Finger limes and citrus pearls

As a chef or Cook you never stop learning. This is why I love my job!

I was recently introduced to the finger lime by the pastry chef Colin. I had never seen or even heard of this before and was intrigued. I couldn’t wait to break it open, let alone taste it.

The lime is cylindrical in shape and has the same skin complex as a standard lime. Upon opening up the skin it bursts out with these amazing little citrus pearls, very similar to caviar.

When you bite down on the pearls they pop I your mouth release a citrus burst very similar to lime with a sharp bite. Then flavour lingers for moments after. It’s incredibly fresh.

My mind was working on over drive trying to think of all the recipes that this could be used, both sweet and savoury. It would making an amazing garnish for canapés and petit fours, giving diners a good surprise of flavour but a brilliant textural experience.

So here they are:

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Beetroot and chocolate brownies

So, I finally cracked. Having heard and seen so many variants of beetroot brownies I gave in and created a batch.

I understand the reasons for putting vegetables into cakes and I believe it can add moisture and longevity to a cake, but carrot cake has always been my limit!

@LoveBeetroot passed on their recipe for me to try via Twitter .

So I gave it a go. The results were a deliciously moist brownie with a subtle hint of beetroot but not to overpowering. What I also love about the recipe is that it’s gluten free.

The recipe can be found here on the love beetroot website:

http://www.lovebeetroot.co.uk/recipes/detail.asp?ItemID=355#.VGcUBKbfXCT

Give it a go, I would love to see your feedback and any other creations with beetroot.

Tweet them to me @JoechefBartlett

Here was my beetroot brownie

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Roasted Chicken Stock

The key to a good sauce, stew or gravy is a decent home made stock.

Check out my recipe for a roasted chicken stock. By roasting the bones it gives you a much deeper flavour and colour to the stock.

I used my stock to make a Madeira sauce but would be an amazing base for a chicken stew.

Recipe

Ingredients:

3 chicken carcasses
6 chicken wings
2 carrots
1 leek
2 white onions
4 sticks of celery
1 bay leaf
4 springs of thyme
4 parsley stalks
6 black peppercorns
Dry white or dry cider to deglaze

Method:

1. Place the chicken carcasses and wings in a roasting tin. Roast in a pre heated oven at 220C until well caramelised and crisp.

2. Place the roasted bones in a stock pot and cover with double the amount of cold water. Bring to the boil, skim and simmer gently.

3. In the mean time roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the roasting tin. Don’t worry if there is some roasted on cooking juices from the chicken. Toss the vegetables around in the chicken fat and roast until well coloured. Deglaze the roasting tin and vegetables with a splash of alcohol to retain as much flavour as possible.

4. Add the roasted vegetables and deglazed liquor to the stock pot along with the herbs, bay leaf and peppercorns. Simmer the stock for a couple of hours, skimming at regular intervals.

5. The stock should smell of roast chicken. Strain through a fine sieve into a suitable container. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.

Top tips

Skimming the stock will prevent any fats or impurities boiling into the stock and making it go greasy.

Always replace any stock skimming’s with cold water to keep the stock level the same.

Once you have strained the stock it can be boiled down to concentrate it but also make it easier to store. I usually reduce 5 litres down to 500ml and then divide it into small containers and freeze.

A brown stock is when you roast the ingredients giving a richer and darker stock.

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Wild mushroom powder

With a recent glut of foraged wild mushrooms i decided to dry them out and make a powder.

It is so simple to do and a great store cupboard ingredient to add a robust, meaty flavour to sauces, stews, gravy’s, marinades, roasted meats and risotto’s.

You can use any mushrooms but I find wild mushrooms give you the most incredible intense flavour.

All you need to do spread the mushrooms out on a cooling rack lined with muslin cloth. Place them in a low oven at 90 degrees or in an airing cupboard and dry out over night.

Then blend the dried mushrooms up in a spice grinder until a fine powder is achieved.

Store in an airtight container or Kilner jar for up to a year.

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Smoked garlic and thyme bread sauce

I was excited to see freshly smoked garlic in the super market and with roast chicken for dinner there was only one thing for it!

I decided to make a smokey but sweet bread sauce using simple ingredients with a big impact of flavour.

We all generally have leftover bread, milk and maybe some woody herbs from the garden so making this sauce was a no brainer.

It’s fantastic with roast chicken but also this time of year, GAME!

Ingredients:

4 sliced of day old or stale white bread, crusts removed
300ml milk , I used semi skimmed
3 clove smoked garlic
2 sprigs of thyme
1 Clove
1/2 an onion, skin removed
Salt, pepper

Method:

1. Roast the garlic cloves in the oven at 200C for about ten minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, put the milk, thyme, onion and clove in a pan and warm gently to infuse . Be careful not to scald the milk. I added the outer garlic paper also to give an extra smokey flavour.

3 , Once the milk has infused, strain it into a clean pan. Add the bread and stir to break up. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from the oven and squeeze into the bread sauce. Taste and season. A knob of butter can be added to enrich the sauce . Enjoy !

Top tips:

Place the thyme over the onion and stud with the clove to keep everything in one place.

Use any smoked garlic skins/paper to Infuse into the milk.

Sweet smoked paprika can be added for a richer flavour but works incredibly well with game.

A splash of double cream, creme fraiche or knob of butter can be stirred in at the end to give a luxurious finish

When roasted the garlic, pierce them first with a sharp knife. This will stop them from exploding and help them to roast quicker .

You can use any woody herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano

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My take on the classic Slivovitz!

I’ve just finished bottling up my Slivovitz, it’s gonna hit the spot, that’s for sure : )

joechefbartlett

I was fortunate enough to be given a glut of foraged mirabelle plums from a fellow chef David Beazley, a local wild food expert !

It is quite traditional to make an eau de vie from the plums as they are known for their sweetness .

Having recently drank Slivovitz in Slovakia whilst visiting the capital I thought it would be great to create my own version.

I have used vodka in the recipe and married up the aniseed like flavour of star anise with the plums.

Recipe:
1kg plums
280g white sugar
1 star anise
2 strips of lemon peel, pith removed
600ml vodka approx, at least 40% proof

Method:

1. Pierce all of the plums with a sharp knife to the stone. Place in a clean jar.

2. Add the sugar, star anise and lemon peel. Pour the vodka over until the plums are covered.

3. Seal the…

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Ashburton Food & Drink Festival

A great little write up on the Ashburton Food Festival, Devon

Running Buffet

A year ago, the Ashburton Food and Drink Festival kick-started my Devon A-Z challenge, giving me over 50 different local food and drink producers almost literally on my doorstop. A year on and the festival was back in town again. A lot has changed in a year: my awareness of the Devon food and drink industry has grown significantly and there were many producers at this year’s festival that I had met before (and sampled from before).

On a more personal level, since the previous festival we have bought a house and, on the weekend of the 2014 festival, we were in the middle of trying to prepare it for moving in. Mrs Running Buffet allowed me an hour off though, so I hotfooted it down to the town centre to see what was on offer.

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