Tuesday, 28 July 2015

White Bean & Chicken Chilli

I can understand the concept of writers block must be truly frustrating and depressing for a person in that trade. Having to constantly be inventive, imaginative, inspiring and all in a time limit is a concept I know all too well.
We only have about 7 items on the café menu but they change each week and, every so often, I get 'chefs block' and struggle to produce the goods.

This week my struggle was with my menus hot dish. We only serve 1 a week so I try to keep customers interest with new ideas, classical twists and flavours.
I rarely look to google for my ideas, now I just stick to Pinterest. A truly amazing site where you can put together scrapbooks of all your favourite items on the internet and look at what everyone is scrapbooking.
Traditional chilli con carne is a dish that goes well at the café whenever I put it on so I got rather excited when I saw this White Bean & Chicken Chilli on Pinterest taken from a lovely blog
  The Cafe Sucre Farine .

White Beans & Chicken Chilli

A lovely little blog which I'm sure I will head back to for more ideas in the future.
Having bought all the ingredients I set about on Monday morning to put this little dish together and what a success! As always I got all the girls at work to have a taste test before going on the menu and a big thumbs up I received from them all. My only criticism was that I think I slipped with the chilli powder and cumin as it was slightly too hot for my palate. But then I am girl who only eats korma!!  

If you fancy trying this the recipe can be found here , I can honestly recommend!

White Bean & Chicken Chilli
Linking up this week with
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foodie fridays and everything else

And if you fancy following me on pinterest where you can find lots of new ideas you can find me Here

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Alternative Caprese Sandwich

Enter into any eating establishment and ask for a sandwich and you would expect to receive your chosen filling in between two slices of bread, and rightly so.
This week we had on the cafe menu mozzarella, basil, tomato and pesto on warm ciabatta as our sandwich of the day, as shown below.

Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato and Pesto on warm Ciabatta
One customer's order I received this week had the strange request of the sandwich but with the filling on the side. It's always hard when customers request changes as a chef serves any dish their own way and it's not always easy to interpret exactly what the customer is asking for, if that makes sense.

Charging the same as the sandwich on the board I also had to ensure I didn't get carried away putting more ingredients on the plate. Good for the customer but not good for the business profits. As one of my previous managers always stated "we are a business not a charity".

So, using the same amount of ingredients but spreading them out to fill the plate, I placed the mozzarella and tomatoes in layers on a small bed of rocket with basil leaves tucked in between, and the pesto in a small dish on the side. The oven warmed ciabatta was sliced and placed on the side.
Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil and Pesto with Ciabatta
The result looked lovely and the customer was happy that her request had been executed to how she wanted it.
For me I thought what a novel and alternative way to serve a sandwich this way in a cafe. I do love doing things differently, and with a twist.

The Alternative Caprese Sandwich
I wonder if all customers would be happy with this alternative way of  serving the cafe sandwich.
Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil, and Pesto with Warm Ciabatta.
The Alternative Caprese Sandwich

Monday, 6 July 2015

Goats Cheese Summer Salad, With Potato Rosti & Damson Ketchup

Do you ever have food you're not ready to use at the moment so put it in the freezer then totally forget about it for ages? Well, whilst cleaning out the freezer at work this week I came across a tub of frozen damsons that must have been stored away last summer and forgotten about.
Needing freezer space I defrosted them and boiled them up with some onions, brown sugar, red wine vinegar and spices until thickened, then strained until a beautiful ketchup was formed.
Discussions then began at work as to what to serve it with.
One of the girls suggested goats cheese, and at that point the cogs in my head started turning!!
Damson ketchup, goats cheese, broad beans, smoked bacon, roasted tomatoes, rocket served on potato rosti. This combination sounded like fun, so I got to work creating the dish, and boy did it turn out well.

Damson ketchup, goats cheese, broad beans, smoked bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes on potato rosti

Potato rosti isn't probably your usual ingredient for a salad. Quite interestingly Rösti is a Swiss dish consisting mostly of grated potato. Originally it was served as a farmers breakfast and then as a side dish to accompany a main meal.
For my rosti I used white potatoes, chopped chives and spring onions.

Ingredients for potato rosti. Potato, chive and spring onion.
First job is to grate the potato, wrap it in a clean tea towel and tightly squeeze so that all the water from the potato comes out. 
Grated potato in a tea towel to remove the water content.

Put the potato in a bowl and mix in the chive and spring onion and season with salt and pepper. I added an egg as well at this point to help bind the mix although recipes I've looked at don't seem to. Your choice!

Grated potato, chive and spring onion mix

Melting some butter in a frying pan I packed a mould tight with the potato mix and cooked for about 5 minutes on the hob.
Frying the rosti
After 5 minutes I removed the mould and turned the rosti over and cook for a further few minutes.
When browned both sides I removed from the pan  and put on a tray in the oven at 175° with a slice of goats cheese and some cherry tomatoes.

Browned potato rosti

While all that baked in the oven I fried off, in a pan, some chopped smoked bacon and pre-cooked broad beans.
That done I put all the ingredients together on a wooden board, for that rustic effect.

Goats cheese and potato rosti salad.
I placed the rosti in the centre of the board and sat the goats cheese on top. Some rocket then spread around and the bacon and broad beans scattered on top with the roasted cherry tomatoes.   
As well as some of  my ketchup served in a side dish I also put some in a squeezy bottle and drizzled from side to side over the whole dish
A scattering of chopped parsley and this dish has wowed all our customers this week.
Let's see if it wows you!!  

Damson ketchup, goats cheese, potato rosti salad with broad beans, smoked bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes

Linking up with
Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Friday And Everything Else