31 Jan 2013

My pumkin and apple crumble recipe in the Guardian

The Guardian's new food magazine - issue 3

Recently I heard about a "Readers' recipe swap" in the Guardian's new magazine about food and drink called "Cook". Every week, food writer Felicity Cloake chooses a theme and invites recipe suggestions. The best tried-and-tested recipes will appear in the following Cook issue. I think it's a great idea! When I heard about it, the current theme was crumble. Vaguely remembering a sweet, spicy, warming and comforting crumble that I cooked a year ago on a cold winter day, I decided to send it to the Guardian. And two weeks later, I was told it would be published as the winning dish! I was very very pleased. You can see the article and a photograph of the dish taken by the Guardian's photographer here.

The recipe is a sweet pumpkin and apple crumble. I added some apples for extra freshness and replaced half the butter with rapeseed oil, which gives it a nice nutty taste and adds some omega-3 fatty acids. The Guardian called it an innovative take on pumpkin pie and wrote further: "The combination of sweetly spiced squash, tart apple and a nutty, treacly topping is inspired"! 

Here is the recipe to serve 6:

  •    400g pumpkin
  •     2 star anise
  •    2 British apples, such as Cox
  •   10 Medjool dates
  •   50ml British runny flower honey
  •   30g walnut pieces
  •   75g  plain white flour
  •    75g fine oatmeal
  •   50g unsalted butter
  •    50g rapeseed oil
  •   100g dark muscovado sugar
  •   1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C. Peel and cut the pumpkin into small chunks and place into a buttered ovenproof dish. Break the star anise into little pieces and mix with the pumpkin. Drizzle with 25ml of the honey and bake for 10 minutes. 
  2.  Meanwhile, peel the apples and cut them into cubes. Remove the stones from the dates and cut them into thin slices. When the pumpkin has softened a bit, add the apples, dates, remaining honey and walnuts to the dish and toss well.
  3.  Prepare the crumble: In a food processor or with your fingertips, combine the flour, oatmeal, butter, oil, sugar and cinnamon to crumbs and sprinkle on top of the pumpkin / apple mix. Bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. I would serve it with home-made custard or simply a dollop of crème fraîche.

24 Jan 2013

Competition prize: Tasting menu at Restaurant Martin Wishart

A tasting menu with matching wines at Martin Wishart's Michelin star restaurant in Edinburgh without having to pay: This is what I had been looking forward since I won the runner-up prize at his cooking challenge for amateur chefs. On December 21st, I redeemed this prize and my partner and me indulged in one, if not the best, meals we've ever had.  

I felt that taking pictures of the dishes would disturb our and other guests' experiences, but I will describe in words the wonderful meal we've had.

We were greeted with a beetroot macaroon filled with horseradish cream, which was the first of many surprises to come:

 -Cauliflower cream with caper relish and golden raisin
 -Breaded salsify with peanuts and pickled cauliflower mayonnaise
 -Queenie Scallop with pork jowl and crispy pork skin

And here the menu and wine list, which I was kindly emailed by the Restaurant Manager: 

Apple curd and lobster boudin


Mango & passion fruit
Green apple, sauerkraut, caviar d’aquitaine


Apple, pickled yellow radish, citrus and ginger broth


Veal sweetbreads roasted in buckwheat, winter chanterelle


Swiss chard, smoked marrow, caramelised onion, fresh wasabi,
knotroot, confit shallot red wine sauce


White chocolate mousse
Exotic fruit sorbet, chocolate sable

There was an extra luxurious dish of "Truffle Risotto with Scallop" that I had instead of the sea-bass. I'm not sure whether that was a clever swap, but we wanted to taste as many different dishes as possible and the risotto was decadent and delicious! My partner also had an extra cheese course with a selection of 5 cheeses that I all got to try :-)

Now here are the accompanying wines:

2011 DOC Soave, Campo le Calle, Latium Morini, Italy


2010 Muscat sec, Les Fruits Defendus, Domaine de Provenquiere, France


2011 Riesling, Eden Road Wines, Canberra,  Australia


2009 Dry River Gewurtztraminer, Martinborough, New Zealand


2010 The FMC Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa


2010 Corbiere, cuvee classique, Chateau Ollieux Romanis, France


2006  Montbazillac, Chateau Tirecul La Graviere France          


2009  Reciotto della Valpolicella, Tommasi, Italy    

It was amazing how well the wines complemented each dish. Being very un-experienced and unknowledgable in wines (something I desperately need to change!), I was amazed to taste for example a creamy wine with my creamy risotto. It was the first time that we had so carefully matched food and wine and it was a great experience - one definitely to be repeated!

After having been treated to so much delicious food and wine, it was time for an espresso, which was served with chocolates flavoured either with raspberry, passionfruit and mango, salted caramel, praline or fresh mint; perfect to round up an excellent meal!

What a great evening! I couldn't stop smiling afterwards and will remember this meal for a long time. I'd like to thank Martin Wishart again for this great experience and for organising the competition in the first place. It was great fun and - from my point of view - well worth taking part!