Monday, April 5, 2010

Creating The Best Tiramisu Recipe

Hello Friends;
Creating the best Tiramisu Recipe is a bold statement and a very subjective thing.There are thousands of Tiramisu recipes out there and many variations, e.g different cheese and liqueurs used, whether to use the egg whites, to cook the yolks or use raw, to serve in individual glasses or to cut and serve as you would a cake. Chef Jules tiramisu recipe is one which I have been making for 31 years at Bosco Verde Epsom Restaurant and it is extremely popular, and since I promised Tommaso from italianrecipesblog.com, that I would reveal it in my next post, here goes.
I want to preface my Tiramisu recipe by saying, particularly to traditionalists, that the reason I use half Mascarpone and half Philadelphia cream cheese is that the Philadelphia gives a nice tange and firmness to the recipe. I also use Chocolate Liquor, which is only 13.9% alcohol, to mix with the coffee. Many people use Kahlua or Tia Maria, which is ok, but I prefer the Chocolate Liquor as I use quite a lot and there is already a strong coffee flavour from the espresso. I also add Brandy or Grappa in the cheese mixture.
For this Tiramisu recipe you will need tray like container approximately 22cm long, 32cm wide and 6cm deep. I use a tupperware container, with lid which is perfect for this, ceramic or glass would be fine, just don't use aluminium, in fact throw away all aluminium cooking vessels and containers right now! Tiramisu must be made in advance and kept in the fridge overnight before serving. My recipe makes 14 generous portions and can be halved if required.
Best Tiramisu Recipe Ingredients, (14 portions)
6 egg yolks
250g caster sugar
500g philadelphia cream cheese
500g mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or grappa
700ml cream
48 savoiardi biscuits
600ml strong coffee
100ml chocolate liquor
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
Method for making best Tiramisu recipe
You can start by making the coffee, which needs to be cooled. I use my espresso machine, but a Napoletana stove-top coffee maker or Vesuviana is also good. Once you have 600ml, add the brown sugar, chocolate liquor and cool.
Now make the cheese mixture by softening the Philadelphia, a microwave on low power for 3 minutes is good for this. While you are doing this, whisk the yolks and sugar until white. Add the Philadelphia, Mascarpone and keep whisking until smooth, add the vanilla, brandy and keep to one side. Whip the cream, in a separate bowl to a firm stage but taking care not to overwhip and add to the cheese mixture, mix and combine well with a spatula.
Now assemble the tiramisu by taking the savoiardi biscuits and dipping them in the coffee mixture, shaking off the excess and placing in the tray, move quickly when doing this and don't leave the biscuits in the coffee or they will disintergrate. Once you have done 1 layer, spread over half the cheese mixture and then repeat with the coffee soaked savoiardi biscuits and the rest of the cheese on top to finish. Cover and refrigerate over night.
To serve the Tiramisu
Take out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Whip 200ml of cream to a similar consistency as before and spread on top, sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve.
That's all there is to my Tiramisu recipe, hope you enjoy it.
Ciao for now

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chef Jules Talks About Japanese food

Hello Friends,
My interest in food is universal and includes many different ethnicities. Italian will always be number 1, but I also love Japanese, Thai, Chinese and French cuisine, and usually in that order.
I want to talk about Japanese food in this post. With a population of 4.7 million in New Zealand, Japanese people make up approximately 0.6% of that total. Koreans, virtually all from Southern Korea, out number Japanese, so it shouldn't come as any suprise that many "Japanese Restaurants" are owned by Koreans. Therefore authenticity cannot be guaranteed. I certainly have my favourites, in fact I often decide what I feel like on any given day, or night and go to the place that I know will deliver the best result. For example, it is usually one place for poached eggs, another for omelettes and yet another for Bagels, and that's just for breakfast! Talking of Japanese food, I break it down even further by going to one place for Sashimi and Sushi, another for tempura and another for Unagi or eel. It's the curse of being a chef. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance to a Japanese takeaway/cafe, situated off the main street in a courtyard. It's called  Wild Onion, a rather unlikely name for a Japanese place, is very casual and only opens during the day. It is a one man operation, run by a very stressed Japanese man, often seen hurrying towards the main street with his sandwich board, obviously running late. He is friendly enough, shows pride, attention to detail in his work and certainly makes the best Unagi Nigiri, ever! He assured me the eel was imported from Japan and is extremely tender. The rice is well cooked and sticky, his miso soup is also very good. He has 4 tables and one gets the impression that the owner prefers to have customers take the food away, for example, even when dining on the premises the food is served in a takeaway container and the miso soup comes in a cardboard cup. He also acts as the waiter, thereby inconveniencing and slowing his food preparation.
The eels are fresh water (Anguilla Japonica) and are pre-cooked and finished off when required. I have tried eel in many places and usually it is very tough, but not at my favourite.
Eel is commonly available in Japanese supermarkets, usually a Chinese product, boned, filleted, glaze-grilled and vacuum sealed, or frozen, known as Unagi-no-Kabayaki. Kabayaki refers to the sweet basting sauce which is similiar to Teriyaki sauce. This product is available from Tokyo Foods . Evidently, in Japan eel is cooked differently, the East being more tender as the eel is grilled, steamed and grilled again, as opposed to the West where it is simply grilled. I have also tried eel without the basting sauce, which is called Unagi
Shira-yaki, "shira" indicates the whiteness of the eel.
My other favourite Japanese dishes include, Edamame; which is young green soy beans, boiled in salted water and served in the pod. Great as a side dish to stimulate the appetite. Gyoza; dumplings filled with minced vegetables, ground meat and fried. Tempura; apparently introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th Century and is basically  fish, prawn or vegetables, coated in a very light batter and deep fryed. Soft shelled crab; deep fryed and served with a sweet chilly sauce. Sushi; a roll containing rice, and a variety of other ingredients wrapped in Nori (seaweed sheet) and sliced. Sashimi; thinly sliced raw fish, shellfish or crustacean.Yakitori; a variety of meats skewered and char-grilled. Nigiri; hand moulded rice, with a touch of wasabi paste and topped with a thin slice of raw fish or cooked eel and sometimes wrapped with a thin strip of seaweed. There are many more favourites, too numerous to mention and I haven't even talked about the Sake, hot and cold, of varing qualities!
Japanese food is all about freshness, quality ingredients, simplicity and presentation, which is why  I love it. In the photo we have Chef Jules favourite eel nigiri on the left and on the right there is a tuna sushi roll. As much as I love different cuisines I am still drawn to creating new Italian, food at boscoverde, epsom.

Ciao for now

   

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chef Jules Stuffed Pig's Trotter, Zampone Recipe

Hello Friends;
As promised I have the Zampone recipe for you. Basically Zampone Ripieno, or stuffed Pig's Trotter, is the foot and shin of a pig, boned and stuffed with a highly seasoned mixture of ground pork and herbs. I also like to add lamb sweetbreads to the stuffing, braise them in the oven for hours and serve the Zampone on a bed of lentils or Fagioli di Spagna, (butter beans). Zampone ripieno con lenticchie, is a favourite of Modena and is often served New Years Eve, when it is thought to bring good luck. You may also come across a Cotechino recipe, which is basically a sausage casing filled with ground pork, taken from the trotter, with herbs and spices added. When researching this recipe it became evident that most  Zampone recipes are assuming that you use a pre-prepared, commercially made product, I was shocked and incredulous. I believe that you should know how to do a recipe the traditional and correct way, before you take short cuts, so let's do it !
Zampone Recipe Ingredients (serves 8)                                              
8 pigs trotters
350g pork mince
200g lamb sweetbreads
30ml olive oil
30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water, drained and chopped
1 small onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
parsley, thyme, sage, teaspoon chopped of each
1 heaped tablespoon of pinenuts, toasted and crushed
1 egg
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
Method for Zampone Recipe
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add 1/2 lemon, parsley stalks and sweetbreads. Cook for 2 minutes and run under cold water, drain and roughly chop in a processor.  
In a frypan add the olive oil, onion, garlic and cook without colour.
In a bowl add all the above ingredients, excluding trotters, mix well, cover and refrigerate.
With a very sharp boning knife, take the trotters and make a cut, underside and carefully remove the bone without cutting through the top skin, (as in top photo), working your way to the toe,which you can leave in.
Fill with stuffing, making sure not to overfill, and tie with butchers string, as in above photo. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celcius.
To cook and serve the Zampone
You will need;
1 litre of beef stock
1 cup of red wine
4 star anise
6 juniper berries
1 tablespoon of pickling spice
3 bayleaves
500g lenticchie di Castelluccio or Puy Lentils.

In a baking tray add the trotters and  enough beef stock to come 3/4's of the way up the sides. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil on the stove top, check for seasoning, cover and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours and 30 minutes, turning over once during the cooking process.
Now prepare the lentils by washing a few times and place in a pot with salt and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes, drain and add 300ml of the liquid from the cooked trotters and cook further till the lentils have absorbed the liquid and keep warm.
Remove the string from the stuffed pigs trotters, slice through 3 or 4 times up to nail and serve on a bed of the lentils. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of black truffle oil just before serving to greatly enhance the flavour.
Chef Jules Tips
Other recipes, suggest that you cook the Zampone first, de-bone, and then fill it.
It really is worth trying my Zampone recipe, it may take a little more time initially, but the end result is far better.
Boning the trotter is a job best done at a leisurely pace,i.e not rushed and preferably with a nice glass of wine to sip on throughout the process.
Tell your guests what the dish is, after they have eaten it.
I hope you enjoy my Zampone recipe, it's well worth the effort. For those who might turn there nose up at the thought, I suggest you disassociate yourself from them, lol.
Ciao for now.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chef Jules Essential Pantry List

Hello Friends,

Back to culinary matters, I have compiled my essential pantry wish list, a list of things which you wouldn't necessarily think of buying, but items which will keep for a long time in the pantry and will make your culinary experience more interesting, and impressive for all. I use most of these ingredients, obtained from Sapori d'Italia, consistently in my recipes and every once in a while I will be updating, if I come across new and interesting products. You can access the list by clicking the Pantry Photo, above right.
I also have an amazing Zampone recipe for you in my next post, for those who are not sure what Zampone is, it's different, unusual, unique, amazing, wonderful with an incredible flavour and yet the thought of the ingredients revolts many people.
I look forward to sharing it with you.
Ciao for now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Superb, Stuffed Sweet Capsicum Recipe

Hello Friends;
We all had a nice picnic yesterday, using my brother-in-laws portable barbecue. My contribution was the middle part of an eye fillet, well seasoned and studded with sliced garlic and rosemary and cooked whole, turning frequently on the open grill part. It was amazing and I recommend cooking the eye fillet in this manner rather than slicing it into steaks, as it is too easily overcooked and ruined.
I also brought along some stuffed capsicums, or stuffed peppers, which I had prepared earlier in the day. I use " Little Sweeties" capsicums which come in trays, 5 to a tray and a mixture of red, orange and yellow. I want to share this recipe with you because it's so popular, loved by all (except vegetarians) and easy to prepare.
Stuffed Capsicum Recipe
20 small capsicums (small peppers, 80 mm long)
400g pork mince
20ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Thyme, parsley and sage (tablespoon of each, chopped)
1 cup of grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce
1 egg
1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Method
Place olive oil in a large fry pan and heat. Add the onions and garlic, cook for a few minutes, increase the heat and add the mince, stirring occasionally. Pour in the wine and cook for 10 minutes.
Take off the heat, add the cheeses and cool slightly. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with your very clean hands. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Take your capsicums, cut the stalk end off to create an opening, remove the seeds and fill with the mixture to just below the top of the capsicums. Place in an oiled baking tray and cook for 40 minutes.
Chef Jules Tips
Once oven baked you can serve straight away, or as I did, reheat on the barbecue. They are also nice cold.
For a vegetarian option you could replace the mince with pre-cooked rice or orzo pasta and delete the breadcrumbs.
There will be some mixture left over which, if made drier with the addition of more breadcrumbs makes fantastic burger patties.
Hope you enjoy my stuffed capsicum recipe.
I have also just published a Seafood Ravioli Recipe for Dive Planet, check it out!
Ciao for now

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chef Jules Gets A Little Fancy

Hello Friends;
Every now and again I want to give you a recipe that is a little fancy. It's my mission to provide that recipe, simplified and with ingredients that are readily available.
I cooked a Duck Breast last night that fits the bill, so here goes.

Seared Duck Breast, Mushroom and Broad Bean with Berry Jus.

















Ingredients (serves 2)
2 Duck Breasts, approximately 220grams each
8 Swiss Brown Mushrooms, sliced
1 Shallot, chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Sage Leaves, chopped
50ml olive oil
1 Tablespoon of breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper
50g Blackberries or mixed berries
100g Broad Beans, blanched and shelled
400ml Beef Stock
60ml Marsala Wine or Sherry
20g butter
Method
Take a frypan, add 30ml of the oil, onion and garlic, sweat in the pan, then add the mushrooms, sage and seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes, take off the heat, cool, finely chop in a food processor and add the breadcrumbs. Keep to one side.
Blanch the broad beans in salted water for 2 minutes, drain, shell and place in a microwavable bowl, season, cover with cling film and keep to one side. (Reheat for 1 minute, just before plating)
Pour the beef stock and Marsala in a small saucepan, reduce by half, check seasoning and keep hot.
Take the Duck Breasts, trim and carefully score the skin, 5 times each, don't cut into the flesh and season.
Wash the frypan, (I always keep dirty pots and pans to a minimum, lol ). Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and heat. Place the breasts, skin side down and cook for 7 minutes per side, turning once and basting frequently while cooking. The duck should be cooked medium i.e, a little pink in the middle, and the skin should be brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and rest for 5 minutes.
To Serve
Reheat the jus, add the berries and  take off the heat, add the butter, moving the pan until encorporated. Pour the jus, minus the berries on your 2 serving plates. Place the mushroom mixture on the plates, to one side. Slice through the breast a few times and fan out on top of the mushroom. Arrange the broad beans and berries on the plate and serve.
Chef Jules Tips
Although I don't normally recommend frozen foods, the broad beans and the berries, as used in this recipe, turn out well.
It's important to shell the beans as their outer is very tough. It's a bit fiddly, but for this quantity it shouldn't take long.
Jus or Jus-lie, is basically, "chef speak" for thickened gravy, you have to admit it sounds a whole lot better than gravy. Normally I would use a demi-glace base for the sauce, but just use the best beef stock you can get your hands on.

Hope you enjoy my duck breast recipe.
Ciao for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Profiterole Tower with Chef Jules

Hello Friends;
I have a dessert recipe for you that never fails to impress, has that real wow factor with no  plastic or cardboard cone in sight ! Chef Jules Profiterole Tower, has 3 elements to its composition. The Creme Patissier (Pastry Cream), Chocolate Sauce, both which can be made a little in advance, and the Choux Paste, to make the Profiteroles.
For the Pastry cream you will need
700 ml milk
130g sugar
6 egg yolks
80 g flour
1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways
Method
In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until white, add the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Bring the milk and vanilla pod to the boil and add to the paste, gradually at first, whisking continuously. Place in a saucepan and bring to the boil as quickly as possible, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon so as not to catch on the bottom. Take off the heat, transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film. When cool place in the fridge until required.
Chocolate Sauce
800g dark chocolate buttons
100g soft brown sugar
50g butter
250ml cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint essence (optional)
Method
Heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients. Gradually bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cool and refrigerate until required.
Choux Paste, for the Profiteroles (makes 60)
500ml water
200g salted butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
250g high grade white flour
Approximately 8 eggs, (beaten)
Method
In a saucepan, place the water, butter, sugar and slowly bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add the sifted flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, return to the heat for a couple of minutes and keep stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Add the eggs in 4 stages, beating in between, checking before you add the last stage that the mixture is of "dropping consistency", i.e, if you lift the spoon up, the mixture should drop and not flow in a constant stream.
Heat your oven to a medium/hot temperature. Pipe the mixture, walnut size on to a lightly oiled trays, as in the above photo, you will need two large trays or four smaller ones. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, don't open the oven during this process. Once cooked, cool on wire racks.
Assembly of the Profiterole Tower
Take a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill the Profiteroles with the Pastry Cream mixture, (vanilla pod removed). Choose a large, round platter and pipe some mixture, in a circle on the bottom. Place the Profiteroles on top, use more Pastry Cream to "cement" another layer of Profiteroles, slightly reducing the circumference as you go higher and continuing until you have 1 Profiterole on top. 
Heat the chocolate sauce in the microwave for 1 minute and stir thoroughly. Drizzle this over the Profiterole Tower and serve immediately.
Chef Jules Tips
If you don't have the time or inclination to make your own profiteroles, they can be bought from all good supermarkets, usually in the biscuit section. They are drier and crisper than home made, so you will have to cut them in half to pipe in the Pastry Cream, and then push them together

This dessert is better assembled 20 minutes before serving. I have taken this to a friends house, Profiteroles already filled, pastry cream in the piping bag for "cementing" and the chocolate sauce in a bowl ready for microwaving to add just before serving.

The Peppermint essence is optional, I always add it because it's not overpowering and softens the sweetness.

I recommend using digital scales, particularly for baking.

This recipe is a lot easier than it sounds, and will amaze your guests. Hope you all enjoy my profiterole tower recipe.

Ciao for now.