Crab Ice Cream
I've been thinking about a seafood ice cream for a while now, as you do.
Partly for my long-maturing stuffed-squid meal
, and partly for the hell of it.
I ultimately want to do something with wasabi crackers (like those chinese prawn crackers, but wasabi flavoured)
and maybe oyster ice cream as a starter,
but I decided to have my first stab at making one for a dessert and I went for crab,
though I also thought prawns might work.
I invited Aidan and Jude around for a first attempt at making our planned
Erin's Signature West Coast dish
Over here on the East Coast - since we didn't get the chance when we were on the West Coast.
That's to be a black pudding and scallop stack with a lime-butter sauce for your information.
I didn't tell them what the pudding was going to be!
I started on the dessert
the night before, making up the broth before going to bed.
I also remembered to get the ice cream machine sleeve into the freezer compartment days early
(hoping to to do better than the last time I tried to
use the damn thing
Then I had time to make up the custard early in the morning and leave it chilling for several hours first in the fridge
then in the freezer to get it absolutely as cold as possible without freezing it, knowing how poor my freezer is.
This seemed to do the trick, because the ice cream machine successfully churned the mixture to ice cream in about 20 minutes.
(Well, to be honest it wasn't quite frozen even then, but it was
very thick and the machine couldn't churn it any more.
Maybe I was a bit heavy on the egg yolks?). Then I stuck the sleeve in the freezer until dinner time, turning the contents around
with a wooden spoon every so often when I remembered.
The ice cream was quite a lot of effort really, it's a pity the result was a bit underwhelming.
I made the guests try and guess the flavour, which they eventually got with a bit of prompting (and some incredulous muttering)
and they were mightily impressed with the concept. But not the delivery.
I don't think the world is quite ready for seafood ice cream as a dessert.
It's too much of a psychological dissociation when your mind is expecting pudding and your mouth is feeding you crab.
I still think it has potential as a starter, but I'm pretty much alone here.
Aidan did suggest wasabi ice cream instead of my wasabi crackers.
I guess there's gonna to have to be a lot of ice cream making going on.
Maybe when Aline comes back and we get a new freezer?
Aidan kindly brought the starters
which were rather tasty
I started the mash off nice and early by baking King Edwards well ahead of time for 90 minutes at Gas Mark 6
before running them through a potato ricer
and then leaving them to one side in a small bowl, liberally smeared with butter and covered with cling film.
When ready to reheat the potato I boiled up some milk and double cream in a large pan,
then added the potato and some roughly chopped dill fronds and mashed the potato around until it had warmed through,
adjusting the seasoning at the end.
I made up the lime butter
sauce half an hour ahead and kept it in a warmed thermos flask.
I fried the black pudding and apple rings just before the guests arrived and put them in a low oven to keep warm.
Preparing everything in advance this way meant that I needed only to stir-fry the pak choy,
reheat the riced potato and fry the scallops to serve up the dinner.
The sauce is pretty nice, and quite popular with the other guests, but it's very limey.
I found it a little bit too tart for the meal, I think I'd try a Mornay sauce next time.
I decided to try out a couple of different ways of frying up the scallops, just for comparison:
- My usual method of quick-frying in (or brushed with) a little clarified butter (or pancetta fat) over high heat in a griddle.
- A method suggested by John Ogden who used to own the Seafood Temple in Oban —
Gently fry the the scallops in an inch or two of butter turning occasionally, until they turn opaque.
We figured the scallops tasted about the same, though they do
look prettier all caramelised from the griddle.
However, it's a lot
easier to control the slow cooking in butter, it may take a bit longer (and cost a fortune in butter),
but you can better manage the cooking speed, and they don't really need that much attention.
When you're frying them over high heat it's quite easy to overcook the scallops and turn them into little rubber bullets.
So especially if you've got a lot of other stuff going on I think the deep-butter technique is going to work best.
As per usual, I managed to completely forget about taking photos of the end product.
So I had to make the meal all over again the next day using some leftover black pudding.
But it did give me the chance to try the black pudding stacks with a Mornay sauce
and I also added a layer of crispy pancetta to the stack, which I managed to forget the first time around!
I also served it with celeriac purée
instead of mashed potato this time.
Just 'cos I didn't want to throw half a celeriac away.
It was perfectly good that way too.
I rather liked the Mornay sauce (though don't make it too thick), but then I missed the limeyness of the first meal.
Maybe I could try a Mornay sauce with a hint of lime!
Or a lime-butter sauce with a bit less lime?
Meh. Life's too short.
Scallops and Black Pudding
main fish meat
Scallops, apple rings, pancetta and black pudding stacks
Although this never quite got made on board Erin, we always planned to try it out during our West Coast holiday.
It would have worked pretty well on board to be honest. There's nothing here you couldn't do in a cramped galley on a storm-tossed sea.
Serves 6. Or 4 with a couple of spares
Except eat it of course.
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
Place the pancetta slices on a baking tray, and if you want them to be extra flat put another baking tray on top of them to hold them down
(feel free to put greaseproof paper on either side),
then bake them in the oven until they are browned and crisp - about 7 minutes.
Remove from the tray and set them on kitchen paper until required. You can keep the fat from the baking tray to brush over the scallops if you want.
Turn the oven down low.
Slice the black pudding into rounds roughly ¾" thick - one per person.
Peel the apple, slice it into rounds, about ⅓" thick,
set them aside in a bowl covered with lemon juice and water to stop them browning.
Fry the black pudding slices until they crisp up, then put them in the oven.
Fry the apple rings (you can use the same fat, but you might want to pour off the excess) until they caramelise,
then lay a slice of pancetta and an apple ring atop each of the black pudding rounds and return them to the oven.
Fry up the scallops and put one or two on top of the black pudding stack.
Pool a little of the sauce in the middle of each plate, place a black pudding stack on each puddle, grate over a little nutmeg and serve.
Crab Ice Cream
Not exactly a success - it was fun trying out, and I think there's some potential there
(though not everyone agrees with me), but I wouldn't try this at home kids!
- 1 crab - around 700g
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 1 leek, carefully washed and chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- ½ head garlic, cloves peeled
- 4 carrots, chopped
- white wine
- zest of ¼ orange
- ½ star anise
- handful dill
- 5 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- parmesan crisps
- passion fruit
Kill your crab, then boil it in salted water for 2 minutes.
Some rather horrible stuff squidges out of the crab during this process. Probably it's normal. Probably.
Break off the crab's legs, pull off the apron then prise the crab's body out of its back shell.
Pull off the gills dead man's fingers
and any intestines and discard them. Wash out any nasty fluids from the shell.
Cut the body in half and crack open the claws and legs and prise out any tasty white meat with a skewer or tweezers and reserve it.
Try not to get any bits of shell mixed up in it.
When you've collected enough meat, chop up any of the bigger pieces of crab, then start frying.
Heat some olive oil or butter in a large stock pan and fry all the crab pieces and shell for a few minutes until they are dried out and starting to crackle.
Now add the shallots, then the leek, then the garlic, then deglaze with a shot of cognac, a glass of vermouth and a glass of wine.
Carry on frying until the pan dries out again, then add the tomatoes, the carrots,
the zest, anise, dill and cover with water.
Cover, set to a gentle simmer for 2 hours, giving it an occasional skim, then strain the broth.
Reduce the broth to 300ml, add 300ml double cream and a scant teaspoon of saffron
and bring back almost to the boil then take off the heat to cool a little.
Meanwhile beat or whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar for 10 minutes until it is thick and creamy.
Mix a little of the hot broth into the eggs, then pour the eggs into the broth pan and reheat, stirring constantly,
until the custard reaches 80°C and begins to thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
At this stage you can add more sugar (as I did) if the custard does not taste sweet enough.
Cover with cling film and leave to cool, then chill it right down for a few hours.
Now you can pour it into your ice cream machine and churn it up.
I also added most of the shredded crab meat I had reserved earlier.
Keep it in the fridge until required, but preferably for not too many hours.
To serve, you can make some parmesan crisps
to stick in the ice cream scoops, and dress them with a little passion fruit.
Pak Choy with Soy Sauce
side veg vegan
Pak Choy fried with soy sauce and garlic
This is quite a good simple way of serving pak choy.
You need about 1 bulb of pak choy, 1 garlic clove and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce per person. Ish.
3 bulbs seemed enough for 4 people really. Make sure to keep the leaves reasonably small or they won't wilt.
The original idea is from Gordon Ramsay, which was to fry the pak choy tossed in soy sauce and garlic from the start.
I didn't find that worked very well - the soy sauce burned before the pak choy was cooked.
My method is better.
- 3 bulbs pak choy
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Grind the garlic cloves with a generous twist of black (or mixed) peppercorns to a paste in a pestle and mortar.
Mix with the soy sauce and olive oil.
Separate the pak choy leaves and wash them well. Cut the larger ones in half or smaller.
Stir-fry the pak choy in a little olive oil in a frying pan or wok until they char a little, and begin to wilt.
Add the soy sauce mixture, allow it to reduce and thicken then turn off the heat.
Lime Butter Sauce
A good sauce to add to the inventory, but be careful not to over-lime it.
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 100ml white wine
- 250ml double cream
- 50g butter, chilled, cut into cubes
- 40ml lime juice (1½ limes) to taste
- 1 scant teaspoon cornflour dissolved in a little water
Chop the shallot, and simmer in a small pot with the wine until it has reduce to about one half. Strain.
Mix with the cream, add a little of the dissolved cornflour to help prevent curdling
and bring it to a reasonable thickness
(bearing in mind that the lime juice will thin the sauce further).
Whisk in the butter, a small piece at a time.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
Season to taste.
It takes quite a lot of cooking to get celeriac soft enough to mash,
so this is a good approach that avoids leeching all the flavour away in boiling water.
- 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- ½ pint or so milk
- sprig rosemary
- salt & pepper
Cut up the celeriac, and place in a pan with a generous amount of butter and sweat gently for 5 minutes, without colouring.
Add milk almost to cover, the sprig of rosemary and leave to simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until celeriac is soft and the liquid absorbed.
Discard the rosemary, mash or purée the celeriac, season to taste and serve with a grating of nutmeg.
Goat's Cheese Parcels
Goat's cheese with garlic and herbs in filo pastry parcels
- 4 sheets filo pastry
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 85g/3 oz firm goat's cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
Press the garlic clove, and mix with the cheese, herbs and a little oil in a bowl.
Lay the filo sheets on a damp surface to prevent them drying out and cut into 4 squares.
Put a little mixture into the middle of each rectangle and fold up into wonton-shaped parcels, twisting the top to seal them up.
Brush with oil and bake for 4 minutes until the pastry crisps up.
Serve warm with a little dollop of jam.
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