Saturday, May 29, 2010

Burger Challenge


The internet is full of amazing recipes for different types of burgers. I like my burgers made of beef so that is what I focused on. I was surprised too see that the recipe I had in mind could not be found online! My recipe is taken from a burger I ate in Majorca eons ago so I can only vaguely remember it but it was served with bananas! Now before anyone goes UGH..... you have to try this. The flavor of the banana with the combination of beef and sweet pickle is amazing! I did not serve it with fries as I think a salad would make a better accompaniment. I added the onions and tomatoes as a side - I think people like to stack their burger their own way so they are optional. My recipe is almost a build it yourself. Choose your combination!




Ingredients for the burger
10oz brisket
10oz rump
10oz chuck
The bast base for a burger is using different cuts of meat.  I asked the butcher to mince the meats together that way I get a great combination. 
1/2 lb pancetta
1 envelope Liptons onion soup
2 mild pickles (I used Vlasic stackers that are already sliced - about 8 of them)

Method
Chop the pickles into small cubes
Fry the pancetta (don't use any oil, the pancetta will release enough)
Take the pancetta out but keep the oil in the pan
Chop the pancetta
Add the pickles, onion soup, and pancetta to the meat
Add the oil in a drizzle
Mix well (hands do the best job here)
Let stay for about 20 mins (covered)

Caramelized onions
2 large sweet onions, sliced into rings
salt and pepper to taste

Fry on a low heat in the pancetta oil until golden and tender, stirring occasionally. Make sure they don't burn.

Tomato Salad
4 heirloom tomatoes (I chose different colors to look attractive)
Balsamic vinegar (aged if possible)
Olive Oil
salt and Pepper.

Cut tomatoes into wedges, drizzle with oil and vinegar
Season with salt and pepper
Easy huh?

Bananas!
3 bananas, not over ripe, slices lengthwise 3 times
Fry in butter until brown.
Take out of pan and put on kitchen paper to absorb the excess butter.

Now you can build your burger!
I grilled my burgers on the BBQ but a grill pan would do fine. I like by burgers medium rare but again it's a matter of choice.
I then used a poppy-seed bun, which I lightly toasted, put the burger in between, added the bananas on top and had the onions and tomatoes as a side. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foodie Fights!

The competition is on again! I have been chosen to participate in the next Foodie Fights challenge - and the challenge is..a BURGER!
Check their page on Tuesday and If you like mu submission Vote For Me!
I'm off to create the perfect burger, and the result will be on my blog on Monday 31st May

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick and easy salad

I paid a visit to La Buona Tavola in Seattle and bought some amazing truffle salt. It seems expensive but a tiny pinch goes a long way and the taste is amazing. Just a dash of it on a salad makes such a difference.
Trying to make up for my over indulgence, I decided to stick to a salad today. Fast and easy. I used some baby spinach leaves, an avocado, a large tomato and some cubed cheese. Can't remember the name but again bought on my trip. I think it was a creamy type of cheese buy you can use any type. I made a dressing using balsamic vinegar, a dash of the truffle salt, some olive oil and pepper. Added a few basil leaves and DONE!
Nothing very original but I thought I'd share the truffle salt with you! You can buy it on line so no excuses!!

Georgian Lobster Bisque


This is the Recipe I received from the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle from the kitchens of the Georgian Restaurant. I was also given the permission to blog about it - YEA!
This is a delicate bisque, seasoned to perfection and a great starter.

Georgian Lobster Bisque
Ingredients 
2     Crushed Lobster Bodies
2tbs   Olive Oil
1/2cup   Celery
1/2cup   Onion
1/2cup   Carrot
1tbl      Fresh Tarragon
2sprigs Fresh Thyme
1oz      Tomato Paste
1/4cup    Rice
2oz    Cognac
1/2cup   Heavy Cream
5cups      Reduced Lobster Stock or Water



Method
In saucepot add olive oil and sauté crushed lobster bodies over medium high heat until all liquid is reduce. Lower heat to medium and add celery, carrot, onion, thyme, and tarragon, cook until lightly caramelizing being careful not to burn. Add tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes de-glaze with cognac, reduce. Add rice, lobster stock and simmer for 1 hour. Finish with heavy cream simmer for 20 minuets and strain through cheesecloth.



The Georgian

The Georgian, now celebrating its 20th year rated as a AAA 4 Diamond restaurant, features French-inspired Northwest cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson in Seattle's premier dining room. The Georgian offers The Petite, an exclusive private dining room with seating for up to twelve guests, which is perfect for an intimate get together. The Georgian also features live jazz music Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spinach Strawberry Salad

After my pig out in Seattle I really need to get back to some healthy eating. The oils and vinegars I tried on my trip, as well as the excellent goat's cheese we tried at the market,  reminded me of this recipe - one of my favorites.

Ingredients:
2 bunches baby spinach, 
a good handful of slivered almonds
1 cup largish strawberries, sliced
2tbs crumbled feta cheese


Dressing
1 tbs best olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp honey
1tsp Dijon mustard
Mix the above


Chill the dressing, Remove stems and veins from spinach and tear into bite-sized pieces; mix with the strawberries, cheese and almonds. Add the dressing. EAT!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pike Place Market

This was a must on my list of things to do in Seattle. I miss a Marketplace as there was a great one in Malta - which reminded me of Pike Place. Lots of vendors, noise, smells (good ones) and people.
The variety of food here, however, was amazing - there seemed to be all types of stuff from fruit to vegetables, flowers, jams, some handmade items and of course fish!
The small shops around the market place were also really interesting. there was one that just sold oils - and had a tasting table! Mum bought some for my Brother who kindly took us to the airport - and picked us up. Stupid me did not buy some for myself!
This is the 'Sotto Voce' shop. Their website is http://sottovoce.com and worth a visit!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seattle

I just got back from Seattle...and boy did i eat! Thanks to my IATA card, I got a great deal at the Fairmont Olympic where the food was amazing! Stupid me I only had my phone to take pictures with so the quality of the pictures is not that good. Kudos goes to the chef, Gavin Stephenson. I generally am not a fan of hotel cuisine but this experience only proved that the best hotels do have the best food. (maybe I previously stayed at sub standard hotels!?)
This is the outside of the hotel

When we arrived it was tea time...so we checked in and had our tea...
We went for a walk to see our surroundings, and wok up an appetite (like I need any help to do that)  and them it was time for dinner..
The restaurant was impeccable, the service made us feel like film stars and the food was to die for!
Presentation was also the best...I am at a loss for words!
We started with the amuse bouche...my bouche was very amused I must say! Sadly the pics did not come out well...
The bread was served with different kinds of butter - plain butter, sage butter, tarragon butter and balsamic vinegar butter...
We ordered off the menu of the day which was starters, main and a dessert...
The pork had this amazing mash potato that had a mushroom puree mixed in. What a great idea and so easy to make. The taste was delicate yet so full of flavour!

The mash potatoes were served in a 'cylinder' made of fried potato and the mash was them put in it. You can see it on the top left of the picture. The fillet of pork was cooked to perfection and the sauce was out of this world!
The Georgian Restaurant is known for it's soufflĂ©s and this was a white and dark chocolate one. So light and fluffy, covered with powdered sugar, chocolate and and chocolate covered strawberry with a side of cream...
As you can imagine I slept VERY well that night!

My next post will be about Pike Place Market...I was told this is a much to visit and it sure is!
Keep reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guacamole

I am back from my trip to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in Mexico....and did I eat!! The resort was all inclusive so I had a chance to sample lots of food! However, I did eat the best guacamole ever so I asked the chef for his recipe. It was so simple! I wasn't given the exact proportions but here is what I was told. Ah yes, I agreed to post the chef's picture too!!
Guacamole
4 avocados, get the best quality you can find.
Mash with a spoon.
add:
1/2 a small red onion finely chopped
2 firm yet ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped finely
1tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh cilantro very finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste.
Add to the mashed avocado and mix well

Serve with nachos.

Here are a few pictures of Club Med Ixtapa. You really should try out Club med! E mail me if you want details and a great bargain!


The sailing shack - I sailed (no wind though!) and went for a kayak ride.
Another view of the beach.

View of the beach from the reception



My room, and this is the most basic...you should see the suites!

I am off to Seattle now so I hope I will get some good recipes from there! Keep reading!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photos of Malta

Carmelita, from Cook Italy send these beautiful pictures of the Maltese countryside. Malta is generally rather arid, but after the rains, the island is even prettier!

I was also sent the following pictures, of the road where I used to live. I am not sure who took them though...

We had owned the bottom flat in this picture - as children we would play on the patio, or 'parapett'

This is the top of the road we used to call 'the three trees' - there is only one left though!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Perfect Sponge Cake

The 'secret' to a perfect result is in the beating of the eggs and the sugar. It is during this stage that air is incorporated to the mixture and that is essential for the cake to turn out really soft and sponge like without using any yeast.Eggs and sugar have to be beaten for quite a while, never less than 15 mins, with a good beater until the mixture is frothy and a pale yellow in colour. To test that it has been beaten enough, if you let some of the mixture fall from the beater back into the mixture, it remains 'sitting' on top for a while. If this doesn’t happen it means that the eggs have not been beaten enough and you need to beat them much more.


Don't forget the salt - often omitted - as this helps the eggs to become light and fluffy

Another  phase where you have to be careful is the addition of the flour. This has to be sifted extremely well and added to the egg mixture using a wooden spoon with a gentle but fast movement, stirring from bottom to top, folding in as much air as possible

While cooking, the oven must NEVER be opened as this will cause the cake to deflate. Before removing it from the oven, check that the sides have pulled inwards from the pan, check that the cake is ready using a skewer poked into the middle of the cake. If it comes out absolutely clean then the cake is ready

It is also a good idea that when the cake is ready, turn off the oven but leave the cake there for about 10 mins so that it can cool down slowly. After that, turn the cake out of the pan and put it on a cooling rack

Ingredients:
6 eggs
180gms sugar
75 gms flour
75 gms corn flour (corn starch for Americans)
Pinch of salt
(optional - grated rind of 1/2 lemon)

Method
Put eggs and sugar into a bowl and beat for about 15 mins until you have a frothy foamy mixture Add the flours by sifting them into the mixture and folding gently with a wooden spoon.
Put the mixture into a well greased cake tin, level out the mixture and cook in a pre heated over at 150C for about 40 mins

This can be used as a base for tiramisu or trifle and is also delicious on its own with just a dusting of powdered sugar

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana

This is a super easy dish thats tastes divine! I sometimes make a bechamel sauce for the top but since I am trying to diet I have omitted that this time! You can also grill the eggplant to lessen the calories (why does fried stuff taste so good?) You can use your favourite seasonings as well, or a touch of fresh basil.

Ingredients

1 Kg egg plant(aubergine)
100 gr. grated parmisan cheese
200 gr. mozzarella- grated
2 cans tomatoes
2 onions
Garlic
basil
Olive Oil

Method:
Cut the eggplant lengthwise, salt slightly, place aluminum foil on top and a weight ( a cook book!)
Let stay for about an hour.In the meantime, fry onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the tomatoes and herbs and let simmer for about 30 mins.
Pre heat the oven to 180C or 380F
Rinse the egg plant and fry gently untill almost cooked.
Layer the vegetables with mozzarella, sauce and grated cheese ending with a layer of mozzarella
Bake for about 30 mins

YUMMY!!!

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.