In the latest batch of new cook books to hit the shops there’s one in particular that caught my eye. Billy Law’s first cookbook Have You Eaten? would probably have interested me anyway because I’m a big fan of Billy’s blog A Table For Two. What’s more the book certainly looks great with interesting recipes like black pudding scotch quail egg sliders and vegemite cheesecake, great photos and typography. But I was particularly interested to check it out because I helped with some recipe testing for the book. After all the most important thing about a cook book is that the recipes work and I know from the small role I played that Billy was meticulous in making sure each recipe in the book is easy to understand and to follow while producing perfect results.
|My version of the Have You Eaten? chicken and cranberry parfait for testing|
The recipe I tested was for chicken and cranberry parfait. I’ve never made parfait before but Billy’s recipe really lays out all the steps and I found it pretty straight forward to follow. The only thing that was hard was getting my hands on some chicken livers as neither my butcher or the supermarket had any. The best thing about the parfait was how fabulous it looked with the layer of glossy jelly on top. I also liked how the taste only improved as it sat in the fridge for a few days. Congratulations Billy on such a great achievement.
500g chicken livers
300 ml full-cream milk
150g unsalted butter plus 40g for cooking
1 eschalot, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
25 ml whiskey plus 1 tablespoon extra
100 g thickened (heavy) cream
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
100g dried cranberries
8g gelatine powder
300ml cranberry juice
50ml red wine
|The cover of Have you eaten?|
1. Clean the chicken livers, trim off any sinews and cut into even pieces. Put the cleaned livers in a bowl with the milk, whole thymes and bay leaf and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
2. Meanwhile, to clarify the butter, melt 150g of the butter gently in a saucepan over low heat. The butter will separate into three layers: the impurities on top, clarified butter in the middle and milky solids at the bottom. Be careful that you don’t overheat the butter or the butter will start bubbling and become cloudy. Skim off the impurities, then gently pour the clarified butter into a jug and set aside to cool. Discard the solids. You should have 150ml of clarified butter.
3. Strain the milk off the livers, but keep the thyme and bay leaf. Pat everything dry with paper towels.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan until the oil starts smoking, then add the livers to the hot pan and seal for 30 seconds on each side. Cook the livers in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Once the livers are caramelised, remove them from the pan and set aside. They should be firm but still pinkish inside.
5. Using the same pan, wipe clean then melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add the garlic and eschalot and cook for 1 minute until soft and translucent. Return the livers to the pan with the thyme and bay leaf, and stir to mix well.
|Beautiful layout in Have you Eaten?|
6. Pour the whiskey into the pan, then carefully flambé the whiskey to burn off the alcohol. Remove everything from the pan and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
7. Blend the cooked liver mixture in a food processor until smooth. While the motor is still running, slowly pour in the clarified butter in a steady stream, then do the same with the heavy cream. Season well with salt and pepper, blend the mixture for a further 2 minutes on high until it forms a smooth purée.
8. Push the purée through a fine sieve twice for a smooth consistency. Add an extra tablespoonful of whiskey to the parfait, then dried cranberries, stir and mix well. Pour the parfait into ramekins and gently tap them on the kitchen bench to level the surface. Let cool to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator to let it set.
9. Add gelatine powder and 2 tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl and let it bloom. Meanwhile, heat cranberry juice and red wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the bloomed gelatine into the hot mixture, stir until all gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
10. Take parfait out of the fridge and pour about 3 mm of the cranberry jelly over each ramekin to make sure the parfait is completely sealed. Cover with plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator overnight.
11. For better results, leave the parfait in the refrigerator for over 5 days to allow the flavours to develop.
Makes six parfaits.
Gourmet Chick received a review copy of Have you Eaten?