It is now the end of January and we are informed That the restaurant in Belfast is going to be opened sooner that expected, which is unsightly as all large projects are usually behind schedule.
So there is a lot of work to do. Come up with a Name for the restaurant and work on the Menus, Staffing Equipment etc.
Muriel and I have been to the site several times, as there are a lot to consider.
Now I have to do a dinner in Argentina in February and from there I had booked on a research vessel to go to the South Pole, which I was really excited about and now this may not be possible.
We had gone to our Solicitor to get all the papers in order, which at this stage was going on for a few months as nothing is easy and the entire wording was very important.
This was our first venture outside Thornton's Restaurant and there were a lot of things to consider and anything we get involved we do to the best of our ability and also the timing, we are in an unusual time with the economy.
We had being approached several times in the last few years to get involved in different ventures, but we always felt that we were not ready as all our energy was on Thornton's Restaurant and we felt that the timing wasn’t right before. Where as not for some reason we felt that we were ready which is strange really as one would think that a recession time is not the correct time o open a new venture. But we opened The Wine Epergne in Upper Rathmines 20 years ago we were in a recession but then again we were always in a recession so it was normal but you just go with your gut instant.
But now my only person problem was will I be able to go to the south pole and I know I am being selfish and thinking of my self. So I am still hoping that Belfast opens in April “09
We are shooting the last two episodes of Heat, which is to be aired in February
And the garden I have up rooted all the plants in the garden to get it ready for planting vegetables. I have being mixing seaweed into the soil as fertilizer
Here is a recipe for fruit tartlet
Hope you enjoy it
Fruit Tartlet with Vanilla icecream
I love the variety of fruit that is available and the magic is that most of the fruit is only available for about three weeks of the year and with food becoming available all year round it really is special when you get things that are truly only available in season like there is nothing better than tomatoes in august washed and sliced with a sprinkle of rock salt a dash of olive oil and shredded basil leaves it is like heaven and for me it is the real secret of food to get it when it is at its best and enjoy it and do with out it for the rest of the year because there will always be other things that are coming into season . `like now it is the berries who take centre stage it is the currants the white red and black currants, They are all so different in flavor but are brilliant together . So they are great for tarts and especially for `sunday lunch and can be prepared before hand.
Black and White Currant Tart with Vanilla Ice-cream
ingredients 8 persons
500g short crust pastry
500g pastry cream
10g Apricot glaze
1/2 L vanilla ice-cream
200g Red currant Sauce
200g white Currants
300g black currants
100g red currants
10 g Granulated sugar
8 Sugared vanilla pods
Short crust pastry
500g plain Flower
3 free range egg yolks
125 granulated sugar
200g unsalted butter
5g sea salt
1 Vanilla pod
1 zest of orange
100 ml Orange juice
Sieve the flower into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and egg yolks, Cut the Vanilla pod in half and remove the seeds and add to the flower, chopped the orange zest and blanch ( Blanch; cover with water and bring to the boil , strain and refresh add to the mix)
mix in the bowl for a few seconds,
Cut the butter into small cubes and soften add to the mix and mix for a minute, add the orange juice a little at a time, the pastry should bind together, and come cleanly away from the bowl,
Remove and place into a clean bowl and refrigerate for approx. 1 hour, Remove the pastry, Butter the tart mould , dust the mould with flour, roll out the pastry, dusting the table with a little flour, cover the mould with the pastry and with your hands press the mould the pastry into the tart tray.
Blind cook the tart ( This can be achieved by covering the pastry with parchment paper and adding Dried marafat peas or rice to put pressure on the pastry while it is cooking to keep it flat) place it into a hot oven at 180c for 6 minuets, remove the paper with the rice or dried peas and replace the tart back into the oven for a further 2-3 minuets to finish the cooking it should be a very light brown color.
1/4 L of milk
1/4 L of cream
drop of still water
1 vanilla pod
125 g of Icing sugar
165 g of plain white flour
3 free range egg yolks
3 free range whole eggs
In a stainless steel pot add a drop of water, add the milk and cream, Cut the vanilla pod in half and add the seeds to the eggs and the pod shells to the liquid, bring to the boil, in a stainless steel bowl add the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds, flour and mix well with a whisk until it is mixed into a smooth paste.
when the milk and cream is boiled pour half into the flour and egg mix, mix well and pour the mix back into the pot with liquid mix well and return to a low heat and stir constintantly for about five minuets, cover with a lid and place the pot into a bambarie ( container of hot water) to cook foe a further hour mixing every few minuets.
Remove and place into a clean bowl and cover.
I love pastry cream it is one of my favorite things and is difficult to stop eating during cooking
The secret in cooking pastry cream is not to rush it or take short cuts and because there is flour in it so it takes time to cook correctly,
You can keep for a few days and is great all kinds of pastry filling another thing can be done is make an Italian meringue and mix 100g for 600g of pastry cream and it gives it a beautiful velvet texture and makes it even richer love it ( italian meringue, egg whited and sugar brought to 120c and cooled to 110c and poured into the whisked egg whites)
10 Egg yolks
3 Vanilla Pod
1/2 L cream
1/ 2L milk
10 ml of still water
125 g Icing Sugar
1.deseed the Vanilla pod and add to the cream with the pods.
2. Line the Stainless Steel pot with Water, Mix the Milk and cream together and bring to the Boil.\
3. Whisk the egg yolks and add the Sugar and whisk well, pour half the Milk and Cream into the egg and sugar mix m, Mix well with a whisk and Pour back into the Liquid , Return to the heat and bring to 95c and cook , stirring with a wooden spoon when the back of the Anglaise coats the back of the spoon , remove and place into a sink with Iced cold Water to cool the ice cream mix to cool down as quickly as possible.
When Sufficiently cool ,spin in the ice-cream machine 4. Remove and place into a sterilized container and place in a freezer at -27c until required.
Assemble the tart
Cover the base with pastry cream,
line the berries on the pastry cream
Heat the apricot glaze and with a pastry brush cover the berries with the glaze.
For the sauce;
juice the red currants add a little sugar and place into a pot on a low heat and reduce by half, pass through a fine sive into a clean container cool.
Glaze the red currants, Dip the red currants into egg white and cover with granulated sugar and leave on a sugared tray over night at room tempatureWhen the berries are glazed with sugar the will last a few days as the sugar will protect them
Assemble the plate, place the tart on the plate, line the plate with the sauce place the sugared glazed berries beside the sauce, ball the ice-cream and enjoy it.