Cooking Demonstration by Aaron Craze at the AFC Studio (Recipes included)

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We all recognise this cheeky young lad from Rude Boy Food; he is none other than Aaron Craze. His love for street food is apparent in his cooking; he spruces up them up with a pinch of fun.

He shot to fame after his triumphant win in a television competition created by Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Chef, in 2007. As Jamie Oliver’s famed protégé, Aaron Craze has worked his way up with dogged determination and perseverance.

Beneath his tattooed and tough demeanour, Aaron Craze is passionate about food and is a strong believer in using fresh herbs to enhance the flavour of dishes. In his first cooking show, Rude Boy Food, he explores street food around the world and replicates the dishes with his own unique twists. In 2008, he wrote and launched his debut cookery book, Aaron Cooks Italian.

It was a great pleasure meeting Aaron Craze in person. Here are some recipes that he shared with us. These simple-to-prepare dishes are bound to delight your guests.

Recipe 1: Mexican Beef Tortilla with Tomato Salsa and Sour Cream
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

Beef Tortilla
– Filling: 600g beef skirt
– Olive oil
– Salt and pepper
– ½ white onion, roughly chopped
– 2 red tomatoes, chopped
– 1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
– 6 tortilla wraps
– 1 lemon
– Sour cream

Salsa
– 1 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
– 1 bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 chilli

Method (Salsa):
1) Sweat off onion, garlic, chilli and coriander stalks on medium-high heat.
2) Add tinned tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes.
3) Leave to cool.
Method (Beef Tortilla):
1) Bash out the beef skirt as thinly as possible or get a butcher to. Drizzle on some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2) Put the seasoned beef skirt onto a hot griddle or pan to sear.
3) Once cooked, remove from heat and chop the beef skirt up on a board to create a mince.
4) Mix the mince together with white onion, red tomatoes, salsa and coriander.
5) Squeeze lemon into the mixture and serve topped with coriander, wrapped in a tortilla.
6) Add sour cream.

We all couldn’t wait to dig in! But first, we had to do some hands-on work, and then we get to eat our own final product.

Thankfully we didn’t have to do THAT much work; the ingredients were all prepared for us in exact portions, and all we had to do was a little mixing and stirring and putting everything together.

Look! I am piling a generous amount of filling on the tortilla wrap! I already had this feeling I won’t be able to roll it the way Aaron Craze did.

And I was right. But it’s okay, it still tasted good. :)

Love all the textures in the filling –the right amount of juiciness and meaty contrasts, plus the touch of creaminess from the sour cream contributed to the overall pleasing mouthfeel.

Recipe 2: Ravioli of Sunshine with Thai Asparagus
Serves 4

This dish requires the most amount of effort amongst the three recipes – meticulous and painstaking effort – but it is well worth it, and you will know as soon as you taste the final successful product.

Ingredients:
– 100g of pasta flour
– 1 egg, whole
– Splash of olive oil
– 500g of spinach
– 25g of ricotta cheese
– Pinch of nutmeg
– Salt and pepper
– 1 egg yolk
– 20 stalks of asparagus
– 1 tbsp of basil
– ½ of lemon juice
– 200g of butter
– 100g grated parmesan

Method:
1) Mix the flour together with one egg and a drizzle of olive oil until you get a smooth dough consistency. The mixture should not stick to your hands. If it does, add more flour.
2) Knead the dough for a minute, then wrap in cling film and set aside whilst you make the filling.
3) Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water, then refresh in cold water. Drain and transfer to a food processor and roughly blend.
4) Scrape the spinach puree into a bowl and fold in the ricotta and the basil.
5) Season to taste with salt and pepper and nutmeg and add a splash of olive oil. Then, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
6) Roll the pasta dough through a pasta machine (or with a rolling pin) into a square until it is 3mm thick.
7) Spoon a heap of ricotta mix onto the one half of the square, making sure that you leave an edge of at least 2cm on every side.
8) Make a little well in the ricotta mixture and place the egg yolk in the well. Fold over the other half of the dough and seal the edges tightly.
9) Cut around the stuffed part of the pasta with a cookie cutter, making sure you leave an edge of about 2cm. make sure that the edges are well sealed.
10) Place the ravioli in boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
11) Blanch the asparagus for 1-2 minutes in boiling salted water, then grill on a griddle pan so that they colour on each side.
12) Once coloured, remove and drizzle over with a little olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little lemon juice.
13) In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the asparagus. Carefully add the ravioli to the pan and coat with butter. Grate a little parmesan over the ravioli.
14) Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate and place the ravioli on top. Spoon melted butter over and drizzle with olive oil.

Recipe 3: Unbaked Lemongrass Cheesecake with Amoretti Biscuit Base
Serves 2

This cheesecake comes with an Asian twist with the addition of lemongrass –it adds a subtle fragrance that is bound to charm your senses.

Ingredients:

– 120g each of ricotta, cottage cheese, mascarpone cheese
– 1 vanilla pod
– 2 heads of lemongrass
– 2 tsp of icing sugar
– 1 lime, juiced
– 100ml of water
– 200g of amoretti biscuits
– 100g of digestives (or shortbread)
– 200g of unsalted butter
– 100g of strawberries
– 125g of dark chocolate shavings
– 1 zest of lime

Method:
1) Roughly crush up the biscuits and place in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs and transfer to a mixing bowl.
2) Melt the butter and add a little at a time to the crumbs, mixing until the crumbs stick together easily.
3) Smash the lemongrass and leave them in limejuice to flavour. Add icing sugar and water.
4) In a separate bowl, mix together the three cheeses with limejuice.
5) Split the vanilla pod and add the seeds into the mix.
6) Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and beat the mixture until smooth.
7) Place 2 round moulds on a plate and press most of the crumb mixture into the bottom to form a base. Reserve a little of the crumb mixture for sprinkling.
8) Using a spoon and palette knife, fill the rest of the mould up with the cheese mix and smooth over the top. (The cheesecakes can be chilled at this point, if desired, for a firmer dessert).
9) To serve, sprinkle the top of each cheesecake with the reserved biscuit crumbs and lime zest.
10) Decorate with strawberries and chocolate shavings.

This dessert requires minimal culinary experience, so novice cooks should not be intimidated.

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