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Smokey Russian Potato Salad


(serves 8-10)
The Russian Potato Salad (some people say Ukrainian) is the king is potato salads, so much so it is more of a cold appetizer than a side dish. It has great texture, being the perfect blend of starchy vegetables, crunchy vegetables and meat. It also looks great, its a kaleidoscope of colours bathed in a milky white dressing. Most importantly Russian Potato Salad tastes great. A perfect dish to make ahead of time so there is less time-pressure when you are cooking and serving your meal.   
 

IngredientsPotato Salad

  1. Potatoes (6 = 3 cups)
  2. Carrots (3 = 1.5 cups)
  3. Frozen Peas (1.5 cups)
  4. Red Onion (1/4)
  5. Eggs (4)
  6. Ham (200g)
  7. Heinz Sandwich Spread (1/3 cup)
  8. Sour Cream (1/3 cup)
  9. Mayonnaise (1/3 cup)
  10. Liquid Smoke
  11. Dill Weed

Preparation 

  1. Boil 4 eggs in a pot, starting with cold water. Simmer for 10 minutes once it is boiling and then place the eggs in cold water.
  2. Peel the carrots and potatoes and cube them into 1cm blocks. Place the cubed potato and carrot in a large sauce pan and add boiling water from a kettle. Add just enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 8 minutes once it is boiling. Strain
    Boiling in Pan

    better to cube first, then boil

    through a colander and after a minute pour into a large salad bowl lined with some paper towels.

  4. Rinse the peas in water to remove any ice and then place those into the same pan. Again add just enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes once it is boiling. As with before strain through a colander and then add to the salad bowl.
  5. Julienne 1/4 of a red onion and cube 200g of ham.
  6. Mix 1/3 cup Heinz Sandwich Spread, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1T of dill weed, 1T of liquid smoke in a bowl. Add also 0.5t each of sugar, pepper and salt.
  7. Remove the paper towels from the vegetables.
  8. Peel the eggs and put them through an egg slicer a few times. The whites should end up cubed while the yolk should fall apart. Add the egg bits to the bowl together with the chopped onion and ham. Mix everything up gently and then add the dressing and do a second mixing.
  9. Refrigerate at least for a few hours before serving.
Potato Carrot Pea

everything the same size

Notes

  • Some people call this the Olivier Salad, after a Chef Olivier who served a similar style salad in the Moscow Hermitage Restaurant. That may well have been the original inspiration for this salad but its quite different, containing more exotic ingredients like grouse, crayfish and capers.
  • One important feature of the Russian Potato Salad is all (except the onion) the pieces should be of the same size. Since you can’t change the size of the peas, that becomes your standard.
  • Do not use canned peas, they are too soft and mushy and will get mashed.
  • Heinz Sandwich Spread provides the taste of pickles and additional layers of flavour. It is the ‘secret ingredient’ of my recipe. If you can’t find some you can chop up some pickled gherkins with 1/3 cup of Crosse and Blackwell Salad Cream as an alternative, that’s how I used to do it. 
  • Everybody has their own version so feel free to experiment. You can use roast chicken or bologna instead of ham, these are the common alternatives for meat. Swap in beetroot if raw onion is not to your liking. You can also choose to leave the egg yolk out.
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Appetizers, Recipe, Salad

 

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High Tea Sandwich Rolls


(serves 6)
The sandwich roll is simple yet elegant way of making canapés. There are several advantages to the sandwich roll.  Sandwich rolls are easier to make than fancy tower canapés. They don’t dirty your hands eating them. However you hold them you don’t have to worry about bits falling off. They are bite-sized. Less bread is exposed to air, reducing the amount of bread that dries as your sandwiches sit there waiting to be eaten. And you know what? Sandwich rolls just look nice.        
 

Ingredients Salmon Rolls

  1. Eggs (3)
  2. Smoked Salmon (100g)
  3. Anchovy in Oil (Small Tin)
  4. White Bread (12 Slices)
  5. Red Onion (1)
  6. Cucumber (1)
  7. Cream Cheese (200g)
  8. Guacamole (150g)
  9. Dill Weed.
  10. Nori Sheet (1, optional)
  11. Maple Syrup
  12. Cumin
  13. Mayonnaise

 

The Basics Basic Sandwich Roll

  1. Use white sandwich bread or yellow bread. Brown bread is harder and less malleable, not meant for rolling.
  2. As you can’t roll bread with crust, its best to use bread that is perfectly square or rectangular.
  3. Use bread that is fresh, that you just bought from the supermarket, not bread you have kept in the fridge for a week. Dry bread will be too brittle to bend without cracking.
  4. After you have cut the crusts off, flatten each piece of bread individually. This is the secret to the rolled sandwich, squashing it with a rolling pin. You can also press down sequentially using the cheek of the blade of a large knife to achieve the same effect.
  5. Whatever you choose to put inside your sandwich must include a creamy spread like mayonnaise, Heinz sandwich spread, tahini, cream cheese, peanut butter, jam etc. as the binding agent. This will hold the roll in place.
  6. The simplest version consists of just a simple spread which you cover the entire piece of bread with – like the Curried Egg Salad Rolls below.
  7. For variety you can add slender sticks of cucumber or cheese for texture – like the Anchovy Infused Cream Cheese Rolls below.
  8. You cannot use whole sheets of meat or cheese and this will completely nullify the effect of the binding spread, unless you rolled them up and have them as the core. This method is shown in the Smoked Salmon Avocado Rolls at the bottom.
  9. The 3 varieties explained here are savoury, but you can make sweet sandwich rolls too. Dried apricot or fresh bananas can be used as the core for example.

Curried Egg Salad Rolls  Egg Sandwich

  1. Boil 3 eggs for 15 minutes. Begin with cold water so the eggs don’t crack and begin counting the time only after the water starts boiling. Peel after the eggs have cooled.
  2. Dice half a red onion and fry on low heat with a little oil till the onion is limp.
  3. Cut each egg in half and spoon the yolk into a bowl. Mash the yolk with 3T of mayonnaise.
  4. Add 0.5t cumin, 0.5t pepper and 2 pinches of salt.
  5. Dice the egg white and mix it into the bowl with the onion bits.
  6. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  7. Spread the egg salad onto the bread as shown. You’ll need to leave one end empty as the whites make the egg salad a bit lumpy.
  8. Spread some plain mayonnaise onto the empty part to seal the roll.
  9. Roll the bread tightly (from the right in this picture).
  10. Slice each roll into 3. Use a gentle sawing motion and don’t press down on the knife.
  11. Rest the rolls on a plate with the edge at the bottom for a while before standing them up.

Anchovy Infused Cream Cheese RollsAncheese Sandwich

  1. Allow 200g of cream cheese to warm to room temperature. You can also use a short burst in the microwave oven.
  2. Dice the remaining 1/2 red onion into fine bits. The bits should be smaller than for the egg salad rolls, since you’ll be eating them raw. Reserve half of this for the smoked salmon rolls.
  3. Peel and cut a cucumber into thin strips as long as your bread. Try to avoid the seedy core as it is less crunchy. Slice more strips than you need as you’ll be using some for the smoked salmon rolls as well.
  4. Mash 2t of anchovy in the oil they came in.
  5. Mix the anchovy emulsion, 2t maple syrup and half of the onion bits into the soft cream cheese.
  6. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  7. Spread the anchovy cheese mixture onto the bread. Add a few cucumber strips as shown. Be sure to leave one end empty.
  8. Roll the bread tightly (from the left in this picture). Slice each roll, following the instructions as per above.

Smoked Salmon Avocado RollsSalmon Sandwich

  1. Cut the smoked salmon into long strips and marinate with a little bit of oil, some black pepper and dill weed.
  2. Mix the remaining diced raw onion with 150g of guacamole or avocado dip. Avocado is soft even when cold so there is no need to let it warm up.
  3. Cut the crust off and then flatten 4 slices of bread.
  4. Spread the guacamole evenly onto your bread.
  5. Arrange pieces of smoked salmon with a few cucumber strips on one end as shown.
  6. Roll the bread tightly using the salmon as the core.
  7. Slice each roll, following the instructions as per before.

 

 

The Professional Look  Sushi Sandwich

  1. Even the best made sandwich rolls following all the rules of sandwich rolling might unroll a bit at the loose end.
  2. One way to prevent this is to apply a few bands of Nori (Japanese dried processed seaweed) before you cut your rolls as shown below. All you need to stick the ends of the Nori strips to each other is a dab of water. You can see the final result of banding in the photo right at the top.
  3. You can also cover the entire roll with Nori to create sandwich sushi, as shown on the right.
  4. All the your rolls will look alike if you cut them the same way. Slicing the rolls diagonally will give some variation to your sandwich rolls. This will help your guests distinguish between the different varieties that you made.
  5. Yellow bread is another option for differentiation.
  6. You can also give some colour to your sandwiches by dusting (the outside surface, and do this before you apply the spread) them with some fine coloured spices. Paprika for example will result in a light orangey coat.

Sandwich Platter Sandwich Banded

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Appetizers, English, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Maryland Muffin-tin Crab Cakes


(serves 5 =10 mini cakes)
My friend Reiko made me some Maryland Crab Cakes a few years back and that’s when I discovered this is one of the best ways to eat crab. I’ve been struggling ever since to come up with a crab cake that tastes better than hers. By jove, I think I have finally done it, by flavouring the crab meat with chinese wine in a pan-fry and mixing in a tad of curry spices. Do try it.    
 

Ingredients

  1. Crab Meat (450g)
  2. Dill Mayonnaise (1 cup)
  3. Bread (5 slices)
  4. Garlic (1 bulb = 12 cloves)
  5. Shallots (6)
  6. Egg (1)
  7. Vegetable Oil
  8. Basil
  9. Dillweed
  10. Chinese Wine (or Cognac)
  11. Woustershire Sauce
  12. Djoin Mustard
  13. Coriander Seed Powder
  14. Cumin

Pre-Preparation 

  1. You will first need to make some mayonnaise according to my Dill Mayonnaise recipe. You can do this just before the crab cakes, it doesn’t take long.
  2. You will also need to cut the crust off 5 slices of bread and leave them uncovered in the fridge for a few hours to dry it out.
  3. While fresh is best, in this case I think you can get away with using canned crab meat. If you plan to use fresh crab meat, you should boil or steam the crabs ahead of time, and then deshell them (450g of crab meat = 1 pound = 2 cups tightly packed = 3 cups loosely packed). Try to use bigger crabs as they have firmer meat and the crab meat will be in larger chunks.           

           Canned Crab Meat                           Bread Crumbs                                   Muffin Tin
               

Preparation 

  1. Peel and then halve the garlic and shallots. Use a food processor to mince them (together). Spread half of the minced mixture evenly onto the bottom of a large bowl and keep the other half for use later.
  2. Dice the dried bread into crouton sized pieces and then given them a two second pulse in the food proccessor to crumb them. Zoom in on the picture above to see the desired texture. Place the crumbs into the bowl with the garlic and shallots. Add 1T Dill weed, 1T of chopped basil and 1t salt and mix well.
  3. Brown the remaining minced garlic and shallot in a pan on low heat with 3T of vegetable oil. Next, add the crab meat and gently stir fry with the heat turned up. Do your best not to break up the chunks of crab meat.
  4. When the pan is sizzling hot, sprinkle on 1/4 cup of chinese wine (for cognac, see below). Gentrly stir fry again til the liquid has dried up and then turn the heat off. Season with 1t of white pepper.
  5. In a small bowl stir together 1 egg with 3T mayonnaise, 1T woustershire sauce, 1t mustard, 1t cumin and 1t coriander seed powder.
  6. Mix the crab meat into the bowl of bread crumbs. Next, spoon the egg mixture into the bowl, mix well to bind all the constituents. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 175oC (350oF).
  8. Brush the muffin tin with vegetable oil. Spoon in the raw crab cake, filling each hole to the brim before moving on to the next one. Press down firmly with a tea spoon to make sure the crab-bread mixture is compact. Next push the raw crab cake away from the rim of each hole to give the crab cakes a rounded top.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes depending on when your crab cakes reach a light golden brown. After you remove the muffin tin from the oven, allow it to cool for a bit so the crab cakes can firm up. The colour should continue to deepen.
  10. Serve with the rest of the mayonnaise and some mixed greens. 

Notes

  • What if you don’t have a food processor? You can mince the garlic and shallots manually easily enough. For the bread, toast lightly, dice and then smash in a zip lock with a meat mallet.
  • Cognac has a high alcoholic concentration. If you are using cognac instead of chinese wine, start off with 3T of the brandy in the measuring cup and top this up to the 1/4 cup mark with water.
  • Crab Cakes can also be served for breakfast, they go very well with fried or poached eggs. See =>
  • Instead of 10 mini-cakes, you can also form you crab cakes into 5 mini-hamburger sized patties. Just shape the cakes by hand and use a regular baking tray.
  • Don’t use butter or olive oil as they don’t cook well at high temperature.
 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Appetizers, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Homemade Dill Mayonnaise


(makes 2 cups)
There is a world of difference between homemade mayonnaise and store-bought mayonnaise, a difference anyone, even children can taste. Homemade mayonnaise is a bit more yellow because of the egg yolks so that’s how you can tell immediately its not off-the-shelf. But when you taste it, that’s when the quality comes through. Its richer, fluffier and creamier all at the same time. Its really easy to make with simple ingredients. Try it once and there’s no turning back.  
 

Ingredients

  1. Eggs (3)
  2. Vegetable Oil (1-1/4 cup)
  3. Dijon Mustard (1t)
  4. Dill Weed (2T)
  5. Lemon (1/2)

Preparation 

  1. Take 3 eggs out of the fridge two hours ahead to let them warm to room temperature.
  2. Seperate the yolks into the mixing container. You won’t be using the whites. Add 1t of dijon mustard and the strained juice of half a lemon.
  3. Beat the mixture till it is well mixed. I use a hand-held electric blender in a tall clear tumbler but you can do it by hand if you want to.
  4. Measure 1 and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil into a pitcher. Continue blending and add the oil a little at a time. You must add the oil very very slowly at first. If the oil looks seperated from the mixture, you are adding it too fast. When half the oil has been incorporated into the mixture, you can pour the rest in a bit faster.
  5. When the mayonnaise starts to stiffen, add 1t salt and 1t pepper. Beat/Blend at high speed to bring the mayonnaise up to the right consistency. Don’t over do it or the oil will seperate again.
  6. Spoon the mayonnaise into your intended storage container. Mix in 2T of dill weed using a spoon. Cover with cling film that is pushed down to evacuate all the air and refrigerate.
  7. Dill is good with seafood. If you don’t like dill weed, here are some other choices for flavouring your mayonnaise:
    1. GARLIC crushed (= Aioli, not Rouille)… good on bread with bouillabaisse 
    2. ANCHIOVIES in oil… perfect for schnitzels
    3. HONEY and more mustard… chicken nugget dip
    4. CUMIN… also nice with crab cakes, and boiled eggs
    5. PESTO… a bold flavour for meat sandwiches
    6. SHALLOTS minced and fried… great for poached fish
    7. or refer to my earlier Mayonnaise Glazed Sole recipe

Notes

  • The egg yolks are left uncooked, that’s the secret to the natural taste and texture. Fresh eggs would be best but if not, make sure you bought the eggs less than a week ago. If the yolk sac has begun to thicken or turn orange, your egg has expired. 
  • Since you are not pasturizing any of your ingredients like the food companies, this will not keep as long as bottled mayo. That’s the one downside of homemade mayonnaise. Make sure all utensils and equipment touching the mayonnaise, and your hands, are spanking clean.
  • This is one of those times you should not use olive oil because it has a strong taste. I usually use canola oil for this, but if you have concerns over erucic acid, use alternatives like sunflower seed or soyabean oil.
  • If you are using an electrical blending appliance, make sure it is the type that does not need the cover to be on when its operating or you will have to open and close it 100x.
 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in French, Ingredients, Recipe

 

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Mayonnaise Glazed Sole di Italia


(serves 3)
This is not an Italian recipe. It only says ‘di Italia’ because I used the same colours as the Italian flag. As you may have guessed, this fish dish comes in three flavours. Its popular with kids and is easier to cook than you think. Its also quite a flexible recipe and other than the mayonnaise you can change the ingredients to whatever you have on hand. You can also make this in smaller portions of a single colour if you want to serve this as an appetizer.
 
Ingredients
  1. Sole Fillets (3)
  2. Mayonnaise (150g)
  3. New Potato (1)
  4. Grana Padano 
  5. Pesto (4t)
  6. Tomato Ragu (3t)
  7. Crushed Garlic (3t)
  8. Chinese Wine
  9. Honey
  10. Paprika

Preparation

  1. Start by boiling your new potato in a small pot of water for about fifteen minutes. As shown in the picture, I’ll usually boil some side vegies of the same colour and then coat them in some butter and tarragon. If you plan to do this, boil them with the potato since the fish should be served immediately after its done.
  2. Peel and put some garlic through a garlic press until you get 3t of crushed garlic.
  3. Flush you sole fillets with tap water and then pad them dry with kitchen towels. Marinate them in a mixture of 3T of Chinese Wine, 0.5t salt and 0.5t pepper. Chinese wine is best for freshening up fish, but if you don’t have any, use sake or vodka. Set aside the fillets while you take care of the glazing.
  4. Spoon your mayonaise into a bowl and grate in one inch cube of Grana Padano. Skin your potato and mix that in as well after mashing it with a fork. Follow up with a sprinkle of salt (or Hon Dashi if you have any) and 1t of honey. Finally, divide the mayonnaise mix into three portions.
  5. For the first portion, mix in 4t of pesto. This becomes the green mayo.
  6. For the second portion, mix in 3t of crushed garlic. This is the white mayo.
  7. For the third portion, mix in 3t of (meatless) tomato ragu. If you don’t have any home-made ragu in reserve, just use the kind that comes in a bottle. Sprinkle in 1t of paprika to get the colour to a deeper red.
  8. Turn on your grill and oil a suitably sized baking tray with olive oil. After placing the sole fillets in the tray, spoon the mayonnaise on in sections until all the fish is covered.
  9. Grill for about 13 minutes, or until the mayonnaise starts to brown. If you don’t have a grill, you can just use a regular oven on high heat, or even a toaster oven.

Notes

  • As mentioned in the introduction, this is a flexible recipe. If you want to use salmon or some other fish fillet, go ahead.
  • The colour of the mayonnaise is entirely up to you. For example if you need black for a German flag, you can use black olive tapenade for black and mustard for yellow. You can basically create any colour you want except for blue, unless you like blue berry flavoured fish..yuck!
  • Why does my recipe have mashed potatoes? They help the mayonnaise stay on the fish instead of sloughing off .
  • A new potato is the small type that is white inside. I don’t mean a potato you just bought.
 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Appetizers, Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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