steak béarnaise with watercress and burnt onions

ingredients:

serves 4

2 x 4cm thick sirloin steak (about 500g ea)
salt pepper
50g watercress, washed

for the onions:
4 large onions

for the béarnaise:

reduction:
2 shallots, finely chopped
pinch black pepper
60ml white wine
60ml wine vinegar
1 branch tarragon

250g butter, 3 egg yolks, 40ml hot water and 2T fresh tarragon chopped

method:

preheat the oven on 200c
place the onions on a tray and bake skin on for 1h
remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30min before cutting in half and pull out the cooked flesh

cook the steaks:
rub the steaks with salt and pepper
place on a baking tray and in the oven at 125c for 35 min
remove from the oven and rest for 15 min
place a cast iron griddle on high heat
when rested, sear the steaks for 1 min on each side
when done, you can cut and serve that meat immediately

make your béarnaise (this can be done while the steaks are slow cooking in the oven):

place the wine, vinegar, tarragon and black pepper in a small pot on the heat
reduce on medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated
set aside
then get your equipment right: add 2 fingers of water to a small pot and set a glass or metal bowl over the pot – it must not touch the water. Now melt the butter in a microwave oven until it is very hot. Turn on the heat under the pot. Remove the bowl and add the egg yolks, hot water and half the lemon juice. Beat with a wire whisk or handheld electric whisk for 2 to 3 minutes
to aerate the eggs. Reduce the heat under the pot so that the water is simmering and place the bowl over the water. Carry on whisking or beating constantly over the steam. as the egg starts to cook it will whiten and thicken.

When it gets to the ribbon stage (if you lift your whisk, the mixture will drip slowly down, forming a link to the mixture below) it is time to start adding the melted butter. Remove the bowl from the heat to a board. Scoop up a little of the hot butter and whisk it in. (This is like emulsifying
a hot mayonnaise.) Continue until all the butter is emulsified in the egg mixture. if you don’t want it to be too rich, you can use just three-quarters of the butter. When you are happy that your sauce is the right consistency, taste it, add the reduction that you kept aside and the fresh tarragon

to assemble:

place the onion flesh on the plates
add a little handful of watercress
place the sliced steak on top of the watercress
sauce generously
serve

ripe strawberries with creme anglaise

ingredients:

serves 4

for the crème Anglaise:
500ml milk
6 egg yolks
125g white sugar
1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and seeds removed and set aside

for the strawberries:
500g strawberries
juice of half a lemon and half an orange
5 heaped t castor sugar

make the creme anglaise:

scald the milk with the vanilla pod over medium heat. In the meantime, cream together the egg yolk, sugar and vanilla seeds, whisking constantly until it whitens and the yolk is pale yellow. By now, your milk should be simmering. whisking constantly, pour a little of the milk into the egg mixture to warm and dilute the egg mixture slightly, gradually adding in up to half the milk. when well mixed, carefully return all the egg mixture to the milk in the pot, whisking constantly. watch out: this is where it can all go wrong! return to medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon, ensuring the cream doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pot. after just a couple of minutes, the custard will start to thicken: you need to cook it until it coats the back of the spoon (see page 236). take it off the heat and decant immediately into a large cold bowl. allow to cool and refrigerate.

macerate the strawberries:

Be a little bit picky – your strawberries must be sweetly ripe, fragrant and bright red. remove the stems and rinse them if you have to or just wipe if not too sandy. quarter the strawberries. add with the lemon and orange juice and sugar to a bowl. toss well and refrigerate for at least an hour. Leave to macerate in the fridge so they’re nice and cool.

to serve:

refrigerate four large flat soup plates so they are ice cold. divide the berries and syrup between the four chilled bowls, and present the crème anglaise in a jug on the table, making sure each guest pours a generous quantity into the centre of their chilled soup.

celeriac remoulade tian

ingredients:

serves 4

for franck’s tapenade:
150g pitted black calamata olives 8 basil leaves, torn by hand
1t capers
1 anchovy fillet
1⁄2t tomato paste olive oil
red wine vinegar

for the remoulade:
1 medium celeriac bulb (about 500g)
about 150g homemade mayonnaise
juice of half a lemon

for the prawn fritters:
200ml ice-cold beer 130g self-raising flour
12 large tiger prawns (21/25), shelled and deveined
salt

make the tapenade:

Place the olives, basil, capers, anchovy and tomato paste in the jug of a food processor and pulse while gradually drizzling in olive oil until you achieve the right texture. do not overprocess: it should be fairly chunky. add the vinegar only if needed (this will depend on the olives you use). use your judgment: close your eyes and taste it intelligently – and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

make the remoulade:

celeriac grows underground and must be enthusiastically peeled on a chopping board with a paring knife – get in there and take off about 1⁄2cm or up to a third of the gross weight, getting right to white flesh. your net weight should be about 400g. finely grate the peeled celeriac. Immediately mix in the mayonnaise and lemon juice. now taste it: is it yummy? Is it creamy enough? was your lemon big enough? adjust as needed.

for the fritters:

Preheat the fryer to 180 ̊c. Meanwhile, make the batter: place the beer in a food processor, turn it on and gradually pour in the self-raising flour to form a light batter.

the prawns cook quickly, so prepare each plate at this stage: using a recycled small tomato-paste tin with the top and base removed as a mould, spoon the remoulade into the centre of each plate.

Pour the batter into a bowl and add the prawns.

when frying the prawns, use your hands; if you use tools, you will drop the prawns in from too high, splattering hot oil all over yourself! Be careful but confident. take each prawn by the tail and check that it is covered in neither too little nor too much batter. slowly lower it into the oil; wait until the prawn is in contact with the oil and starts to bubble before letting go. cook 6 prawns simultaneously for 60 seconds until the batter is brown and crisp. raise the basket, drain for a few seconds and then place the prawns on paper towels. repeat to cook all the prawns, then season with salt.

arrange 3 prawns on top of the remoulade on each plate. to finish, drizzle with a little tapenade and eat!

salmon tartare with avocado

ingredients:

serves 4

250g salmon flesh ( free of skin, bones and brown fat removed)
2T snipped chives
2T chopped coriander
4T olive oil
salt, pepper
juice of 1 lime

1 small ripe avocado, peeled and crushed with a fork:
add: little lemon juice, salt and 2T chopped basil
set aside

to garnish:

8T olive oil
4T soy sauce
4 pinches fresh sea lettuce
some kwepi mayo

method:

mix the crushed avo with the lemon and basil, season
chop the salmon in small chunks using a sharp chefs knife on a cutting board
place the chopped salmon in a bowl
add the chives and coriander
add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well
add the lime juice

assemble:

place 4 rings on the plates
divide the avo mix between the 4 rings
using a spoon, flatten the avo as a base inside each ring
now divide the salmon mix between the 4 rings
flatten the top using the spoon
remove the rings
garnish around the salmon tartare with little seaweed
you can also add 2 fresh oysters( out of their shells) to the plates (optional)
make little blobs on the plate with the kwepi mayo (optional)
drizzle with the olive oil and the soy

crème Catalane

ingredients:

300ml cream
6 egg yolks
100g castor sugar
100ml milk
1.5tsp corn flour
couple drops Bergamot essence

method:

scald the milk and cream in a pot

whisk the yolks and sugar and corn flour until creamed and light and fluffy.
temper the eggs with the milk mix.
pour remaining egg mix back onto the cream.
cook on a medium heat until a thick coating consistency is reached. do not overcook as it will curdle.
add Bergamot.
pour into bowls and bake in the oven until lightly set at 130 degrees
this should not take longer than 15 min
when cooked, allow to cool and refrigerate
before serving, sprinkle the surface of the creme with castor sugar and caramelise with a blow torch

roast lamb racks with lemon and marjoram cream and luigi’s poèlée

ingredients:

serves 8
8 racks of lamb, 4 bones in each, trimmed
(keep all trimmings to make a stock)
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Luigi’s poèlée:
600g rosa tomatoes, washed
400g baby courgettes, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

sauce:
1 bunch of fresh marjoram (4 tablespoons chopped) juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
60ml dry white wine
500ml cream and 100g butter

first make the poèlée:

heating a good splash of olive oil in a large fry- ing pan until the oil smokes. Flash-fry the courgettes, tossing constantly, then add the tomatoes. Don’t overcrowd the pan – rather fry in batches – as the courgettes must be golden-brown and the tomatoes must be cooked through. When the tomatoes are soft, add the garlic and fry for one minute. Pour everything out of the pan, including the oil, and fry the next batch. Keep aside and allow the flavours to mingle while you prepare everything else. This dish improves the longer it stands. Add salt and pepper before serving.

season the lamb:

generously all over with salt and pepper. Sear in a frying pan on high heat with a splash of olive oil so that it is brown on all sides. Place in a preheated oven at 180°C. Roast for 8 minutes if you want it medium; 10–12 minutes for medium. Remove from the pan and leave to rest for five minutes. Pour any juices from the roasting pan into the poèlée.

make the sauce:

bring the lemon juice and wine to the boil in a large pot. Add the cream and cook until it reduces by a third. Whisk in the cold, diced butter and chopped marjoram. Liquidise with a hand blender until it is frothy on top.

serve:

in soup plates so that all the juices mix. First ladle in some of the poèlée, including some of the oil. Top with slices of lamb and a swirl of lemon froth. The combined flavours are sharp, rich and delicious.

nectarine tarte tatin with praline ice cream

Tarte tatin is a triumph that started as a mistake. In fact, like many things in the life of a cook, you’ll find that quite a few of the triumphs are the result of having to make a plan… when you run out of something or have to substitute something for another, quite often you end up with a better result. In the 1880s, the tatin sisters made a beautiful apple tart that proceeded to fall out of its mould as they were lifting it out of the oven and while the master was waiting for his dessert. In order to salvage it, they slid it from the floor onto a tray, from the tray into a pan with butter and sugar. they recaramelized the apple side of the tart and then flipped it over to serve it and keep their jobs – and the tatin was born.

ingredients:

you will need a deep 23cm frying pan with a metal handle as the tarte will go from the stovetop into the oven.
2 large nectarines, not too ripe, halved and pip removed
1t butter
2t sugar
ready-made puff pastry cut into a disc with a diameter of 30cm and about 1⁄2cm thick, kept on a plate in the fridge

method:

Preheat the oven to 180 ̊c. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the sugar and toss to mix until it bubbles slightly. add the nectarines curved side down, cook until a slight colour is obtained and then take the pan off the heat.

take the pastry out of the fridge, place it over the fruit and use the back of a spoon to tuck the pastry edges in all around the pan, keeping it completely flat on top. (should you decide to double up the recipe and use a larger frying pan, remember to increase the diameter of your pastry accordingly.) Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

so far, so easy… the hard part is turning it out: the trick is to remove the frying pan from the oven directly to a medium flame on the stovetop. Gently rotate the pan over the heat to spread the caramel and loosen the fruit and pastry. once you are sure the fruit is detached from the base of the pan, invert a plate over the pan and swiftly flip the lot over – you need to be committed and confident now so that you don’t hesitate mid-air and allow the hot caramel to dribble out onto your wrist. Let it cool for a few minutes and then cut into quarters, each with half a nectarine. serve each quarter on a plate with a generous scoop of praline ice cream next to it, and listen to the angels sing!

seared fish on tapenade toast with tomato and parsley salad

ingredients:

for the fish:
4 portions of hake, dorade or seawise (farmed) cob, bones removed; if leaving the skin on, score it with a small sharp knife
2 crispy rolls, halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled olive oil

for the tapenade:
150g pitted black calamata olives 8 basil leaves, torn by hand
1t capers
2 anchovy fillet
1⁄2t tomato paste
olive oil
red wine vinegar (optional)

for the salad:
1 big ripe heirloom tomato, cubed, or 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
1⁄2 a small red onion, chopped
1 handful of cleaned, picked flat-leaf parsley
2t red wine vinegar 4t olive oil
salt and pepper

to make the tapenade:

you can do this up to a week ahead as it keeps really well in the fridge. Place the olives, basil, capers, anchovy and tomato paste in the jug of a food processor and pulse while gradually drizzling in olive oil until you achieve the right texture. do not overprocess: keep the tapenade fairly chunky. add the vinegar only if needed – this will depend on the olives you use. use your own judgment: close your eyes, put the tapenade on your tongue and taste it intelligently.

toast the rolls:

place the halved rolls in a hot oven until slightly brown and completely crisp throughout. remove, cool slightly, rub with garlic cloves and drizzle with some olive oil. Place on the plates.

cook the fish:

heat a little olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan. season the fish with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. If you prefer to leave the skin on, start with the fillets skin-side down and cook until the skin is crispy. turn over and cook briefly until just cooked – cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish fillets. It is better to play it safe and leave the fish a little undercooked: it will continue to cook slightly while it rests.

make the salad:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to your taste.

to serve:

while the fish rests, spread the crispy rolls generously with tapenade, top with the fish, spoon over the salad, drizzle the salad juices around the rolls on the plates, and serve.

cauliflower brandade & fresh fish sashimi

for the brandade:

half a very white medium cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, washed

juice of 1 lemon

10 nice basil leaves olive oil

for the sashimi:

320g fillet of fresh fish (use a firm fish such as yellowtail, grouper, cape salmon, cob, sea bass, sea bream or snapper), skin, bones and red/brown fat carefully removed

10 basil leaves juice of 1 lemon salt and pepper

to finish:

aïoli
a few petals of pickled ginger soya sauce
olive oil

make the brandade: 

this can be done a day ahead as it has to be served ice-cold. cook the cauliflower in lots of hot water (no salt required) for a good half hour until very soft. remove from the pan and leave to drain for 10 minutes. do not refresh. while still hot, place the cauliflower in a food processor, add the lemon juice and tear in the basil leaves.

close the lid of the food processor and blend, slowly adding at least 4t or more of olive oil through the little peephole in the lid until the purée has a silky texture. season with salt while still processing. take the lid off and taste: you are looking for a very smooth, very velvety purée that will have turned slightly green because of the basil leaves. decant into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours until very cold.

for the sashimi: 

cut the fish into 1⁄2cm-thick slices. divide the slices between the plates and add a large dollop of brandade to semi-overlap the fish. coarsely chop the basil and sprinkle over the fish. season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

to finish: 

spoon the aïoli alongside the sashimi and add a few petals of pickled ginger, a few drops of soya sauce and a sprinkling of olive oil.