31 July 2011

Recipe: Vanilla Pannacotta with rhubarb 'crumble'

This simple yet stunning dish takes a bit of time but it's definitely worth it. It's my modern take on the classic crumble and uses one of my favourite British products in rhubarb.  Great for wowing guests; it's a good one for entertaining as most of the work can be done in advance.

300g       Caster sugar
675ml    Double cream
Tsp         Vanilla essence
4              Gelatine leaves
300g       Rhubarb, trimmed to equal batons (keep the scraps)
80g         Plain flour
50g         Caster sugar
20g         Brown sugar
55g         Butter
25g         Mint

1)            Soak gelatine in cold water
2)            Bring cream, sugar and vanilla to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
3)            Bring off the boil and add gelatine, whisking to dissolve.
4)            Pour into moulds and refrigerate.
5)            Put all ingredients in a blender and blitz to a fine crumb
6)            Press crumb together into 2cm cubes and freeze for 1 hour until solid
7)            Make a simple syrup with equal quantities of sugar and water, whisking on a medium heat until dissolved.   Allow to cool to blood temperature then, taking a small amount, get your mini blender and blitz the mint with some on the syrup, adding until you reach a syrupy consistency.  Set aside.
8)            Blitz the cubes then press onto a baking mat evenly to about a 5mm thickness then bake in the oven for around 7 minutes.
9)            Take out and cut with a rectangular cutter whilst still pliable.  Then bake again for 3-4 mins until golden brown
10)          Cool on a cooling wire.
11)          Lastly, reheat the stock syrup, adding the rhubarb scraps (this adds a nice colour to the rhubarb) bring to the boil and remove the scraps.  Turn the heat down as low as possible and  add the rhubarb batons and cover with cling film. Poach for 5-7 mins until tender and remove.
12) Dip the pannacottas in boiling water for a few seconds and remove from mould.  Place on the plate.
13) Stack up a few pieces of the rhubarb and add the crumble biscuit on top.  Drizzle with the mint oil and serve.

Peter suggests...

I'm off East for this one, and pushing the boat out on price, but not suggesting you buy a specific wine, just a style of wine that might be new to you.  Try a Tokaji sweet wine from Hungary, but don't be put off by the price!  You will only want a small amount of it so a 20cl bottle would be perfect for two to four people, and you can get a good 20cl bottle for around £13.  Tokaji is one of the world's great wines, and usually give a slight flavour of rhubarb  - that will match the crumble - and you also get a honeyed note as well that will work so well with the vanilla pannacotta.  If you get one of the cheaper Tokaji (for example a 3 puttonyos wine), you will also get a very noticeable herbal flavour that will work nicely with the mint oil too.  If you like these wines, you could even buy a few and start a wine cellar with them, as they will last for decades, and if you go really expensive, centuries.

20 July 2011

Recipe: Cauliflower soup with curry oil and crunchy croutons

Cauliflower is often seen as a winter vegetable when in fact it’s actually a summer one. Often overlooked for its more fashionable rival, broccoli, it’s rich in Vitamin C and a great antioxidant.  It’s also linked to preventing breast and prostate cancer.

Cauliflower was one of the rare foods I’m actually not overly fond of, but this dish totally converted me!

Cauliflower soup with curry oil and croutons

Ingredients (serves 6)
1 Cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, fine diced
1 stick celery, fine diced
1 tsp curry powder
500ml chicken or veg stock
500ml milk
150ml single cream
3 slices slightly stale bread
15ml olive or rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp curry powder

1)      Sweat the onions for 2-3 minutes and add the curry powder
2)      Add the florets and stir for a couple of mines, coating in the curry powder (add more if you like it hot!)
3)      Add milk and stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the florets are soft.
4)      Meanwhile, cut the bread into small cubes and drizzle lightly with oil.  Put in a preheated oven (mark 6) for about 8 minutes or until golden
5)      Mix the curry powder with the oil and stir.  Set aside
6)      Blitz in a blender and strain to a smooth consistency.
7)      Finish with the cream.
8)      To present, place a few croutons in the centre and drizzle the oil around.

Peter suggests...
I'm going a little left field here and picking a Chenin Blanc, probably from South Africa, and picking the 2010 Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc.  The tropical fruit and honey elements that come from this wine will offer stonkingly good balance with the cauliflower flavour, yet the spice will be tempered by the honey note.  Plus, this wine from Adi Badenhorst is outstanding value for money. £8.99 from Swig, Luvians, Jeroboams  If you want a red instead, give a decent Beaujolais Villages or Fleurie a shot, and these wines should go well too.

18 July 2011

Review of the Seafood Restaurant from earlier this year

I was pleased to find that the service had greatly improved from my previous visit, as i felt it didn't quite compliment the outstanding food previously. This time there was more discretion and passion about the menu.

I had Quail with onion compote, grapes and onion rosti was starter, beautifully presented and an ideal size portion wise. Main course, Cod with chorizo risotto and baby leeks - again nicely presented and a filling size. Great flavours cvoming through there. Onto dessert, probably the best course for me, Valhrona chocolate delice with cointreau jelly, mandarin sorbet and oranges. The delice was outstanding and was greatly complimented by the flavours around it. The presentation made it look appetising and wasn't trying to be pretentious, which can often be a fault in fine dining establishments.

The only thing that let it down was there was only three bottles in stock of the beer we wanted. Although the waiter explained they had went through a lot the previous night and apologised several times, it was disapointing.

It was a pity it was so quiet, probably because of the weather, but it kind of gave the place an eery atmosphere - a pity because the menu is such good value. Strongly recommended

12 July 2011

Wine suggestions for my dishes

Delighted to welcome Peter Wood from The Tasting Note on board to marry up wines to my dishes.  Check out his suggested wines below and check out his site at www.thetastingnote.com/

Pan fried Sea Bream with asparagus, broad beans and chilli dressing on a bed of sauteed potatoes
Asparagus is the tricky bit here, as it does clash with a lot of grape varieties, so my default is always to go to Sauvignon Blanc.  You could go with something from New Zealand, but I think that that might overpower the sea bream, so I'd go to the Loire.  A wine like the one from 2010 Domaine des Vieux Pruniers Sancerre would give the vegetal notes that will compete with the asparagus, yet will have a lovely light citrus flavour to go with the fish.  (£11 - £14 from The Fine Wine Company, Enotria)

Sweet potato & chorizo soup
A rich, sweet potato soup is going to be hard to pair with a wine, as you tend not to bother drinking wine with soup!  Nevertheless, I'd go with something that not only cuts the sweetness of the root veg, but also complements the spicier chorizo flavour.  This would lead me to either a dry German or Alsatian riesling.  Something like 2009 Weingut Winter Riesling Trocken would cut the sweet flavour, yet isn't as zingy as a new world riesling, and the softer lime flavours would work with the spicy notes. (£11-£12 from Swig, Luvians St Andrews)

11 July 2011

Recipe: Pan fried sea bream with asparagus, broad beans and chilli dressing on a bed of sauteed potatoes

Celebrate British asparagus season...

Ingredients (serves 1):

1x Sea bream fillet
4x British asparagus spears
4x Broad bean shoots
3x small potatoes
1/2 red chilli, finely diced
3 tbsp sugar
Splash white wine vinegar
150ml water
Sea salt


1) Par boil the potatoes for around 3 mins. Drain and allow to cool, then slice to around the thickness of your pinky.

2) Remove the broad beans from the pod and shuck the green bean from the pale skin

3) Trim the asparagus with a speed peeler

4) Add the sugar, water and vinegar to a pan and whisk to dissolve. Then add the chilli and gently simmer to reduce slightly

5) Meanwhile, place a frying pan on a medium heat.  Add a splash of oil and brown the potatoes on both sides for 2-3 mins.

6) In another pan, place the bream skin side down for 2-3 mins until crisp, flip for a further min and add the asparagus.

7) Drop the broad beans into boiling water for 1 min then drain.

8) Place the potatoes in the centre of the plate with the bream on top (skin side up), place a spear of asparagus on each side of the plate and scatter the broad beans.  Drizzle with the chilli sauce. Season to taste.

7 July 2011

My Philosophy

I started this blog to hopefully get people back into their kitchens cooking up some healthy, wholesome, tasty grub that inspires people to pick up a pot or pan rather than the phone to the local takeaway.

To me, meal time is one of the best times of the day and preparing food for friends or family is very rewarding.  Families’ sitting around the dinner table catching up on each other’s day seems almost lost to dinner in front of the TV or eating on the run; and I hope to encourage people to get cooking for and with their family!

There seems to be a stigma around cooking these days that it’s ‘too hard’ or ‘I can’t do it’ well I’m here to tell you that anyone can do it! My recipes are simple to follow and very achievable and I’m open to any questions or advice anyone needs. 

Using fresh produce, especially local produce, is something I will always champion and pride myself upon.  Britain has such an amazing natural larder and we should take advantage of this!

If I can reach out to just one person; I’ll have had a result.  Happy Cooking!

Recipe: Sweet potato and chorizo soup

This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Spain...

2 medium/ sweet potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp curry powder(add more if u like spicy)
2 chicken stock cubes
I used what chorizo I had in fridge but say roughly 250g, diced into cubes
100ml single cream

1) sweat the onion for 2 mins then add garlic for further one, mix in curry powder and add sweet potato and carrot.

2) mix in so all is coated and cook for 2 mins stirring occasionally (mainwhile boil kettle for stock)

3) add stock and bring to boil, then allow to simmer til soft (around 20 mins)

4) fry off all the diced chorizo until crisp, reserving the oil for garnish. Add half chorizo to soup.

5) blitz in/with a blender til smooth and strain through a sieve for silky smooth, adjusting consistency with water if necessary

6) add cream ( taste you might not need it all, I added too much curry and chilli too start haha)

7) serve in bowl, add few bits of the remaining chorizo and drizzle the chorizo oil and cream to serve


Welcome to Phil's Food World! Here i aim to post recipes, provide cooking advice and encourage people to cook! Enjoy...