Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Festive Sweet - Snowball Meringue Mountain

Christmas Snowball Meringue Mountain

Here's a treat for a snowy winter morning
- a mound of crisp meringues sandwiched together with caramel cream. You can make your own dulce de lecce using milk or condensed milk, or buy a good quality one to save time.

For the meringues

4 free range egg whites, at room temperature
250g unrefined caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 tsp good quality vanilla paste, extract or seeds from one vanilla pod

For the filling
250 ml double cream
3 tablespoons of dulce de lecce

Preheat the oven to 120 centigrade
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment or with a hand electric mixer, combine the egg whites, vanilla and vinegar.
Whisk to soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar in a slow but stready stream until all the sugar is gone. At this stage you should have a thick, glossy meringue which will hold if held upside down. Transfer to a piping bag, and pipe small meringues onto non-stick baking trays (or use silicon paper on a tray) Dry out the meringues in the oven for 60 minutes, then turn the oven off with the door ajar until the meringues are cold.
Whisk the cream until it just holds on the whisk, then fold in the dulce de lecce
Sandwich the meringues together and stack into a Christmassy snow mountain!

Recipe created by James, head chef @ The Elemental Kitchen.

Festive Recipe - Mulled Pears

Mulled Pears
Here's a great way to celebrate the wonderful varieties of pears we have in this country at this time of year - with a little nod to Christmas to help get us in the festive mood!

These are fantastic served with creme fraiche or ice cream, and maybe even a piece of shortbread if you want to be really indulgent.

Serves 5

5 pears, variety of your choice
750 ml (1 bottle) red wine
750 ml water
350 ml unrefined caster sugar
the peel of 1 medium orange, in strips
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

First, prepare the syrup to poach the pears. In a pan large enough to snugly fit the fruit, combine the wine, sugar, peel and spices.
Gently bring to a simmer, while you peel the pears and core (I like to use a melon baller to remove the core neatly). As you peel each one, add to the syrup.
Once all the pears are in the pan, add enough water to just cover them.
Cover these with a circle of greaseproof paper, and simmer gently until cooked (the point of a skewer will go through the pear). How long this will take depends on the size and ripeness of the pears, but usually around 20 minutes is enough.
Once cooked. leave to cool in the syrup until cold.
When cooled, remove the pears, strain the syrup and boil until reduced by half - or until the flavours are as intense as you like. Whisk in the jelly until it dissolves, and then leave to cool.
To serve, simply dish up the cold pears, top with the mulled wine syrup, and add the accompaniment of your choice.

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

Festive Giving...

"If you knew what I know about the power of giving,
you would not let a single meal pass
without sharing it in some way".
- The Buddah

Once again, this Christmas, The Elemental Kitchen will be showing our gratitude for the abundance of delicious food & good company we'll be enjoying amidst the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands by helping the homeless via Street Smart. The Elemental Kitchen is donating 25% of our Chef & Host fee on Christmas Day to the initiative, which provides invaluable support to our nation's homeless people. Restaurants, chefs and their patrons all over Britain are also taking part by adding a voluntary £1 contribution to table bills at the end of each meal. You can go to the Street Smart website to find your nearest Street Smart restaurant. Alternatively, like us, you can make a donation online.

Monday, 5 December 2011

What inspired 'The Elemental Kitchen'?

We've been asked the question a few times - what's behind your name? So we figured it's time to answer here...and like all delicious and lovely things, even our name was created naturally...

You see, here at The Elemental Kitchen we love to celebrate the intimate connection between ingredients we source from nature's elements - rivers, mountains, skies, oceans and fields that you'll typically find just beyond our kitchen window - and the dishes we sizzle up and serve at your dining table.

The Elemental Kitchen - Fine Food From Land & Sea

Find out more about us and our unique approach to bespoke hospitality over at www.elementalkitchen.co.uk