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I sometimes like to make my own mustard. Like many recipes such as these, you think its some long drawn out complicated process and it turns out to be simpler than you think. I did quite a bit of research to look at the various recipes out there, also a trip to Fallot moutarderie while in Beaune was interesting to see their processes. Mustard is made by the addition of liquid (water, vinegar, wine, beer, cider etc...) to mustard seeds and whatever else flavouring you care to add. I generally add 1 and half times the amount of liquid to seeds as they tend to absorb the liquid quite well.

There are three different types of mustard seed and they will produce different results. Yellow/White can pack a lot of heat, brown they tend to have a milder flavour and not so much heat and black which have a good kick and are more bitter in flavour. I tend to use either yellow or brown when making mine. Next up is the liquid, it is pretty much up to you what you'd like to use. When I first made mustard I just went for a basic recipe and used water and a small amount of vinegar. I like to leave the seeds for a few days in the fridge to absorb the liquid. After that you can liquidise the mixture for a smoother mustard or leave it as it is for a rough texture, up to you. 

Here is my recipe for cider vinegar and honey mustard, this one is made using vinegar as the base liquid.

100g brown or yellow mustard seeds or a mixture of both
150ml cider vinegar
20ml honey 

Place the seeds, honey and vinegar in a glass bowl and cover with cling film
Place in the fridge for 3-4 days until they have absorbed all or most of the liquid
Using a hand mixer or food processor pulse the seeds until they form a paste like mixture
Place into a clean sterilised jar with a lid, this will keep for several months in the fridge

I always give the mustard a few days before eating as often it can be a bit bitter after pulsing, the flavours will start to mellow and develop 

Lime caramel with pineapple carpaccio

This recipe is my go-to when I don't fancy making an elaborate dessert but need something fresh and simple at the end of a meal. First of all you need to make the caramel, it is simple, but you need to keep an eye on it. The trick is having a good solid based pan (I prefer to use a non stick pan), it has to be very clean otherwise your syrup will crystallise and go lumpy. 

I would also advise that you invest in a sugar thermometer or a thermapen if you intend to make this as you need to be able to monitor the temperature. You will note that after 110c the process of it coming up to temperature is very slow, but don't take your eye off it. 
Use granulated sugar rather than caster, as it is less likely to crystallise. Liquid caramel can keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

Also be very, very careful when making this as a sugar syrup burn is pretty nasty, so resist the urge to stick your finger in for a taste. If you do happen to get splashed run your hand immediately under cold water. 

Lime Caramel 

100g granulated sugar
40ml water
Zest of 1 lime
Red chilli pepper very finely chopped and seeds removed

Place the sugar and water into a pan and stir gently until all the sugar has dissolved and begins to boil, after that point DO NOT stir otherwise it will crystallise
You will notice that the sugar starts to colour on the outside, when it starts to do this start swirling the pan gently to ensure an even colour throughout
Keep an eye on the temperature, you are aiming for 170c
Once it has reached the correct temperature, take the pan off the heat and dip the bottom in some cold water to stop the sugar from continuing to cook
You can add a little more warm water to the caramel to make it more syrupy if it is too thick
Take care when adding water to the sugar syrup as it will splutter a lot when adding the water
Add the zest and the chilli to the syrup once it has cooled as you don't want to over cook them
Place in a heatproof bowl and cover until needed

For the pineapple
Slice off the leaves and skin
Remove the tough core
Thinly slice the pineapple and then serve drizzled with the caramel 
I sometimes like to add red peppercorns as it adds a nice kick and flavour 

Magimix Gelato Expert

Magimix NL have asked me to test out another Machine for them, this time it is the Gelato Expert ice cream maker. Perfect timing as as we're now coming up into the warmer months. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I make the exception for ice cream and nothing beats home made. Been making ice cream at home for many years now and it's just so much better than shop bought.

My first ever ice cream maker 16 or so years ago was also a Magimix, the one with the bowl that you have to put in the freezer (Glacier 1.1). While it was nice and compact, you needed to remember to put it in the freezer before you made the ice cream and while I'm not bad at forward planning there were times where I had the ingredients and forgot to get the bowl ready. I decided it was time to get something with an in-built freezer component and came across a Gaggia professional one at a bargain price in a local shop, again this was many years ago. It will be interesting to know how things have changed with these types of ice cream maker and the difference in the end product.

Over the coming months you will see an increase in the number of recipes for ice cream, sorbets and granitas as the Gelato Expert has a function for all three. I'll be interested in how long it takes to churn as well as the consistency of the ice cream and sorbets. I'll be talking about the different methods of ice cream making and trying some interesting ingredients. Like my testing of the Cook Expert I will be as honest as possible in my feedback and experiences.

Initial impressions are good; clear concise instructions and handy hints and tips to get the best out of your recipes in the accompanying recipe book . The unit is never going to be petite or light, but it's not as heavy as my old one, so there have been some advances in refrigeration units. I like the fact that it has several functions from gelato (softer ice cream) to granita and also that it has a manual function so you can control the amount of time you want to churn.  It also has two bowls; one in built and one that you can remove and the capacity is 2l which is nice.

So here we go, I see a lot of ice cream in my future!

If you'd like to find out more about the Gelato Expert then you can find the specification on the Magimix NL website 

The Exile BBQ rub

I've been asked for this recipe quite a lot so thought it best to share. Its a rub I like to use for both chicken and pork recipes and works especially well with ribs. When making my rubs or spice mixes, I tend to use whole spices toasting them in a pan and then grinding in a mortar and pestle. You can use a coffee grinder, but if you do, try and use a burr grinder as it doesn't tend to heat up as much and won't destroy any aromatic oils in the spices. My other preference is for a good Hungarian sweet paprika as it has a wonderful flavour but Spanish is good as well. 

45g sweet paprika
25g smoked sweet paprika
5g pimenta (all spice berries)
15g garlic powder
15g onion powder
15g cumin seeds 
1 inch cinnamon stick 
5g coriander seed 
5g black peppercorns 
60g  dried oregano 
20g dried parsely
20g dried coriander leaves
10g celery salt
10g chipotle chilli flakes

Toast the cinnamon stick, coriander, cumin, pimenta and peppercorns on a medium heat in a pan for five minutes
Place in a mortar and pestle and grind until you get a rough powder
Remove to a bowl and mix through the rest of the ingredients
Place in a airtight jar in a dark place
This will keep for a couple of months

Goat, Cooking and Eating - review

This is the first book from James Whetlor, founder of Cabrito goat meat and a keen advocate of ethical goat farming. While many of us would not necessary consider goat a daily staple or a go-to meat. James makes a good case on why we should consider it and also why more chefs need to put this on their menus.

The book starts out giving us a history and background about the goat industry through the ages and how it is perceived in various cultures for farming cooking and eating. It also gives us a good reason why we should consider goat meat, in particular billy goat meat. As well as ethical reasons, the book then follows with more reasons in the shape of many and varied recipes highlighting goat meat's role in cultures across Europe, India, the Caribbean, China, West Africa and the Middle east.

The recipes take the shape of various forms of cooking and cover everything from slow cooking to BBQ (some of my favourite methods of cooking) to roasting, traditional roasts and bakes. You are greeted with recipes such as suya kid chops, the iconic Caribbean dish curry goat (you can't not have a curry goat recipe in there!), moving to traditional dishes such as souvlaki, shawarma, pastilla, tagine and cassoulet. There are dishes to suit all tastes and all levels of cooking skills and if you want to push the boat out, how to make your own sausages and cook a whole goat as well!

As well as recipes from James himself, he has also given us recipes from the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (one of my food heroes), Olia Hercules (a fellow alumna from my old chef school Leiths), Jeremy Lee, DJ BBQ and Gill Meller to name but a few. The photography by Mike Lusmore is striking and colourful and the dishes are styled simply which I like, it makes the recipes more approachable. I'm a big fan of spice and there are plenty of recipes that feature those elements.

It is also good to know that 50% of the proceeds from the book go to support the charity Farm Africa, who work with local farmers and communities to help them support themselves and fight poverty. There are many good reasons (90 of them) to buy this book, not just to find out more about goat, but  delicious ways of cooking it too! I really enjoyed the diversity of recipes in the book and the fact it incorporated goat into dishes that would not necessarily feature it. Nice to see a nod to West African cooking too with suya and peanut curry dishes, as many of you know I've become a fan in the last few years. I certainly think this book will change people's mind about a not so well known meat and maybe we will start to see it become more widely available in the shops and feature on Restaurant menus too. Here in the Netherlands I know of only two restaurants that feature goat Rijks and Nacarat in Amsterdam. If there are others, do let me know!

Goat is released on April 5th in the UK (currently available on Amazon) and in the US and Australia on the 1st of May. I have also been reliably informed that there is a Dutch version coming out soon and will keep my dutch readers posted as to when.

What's in season - April

One of my favourite vegetables is in season this time of year, asparagus. Wild garlic season will really be getting started now too. Meat, fish and game may not be as bountiful but herbs are starting to come back into season.

Asparagus, broccoli, jersey royal new potatoes, lettuce & salad leaves, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, rocket, samphire, spinach, spring onions, watercress, wild nettles

Bananas (Windward), kiwi fruit, rhubarb

Basil, chives, dill, sorrel

Lamb, wood pigeon

Cockles, crab, langoustine, lobster, plaice, prawns, salmon, sea trout, shrimp, whitebait

Grilled rack of kid goat and wild garlic pesto

Not one, but two recipes this weekend. Call it an extra Easter Egg bonus! One recipe nicely complimenting the other and both bang in season. Kid goat has a similar taste to lamb but I think it has a lot more flavour and texture and is also a leaner meat. The pesto uses raw walnuts which add a lovely creamy texture and the wild garlic has a nice light tang which goes well with the grilled goat.
1 6 bone rack of kid goat (fat cap removed)
10ml oil for coating 
salt and pepper to taste

Set your BBQ up for direct cooking with the cast iron griddle at 180c
Coat the rack in oil and season with the salt and pepper
Place the rack on the griddle and cook for 3 minutes until you have a nice char, turn and repeat for the other side and then place the rack standing up and cook the bottom for a further 3 minutes
If you are cooking rare then 9-15 minutes and a core temp of 49c - 54c is what you are aiming for
If the rack happens to be quite large, it will take a bit longer to reach core temps, I would advise transferring the rack to a heavy bottomed cast iron pan and cover with foil if you wish to cook it for longer
Cook for 9-15 minutes (core temp 49c - 54c) for rare, 18 minutes for medium rare (54c - 60c) or 22 minutes Medium (60c - 66c)
Remove the rack to one side and allow to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place

You an also cook the rack in the oven
Before cooking in the oven, coat the goat in the oil and season with salt and pepper
In a pan sear the goat on a high heat on all sides to get a nice char
Place the goat in the oven at 180c and follow the instructions above for how you cook it to your liking

150ml olive oil
100g wild garlic leaves
75g raw walnuts
100g grated parmesan
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until you get a rough textured sauce
Season to taste with the salt and pepper