Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Only in Afghanistan - RIP 17 February 2008

Parsnip, cumin, fresh coriander and sweet corn rosti served with a red onion, paprika and mint jam and crème fraiche

Chef Notes
I remember having rosti at home and tried to twist it with the parsnip – didn’t have quite the same texture as I remember probably due to me undercooking the parsnip – damn health considerations! The onion jam and the crème fraiche matched well with the cumin but presentation was a bit average – reminiscent of pepper sauce served with dirty schnitzel.

Slow baked leeks in triple citrus rind (orange, lime and lemon), nutmeg and and sage and served with roasted almond and nigella salt.

Chef Notes
Flavours were great but the texture of the leek wasn’t as hoped –a little tough and may have needed a bit more moisture or longer cooking time. But the almond and nigella seed salt was a good mix – I think this is the end of standard salt. Dish might have worked better with zucchini or something which absorbed the flavour a little better.

Afghani kofta balls: millet flavoured with dates, lime zest, fresh turmeric, fennel seeds and dried chilli and coated in a crust of crushed walnuts and coriander seeds then served on tomato and cucumber checkers with a coriander, chilli and lime salsa.

Chef Notes
My favourite – I had previously used these flavours with rice and they went even better with millet which is a lot more moist. The walnut crust had a Middle Eastern flavour and was perfect crunchy exterior for soft millet. Maybe some goats cheese with the millet would have given it a melting aspect. Happy with the presentation but I don’t think the coriander salsa was right – more Asian than Afghani.

Baked pears stuffed with a pistachio, date and rose petal paste and served with cardamom and rose water yogurt then garnished with honey frozen rose petals.

Chef Notes
Pears were a little overcooked and a touch dry – maybe poaching them first or else more liquid. But the pistachio and date paste was good consistency – chewy with a roasted crunch, not sure what the rose water added… The cardamom flavour was surprising – haven’t tasted it outside of blended dishes so nice to isolate it – maybe needed to use thicker yogurt or even mascarpone next time.

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