Cooking is about much more than the ingredients you use. The presentation, where the produce is sourced, whether it’s organic or not all count, though more than anything, it’s about the people you share your table with, the atmosphere around you and the hunger within being met.
|Lost in Leaves in London|
Eating after being in the great outdoors, with the ones you love makes for the best tasting meals. Love is our universal language and needs no translation. Sometimes subtlety may be lost in translation, AND sometimes, through translation we learn to open our eyes and hearts to the wonders we may have never known otherwise. We take a leap of literal faith and find gold, connect with that love and you’re on the road to infinity!
|Seek good company before you choose the recipe!|
Dreams are in essence lost in translation. Have you ever woken from a dream with a vivid memory? A memory clearer than the view out of your window, and then, suddenly it’s lost? It is said if you record your dreams by writing them down, shortly after waking, you may tap into your subconscious. While I love a good night’s sleep, I love even more, the thought of living dreams! Feeling good, feeling free and most of all being true is my favourite waking dream come true.
Dim Sum dreams are living ones for my taste buds. My Sundays are often swept on an Orient express to aromatic Queensway, where flavours, gently enrapturing ones, abound. I love the pale bite-sized dumplings that are lightly steamed and served on simple plates with a selection of chilli oil and sweet chilli sauces. I love the mixture of restaurants that reflects the diversity of London, Moroccan, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Italian, American, and Vietnamese to name but a few. The smells emanating from these restaurants need know translation, they are simply delicious!
Food can be beautiful, and Dim Sum offers the taste buds and the eyes a feast, in equal measure. Prawn and Chive dumplings are little works of art, so pretty and delicate in flavour. The translucent case tempts the eye to a clean combination of oniony chives and mild prawns, light, light, light and more light.
To translate dim sum, what then???
Swashing through the oceans towards the northwest, towards the land of bangers and mash and toad in the hole! What then? This…..
Black pudding and apple ravioli with saffron custard!
Remarkably simple to make, similar in method to Dim Sum, though with a total Anglo interpretation.
Fusion food attempts to mix flavours, this is not fusion, it’s translation!
Translation is an attempt to understand and communicate with another. This meal translates a love of local produce, for indeed, good black pudding is akin to shark fins in China, without the controversy – and there will be a farm somewhere close to you that makes this delight.
Add saffron, the most exquisite spice, to the mix and one brings golden magnificence to this apple and intensely rich savoury mix. It is delicious in a catch 22 way, nursery food meets robust sophistication, and neither recognises the other! Heavenly!
|A stroke away from food Fantasia!|
The preparation is repetitive and there lies the joy. It makes an excellent addition to a dinner party menu, as the prep may be all done in advance. Three minutes of final cooking time, re-heat the custard and hey presto, a dainty looking, though totally filling meal awaits.
|When the dumplings have risen, they are cooked!|
I love pleasant surprises and these beauties are exactly that. Buy the wonton/ gyoza wrappers from an Oriental Shop. The interesting selection of sauces, condiments, dried fish and treats on sale are an ambrosial experience for the senses, a labyrinth for the newcomer, though once you get your head around the many varieties of delights on offer, a world of gastronomic possibilities and wonder awaits. Go see! Go cook!
|Jewels to discover|
Delve deep, be light and always feel the love.
Black Pudding and Apple Dim Sum with Saffron Custard
Apple, 2 cored, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
Black pudding, best quality, 250g sliced into 1cm rounds
Wonton/ gyoza wrappers, 40
Garlic, 7 cloves finely chopped
Saffron strands, ½ tsp
Single cream, 300ml
Egg yolks, 1
Lemon, 1 juice and grated zest
MELT half the butter in a heavy-based pan.
ADD apples and cook for 3 minutes.
SCATTER in black pudding and cook for a further 2 minutes.
SCRATCH over some freshly ground black pepper and leave to cool.
TRANSFER to food processor and pulse 3 times (so the mixture is still chunky and just mixed)
ARRANGE 20 wonton wrappers on a clean surface.
BRUSH with water.
SPOON over a heaped tsp of the mixture in the centre of each wrapper.
PLACE another wrapper on top.
PRESS lightly around the edges to make sure each ravioli is sealed.
I like to use an eggcup turned upside down for a clean finish, which works a treat.
LEAVE in the fridge to set for at least ten minutes.
MELT remaining butter in the same pan.
ADD garlic and saffron and cook for 2 minutes.
POUR over cream and simmer gently to thicken, and then take off the heat.
STIR in egg yolk, lemon juice and zest, stirring until combined.
BOIL water in a shallow pan and lower in the ravioli.
COOK ravioli for 3 minutes.
DRAIN and serve onto plates
SPOON over custard and dress with some leaves of love, to brighten things up!