The KitchenAid Gourmet Summit Cookoff
As I mentioned in my first post about my time at the KitchenAid Gourmet Summit, we spent a lot of time learning new cooking skills from the chefs at Enderun College. We honed those skills through three separate hands-on workshops, discovering some of the wonderful shortcuts the range of KitchenAid products offers, with a view to competing on the final day in a cook-off. And what a cook-off it was!
I’m a complete tart for a great appliance and when we were greeted by the sight of a room full of shiny, gleaming KitchenAid appliances of all sorts it became clear that I was not alone in that – there was a collective gasp and sigh from all of my fellow summit delegates.
During the first two days of the summit we were put through our paces, while we put the appliances through theirs, making three separate dishes from scratch. In the first workshop we learnt how to make a Lyon Style Sausage. Using three different cuts of pork we minced the meat, blended it with nuts and spices and pushed it into sausage skins before gently poaching it a court boullion. We then went on to make a mushroom foam, before plating and photographing the finished dish. You all know what a lazy cook I am, but even I was amazed at how easy it was to create such a sophisticated dish with the right equipment.
Our second creation, after a splendid three course lunch in the on-campus fine-dining restaurant, was an unorthodox variation on a Filipino favourite, Kare-Kare. The original dish is a traditional beef stew – often using ox-tail – served with a thick ground peanut sauce, coloured with annatto seeds and garnished with baby banana hearts and sigarilyas (or winged beans). Taking the opportunity to show off the KitchenAid pasta rolling and cutting attachments, the chefs at Enderun chose to adapt this by putting the beef into ravioli and serving the pasta in the traditional method – in the sauce with the accompaniments. The resulting fragrant and very striking dish is one that could be adapted to make back here, although we might need to find substitutes for one or two of the ingredients.
I left the kitchen that afternoon tired, sweaty and very pleased with myself as it’s not often I make such detailed dishes. The next day saw us back in front of the stoves to make churros and raspberry jam. This was a popular favourite, made simple with the KitchenAid mixer. I’ve made plenty of jam in my time, but raspberry is a personal favourite, and even the piping and deep frying – both things I avoid as being too fiddly – went off without a hitch.
The final day in the kitchen saw us all pumped and competitive, with each national team ready to fight to win the very first KitchenAid Gourmet Summit Cook-Off – me included. Again, this is not like me as I’m usually too lazy to be competitive! The day before we had been given a list of ingredients from which we could choose to create a dish, with two provisos, the recipe (which had to be submitted the day before) had to include pasta in some form and we had to use at least two KitchenAid appliances. On arrival in the kitchen we had to check through all of our requested ingredients to make sure we were not lacking anything and then had two hours to cook and plate four serves of our recipe ready for the judges, who were tasting blind.
We had opted for letting big flavours do all our talking for us, rather than using fancy techniques (if you think you can see my preference for the easy road there, you’d be right) and chose to prepare crispy skinned salmon fillets and lemon ricotta ravioli served with oven roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh salsa verde.
The Enderun chefs were on hand to offer advice and suggestions (invaluable!) but were not allowed to touch anything. The dishes were judged on taste, flavour combinations, how well they were seasoned and cooked and presentation – they were deadly serious about it all! Along with my team-mates Anna and Kate, I was very proud that we managed to come second. None of us are professional cooks, unlike the Hong Kong team which beat us and who counted a chef in their numbers!
I offer you our recipe (such as it is) for the almost-winning dish. We didn’t actually work from a recipe, winging it all the way, so some of these measurements may be more along the lines of “guess-timates”.
- 4 salmon fillets, skin on
- 300 gms plain flour or Italian "00" flour if available
- 3 eggs
- 250 gms fresh ricotta cheese
- 3 lemons, zested
- 2 punnets cherry tomatoes, slow roasted in oven
- 1 large bunch fresh basil
- 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley
- 2 tsp capers
- 4 anchovies
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of one lemon
- 50 mls olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
- Place four, a pinch of salt and eggs in food processor. Pulse until mixture comes together in a ball. Tip onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour.
- When chilled, roll in a pasta roller until desired thickness, then cut into 8 large rounds of desired size.
- Lemon Ricotta
- Combine ricotta, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Taste and add a little lemon juice if necessary, but not too much or the filling will be sloppy.
- Place a dessertspoon of the filling on one of the pasta circles, moisten edges with a little water and press another circle on top to seal.
- Bring a medium sized saucepan of salted water to the boil, reduce heat to simmer and place the ravioli in the simmering water. They will only take 2-3 minutes to cook. Test to see if done by feeling the pasta.
- Salsa Verde
- Place basil, parsley, capers, garlic, anchovies and lemon juice in a processor and whizz to loosely combine. While motor is running, add the olive oil a drizzle at a time until sauce is desired consistency. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice if a sharper taste is required.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Season with salt and pepper and rub lightly with olive oil.
- Cut a piece of baking paper to fit the bottom of your fry pan.
- Heat pan to medium-hot, place paper in it, then place the salmon skin side down. Check carefully and turn when skin is crispy. Cook for a further minute or two on other side then put pan in the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes until fish is only just cooked.
- Place a smear of the salsa verde on the bottom of your plate and put fish on that, add the roasted cherry tomatoes and the ravioli, drizzling with a little extra olive oil and sprinkling the finely chopped pistachios over the ravioli and fish before serving.
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