Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Recipe - Asparagus Pana Cotta

Now that the sun is out in the East Neuk, here's a lovely way to make a very summery use of the new season asparagus. 'Panna Cotta' literally means 'cooked cream'; here we're using eggs to set the asparagus in a tasty savoury custard, and serving it alongside some wild garlic pesto for a lovely starter or light lunch.

Makes 4 or 5 starter sized portions

125g of trimmed asp 12 thin spears
1/4 pint 125ml
2 whole eggs
sprig tarragon or 3 basil leaves
pinch salt & pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil

Prepare the asparagus and cut into bite sized pieces – about fingernail sized

Blanch in the boiling water until al dente

Drain and set aside once cold

Meanwhile, make the custard mix. Combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if you're not averse to raw eggs!

Finely chop the herbs and fold into the custard mix

Line 5 small dariole moulds or ramekins with cling film, with plenty of overhang

Divide the asparagus between the moulds, then pour in the custard mix
Now pull over the edges of the cling film and seal the top of the custards, then cover with tinfoil

Place the moulds in a large baking tray and place in a preheated oven – 170c

Pour boiling water into the tin – or until the bain marie is 3/4 of the way up each individual mould

Cook for between 15 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the terrines comes out clean. When the custard is set there should be a little wobble in the mix – this will mean it’s ready

Leave in the moulds until cold

Refrigerate until ready to use, then unwrap and serve

If you prefer, you can double the quantities of the recipe and make this in a loaf tin or terrine for slicing. Just cook for 40 - 50 minutes, and leave the cling on while slicing, so the portions stay intact.

Recipe created by James, head chef @ The Elemental Kitchen for the award-winning
Ardross Farm Shop, East Neuk of Fife.

The House That Rocks...

No sooner had we left a gorgeous water front dwelling on the pacific coast, we were back to providing bespoke hospitality at one of our favourite East Neuk holiday properties, The Rocks in Elie. Take a peek inside as we prepared for the dinner party...

gorgeous wall art in the open plan lounge/diner/kitchen

dining space

chef James prepares thai-style prawn cakes

international influences

plating up

baked white chocolate cheese cake
with Pittenweem strawberries

more cheese please - a local selection
with James' homemade oatcakes

The Rocks, Elie is part of the The Fabulous Locations portfolio, which also includes stunning properties in Thailand and New Zealand.

Find out more about bespoke hospitality from The Elemental Kitchen at

Vancouver Vacation...

Well, for the first time in what seems like ages, The Elemental Kitchen team took a trip that didn't involve us cooking! We were on vacation in and around Vancouver. Of course, food was still very much at the heart of our travels. Each day was planned meticulously around where and what we'd eat...

In a classic 1950s diner, 'The Templeton', James,
our chef takes time out to reflect on...well, food of course.

We enjoy browsing & snacking at the famed Granville Island market

'Sunny Side Up' - Sunday Brunch at the fashionable
downtown eaterie 'Medina'.

Refreshments, Vancouver style, by the seawall.

We stopped off at Molly's Reach for lunch -
as featured in the 70s TV show, 'The Beachcombers".

On the sunshine coast, at our 'tent house' on Halfmoon Bay,
we enjoyed alfresco dining...

and sampling local wines on the veranda...

... then worked up another appetite out on the lake...

Click here for more snapshots and reflections on our recent trip to Canada. Meanwhile, if you're taking a vacation, holiday or enjoying a special occasion, please don't hesitate to call us, The Elemental Kitchen would love to join you to take care of your bespoke hospitality, while you relax and soak up life's simple pleasures...