Samui Wining & Dining
Veggie Treat
Amala Restaurant offers vegetarian cuisine with a difference;
it looks, smells and tastes fantastic!

 

Veggie TreatAmala Restaurant, at Prana Resorts & Spa in Bangrak, stands out from the crowd for many reasons. For one, it has fabulous views right across the bay to the giant Big Buddha statue. It’s also exclusively vegetarian and is considered one of the best restaurants on the island. And it has one of the most innovative young Executive Chef’s on Samui heading up the kitchen brigade.

 

Martin Selby has recently joined the team and is already putting his own stamp on the menu. And we asked him to recommend a three-course meal and to tell us something about each dish. “I would start with the Wild Mushroom Terrine served with crisp potatoes and truffle aioli. I love this dish, I’m from an English countryside upbringing and this dish is as close to game as you can get while still being vegetarian. Follow that with the Oven Baked Goats’ Cheese Crottin. It’s served with balsamic glazed cherry tomatoes, kalamata olive crostini and baby celery. Crottin is a very famous French cheese with quite distinct flavour characteristics. It’s slightly sweet and very creamy, married here with tart tomatoes and salty olive bread. There’s a little of the Mediterranean in every bite.”

 

And to finish, I’d opt for the Dark and Milk Chocolate Cremeux. It contains sea salt flakes, olive oil, lime marshmallow and iced coffee. The combination of the silky smooth chocolate cremeux with fruity olive oil and sea salt flakes is perfect. You would think that this flavour pairing was the creation of some crazy modern day molecular gastronomy chef but it was actually the Catalans in Spain who came up with it many years ago. When luxury ingredients such as chocolate were rationed after World War II, Catalans would melt a piece of chocolate, spread it on bread and add a few drops of olive oil and salt on top. We’ve added the other classic flavour pairings of coffee (with chocolate) and citrus (cutting the sweetness) to make this modern yet classic dessert.”

 

Martin has kindly given us the recipes for the first two courses with the dessert recipe to follow in another article another time. So roll up your sleeves and prepare your family and friends for a meal they won’t soon forget.

 

Wild Mushroom Terrine – (serves 10)

 

Ingredients (for an 800ml terrine mold)

150g                fresh shitake mushrooms

150g                king brown mushrooms

150g                oyster mushrooms

200g                Portobello mushrooms

1 punnet          enoki mushrooms

20g                  dried cèpes (mushrooms), soaked in warm water

9g                    agar agar

700ml              mushroom stock

3 cloves           garlic, chopped

4                      shallots chopped

3 tblsp             chopped parsley (reserve stalks for mushroom stock)

1 tblsp             chopped fresh thyme (plus one whole stalk for mushroom stock)

2 tblsp             green peppercorns

 

Method

1) Remove the stems and gills (reserve for mushroom stock) from the Portobellos and slice. These big slices are to line the top and bottom of the terrine so set them aside.

2) Remove the woody ends from the king brown mushrooms (reserve these for the mushroom stock) and slice them all the way along on a mandolin. These are for the sides of the terrine.

3) Remove the stems from the shitakes and julienne (reserve stems for stock).

4) Chop the root end of the enoki mushrooms but leave them otherwise whole.

5) Tear the oyster mushrooms into strips.

6) Drain the cèpes, but reserve the liquid, squeeze dry and chop into small pieces; fry them in a little oil until they are browned.

7) Make the stock by putting all the hard- and off-cuts of the mushrooms into a pan, add one litre of water from the reconstituted dried cèpes, add a bouquet garni of parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns and add some water and simmer on the stove for 20 minutes.

8) When the stock is made, strain and reserve the liquid. You should have about 600ml of stock.

9) Put all the chopped mushrooms, herbs, peppercorns, raw garlic and shallots in a bowl, weigh and add mushroom stock until you have 900g total weight; this is important because one kilogram of mass requires 8g to 9g of agar to set, separately add 8g of agar to 100ml of mushroom stock, warm over the stove until the agar is dissolved and fold into the remaining mass.

10) Line a terrine mold with plastic wrap leaving a slight overhang. Line the bottom and the sides with flat slices of Portobello and king brown mushrooms. Scoop the mushroom mix into the terrine mould with a slotted spoon and add chives down the middle, continue until the terrine mold is full. Cover with a lid of thinly sliced mushrooms then pull over the plastic wrap and place another tray on top and press weighing it down quite heavily (a bit of excess liquid will ooze out but don’t worry). 11) Refrigerate overnight. Unwrap and slice into 1cm thick slices and serve with crispy fried potatoes and truffle aioli, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

 

 

Oven Baked Goats’ Cheese Crottin – (1 plate)

 

Ingredients

1                      goats’ cheese Crottin (60g)

80g                  vine cherry tomatoes

30ml                good quality balsamic vinegar

1 slice              focaccia bread

40g                  kalamata olives

10g                  Parmesan cheese

1 sheet             filo pastry

5g                    palm sugar

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

 

Method

1) Remove the pits from the olives and chop into a fine paste; add olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Spread the olive ‘tapenade’ over the focaccia slice and bake until crisp on both sides.

2) Carefully place a long slicing knife over the gas stove and heat. When hot, slice the goats’ cheese in half (being extra careful with the hot knife and your fingers!). Cut the filo pastry into long strips of around 2cm x 10cm and wrap the goats’ cheese around the sides. Sprinkle with black pepper and olive oil and place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 8 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, reduce by half the balsamic vinegar and palm sugar, add tomatoes and place in the oven with the goats’ cheese.

4) When the time is up, arrange the goats’ cheese on top of the crostini on a long plate. Add tomatoes and garnish with micro celery, baby basil leaves and red onion jam.

 

Johnny Paterson 

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