Archive | October, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

30 Oct

Boeuf Bourguignon

This is my take on the iconic French dish, Boeuf Bourguignon, The dish originates from the Burgundy region (in French, Bourgogne) which is in the east of France, as do many of the more well-known French dishes such as coq au vin, escargot, persillé ham,and oeufs meurette.

This stew involves cooking beef slowly with wine (red Burgundy), herbs and bacon, later adding pearl onions, shallots and mushrooms; I like to use porcini as it gives extra flavor. A touch of butter brings it all together intensifying the rich velvety sauce, I serve mine just with boiled potatoes, but a light and fluffy garlic infused mash potato would go down a treat.

For info and pricing mail or call: simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

Pavlova: The Pavlova Controversy

27 Oct

Controversy sizzles surrounding the origin of the pavlova dessert. Both Australians and New Zealanders claim to be the first creators of the dessert, and a good-natured rivalry still exists between the two countries about the matter.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert. The dish is said to have been named after Anna Pavlova, a famous Russian ballet dancer, who was on tour in 1926 and 1929. Anna Pavlova and her dances are best described as light and airy, similar to the dessert.

My delicious Pavlova is a meringue topped with whipped cream and a mix of red forest berries , but any fruit can be used .This desert will give a luxurious ending to any dinner party , or just indulge yourself any time of the day .

For info and pricing mail or call; simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

Creamed Wild Mushroom Soup Creamed

25 Oct

Creamed Wild Mushroom Soup

After a long walk out in the fresh autumn air, maybe you’ve been working in your garden, or just had a lazy day, my creamed wild mushroom soup should hit the spot.

 

A very tasty homemade soup made using one of my delicious bullions and a selection of the freshest wild mushrooms; this dish is toped of with a luxurious splash of truffle oil and should be served piping hot with warm crusty bread.

 

 

 

My olive and rosemary focaccia would be the perfect complement. An ideal dinner or snack for the chilly autumn and winter months to come

 

 

 

 

 

 

For info and pricing mail or call; simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

24 Oct

This is my soup for the weekend a Delicious soup with the goodness of broccoli and the salty tang of Stilton, made using one of my homemade vegetable stocks that I’ve adapted from one of Heston Blumenthal’s recipes.

Warm up an autumn evening with this flavoursome soup that’s as good for a comforting meal as it is for a dinner party starter. Serve with my delicious crusty focaccia bread

 

 

 

For info and pricing mail or call; simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

Slow Roasted Pork Belly with my Spiced Beetroot Chutney

20 Oct

Wondering how to use my beetroot chutney? Well tonight I made a delicious slow roasted pork belly with crunchy crackling, on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and caramelized fennel & onions. The sweet sour flavor of the chutney compliments this rich tender meat and brings another texture to the dish.

 

 

 

 

For info ( I’ll post the recipe later this week ) and pricing mail or call; simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

Knives & Chopping Boards

20 Oct

What Knives Do I Need for Cooking

There are many kitchen knives available on the market; however, a few good kitchen knives can meet the needs of the ordinary kitchen. Purchasing a block of kitchen knives for cooking is often unnecessary and can be a waste of money. Instead, carefully selecting two or three important kitchen knives can make a great impact in the kitchen.

All individually selected kitchen knives should be stored on a magnetic wall strip or in a universal block, Never in a drawer!!! And Never clean in a dishwasher , wash by hand!!!

So, what are the most important knives to know? I’d say you need four: a chefs knife, a santuku knife, a paring knife and a serrated bread knife.

 

 

 

Chef’s knife

Purchase a good quality chef’s knife first. A chef’s knife can do many things such as chop, dice, slice and mince, which is why it is the most important knife in the kitchen. The slightly curved blade allows for easy cutting, and the weight of the knife allows it to slice through thick or tough foods. Choose a chef’s knife that feels good in the hand and is not too lightweight. The knife should be between 15 and 25cm long to be the most versatile. Additionally, the metal should continue through the handle of the knife, which is called a full tang knife.

Santoku Knife

After finding a chef’s knife, search for a santoku knife. A santoku knife is similar to a chef’s knife; however, it has a wider blade and is thinner in thickness. As a result, it can cut smoothly and more precisely through thick or dense vegetables. Additionally, this knife works well to butterfly boneless chicken breasts and slice foods into fine, narrow pieces. Santoku knives are generally easier to use than chef’s knives because they are made to be well-balanced and precise.

Paring Knife

Measuring in at between 5 and 9cn long, paring knives are short blades with a pointy tip. Despite their dinky size, these versatile pieces of cutlery are an integral part of your cooking arsenal. Paring knives are great tools for scoring, peeling, boning and anything else you that requires a small point with maximum control. Navigating small areas is something you’ll do frequently as a home chef, and the paring knife is made with these tasks in mind.

Serrated Bread Knife

Serrated bread knives are great for cutting anything that’s crusty on the outside and delicate on the inside. Think baguettes, bagels, and pineapples: you want something hard core enough to get through the tougher outer part while not obliterating the lovely fleshy bits. Serrated knives also make quick work of tomatoes and citrus, easily slicing through their Teflon-like skin.

                                                           Chopping Boards

One of the easiest things you can do to insure the long life of your kitchen knives is to use the right kind of cutting board. And believe it or not, even in this age of high-tech materials just about the best substance for your knives to cut and cube on is still wood. Plastic is the other most favored material. (Not any plastic and not any wood.) never ever use Glass, granite, porcelain or any other hard surface as this can damage and blunt your blade

Wooden Boards

Traditionally there are two types of wooden chopping boards; End grain and Flat grain. Wood is attractive and will look good in any kitchen. No matter how much you use them, wooden boards tend to mature over time and will look good for many years.

End grain boards are made up of many square or rectangular batons of wood, bonded together under high pressure. The board is then created by slicing across the grain. This technique leads to attractive boards which won’t warp, are durable, and are kind to your knife edge. At a microscopic level, as a blade is drawn across the surface of the board, the individual wood fibres are able to bend out the way, hence are not damaged. Likewise, as the blade is not cutting through wood fibres it will maintain its edge for longer.

Flat grain boards are generally made up of larger sections of wood, with the grain, as the name implies lying flat. Normally a board will be made up of three or four sections of wood and they often have lovely grain structures. The simple construction means that these boards are usually excellent value for money. Though not quite as durable as end grain boards, flat grain boards with normal domestic use will none the less give many years of service.

Wood is intrinsically hygienic; the natural enzymes that protected the tree when it was alive still do their bit to fight bacteria on the surface of the board. Wooden boards should be cleaned with hot water and a little mild detergent if necessary. Avoid using excessive amounts of detergent, as this will dry the wood out. Over time, the natural oils in the wood will be depleted. To maintain the board in tip top condition and maximize its life it should be periodically treated with wood oil, available from this site. Never leave a wooden board to soak in water or put it in the dishwasher!

Plastic Boards

Plastic has similar properties to wood. It’s tough, yet soft enough not to dull a knife blade. It doesn’t heal up quite as well, and it doesn’t look as good after it’s accumulated hundreds and hundreds of score marks. On the other hand, a plastic board will generally cost a fraction of the price of a wooden one, so it won’t cost as much to replace. It will also be thinner and lighter than your average wood board. And, as an additional bonus, you can throw it in the dishwasher if you choose

Plastic boards come in different colors which you can use as a coding system. Red for raw meats; green for vegetables; etc., etc.—this is what professional kitchens do to help prevent cross-contamination. Another good thing about plastic boards is that unlike wood, they don’t tend to take on as much the flavors of pungent tasting foods like onion and garlic.

There’s one more important thing to mention regarding wood and plastic cutting boards, namely, how to keep them clean and avoid cross contamination wood tends to retain less bacteria than plastic. But if you designate  a chopping board for raw meat only and stick to, then the difference between the two materials becomes negligible.

So pick the type you like the best, or mix it up as I do. Both wood and plastic boards (as long as they’re the right kind of wood and the right kind of plastic) will help keep your knife edges sharp and look good in your kitchen.

If your looking to buy a new set of knives my preference goes out to Global , but that’s my personal choice , there are many great makes out there so choose wisely.

How to cook perfect pasta

15 Oct

One of the best reasons for eating pasta is that, in 15 minutes from start to finish, you can provide yourself with a complete meal. If you want to enjoy cooking and eating pasta at its best, then my advice is to buy good quality. Yes, it does cost more, but we’re not talking about great luxury here; we’re talking about a main meal for two people that might cost 2 euros instead of 1euro. Poor quality pasta often ends up sticky and soggy. So when you buy your pasta, make sure it says pasta di semola di grano duro – durum wheat semolina pasta. A good pasta has a rough texture this helps the sauce stick to it, while the poor quality has the texture smooth..

 

salt your water. And I mean really salt your water. None of this “pinch” business. Salt amplifies flavor, so allowing pasta to rehydrate in a briney solution will mean that the noodles themselves are properly seasoned, your pasta water should be as salty as seawater. Before the pasta goes in make sure the water is up to a good fierce boil. Add the pasta as quickly as possible and stir it around just once to separate it. If you’re cooking long pasta like spaghetti, push it against the base of the pan and, as you feel it give, keep pushing until it all collapses down into the water.

You don’t need to put a lid on the pan: if it’s really boiling briskly it will come back to the boil in seconds and, if you put a lid on, it will boil over. Put a timer on and give it 10-12 minutes for top-quality pasta, but because this timing varies according to the shape and quality of the pasta, the only real way to tell is to taste it. So do this after 8 minutes, then 9, and 10, and so on. This only applies when you cook a particular brand for the first time. After that you will always know how long it takes. Sometimes you can give it 1 minute’s less boiling and then allow an extra minute’s cooking while you combine it with the sauce.

Have a colander ready in the sink then, as you are draining the water, swirl it around the colander, which will heat it ready for the hot pasta. Don’t drain it too thoroughly: it’s good to have a few drops of moisture still clinging as this prevents the pasta from becoming dry. Place the colander containing the pasta back over the saucepan to catch any drips.

There’s nothing worse than sauce that slips off your spaghetti and ends up in a pile at the bottom of the bowl. How to prevent this? Add 1/ tbl spoons of pasta water to your sauce along with the noodles. The starch that leeches into the water while pasta cooks does a great job of helping a sauce cling to the noodles’ surface.

Finish with fat. Adding a splash of oil, and a handful of shaved cheese into your sauce right before serving, it will help even further bind noodles to their sauce. The fat infusion also amps up flavor, and lends your sauce that luxurious velvety texture that you typically only get at your better Italian restaurants.

For info and help dont hesitate to mail or call;

simon.bingham@simons-sauces.com 0642297107

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