Saturday, 24 September 2016

Warrigal Pesto

NAME: _Warrigal Pesto




INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
(This is a recipe for Grow Lightly Food Hub Shop, and almost everything can be sourced there. See NOTES.)
Bunch Warrigal Greens (Miner's Lettuce) to make 1 cup wilted greens.
6 - 8 walnuts
1 clove garlic or half a dozen spring garlic shoots
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
3 - 4 tbsp grated Parmesan
Optional sprig or two or parsley.
Optional mint leaf or two.

METHOD:
Blanch the greens by picking the leaves and discarding stems, putting in a bowl, pouring boiling water over them, and leave for around 1 - 2 minutes. This step removes excess oxalic acid from the warrigal greens, and once the time is up, rinse with cold water and press as many leaves as will fit into a 250ml standard cup, that's around about what you'll need for this recipe.


Shell the walnuts, and remove the membrane between the halves. Put in the blender and give a short pulse, don't blitz them too fine as they have to go back for another pulse later on. Put crushed walnut in a bowl and set aside.


Squeeze the lime juice, put in the blender, add the garlic or chopped spring garlic sprouts, the salt, and half of the olive oil, and blend fine. (Add the parsley and/or mint as well, if using.)

Now add the warrigal greens, blend coarsely, adding olive oil as needed to maintain texture and consistency. Add the crushed walnuts and parmesan cheese and pulse to mix through.

SERVING:
This pesto makes a good dip or a good spread for crackers as well as being a good accompaniment to pasta dishes.

Additionally, we enjoyed a Prom Country Cheeses "Woolamai Mist" soft brie-style white mold cheese which actually paired up really well, and Swan & Oak light rye bread. 
NOTES:
Grow Lightly is my local F&V of choice, all organically grown, local, whole foods.
Everything for this recipe except the parmesan cheese and the salt was procured from their Food Hub Shop:
Fish Creek Mount of Olives olive oil
Fresh Warrigal greens
Walnuts
Spring garlic
Limes


ENJOY!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Oriental Eggscitement. (No, really.)

NAME: _Oriental Eggscitement.

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
3 - 4 eggs per person
1/2 cup besan flour per person
1/2 cup atta or other wholemeal flour per person
around 1/2 a brown onion per person
peanut or olive oil around 1/4c per person (but see Method)
salt
turmeric
chilli powder
cumin powder
cumin seeds
chilli flakes with seeds (if you like a bit of zing)
garlic powder
bicarb
lemon juice (preferably fresh squezed)
fresh green coriander
around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of uncooked rice per person
Handful of boiled peanuts per person (See NOTES)


METHOD:
Boil the eggs to hardboiled (starting from cold water, about 25 - 30 minutes) then drain and place in cold water. Peel, and carefully remove the complete yolk from each egg. Chop the egg whites roughly the size of dried peas, put whole yolks in one bowl and egg whites in the other.

I'll go ahead and describe a meal for two here just as I made it for us, but just multiply everything up for more guests.

Put a cupful of rice, a teaspoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of peanut or olive oil, and two cupfuls of water in a saucepan with a good lid,

While waiting for it to boil start making a batter in a suitably sized bowl - take one cupful of besan flour, half a teaspoon of chilli powder, a teaspoon of cumin powder, a teaspoon of powdered turmeric, and a teaspoon of salt, the juice of about one lemon, then slowly add water until you have a thick to medium batter. Roll the egg yolks in the batter.

Start the wok with about a cupful of your chosen oil and when hot enough, gently place the batter coated yolks in the oil and to begin with roll them around a few times so they don't develop a crck in the batter. Drain the egg pakodas (which is what they actually are) on a paper towel or slice of bread/ Remove the wok from the flame or turn off.

Cover the rice pot once it's boiling and reduce heat to a simmer.

Now add half a teaspoon of garlic powder and about a cup of atta (or wholemeal flour) to the batter, and add water to make a medium - loose batter. Drain the oil from the wok to a heatproof container and turn the heat back on, when hot, mix a scant half teaspoon of bicarb to the refreshed batter mix, stir through, and pour about two tablespoons of the mixture at a time into the wok, allow to brown on one side, flip over and allow the other side to brown, remove, and also drain on paper towel or a slice of bread.

While the last few of these savoury pikelets are cooking, peel and finely chop a medium brown onion, add that to the wok as soon as the last pikelet is made, also add the cumin seeds and peanuts, and fry until the onions are a bit limp.

The rice should be cooked by now (water mostly absorbed into the rice) so turn it off and leave to sit with the lid firmly on to allow moisture to even out.

Add the egg whites, about a teaspoonful of cumin powder, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the wok and fry everything, tossing often to stop burning. When onions have golden bits, turn off the heat and toss about a tablespoonful of chopped fresh coriander through the mix. You can also toss a bit of yoghurt through at this stage or allow people to add what they want on their own plate.


SERVING:
Serve a bed of rice with stir fried egg whites in the centre and pakoda egg yolks and pikelets arranged around the edges. Allow guests to choose between chutneys, chilli sauces, tomato sauces, yoghurt, curry sauces, or similar. Think about perhaps setting up a masala tin. (See NOTES)

NOTES:
Oil. changes the flavour profile but use what you prefer, I often re-use frying oils from a previous session (allow to cool and store in fridge in between time) and add enough to fulfil the needs at hand.

Peanuts. You can buy boiled peanuts which you then have to shell and skin and set aside to get  dry pellicle form on the outside (just a dry layer that will brown and crisp nicely) or you can use raw or roasted peanuts, matter of preference, I like a crispy outside with  slightly soft centre so I simmer mine for a few hours the day before, slip the skins off, and then let them dry on the outside overnight.

Masala tins: look up "masalla dabba" online you'll get the idea, A common one to serve with curries has fine chopped raw onion, sultanas, grated coconut, salt, crushed peanuts, pickled ginger, pickled garlic, chutney, and/or other various garnishes and is generally adjusted to suit the meal.

ENJOY!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Soubise S'prize

NAME: _Soubise S'prize

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
3 - 5 brown onions
50g butter (around half a stick)
1 scant tsp bicarb
salt, pepper to taste
2 tbsp water
1 cup cream

METHOD:
Peel and dice the onions, place in a saucepan  with the butter, water, a pinch of salt, and the bicarb. Bring to a boil and allow the water to evaporate, then reduce the heat a lot and allow to slowly cook for around 30 - 60 minutes. It will turn yellow but as it slowly cooks that colour will fade. Don't let it brown, the aim is to keep the onion just cooking without browning.

Once the onion is at that stage whisk or blend it to a creamy consistency, add the cream, and then season as required. May be returned to gentle heat to thicken a bit, or used as is, depending on what you're serving with it.

SERVING:
This is a great sauce for plainly cooked or roasted fish, chicken, or lamb, and adds guts to a beef steak.

NOTES:
This sauce can be made with a lot of variations, it was traditionally made with bechamel sauce or a veloute, but cream or even creme fraiche makes for a lovely light sauce.

You can add curry spices, or just simple herbs, or cook off a pinch of mashed garlic with the onions towards the end of the onion cooking time, or cook the onion in olive oil rather than butter. This sauce has been made a variety of ways from region to region, and I see no reason to stick to any one recipe or make it the One True Way. (Which varies from one person to the next anyway...) So have a go at adapting this.

As I said, the recipe has had a number of variations, and is generlly made with the onions as white as possible. But that's a preference, I prefer a richer yellow to brown appearance, and if you allow the onions to cook to a medium brown and then think it with beef stock and a few other ingredients it makes a very acceptable French Onion soup basis as well. It's also a great start for an onion gravy.

ENJOY!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Remnant Pies

NAME: _Remnant Pies

No pics, blame the tastiness!

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1/3 of an orange sweet potato, about 150g
1 cup cooked lentils
1 small cauliflower
100g - 200g grated Parmesan
2 cups plain flour
1 cup tomato paste
1 - 2 tsp garlic powder
salt, pepper, raw sugar (see Method for how much)
110g - 150g butter (divided, see Method for how much)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, warm.
1/4 tsp ground allspice (pimento)

METHOD:
Peel and dice the sweet potato (1/2" (1cm) dice so it cooks quickly) into a small saucepan with a pinch of salt, the ground allspice, 10g of butter. Cook until the sweet potato is soft and the water almost completely evaporated, then mash with a fork and set aside.

Divide the cauliflower into large florets and half cook in minimum water, drain, set aside.

Mix about half the Parmesan with the tomato sauce, as much garlic powder, salt, pepper, and raw sugar as you prefer. (A good starting quantity is 1 garlic powder, 1/2 salt, 1 raw sugar and adjust from there.)

Put the cauliflower pieces into a casserole or pie dish that's just big enough to comfortably hold them all, then spread the Parmesan / tomato mixture thickly over  the top of them. Set aside again

Melt the remaining butter and allow to cool a bit, then mix the remaining Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and about 4 - 5 tablespoons of butter into the flour, rubbing it in with fingertips. The idea is to have fine crumbles of uniformly buttery flour. Add the stock a bit at a time until you end up with a very stiff dough. Best to add about half a cup, mix briefly, check if it will press out without tearing or crumbling, add more water if needed. Don't over mix, you want that some of the texture to remain.

Divide into two balls and press each one out and roll it to quite thin (around 1/8" or 2-3mm) then use 2/3 of each ball to line a non-stick 5" - 6" oval pie dish with a good margin for sealing the top on. Mix the lentils through the sweet potato mix, and fill the pie dishes to within a smidgen of the top, then add the remaining pastry as a lid, seal with a smear of water and pressing with fingers.

Trim off, keep the remaining pastry, and quickly remold and roll that out to cover the cauliflower in the dish. trim to size. Discard any remnants. Reheat the butter if necessary and brush over the tops of all the pies. More butter is better. Trust me. %) Use all of the remainder...

Heat the oven to 190C, put the pies in a bit over halfway up, and leave for 30 minutes. Check that the cases aren't browning too much yet (turn down to 180C if they look as though they are) and rotate all the pie dishes, cook for another 10 - 30 minutes depending on the speed of your oven. The Parmesan crumbs in the pastry should be browning, the pastry itself golden. Remove the sweet potato pies from the dishes and place on a rack to set for a few minutes.

SERVING:
Break the crust of the cauliflower into chunks, serve. With the pies, just serve with your choice of accompaniments.

NOTES:
I made these two together because I had a cauliflower to deal with, some left over sweet potato, and we could have fed four people with the addition of a salad, but we just buckled down to it and did our culinary duty and enjoyed it. So -

ENJOY!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Inevitable Sweet Potato Thingie

NAME: _The Inevitable Sweet Potato Thingie



INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
A big orange sweet potato or two
6 eggs (see NOTES)
teaspoon of dijon mustard
salt, pepper
a few tablespoons of milk
teaspoon or two of lemon juice
chicken stock cube crumbled and dissolved in part of the milk.
Assorted goodies such as:
  • Cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado (slice into 1/4" (half cm) slices)
  • Capers (if you like)
  • Smoked salmon slices (if you like)
  • Cous cous (more for a dinner style meal than breakfast)
  • Haloumi cheese sliced thick and crumbled.
  • Pickles? Up to you
  • etc


METHOD:
The sweet potato needs to be sliced lengthways into 1/4" (half cm) thick slices. Much thicker and they won't cook through, thinner and they'll collapse. Start your first two slices off in the toaster on the longest (highest) setting. You'll pretty much have to do each set of slices twice at that setting, so a four slice toaster would be magic. Our toaster has six mnutes at the top of the dial, so twelve minutes for every two slices. Sheesh. Once the slices are done, set them in a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile start some water simmering, add a bit of salt and a bit of vinegar. Have a bowl half full of warm water to hand. Break each of four eggs into a wire strainer, which will drain the thin egg white off them. Save the whites in a small mixing bowl. As you strain each egg and leave just a yolk surrounded by the glutinous white, float them gently into your just simmering water. Gently stir the water to stop the eggs sticking to the bottom.

Reduce the heat so it remains only just simmering, deal with all four eggs, and as each egg gets to about three and a half minutes in the water, lift it out with a slotted spoon and float it in the bowl of warm water. That stops it from continuing to cook, and also prevents it drying out. You can then leave the eggs in that bowl for up to a day, so now the pressure's off for those, and you can make the savoury egg custard and other stuff. Leave the water simmering.

Break the two remaining eggs into the bowl with the thin egg whites. Waste not, want not. Add the teaspoon of mustard, the milk with the chicken stock cube, and any dried powdered herbs (basil is delish in this) you may want, whisk briskly for about five minutes, adding a bit more milk if it seems too thick. You want something like normal dairy milk cream, not as stiff as double or whipping cream.

Float the bowl in the simmering water and put a lid on it. It'll take about ten to fifteen minutes of simmering to get to the right level of done-ness. Once it's set all the way through to the middle, use tongs or a pot mitt to lift the bowl out and set it aside.

Are all the sweet potato slices done and cooling off? Then you're done, from here on in it's assembly.


SERVING:
Suggestions for topping slices:
  • Cream cheese, avocado slices, a poached egg or two
  • Cream cheese, smoked salmon, a few capers
  • Slices of the egg custard topped with slices of tomato, sprinkled with fresh shredded mint
  • Lay two slices of potato on a plate, cover with roast vegetable slices, crumbled haloumi. Add a pile of couscous on one slice, two poached eggs on the other, add some Greek yoghurt, fresh shredded mint leaves. 
  • Much as the last suggestion, but top with cooked rice, a few slices of chicken breast and a few shredded vegetables cooked Asian style, and fried eggs or some of that egg custard for a nice fusion dinner, drizzled with thick soya sauce and sriracha if you like some pizzaz. 
  • Sliced and shredded pickles are okay for all these meal ideas, too. Also drizzles of olive oil, paprika oil. Olives are good. 

NOTES:
Everyone's jumped on this bandwagon now, so I thought we should give it a go. Made it for breakfast, but this set of assembly instructions would also be suited for dinner. Using this only as a substitute for toast kind of misses the point - sweet potato grows well in all sorts of soils and climates, and is a very nutritious food that also just happens to be delicious.

Look at Mediterranean recipes for inspiration as to what flavours and ingredients would go well with this. Even a savoury lamb or goat mince and a fetta would work on top of these toasted slices.

EGGS:
The fresher the eggs are, the better your poached eggs will turn out. I'm indebted to Kenji Lopez-Alt for putting his wire strainer method online at Serious Eats, and this is how I'll be making all my poachies from now on. Which leads me to the

STRAINER:
I luckily have a selection of strainers both big and little with various types of mesh, and I found that a smaller strainer was best, but with reasonably open mesh. (As in, I can get a standard round toothpick point about halfway into a mesh hole.) Any more open and all the egg just oozes through, and with too fine a mesh, it took too long for even thinner older eggs to separate out. You need to be putting the eggs into the simmering water pretty close together, otherwise you lose track and end up with some under and some over cooked.

NOTE ON TOASTING vs GRILLING vs ROASTING:
I tried the grill (broiler) and the toaster, and the toaster method is superior, slices come out a nicer texture, colour, and more consistent from one batch to the next.

The grill tended to leave the underside soggy, then when I turned the slices over, the lovely grilled top (which was now underneath) went soggy.

I haven't tried oven roasting these slices at 200C yet, but I don't think that'd end happily either.

You're aiming for a slice that's *just* cooked through, has some browning and blistering on the outside, and the outside needs to be a bit dry so the slices don't collapse into mush.

Frying in a very hot and only lightly oiled pan may also work. I haven't tried any of these methods with olive oil brushed on the slices, that may very well be a game-changer. Experiment!

ENJOY!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Saffron Prawn Linguine

NAME: _Saffron Prawn Linguine
Want an impressive restaurant-quality dish that'll wow your guests?
This one has it all - aromas, flavours, colours, and it's delicious.


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
12 - 24 prawn tails shelled and deveined
1 - 4 carrots (see NOTES)
1/2 - 1 cup peas (see NOTES)
1/8 to 1/4 of a red capsicum (see NOTES)
1/2 - 1 pkt linguine or fettucini pasta, around 250g - 350g
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 - 3 cloves of garlic
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp + 1 tsp plain cooking salt separate
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups double cream or thickened cream
12 - 24 strands of saffron (see NOTES)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup warm water with 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in it (see NOTES)
About 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp grated lemon zest (outer skin, see NOTES)


METHOD:
Start the water for the pasta with the 1 tbsp salt in it.

While the water gets to boiling stage, slightly warm the wine (baby bottle temperature, no more) and crumble/snip the saffron threads up into it, stir, and set aside. Peel the carrots and either shave thin slices off with the vegetable peeler or fine julienne the carrots in lengths about the same as the prawns. Set aside. Cut the capsicum into thin strips about the same length as the prawns, remove all
the pith and seeds, set aside. Peel and mince the garlic, set aside.

When the water boils, put in the turmeric and then the pasta and stir it round to stop sticking/clumping etc. You'll cook this until the pasta is barely cooked. ("al dente" as the term goes.)

Using a frypan/skillet large enough that the prawns can all fit without crowding, heat the olive oil to the hot but not smoking stage. Add the prawns and cook for a minute or so stirring them a few times to warm up all sides. Add the salt, pepper, and minced garlic, and keep stirring and tossing the prawns until they turn pink. Lift them out (with tongs, draining back as much oil as possible,) onto a plate and set aside. Add the lemon zest and the carrots and peas, allow to cook in the oil for a minute, then add the chicken stock and simmer while the pasta is (hopefully) still cooking. Get the liquid in the frying pan to reduce to almost nothing.

Drain the pasta and rinse for a few seconds with fresh running water. Give the pasta pot a quick wipe out and put the pasta back. Set aside.

Add the saffron and wine to the pan and allow this to reduce almost to nothing, too. Put the pasta pot back on medium heat, empty the contents of the pan over the pasta and toss them together, adding cream until the pasta's coated, and add a bit more so there's some extra liquid. Allow to simmer for about a minute or maybe two, stirring gently all the time.


SERVING:
Serve straight away while it's hot. Garnish with chopped parsley is optional.


NOTES:
* The aim with the carrots is to get about the same amount as the peas, i.e. a cupful, of tightly packed strips / julienne.
* Peas, I bought them fresh and parboiled them and froze them so I have a good supply in the freezer, but fresh parboiled peas are good in this recipe too. Note that they'd take a bit longer to cook so do parboil them well.
* I found a sweet dark red capsicum at the shop and it was pretty much perfect for this dish.
* Adjust the quantities of peas and carrots to be around half the volume of the prawns. (PROTIP: Fill a litre jug with water, put the prawns into the water {perhaps as part of the cleaning and washing process} and lift them out with tongs. Now see how much water it takes to fill the jug again, that's how many cups your prawns occupy.)
* There's a cheap version of saffron out there that has fluffy stamens with yellow, don't bother with that. The powdered versions are all cut with turmeric and carrot powders, don't bother with them, either. Real saffron is thin, dark orange to red strands. This recipe needs those.
* You really should use fresh chicken stock that you've reduced by half but I was being lazy.
* Lemon zest. Don't use anything dehydrated, don't try lemon pepper thinking it'll deliver the same flavour as fresh grated lemon zest. It won't.
* Garlic. Fresh is best, local better.


ENJOY!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Torta di pastore alla teddles

NAME: _Torta di pastore alla teddles




INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
250 g minced (ground) beef
1 kg baby potatoes
2 - 4 g dried mushrooms
1 brown onion
3 cloves garlic
half tsp ground fenugreek seed
fresh baby green beans
a leaf of silver beet
carrot greens or parsley
basil
half tsp golden syrup
50g - 100g sharp cheddar
half cup fine grated parmesan
half cup fine grated grana padano or romano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp beef dripping
1 tin diced tomatoes (or 3 cups diced fresh tomato, seeds and all)
2 beef stock cubes
half cup red wine

METHOD:
Peel and crush the garlic, add a pinch of salt, set aside, Dice the onion coarsely and place in a heavy bottom saucepan with the oil and dripping. Begin to fry until onion is tramslucent, add the mince and the dried mushrooms, continue to fry until liquid has evaporated and things start to fry again, add the garlic, fenugreek, and chopped greens. Stir well and keep the heat on for a further three minutes,

Now add the tomatoes, beans, golden syrup, red wine, and stock cubes, stir until simmering, turn down heat, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes while you boil the baby potatoes in plenty of salted water.

Turn off the sauce after twenty minutes, check the potatoes for doneness, they should be cooked soft enough to eat. Drain the potatoes.

In a casserole or other oven proof dish, ladle in enough sauce to about half cover the potatoes. Lay potatoes in the sauce until dish is about three quarters covered, then gently squash each potato, the idea is that they should finish just level with the surface of the sauce when all squashed. Experience is the best guide here.

Now cover the surface of the sauce and potatoes with the cheddar cheese, then sprinkle over the parmesan and padano (or romano) either in layers or in stripes or other patterns.

Place in a hot (210C/410F) oven for 20 minutes then transfer the dish to the griller (broiler) to brown up any cheese that hasn't browned yet. Allow to cool down slightly.

SERVING:
No special instructions.

NOTES:
Fresher is better. I managed to source locally grown onions and garlic, MILES better than supermarket produce. The beans came from our garden about an hour earlier ad did the silver beet, and the carrot tops (greens) and basil came from a local farm.

Use a nice red wine for this, it's sooo worth it! And as to the cheeses - you need a base of cheddar and then a stronger cheese or two over it.

Lastly - if you leave this in the oven for too long, the potatoes will be cooked mushy. If too short, they won't have had time to absorb some of the sauce liquid. Hence  twenty minutes at 210C, But the cheeses need to be brown - hence the few minutes under the griller.

ENJOY!

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