Archive for October, 2010

caramelised garlic, bussel(s!) sprouts, & peas

i feel like this speaks for itself. visually. on an unrelated issue does anyone know how to make a round cookie? and by that i mean a cookie shaped in a ball? its been requested – a ball shaped cookie with a malteser at its core. and i dont ask questions – i simply and humbly serve at the pleasure of the president. the only question i do ask, however, is how? (why also comes to mind). though i dont understand the science behind it (as snow will testify, i spent the better part of my high school science classes trying to find the best and most eloquent clip art picture for the cover sheet of my pracs, invariably going with the timeless image of a duck smashing a computer), i know, with the unerring faith of an empiricist, that cookie dough rolled into a ball will necessarily come out of the oven flat. so how do i keep it ball shaped? i realise the bulk of my readership is presently in istanbul – but if you have any information or suggestions, the lines will be open. so will a packet of maltesers so the sooner the better. thanking you in advance.


for caramelised garlic:

4 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled

2 tbsp olive oil

2tsp balsamic vinegar

1tbsp caster sugar

90ml water

pinch of salt

for green stuff:

400g brussel’s sprout (ends removed and cut in half)

400g peas

1 red chilli finely chopped

4tbsp olive oil

knob of butter

salt and pepper

50g parmesan shaved

handful of basil

so we already been over how to caramelise garlic. but i do it again for those of you that werent paying attention the first time. blanch the garlic in boiling water for 3 minutes. drain. dry the pan and the return the garlic to the pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. fry on high heat for 2 minutes until golden brown. then add the balsamic, the sugar, some salt and pour in the water. bring to the boil and then let it simmer for 5 minutes or until nearly all the liquid has reduced and you are left with just the cloves and the stick, reduced, concentrated, world shatteringly good syrup. set aside.

then, put olive oil into a pan and cook the brusselsprouts over high heat for 5 minutes – try not to shake them around too much so they stay in one piece. add salt and pepper and a little butter at the end. remove from the pan and put in a bowl. then cook the peas. i do this in some butter (and i added in a clove of my hitherto caramelised garlic) and olive oil and coat them all. add salt and pepper. once they are all coated i add a bit of water (or stock if you have any…just a little, about 90ml) and let it reduce down. once all the liquid evaporated remove from heat and add to the brussels sprouts. then add the caremelised garlic.

put it all in a bowl and let it cool a bit. add some torn up basil and shave over some parmesan cheese. really exceptionally great and wonderful. but then caramelised garlic’ll do that


endive with creme fraiche and pine nuts

i read about this in my other ottolenghi cookbook. they’ve taught me all i know. and well – i love it. id never had creme fraiche until last week and its really changed the way i think and feel…mainly about creme fraiche. ottolenghi puts blue cheese in this. and like a good disciple i followed along unquestioningly. it was only later that it occured to me that in fact i dont like blue cheese and for those of you that understand why i think some soft goats cheese is probably a very good alternative. ottolenghi calls this a starter. i call that word a bit wanky so i just call it by its name. i suppose if you were a fully functioning member of society, and entertained people, and sat around a big table discussing things like films, theatre, the israeli-palestinian conflict, the advent of robot swarms, marxism and collaborative forms of community in capitalism, and the merits of a number of different and varying cheeses, including but not exclusive to blue – then this would provide an excellent starter. for those prone to avoiding such scenarios, and who prefer to take their meals standing up in a darkened corner (social cripple is such an ugly term) then i would not use the word starter. whichever way you choose to live your life i suggest that these leaves, bound together by multifarious cheeses, topped with pine nuts, represent an elegant solution to the question – what do i eat first?


2 endives

50g cheese (roquefort or goats or whatever you want as long as it crumbles and has the capacity to absorb itself into a larger body of creme fraiche

150g creme fraiche

50g pine nuts (toasted in frypan in a bit of butter)

some rocket or radicchio or whatever you got

salt and pepper

grate the cheese into the creme fraiche and add some salt and pepper. whisk well until it gets thick.

then trim the endives and remove outer leaves to get to the goodness at the heart of the thing. smear each leaf with some of the creme fraiche mixture.

form piles of 5-6 leaves, pressing each together, with each leaf encased in a larger one.

put salad leaves onto a plate. place a few of the endives on top and sprinkle with pine nuts. could not be easier.