Sour cherry pie… on KICKSTARTER!

There’s a sour-cherry-pie & our very own KICKSTARTER project!!!!

sour cherry pie

It’s been a very long time coming.

The idea to write a cookbook started back in the summer of 2011. Back then, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how I was going to achieve it. Mel was equally as clueless & baffled as I was. We wanted to cook though. We knew with absolute certainty that some how, we were going to make it happen. So we just started.

It took place in his grandmother’s kitchen, me with my camera in hand, him with a scribbled piece of paper in the messiest handwriting one can imagine. I used to have to chase him after it was all done just to get the recipe & write it down in a format that made sense. He’d always assure me that he would remember, but if I had let even a day go by, the whole thing was lost.

Slowly a collection of images started growing on my computer, & a bunch of notebooks were being filled to capacity. The quality wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but it was a start.

Then came the food stalls at The Meet Market once a month… & popularity started growing. Friends would insist that we should open a restaurant, but we were still set on the idea of a book, & still just as lost at where the starting line actually was.

sour cherry pie

….eventually came the blog. A place we called home & rambled at you time & time again. It was a better way to keep track. A better way to get feedback & reviews. To start building some confidence in what we were creating.

In the spring of 2013, someone suggested we start a campaign on kickstarter. We didn’t have a clue what that meant, & quickly forgot about it as we got consumed in our daily life. Again in the summer, we were reminded of it all & finally started talking about doing it seriously. Well, I started talking about doing it seriously, he wasn’t so sure, in fact, he was rather sceptical of it all. I knew that if I put it together & he could get a visual, he would be on board with it & see my vision.

Then it happened. Life changed forever & in one night, he was gone from this world. It’s strange the path that life takes. It can be unbelievably tragic, & so beautiful at the same time. The memory of it all is still as heartbreaking as it was then… & yet, even at it’s most painful, I can smile knowing that he lived his life exactly the way he wanted to. He was happy in his existence. He didn’t let anyone dictate who he was or how he should be. He went doing something that he loved, & I’m thankful for that small favour.

Life has continued in his absence, much to my shock. I’ve had to learn how to walk & talk & exist in a world where he doesn’t. I’ve had to discover who I am all over again, & learn how to smile once more. & some how, I’ve managed to find joy & beauty in the world. I’ve also discovered determination. This project is part of that discovery. This project encompasses everything that I am, & everything that I was. It shows the life I shared, as well as the new beginning I’ve had to create & discover. It is absolutely filled with love, & the desire to create stronger bonds with the people around us. Thank god for those people.

I think it’s because of the love & support I received from others, that this book is taking on the shape & form that I plan for it. It’s not just about cooking for people, it’s about making an event out of every meal. A meal that will take you time to consume, time spent with close friends & family, hopefully laughing & savouring the dishes made. I suppose for that reason, it won’t just be a collection of recipes categorised into sections, but rather several recipes grouped together to make up a dinner party, brunch, or even a picnic. You won’t have to flip through & try & guess which recipes work together, it will all be laid out. Your starter, salad, main, dessert & even a cocktail will be mapped out from start to finish in a cohesive manner, ready to make. Of course you’re allowed to flip through & pick & chose should you wish, but you won’t have to.

If you want to contribute to our kickstarter project, just click here!

Ingredients, crust:
– 160g GF oat flour
– 200g GF white flour blend
– 160g almond flour
– 2 tsp xanthan gum
– 30g white sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– zest of 1 lemon
——————–
– 250g unsalted butter, melted
– 1 egg yolk, room temp
– 60g buttermilk
– 60g dark rum

Directions, crust: (make one 9″ pie, 3″ deep, or four 5″ pies, 1.5″ deep)
1. combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & whisk to combine. Create a well in the centre & set the bowl aside.
2. in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients & beat them together. Pour the wet mix into the well of the dry ingredients, & use a fork to slowly incorporate the two. Once the mixture becomes thick enough, you can continue to work the dough with your hands until it all comes together completely.
3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten each into a disc, tightly wrap with cling film & refrigerate for two hours.

Ingredients, filling:
– 750g sour cherries, pitted
– 200g red apple, purred
– 30g lemon juice
– 200g white sugar
– 30g corn starch
– 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
– 30g unsalted butter, cold & cubed
—————-
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 2-3 tbs of demerara sugar

Directions, filling:
1. pre-heat the oven to 250C
2. combine all the ingredients together & mix well, set aside.
3. butter a 9″ (or four 5″ pie plates) pie plate & set aside.
4. lightly dust your work surface with oat flour, remove one of the discs of cold dough from the fridge, un-wrap & roll it out into a circle a little bigger than your pie plate. Gently lift the dough from the counter, & line your pie plate with it. If the dough tares a little, don’t worry, you can gently manipulate it & press it back together to seal any holes.
5. pour in the pie filling you made. Take the cubed butter & sprinkle it over the top of the filling.
6. remove the second disc of dough from the fridge, once again dust your work surface with flour & roll the dough out to the size of your pie plate.
7. slice the dough into strips about 1 to 2cm wide. One by one, place the strips on top of your pie in a lattice formation.
8. trim the edges of the dough around the pie plate & press the sides down with a fork for a decorative pattern. Brush the crust lightly with the beaten egg, & sprinkle with demerara sugar.
9. (for a 9″ pie) cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & a half to two hours, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
9. (for 5″ pies) cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & 10 minutes, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
10. once done, remove your pie from the oven & allow to cool completely before cutting.

Tips & tricks:
*** if you line the bottom of your oven with aluminium foil before you start, it will be much easier to clean afterwards. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to scrape off burnt sugar before, but trust me, it’s no picnic.
*** if you don’t allow the pie to cool completely, the sugar won’t set & the pie will run & fall apart instead of coming out in nice clean slices.

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peach & rosemary preserve

peach, rosemary & white wine preserve... gluten-free

I think I’ve got the canning bug. Although of course I just had to wait until all the good fruits were out of season before I decided I wanted to try to preserve them.

Still, managed to get my hands on some peaches.

Here’s my dirty little secret though. I didn’t reach for those nice, fresh, just ripened peaches with that beautiful yellow coloured flesh…. I wanted my peaches close to death. All soft & squishy. Starting to turn colour. Completely unappetising to eat with that horrendous overly-rippened-now-starting-to-rot mushy thing going on.

Want to know why? These are usually the sweetest & make the best jams. Doesn’t do wonders for my pictures though… but holy toledo Batman, that flavour is GOOOOD!

What I’ve got here isn’t your typical preserve either. I mean, it’s not something I’d put on pancakes in the morning. It’s more for toasted english muffins, or paired with brie & prosciutto. It’s for the more savoury of pairings with the earthy undertones of the rosemary & the slight hint of spice from the pepper corns. Personally, I’d like a little less sugar in the recipe, but then we start getting into the realms of adding more pectin & it’s just not something I want to deal with.

I think maybe I’m going to start going crazy with the preserving process & start getting ready for homemade christmas presents. Continue reading

jellies, jams & preserves… oh my!

red grape & rum jam, perfect for the morning toastI have a question for you all….

How many of you can tell me the difference between a jelly, jam & a preserve?

Anyone?

Yea, that’s a tough one. I’ll admit, I had to google it to find the answer. It’s true, I’ve existed 28 years on this earth without knowing the fundamental differences between these spreads. A little appalling, but brutally honest.

Here it is in a nutshell (so to speak)…
1. Jelly: made using the juice of the fruit
2. Jam: made using the pureed flesh of the fruit
3. Preserves: made using either whole pieces or large chunks of the fruit.

There you have it! Pretty easy once you know. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t, however.

What we have here today is a JAM made using red grapes. I’ve gone ahead & thrown some red apples in there too since apples are just chock full of pectin which will eliminate the need for so much sugar.

The whole reason I find myself making jam at all is because I seem to have a wicked craving for a PB&J. I know traditionally these are fixed with jellies & not jams… but I’m not all that traditional.

Try this recipe out. I threw in a little dark rum & lemon zest to give it a nice little edge. Let me know what you think xxx

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Vango turns 40!

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Haaaaaaaave you met Vango?

No?

Vangelis happens to be the Co-Head of the happy little catering company known as Chili Catering. The very same company I’ve been working for, for the last 2+ weeks. With him, I also work with Eirini, you know, that wonderful girl I made the strawberry & mint macarons with & also did a series of trials before arriving at the idea of a roulade with.

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

It’s a fabulous team. There’s also Costas, he can come across as a little grumpy & be hard to know, but once you crack through, he’s pretty fantastic too.

Back to Vangelis….

Did you know he’s turning 40 today? That’s quite impressive if you ask me. He’s been persistent that he wants nothing to do with a birthday cake…

Eirini & I don’t care one little bit what he wants. We’re going against his wishes & whipping him up one any way. Why should he get to deny us the joy of making a cake just because he’s said so?

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Since he’s quite the Chef & very imaginative with flavors, I’ve decided to do a cake that will be layered…. • hazelnut • hazelnut & milk chocolate • hazelnut & dark chocolate •
Then, in between each of these delicious layers, there will be a wonderfully light, basil whipped cream.

layers of hazelnut & chocolate sponge cake filled with a purple basil whipped cream... gluten free

It’s heaven.

Even more heavenly, the design.

More often than not, I finish a cake & I’m sorely disappointed with it. Not that it isn’t good, it’s just, I always tell myself “I can do so much better”. Not to brag or anything, but I am so ridiculously pleased with myself over this cake that there is no bringing me down. Not today. Can’t wait to show him what Eirini & I did!!!

Did I mention that I lovingly crystalized each & every basil leaf myself? From purple basil plants growing in my garden which I actually grew all by myself from seed?!?! Oh yea, every single part of the process.

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pear vinegar

an aromatic pear vinegar recipe

I’ve been patiently waiting to publish this post.

Some things, good things, take time to reach their optimum level of perfection.

This would be one such thing.

Vinegars take time to age & mature. You can’t just dump ingredients into water & expect it to become miraculous over night. The microbes & magic need their time to work, & they really do take their slow, sweet, leisurely time!

I can tell you how this all came about though. Mel & I have been hired over at a boutique hotel on our island (Syros) to be the amazing in house chefs. I’ve got the morning shift, serving up breakfast, brunch & pastries… & Mel is on dinner & cocktail duty. Seriously, we’re the magnificent cooking duo & we got hired as a team!

Can you tell I’m stoked?

Any way, in the process of designing the menu (all food items were done by a michelin-star chef, all cocktails & desserts will be by Mel & I) the chef designing the menu asked me to whip up a pear vinegar to be incorporated into the menu….

So here it is. The fruits of my labor (so to speak).

an aromatic pear vinegar recipe

Continue reading