Autumn Begins

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. The weather is still great and the beaches are less busy. However, there are some draw backs. It´s the busiest time at the hotel! Therefore I only get to enjoy the beach for a few days at the beginning of September before the hotel gets fully booked, however I have my November holidays to look forward to. :biggrin:

With all the restaurants at the resort fully booked for every lunch and dinner service, there is little time to take photos and research new recipes or improve old ones. However, with my trusty iPhone to hand I can still take the odd photo now and again then upload them to my Facebook page.

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Some photos from my iPhone Album include:

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Sweet n Spicy Almonds.

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Raw almonds are baked in the oven for a few minutes before being mixed with a blend of heated sugar, honey, spices and chili oil. The result is a sweet-spicy-nutty snack that makes it difficult to only eat one!

Another snack that is really difficult to leave alone is flavoured with curry and paprika powder.

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Curry Caramel Popcorn.

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Popped corn is flavoured with melted butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, curry and paprika powders. Once the popcorn is mixed it is placed in a low oven for 50 minutes then allowed to cool, allowing the caramel mixture to harden, then it is placed in the fridge. Serving it from the fridge gives the morsels a extra crunchiness.

Another snack that we have been offering is a little more elegant.

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Foie Gras Maki with Foie Gras Crumbs.

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Not so good for Weight Watchers, but sometimes we need to have fun! The richness of the duck liver is complimented with a thick syrupy reduction of soy sauce and sugar.

If you thought that dish was elegant, wait until you see the next one!

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Light Mushroom and Egg Flan with Caviar.

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Eggs are removed from their shell and used to make a light “Mushroom Chawanmushi“. This savoury egg custard is cooked in the egg shell before being topped with a generous amount of caviar. Yummy! :biggrin:

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The Spanish love their “Pulpo” or octopus. Found in nearly every tapas bar, boiled or grilled octopus is a wonderful tapas to have with a beer or a chilled glass of Manzanilla Sherry. Though said to be Galicia´s most famous dish, it is served all over Spain and in other Mediterranean counrties and islands. When served boiled it is sometimes accompanied with boiled sliced potatoes and garnished with paprika, oilve oil and sea salt. Throughout Spain this dish is referred to as “Pulpo a la Gallega” (Galician Style Octopus), whether or not partnered with potato rounds.

It seemed fitting to have some octopus served in the restaurant.

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Octopus Tempura.

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Boiled octopus tentacles are dipped in a tempura flour before being briefly deep fried and served on top of a thick Balsamic Sweet Chili Sauce.

Moving away from the iPhone photos, I did manage to snap a few photos with my trusted Canon 450D (Rebel XSi).

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Intern Sasi preparing (and tasting!) her Mise en Place.

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Sasi is in her last month of her three month internship. A Graduate with honours from the French Culinary Institute and hailing from NYC she contacted me in June and wanted to come to my kitchens in Spain for a few months before setting off on an extraordinary travel itinerary that will take her to London, Australia and Asia. Like all good cooks, she loves eating and learning.

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In my last update I showed you my smoked mackerel, this time I used the same technique and added a few more ingredients to smoke some duck breast.

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Unlike the mackerel, duck breast benefits from being soaked in a brine beforehand which will help tenderise the meat.

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The breasts are hot smoked at a high temperature for a only a few minutes, enough to give it a nice colour and not overcook it.

The result is a juicy and smokey breast that is served thinly sliced “as is” or used to build a layer in a terrine.

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For some groups in the hotel we have been preparing set menus.

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One dish that is requested in most menus is my “Goong Che Nam Pa” or Prawn Carpaccio.

For this certain meal the next course would be “Ping Gai“, obviously served with “Jeow Mhak Len“!

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Whilst the chicken (cooked sous vide) got its finishing touches we started to plate the garnishes. Inside the crispy potato thread rings are fried rice topped with the roasted tomato chutney and semi-dried cherry tomatoes and spinach.

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A few days ago I had to prepare a dish that would be featured in a Spanish TV programme about the hotel. Tired of preparing my Prawn Carpaccio (its been over publicised) I decided to create a “salad” version instead.

This version would use cooked (well, half cooked actually) king prawns instead of my favoured raw ones. The dressing remained the same, and I also added a few other ingredients.

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Prawn Salad.

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Sweet things over the past few weeks included our Mango Passion (Fruit) Crème Brûlée. (Don´t you just love those cute accents over the letters?!). :biggrin:

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We caramelize these twice. Adds to the crunchiness, and everyone loves crunchiness!

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For after dinner coffees I served up some biscuits.

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Green Tea Biscuits.

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I just love the delicate flavour of Matcha Green Tea. The real powder is quite expensive, thankfully its good to know that a little goes a long way!

I don’t know if the next thing qualifies as something sweet or if it falls in to the savoury section.

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Bacon Marshmallows.

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Yep. Bacon!

These were specially made for a special “Degustacion” menu to accompany my Terrine of Foie Gras that would be served in another restaurant at the resort. Of course the marshmallows were toasted before being served! Quite yummy in my opinion!

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