Thursday, 6 March 2014

Beef, pear and candied orange tagine. Marrakesh, Morocco

The men in Marrakesh are not afraid to show you their romantic side. They might chisel your intials onto a tile and then shape the tile into a heart, or propose to you in the middle of a market and buy you a rose, or wink from a butchers window and make you feel even more uncomfortable than you were already feeling, (having seen squawking chickens slaughtered to order). Let's pretend the M stands for Marrakesh. I really do love it. I love the people.
 
Enough silliness!
Mum and I travelled from Malaga to Morocco. We made the 30 minute ferry trip from Spain to the North Tip of Africa and then the not so speedy journey down to Marrakesh by train. It was, the most interesting journey, eyes glued to the window taking in the ever changing scenery. One minute, the hustle and bustle of a small town, the next mountains, then lakes with flamingos! We stopped at places where there were no signs of a station or shelter, but 'taxis' waiting for passengers.
It was a long, tiring trip. This was party because we had been working almost 3 weeks straight before the day we set off, but mostly due to the train breaking down and a very long wait in the middle of nowhere. One more train, got there in the end and met up with family in a beautiful Riad.
 
I wont bore you with what we did everyday, but here are some pics and I'll share a wonderful tagine recipe at the end.
 
 I've switched off for brekkie on the balcony..
Mum takes a little longer to switch off. Put the emails down!!
Shopkeeper coffee
Entranced, watching these boys make feuilles de brick pastry. The dough is slapped onto the hot plate until there is a thin layer cooked, ready to be scraped off and put on the pile.



We tore ourselves away from the Souks to visit a spice farm and have a little cookery lesson at Faim D'Epices
 
Tagine of beef, pears and candied oranges
Serves 4
800g beef shank
165g onion
1kg pears
1kg oranges
30g caster sugar
50ml extra virgin olive oil
5/6 strands of saffron
1 cinnamon stick
3g cinnamon powder
4g ginger
2g Ras el Hanout
1 tbsp orange flower water
4g salt
4g pepper
120ml water

Chop or grate the onion
Peel oranges and cut skin into thin stiprs and blanch to remove bitterness
Make juice out of orange
peel the pears and put them in half the orange juice
Preheat tagein to high heat
Add the grated onion, oil, spices.
Season and stir 
Add meat and simmer
Add water and cook for one hour
Place pears onto of the meat and cook for 15 minutes
Add candied oranges 
After blanching the strips of orange, place them in a pan with the juice, some sugar, cinnamon and orange flower water and cook until candied.
Add orange strips to tagine and serve.
 






Sunday, 8 December 2013

Festive Afternoon Tea by Milk and Sugar

I'm very excited to announce that the marvelous Victoria from Victoria's Cake Boutique and I are joining forces again for a festive afternoon tea pop-up under the brand spanking new name of Milk & Sugar. This time, we are only doing one sitting on the 14th December, so book early to avoid disappointment. 
We'd love to see you there for cakes, bakes, booze and a few festive surprises along the way...

‘Tis the season to merrily stuff your faces, so you’d be Christmas crackers to miss out on Milk & Sugar’s festive afternoon tea. After the success of our Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, we have joined forces again to come up with a Winter Wonderland of baked goods. While enjoying stunning views of the river, you can sip on mulled wine and indulge in such glittering delights as Partridge and Pear filo “crackers”, Virgin Mary tarts, miniature gingerbread houses and pine nut Christmas trees. There will certainly be enough free-flowing tea and tasty treats to keep you sated until Christmas Day!

To book, please email info@milliscatering.co.uk

Nearest tube: Putney Bridge. You will receive the full address once your booking has been confirmed.

Saturday 14th December 3 – 6pm

MENU

We want to leave a few surprises for you on the day, but to give you a glimpse of what's in store…

Savoury:
Stilton gougères
Virgin Mary tarts
Partridge and pear filo "crackers"
Pigs in blankets
Chestnuts wrapped in bacon

Finger sandwiches will include:
Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill
Ham and Dijon mustard
Roast turkey, cranberry sauce and watercress
Cucumber and mint

Sweet:
Miniature Yule logs
Miniature gingerbread houses
Spiced chocolate truffle "Christmas puddings"
Mince pies
Orange and cinnamon stars (with a fleck of gold leaf)
Lemon and pine nut Christmas tree cakes
Chestnut mousse
Christmas cake "presents"
Clementine possets topped with fresh clementine segments
Orange and cranberry scones, so fresh they won’t be baked until you arrive
£25 per head, including a festive tipple

10% will go to Crisis At Christmas, so stuffing your face will be a charitable act!

To book, please email info@milliscatering.co.uk

We are happy to cater for gluten-free guests on request. 

Menus are subject to change without prior notice.

We can't wait to welcome you to the party!

Love,

Victoria and Milli xx

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Milk and Sugar - Secret Tea Room

We did it! Vic and I launched Milk and Sugar, an afternoon tea 'supperclub'! We rolled up our sleeves, polished the silver, put on the music and whipped up cakes and sandwiches galore for all our lovely guests. We met some wonderful people over the two days and four sittings and if we hadn't been so busy pouring tea and cutting sandwiches we would have happily sat down and joined in the fun.


In the book, the Dutchess' cook has absolutely saturated the kitchen with pepper, and the baby sneezes constantly. Alice spirits him away, only to find that he has transformed into a pig. It is never explained why this happens, but we served peppery leek tarts followed by peppery sausage roll piggies.Washed down with a glass of bubbles, our guests took their seats.
We didn't take pictures of all our cakes, and sandwiches but we served the following..
Glass of Prosecco
Peppery leek tartlets and peppery pigs
Cheshire cat striped mousse, raspberry and blueberry
Green tea and ginger 'tea cups'- edible in their entirety  
Rabbit lemon possets
..and his stop watch brownies 
Queen of heart jam tarts
Playing card vanilla sable biscuits
White and red 'painted' rose topped pistachio and lemon cakes.
-
Sandwiches, Ham and Dijon mustard, /Egg and cress/ Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill/ Cucumber cream cheese and mint/ Roasted red pepper, spinach, cream cheese and toasted almonds

Followed by CHOCOLATE WINE. Made with red wine, port, spices and 70% cocoa chocolate.
 




Thank you to everyone that came over the weekend..

 
It was exhausting but we can't wait to do it all again! 
 
Our next tea is a FESTIVE TREAT on the 14th December. Details to come, but to reserve a spot, please email info@milliscatering.co.uk

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Chilli con carne. Really decent carne.

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I made a really fiiiiiine chilli last week. I picked up some pork knuckle and beef shin at Nath the Butcher, and got to work on what was THE best chilli I have ever knocked up. I've nothing against beef mince in a chilli but if you go this route, or even buy chuck steak and chop it up into small pieces, you'll find it's really worth the extra spend.
In short,(because I'm rushing out for pizza) I browned the meat, and took the onions to a charring point to introduce that smoky flavour. Everything else was added and blipped away for four hours, well not the beans, they go in for the last 30 mins, which is when I also lifted out the knuckle and removed the bones. I like my chilli fiery, hence the sweet potato and guac, you've got to be careful with those habernero chilli flakes,  they can be a bit tongue numbing. I got the chipotles in the post from Susan in Seattle and the flakes online, from Sous Chef Click on the link if you are a chilli fan, there's an awesome chilli selection. 

This makes a huge amount of chilli, easily serving 10 or more, but freezes beautifully. 

2 beef shins, sliced into chunks
1 pork knuckle, ask your butcher to chop into thirds
3 small onions
6 garlic cloves
2 pints water
1 lrg tinned tomato
cinnamon bark (or tsp of powder)
2 flat tsp of habernero chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
2 dried chipotles (deseeded and ground in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar) or 3-4 heaped tsp chipotles in adobo
1 tsp thyme
3 pinch flaky salt
1 can guiness (this is no trick, just what I had in the fridge to use up)
140g tom puree
2 cans of black beans

If you're not using chipotles, and only have on hand chilli powder, try adding a tsp of proper cocoa powder or a few squares of 70% chocolate at the end for that earthy depth.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Halloween Supperclub!

 
The lights were dimmed, the cocktails mixed and The Monster Mash was the first song on the soundtrack. I was so excited to welcome our first guest to my Halloween Supperclub! I loved every minute of the evening, Sam and Hannah were not only SUPER helpers, but also a laugh in the kitchen. Playing host and cook for 16, I didn't catch all of it on camera. I almost wondered if there was any point in trying to piece together this post, a mix of SLR and iphone pics, and some courses not pictured at all, but I think the following give you an idea.  
Bocconcini, olive, basil and Parma ham eyeball canapés  
 
 Mummified finger sausages with spicy ketchup
'Green gunk guacamole with witches hat crackers. I made the crackers with squid ink and chilli powder.. recipe soon, they were delish.
 
Smoked salmon mousse braaaaiiiiin served with tabasco on bread
Overcooked tapioca for a slimy finish to the cocktail jugs!
 Hanging bats.. they creeped me out.
Then there was spicy pumkin soup with black sesame (not pictured)
The main course was shoulder of lamb, rolled with the neck fillet and roasted for 4 hours, with cavolo nero, baby carrots, 'mash ghosts' and Sam's addictive gravy.
 


The grand finale was my severed FOOT CAKE. It looked gross but tasted good. Squidgy chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream and hot salted caramel sauce.
 
I made worms out of strawberry jelly to throw on the cake at the last minute with crumbled chocolate cake for soil (not pictured)
After bowls of foot, came brain shots. Baileys poured over peach schnapps so it curdled. All in all a rather disgusting but enjoyable night.