Sweet applewood for smoked pork

A new source of sweet sweet smoking wood – one of the limbs of our very old apple tree at Deli Truck HQ, finally decided to break off under weight of this years crop and dropped into our track. Miri, showing her skills with the chainsaw, cutting it up to use as wood for our smoker. Will give a very sweet delicate flavour to our pulled pork.

Miri with chainsaw chopping applewood.

Miri with chainsaw chopping applewood.

Making an amazing choc-tastic chocolate mousse, with cherry brandy and morello cherry jelly

We have just finished making 60 “individual chocolate mousses on top of fresh raspberry, morello cherries, and cherry brandy jelly” The jelly base was made from the juices from the morello cherries and about half a bottle of Cherry brandy – in that mixture we have added fresh raspberries and morello cherries – so a very fruity and adult flavoured jelly base – with home made chocolate mousse on top. Takes 3 blocks of chocolate for very 12 servings of Mousse.

Morello and raspberries in cherry brandy and sugar waiting to go into our mousse dessert

Morello and raspberries in cherry brandy and sugar waiting to go into our mousse dessert

Melting the chocolate

Melting the chocolate

Adding egg white to the chocolate, egg yolk and cream mixture

Adding egg white to the chocolate, egg yolk and cream mixture

The end result - Chocolate mousse over a morello cherry and cherry brandy jelly studded with fruit.

The end result – Chocolate mousse over a morello cherry and cherry brandy jelly studded with fruit.

Cooking up our simple version of Peperonata for a big party

One of our party clients wanted an informal day but some fairly formal food as a lot of the guests were coming from culinary school in Switzerland for her party. They clearly wanted different salads, instead of the usual, for their gourmet guests. We suggested our own home grown lettuce and leaves for a green and red salad, the leaves to be picked on the day of the event from the Deli Truck HQ garden. We also suggested an old favourite from the south of France – a fabulously simple red pepper, fresh basil and garlic salad with a side of anchovy fillets.

deli truck, peppers, catering

Stacks of Peppers ready to be prepped for the grill

We char the peppers under a very hot grill, then in batches let them sweat in plastic bags, so the burnt skin just brushes off. It’s wonderful at this stage how the peppers completely change flavour to a deep nutty richness. They also start producing their own oil, we just add a bit of extra virgin olive oil to help things along, oh and fresh garlic of course. And with many many peppers to do – this will be a half day bake and make – but the smell at Deli Truck HQ is worth the effort. I personally don’t think there is a better smell than peppers being charred. 

Deli Truck, catering< peppers

The peppers after 10 minutes under a very hot grill

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The blackened skins being peeling off the peppers

Peppers getting a big slurp of extra virgin olive oil

Peppers getting a big slurp of extra virgin olive oil

And the final result - peppers with Garlic on the buffet. We made 150 individual pieces of peperonata they all disappeared with in 45 minutes.

And the final result – peppers with Garlic on the buffet. We made 150 individual pieces of peperonata they all disappeared with in 45 minutes.

Chocolate fudge sauce making – part of our sauce collection for our “Ice Cream Bar”

A bowl full of 70 percent chocolate over the double boiler.

A bowl full of 70 percent chocolate over the double boiler.

Spent the last hour making our chocolate fudge sauce for our “Ice Cream Bar” next Saturday. To make it fudge we melt 70% coco solid free trade chocolate with a little bit of evaporated milk and a drop or two of cream. We thought we may be able to find a very good quality commercial sauce – but it seems all the chocolate sauces available in the UK are made to a budget. Some where OK but most tasted more of sugar than chocolate. So we felt we really had to make our own. The difference using pure high grade chocolate with no preservatives or additives is worth the extra 20 minutes it takes to make.

Chocolate saucecooling down after being made.

Chocolate saucecooling down after being made.

Inventing a new high powered “Cherry Bomb” Ice Cream

Just finished making our own Morello Cherry Ice Cream for a 21st Birthday party this Saturday. Been experimenting with lots of interesting ingredients to try and get the Ice Cream we like – and finally found a fabulous concoction at Sainsbury’s called Morello Cherry Compot. Never even knew it existed until researching for this ice cream. Brilliant flavour. So we blitzed the compote with real cherries in kirsch, Cherry Brandy, and a tiny touch of white chocolate. This turned out to be the winning set of ingredients. It really tastes sensational with that lovely little bit of bitterness from the berries – sweetness from the Ice cream custard and chocolate, and a zing from the booze. The colour is almost neon…

Deli Truck, Morello Cherry, Ice Cream

Morello Cherry Ice Cream

Fresh Home Grown Summer Salad for our guests

Growing our own salad again this summer for our clients parties. This year we have come up with a slightly different way of growing. Because this year we are almost booked out all the way through to October, we can plan our salad growing period for each individual party. For example – salad in photos below is just becoming perfect. We planted this lot specifically for a large 21st birthday party in 8 days time. Salad will then be at it’s best – so we will pick on the day of the party. It will be crunchy, fresh and additive free. Also adding beet leaves this year to our usual “green” salad. A large percentage of the young party goers attend a culinary school in Switzerland – so they know their food and expect the best.

deli truck, salad, catering, summer

This year we are growing yellow beets and using the leaf for our green salad selection. A slightly bitter leaf, works well with an mustard based emulsion vinaigrette, with a little bit of palm sugar added.

Deli Truck, salads, summer

This years selection of leafs for our green summer salads.

Lettuce_leafs_WR

An inexpensive French cut of beef

Among other things I brought back from our latest trip to France was a very inexpensive cut of meat that has become quite expensive in the UK. In the UK and America we call it Short Rib – in France they call it a Plat de Cote and it’s rise in price in the Anglo Saxon countries is due to the explosion of Gourmet BBQ and Steak houses and the rise and rise of the Texas style BBQ food trucks.

Deli Truck, Beef

2 Plat de Cote – as you caee it is quite fatty but this is redered out during the long “low and slow” cooking process. Keep the beef dripping for roasting potatoes.

So far the French haven’t taken on board the whole comfort food/BBQ/Steak House thing that’s happening elsewhere. So Plat de Cote is still really really inexpensive. So this how you can make the most costs effective and luscious winter dish ever. The great thing about this cut is that it comes form a hard working part of the beast so it tastes really beefy.

Deli Truck, beef, Plat de Cote

Short Rib seared to caramelise the outside.

Deli Truck, catering in Kent, Beef

Short Rib being seared then pan deglazed with a lovely Baturrica Gran Reserva 2007 Tarragona from Spain – a perfect full bodied wine for the beef.

So first off – sautee the beef hard in a small amount of vegetable oil to get a good coloured, caramelised crust on the beef. Then add sliced onions and carrots and bring some colour to them (about 5 minutes) then add half a bottle to good red wine (we used a Baturrica Gran Reserva from Spain and its robust almost sweet flavour was perfect for the beef) Let the alcohol boil off and add a litre of beef stock to cover the meat.

Deli Truck, Beef

Ingredients for short rib braise – a good beef stock, onions carrots and bay leaf

Add bay leaf, 10 pepper corns and thyme put the lid on your casserole and place in the oven at 150 degrees for 3 hours. The meat should be cooked by then so take out the meat strain the liquid – take off the beef fat from the top (keep it as it’s great for baking potatoes) return the cooking liquid to the pot and reduce and reduce and reduce – until you get a thick caramelised unctuous sauce that is red winey, beefy and rich. Best served with Mash or simply billed white rice. So next time your in France for the day and your passing a butcher shop ask for some Plate de Cote and get cooking you’ll love this.

Deli Truck

Cooked short rib – Deep flavours and very very yummy.

Cheese-Tastic. A new taste and new friends

It’s always a joy to find something new and unheard of in the food business and I thought I knew the cheeses of France pretty well after 40 years of sampling the curd in all it’s magnificence. But on an ingredients buying mission to the south of France I came across a little backstreet cheese shop in Nice, well-off the tourist routes. The passionate and knowledgable owner suggested I try a Cheese that he said is usually sold only at Christmas. He makes this himself – This is how he described it – Get a wheel of the best unpasteurised Brie at its honking best – slice it in half horizontally and fill it with a mixture of mascarpone, pepper, salt, diced truffle and real truffle oil (and other things he wouldn’t tell me) – put the other half back on and let mature for two days before serving. I am not kidding this is sooooo good I nearly collapsed onto the floor of the cheeses shop on first taste.
Deli Truck, Cheese, catering

Cheesy, truffle delight -an incredible cheese.

He also introduced me to another cheese I had never tasted called a Boulette D’avesnes – odd taste at first but weirdly pleasing – its in the shape of a cone – Originally made from butter milk, the cheese is mixed with parsley, tarragon, cloves and pepper. The clove flavour is very predominate – The cheese is then shaped into a cone and dusted with paprika. My new best friend at the cheese shop says this cheese is best consumer with a good strong beer. You can find the La Ferme Fromagere at 27 rue de Lepante, Nice. And seriously try the truffled Mascarpone Brie……
Deli Truck, Cheese, catering, Kent

What I call the “Cone of Pleasure” but the much more mature French call it a Boulette D’avesnes

Deli Truck, Cheese, catering, Kent

The “cone of Pleasure” dusted with paprika. Then slightly taupe colour is due to the addition of cloves, pepper and tarragon

Deli Truck, Cheese, Catering, Kent

My new best friend – The cheese shop “La Ferme Fromagere”

Fresh wild mushrooms – there is no better

Yep – its wild mushroom time in Europe and of course every little regional bistro in France is celebrating the fungus – cooking up a storm with beautiful fresh Girolle, Morel, Porcini and Cep. Just got back from Nice with this delightful handful foraged from the National Park du Mercantor in the mountains behind Monaco. (Needless to say I didn’t do the foraging – way to much work – but I know a guy who knows a guy) Sautéed lightly in butter with garlic, salt and pepper, then finished off with a dash of cream and parsley served over egg tagliatelli. A simple but sensational meal – got to be in my top ten favourite dishes of all time.

Selection of wild mushrooms

Selection of wild mushrooms

Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms

Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms