4 limes
  • 100ml of olive oil
  • 2 x cucumbers
  • 450g Wakami
  • 4 x spring onions
  • 1 x bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 x bunch of fresh mint
  • 2 x carrots
  • 200g sundried tomato
  • 35g Chia seed
  • 2 tbsp. of paprika
  • 200ml of vegetable oil
  • 5 x Mahi Mahi x 200 g pieces
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

Steam the mahi mahi in a court bouillon water bath very gently. Add the edamme beans for about 2/3 minutes and then depod.

Mix with the garden peas, chiffonade of mint and the fresh garden petit pois. Season, and mix with house dressing.

Keep the skin on the cucumber, deseed, and shave with a speed peeler.

Take the Japanese mandolin and insert the peeled carrot into this and continue to turn to make the vegetable spaghetti.

Quickly blanch the spaghetti in the court bouillon and and remove to add to the Wakami and beans.

Once the mahi mahi is cooked, remove and place on a plate, cover with Nori sheets and let cool slightly. The heat will make the Nori encase the fish.

Have some oil on the side, steeping near to the heat with some paprika, and mixed herbs in, blend with sundried tomato

On a warm plate, arrange the cucumber, wakami & beans, spaghetti carrots. Place the Mahi Mahi on top and then cut some fresh coriander and arugula cress, sprinkle on top and drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with Chia seeds.

Andrew’s Panna Cotta with St Lucian Vanilla Ice cream

Panna Cotta

  • 1 Litre of Milk
  • 1 Litre of Heavy cream
  • 2 Vanilla pods
  • .5 Cup of Sugar
  • 14 Gelatin leaves

Vanilla Ice cream

  • 2 Litres Milk
  • .5 Litre Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups of Powdered Milk
  • 300ml of Condensed Milk
  • 2 Vanilla Bean Pods
  • 250g Sugar

Method

To make the panna cotta, bring to the boil the milk, heavy cream. Add the scrapped vanilla seeds and the outer pod. This will infuse that lovely vanilla flavor. Add the sugar. Remove from the heat just before it comes to the boil and remove the vanilla pods, leaving the seeds behind.

Take the gelatin and place in cold water until soft.

Add the softened gelatin to the hot milk mixture and stir.

Set in the metal timbale and refrigerate.

For the vanilla ice cream, bring the milk, heavy cream, powdered milk and condensed milk to the boil.

Scrape in the vanilla seeds and throw in the pod as for the panna cotta and add the sugar and whisk until all is incorporated.

Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pods and then, once the ice cream mix has cooled, add to a ice cream machine and churn.

Remove the panna cotta from the fridge and place in warm water for 5 seconds to make loose and turn out onto a serving plate,  scatter with seasonal berries, add a little passion fruit puree and place the creamy vanilla ice cream into the almond Tuile basket. Serve

Rosemary Crusted Chicken Breast with Warm Apple and Lentil Salad: Seasonal and Healthy !

What you will need

  • 2 tablespoons coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably Gluten free, whole-wheat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 4 large chicken breast
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, or cider vinegar

Method

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Mix breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

Add the chicken breast to the hot pan which has the rest of the olive oil, and sear until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn it over and spread 2 teaspoons mustard over the meat.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the mustard.

Transfer the Chicken breast to the oven and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

Return the pan to medium-high heat (be careful: the handle will still be hot).

Add the shallots, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to soften, about 1 minute.

Stir in the cooked lentils, apple, celery, broth (or water), vinegar and the remaining 1 teaspoon mustard; bring to a simmer.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly reduced and the celery and apple are starting to soften, about 4 minutes.

Cut the chicken into 1/3rds and serve over the lentils.

Make some apple matchstick’s and with the celery leaf decorate the plate, and a little 5 spiced apple puree and dot around the plate

Beef Fillet, Chocolate, Port, Fig, and Brussels Sprouts


Dark chocolate and beef make a perfectly good match. With the sweet fig and earthy sprouts, these are definitely ideal seasonal ingredients.

What you will need:

  • 4 – 190g pieces of Beef Fillet

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. of juniper berry
  • 50g of thyme
  • 1l of pomace oil, or enough to cover
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 500g of beef trimmings
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 6 shallots
  • ½ bulb of garlic
  • 10g of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 150ml of raspberry vinegar
  • 2l of red wine
  • 2l of brown chicken stock
  • 2l of beef stock
  • 50g of fig purée
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Ganache

  • 50ml of port
  • 125ml of whipping cream
  • 140g of 70% bitter chocolate, chopped
  • 40g of butter, softened

Vegetables

  • 250g of turnips
  • 100g of butter
  • 100ml of chicken stock
  • 12 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 fresh figs, cut into eights
  • 15g of shadow benny

Method:

1. Fry the beef trimmings in oil until browned all over then set aside. Fry the shallots and garlic; add the herbs and peppercorns then deglaze the pan with 100ml of vinegar and the wine

2. Reduce to syrup, and then add the stocks and beef trimmings

3. Cook for 45 minutes skimming regularly. Adjust the seasoning and freshen with the remaining vinegar if necessary. Stir in the fig purée. Pass through a sieve and chill

4. In a pan, toast and lightly crush the juniper berries. Separately blend the thyme with the oil. Add the juniper and garlic cloves to the oil

5. Pour the mixture into a vacuum pack bag with the meat. Leave to marinate while you prepare the other elements of the dish

6. For the chocolate ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Bring the port and cream to the boil. Add ½ of it to the chocolate, add the butter and beat until fully combined

7. Add the remaining cream to the chocolate mix and leave to cool. Chill to set

8. For the beef, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Sear the beef in the oil in a hot pan and then transfer to the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how you like it cooked

9. Add the turnips and cook until browned on one side, turn over and brown on the other side. Pour in the stock, cover and cook until tender

10. Fry the Brussels sprouts in a little oil until tinged brown. Add a knob of butter and 100ml of water and poach until just tender

11. Spoon the chocolate ganache onto the plate, slice the loins in half and position the two sides of beef on top

12. Scatter the sprouts, turnips and figs across the plate then drizzle with the jus.

Bon appétit and Merry Christmas!

Neil

 

3 Healthy Holiday Tips

It’s that time of year again when the high calorie foods and drinks are coming at you from every angle. Christmas cookies, parties, and New Years can all be a common over indulgence for many. So what can you do?

This saying holds very true, “It doesn’t matter what you eat between Christmas and New Years, but it does matter what you eat between New Years and Christmas.”

For those that have good eating habits in place, one week of too many calories is not going to be the end of the world. However, for those that need to keep themselves in check, or perhaps don’t eat very healthily, here are a few tips to keep yourself from using that next hole in your belt.

  • Don’t go to a party hungry. It may be the Christmas dinner with your family or that New Year’s Eve party. One thing is for sure, there will be food, and there will be a lot of it! Most choices will be less than ideal. So, in order to save yourself some calories, have a nice healthy meal or snack before you leave the house so that you don’t overdo it at your destination.
  • Bring a healthy dish. There may be unhealthy choices all around you. However, if you contribute and bring a healthy dish to a holiday party, you have at least one healthy option that you can choose. If you struggle with desserts here is your chance to prepare a healthier option that still tastes great. Who knows, you may even “trick” some of your friends and family into trying it!
  • Balance your calories. It takes 3,500 calories to gain one pound. If you have a heavy holiday meal planned for dinner, then go lite on your breakfast and lunch to help balance your day. Keep the big picture in mind and don’t beat yourself up if you make a poor food choice at any given meal. Just get back on track as soon as possible and make some healthy nutritional decisions.  You could also add in some physical activity to compensate for a poor meal as well.

Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Risotto with Rocket and Marshmellow

What you will need:
  • 1 x Pumpkin or you can use butternut squash
  • 2 x cloves of garlic
  • 1 x tbsp. Olive oil
  • 8 x spring onion
  • 25g butter
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1liter of vegetable stock
  • 50 g parmesan
  • 50 g of rocket
  • 75g goats cheese
  • 50 g marshmellow

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius, Chop up the pumpkin or squash into cubes and roast on a baking tray with Olive oil, then roast for about 30 minutes. Keep half of the roasted pumpkin for garnish and keep warm, and the other half puree to be stirred through the risotto at the end.

While the pumpkin is roasting, you can make the risotto. Crush the garlic and chop the spring onions, put into a pan and drizzle and little olive oil once the garlic and onion are starting to cook, pour in the risotto rice and cumin. Stir and make sure that all the rice is covered and the garlic and onions are not caught.

Slowly start to add a cup of stock at a time whilst you stir the rice and when the stock has been absorbed, add another cup.

Carry this process on until the rice is cooked and add the pumpkin puree and stir through. Add the grated parmesan and season to taste. The risotto should be a beautiful orange colour.

Place the risotto onto a plate, sprinkle with chunks of the roasted pumpkin and goats cheese

Dress the rocket leaves and scatter over the top with the Marshmellows

Serve. Bon apetit and happy Thanksgiving!

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with a Classic Ratatouille and Fresh Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 180g  Mahi Mahi portions
  • 2 aubergines
  • 4 small courgettes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • small bunch basil, roughly torn
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

 

Preparation method

Cut the aubergines into quarters lengthways, then cut the quarters into 2.5cm/1in slices. Cut the courgettes into 2.5cm/1in slices. De-seed the peppers and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Score a cross in the base of each tomato and place them in a heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and set aside for one minute. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel away the skins. Cut them into quarters, scoop out the seeds and discard. Roughly chop the flesh.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish and add the onions. Cook over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and very tender.

Add the aubergines and courgettes, increase the heat slightly and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the peppers, garlic, sugar, some salt and pepper and half the basil and mix well. Cover and cook over a very gentle heat for 20 minutes.Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse    until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Scatter with the remaining basil and serve.