Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gravlax Sauces

My family’s gravlax sauces are all mayonnaise based and for the most part we just buy commercial mayo. I however, do not like the commercial variety very much and in any case prefer my mayonnaise to be olive oil based not your basic vegetable oil used in most commercial varieties. In addition to the mayonnaise these sauces all contain a mustard, something sweet and an herb usually dill. I’ve recently started using the leaves of the celery plant and like that effect a great deal.


For the Mayonnaise:

  1. 1 egg yolk;
  2. large dollop of Dijon mustard (I really do mean a dollop as the quantity is actually a matter of taste but somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon)
  3. 1 bottle extra virgin olive oil
  4. teaspoon white vine vinegar

Mix the egg yolk and mustard in a (preferably) steal bowl that is large enough to whisk in. Slowly poor in the oil while whisking constantly until the desired consistency is achieved which you will recognise if you’ve ever used mayo. One egg should absorb about 100ml of oil. Add the vinegar to taste, basically the mayonnaise should be thick without tasting fatty but as this mayonnaise is being made specifically for a fish sauce it should taste more of the vinegar than a normal commercial one would.

To make the sauce mix the mayo with either a tablespoon of sweet mustard or half a tablespoon each Dijon and honey and your herb of choice. In Iceland we always use rather horrid Danish sweet mustard (which then produces the traditional taste) but I am not a fan. I prefer grainy mustard that’s been sweetened with honey or if I can not find that Dijon and honey. It is best to use fresh herbs finely chopped but dried herbs will do fine.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Chestnut Wild Mushroom Soup with Horseradish Cream

This dish featured regularly on the Richter menu during winter 2005-06. This is a wonderful concoction of warm winter flavors, accented by a spicy hot chili and horseradish. The hazelnut oil gives the dish an additional flair.


  1. 1 kg mixture of mushrooms (brown, porcini, portobello)
  2. 150 gr of chestnuts (pre-cooked vacuum packed typically)
  3. 8 sprigs of thyme
  4. 3-4 garlic gloves
  5. 1 red banana chili
  6. 8 shallots
  7. 4 tbsp olive oil
  8. Maldon sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
  9. 2 liters of vegetable or chicken broth (if using cubes, avoid the ones with MSG or too many additional spices in them)
  10. 2 tblsp creme fraiche
  11. hazelnut oil

Horseradish Cream:

  1. 3 cm piece of horseradish or ready made horseradish (pure)
  2. juice of 1 lemon
  3. bunch of rocket-chopped
  4. 150 gr marscapone
  5. 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  6. Maldon sea salt and fresh-ground pepper


Preheat oven to 220 C

Combine horseradish with lemon juice and rocket, then mix in creams. Chill in fridge til ready to use

Put mushrooms, chestnuts, thyme, garlic, chili, shallots in roasting pan, preferably non stick. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast a good 15 minutes, or until veggies start to turn a golden/brown color. This caramelization will make all the difference for the soup.

Blend til smooth, put in a pot, then stir in creme fraiche.

For lavish effect, pour soup into a big pitcher. Bring tray of smallish coffee cups to the table. Pour into cups from pitcher. Then add dollop of horseradish cream and drizzle of hazelnut oil before serving. Serve with small spoons. Tell your guests they aren't allowed to stir the cream into the soup but rather make sure they get some with every spoonful of soup.

(Courtesy of David Richter)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Anchor & Hope

The Anchor & Hope

36 The Cut, London SE1 8LE

Tel: 020 7928 9898

(15 December 2006)

Went to the Anchor & Hope with David and Michelle for Christmas lunch last Friday. The A&H is a favorite in the gastro pub category as it does what many food pubs completely fail at namely provide very good food. Find that many gastro pubs basically just sell fancy hamburgers and deep fried Camembert. They did not disappoint as everything we had was simply fantastic. Actually, at a quality that takes them out of the pub category altogether and simply makes them a somewhat unconventional quality restaurant.

We had a total of four dishes snail and bacon salad, beetroot and egg salad, oven baked Vacherin cheese and braised duck all washed down with copious amounts of Gamay. The snails where fried in butter with the bacon and served with croutons and mixed leave salad with a warm vinaigrette. The beetroot salad is simply a marinated beetroot with some yoghurt based dressing topped with fresh spinach and a soft boiled egg. The trick here is in marinating the beetroot... more on that later.

The mains where simply irresistible. The Vacherin is put in its case into an oven at 120 Centigrade with full convection for 15 min or until soft but not running. When served with fresh boiled potatoes sprinkled with sea salt this becomes an unbelievably rich and sumptuous dish. You could not eat warm Vacherin by itself it is just too rich but with the potatoes it becomes just right.

The Duck on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise as I’ve never had duck this way. Braising or slow cooking is one of my favorite methods of preparing meat but to date I’ve never done this with a gamey bird. What they’ve done is fill the cavity with root vegetables, brown the outside of the duck in a braising pot then cover with chicken stock, throw in some herbs (rosemary, laurel leaves, a bit of sage etc), salt and pepper and leave the whole thing in the oven at medium heat for about 4 hours.

Now, either of the mains would have been wonderful by the selves but together they where sinful! Really, too bad I had to go back to work.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pineapple Granite

(Made on 03 December 2006)

I use this dish (and similar dishes) primarily as palate cleaner between starter(s) and main course(s). It can equally be made with fresh and canned pineapple although I prefer fresh when possible. If you use canned then reserve the liquid from the can to sweeten the granite.


  1. One whole pineapple;
  2. 20 grams fresh mint leaves;
  3. 150 ml champagne (or white vine or sweet desert vine or even vodka but you’ll need a sweetener such as honey to go with the vodka);


  1. Cut up the pineapple and reduce to mash in a food processor;
  2. In a mortar mash up the mint leaves and gradually work in the champagne;
  3. Mix the three ingredients in a large bowl and put into the freezer for four hours. Every thirty minutes take the bowl out and stir the granite. The idea is to end up with a flaky substance that you’d scoop up with a teaspoon.
  4. When it comes time to serve the granite and if it is too hard then either put it into a microwave oven for 20 sec or mix a bottle cap of a liquid such as champagne or vodka per serving. I serve the granite in whisky tumblers with teaspoons.

Curly Kale Penne Puglian Style

This does the trick whenever you have an excess of winter greens you don't know what to do with. In this case, a delivery of two lbs of curly kale had me thinking, and voila le resultat (don't be bashful on the pepperoncini and probably better without pecorino!).


  1. Penne or cavatelli
  2. 1-2 llbs of curly kale
  3. 8-12 anchovies depending on amount of kale
  4. handful of capers
  5. 6-7 cloves of garlic sliced
  6. crushed Italian dried pepperoncini
  7. pecorino (optional)


  1. Cut stems out of kale and boil in salted water til slightly undercooked
  2. Saute garlic and pepperoncini in a few tblsp of olive oil in a large frying pan
  3. Add capers and allow to saute til they brown a bit
  4. Add anchovies and stir til they melt
  5. After draining and patting dry the kale, put into frying pan with other ingredients. If there's a bit of water retained from kale, keep stirring/frying til water evaporates. Then add a little more oil and continue cooking until kale shrinks and develops a concentrated look/taste.
  6. Slightly under cook the pasta in salted boiling water before adding to the pan with other ingredients. Include 2-3 tbls of pasta water so that pasta and heat/stir for another minute until pasta water has evaporated.
  7. Serve on plates with some additional, fresh olive oil and a bit of pecorino if you like.

(Courtesy: David Richter)