Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Recipe

I was just sitting around on Thursday night and it occurred to me that my blog name includes the word chocolate, right? So then I wondered about asparagus and chocolate. This is what I found. There is actually a video of this on YouTube if you want to see exactly how they make it. The presentation in the video is somewhat different though. Of course you don't have to use English asparagus, that grown on a Canadian farm or an American farm is equally as good.

White chocolate and English asparagus tarts

Reynolds Greengrocer (England)

Ingredients (serves 12)

White chocolateSweet pastry cases
  • 1 ½ eggs, beaten and chilled
  • 500g plain flour
  • 50g glucose syrup
  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and well chilled
  • 200g icing sugar
White chocolate and asparagus filling
  • 250ml double cream
  • 350g English asparagus, finely sliced (n.b. you can use stalks and is a good way of using up trimmings)
  • 420g white chocolate
  • Mascarpone to finish


Sweet pastry cases
  1. Sieve flour and icing sugar into food processor bowl, then add glucose and butter. Blitz until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then gradually add beaten egg until mix comes together.
  2. Remove from bowl, wrap and chill for at least two hours before rolling.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°c. Roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface to approximately 3mm thick, then use a 90-100mm cutter to cut out the discs for the individual tart rings (80mm diameter, depth of 10mm). Press the pastry into the pre-greased tart rings then chill for 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. Blind bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the tart to cool before filling.
  5. Alternatively you could line one 25cm flan ring and make one large tart.
White chocolate and English asparagus filling
  1. Place the cream and the sliced asparagus into a heavy based pan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a pan over some simmering water, ensuring the water is not in contact with the bowl.
  3. When the cream has reached boiling point and the asparagus has softened, pass the cream through a fine sieve and squeeze out any leftover moisture using a ladle.
  4. Combine the melted white chocolate and the asparagus cream and mix well before pouring into the pastry cases. Chill for two hours before serving.
  5. Finish with a quenelle of mascarpone and a chocolate shaving.

Have a great weekend

Friday, May 29, 2015

Blogging Platform, Drought and Fishing.

I am not a happy camper. For most of this week I have not .been able to post my blog from Windows Live Writer. I am not really sure why, but I have found something which implies Blogger has made changes and Microsoft has not been keeping Live Writer up to date. What I now have to do is either write my blog at Blogger or write it on my PC and then copy and paste it. For now I am going to paste because it is easier to do so. One cannot paste the photos though so I have to upload them separately. I looked at another platform but I didn’t really know what information they wanted from me. Alex J. Cavenaugh tells me he writes his blog in Word and my favourite Dragon says he writes his directly on the Blogger site. I want to do it the way I have for several years, I want, I want, I want. Drums heels on floor.

Still no rain, the farmers must be tearing out their hair by now. I am wondering how long asparagus is going to be available which, at the moment, is my main concern. I suggested to Matt that we should,
in fact, take a trip up North. Our second year here, I think, we travelled up to the Thunder Bay area and there was a drought at  that time too. This enabled us to go fishing on a local lake and to catch 6 or 7 Whitefish which are normally only caught in the winter because they swim deep in the summer. The funny thing is, we didn’t even know what we had caught, it being our first summer holiday in Canada. We gave some of them away to the camp site owners but kept some for us to eat. We barbecued them and they were delicious. Only time I have really enjoyed fishing.

I have never tried this recipe, although one of my favourite foods, lobster isn’t the sort of thing one buys every day. or even very often.

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs lobster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.

Fines Herbes Hollandaise

2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.
3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside
4. Prepare crêpes.
5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.
6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.
7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.
8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.
9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Author Notes
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.

Have a great day