Friday, 28 June 2013

Eat Like Kristen Stewart

Hi peeps!

Let's chat about KStew today. Her birth name is Kristen Jaymes Stewart, she was born in 1990 in USA and is an Aries. During her filming of Twilight New Moon; their film location was Italy. This is where kstew chomped down on fetuccine with cream and gnocchi with seafood. It was this that inspired her to take a huge interest in cooking and from then on; her tv is basically always on the cooking channel when she is at home. She is so popular at the moment that I'm sure I'd be a fool of epic proportions to even believe that you guys don't know who she is or which movies she acts in; so for my dignity and your sanity; imma leave that part out. LOL!!

Her favourite actress is Jodi Foster and this Aries's fave colour is yellow. KStew says that she is rather an "old soul" when it comes to her tastes in music and her favourite tune is by Van Morrison: She adores sushi, pastas and red apples.

Our Menu for KStew today is.....drumroll please.....


Apple Pear Pasta Salad!!!!!!!
Who would have thought that Pears would make such a great addition to pasta salad?

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 pk pasta of your choice
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro/ dhanya leaves, finely chopped
1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
1 medium pear, chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
8 Grilled Chicken Strips

Directions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and balsamic vinegar; season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Add red bell peppers, cilantro/ dhanya, squash, pear, apple, Chicken Strips and pasta to the bowl; toss with balsamic mixture.

Serve pasta salad with lemon wedges.

YUM YUM!!! Perfect for a quick Saturday bbq or braai accompaniment or as a healthy dinner. Enjoy it peeps and Kristen :-D

Have one pear-fect weekend peeps!
Be safe, keep warm and kiss your pets hello!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Exotic Meats

Hi peeps!

Ostrich, Crocodile, Eiland, Warthog, Quail....all these deliciously weird and wonderful venisons and exotic meats. Do you have a favourite? What would you try and what wouldn't you?

Cooking Crocodile

Crocodile meat is usually sold frozen as tail steak, stew meat, burger, wings (legs), or sausage.

Preparation, uses, and tips:
Braising
Rinse crocodile or alligator tail meat, pat dry with a paper towel, and cut into cubes. Sauté onions and spices in a skillet. Add meat and a small amount of cooking liquid. Simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Pan-frying
Rinse crocodile or alligator tail steaks and pat dry with a paper towel. (For blackened alligator steak, rub meat with a mixture of spices.) Heat a skillet until hot. Add oil or butter. Sear steak for two minutes, turn and sear the other side for another two minutes. Larger steaks may take up to a total of five minutes. For alligator balls, mix ground meat with egg and spices, dredge in flour, and fry until brown.
Stewing
Rinse crocodile or alligator meat, pat dry with paper towel, and cut into cubes. Dredge in flour and spices. Brown in oil if desired. Then put in a Dutch oven and cover with liquid and herbs, spices, and vegetables. Cook in a preheated oven at 325°F (160°C), or on the stovetop over low heat until meat is tender.
Grilling
Rinse crocodile or alligator tail and pat dry with paper towel. Marinate in milk and spices for three hours. Drain marinade and pat meat dry. Brush tail meat with oil and place on prepared grill with rack about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm) from the heat source. Grill for about 10 minutes on each side.
Broiling
Rinse crocodile or alligator tail, pat dry with paper towel, and cut into slices. Lay slices on broiler pan, brush with butter, and place 6 inches (15cm) from element. Broil 10 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Cooking Wild Boar / Warthog
Wild boar is lean meat that should, as a rule, be cooked at lower temperatures than other meats. Avoid overcooking. Wild boar, raised like beef, is range fed and therefore can be served on the rare side. A rule of thumb for cooking wild boar is "low and slow". The temperature for cooking roasts for example, is 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. The amount of time depends on your personal preference as to how well done you would like to cook your meat. For chops, bake with a sauce for best results or if you prefer, pan-fry at a medium heat. Always check frequently so as not to overcook.

Wild boar is excellent barbecued. When prepared properly it is flavorful and very tender. Wild boar also makes tasty sausage, jerky and ground meat products.

When preparing wild boar for cooking remember, never thaw or cook this meat in a microwave, as it will become very tough and dry. Slowly thaw meat the day before and marinate overnight for best results. Pineapple juice or wine is a particularly good choice for marinade because it contains an enzyme that actively breaks down muscle fiber. Therefore it is highly effective as a meat tenderizer.

The wild boar’s light fat layer can be easily trimmed. But many cooks believe the fat layer provides a "self-basting" element and helps retain succulence.

Smoking (slow cooking Quarters or Wild Boar Hogs) Barbecue

This is a common and excellent way for preparing wild pork. Ideal for friend and family get-togethers.
First of all read the tips above.

Gather your favorite seasonings such as lemons, peppers, onions, potatoes, and any other seasonings that suit your taste.

Completely wrap the meat so the vapors are locked in as well as possible and the drippings will not escape.

Slow smoke (or bake) at about 275 - 300 degrees turning or rotating as needed to insure even cooking. The time will vary greatly depending on the size.

Whole hogs cooked overnight or all day. Quarters will usually cook in 5 - 6 hours

Wild Boar Sausages braised in Red Wine

Serves 2 –3

• 1 lb / 450 g Wild Boar sausages
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 dessertspoon olive oil
• 6 oz/175g medium open cap mushrooms
• 8oz/225g diced bacon or pancetta
• 1 heaped teaspoon plain flour
• 1 large clove garlic, peeled
• 1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder
• 8oz/225g shallots, peeled
• 1oz/25g soft butter
• 8 juniper berries
• 1 rounded tablespoon redcurrant jelly
• 10 fl oz/275ml red wine
• Salt and freshly milled black pepper
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Take a large flameproof casserole and heat the oil in it. Then, with the heat at medium, brown the sausages all over, taking care not to split the skins by turning too soon.

Next, using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate while you brown the diced pancetta along with the garlic and shallots. Now crush the juniper berries very slightly without breaking them - just enough to release their flavour.

Return the sausages to the casserole, pour in the wine and add the berries, then thyme and bay leaves. Season lightly, bring it all up to a gentle simmer, put a lid on the casserole, turn the heat as low as possible and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

After that, add the mushrooms, stirring them well in, then leave everything to cook gently for a further 20 minutes – this time without the lid so that the liquid reduces slightly. To finish off remove the sausages and vegetables to a warmed serving dish, mix the flour and the mustard powder with the softened butter until you have a smooth paste and whisk this, a little at a time, into the casserole. Let everything bubble for a few more minutes, then take the casserole off the heat, return the sausages to the pan, whisk in the redcurrant jelly and serve.

I reckon I will do an awesome croc steak recipe next week!

Cheers to the crocs and pigs that featured today!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Mayonnaise; Hollandaise and Bearnaise

Hi peeps!

And today we are doing these three delicious sauces; but what are they and what are their differences? Let's take a look-see at these three sauces.

Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces are siblings in the family that is the French mother sauces. Their cousin is Mayonnaise. The main difference between Hollandaise and Mayonnaise is that while they both require eggs and fat to be emulsified together, Hollandaise requires the eggs to be heated while the Mayonnaise does not. Hollandaise and Bearnaise then differ really only in the amount of seasoning

How To Make Mayonnaise:
Put a large mixing bowl on a damp tea towel, to give you a firm base, (remember; we don't want our kitchen utensils Michael Jacksoning around our countertops) and then add two egg yolks, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper, whisking continuously until you have a thick, glossy sauce. Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the mix and check the seasoning.
Adding the oil
This is not as easy as its made out to be and to prevent the sauce curdling, I resort to adding the oil drop by drop for the first few minutes,(If your mayonnaise does turn on you, I can confirm from my own experience that it can be rescued! Just start again in a clean bowl, and beat the curdled sauce, spoonful by spoonful, into the new mixture.). And Voila. Perfect mayonnaise.

Hollandaise
Ingredients:
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
2 eggs, yolks only
125g/4oz butter
lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Put the vinegar in a small pan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Reduce the vinegar over a high heat until there is only 1 tbsp left. Strain the peppercorns and the bay leaf from this reduction.

2. Put the egg yolks in a food processor with the vinegar reduction.

3. Gently melt the butter so that the butter solids fall to the bottom of the saucepan.

4. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour the butter on to the egg yolks with the motor still running. The sauce will start to thicken. When only the butter solids are left, stop.

5. If the sauce is too thick, add a little hot water.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice. Hollandaise is the perfect asparagus shoot accompaniment.

Bearnaise:
Ingredients
300g/10½oz butter
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 onions, chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, plus 2 tbsp whole tarragon leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 free-range egg yolks
1 tsp lemon juice

Method

1. Clarify the butter by melting it in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. When the butter is foaming, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand for a few minutes so that the white solids sink to the bottom of the pan. Sieve the butter through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

2. Pour the vinegar into a non-reactive saucepan. Add the onions, chopped tarragon and salt, to taste. Heat gently over a medium heat until the volume of liquid has reduced by more than half. Strain and set aside until completely cooled.

3. Lightly beat egg yolks with one teaspoon of water. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the cooled vinegar, then add the lemon juice.

4. Pour the mixture into a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow base of the bowl to touch the water). Whisk constantly until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and has increased in volume.

5. Remove the bowl from the heat and slowly pour in the clarified butter in a steady stream, whisking continuously, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Fold in the tarragon leaves and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Awesomeness right here! We are getting quite larny now peeps; inbetween all the new cooking terminology and the souffles and now our beautiful french egg sauces....we are well on our way to being our very own Master Chefs!!!

Keep up the good work and see ya'll tomorrow for another awesome blog.

Be Egg-cited! Lol
Chef Shants. Xxxxx

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Herbs- Thyme

Hi peeps!

Everythyme ( «~ lol!!!) I hear the words Rosemary, Sage and Thyme I always think of Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fare. But that's just coz I'm nuts that way. We cook with herbs and spices every day and I reckon its always a good idea to get the facts on food. As the title of today's blog suggests; we are learning all about Thyme today. Check out these interesting facts and then join me for two amazing Thyme Recipes.....

History:
Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals, as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.

Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round.

Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves") spaced 1⁄2 to 1" apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Dried thyme is widely used in Armenia (called Urc) in teas.

Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g. in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually when a recipe specifies "bunch" or "sprig", it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons it means the leaves. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme.

Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork.

Thyme retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs. Substitution is often more complicated than that because recipes can specify sprigs, and sprigs can vary in yield of leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20–54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-Cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in various commercially produced mouthwashes such as Listerine. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, oil of thyme was used to medicate bandages. Thymol has also been shown to be effective against various fungi that commonly infect toenails. Thymol can also be found as the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers.

A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs and bronchitis.

One study by Leeds Metropolitan University found that thyme may be beneficial in the treatment of acne.

And there we have it! Now enough with the facts n shizz; let's get cooking!!!!

Thyme Pecan Toffee Brittle
Thyme may seem like an unusual candy ingredient, but it adds a special flavor to this Thyme Pecan Toffee. The herb brings a fresh, slightly earthy taste to the rich, buttery toffee, and the addition of crunchy toasted pecans and tart dried cranberries balances it out. The flavor is noticeable but not overpowering, so you don't need to worry about this candy tasting too much like a salad!

Ingredients:
8 ounces (1 cup) butter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preparation:

1. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, water and corn syrup in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization, then insert a candy thermometer.

3. Continue to cook the candy, stirring frequently, until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 C). If the candy appears to separate (with a layer of melted butter on top) stir vigorously to make it come back together again. Watch the candy as it approaches 300, since it cooks quickly and can scorch at high temperatures.

4. Once the candy reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda—it will foam up quite a bit. Add the salt, thyme, cranberries, and pecans, and stir until they're fully incorporated.

5. Quickly scrape the candy out onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread it into a very thin layer using a spatula. Let it cool for a minute or two, until it is just starting to set around the edges but is still warm and pliable. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray, and carefully begin pulling the candy so that it stretches into a thin layer, trying not to stretch too many holes in it. Pulling it this way will give it more of a crispy, brittle quality.

6. Once you have stretched the toffee as much as possible, let it cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, break it into small pieces by hand. Store Thyme Pecan Brittle in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. In humid conditions it will turn quite gooey and sticky.

Now for something to warm wintery bones...

Bacon, Thyme and Parsnip Soup

Ingredients:
3 rindless bacon rashers, finely chopped
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1L (4 cups) salt-reduced vegetable stock
250ml (1 cup) water
6 (about 1kg) parsnips, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
Fresh thyme leaves, to serve
8 x 1.5cm-thick slices sourdough baguette (French breadstick), toasted

Method

Step 1

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Step 2

Add the stock and water to the pan. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the parsnip and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes or until parsnip is tender. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Step 3

Place half the mixture in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Step 4

Ladle the soup among serving bowls and drizzle over the cream. Sprinkle with extra thyme and season with pepper. Serve with the toasted bread.


Two gorgeous thyme recipes just for you. Now you can heat your wintery bones with some delish soup and then watch a movie under a blankie while snacking on your thyme toffee :-D.

Have a great thyme today peeps!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Monday, 24 June 2013

Akira's Birthday

Hi peeps!

Welcome back after the weekend and I hope ya'll had a good one.
I spent Saturday with my best friend and adopted mom; Des Van Wyk. We went shopping and had breakfast at the Wimpy. On Saturday evening; I baked Akira a chocolate cake and my darling hubby used his hitherto hidden decorative skills to ice and decorate her cake.

Sunday dawned and Akira is now 8 years old! It just shocks me every time one of their birthdays come around and I see the girls have gone from being beautiful babies in nappies; to growing into beautiful young ladies.

My mom and Nikke flew down to visit my gran on Thursday last week and lucky my gran stays just a few kilos from us; so we all got together to celebrate with Akira. It was a very special birthday because this is the first birthday that Akira got to spend with both her sisters and it really meant a lot to her. It was also the first birthday that my side of the family got to spend with her too. Sometimes staying so far apart isn't always a good thing.

But anyhoo; Akira thoroughly enjoyed her birthday and thanks to Ouma for the sweeties, cake and cooldrink and for the prezzies. And thanks from Akira to everyone in the family and to our friends - for all the birthday wishes and beautiful prezzies too!

We were also treated to a delicious Mac n Cheese by my beautiful sis-in-law; Evie too.







See ya'll tomorrow for some fab facts and another awesome recipe!

Peace out!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Friday, 21 June 2013

Pastries - Croissants

Hi peeps!

I love a good; healthy breakfast and one of my favourite breakfast pastries are Croissants. I also adore freshly baked bread, preferably the hot crust with salted butter and strawberry preserve. Let's make some pastries today, beginning with Croissants.

Home Made Croissants
Ingredients

For the dough:
3 cups (15 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 tbsp. instant or active dry yeast
¼ cup (1¾ oz.) sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1¼ cups whole milk, cold
2 tbsp. unsalted butter room temperature

For the butter square:
24 tbsp. cold, European-style butter (like Plugra) cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Egg wash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Flaky Sea Salt (optional)

Instructions

To make the dough:
Combine 2¾ cups of the flour together with the yeast, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients and knead on low speed until a ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the dough. Continue to knead until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth. The dough should form a ball and begin to clear the sides of the bowl, about 5-6 minutes more. The dough should be sticky but if the dough sticks more to the bowl than itself, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour a small bit at a time as needed.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the butter square:
Using butter that is cold, but not rock hard will make forming the butter square easier. Leave it out at room temp for 15-20 minutes to soften it just a little. (It shouldn't be room temperature)
Toss together the butter pieces and flour on a clean work surface. Smear the butter chunks back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth, homogenous mixture. This will take some elbow grease, as you really need to make sure the square is smooth and pliable.
Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 7-inch square. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.
Dust a work surface with flour.
Roll the dough into an 11-inch square .
Place the chilled butter square diagonally onto the dough.
Fold the corners of the dough up over the butter square so that they meet in the middle and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them.
Using a rolling pin, gently tap the dough starting from the center of the dough and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften. Your goal is to push the butter out the the edges in an even way. (though from my experience even though the butter broke up a bit it still worked just fine.)
Start gently rolling the dough into a 14-inch square, being careful to make sure the work surface stays well-floured and the dough is not sticking.
Fold the dough into thirds to form a long rectangle.
Starting from the narrow ends, fold the rectangle into thirds again to form a square. (This completes two turns of the dough.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
After the dough has chilled, Repeat the folding process, tap the folded dough square starting from the center of the dough and working outward, then rolling out to a 14-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds to form a rectangle and into thirds again to form a square, completing two more turns. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for another 2 more hours.
To shape the croissants, line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Place the chilled dough onto the floured work surface and gently roll into a 20-inch square. (My pastry slab didn't fit this so I did half at a time.)
Cut each half into three rectangles and then slice each rectangle diagonally to yield 12 triangles.
Working with one triangle at a time, gently stretch the dough so that the two long sides are equal in length.
Cut a 1-inch slit in the base of the triangle.
Fold the two corners of the slit outward and begin rolling the triangle up, gently stretching the dough as you roll. Leave the last ¼-inch of the tip unrolled.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and fold the ends toward each other to make a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until puffy, about 45-60 minutes- they won't double in size, but they will puff up- especially on the edges.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush the shaped croissants lightly with the egg wash- sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
Bake until the croissants are golden brown, 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Allow to cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes
* Butter should be cold but not too cold- let it sit out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften just a bit
** If you don't have a bench scraper, put the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound it with a rolling pin.

You may also freeze half of the unbaked croissants for up to two weeks. Simply freeze before proofing, and when you're ready to bake, allow them to come to room temperature and proof as normal. (though they may need a few more minutes.)
(Recipe taken from Recipe's Illustrated).

Sounds good right?! No better way than to start a beautiful weekend morning with a gorgeous fresh croissant! Sorry for those who wanted an Eat Like blog; will do one next week again! Have a fantastic weekend peeps!

Happy baking!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Thursday, 20 June 2013

More Kitchen Lingo

Hi peeps!

I made an oopsie...lol. Last week Thursday I promised more kitchen lingo for the following day but ended up doing an Eat Like blog for my mum. Yesterday's blog was then all about preserves so I had to keep my promise (albeit a bit late) and do more kitchen lingo today. I want us to take a look at the positions in a professional kitchen and learn the terminology and then also learn a few more new words used in professional cooking. Let's get started.
Brigade de cuisine aka Chef de Brigade

Brigade de cuisine (French: kitchen brigade) is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, commonly referred to as "kitchen staff" in English speaking countries.

The concept was developed by Georges Auguste Escoffier. This structured team system delegates responsibilities to different individuals who specialize in certain tasks.

List of positions

This is an exhaustive list of the different members of the kitchen brigade system. Only the largest of establishments would have an extensive staff of this size. As noted under some titles, certain positions are combined into other positions when such a large staff is unnecessary. Note: Despite the use of chef in English as the title for a cook, the word actually means "chief" or "head" in French. Similarly, cuisine means "kitchen," rather than referring to food or cooking generally, or a type of food or cooking.

Chef de cuisine (kitchen chef; literally "chief of kitchen")

is responsible for overall management of kitchen; supervises staff, creates menus and new recipes with the assistance of the restaurant manager, makes purchases of raw food items, trains apprentices, and maintains a sanitary and hygienic environment for the preparation of food.

Sous-chef de cuisine (deputy kitchen chef; literally "sub-chief")

Chef de partie (senior chef; literally "chief of party"; party used here as a group, in the sense of a military detail)

is responsible for managing a given station in the kitchen, specializing in preparing particular dishes there. Those who work in a lesser station are commonly referred to as a demi-chef.

Cuisinier (cook)

is an independent position, usually preparing specific dishes in a station; may also be referred to as a cuisinier de partie.

Commis (junior cook)

also works in a specific station, but reports directly to the chef de partie and takes care of the tools for the station.

Apprenti(e) (apprentice)

cleans dishes and utensils, and may be entrusted with basic preparatory jobs.

Saucier (saucemaker/sauté cook)

prepares sauces and warm hors d'oeuvres, completes meat dishes, and in smaller restaurants, may work on fish dishes and prepare sautéed items. This is one of the most respected positions in the kitchen brigade, usually ranking just below the chef and sous-chef.

Rôtisseur (roast cook)

manages a team of cooks that roasts, broils, and deep fries dishes.

Grillardin (grill cook)

in larger kitchens, prepares grilled foods instead of the rôtisseur.

Friturier (fry cook)

in larger kitchens, prepares fried foods instead of the rôtisseur.

Poissonnier (fish cook) - pronounced "pwahssonnier" not poisoner - otherwise that'd be a bit of an issue wouldn't it?! Hahaa

prepares fish and seafood dishes.

Entremetier (entrée preparer)

prepares soups and other dishes not involving meat or fish, including vegetable dishes and egg dishes.

Potager (soup cook)

in larger kitchens, reports to the entremetier and prepares the soups.

Legumier (vegetable cook)

in larger kitchen, also reports to the entremetier and prepares the vegetable dishes.

Garde manger (pantry supervisor; literally "food keeper")

is responsible for preparation of cold hors d'oeuvres, pâtés, terrines and aspics; prepares salads; organizes large buffet displays; and prepares charcuterie items.

Tournant (spare hand/roundsman)

moves throughout the kitchen, assisting other positions in kitchen.

Pâtissier (pastry cook)

prepares desserts and other meal-end sweets, and for locations without a boulanger, also prepares breads and other baked items; may also prepare pasta for the restaurant.

Confiseur

in larger restaurants, prepares candies and petits fours instead of the pâtissier.

Glacier

in larger restaurants, prepares frozen and cold desserts instead of the pâtissier.

Décorateur

in larger restaurants, prepares show pieces and specialty cakes instead of the pâtissier.

Boulanger (baker)

in larger restaurants, prepares bread, cakes, and breakfast pastries instead of the pâtissier.

Boucher (butcher)

butchers meats, poultry, and sometimes fish; may also be in charge of breading meat and fish items.

Aboyeur (announcer/expediter)

takes orders from the dining room and distributes them to the various stations; may also be performed by the sous-chef de partie.

Communard

prepares the meal served to the restaurant staff.

Garçon de cuisine (literally "kitchen boy")

in larger restaurants, performs preparatory and auxiliary work for support.

Wow! Pretty awesome hey!!! Now we know who works where doing what! I wanted to add in more kitchen lingo for us today but I see the blog is already quite a bit to read. Guess we will leave the other words for a next time.

Keep cooking Chef de Brigade!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Home Made Preserves

Hi peeps!

I'm so sad today; my holiday is finally over and as you read this myself and my chicks are on the bus back home. Can't believe the time has flown by so quickly and I will be home again before the blink of an eye. I want to take this opportunity to thank both my mom and dad for having us and for everything that was done for us during this holiday period. It was absolutely magic being with all three my daughters together and with my mom and dad too.
*sigh* back to reality I go....

Anyways. I thought that it would be a good idea for us to take a look at home made preserves. We can start off with Micro-mini jams....

5 Reasons to Make Micro-Mini Jam

You can enjoy homemade jam without investing in the gear traditional jam-making requires that takes up valuable cupboard space. Micro-Mini jams can be made with tools you most likely already have.

It is the perfect springboard into jam-making for the novice. If something goes wrong, you haven’t wasted many ingredients. Rest assured, though, all will go well.

You don’t eat a lot of jam and just want a jar or two for the occasional Sunday brunch.

The backyard plum tree has only yielded five Damsons, yet you are determined to make jam; OR you have a small amount of overripe fruit lying around, begging to be made into jam.

Thirty minutes is all you need!

Convinced? Let’s get started.

Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Micro-Mini Jam

Makes about two 8-ounce (250 ml) jars
You can use fresh or frozen strawberries for this jam. Crush them with a potato masher in a shallow dish, then measure 1 cup. If using frozen berries, let them thaw before crushing.
1-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb in ½-inch pieces
2 Tbsp water
1 cup crushed strawberries (about 2 cups sliced)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp powdered pectin
2 cups granulated sugar

In a 16-cup microwave-safe bowl, combine rhubarb and water. (I use a 10-cup bowl; it worked, but very nearly overflowed.) Partially cover bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a gap for some of the steam to escape. Microwave on High for 2 minutes or until hot. Remove and discard plastic. Drain off any liquid or blot with a paper towel.
Stir in strawberries and lemon juice. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
Microwave, uncovered, on High for 2 minutes; stir and scrape down sides of bowl. Microwave on High again for 2 minutes; stir and scrape down sides of bowl. Repeat in 1-minute intervals for another 2 to 4 minutes, or until jam froths up and thickens; stir and scrape down sides each time.
Test for setting point (see details below). Microwave in additional 1-minute intervals as needed.
Remove from microwave. Stir slowly until foam subsides; skim off any remaining foam. Stir slowly for 2 to 3 minutes to prevent floating fruit.
Ladle into clean jars; wipe rims. Apply metal lids and rings, or use plastic lids; tighten until snug. Transfer to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

How to test for jam setting point

There are several ways to test if your jam is reduced enough and will cool into a firm consistency. I use the simple wrinkle or ‘plate method’:
Place about 2 tsp of jam on a chilled small plate and place it in the freezer for a minute or two, until cooled to room temperature. A skin will form on top.

And its easy coz even the kids can help!

Happy jam-making peeps!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Our Long Weekend.

Hi peeps!

There was no blog featured yesterday coz it was a public holiday in SA. But anyways...
This is what happened over the weekend...


On Friday my mom, myself and the three girls went shopping at the Mall and ended up watching Epic 3D. It was an awesome movie; we also visited quite a few shops and had a savoury waffle at Milky Lane. (I had a savoury pancake). Crumbed Chops plus stuffed cheese and mushroom gemsquash was on the dinner menu. (My dad was a little grumpy coz we only gave him one...oops!)


On Saturday we were visited by my dearest cousin, Yolandie (her blog link is on the right) and her hubby Jan. I can't believe Yolandie has such a tiny baby bump for someone who is 18 weeks preggers!!! Crazy!!! Lol. It was awesome catching up with Yolandie because we stay so far apart and yet we are so alike its as if we were separated at birth, lol. Don't we just look stunning together?! Thanks Jan for your help with some tech stuff that was way beyond my little chef mind and thanks Landie for the books :) Yolandie has also finally got her first book on sale!! Its titled The Rise of the Exile Queen and its the first installment to her Evangellion Trilogy - I was honoured to be one of her proof readers and if you are a Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien or Harry Potter fan; I swear this trilogy will excite and entertain you. I'm already hooked! Yolandie's book is now available for sale on Amazon.com so go check it out!!! The link is also on the right. Please support my cousin and buy her book; nothing means more to a first-time published author than support! There's also nothing like sharing a Big Mac with family and that's exactly what Landie and I stuffed our faces with. Jan was a little more braver and had a Jalapeno burger. Kudos Jan!

On Sunday my mom; dad and daughters plus myself went to the Oriental Plaza to do some shopping; it was a gorgeous shopping day today and then all three grand daughters snuggled with grampa to watch some kiddie movies. We also watched 007 Skyfall and Jeff Dunham's Mind the Monsters movie aswell. That dude cracks me up! Lol. It was also Father's Day and for those of you who are Dads....or soon-to-be Dads, Happy Belated Father's Day for today :) I ended up making us a delicious Country Stew with rice for dinner.


Monday (yesterday) was the public holiday so we slept in a little later than usual. I had a lot of sorting and packing to do. We had a visit from my mom's friends as well and I made home made hamburgers with my chicks for dinner. The girls and I also visited the swimming pool area and just fart-arsed around for a change of scenery; this was after I went to the shops with my dad. I've never seen a man who can push a trolley that fast and not damage someone before.....

Today I'm busy, busy, busy. Its pack day coz tomorrow is the great trek back home. Inbetween the packing I also have time for a quick hair cut. I'm quite heartsore that our holiday is finished but all good things come to an end sooner or later. Anyways peeps; I got some stuff that needs to be done before tomorrow, so keep well and keep safe and thanks so much for all your patience while I've been on holiday. The blog will be back to normal as of tomorrow, so thanks again.

Much much loves
Chef Shants xxxxx

Friday, 14 June 2013

Eat Like..my mom! Flora Bezuidenhout.

Hi peeps!

Today's eat like features my mum. I featured my mum on the 15th of February this year for her birthday but now that I'm with my mum; I want to do a menu just for her. My mum really is the world's best mum; she has done so much for me that I can't even begin to list it or even begin to show how grateful I am; for everything. So mom...this menu is just for you!

My mum is a chicken fanatic and one of her favourite puddings is called "Skuim Poeding" - translated into foam pudding. So let's get cooking!


Roasted Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast Stuffed with Feta and Sweet Potato

Ingredients:
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 cup diced sweet potato
2 wedges crumbled herb Feta cheese
8 slices of back bacon
Toothpicks dipped in salted ice water
Salt
Lemon pepper
Fresh chopped parsley
Olive oil

Method:
In a solid based pan, sear your chicken breasts in olive oil till browned. Allow to rest on a chopping board. In a pot, blanche your chopped sweet potato and strain. Slice a horizontal slit in your chicken breasts and stuff with the sweet potato and crumble in some feta cheese. Wrap the breasts with bacon and hold together with a salted toothpicks. Rub some salt and lemon pepper on the outside of your chicken breasts (not too much salt as feta and bacon are already quite salty). Wrap in tinfoil and roast on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Take out of oven and allow to rest before serving on a bed of savoury rice and blanched green beans.
Serves 4

Foam Pudding

This is my gran's very own recipe. (My mom's mom).
Ingredients:
1x 250ml Ideal milk
1x package of your favourite jelly
1x Can of your favourite fruit (mixed fruit or guava halves or peaches)

Method:
Pop your Ideal Milk in the freezer to make it very cold but it mustnt freeze. Prepare your jelly using half a cup of the syrup from your canned fruit mixed with hot water to make 1 cup. Allow the jelly to cool but not set. Beat your Ideal Milk till it doubles in size and add the cool liquid jelly mixture and beat well. Now add your chopped up canned fruit and beat well. Pop in fridge till set and serve with whipped cream.

I'm very excited to share a family recipe of ours that has been handed down through three generations. Hope you love it just as much as I love my mom....which is A LOT!!! I love you, mom!

Love your moms peeps, they're special ladies indeed!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Jous, Roux and You ... And some other stuff inbetween.

Hi peeps!

I'm still enjoying my holiday and have been following Masterchef Australia for the past few episodes now; also excited to start watching Masterchef South Africa soon. Even watching a few episodes of Hell's Kitchen here and there.

Seems there's so much kitchen lingo flying around and I'm thinking...what about those of us who love to cook but haven't worked in a professional atmosphere...how are we supposed to know what words mean what?! So here's a bit of a Kitchen Lingo breakdown for you. Hope it makes your Food Watching and Making a bit easier; or you can just chuck around these new words you've learned and just sound larny at your next family get-together! *wink wink nudge nudge*.

Al dente: Often found in pasta recipes. It means to cook the pasta just until it's done, not soft or overcooked.

Au gratin: Refers to a baked dish, such as a casserole, topped with cheese or bread crumbs, then browned on top, either in the oven or under a broiler.

Baste: Spooning or brushing food with a liquid -- such as butter, broth, or the cooking liquid -- to help the food stay moist during cooking.

Blanch: Placing food briefly in boiling water and then plunging into cold water to halt cooking. Blanching loosens the skins of fruits and vegetables to help peel them more easily.

Braise: Slowly cooking browned foods in a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pot.

Butterfly: Splitting meat, poultry, or fish in half horizontally without cutting all the way through. When spread open, the flat piece looks like a butterfly.

Caramelize: Melting and cooking sugar over low heat until it browns. "Caramelization" also refers to the browning that occurs during cooking.

Chiffonade: Thinly sliced strips or shreds of vegetables or herbs.

Cream: Rapidly mixing one or more ingredients with a spoon or mixer until smooth and creamy. When you cream butter or other fats, the mixture also becomes fluffy because air is incorporated during the rapid mixing process.

Curdle: Separation of a mixture into a liquid with solid particles. For example, soured milk curdles.

Deglaze: Adding a liquid to a pan in which food has been browned, and heating it to loosen the cooked food particles. This liquid is usually thickened to make a flavorful sauce.

Dredge: Coating a food lightly with flour, bread crumbs, or cornmeal.

French: Cutting a meat or vegetable lengthwise into very thin strips.

Julienne: To cut a fruit or vegetable into matchstick strips about 2 inches long.

Mince: Cutting food into very fine pieces.

Reduce: Boiling a liquid in an uncovered pot or pan to evaporate some of the liquid. This reduces the volume, concentrates the flavor, and thickens the mixture.

Sauté: Cooking and stirring a food in a small amount of fat over direct heat.

Score: To make shallow cuts in the surface of a food just before cooking or baking.

Sear: Using high heat to quickly brown the surface of a food to seal in the juices. Foods can be seared in a very hot pan or under the broiler.

Simmer: Slowly cooking food in a liquid just below the boiling point. Tiny bubbles may break the surface.

Steep: Soaking dry ingredients in a hot liquid to infuse it with flavor and color, as with tea or coffee.

Sweat: Cooking food over low heat in a small amount of fat in a covered pot or pan so it cooks in its own juices until soft but not browned.

Zest: The peel or colored part of citrus fruit skin, which contains flavorful oils. (The white pith is not part of the zest, and has a bitter taste.)

And there you have some pretty nifty terminology! There are others that I'd like to introduce you to like "bouquet garni" and the different kitchen positions. Will introduce you to that lingo in tomorrow's blog.

Hope these help fellow chefs!

Peace out!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

Hi peeps!

Introducing one of my favourite little fruits ever....cherries!

Some facts about these delicious little gems...

Get a better night’s sleep.

Tart cherries are one of nature’s few sources of melatonin, a hormone that lowers body temperature, making us sleepy. When study volunteers drank an ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate in the morning and again at night, they slept more soundly. Even better: sipping the tart concentrate may provide an alternative to a melatonin supplement. “The melatonin in tart cherry juice is very well absorbed and is utilized by the body to provide an effect that could rival melatonin supplements,” says study author Glyn Howatson, Ph.D.

Balance your blood pressure.

Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer. Potassium balances fluids in our bodies, essentially offsetting the blood-pressure-raising effects of sodium. So it’s no wonder studies have found that people who eat more potassium-rich foods, like sweet cherries, tend to have less hypertension. One cup of these ruby gems packs roughly the same amount of potassium as a small banana and also boasts some quercetin, an antioxidant that may help keep blood vessels relaxed and supple.

Ease muscle soreness.

Tart cherry juice may quell post-workout pain, says a 2010 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study. Runners who downed 24 ounces of tart cherry juice daily (about 480 calories) for seven days before a long-distance race, and again on race day, reported fewer aches afterward than runners who drank a placebo. Researchers believe that tart cherries’ antioxidants protect against attacks by exercise-induced free radicals, which can lead to painful inflammation.

Combat cancer.

Sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanins and quercetin, which may work together synergistically to fight cancer. Plus, preliminary studies suggest the anthocyanin cyanidin may prevent genetic mutations that can lead to cancer and keep cancer cells from growing out of control. While tart cherries contain some anthocyanins, sweet cherries pack nearly three times as many (two-thirds are found in the skins). The riper the better: as cherries darken, they produce more antioxidants.

Wow too cool right?! But what could we use cherries for besides decorating cakes? How about a hot slice of good ole cherry pie? Let's get baking peeps!

Ingredients
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups pitted cherries
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Place bottom crust in pie pan. Set top crust aside, covered.

Roll out half the crust and line a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate until needed. Roll out the top crust and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top. Place pie on a foil-lined cookie sheet--in case of drips!

Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Let cool for several hours before slicing.In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

Happy chomping peeps! And thanks to google for the awesome cherry info.

Have yourself a slice of cherry pie!
Chef Shants xxxxx

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Fancy Food Art

Hi peeps!

Thanks to all for viewing the blog and for still viewing even though its mostly holiday news. I would like to entertain you with more funky food art. Let's take a look...










Have a fantastic Tuesday and see ya'll soon!
Much love
Chef Shants xxxxx

Monday, 10 June 2013

More holiday news

Hi peeps!

Thanks for bearing with me while I'm on holiday. I hope ya'll have had a brilliant weekend. This is what we did this weekend....

On Friday night my girls and I baked Viennese Fingers with a shapely twist.

Saturday dawned with me being absolutely spoiled with a girly makeover; makeup, nail polish...the works! We also had a lovely visit from my beautiful Aunty Karin and my nutty cousins; Larissa; Tanja and Annie - (her blog link is on the right...go check it out); Larissa's fiance, Eugene also made an appearance. We spent the afternoon having another makeover session and then Ouma did something crazy......she gave the girls these cans that squirt string!!! You shouldve seen what we looked like! What the yard looked like! But it was all in the name of fun.


Sunday we had a family braai (bbq for my overseas peeps). We had some friends over and had a blast! Here are some pics of our braai and our weekend....




See ya'll tomorrow with some more holiday news and another awesome recipe!

Much love peeps!
Chef Shants whose loving this holiday! Xxxxx

Friday, 7 June 2013

Holiday Update!

Hi peeps!

Good morning and welcome to Friday.

There won't be an Eat Like blog today because I really want to spend as much time with family while on holiday instead of doing research so I hope you will forgive me. For today I would like to share some pictures of my family. Take a look.....






Have a fantastic weekend peeps and see you on Monday! Be safe, stay warm and be good!

Chef Shants and Family xxxxx