I love cooking classes.
Over the years I have attended far more than I really should have, but it's an addiction. Probably therapy is needed.
It was amusing to see in an article in Epicure earlier this year, that certain chefs attract groupies "who turn up, batting their eyelashes, to every public appearance". Certainly have been to more than my share of Andrew McConnell's appearances, but also hope that he doesn't get the wrong idea. No, I haven't been batting my eyelashes at him, just drooling over his food.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a day at Lake House which included sessions with Frank Camorra, Chui Lee Luk, Ben Shewry and Andrew McConnell. Lots of great ideas to get the grey matter firing.
Frank prepared his Ortiz anchovies topped with a sorbet made from Tom Cooper's smoked tomatoes. It appears that they would be difficult for most of us to obtain, but previously I had tried to imitate the sorbet using ordinary tomatoes with some smoked paprika. It worked out fairly well, and Frank said that he had also used the same combination, so I decided to give it a go at the weekend.
Earlier in the year I prepared number of ice cube trays with blended tomato. The power of the Thermomix allows you to take the cubes of tomato or other fruit/vegies or stock and blitz it into a sorbet or just reduce it to a state where you have thawed tomato/stock in seconds. To make the sorbet it was a simple matter of pulling out a few cubes, adding some pimentón and blitzing. Voilà ( o increíble!). Perfect for those poor souls such as Ximena Maier of Lobstersquad sweltering in oppressive heat in the northern hemisphere.
Andrew McConnell prepared his blood sausage, which he says is more like a blood pudding. It has been part of his menu for some time and something that I really love. During the session Andrew discussed the new venture Cumulus Inc and the style of menu that would be available. After the class I suggested to Andrew that it would be an idea to make the puddings in small muffin tins (an idea that John Lethlean wrote about) and serve them in crostini moulded in the muffin tins. That way they would be easy to lift up and pop in the mouth.
After reading a blog last week, I hit on an even better idea ( my apologies to the blogger - wherever you may be). There were pastries made in the shape of the spoons you use in Chinese restaurants. So, yesterday I made some spoon-shaped crostini using day-old bread, buttering it and moulding it into spoons before cooking/drying in the oven. They are perfect for serving up my imitation of Frank's anchovies and smoked tomato sorbet.
My sincere thanks to all involved who have been ripped off in my pursuit of recipes for my Thermomix.
Tomato Sorbet with Pimentón
250g frozen tomato pulp or juice (in cubes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
possibly some liquid tomato juice or water.
Place frozen tomato cubes, salt and pimenton in Thermomix bowl. Slowly increase speed up to 9 over 5 seconds. Blend for 20 seconds on speed 9.
Scrape down the mixture and check the consistency. You may need to add a small amount of liquid and blend again for 10 - 20 seconds on speed 9 to get a smooth result.
Serve on crostini(wanky spoon-shaped ones if you must) with boquerones or anchovy UNDER the tomato sorbet (not like in the picture!) and some peppers or capers to accompany.
Update: 28/8/08 - Jules at Stonesoup has posted another Smokey Tomato with Boquerone dish based on Frank Camorra & Richard Cornish's book MoVida