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September 2008

25 September 2008

Plum Clafoutis


Over the past few weeks the farmer's markets have been bursting with tiny black plums. Sweet, succulent and even a little tangy, the plums are ripe for eating, stewing, poaching and in this case, baking...in a clafoutis.

It was only until I attempted to make this baked dessert, that I discovered that it is actually French, specifically from the Limousin region. I have always thought it was Greek. The word 'clafoutis' just sounds so Greek to me but then again 'tiramisu' sounds Japanese!

My clafoutis differs from the Limoges' version which traditionally uses un-pitted black cherries. It is thought that the kernel (pip) imparts an almond-like flavour into the batter when baked. Instead, I used the small black plums, with the stone left in.


While the plums I used were sweet to the point of being over-ripe, the cooking process seemed to reawaken their tart bite.

A clafoutis is somewhere between a cake, a custard, a sweet omelette and a souffle. But really, I shouldn't grope for a category: it is what it is. It's a clafoutis. And it's delicious.

Continue reading "Plum Clafoutis" »

18 September 2008

Manhattan Eats: 'ino Cafe and Wine Bar


Our breakfast place of choice in New York was Italian panini bar 'ino. Located in the West Village, 'ino occupies a tiny, charming space on Bedford St.

The menu consists solely of panini, tramezzini, bruschette and an excellent selection of Italian wines. Some may shrug and say: "So what, a toasted sandwich." But 'ino is more than that. The flavours are bold, fresh and if you close your eyes, you're transported to Italy.

Another important factor is 'ino's bread -- it's very special. Baked fresh daily in legendary neighbouring restaurant Blue Ribbon's 140-year-old brick oven, the bread is carefully crafted from scratch using only the best ingredients.


One of the many stars on 'ino's menu is the truffled egg toast. It consists of an egg grilled on ciabatta with fontina cheese and truffle oil. The serving plate is scattered with blanched asparagus.

All in all, 'ino is a charming little cafe with a simple menu and friendly service: our favourite way to start the day in New York.


'ino cafe/wine bar

21 Bedford Street
between 6th Ave & Downing
New York, NY 1002

11 September 2008

Peach & Barbecued Corn Salad


Have you ever made something that seemed too good to be true, especially when it was ridiculously simple to make?

I just had one of those moments.

It was this peach and barbecued corn salad that did it to me. Let me tell you about it.

Sweet, yet slightly tart peaches, barbecued sweet corn rubbed with lime and sea salt, slices of creamy buffalo mozzarella and a scattering of basil leaves. All this drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and an aged balsamic.

Please sir, some more.

The tastes and textures in this salad bewitched me. I got the idea from a farmer in Long Island, NY. He had a stall at the side of the road selling white corn and Amish peaches. I bought some and as I was leaving he called out the recipe to me. He'd never tried it himself but it was from a faithful customer of his.

I never got the farmer's name and I'll never know whose recipe this is but to both these people, I'll be ever grateful.

I'm submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted this week by Gretchen from Canela & Comino.


Continue reading "Peach & Barbecued Corn Salad" »

10 September 2008

Manhattan Eats: Momofuku Ssam Bar


The power of the Momofuku Ssam's pork bun -- addictive indeed and New York is showing no signs of tiring of these tasty morsels.

Momofuku Ssam Bar is a revelation. I can only describe the food paradoxically. It's exciting, yet simple. It's confusing, yet comforting. It's of the highest quality, yet inexpensive. The one thing that is certain is that the food will captivate and make you want more.

The Momofuku empire is led by chef and co-owner David Cheng, famous not only for his culinary genius but also his colourful language. Only a few years ago Cheng was a little-known chef at a noodle bar. Now he's touted as one of the most "innovative and exciting chefs America has seen in decades".

In a city where restaurants will sparkle one day and fade into obscurity the next, Momofuku's Korean-inspired food has a firm place in the heart and mouths of New Yorkers.

The steamed bun (pictured above), has been replicated in restaurants all over the city yet none compare to Momofuku's. Pasture-raised heirloom pork belly, hoisin, cucumber and scallions are enclosed in a soft steamed bun. Each mouthful is sublime.


We went twice to Momofuku Ssam. Once at night and once at lunchtime. The difference is really night and day. If you want your meal charged with a frenetic energy, go at night. For something more subdued, lunchtime's your best bet.

For dinner we had the sliced Long Island Fluke (summer flounder) with yuzu koshu and puréed peaches, pork belly steamed buns, marinated hanger steak ssam and the divine spicy pork sausage and rice cakes.

For a light lunch, try out the Bi Bim Bap of braised tofu with bean sprouts, white kimchi, fresh edamame, whipped tofu and a delicately slow-poached egg.


Momofuku Ssam
207 2nd ave. nyc 10003 | corner of 13th and 2nd 
East Village

02 September 2008

Orange Soy Glazed Scallops


I have never been a huge fan of scallops. When I've eaten them they've usually been undercooked or overcooked. My feelings have changed. Although I don't eat them often, I have a new-found appreciation for them.

The trick to cooking scallops is to have the fry-pan smoking hot. What I mean by this is that it should be giving off a tiny bit of smoke just before burning point. I usually use vegetable, canola or sunflower oil for these high temperatures. The pan should be lightly oiled and the oil itself should be swirling.

Scallops only require very little time in the pan. Medium-sized scallops such as the ones pictured were cooked for 80 seconds: 40 seconds on each side and - this is important - turned only once.

The high heat of the pan sears the outside of the scallop which helps to seal in the juices making the flesh firm yet tender.

The glaze is a combination of caramelized sugar, orange juice and zest and soy sauce. If you've never caramelized sugar before, then be warned, it requires a little patience and constant attention. The result is worth it though and it only takes about 15 minutes. This particular glaze is also excellent with chicken, oily fish such as salmon and halibut or pork.

Continue reading "Orange Soy Glazed Scallops" »

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