I was cleaning about 3 kg lots of chicken breasts and decided to make chicken pot pie with off cuts. Chickens pot pie is comfort food which can be flavored according to imagination as long as the chicken, when cooked, remains moist. I have done mine with leek and curry but you can use mushrooms, celery, turnips or even replace the chicken with turkey. Continue Reading
I wanted to do a large gougère filled with whatever as a main course. Then my mind went into creativity mode. I got lazy and started to think pizza. A nice dish requires a nobler base. I created a gougère topped with a béchamel of button and dry porcini mushrooms. It can be had as a starter or as a main course served with a salad.
A gougère is choux pastry with cheese. The best cheese to use for choux pastry is, in my view, Gruyère or Emmental. No luck because all I have is mild cheddar and parmesan cheese. I must say the local cheddar cheese, in Kenya, is good. However, cheddar seems to have a higher moisture content than Gruyère and the like which is not so desirable to incorporate in choux pastry.
Making choux pastry is a necessary skill to have in French cookery and for some sadistic reason I am always thrill when I incorporate the first egg into the mass. I repeat, only the first egg. One litre of water requires 16 eggs and to incorporate 16 eggs in a mass is a tiring job by hand.
Yes, of course, you can do all that with a machine. French cooking schools are not so benevolent and I do believe that chefs sadistically enjoy looking at student’s cramping arms after cracking the 16th egg for choux pastry. I don’t cry in the kitchen, I use my masochistic side to enjoy any process. Looking back, the sadomasochistic relationship with the kitchen is not so bad if you have a culinary passion. Continue Reading
Kenyans prefer fishes from Lake Victoria such as Nile Perch and tilapia. They almost taste the same, except it seems that tilapia fillets are thinner and with a finer texture than Nile Perch. I handle tilapia almost like sole.
Personally, I prefer sea fish for the variety in taste and texture. My fish monger had a beautiful Kingfish. I ordered four slices. King fish or any fish which can be sliced have a firmer flesh, easier to handle in the pan and less bones.
Cooking is about being daring at time. So, let up the ante and make a crab soufflés. Aloha, my fish monger in Westlands, has crabs almost every Monday. This recipe is for 6 and 2 nice size crabs are sufficient for the recipe. Ask them to kill and clean the crab. You must cook the crab the same day you buy it.
As soon as they die crabs rapidly self-destruct and you end up with watery empty shells. I do not know any place selling fresh crab meat in Nairobi.
Go home, dump your crab in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Now, the fun part, is to remove the crab’s flesh by breaking up the crab.
A crab soufflé, or any other soufflé, is made with a béchamel sauce, remember the roux and the white sauce. Crab is added to the sauce which is enriched with egg yolks and lighten up with egg whites. Continue Reading
I was amused when a food blogger did not know what a roux was. I like the blog and for information I mentioned that a roux is one the components needed to make or thicken sauce.
A roux is a foundation, a must of French culinary techniques. It is made with equal part butter and flour. The amount is up to the recipe and in accordance with the quantity and the sauce thickness needed.
A sauce is made, not all sauces, by adding a very hot or boiling liquid such as water, milk, or stock to a cold roux until the desired thickness is reached. When done correctly the end result never has lumps.
A white sauce is made with milk. In French the sauce is called béchamel, let me provide you with a gourmet recipe to make 1 litre of white sauce. A simple white sauce or béchamel sauce will only have a roux and milk. Continue Reading