This year in July I turned 32. It’s not an age that normally causes for big celebration or anything out of the ordinary. My dear friends thought otherwise! Completely blown away with one of the most amazing and surprising gifts I have ever had, I received a petite and stylish silver envelope with a voucher for a 12-Course Aroma Menu at Tanja Grandit’s Restaurant Stucki in Basel. WOW! This woman, Tanja Grandits is a huge inspiration to me in more ways than one. She has two Michelin Stars and, with her obviously very talented team, creates amazing dishes that really put all those incredible herbs and spices we have at our disposal in the limelight. It was a dream to go there and was so much better than I could have anticipated. It was indeed a very special evening and a very big heartfelt Thank You to all of you that made it happen so much sooner than I could have anticipated.
The Service was super, the Atmosphere very relaxed, and I was very honoured to be shown around the Kitchen, and the Patisserie by the Managing Director himself Mr Graf, AND I briefly met some of the incredible team in the Kitchen. Totally inspired by my visit to Stucki, below, are the premier recipes for this website! Enjoy.
Smoky Aubergine Gnocchi with a Tangy Lemon and Chilli Sauce, Sweet Tarragon and Tomato Compote and firm to the bite French Beans
(Please excuse the very rustic Gnocchi…. Dinner was planned for us at 8 p.m and after waking at 6.30 p.m, several hours later than planned from my Siesta, there was really no time to be forming beautiful Gnocchi)
I’m very privileged to say that as of August, you’ll now find me hosting once a month Adult Cookery Classes at Bensels Cookery School, where I am doing my apprenticeship. This means I am now starting to write my own recipes….. it’s all a bit new to me but here is a good place to practice! I have however made a slight school boy error in that I didn’t weigh anything which is not very practical for anyone who would like to recreate these dishes. I do apologise, anyway recipes are just guidelines, these are anyway… and as my two favourite Chefs would say “The best thing about a Recipe is not to stick to them”. So there you go!
Smokey Aubergine Gnocchi
1 HUGE Aubergine, it was really massive.
4 medium floury Potatoes
about 150g Flour
Salt, Smoked Paprika, Nutmeg
- Pierce the skin of the Aubergine in a few places with a knife and then place it under the grill to burn the skin the Aubergine. It should be completely black all over. Allow it to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel away the charred skin and throw away. Place the soft, smoky Aubergine in a sieve and press any excess fluid out.
- Wash the Potatoes but don’t peel them. Boil them in salted Water until they are completely cooked through. Whilst they are still hot peel them and put them through a Potato Press. It’s a lot easier when they are still warm.
- Bring a saucepan of Water to the boil. Meanwhile add the Aubergine, Egg and some of the Flour to the Mashed Potatoes. Season with Salt, Nutmeg and a little bit of Smoked Paprika. Quickly mix together with your hands but take care not to over work the dough otherwise the Potato Starch will become slimy. Depending on the type of Potato and how moist the Aubergine is you will need to add more Flour. The Dough should be just firm enough to take the form of a Gnocchi.
- Take a small about of the Dough and on a floured surface roll it into a thin sausage. Cut a Hazelnut size piece. Add Salt to the boiling Water, and then try it! You should be able to taste the salt. Place the Gnocchi in the Water. The Water should be simmering but not violently boiling. When the Gnocchi floats to the top take it out and try it. If it’s not firm enough then add some more Flour. Season accordingly. The quickest way to make Gnocchi is to roll the dough out into thin (or thick, as in my case) rolls and then simply cut the roll into smaller pieces. If you have time then take the Hazelnut piece and roll into a ball and using the back of a fork roll the piece over the edge of the fork to create ridges in the form. Cook the Gnocchi in batches and place in a sieve to drain.
- When you are ready to serve the Gnocchi heat a little Butter in a frying pan and toss the Gnocchi in the Butter so that they are warm again.
Lemon and Chilli Sauce
1 Carrot, 1/4 Leek, 1/2 Stick of Celery, 1 Bay Leaf, a few Black Peppercorns
50 ml White Wine
1/2 piece of Salted Lemon, just the peel, finely chopped.
1 red Chilli
Pinch of Turmeric
about 1 dessert Spoon Cornstarch
1 Lemon, Zest and Juice
- Cut the Carrot, Leek and Celery into fine slices and then place in a saucepan with about 400 ml Water, the Bay leaf, and the Peppercorns. Bring to the boil. Add the White Wine and reduce the liquid to about a third of the quantity. About half way though add the salted Lemon and a few slices of Chilli.
- Pour the liquid through a sieve and return to the heat. Add the pinch of Turmeric. Taste and add a little Lemon Zest and half the Lemon Juice. Taste again. You probably won’t need to add Salt due to the Salted Lemon. Add Chilli to taste.
- In a separate bowl add a little of the Stock to the Cornstarch and mix thoroughly. Add a little bit of the mixture to the boiling Stock and allow to thicken. Keep adding until the liquid has slightly thickened and covers the back of a spoon.
- Add a little bit of Butter to the sauce and taste for seasoning again.
Tomato and Tarragon Compote
2 Large Tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into 1 cm cubes. Beefsteak Tomatoes would be best here.
1 small Shallot, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, finally chopped
3 dessert spoons Sugar
3 Tarragon Stalks
Tarragon White Wine Vinegar
- Add the Sugar and a little Water to a pan and on a high heat let the Sugar dissolve and the Water evaporate until there is a golden Caramel. Before it gets to dark add about 50 ml of Tarragon Vinegar and 50 ml of White Wine. Reduce the liquid and then add the Tomatoes and a Tarragon Stalk. Sprinkle with a little Salt. Allow the Tomatoes to lightly cook, reduce the liquid and then remove from the heat. Remove the Tarragon Stalk and check the Seasoning. Allow to cool. Add some finely chopped Tarragon before serving.
Simple Green Beans
2 handfuls of French Beans. Stalks removed and chopped into thirds.
1 Shallot, finely chopped.
A little Butter, Olive Oil, Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- Bring a saucepan of Water to the boil. Add enough Salt so that it tastes like sea Water. Add a pinch of Baking Soda. Place the Beans in the Water and boil for about 4-5 Minutes. In the meantime prepare a bowl of iced Water. When the Beans are cooked but still firm remove from the Water and place in the iced Water. This stops them from cooking further and becoming too soft. Drain the Beans through a sieve.
- Heat a little butter with a little Olive Oil in a pan. Gently sweat the Shallot, add the Green Beans, and toss until the Beans are Warm again. Season with Salt and Black Pepper.
Upside Down Blackberry, Chocolate and Almond Crumble, with a Creamy Vanilla and Blackberry Sauce, Sticky Blackberry and Rosemary Compote, and a Easy Peasy Blackberry Sorbet.
On Wednesday I hiked from Freiburg to St Peter, there were just HEAPS of Blackberries, here’s what I managed to bring home instead of eating right there on the spot… Four Ways Blackberries, and feeling in a Vegan Mood, it’s all Vegan too.
Blackberry, Almond and Chocolate Crumble
For the Crumble:
100g Alsan, or Butter
75 g ground Almonds
a good pinch of Salt
about 2 dessert Spoons Cocoa Powder
- Rub all the ingredients together until it looks like Breadcrumbs.
For the Blackberries:
4 handfuls Blackberries
about 2 dessert spoons of Sugar
about 1 dessert spoon of Cornstarch
- Mix the Berries with the Sugar and Cornstarch in a bowl, then divide between 4 buttered ramekins. Top with the Chocolate Crumble and bake at 180 degrees for about 15 Minutes, or until the Blackberry Juice starts to bubble up at the edges like an erupting Volcano. Allow to cool slightly.
Blackberry and Rosemary Compote
2 dessert spoons Vanilla Sugar
4 handfuls of Blackberries
2 Rosemary Stems
A little White Wine
- Put the Vanilla Sugar in a frying pan with a little Water and on a high heat let the Sugar dissolve and the Water evaporate until the Sugar starts to Caramelise. Before it gets to dark in colour add a very generous splash of White Wine and allow that to reduce.
- Add the Blackberries and one stem of Rosemary. Moving the Blackberries to one side of the pan, reduce the liquid until it’s thickened and sticky in it’s consistency.
- Remove from the heat, remove the Rosemary stem and add fresh finely chopped Rosemary to the Berries. Allow to cool.
Blackberry and Vanilla Cream
100ml Oat Cuisine
2 – 3 Handfuls of Blackberries
1/2 Vanilla Pod
a Splash of Lemon Juice
about 2 dessert spoons Vanilla Sugar
- Put the Oat Cuisine, the Sugar, Blackberries, and Seeds of the vanilla Pod in a Saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow the Blackberries to cook gently.
- Once they have softened, purée the cream and the Berries, and then put the mixture through a sieve to remove the Blackberry Seeds. Add a splash of Lemon Juice and taste for Sugar.
Very quick Blackberry Sorbet
1 very Ripe Banana, peeled, cut into slices and frozen.
2 – 3 handful Blackberries, puréed and put through a sieve to remove the Seeds. Place in the freezer for about 40 minutes.
a little Maple Syrup
- In a mixer add the frozen Banana, the ice cold Blackberry Purée and a drizzle of Maple Syrup. Whiz quickly and thoroughly together until the fruit has combined and is creamy. Taste, add more Maple Syrup if desired. Serve immediately.
Four Ways Black Forest Blackberries
Notes: I would add Chocolate Drops or Grated Dark Chocolate to the Crumble next time to give it an intenser Chocolatey Flavour.