Tuesday, 13 March 2012

nut-butter diary: pumpkin pecan butter & raw beetroot cashew pate

peanut butter is my first and abiding nut butter love. but lately it’s had to make room for some newcomers like a coarse textured almond butter made with un-skinned almonds. i spread it on toasted brown bread with a little honey for sweetness. i am pretty certain that tweaking my peanut butter cookie recipe by substituting it with almond butter would make very delicious cookies. last week i made a jar of pumpkin pecan butter. i toasted pecans, which were pulsed in the food processor and folded into roasted baby pumpkin puree. my sweetener of choice was a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup and the juice and zest of an exceptionally sweet navel orange. this butter is all about textures and flavours – grainy and rich from the pecans, brightened with orange and finished with the smoothness of pumpkin. it never made it onto toasted bread as i ate most of it with a spoon. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

reflections on the first meal of the day plus a trip to st.ali coffeebar and cafe

banana bread with cult of done espresso mascarpone
breakfast and i were not always on good terms. as a child it was the most fraught meal of the day as mama insisted on boiled eggs that i did not like. along with that my dadi would give me warm fresh milk claiming that she had strained it, which was not true as proven by my gag reflex. during my teens i dispensed with breakfast as a wholly unnecessary meal. all that changed in my late teens though as i got over my dislike of yolks and grew to love eggs. i swirled mama’s homemade jams and preserves into yoghurt and not only discovered granola but also became really good at making it. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

martha stewart's [truffled] crack and cheese

reheated leftovers - martha's crack and cheese
béchamel; that perfect marriage of scalded milk thickened with a roux. the addition of a scant pinch of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, sea salt and a generous grind of coarse black pepper give it some warmth. a trio of cheeses – gruyère, mature cheddar and pecorino romano transform it into a cheese sauce. it helps to coarsely grate the cheeses beforehand so that they dissolve easily in the béchamel. my sister-in-law’s stirred it in batches. truffles have a natural alchemy with cheese and cream and so i finished the cheese béchamel with a couple of drops of black truffle oil. that combined with the aroma of flour toasted in butter and pungent cheeses was an olfactory explosion.