Thursday, 31 May 2012

Macaroon making class

These few years in London ,  macaroon shops are  popping up, they seem very popular , so I tried to make from my chocolate book, made chocolate macaroons, but it did not turn out perfect, but still chewy and light ,they were perfect accompany with strong coffee.
I was invited by Squire Kitchen School to take one of their courses, (lucky me!) and decided to have a go this Macaroons Made Easy class. living in south Buckinghamshire means I have to leave 7:30 in the morning to be at 10:00 am class in Farnham Surrey was only minor downside, but it was relatively easy journey in the train , from Waterloo station it takes only 50 minutes.
Luckily the Squires Kitchen School is just cross the road from Farnham station . the tutor . Mark Tilting, take us very well equipped and spacious kitchen by the Smeg ( how lucky!!!) ,with Squires Kitchen Apron,a tea towel and a bundle of recipe leaflet on the table.
Mark ( he is award winning a chocolate maker) showed us how to make French style first and then Italian, my French macaroons slightly over whipped, Italian was under whipped. even I had check with mark. over whipped macaroons are too runny take longer to dry for baking, under whipped ones are slightly grainy look it should be shiny.

I often say, cooking food is art and science but truly making macaroon is art and science!! too many factors can contribute wrong result, such as temperature, humidity in the room ,weather so on. Even experienced pastry chef can make mistakes easily. It is  precise cooking as all cakes and pastries are, but when you made perfect macaroons, they are wonderfully presentable.
Well, at least I have learnt from the expert.

Ingredients:( French ,plain macaroons)
50g egg white, 60g ground almonds, 85g icing sugar, pinch of salt,

Preheat oven 130c, mix almond and icing sugar together and blits them in a foods processor to make a very fine powder. Sieve the almonds and icing powder through a fine sieve ad set aside. Place the egg whites in a mixer and whisk with a pinch of salt until soft peak, gradually add sugar until becomes thick and glossy ( in this point you can add colour or flavour), fold half the almond mix into the White's then in the second half until it is shiny and a good thick paste.  Line one baking trays with paper or baking mat, fill the piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and fill the bag with mix, pipe on to the tray 2cm circles making sure to keep2cm between each one. Leave to crust for 15-45 minutes or until the top is not sticky, bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until  firm on top.  Remove from the tray on to cool surface.

Lemon butter frosting: 2 large egg whites, 100g caster sugar, 170 butter, 1 lemon zest.
combine the egg white and sugar together in a large bowl,place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk the mix until the temperature 37c( warm to the touch), pour in to an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat high speed until the mix is thick and has a shiny look, add butter and lemon zest continue mixing, the mixture may split initially but don't worry, it will smooth out the more you mix.
Finally put this mixture on to the dried macaroon, and put the other macaroon on the top, !!

Tip: every single ingredients need to be measured!!

Squires Kitchen international school has many other course, 1 day or longer course for sugar craft.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Spring onion & Sea food pancake/파전(pajeon)

Spring onion and seafood pancake is very well known South east Korea region( Kyungsangnamdo, Busan and Masan) dish ,this region has plenty of seafood, where I come from. We usually eat seafood pancake as a snack , you need tender young spring onion but sadly here in UK spring onion is not very tender , you need chop very thinly for this dish, rather than whole as in Korea. 
Clam is best for Pajeon , but you can not find clam often here, and if you do so expensive. I often use mix with mussels, prawns and even baby squids makes a good pancake.

Ingredients: 2 bunch of spring onion. 
Green and red chilli, 1 each. 
200g of mixed seafood( clam, mussel, prawn, squid).
Strong bread flour.
Dipping sauce: soy sauce, toasted sesame seed, chopped spring onion, sugar, rice vinegar.

1. Wash spring onion and cut 5cm , and split in half to make thin stripes, chop all seafood small pieces, chop chillies very thinly as well and mix well in the big bowl.
2. Pour 2 cups of flour, and water (2cup) and mix well with a big spoon , make like English pancake batter, season with salt and pepper, set aside for at least 30 minutes( up to 1 hour).
3. In a frying pan heat oil( vegetable oil) and put small ladle of pancake mixture and shallow fry until golden both side.
4. Make dipping sauce: put soy sauce( 3tbs), 1tbs water, 1 tbs vinegar, 2tsp sugar, 1tbsp chopped spring onion , 2tsp toasted sesame seed and mix well, 

Server with pancake and dipping sauce, it is very good first course with rocket salad on the side.  

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Baechu Kimchi ( Cabbage Kimchi)

In Korean cuisine most important dish is cabbage kimchi and without kimchi Korean meal can not be completed. Every meal Kimchi is on the table , therefor Korean meal concept is unique, I do not know any other country in the world eat one single dish every meal.
In olden days Kimchi recipes hand down to next generations for long time, every family has their own recipes and mostly pass on from mother to daughter and daughter in law, therefor newly wed wives has to learn kimchi from their mother in law . Also we have different recipes from province to province.
Kimchi is topic conversation during meal time specially when you invite guests to the meal, usually guests talk about how delicious  host's  kimchi, often the secret family kimchi recipes are never revealed to anyone. These days Korean Government promote Kimchi as symbol of Korean cuisine but sadly Kimchi making to the young Korean generations are dying art!! You can buy kimchi any Korean market but always home made one is the Best!!!  
 I would like to strongly recommend Kimchi making class in every Korean school.

Kimchi is recognised by UN as one of healthiest dish in the world along with Japanese Miso, Greek Yogurt, India Lentil, Spain Olive oil. When Kimchi is fermented produce a lots of good bacteria, more than yogurt.
Now days in Korean restaurants in UK seldom serve fermented kmchi, they mostly serve very freshly made kimchi which means just like spicy cabbage salad. I love slightly fermented Kimchi, that has complex and very special taste, this fermented Kimchi makes excellent Kimchi pancake,stew .

Ingredients; 2 Cabbage, 1 white mooli, spring onion, 1cup Korean chilli flakes, 1/2cup anchovy sauce (or Thai fish sauce), 1tbs salted baby shrimps.1tbs sugar, 2tbs crushed garlic, 1tbs grated ginger
300g sea salt.

Method: 1, choose good cabbage with with dark green leaves, cut in half by slit knife on the top and pull by hand.2. Salting is most important and difficult,wet cabbage and sprinkle salt by hand in side leaves and top .leave 4-5 hours and turn over time to time.
3. Wash and drain set aside.4. Cut mooli and spring onion like match stick, all other ingredients mix together in a big bowl and leave at least 30minutes 5. Put kimchi ssock(4, stuffing) put in side leaves carefully and fold in half and wrap with outside leave and put air tight jar. 6. put 1cup water and 1tbs salt in the Kimchi bowl mix and pour over Jar and put in the dark and cool place for 2 days and move in the fridge. Or you can put fridge strait away and Wait for 3-5 days to slightly ferment.
You can keep in the fridge for 4 -6 weeks. I have seen Kimchi fridge by Korean Electronic company in most of Korean House but sadly I can not afford here, it is too expensive in Uk. Supposedly Kimchi fridge keeps kimchi always same temperature and last longer than normal conventional fridges. I do wish I have one!!!

Kimchi making needs a lots of practise, just be patients! learn from your own trial and error!!
I am making kimchi for over 45 years but still I am worried the end result, every time, also every time kimchi taste slightly different !! defend on cabbages and salting process. you need crunch at top and soft leaves, which makes a good kimchi.  

Photos: cabbages, salting, Stuffing, me making kimchi, end of kimchi making ready to put in the jar