Monday, 26 August 2013

Vincent's Torment My Loss

Being artistic is for me as difficult as life was for Vincent van Gogh.

He epitomised the tortured genius, which is the inspiration for my challenge this week. Unlike Vincent, I do hope to be recognised in my own lifetime, because my passion for food could just as well be as relentless as Vincent’s passion for art.

Hopefully my unbalanced mind is a well-kept secret, unlike Vincent, who was in and out of sanatoriums his entire life, living an impoverished life.

The artistic food challenge, gave me the freedom to use the rich colouring of chorizo and peppers to depict the tumultuous and fiery mind that was Vincent, whilst the chicken and braised fennel a portrayal of the colourless, clinical existence he was often forced to live. I used the broken poached egg to represent a broken mind, or our interpretation of it, which never hid his incredible talent.

Sunflowers are probably Vincent’s most recognisable work, and so as a tribute to him I have as my centre piece my interpretation of these sunflowers, with the very starkness of the leaves being evocative of the deliberate brush marks he was so famous for.

As I have been chopped from the Freshly Blogged competition, there is no need to click to vote anymore. Thanks to everyone who did vote for me, I think I did really well. I stayed true to my calling at Homemade Heaven by making Toddlers Treats, unfortunately this was too simple for what the judges were looking for. I do hope you'll still enjoy giving it a try, even for a group of teens!

Poached chicken
1 whole Chicken
1 Cup Old Brown Sherry
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
6 cloves of Crushed Garlic Cloves
½ Lemon cut into 8
Salt and Black Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large pot.
Cover with enough water to submerge chicken.
Boil on high for 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave for 60 minutes.
Re-heat slowly for 15 minutes in the stock when almost ready to serve.
Carve chicken to serve and garnish with fennel fronds.

Braised Fennel
1 large Fennel Bulb or 6 baby bulbs
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar

Slice the top stalks off, keeping the fronds and the hard part of the root
Braise the fennel in the oil for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Add the sugar, salt and a dash of water and turn up the heat on the pan.
Fry, tossing often until fennel is cooked, and just about to start to get come golden colour.

Chorizo Sauce
2 Chorizo sausages thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves chopped
4 Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 1cm³
1 Red Pepper, roasted , skinned and chopped
In a non-stick frying pan, fry the chorizo, garlic and potatoes for 5 mins on high.
Add the red peppers.
Reduce the heat and add a little water and let it braise for another 5 mins, until cooked with a little sauce.

Poached Eggs

6 eggs
1 litre of water
1 Tablespoon of vinegar

Bring the water and the vinegar to a gentle boil.
Break egg into a ramekin.
With a whisk create a vortex in the sauce pan and then gently place the egg into the centre of the vortex.
With a slotted spoon, coax the egg white to fold around the yolk to create the poached shape.
Remove loose bits of egg white.
Allow egg to poach until the white is just cooked and yellow is still very runny.
Remove and place on kitchen paper, before plating on cooked chorizo sauce

The Onion Flower
1 Onion
¼ Cup of Flour
2 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Oil for deep frying

In a mortar and pestle crush together the salt, pepper and garlic into a paste.
Add the paste to the flour.
Take the onion and peel, leaving the stalk intact.
Start making cuts through the onion, stopping 1cm from the stalk.
Cut until you have about 16 equal cuts right around the onion.
Place the onion submerged in ice cold water for 1 hour
Start to heat the oil, you must have enough oil to cover the onion.
Take your onion from the water and dry as well as you can, without breaking the petals.
Gently spread the petals away from the centre.
Dredge in flour, making sure to coat as evenly as possible.
Once oil reaches about 180ÂșC, place the onion petal side down into oil.
Fry for 3-4 minutes and then turn the onion over and continue to fry until golden brown.
Remove and place on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle with salt and a little extra black pepper.

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Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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