MALIBU, California

MALIBU, California

Thursday, February 28, 2013


RAW cashews soaked overnight, base for the dressing..blend with 1/2 an onion, 3 ribs celery, 1 whole tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, filtered water, Dijon mustard..result is a "creamed' salad dressing ..totally vegan, and a totally pourable salad in itself

cooked turmeric Lima beans with cumin accented cashew dressing

Grilled eggplant

these are to be re-heated  at  client's home

roasted potatoes with smoked paprika

steamed Rice and or salad greens to go with the warm salad

orders packaged for delivery..grilled veggies topped with chopped fresh garden mint

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NOW it is hotter than June in LA!..warm, grilled vegetable salads

In June we (Los Angeles) are usually socked in with low clouds..known as 'June Gloom', this week we have desert winds blowing in and the day time temps are going to reach 80f's over next few days!

Thankfully I am preparing a great "summerish" menu for tomorrow;

own grown bean sprouts

2 light and luscious soups

a French Lentil ( blue-green small lentils) with cumin, ground coriander, ground the soup a nice citrus spiced flavor.The first photograph above is the lentils washed and rinsed, before cooking.

A "French" tomato-vegetable with hints of anise, very nice and chunky

A great "warm" salad..grilled eggplant "steaks" with  grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and a roast potato salad with a cumin and cashew dressing and cooked turemeric Lima bean  & greens  and /or steamed brown rice..the cashews are soaked overnight then blended with lemon juice, cumin, olive oil and adds the look of a creamy dressing (cashews although called a nut are actually a dried legume)

Amazingly I picked the mini tomatoes from my garden yesterday!

Eggplant to be salted washed and rinsed then grilled tomorrow

Desserts :
 Oatmeal cookies with toffee chips 
 A glazed lemon-poppy seed cake with fresh local strawberries

Great own made sourdough dairy free low fat breads

 Duluth Imperial Flour - Loaf of Bread Rises above the Minnesota skylin (Google Affiliate Ad)

All are ground walnut base, all 3 are different,

1 is caraway
1 is chopped olive
1 is poppy seed anise

Before a 4 hour prove at room temp ..76f

after a 4 hour prove

Before baking 35 mins at 450f

Jimmy Hendrix to Rod Stewart..keeping Rock Legends happy

They are just like the rest of us, all the "rock stars" I have worked with, everyone loves a good soup.

I first met Jimmy in the mid 60's when I was a student and working at a local late night restaurant in the North of England. It was Jimmy's first trip to UK, so no one knew him..he was the tallest guy I had ever seen, and such a nice guy too.

 In the mid 70's it was the pop brigade, BBC TV Center & Top of the Pops Tom Jones, Queen, Englebert, Elton John and loads more bands. 

In the 80's in private service Tommy Steele, Brian Ferry. In the 90's Tony Bennet, Cherie Currie, Rod Temperton (M.J.'s Thriller album), Olivia Newton-John.

In 2000's  Rod Stewart and many more.

It is something they had with their families growing up and became a staple to warm up on nights coming home from late night gigs, or tours.
It is something that they now enjoy with THEIR families & friends, either at the beginning of a meal, OR a meal with a fresh salad or good bread.
Off stage they are just like the rest of us, they get hungry and need to feel "at home" at the dining table.
Never under estimate the POWER of a really good soup.

Use the freshest ingredients you can find, never skimp on quality as it will show in the end results.
Also cut the veggies into a uniform shape/allowing for tender veggies to cook quicker than dense ones ( eg.fresh  peas vs parsnips)
Cook the soup well, this does not mean over cook, some soups are better when the veggies are al dente ( particularly  true of Asian Style soups).
Until you are" up to form", try and keep to a recipe then later adapt them to your needs.

add a little salt and pepper at the beginning of cooking then taste taste taste throughout the cooking process..adding more at the end of cooking.
You may always add more you cannot remove once added.
If the soup IS too salty, add a peeled potato to the mix and simmer for about 30mins , remove the potato before it falls apart and throw away, it should soak up a lot of the salt.
I use salt sparingly as some of my clients have issues with sodium , and often use citrus juice instead, at the end of cooking.

Dried beans/legumes
Always soak any dried beans overnight ( I know some recipe books say you can do it in 2 hours, but in warmer climes the beans are drier and take longer), I prefer to cook my beans separate and add to the soup cooked; other wise you may over cook the rest of the veggies waiting for the beans to cook.
I also do the same with any pasta or rice for the soups..adding it cooked before serving/packaging ..this way it doesn't cloud the soup.

Beige, black, & green Lentils and black eyed peas, and split green/yellow peas do not need soaking, however the bright orange & yellow Indian lentils do need soaking.

I always cook my beans with bay laurel for flavoring and
always wash the soaked beans then bring to boil and drain & wash again then re-boil adding herbs & spices, salt later.
For South American recipes use Epizote..a dried weed that prevents gas.

Dried herbs vs Fresh
Add dried herbs at the start of cooking and fresh ones at the end ..dried herbs use sparingly, fresh ones add with a flourish.
I also use garlic at the beginning of a recipe and at the end..mainly for piquancy and nutrition especially in winter months

I prefer to use grape seed oil as it is high in omega 3 & 6 naturally and doesn't break down at high temps. when one is sauteing the base vegetables.
Avoid canola oil and corn oil as they can leave a nasty flavor and are very high in contaminates, especially at high temps.

Stock or water?
that choice is up to the individual.
Most soups can be made with just water & the flavors of the herbs and veggies shine through.
For legume based soups a good stock adds flavor without lots of veggies being added to compromise the dish.

Add at the end of sauteing the veggies to de-glaze the pan and to burn off the alcohol.
Any hard alcohol eg. brandy may be added at the end just before service.

Thickening soups
I never use flour, because of the gluten allergy, I  sometimes use potatoes or sweet potatoes, or just the vegetables that are in the  soup and either blend the soup fully or partially

Milk and cream
I operate a dairy/soy-free kitchen, and use coconut and other nut milks.
Substituting real sour cream when needed ( I personally do not like any of the non-dairy sour "creams" and real cream does not contain any lactose, it is 100% fat)
Nut milks hold up better particularly in warm weather.

I have discussed other additions in previous blogs but here they are again:

Sesame seed oil or tahini paste..added at the end, adds a roasted nutty flavor
Olive oil added at the end add richness to broth based soups
Mustard adds depth of  flavor to  dried bean soups

Regional Differences 

In  some Asian restaurants and countries the soup is served at the end of the meal.
In Europe and the West at the beginning of the meal.

In USA where they have grown up on  canned Campbells' soup they like theirs a little more sweet than the rest of the world.

In Europe/South America  they prefer their soups piping hot, in Southern California, a little cooler.

In London..traditional thick legume soups rules

In the North of England and Scotland, broth based soups where favored.

In Mediterranean & Aegean there are more fish soups available and cooked with local and regionally grown herbs, and lighter soups. With lots of fresh thyme and rosemary and lemons.

In Northern Europe, more robust, hearty soups with lots of cabbages and potatoes, and of course meats & poultry

In Far eastern countries & North Africa.. packed full of legumes and veggies with lots of local flavorful herbs and warmer climates the food is also spicier.
Served with flat breads and lemons to squeeze over.
Even where veggies are scarce, the soups have lots of flavor from the spices added.

Enjoy making soup and sharing it with friends and like a Rock Star more often

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

GOOD LIFE a only

For the past 12 months I have been blogging about my life in Los Angeles, with stories of my past, catering as a personal chef worldwide (37 years), adding recipes and tips.
This blog is now read in almost 60 countries and on every continent.
Thank you to everyone who has helped make it such a success, averaging now over 2500 readers per month and have had to date almost 14,000 readers, with a few comments.
14,000+ Thanks and yes...there is a LOT more to come over the next 12 months.

Enjoy some of the hundreds of photographs posted over the past 12 months, all the dishes are vegetarian or vegan, most of the produce is either home grown or grown less than 30 miles away, by local farmers.