CHEF FREGZ SPECIAL EPISODE 4

If you follow this blog you can tell I haven’t posted in a while that’s because my beloved MacBook pro went for repairs and never got fixed because the asking repair price was possibly my life’s worth at the time. So I’m still typing through a cracked screen that I frankly careless about now. While I have been MIA I went to Ghana for 4days for a birthday party and  had a great time so great I sort of fell sick… yes too much of a good thing can be bad. That’s another post maybe… but for now…. Here you go

CHEF FREGZ SPECIAL EPISODE 4

Last Saturday the 26th of November I was privileged to partner with GET arena (in Lekki, Lagos) to bring the 4th edition of “Chef Fregz Special” and I had a blast!!! Everyone came and showed their support and more importantly enjoyed the food I cooked. Even though some people waited an hour and a half of their food. They felt t was worth the wait when it came.

For this edition I was confused as to what to cook. I felt I had “done it all” so I decided to just remix a few things nd make a menu that had the 3 popular proteins and a dessert. It was thanksgiving period in America so turkey came to mind more so I named the dish after my best American friend Zoe McLaughlin. Then Tbone steak just felt right espcilally as I found out it was very available at SPAR in Lekki,  then prawns because of the seafood fans and French toast because it was easy to make and divine in your mouth and GET didn’t have dessert as such on display like Café Licious.

Here’s a pic of the menu.

THE ZOE BURGER

This burger is something you can even make from leftover turkey. In this case I bought a whole turkey and poached it then pulled of the flesh and minced it. I wanted a rough texture and a different feel to the burger. In the recipe below I have replaced the bird with just its breast and thigh meat you can find in stores such as Shoprite and in the market.

The recipe below serves 4

Ingredients

4 good quality burger buns

300g-turkey breast

400g-thigh meat

honey mustard BBQ sauce

cabbage shredded say 3 cups

Spice mix of paprika, onion powder, chicken seasoning, chili flakes, black pepper, fennel, Maggi seasoning.  (make the spice mix according to your taste because that’s what I did. Or just use whatever you have. However if you follow this recipe go easy on the paprika, fennel and black pepper as hey are strong flavours you don’t want overpowering your taste buds)

Lettuce

Russian Dressing

This is a dressing I saw someone make on Diners Drives and Dives on Food Network and I looked it up and made my own version with out the boiled eggs I saw him out in the dressing, a Russian dressing is basically a rosemary sauce (a classic mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise also known as cocktail sauce or thousand island dressing) but has vinegar, hot sauce and spices added to it. Funny enough it has nothing to do with Russia, it’s an American invention. I wont deceive you here I actually measure it. I eyeballed it. But I would add the measurements for organization and guideline sake. Just taste along and go with your gut feeling!

Here’s my own mix

1 cup Ketchup

1.5 cups Mayonnaise

2 tsp. Paprika

2 tsp. Oregano

2tsp coarsely ground black pepper

some powdered mustard if you have

Hot sauce to taste

RED PEPPER RELISH

To make this sauce, Just pan fry red bell peppers that have a bit of heat to them and add garlic, celery, chilies cook down with some water then puree in a blender or a hand blender. Or you could even roughly blend the peppers first. Add some fresh rosemary and thyme to it. if you don’t have fresh just use a smaller amount of the dried stuff as its stronger

HOW TO

Marinate the turkey for at least 30mins or if you have no time at all double the seasonings and follow step two.

In a pot poach the turkey in water that’s just enough to cover. Add some herbs such as thyme, coriander and for sure crushed garlic cloves. Poach till the turkey is done and soft.

On a chopping board mince the turkey to whatever consistency you like. Taste and check for seasoning. In a pan stirfry the cabbage and chopped turkey, add some honey mustard BBQ sauce to it and once it heated through remove from the pan and set aside for assembling.

To serve, toast the buns on their flat side and spread the Russian dressing add the lettuce, more cabbage if you like, more of the dressing and finally some of the relish place the top bun…. EAT!

Please try this out and let me know how it turns out.

Bon Apetit!

Let The Bread Take All The Glory

September 25th 2011

LET THE BREAD TAKE THE GLORY

A few days ago I had the opportunity of cooking at a surprise dinner for my pastors daughter and out of all the fabulous meals I served the hit of the night seemed to be the my “Pain Perdu avec Mousse Chocolat et crème” aka French Toast with Chocolate mousse.

I am not sure if I mentioned in my first post that I am passionate about good food and cooking it…but hate making desserts!! However, I can eat the seven seas and endless galaxies of cheesecake, madeleines and any baked thing that has layers of butter icing or cream. (Don’t worry I’m still going to be skinny… I do it in moderation *insert straight face and halo smiley*)
I think it is because of the whole precision and calculated steps you have to take and I don’t have that patience. I mean 100 grams is a 100 grams 102 grams and your cake is a mess. Not with cooking! Too much salt… add more tomatoes without salt…. Something definitely has to work… but baking… cest la fin!
Ok rant over.

So how did my desert become the hit wonder?
Well for one I have a friend indeed in my girl Motto aka Motunrayo Akinseye aka Licious and her trusty partner Bimpe aka Ms. B, helped my in that department. And yes it was a flawless Mousse! Light as air yet dense enough to massage the plain of your taste buds and fondling with them beyond sexually and borders on the near spiritual, yes all this drama is necessary. It was that good.

Ok… to my post

My Pain Perdu…

Pain Perdu literally translates to Lost Bread. And lost bread because it refers to stale bread that ordinarily could have been thrown away or “lost” but salvaged and used for a new dish and contrary to what you may assume. French toast or Pain Perdu isn’t a hundred percent French. From what I have gathered it was named that by Henry VI (and yes I see you going OMG! Fuh real?! Me too…) But in France however, it’s a homely style dessert that you can find in almost any bistro and would be served with butter that also swings to the posh side when served with delectable mousses and really exotic ice-cream such a spice bread ice-cream or calvados cream for example. It’s popular across the world even up to Asia. People make savoury versions where it’s eaten with mayo, ketchup or sausages.
My inspiration to make this dessert came from watching Masterchef Australia and saw the simplicity but yet the rich flavour content. So I decided, this was it! I put my own spin on the flavour in mine… I wanted a big punch of sweet to come through. So whilst shopping I picked up some butterscotch, almond and condensed milk flavouring as well. I made this for my best mate and to him French toast is the ultimate. But after eating mine he was convinced heaven could be enjoyed on earth before you see God. LOL!

Here are the ingredients and this how I made it

Serves 2-4 (depending on the greed)
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
400ml of milk full fat please but skimmed would be fine too
3 pieces of cinnamon bark or a good roll
Vanilla beans If you have/afford it one pod scraped and all of it into the milk
1tsp each of Butterscotch, Almond and condesned milk flavourings and vanilla if you don’t have the pods
Good Bread loaf unsliced. I recommend those ones made with butter like a Brioche. Slice the loaf into thick slices about 2inches
Syrup of choice
Whipped Cream if you like

How To…
First you need to place the milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod scraped and the stems in and bring just to the boil.

Whilst the milk is getting to a boil, separate the eggs and keep the whites in your freezer. You can defrost them and whip them up for pancake or something else later.
Mix the egg yolks and the sugar together till just incorporated. No need for beating it till it doubles in size or anything of that sort.

When the milk has come to the boil just take it off the heat, don’t turn off… add a bit to the egg yolk mixture whisking vigorously. Quickly turn the egg yolk and hot milk mixture into the remaining milk. Return to a medium low heat and stir slowly for about 5mins, transfer to a bowl then chill over ice or transfer straight to the freezer to chill.
That is essentially custard or a crème anglaise

Take your bread slices and soak in the custard

Dip it round the custard say twice on each side and preferably in a non stick pan add a small knob of butter and fry each side till nicely browned and stack about 2 per person and serve with a knob of butter. At the dinner I served it with lashings of milk chocolate syrup but I would strongly recommend dark chocolate though, cuts across the sweetness in my view. Or just simply with some good ole maple syrup.

Please feel free to indulge and pipe mounds of whipped cream or serve with fresh fruit like Berries, which have tart or bananas.

Bon Apetit

P:S i apologize for the poor picture as i had to use my friends blackberry to take the shot as my fuji died… promise to have a better pic up soon. Also, please feel free to try and take some pictures and send to the skinnychefthatcould@gmail.com

A bientot

French Toast with Butter and Maple Syrup

Let The Chicken and The Pumpkin Play

I am ecstatic that I finally get to do this. I used to have an unhealthy relationship with procrastination but I can announce to you we have broken up and do not speak or see eye to eye anymore *standing o and loud cheering* *I bow* stank you stank you very much…

ok to the post…

Gbubemi Fregene is the “name” and Cooking is my “game” (yes my failed attempt to sound like a rapper) but after opening my twitter account the name Chef Fregz has stuck and I’m loving it! Right now im a 20 something year old man who hails from the South-South reigon of Nigeria, Warri, Delta state and has an obsessive passion for food. Cooking it and definitely eating it!

My earliest memory of cooking food was when I was ten, I found myself burning egg stew in the kitchen in my house in Benin. I had tasted one the house-help had made for breakfast one of those mornings my sister and I were alone and our parents headed out to work. Something happened in my soul, not only did I want to eat more of it; I wanted to learn how to cook it. I also remember my failed attempt of making scramble eggs as well when I tried to take a fried egg apart with a fork and knife vigorously only to be largely disappointed it wouldn’t “curl up into nice ball like forms” aka scramble. Fortunately my dad rescued my ineptitude and showed me the way.

Six years going through the crazy stage of secondary/high school my curiosity had me reading recipes in the school library and talking about Chinese food with some friends and constant making of pancakes and a helpless addiction to BBC Food, all this many assumed was a fat kid phase this curiosity evolved into heavy duty obsession. 4 years of University passed after dealing with endless lectures and human resource management topics, this obsession had metamorphosed into full-blown passion. On my graduation day I more or less handed my certificate to my mother who seemed to be most excited that her son is now a graduate. All that felt right was

“Mehn I have to cook!”

My 365 day sojourn to the city of Kaduna, North of Nigeria to serve my motherland took me to a place where I experienced another side to Nigeria and learnt to live a humble life. I worked a desk job as a customer service officer at a telecoms office. Three months into the job all I was known for was my food. Whether it was my failed attempts at Jollof rice or a more successful Fish in a rustic tomato sauce I championed my passion still. My aunt I lived with always marveled at how I just was on cloud nine when I would be dancing around the cooker and massaging spices into a guinea fowl to roast. She was always in near disbelief that I was actually happy cooking away.At the end of my Youth Corp service year after much thought, the presidential debate in my mind “to-get-a-job or to-cook” and serious prayer, the evocation and epiphany came

COOK!

The service year ended and I returned home to Lagos and did not bother sending out any CVs for “work” I more or less plunged blindly into setting up a small catering business called DVARD. For the 7 or so months it ran it was an amazing but very hectic journey. My first gig was for my friend, Victor. His graduation party that had 150 people, it was a Barbeque theme, Pineapple grilled Chipolatas, Honey mustard Chicken, XO grilled Beef (sigh…just reminiscing on what I really loved on the menu that day). From there it was for parties for VIPs, Wedding parties, birthday parties and dinners I was privileged to serve my food at. However though I was satisfied with business and the little money I was making an opportunity of two lifetimes came and I took it with both arms and legs and flew to France and had the platinum opportunity to study at the holy grail of culinary schools. Le Cordon Bleu. The 8 months at the culinary institute took me through basic and very essential classic French techniques in the Basic to superior at Le Cordon Bleu and working at “Market” (a high end restaurant by notable chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten) I went form a boy who had raw passion and talent to a more calculated, more organized cook who’s focus had a clearer view. Through school and the year in Paris the culture shock and invariable exchange fueled and inspired me in my cooking and for life in general.

Ok I think I’m done with my background… yes? No? Well as of now I am a private Chef. I also do some specials tagged “Chef Fregz Special” at a friend’s Café in Opebi, Lagos called Café Licious. All three were resounding successes and I truly thank God and all who attended.

Before I even explain why the Chicken and the Pumpkin should play I want to give an idea of this blog is going to be like.

Apart from posting recipes and pictures of food I create or recreate, I would be talking about my food experiences in general. Whether it’s a good or bad place I have eaten at here and abroad or sites I find useful, tools you should have in your kitchen, how to use them properly and also how to maintain them. Menu ideas, for parties or home and so on. I would be doing some restaurant praising and definitely some bashing! Ha! I would be providing links to other great blogs I swear by! Also, I would be taking questions and would do my best to answer them as correctly as I can because with food everybody has their cemented opinion and so do I. However, there are some basic truths and somewhat universal truths. So if it so applies then I am king! Lol! I also want to show that all this “Cheffery” shouldn’t intimidate anyone. Cooking is all about getting flavours right no matter how simple or complex. Just make sure it taste good and the ingredients are fresh and good. Cooking should evoke good emotions and not bad ones. So yes everyone should get cooking and be unafraid.

So the Chicken and Pumpkin Play…

If I say I have a name for this dish I am lying… and in the light of being honest… I am inventing this recipe as I type… and I have a good reason too. That reason is the need to buttress the point I was trying to make above.

I’m taking my inspiration from chicken which I feel is versatile protein and easily accessible.

Pumpkin because I simply just love making a puree from it and its such a delicious vegetable. and the pumpkin im referring to here is the one from the squash family and not is traditionally known as “garden egg” No. this is the orange stuff thats round and its cut up for Halloween in America for example.

So that’s my springboard I’m jumping of from and lets see how it goes. I have also decided to show 2 ways to cook and present the dish.


Pumpkin Puree with Grilled Chicken

  • Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts or Thighs 3 cloves of garlic crushed to a paste
  • 2 sausages of your choice. chorizo, chicken or pepperoni would be great.
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. chicken seasoning (Any brand would do, however I recommend Spice Supreme, Schwartz m Robertson or TRS. Anyone you consider good anything but Knorr chicken please)
  • 1-heaped tsp. chopped coriander and extra for garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 200g/2 cups white button mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cups/500g of spinach washed
  • 1 medium sized pumpkin say 700g to a kilo (you may not need of it though)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream or full cream milk
  • 1 stick cinnamon size of a your thumb
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • 2 big garlic cloves bashed open
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Ok for the preparation

Step 1

If using breasts butterfly the breast and by butterfly; just slice the chicken length ways but not totally all the way so it opens like a book. If using thighs cut the flesh across the bone and scrape the meat away from the bone and slice off at the connecting tissue Place the chicken in a bowl and place all the seasonings in the bowl and toss altogether. Leave to marinade for 30mins minimum. An hour to overnight would be better.

Step 2

In a hot pan place some butter or oil or both and add the mushrooms. Cook on a medium high heat till most of the moisture has evaporated season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove and set aside to cool

Step 3

In the same pan as more oil and/or butter to the pan and stir-fry the spinach till its all wilted down squeeze/drain the excess water . Season with salt and pepper as well and set aside to cool.

Step 4

Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut into cubes and place in a pot and cover with water or chicken stock place the garlic, cinnamon stick and seasoning into the pot and boil till soft. To test poke with a knife it should give in easily and come out easily as well. Using a slotted spoon pick the chunks of pumpkin and place in a blender and add the cream little by little so as to get the perfect consistency and it doesn’t get to runny depending on how soft and wet the pumpkin got. You want a texture that’s in between a thick soup and mashed potatoes. Taste and check for seasoning. And keep warm.

Step 5

On your worktop lay some cling film big enough wrap the chicken Lay the chicken flat skin side down open. place some clingfilm on top and bash-flatten with a rolling pin on a heavy bottle. when flattened to an even thickness (especially the top part which is thicker) aplace some mushroom, chopped sausage and spinach in the lower part closer to you. With a firm hand roll up the chicken with the film but be CAREFUL NOT ALLOW THE FILM GET INTO THE CHICKEN. Roll the chicken firmly using the ends like a sweet wrapper, when its in a nice cylinder shape use the film to warp it into a tight kind of sausage tie tightly at both ends and place a pot of simmering water. Poach for 8mins for breasts and 12-15 mins depending on the thickness of the thighs. When done. Take the chicken out and set aside.

Step 6

In a hot pan add some olive or vegetable oil , some bashed garlic and butter if you like and brown the chicken all the way round. Cook for about 3 mins till well browned. Take the meat out leave to rest for about a min and slice into 3 rounds. On a plate put some of the warm pumpkin puree and place the chicken you have sliced on the puree. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley or coriander.

If you are not feeling up to the task of cling film and all this “chefy” risky business here is the other way I promised I would show. Its simpler but packs the same flavour

Step 1

Prepare the chicken as before. But do not butterfly. To make it really easy use ready prepared chicken breast.

Step 2

Prepare the puree, mushroom as before and keep warm.

Step 3

In a hot pan sear the chicken breasts for 2mins per side till well browned with some garlic in the pan to flavour. Place in the oven for another 4-5 mins to finish cooking or just finish on a low heat if you don’t have one. Leave to rest In the same pan stir-fry the spinach so it take on the flavour of the chicken season well with salt and black pepper.

Step 4

Place some of the puree on the plate some mushroom and spinach then arrange the sliced chicken on top or as you like, you may slice into two and arrange or place whole. Sprinkle with herbs and serve.

The Stuffed Version

The beginning of the Grilled Chicken Version

The Simply Grilled Version

I purposely didn’t include a sauce here because I felt the pumpkin was already a good wet and at the same time a somewhat solid accompaniment with the chicken. This is a dish is a good first course or light main course with a salad on the side.

Drink suggestion would be a crisp dry white wine. Maybe a dry Chardonnay or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Or just some water with a hint of citrus such as lime or lemon with lots of ice.

So with this you are welcome to my journey….

You may be wondering why skinny chef when the scales tell a different truth. Well Chef Fregz is gonna be skinny one day… but would not lose the passion for making excellent food. That’s al I would say for now.

Bienvenue à nouveau

A Bientot

P:S if you try this recipe please take a picture and mail it to theskinnychefthatcould@gmail.com with your experience making it. I would really love to hear from you. Please give your spin on it and just let me know how you found it. Who knows the best looking dish and possible twist in it may win something *wink* Ciao!