Hazelnut Inspiration

So, as I previously mentioned, I have recently started taking one ingredient and basing a menu around it. Reasoning behind this new approach is an open house I attended one evening at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. It was amazing and inspired me to up my game until I maybe one day decide to rob a bank of £30’000 for LCB’s educational fees. Until then I shall follow my own syllabus and teach myself the basics of classical cuisine. Today’s choice: Hazelnut. Why? NUTELLA, obviously! The best ever invented chocolate spread is based on hazelnuts. So….. anything made with hazelnuts must be good, right? With that in mind, I took a recipe from LCB for the main and once again attempted to be all master-chefy 🙂

P.S. For all you Nutella freaks – check this article out for inspiration on some crazy things you can do with Nutella. I’m tempted to try the Nutella, peanut butter and bacon sandwich….nom!


Sautéed Beef Fillet, Butternut Squash Purée and Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Vinaigrette


taken from Le Cordon Bleu

Serves 2

You’ll need
2 x 160-180g beef fillet
Olive oil
200g butternut squash
90g butter
10ml sherry vinegar
50ml hazelnut oil
20g whole hazelnuts, blanched and chopped
200g brussels sprouts, trimmed
100ml red wine
500 ml veal or beef stock
2 thyme sprigs
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to about 75°C.
  2. For your butternut squash puree: boil a medium sized pan of water with a pinch of salt. Add the diced 180g of butternut squash and cook until soft, approx. 15 mins. Using a slotted spoon remove the squash and puree with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and keep warm in the oven.
  3. For your butternut squash brunoise (a fancy way of saying very finely diced): boil the remaining cooking water and cook the 20g of squash for 3-5 mins, until soft. Dice it very finely. Drain and keep warm in the oven.
  4. For your brussels sprouts: cut a cross in the base of each sprout. Bring a pan of water with a pinch of salt to boil. Boil the sprouts for 5-10 minutes, until vivid green. Cut them in half. Heat 20g butter in a frying pan and fry the sprouts until golden, approx 3-5 mins. Keep warm in the oven.
  5. For your hazelnut vinaigrette: whisk the sherry vinegar and hazelnut oil in a bowl. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  6. For your beef: pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. Once hot, add your meat, seal it and cook for about 8 -10 minutes until medium-rare. While cooking, spoon the hot oil over the meat to keep it moist. One cooked, set aside and rest your beef for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. For the red wine sauce: Add the red wine to the pan you just used. Reduce until syrupy like. Add the stock and thyme, reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon (whatever that means), about 6 minutes. Strain through a sieve and whisk in the butter.
  8. To serve: Dress the brussel sprouts with the hazelnut vinaigrette. Arrange the filet on top of some of the puree. Arrange the sprouts and brunoise around your fillet, finish off with some red wine sauce. Tadaaaaa!

 Rating: 7/10

So I have realised I need to work on sauce… not as easy as it looks! And the puree was a tiny bit watery for noooo reason. But potentially an amazing dish!

Chocolate Hazelnut Parfait


adapted from Wildeisen

serves 6

You’ll need

For the parfait
60g blanched whole hazelnuts
75g dark chocolate, about 45% cocoa
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
75g icing sugar
1.5 dl single cream
1.5 dl double cream

For the orange compote
5 oranges
75g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1 dl water
1 tbsp lemon juice
0.5 vanilla pod (I used vanilla essence instead as I didn’t have a pod)

  1. If you didn’t manage to find blanched hazelnuts you can roast them in the oven at 180°C for 10-12 minutes and then rub the skins off using clean towel.
  2. Grind your hazelnuts until very fine in a food processor.
  3. Melt the chocolate over a water bath. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolk with 2 tbsp icing sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Beat the egg white until foamy. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and continue beating until you have a stiff, shiny egg whites. Beat both cream’s until stiff as well.
  5. Add the hazelnuts to your chocolate and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture to your egg-yolk/icing sugar. Fold in the double cream, the single cream and finally the egg whites.
  6. Line a gratin dish or a small bowl with cling film and pour in your parfait-mixture. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
  7. For the compote, segment 4 of your oranges and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the flesh remaining after segmenting. Add the juice from the remaining orange.
  8. Caramelise your sugar with 1tsp of lemon juice in a pan. Add the butter, let if get foamy while it melts and then add your orange juice, the water and the remaining 1tbsp of lemon juice. If using a vanilla pod, slice it in half lengthways and add to your sauce. Cook until all of the caramel has liquified again. Now add your orange segments and cook in the sauce for just 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl.
  9. Keep on cooking your orange sauce until it has a light syrupy consistency. Pour over your segmented oranges and set aside to cool.
  10. To serve, turn your parfait out onto a chopping board (apparently the cling film makes this process easy…. mine totally still stuck to the dish it was in making it more difficult than expected…) and let it unthaw for a few minutes in the fridge. Cut it into slices or however you wish to serve it. Serve with some orange segments and compote juice.

Rating: 8.5/10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s