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Fresh Strawberry Tart 


When I found a crate of perfectly ripe strawberries last week, I knew that besides grabbing them by their stem and devouring them whole, I had to make a luscious dessert to showcase their beauty. Turns out that a light, pastry cream filled strawberry tart was just what the doctor ordered. This recipe was inspired by my mother-n-law Ferial’s beautiful tartes-aux-fruits, which she rolls out every summer when fresh berries are abundant and at the peak of ripeness (those of you who know Ferial will agree that she holds the title of the queen of tarts – and of our hearts!). Trust me when I say that this is one killer dessert…

The biscuity tart shell can be baked up to two days before you wish to fill it. Feel free to use any combination of berries you like. Kiwi, pineapple, and mango work beautifully as well. You can skip the apricot gaze if you like, but bear in mind that if you plan on keeping the tart for more than a day, I suggest you give the fruits a light glaze to finish to keep them luscious.

Strawberry Tart

Makes one 8 to 9 inch round tart shell (or six individual tarts)

For the Pastry Ingredients:
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/8th teaspoon salt
  • 110 grams unsalted butter (about 1 stick), cubed and at room temperature
  • 70 grams icing sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
Instructions:

First, put your flour in a large bowl and combine with salt. Lightly combine all the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

Meanwhile, put your butter, sugar, and salt in another bowl and mix the ingredients until just combined using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Gradually add half the flour mixture, and pulse to combine. Add the water with the remaining flour. Pulse until the mixture holds together.

Wrap your dough tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rest for thirty minutes, and up to one hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 Fahrenheit).

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit until it is pliable. Roll until approximately 1/8th of an inch thick on a lightly-floured surface.

Carefully place the rolled dough on top of your mould and push the pastry onto the bottom and sides of the moulds. You can use your rolling pin or a blunt knife to cut off the excess pastry on the rim.

Carefully prick the bottom of the dough several times with a fork and line the tarts with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Line the foil with baking beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the foil or paper and the beans. Bake the shell for an additional 5 minutes until it is dry. *Remember that your crust will bake again so you do not want to brown it at this stage.

Remove foil and beans, and let cool completely prior to filling.

For the Pastry Cream:
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups full-fat milk
  • 110 grams caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons softly whipped cream (use full fat whipping cream)
  • A vanilla pod, split leghnthwise  seeds removed (optional)
  • A few punnets of fresh berries
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam, heated and strained through a sieve
  • 1 pastry case, baked and cooled (recipe below)

Instructions:

Place the milk, vanilla pods, and seeds into a saucepan. Heat until scalding (approximately 165 degrees F if using a candy thermometer).

While your milk is heating, beat the eggs for one minute with an electric mixer. Slowly add the sugar. Continue to beat until the mixture develops a pale yellow color. This should take about five minutes.

Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture and beat on high speed for one minute.

Add a ladle full of hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk. Pour that mixture into the remaining milk. This is your pastry cream. Cook the pastry cream on medium low heat, stirring constantly (I mean CONSTANTLY (unless you want scrambled eggs). Use a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula do stir.

Once the mixture starts boiling (you’ll see thick, popping hollow circles forming in the pastry cream) continue to cook for about one minute or until thick.

Strain the pastry cream into a bowl using a fine mesh strainer.

Let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the whipped cream. Spoon into your cooled tart shell.

Add your berries (be as creative as you want!), then brush with apricot glaze.

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MASTI – A Design Aficianado’s Dream

When I first discovered MASTI, it was the intensity of color that attracted me the most as soon as I walked through the door. Signature shades of emerald-green & peacock-blue are intermixed with touches of yellow, pink, and orange. It’s a far cry from the dark velvety interiors associated with most traditional Indian restaurants. MASTI’’s space is light, airy, and open – the ultimate fit for its breezy beachfront location.

It’s hard not to notice the colorful Murano chandeliers, made of hand-blown glass, dangling from the sky-high ceilings, especially the one in an ultra violet so deep, you could swear it came straight out of Prince’s “Purple Rain” video.

Designed by Studio Lotus and winner of the prestigious UNESCO Prix Versailles for best restaurant interiors in the Middle East and North Africa, MASTI’s design elements have a distinct Indian connection. “What we tried to stay away from is your typical approach to Indian restaurants,” says Eddie Ghazal, “We decided to go in the opposite direction, inspired by trends in fashion, art, music, and all of these things that are coming out of Urban India and see how that translates into an Indian restaurant. We really wanted to look at modernizing the Indian perception and flipping it on its head.” And did they ever flip it.

On the walls are framed portraits of people in traditional dress representing different walks of life and who embody the vision of a globalized India. It’s cool, timely, and reinforces the urban appeal behind MASTI’s founding principles.

The first floor

Before exploring the dining room on the ground floor, I’m greeted by a little statue of a monkey at the entrance. I’m not sure what to make of him, he’s cute, and I like him. I would later find out what he symbolizes.

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Chef Gilles of Ninive shares his recipe for beef Fatayer, a savory pastry filled with ground beef, cinnamon, pine nuts, and raisins.  Served with a light salsa, the fatayer is delicious, comforting and an ode to the flavors of the Middle East.

BEEF FATAYER – makes approximately 8 to 10

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 50 ml water
  • 10 grams active dry yeast
  • fat pinch of salt

For the beef mixture:

  • 500 grams   Minced beef
  • 150 grams   Chopped onion
  • 40 grams   Garlic, minced
  • 50 grams    Fresh chopped chili
  • 40 grams   Tomato paste Turkish
  • 300 ml Veal jus (or any rich beef stock of your choice)
  • 10 grams      Chopped parsley
  • 100 grams   Chopped coriander
  • 60 grams   Roasted pine seeds
  • 60 grams   Golden raisin
  • 1 tbsp  Cinnamon powder
  • 3 pcs    Cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 2 tbsp 7 spice powder
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 50 ml water
  • 10 grams active dry yeast
  • fat pinch of salt

For the salsa:

Mix all ingredients together and let stand for a few minutes to the the flavors macerate.

Method:

For the dough:

Proof the yeast in warm water until it gets foamy. Combine flour and salt, mix well.  Add the water/yeast mixture to the flour.  With using an electric mixer with a dough hook or by hand, start kneading your dough until it’s smooth and elastic. about 7 minutes.  Cover and let rest for at 15 minutes while you prepare the beef filling and are ready to bake the fatayer.

For the beef:

Sauté the onion and garlic together for 10 minutes until soft (do not brown).

Add the minced beef and cook for 10 more minutes .Make sure that you stir the mixture well. Add the chopped chili, spices and tomato paste. Stir for 5 minutes and add the veal jus or stock.

Cook the meat on low until the sauce has been absorb by the meat.

Remove the pan from the fire and add the roasted pine nuts ,raisin and herds.

Let cool down completely to room temperature.

Build the fatayer:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius and place the rack in the center.

Dust the counter with flour and remove 50 grams of dough per fatayer.  Roll the dough into a  thin round. Cut small eight slits around the dough periphery of the dough.  Spoon the cooled, spiced meat mixture towards the center of the dough, avoiding the slits. You will see the raisins peeking through the meat, all plump and luscious from swirling around the ground beef and veal jus.

Cover the beef with the slitted overhand, and pinch to seal.

Preheat a large pan lined with parchment paper. Don’t be tempted to skip this step as your pastry will be soggy if you do!. Place the fatayer onto the hot an and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Place each fatayer  onto a plate. Spoon the salsa into the center of each dish.

Garnish with pine nuts and pomegranate and serve immediately.

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Spotlight on Ninive

What if I told you there lies a secret garden nestled within Dubai’s skyscrapers – an urban majlis overflowing with lush vegetation, Moroccan-inspired woodwork, and lighting so romantic that you can’t help but feel you’ve been swept into a story reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights? You would have to believe me, because outside of the tales of Arabia, this place most certainly exists.

Inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and it’s link to the ancient Arab world, Ninive – named after ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh – sits suspended within Emirates Towers on a sprawling terrace overlooking Dubai International Financial Center’s skyline. A sanctuary juxtaposed against the glass towers that rise from the background, Ninive’s terrace is open, inviting, and maintains a certain degree of privacy at the same time.

Majlis-inspired seating in colors that harmonize with the surrounding greenery is in perfect synch with rich, dark woodwork, and hanging amber lanterns. Ninive is where the simplicity of a Bedouin tent converges with the magic of Moroccan design.

Lounge under the shaded area of the majlis as you sip on afternoon tea – Arabic and Moroccan of course – while nibbling on sweets inspired from the region.

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I remember my first Christmas in Paris. A light dusting of snow swept the streets of the right bank’s Marais district where glimmering festive lights illuminated the Parisian landscape. It was romantic, idyllic, and beautiful. My husband and I walked for hours, wandering through little streets (“ruelles”) that would eventually lead us to bigger streets and boulevards, discovering the magic that can only be Paris.

We eventually made our way to Galeries Lafayette in the 9th arrondissement. I’ll never forget their magnificent Christmas tree that stood in all its splendour under the glass dome of the iconic department store. Beautifully lit in the center of the concourse, it stretched as high as the eye could see, capturing the essence of the season – it took our breath away!

The memory of that particular Christmas stayed with me over the years, and while December 25th in the desert might not be quite the same as in Paris, it is beautiful and magical in it’s own right. Dubai’s Galeries Lafayette sets the perfect tone when it comes to creating an enchanting holiday escape, especially when it comes to food. Home to an endless array of culinary goodies, from gingerbread houses, chocolate Santa’s, mince pies to roast turkey with all the trimmings, this is the place to be when you want to inject some Christmas magic into your kitchen.

I was fortunate to get the chance to help make Galeries Lafayette’s first bûche de Noël (Yule log) of the season – a challenge I was more than ready and willing to take on. Working with the pastry team led by chef Dany Mouawad under the supervision of culinary director Russell Impiazzi, I was welcomed behind the scenes into the commercial kitchen, tucked away upstairs behind the glitzy department store.

When I walked through the “secret” door, the pastry team was busy prepping everything from miniscule bite-sized macaroons to mixing industrial sized batches of carrot cake batter in a mixer of epic proportions. It was clear that the production process in this kitchen operates like a well-oiled machine – meticulous, precise, and efficient.

Chef Dany gave me a briefing on what we would do, and we were off to do some serious mixing, baking, and assembly.


Here is my step-by-step account on how to roll (pardon the pun) with the pros! Russell and Dany graciously entrusted me with their recipe, which I have adapted for the home kitchen. 

For the Chocolate Sponge:

  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 130 grams sugar
  • 80 grams flour
  • 35 grams cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 165 degrees Celsius (C).

Line a large half sheet pan (18 x 12 inches) or jelly roll pan (15½ x 10½ inches) with buttered parchment paper.

Place your eggs in a bowl and start beating on medium speed with the whisk attachment of your mixer.

Slowly add your sugar to the eggs. Remember to do this step gradually as you want to build volume. Continue to beat on medium/high-speed until the mixture is a light pale lemony color.

In the meantime, sift together your flour and cocoa powder. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour/cocoa mixture into the eggs until well incorporated.

Pour your mixture into your prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool while you get on with the buttercream and the sugar syrup.

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 140 grams egg whites (as eggs differ in size and volume, this is best weighed)
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water
  • 400 grams butter
  • 150 grams dark chocolate, melted – we used Guanaja from Valrhona

Boil the sugar and water until it reaches 121 C (this temperature will actually “cook” your egg whites so they are no longer “raw”). While the sugar and water is boiling, beat your egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer running on low-speed, gradually add the sugar syrup. Continue beating on medium/high-speed until the mixture cools to 40 C and you are left with a beautiful, glossy meringue.

With the mixer still running, add the butter in cubes, until it is fully incorporated into the meringue. Stir in the melted chocolate. Give it a taste, not for any particular reason, just because the chocolate smells insanely delicious.

Set it aside without eating it all while you make your moistening syrup.

Moistening Syrup (this will keep the cake from drying out):

  • 75 grams sugar
  • 250 grams water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
  • 1 star anise (optional)

Mix sugar, water together, vanilla, and star anise (if using). Boil just until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

For the Chocolate Bark (Optional):

  • 150 grams dark chocolate – again, we used Guanaja from Valrhona

Melt chocolate over a bowl of simmering water. Let cool to 30 C. Spread it on baking paper, then roll it up and chill until ready to use.

To Assemble the Cake:

Unmold the sponge cake from the pan and remove parchment paper.

Sprinkle or brush the moistening syrup all over the cake.

Spread a layer of buttercream all over the top of cake.

Carefully start rolling the cake into a log, pressing down gently to retain a curved shape.

Start spreading the buttercream on the log, covering the entire surface evenly. You can get creative with your spatula by making little groves lengthwise in your buttercream. (If you’re wondering why the scenery has changed, we moved into Les Galeries at this point to get some more festive shots. I also had chef Russell watching over our every move here, so the pressure was definitely on).

Slice off two 2-inch rounds from the end of the bûche. Stick one round on the front side of the bûche, then the other round on the other side at the back. This will give its characteristic log appearance. Slather both rounds with buttercream.

Carefully remove chocolate curls (if using) from the parchment paper, place chocolate “shards” onto the cake lengthwise (don’t worry if the chocolate breaks apart a little).

Decorate the bûche de Noël as desired. We used decorations made of sugarcraft and molded chocolate figurines. Feel free to use whatever you can source easily.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Get ready for lots of “ooohs” and “aaaahs” from your guests. This is definitely a Christmas showstopper!

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Turmeric Tommies  This is the first of the cocktail recipes from my recent article on MASTI.  

Turmeric Tommies is a nod to the margarita from Tommy’s, an acclaimed Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. MASTI’s twist includes tequila, mescal, lime juice, and a beautiful vibrant yellow syrup made out of five spices. Black cardamom, licorice, coriander seeds, star anise and turmeric – are all spices typically found in kitchens across India and make their way into the syrup and into  our cocktail.

The Ingredients:
  • 40 ml Don Patròn Tequila
  • 10 ml Mezcal
  • 30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 20 ml 5 Spiced Syrup – a sugar syrup infused with black cardamom, licorice, coriander seeds, star anise, and turmeric
  • For the Garnish: Black Salt Rim, Dry Lime, Cardamom Leaf on the stem
The Method

We start by painting half the rim of our glass with agave syrup before dipping it into black volcanic salt. It’s the perfect balance between salty and sweet.

We measure our lime juice and pour it into the shaker, followed by our five-spice syrup. I take a whiff – I could almost swear I’m on the streets of Mumbai!

We add our tequila: first mescal, followed by Don Patron. If mescal is the father of tequila, then Don Patron is the king! The difference between the two is that the mescal will impart smokiness, whereas the Don adds a pure and clean flavor. We fill our shaker with ice, right up to the brim; without enough, our cocktail will dilute (those who hold the ice when ordering a cocktail, take note).

I lock the shaker into pole position, thumb on top, two fingers on the bottom. As I start shaking, my rhythm is slow, steady, and mechanical at first. My momentum picks up, and I unleash my inner Tom Cruise from “Cocktail” the movie – look it up millennials!

With the heel of my hand I give the shaker a hard blow until I hear it “pop.” We strain our liquid gold into our salt-rimmed glass – the color is just insane! A little cardamom leaf at the bottom of our glass and some dried lime to garnish. It’s a sexy drink indeed!

Shot on location at MASTI

Photography by Tara Atkinson Photography

Hair and Makeup by Instaglam.co

Jewelry by Vik Jethwani

Social Media by Donna Hearts Beauty

Special thanks to Adam Carr – MASTI’s General Manager, as well as  Tauland Hyka, and Jeet Verma. for their patience and for willingness to share their bartending secrets.

The post MASTI’s recipe for Turmeric Tommies appeared first on Lidija's Kitchen.

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Spotlight on MASTI – the Elephant in the Room

How do you feel when you hear the word mischief? For me, it denotes a youthful energy, a glimmer in the eyes that hints at a touch of naughtiness – harmless of course – that shines within. Put simply, mischief is a playful state of mind.

In fact, this is the very definition of the word MASTI. After spending some slightly mischievous  time behind the bar, I can assure you that nothing is closer to the truth.

Located off the shores of La Mer, a chic, urban beach destination in Dubai, MASTI sits in a class by itself. Built across two floors with a wrap around terrace on each level, the space is sprawling, colorful, and merges a hint of old world India with contemporary cool. The cuisine is global and inspired by flavors of India, with a multi-faceted dimension that remains unseen in most  traditional restaurants. It’s almost impossible to deny MASTI’s Indian influence, as eclectic flavors pepper the menu. With food as playful as it’s namesake, (think edamame chaat and burrata with chili jam), I would soon find out, its cocktails are too.

I venture up the staircase to the second floor.

I’m met with the lounge, a vast bar area that’s complete with a Gin Room – a hideaway where guests are privy to an extensive collection of gin from around the world.

Vintage crystal bottles sparkle from a distance, while floor to ceiling windows extend the space onto the terrace.

The bar, curved and carved of wood, is cozy enough to have a conversation amongst friends, yet as open and as welcoming as MASTI’s bar and service team.

Striking interiors aside, what intrigues me the most about MASTI is quite literally, the elephant in the room. Epic in stature and made of artisanal stained glass, the elephant sits behind the bar, overlooking the rest of us. With vibrant hues of orange, red, yellow, and green, there was something I found comforting by her presence. Perhaps it was because it was my first time working behind the bar that took me to the fringes of my comfort zone. As my nerves got the best of me, I clearly needed lady luck, in the form of an elephant, on my side.

Upon meeting Tauland and Jeet, MASTI’s wildly creative resident barmen, I asked if they should be referred to as bartenders or mixologists. As I discovered, the latter was a term that was hotly debated between the two, and so I steered clear of conflict and stuck with bartender. Both would show me the cocktail ropes as they set off to teach me a lot more than the difference between a jigger and a shaker. I was more than ready to start my apprenticeship.

So-olong Ceylon

Our first cocktail, So-olong Ceylon is an elegant and..

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Treasure Chest of Chef Recipes

During my restaurant spotlight on Rüya  with chef Colin Clague, one of the many recipes we prepared together was a Turkish Spoon Salad. Fresh, vibrant, and very simple to make, this tomato-based salad is loaded with vegetables, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios.  It’s a welcome addition to a rich meal that’s heavy in meat and grills. This salad can also be served as a vegan or vegetarian side dish or main course.  If you can, try to spoon it in a pretty bowl, as pictured below, to do justice to the beautiful colors in this dish!

Turkish Spoon Salad  – serves 2 to 4 Ingredients:
  • 125 grams cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 200 grams fresh tomato, very ripe
  • 1⁄2 red onion, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 to two teaspoons spicy red pepper paste (substitute Harissa)
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, julienne
  • 2 teaspoons mint, julienne
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried chopped chili
Directions:

Prepare all the vegetables, removing any seeds as when necessary.

Cut all the vegetables in half cm dice.

Make a dressing  by whisking together the pomegranate molasses, olive oil, tomato puree, and dried chili to make the dressing. Add the vegetables and herbs and mix well. Add the pepper paste (or harissa) and correct the seasoning, let macerate for 15 minutes.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and pistachio.

Bon appétit!

The post Chef Recipe: Colin Clague’s Turkish Spoon Salad appeared first on Lidija's Kitchen.

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Passion fruit meringue tart

I’ve had a soft spot for passion fruit many, many years.  My husband and I went on holiday to the Island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean  circa 1998.  The island is divided in two parts, one side is Dutch, and the other, French.  Although both beautiful, we fell in love with the latter, largely due to the French influence that peppered the island.  There was this one little bakery that I will always remember.  We would get fresh baguettes, croissants, and other viennoiseries on our way to the beach every morning.  It was like having a little piece of France on our Canadian winter getaway.  Among all the sweet treasures  in the bakery, the passionfruit tart was what I loved most.  A rich buttery crust filled with passion fruit filling had just the right balance between sweet and  tart – perfect after a long day at the beach.

This recipe is my interpretation of that passion fruit  tart.  I’ve added meringue to the recipe, which you can forgo if you wish, however it does add a marshmallowy lusciousness to the dessert.  I hope you like it as much as I do…

Passion fruit meringue tart (makes six mini tarts, or one 8 inch tart): For the pastry:
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/8thteaspoon salt
  • 100 grams unstalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 80 grams icing sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons water
Instructions: Put flour in a large bowl and combine with salt. Add the butter and sugar.  Using your hands, lightly combine all the ingredients together

Put your butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a standing or a handheld mixer, mix the ingredients until just combined. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Gradually and half the flour, pulse to combine.  Add the water, and the remaining flour.  Pulse until the mixture holds together.

Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 180

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until approximately 1/8thof an inch thick.

Carefully divide the dough amongst your tart moulds, while pushing the pastry onto the bottom and sides of the moulds.  Use a rolling pin to cut off the excess pastry on the rim.

Prick the bottom of the dough several times with fork. Line the tarts with aluminum foil or parchment paper and baking beans or rice.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil or paper and the beans, and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes until lightly browned.  Set to cool before filling with passion fruit curd and meringue.

Passion fruit curd: Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh passion fruit pulp
  • 6 large egg yolks (keep 3 egg whites for the meringue, recipe below)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

 Instructions:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a heat=proof bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot filled a quarter of the way up with simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Stir the egg yolk passion-fruit mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Be careful not to over cook or you will be left with scrambled eggs!

Remove from heat. Quickly stir in four tablespoons of butter.

Strain the passion fruit curd through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

Place a piece of directly plastic wrap on top of the passion fruit curd to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature before filling your tarts.

The curd can last well covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Meringue:

*you will need a candy thermometer and a small chef’s blowtorch

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar

¼ cup water

3 extra-large egg whites

Instructions:

Heat the water and 1 cup of the sugar over high heat until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees Farenheit (104 celcius)

Meanwhite, whip the egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute.  Add the sugar, and continue to whip until soft peaks form.  In a slow steady stream, gradually add the sugar syrup. Continue to whip the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and have cooled to room temperature (7 to 10 minutes).

Assemble your tarts:

Spoon the passionfruit curd into each tart shell. Pipe or pile meringue on top. Carefully brulé the meringue until it lightly golden.

Serve immediately.. Bon appétit!

The post Passion Fruit Meringue Tart Recipe appeared first on Lidija's Kitchen.

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Octopus with Aji Amarillo Potato – serves 2

Welcome to the first of my Treasure Chest of Chef Recipes. I have been generously entrusted with these coveted recipes by some of the finest chefs in Dubai, and have adapted each dish in the series to flow well in the home kitchen. Whether you are a novice or a pro, I hope you love these dishes as much as I do, and that you have a great time putting your own spin on them!

I had the pleasure of watching chef Benjamin Wan create this octopus dish during my Coya Spotlight cooking session. The octopus tentacle is tender, and the potatoes are rich, creamy, and a bit on the decadent side. Feel free to chargrill the octopus instead of deep frying – I find that using a grill pan or a barbecue adds depth and a great smokey flavor without compromising the original recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1 to 2 large cooked octopus tentacles, recipe below
  • 300g cooked Huayro (Peruvian potato), peeled and cubed (you can substitute any firm boiling potato of your choice)
  • 75g smoked butter (substitute regular unsalted butter)
  • 300g milk
  • 150g cream
  • Fat pinch of Maldon salt
  • 2 teaspoons aji amarillo purée (susbstitute chilli of your choice, boiled, drained and puréed)
  • Dried botija olives (optional)
  • A pinch of bottarga (optional), shaved on a microplane grater
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika
Directions for the Octopus:

Simple method to cook the octopus tentacle: place cleaned octopus tentacles in a pot covered with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low – to a simmering boil. Let the octopus simmer for approximately 1 hour (depending on the size, this could take longer) or until very tender. Set aside to cool in its liquid, a couple of hours.

Note – the octopus should be made in advance, even be made the night before, refrigerate the octopus in its liquid until ready to fry or grill.

Directions for the Potato:

Combine the milk, cream, salt, butter, aji amarillo in a pan and bring to boil.

Add to a blender with the potato and blitz until smooth. (If you are a chef with an espuma gun available, then transfer to the espuma gun and charge with 2 gas cartridges. If not, then keep the potato blitzed as it is)

Remove the octopus from it’s cooking liquid and dry well. In a pot filled with cooking oil heated to 190 degrees Celsius, deep fry the cooked octopus tentacle until crispy (about thirty seconds).  Alternatively, you can grill it on a hot grill or frying pan – approximately 4 minutes.

Cut the octopus tentacle into 6 pieces.

Add the puréed potato (or potato foam if using an espuma gun) to the center of a bowl, place the octopus on top.

With a microplane, shave the bottarga over the dish, and season with chopped dried botija olives and smoked paprika.

Drizzle over some olive oil and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Shot on location at Coya Dubai

Photography by: Tara Atkinson Photography 

The post Chef Recipe: Octopus with Aji Amarillo Potato appeared first on Lidija's Kitchen.

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