Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carna Carragheen et Coulis

Hello readers, well - it's been a few weeks since the last article, but work needs to be done to pay the bills. This is a straight forward little recipe, a seaweed surprise from the shoreline that was collected and dried during the summer.
Carragheen - (Chondrus crispus) is an edible seaweed found on North Atlantic coastlines.
Also known as carageen, carrageen and Irish moss.

It is quite a distinct purple with cream / off white tips to the leafy fringe and dries out to a brown/yellow colour.
It grows in fairly dense, shortish clumps at the mid-tide range, i.e. it likes to dry out a bit on occasion.
It also tends to attract a tiny white barnacle at the stem.
It has a slippy feel when fresh. Just pick it, rinse off with warm water and leave to dry.
Try to cut the upper fronds cleanly, leaving the root to grow back and provide you with future crops.

It is used to create a mild, creamy gelatin with milk.

I collect my own out here but there is a company in Donegal who sell this and other seaweed products in called seaveg. In Ireland their distribution is getting more widespread, and in other places you can normally find some type in health stores.
The carragheen can be plain, with a little sugar or easily flavoured with the blend of your choice - cayenne, baileys, lemon, ginger, vanilla etc can all be used.

10 gm carragheen
500ml milk
½ tsp caster sugar
½ tsp grated lime rind

Take about 5 or 10 grams of dried carragheen, rinse and soak in lukewarm water for approx. 10 minutes.
Bring 500 ml of milk to the boil, add carragheen and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
At this point I added a ½ tsp of caster sugar and a ½ tsp of grated lime rind.
Its generally ready to set when the simmering becomes like a fast boil without boiling over.

The mix can be strained into a jug to remove the seaweed bits, but they really do no harm, and don't taste of anything in particular.

I poured the still warm milk over the coulis base, then added a few drops of lime to the top.
Then it gets chucked in the fridge to cool, and can be made well in advance of a meal.

500g blackberries
25g honey
½ tsp vanilla extract

Coulis is simply a berry melange, a mixture of berries that can be sweetened as desired.
I used black berries, but there are other variations - any berry, cooked rhubarb, an apple or citrus sorbet blend.
This is a very adaptable recipe, the only reason for presentation was the availability of local black berries.
The other aspect is the dark and white contrast giving an impression of an Irish stout.

Put 250gm blackberries and 25gm of honey into a small pan with 100ml water.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins until the fruit is soft. Stir in the vanilla, remove and cool a little.

Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor, and whizz to a puree, then strain through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle or spoon
Mix with remaining blackberries and any other flavour you wish to incorporate, like ginger.
Add to base of serving dish - in my case a martini glass

To add texture, I made some very thin oat and honey cakes.
It is probably as easy, if not a little better to use shop made crisp cookies.
Take about 50 gm oats, 10gm honey and a little flour and mix.
Bake in the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes
These were then removed from the oven. They will still be pliable while warm, so you can roll them or shape them to create your own style.

As always, comments are welcome and I always apprieciate the feedback

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