#cupcakehour macroon


Aging the egg whites dehydrates them, resulting in a firmer, more stable meringue

Be sure to bring the egg whites back to room temperature before using.


old almond meal causes a macaron to lose its glossy luster.

Liquid food coloring can alter the texture of your macarons, making your batter too runny

I use gel color and add it while whipping the meringue.

Don’t be afraid to use a little too much: incorporating the almond meal mixture slightly diminishes the potency of the color

The idea is to press out just enough air from the batter so that it runs off your spatula thickly, slowly, but consistently

If you find that the tops of your macarons are cracking in the oven, allow your piped macarons ample time to dry with the next batch

You’ll know they are adequately dried when you dab the tops with your finger and nothing sticks

Forgo the unreliable temperature gauge in your oven and get a trusty oven thermometer instead

Try using a wooden spoon handle to prop open the oven door just a smidge for the first two minutes of baking

. Get ready for a baking adventure, but when you create the perfect, airy-light macaron, it will all be worth it

macroon recipe


125g/4oz ground almonds

  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 3 free-range egg  whites
  • 2 tbsp. caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch red powdered food colouring

For the chocolate filling

  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate chopped
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 15g/½oz unsalted butter


  1. Blend the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric whisk, slowly whisk the egg whites in a large bowl at a low speed until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the cream of tartar and caster sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy, increasing the speed of the whisk as the mixture stiffens.

  3. Gently fold in the food colouring and blended ground almonds and icing sugar until the mixture resembles shaving foam.

  4. Spoon the macaroon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in round nozzle. Pipe 5cm/2in circles onto the baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. If a peak forms, wet your finger and smooth it down. Sharply tap the bottom of the tray to release any air bubbles from the macaroons, then set aside for 60 minutes (the macaroon shells are ready to go in the oven when they are no longer sticky to the touch).

  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160C/315F/Gas 2½.

  6. Bake the macaroons in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully peel away the greaseproof paper and set aside to cool completely.

  7. Meanwhile, for the chocolate filling, heat the double cream and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and well combined. Add the brandy and butter and stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

  8. Use the filling to sandwich the macaroons together then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

gangsters demo


Puy lentil stew. 5-7 full portions
1 onion
1 leek
3 sticks of celery Roughly chopped small for frying
3 carrots (medium sized, because they have more flavour)
1 parsnip Diced
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper Sliced or juilliened
1 medium courgette Small dice.
3 medium potatoes Diced
250g of green puy lentils.
1/2 a glass of white wine.
3 vegetable stock cubes
700ml’s of water Start
: Fry off the onions, leek and celery with a little olive oil. Not to hot as you don’t want them to brown. Add seasoning (salt & pepper) as this will help the flavour and stop the browning. When the onions are soft and the flavour has been extracted add the white wine, carrots, parsnips and peppers. Reduce the wine. Then in a little boiled water from the kettle mix the stock cubes in a bowl until dissolved. Best to have this ready before hand as this is a quick recipe. Add the water and the lentils and bring to the boils and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and cook until the lentils are cooked ( they will be soft to mushy to eat) Finally just before serving add the diced courgette. If cooked for to long the courgette will go mushy and not nice therefore it’s the final thing. Bring to the boil and serve.
Wild mushroom sauce
1 generic tub of wild mushrooms (shiitake a my favourite) chopped
1/2 a finely diced onion
1/2 a glass off white wine
250mls of pouring cream
2 table spoons of garlic butter
Fry off the mushrooms and onions in a hot pan in the garlic butter. Add the white wine when the onions are soft and the mushrooms are browned. Add the white wine and reduce until halved. Add the cream, bring to the boil and serve with a smile. For a more intense flavour in the sauce, some people may add dices of bacon at the frying stage but this is optional
Salsa Verde
25g capers
3 garlic cloves
50g wood sorrel
50g wild mint
50g wild chervil
100ml olive oil

Wash all wild herbs
Puree the garlic with the blade of your knife and add to a bowl
Chop all the herbs and capers finely and add to the garlic
Add olive oil to bind
Salt and pepper to taste


3 medium potatoes
1 medium onion

Wash and peel the potatoes
Grate the potatoes into a bowl
Squeeze all excess moisture from the potatoes
Finely dice the onion and add to the potatoes
Mix well and season with salt and pepper

Heat a non stick pan to a high heat
Make little rounds of the rosti mix (use a scone cutter to form a nice neat circle)
Place these rostis in the pan and colour then until crisp and golden brown on each side

Place in an oven at 180 degrees Celsius to finish cooking

Haw sin sauce


500g haw berries

250ml cider vinegar

250ml water

250g castor sugar

Salt & pepper

Clean berries place in a pan vinager & water. Bring to the boil allow to boil till berries start to burst and start to go mushy.


Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container and squeeze with a ladel or spoon .


Return to a clean pot add sugar . Heat until boiling and goes syurpy


Pour into sterilised jars

This is great with stir frys . Duck & pork belly .

@chefnoelk twitter @chefnoelkeane instagram

haw berry and sloes


Art by @wattonarts instagram

Haws and Sloes

Both of these are common across Ireland and form a staple in the hedgerows of much of the Irish countryside. Depending on where you are you are more likely to see one more than the other, with the haws (hawthorn) preferring the more acidic soils and the Sloes (blackthorn) preferring a more alkaline soil.

For years I had known that Sloes were used with gin but did not know of any use for the haws. That’s the great thing about being a chef there is always something new, everyday a learning experience, a chance to try new things, create and experiment.

Traditionally haws were used in a variety of ways, including a haw sauce for use with roast dishes, haw tea drunk with the addition of sugar or honey (it needs it these berries are bitter), as well as medicinal uses which some believe helped in the remedy to bladder and kidney stones and a digestive aid and more recently has been linked to heart benefits and general well being.

Haw Tea

Place a handful of the berries into a mug and add boiling water, and leave to infuse for 10/12 minutes. Then remove the berries and drink with sugar or honey.

The Sloes are however have also some medicinal properties when boiled in water until they form a syrup they have been used as a purgative medicine.

The blackthorn can be found along roadsides and in hedgerows around the country and come into fruit around the same time as the haws in the late summer early autumn

Sloe gin

Collect ripe Sloes and wash thoroughly, traditionally each sloe is pricked with a thorn from the blackthorn, but freezing them overnight and defrosting then the next day has the same effect

Place into a wide mouth jar that can be closed tightly half fill with the berries and for every half litre of gin add 100g sugar (add cloves or cinnamon for some added flavour)
Invert daily for 2 weeks then once a week for 12 weeks.
Now it can be decanted into bottles through a fine sieve to ensure sediment and fruit stay separate from the gin.

These can then be turned into a really flavour full jam (so no waste)

Over the coming weeks I will be picking blackberries again see other posts here by @chefnoelk for ideas. (The chutney is really good on its own or on a slice of homemade bread)
Also it’s time for nuts to be appearing on trees soon so keep an eye out for a man climbing a tree with a black tub.

See pictures when I’m doing this on Twitter or Instagram @chefpaulc

cheesecake tips #cupcakehour



if you are doing a baked cheesecake wrap the bottom and sides with foil before baking

whip whip and whip for a super creamy cheesecake

prebake your crumb for 10 minutes for a tastier base

use full fat cream cheese or sour cream for flavour

don’t stress over cracks in baked cheesecake you can spread a layer of sour cream over the top

bring cream cheese to room temp before using

when cutting cheesecake dip your knife in hot water first

allow cheesecakes to chill for 6hr or overnight

to freeze a cheesecake wrap in foil and place in a freezer bag



guest blog industry life


Hello one and all,


My name is Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt. I’m a Canadian chef with 15 years of experience on the line. I’ve worked across the country as well as in the UK. I work, currently, at http://www.garlicsoflondon.com under Head Chef Carla Cooper, where I function as the morning chef. My team and I are responsible for bread shift, desserts, set up, lunch service and all the butchering. Formerly, I was the sous-chef at http://www.dinkels.ca and the attached restaurant, Paulo’s Italian Trattoria.

I was asked to write a piece by Chef Noel on any topic I so chose and I think I’ve come up with an important one for both male and female chefs.

First things first, it’s important to note that I’m not…politically correct. I don’t go out of my way to offend anyone, surely, but I also feel the need to be direct in what I’m going to say because it is of, I believe, utmost importance.

We aren’t going to talk about food today. Nor are we talking about any new technique, method, recipe or ingredient, we aren’t even going to address the Business itself, but rather our actions within it.

Today, now more than ever, our actions are under constant scrutiny. We have health inspectors, TripAdvisor, Yelp and a whole host of food blogs, YouTubers and Twitter users who have the ability to let others know what they think about our food in an instant.

This is on top of the already demanding specifications it takes to make it into the likes of the AA Food Guide, or even appear on Michelin’s radar, and I’d argue the blogger and twitter-er can do more damage to a restaurant than either “major” group can. That is to say, there are plenty of successful restaurants that make their owners millions without a rep ever setting foot in the dining room.

Thus, we come nicely to my topic: professionalism.

What do I mean by this word? Simply this; how we interact with each-other, FOH and our punters, whether behind closed doors or in full view of our dining rooms.

Never before have we been watched so carefully. Our profession, due to the likes of Chef Ramsay and Chef Oliver among others, has been shot to the forefront of pop culture. Yet never more have we been thought of less for our craft and more for the shenanigans that have been brought to light and have, for all intents and purposes, become tropes and memes of culinary culture.

It is expected of us to shout, to scream and the swear. We are expected to belittle our co-workers, to behave as children and over-dramatic actors. It can be argued, and, in fact I AM

arguing, that chefs such as Gordon Ramsay have done more harm than good for our trade over the last few years.

Certainly he is innovative, and his food is par excellence, but one cannot, cannot, cannot look away from the antics and showmanship that is demonstrated on American television through Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen.

Is the face that American telly puts on for us our true persona as culinary wolves? No. It is, however, what sells in America. One needs only look as far as what British television shows to know that this isn’t the case. The UK version of Kitchen Nightmares is far different. Being Canadian, I’m blessed to get access to both.

But sadly, it’s usually the vocal, crass and often loud minority that draws attention to itself. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.

But in this case I think it is imperative to be the solution ourselves, rather than just stand by and let the customer and the media portray us how they want. We are professionals and, if you’re reading Noel’s blog, I have to assume you’ve CHOSEN this career path, not been forced into it.

Your pride should genuinely be hurt by the low, base and unexceptional level that is not only expected of us, but (in some cases) looked for.

There is, however, a remedy for this.

We need to treat ourselves, firstly, with respect. It is impossible to function and work in a high-stress, fast-paced, often hot and exhausting environment unless you look yourself in the mirror every day and say “I can do this. I’ve got this. I’m well trained. My crew has my back, and I’ve trained them well. We know our roles, we know our staff, we know our menu.” Only when you can do this can you move on to step two.

Secondly, treat your under-chefs with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Talk WITH them. Certainly, when the heat is on, expect a “Yes, Chef!” from them, but don’t call them out in front of the rest of the crew. That kind of action gets passed around to those who weren’t there as the night’s juicy gossip. Talk to them after service. Work on the issue together, and never in hearing range of others. Most of us have offices. We should make use of them.

Please note there is a caveat here. Some people just don’t fit, and the level of insubordination can get insane. If you must remove somebody from line for the sake of customers and staff, do so. Firmly, calmly. Let them make the noise. Retain your composure.

Thirdly, be kind to your servers and, through them, the customer.

FOH is the link you have to the customer. Without them you can’t get food out of the pass, let alone get orders in to the kitchen. They tell you about allergies, dietary restrictions and modifications. Granted, most of these are irritating, but if the customer comes back, or stays longer buying booze and dessert, who gives a damn? We exist to make money. We have a skill

we are passionate about that people are willing to pay for. Respect the servers and the (reasonable requests) of your customers and they’ll be singing your praises.

This may all seem like common sense, but I think it bears repeating. Especially in light of how trainee chefs are coming out of catering college these days. I don’t know the current situation in Europe or in the UK, but here? It’s a disaster.

These…petulant and petty youngsters are coming out like puffed-up little school children, not realizing that finishing catering college is only the first rung on a very, VERY long ladder.

If you’re a trainee chef and reading this, check your ego. I’m not concerned with how good you think you are, there’s always someone else who’s better, and if there isn’t? Quit now. You’ve peaked. It is important to look at every shift, every service, every day as an opportunity to improve upon your skills and learn some new ones. Only then will you begin to be thought of as worth your salt by your superiors.

Bottom line, chefs? Be excellent to each other and your staff. We have little home life, leave our spouses and children alone when we wish we didn’t. We miss birthdays, anniversaries, valentines, new years and football games. We miss Christmas Pantos. We miss baptisms. We miss graduations and vacations.

And sometimes…well, this causes our home lives to collapse. When this happens, we only have each other. Our families extend beyond our homes. You know this. And you know we forgive the worst offences from each other because of it. But, let’s not abuse it, shall we? Each one of us may come to a day where our restaurant family is all we have for that moment.

Until next time, chefs,


Take care,


Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt

Garlic’s of London

London, Ontario


follow matthew on twitter @matthewjburt

social media


a Never before has there been such a way for the food industry to be seen.
The trickery, the talent, the goals, the drive and of course, the passion.
Chefs are people that live and breath food. Seasons changing, what’s fresh? The power of local knowledge, outgoing enough to go meet the people. Talk to a farmer, pick your fruit, harvest. Followed by the throwing on of the chosen coloured jacket of choice. Mine is white. Arriving at your station with all your tools, and your thought focused on the food. Fresh hand picked home grown what ever you like
. The marvels we came upon in the kitchens by ourselves is unreal but now look at us. I regularly communicate with chefs from around the world, giving my knowledge and taking theirs and together we feed each other, mentally.
Stimulating our minds with creativity and wisdom. Being on the other side now I constantly monitor the movement and motivation of certain people that I can clearly see grow in themselves including myself.
The industry is paying people constantly but not just financially.
Personal growth for people that I would see as elite. Gruelling shift, constantly on our feet, rushing, catching up and getting it done.
These people have a voice now and boy is it being used!!
by kevin o connor