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#figbarcookbookclub: Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef

#figbarcookbookclub: Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef

“The difference between good food and bad food is a pinch of salt.” Pierre Koffmann (and probably my favourite quote from this book). When I first began dating a chef (oh, hi there, husband), this was indeed the secret he taught me in the kitchen. Clearly, it’s the secret of many kitchens!

September’s Cookbook Club pick from our home shelves is the brilliant Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef by the incomparable Pierre Koffmann. These recipes are indeed delicious, easy to follow, and contain simple ingredients. In the opening, Chef Koffmann recommends gathering ingredients for home cooking “everywhere, except for meat or fish; for these need a butcher or fishmonger you trust.” And we’d have to agree. Here in Norwich we have an array of brilliant local producers that are easy to find (nod to the Norwich Market!), many that are family run and independent businesses who really know their stuff. Having these types of ingredients helps all of the recipes in this book truly shine. You can find 6 sections: 1) entrees (appetizers), 2) poultry, meat and game, 3) fish and seafood, 4) sides, 5) desserts, & 6) Chef’s Essentials. I think the chapter that gets the most use in our household is Chef’s essentials. There are lovely recipes for stocks, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, and beurre blanc alongside choux and puff pastry recipes that you know will work. This trust is an invaluable resource for the home cook ready to further experiment. Now, all you need to add is a pinch of salt.

We’ve made Creme Caramel and highlighted the recipe below. It’s SO PERFECT you’ll never need another creme caramel recipe in your life. Don’t be scared of it: the satisfaction of watching the caramel slide out from the ramekin onto the plate is worth it.

Creme Caramel

Ingredients:

500ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split and scraped

3 egg yolks

2 eggs

80g caster sugar

For the caramel:

130g caster sugar

130ml water

Method:

Line a large roasting tin with newspaper and place four 10cm ramekins inside the tin- the newspaper prevents bubbles from forming in the caramel.

You need to start by making the caramel. Place the sugar and water in a large heavy-bottomed stainless-steel saucepan over a medium-high heat. Heat, until the caramel turns from a golden to a darker brown, then immediately remove from the heat and very carefully pour it into the bottom of the ramekins to create a layer about 3mm thick (you my have some left over caramel). Set aside at room temperature to cool and set.

Heat the oven to 130*C.

Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod and seeds, then remove it from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick, then pour the hot milk over this mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. Pour the custard over the caramel in the ramekins, then pour some boiling water into the tin containing the ramekins so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the tin to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until set- you can check this by inserting a small knife into the centre; if it comes out clean, the caramels are ready. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes.

To serve, simply turn each ramekin upside-down on to a plate- the caramels should slide out easily.

nb from Chef Jaime: You can experiment with this recipe by infusing the milk with different flavors (than the vanilla) like herbs or teabags.

#figbarathome: Cold Brew Tiramisu

#figbarathome: Cold Brew Tiramisu

Cold Brew Tiramisu

Our fine city has had some SUNSHINE this summer haven't it?? We've had the oven on in Figbar and in our house regardless (bakers gonna bake!), but it's also super nice to have elements that require refrigeration, because any reason to open the fridge or freezer when it's hot out- am I right? 

This simple, yet DELICIOUS, dessert is easy to pre-prepare for a BBQ or dinner party, but it does require use of the hob, the oven, and the fridge. Feel free to make the elements in whatever order you need- all will keep for a week properly stored- and bring together when you need it for a light, but decadent, dessert! 

Cold Brew Tiramisu

Cold Brew Mousse

Ingredients:

450 ml heavy cream

45g caster sugar

65g tahini

35g cold brew coffee

pinch of salt

Method:

1.     In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream into stiff peaks (about 5-6 minutes).

2.     Add sugar, tahini, cold brew, and salt to whisked cream. Whisk to combine.

3.     Place either in serving cups or into a large container (to store) and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

 

Cocoa Crumble

Ingredients:

70g cocoa powder (best quality and darkest you can find)

6g salt

5g cornflour

100g light brown sugar

120g plain flour

120g melted butter

Method:

1.     Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.     In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, combine cocoa powder, salt, cornflour, light brown sugar, and plain flour.

3.     Add the melted butter and mix to cluster.

4.     Evenly spread the crumble onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, push the crumble about a bit, preventing it from sticking and having too big of pieces. Bake for another 10 minutes.

5.     Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (again breaking up if necessary).

 

Cold Brew Syrup

Ingredients:

100ml cold brew coffee

70ml caster sugar

Method:

1.     In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cold brew and the sugar to combine. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for about 5 minutes until reduced and syrupy. (nb from Chef Jaime: This is a bit of a ‘feeling’ kind of a cooking situation. Reduction by half may be helpful for some, maple syrup consistency to others, but mostly, it’s how thick you like. You can also double or triple this recipe if you like to get more syrup drizzle or to reduce it further if you like it super sticky).

 

To Serve:

Either:

1)   sprinkle cocoa crumble on top of the prepotted mousse and drizzle with cold brew syrup

OR

2)   sprinkle cocoa crumble on the bottom of a serving dish, quenelle (or spoon) mousse on top, sprinkle more crumble, and drizzle with cold brew syrup

#figbarcookbookclub : Let's Eat!

#figbarcookbookclub : Let's Eat!

Apologies for missing June's cookbook club post!!! Rest assured, that means TWO recommendations are coming for this fabulous month of July... First up for this month's Figbar cookbook club selection (straight off of our home shelves!) is Elly Pear's Let's Eat!. What can I say about this lovely cookbook except, it's fab! A lot of cookbooks claim to be approachable and fun, but this one actually is. I love the layout of chapters which includes "Freeze for Ease", "Building Blocks", "Menus".  I love the creative and intuitive movement of the dishes; for example, the "Freeze for Ease" section gives a base dish and then multiple recipes which use it to create interesting and varied meals. I love the fun and realism (Menus include "dinner for four when you want to show off a bit but not stress" which has recipes for seared scallops, smoked haddock tart, Stephen Fry cabbage, cocktails, and spiced plum dessert!). It's just a great all-rounder of a book with some delicious recipes. Can't go wrong.

What really sold this book to me was a full page dedicated to this: "I have a hashtag on Instagram solely for ideas to use up that bag of kale in the fridge, so there's no excuse to waste any! #100wayswithkale" YES, ELLY! 

To highlight this cookbook's brilliance, and why we have it in our home kitchen, we've made the Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal. It's included in the following recipes: "as a soup", "with a 6-minute egg", "with wilted greens", and "with seared tofu, avocado, pickles and seeds". We made it with the seared tofu here, but have the rest of the dhal neatly stacked in our freezer for more when we need a quick and healthy dinner.

Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Dhal

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp oil 

2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or finely chopped

3 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

2 tbsp garam masala (nb: Elly includes a recipe to make your own if you want!)

1-2 tsp chilli flakes, to taste

2 tsp black mustard seeds

500g red lentils, rinsed

2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes

1 x 400g tin coconut milk

flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, ginger, garlic and a big pinch of flaked sea salt and cook for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Dissolve the bouillon powder in 1 litre of boiling water for the stock. Add the garam masala, chilli flakes and mustard seeds to the onion mixture in the saucepan, stir thoroughly, then add the lentils. Give everything a good mix. Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down tot low and cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and retain no bite, stirring frequently and deeply so the lentils don't stick and crushing the tomatoes a bit as you go. Add the coconut milk, remove from the heat and season to taste with flaked sea salt and pepper.

 

(nb: Elly also gives instructions here on how to freeze this dish, how to chill it, and exactly what to do. Worth having this book on your shelves to help with meal prep!)

NB: (from Steph)- pictured here is our go-to 1x1 flatbread (again! Three times we have featured variations of this!). This time it's 1-to-1 plain yogurt to plain flour with 2 gloves grated raw garlic and 1 tsp black sesame seeds and a strong pinch of Maldon sea salt, rolled and pan-fried in a little olive oil for a quick and easy naan-type flat bread.