Friday, 6 March 2015

Beef and Yoghurt Kofte

NAME: _Meat and Yoghurt Kofte

300g minced beef (or lamb)
200ml greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
2-4 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp sugar
1 medium brown onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp powdered cardamom
2 tsp powdered coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
375ml tomato passata (or a tin of diced tomatoes)
2 tsp powdered tomato or 2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp beef, mutton, or goat dripping (or high temperature oil)

Cut onion in half lengthways. Finely chop one half, cut the other lengthways into crescents. Mince the garlic. Put chopped onion, minced garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp mint, both tbsp flour, and the mince into a mixing bowl and mix well, slowly adding half the yoghurt (or sour cream) until the mixture becomes sticky enough to hold together. Form the mixture into balls around 1cm - 1.5cm diameter, set aside.

Heat the fat close to smoking point, drop the kofte in a layer to cover the bottom of the pan, shake around until they're browned evenly, then lift from the oil and do the next batch, until all completed.

Pour off all but about half a tbsp of the oil in the pan, throw in the crescent onions, fry until translucent, then add the remaining spices, fry for about a minute more, then add the tomato passata to deglaze and continue to warm it. Add the remaining yoghurt, keep stirring until simmering begins, turn off heat.

Serve kofte over a bed of rice, ladle the tomato/yoghurt sauce generously over.

I made this recipe up using existing Middle Eastern recipes for a guideline, I was aiming for the sweet/yoghurt/cardamom flavour and this nails it pretty much as I remember from my childhood.


Thursday, 26 February 2015


Mezzes Made Myself!

4 Capsicums, medium size
12 button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
600g pumpkin
6-8 medium roasting type potatoes
4 corn cobs
2 cups coarse bourghul
150g lean bacon
150g sliced virginia ham or similar (larger slices preferable)
4 slices of cheddar or nacho cheese around 2mm thick
2 tbsp Tuscan seasoning mix
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
half tsp ground nutmeg
cooking salt
1 lemon
2 cups chicken stock
100g semi dried or fully dried tomatoes
olive oil (a cup or so)

Yes, I know, a huge long list but you're making four dishes here...

In a small saucepan, place the caraway and cumin seeds, chop the garlic coarsely and add that too, add about two tablespoons of olive oil and salt and half a cup of stock, light the burner. Chop the sundried tomato and bacon into strips. When the water has evaporated and the spices are beginning to roast, add the bourghul and the sundried tomatoes and bacon, toss for a minute or two then add the rest of the chicken stock. Add the mint and toss through, then juice the lemon and add this and toss through. Set aside to cool.

Wash and dry the potatoes, set on baking tray. Cut pumpkin into four slices, clean and set on baking tray. Clean the corn and cut ends square. Core the end out of the capsicum and remove the seeds and webs through the hole. Boil the corn in lightly salted water, then lift out and set aside. Put the capsicums in the water and parboil then set them aside to cool  Stem and peel the mushrooms and halve them.

When the vegetables are cool enough to handle comfortably, lay slices of ham down, lay a slice of cheese on each, and roll the corn cobs in them, place on baking tray. Put alternating teaspoonful of the bourghul stuffing and mushrooms in the capsicums, place on baking tray. If there is stuffing left (and there should be around two thirds left) lay this down as a bed to keep the capsicums from rolling. Arrange vegetables to a pleasing design, then brush with olive oil and sprkle with Tuscan seasoning and salt.

Bake in oven at 185C for 45 minutes, at which time brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning and salt again, and return to oven with tray reversed to help even out the cooking process, bake for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes and the ham have browned in spots and all are cooked through.
This tray will fill four plates quite adequately.

May be served hot or cold. Serves four as a main meal.

Mezzes are pretty much hearty finger food, and the stuffing mix can also be used to stuff large tomatoes that have been hollowed out. They're served as sides at a party or feast, or (as in this case) a filling meal for four people.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

salsiccia coniglio speziato in modo mio

NAME: _salsiccia coniglio speziato in modo mio

1 kg rabbit meat, diced fairly small. (Or use cute fluffy chicken meat if you're squeamish... %)
100g diced pork fat
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp powdered turmeric
1 tbsp red paprika powder
1.5 tsp plain salt
1.5 tsp raw sugar
splash of water for consistency

Mince the rabbit and fat on the coarse disk of your mincer (around 5mm - 8mm hole) and place in a bowl in the freezer or fridge. The rabbit should be cubed to minimise the length of sinews, as they are VERY tough and will clog the mincer unless they're pretty close to frozen. I tend to take out the longest thickest sinews in the leg meat anyway. Do chill or even partly freeze the rabbit and the fat, the sausages will be the better for it.

Toast each of the seeds separately in a hot pan, place in mortar, and grind to a fine powder. add the sugar and salt and grind them fine also, then mix into the meat along with the turmeric and paprkia powder, mix well to thoroughly combine, then put back in fridge again to marinate for a while.

Set up for stuffing 20mm casings, a kilo of meat will make just about a metre, I'm using collagen because that's all I have to hand, and they seem to work okay. Fill and either make convenient length links, or form into a spiral and skewer flat.

If not using right away, freeze ASAP and use within a safe time. (Generally a kilo is enough for two to four people, depending on sides, hunger, etc)

Fry and serve, or use in a recipe such as the Spanish Casserole dish I make.



Sunday, 28 December 2014

Spanish Style Casserole

NAME: _Spanish Style Casserole

For the sausages:
500g lamb mnce
100g diced pork belly or kidney fat
15mm - 23mm collagen casings (around 2-3mtrs) if making sausages. (recommended)
Group A spices
1tsp each coriander seeds, peppercorns, chilli flakes
2tsp cumin seeds
1tsp raw sugar
Group B spices
1tsp each dried mint flakes, turmeric powder
2tsp sharp paprika powder
1tsp cooking salt
1 dozen green stuffed olives
2-3tbsp olive oil

For the casserole:
1.5cups basmati rice
3cups water
1 tsp cooking salt
0.5cup frozen peas
0.5cup frozen green beans
0.25tsp turmeric
several saffron strands

2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp smoky paprika
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup chicken stock

several eggs (2 - 4)
fine cubed sharp cheese (vintage cheddar etc)

To make sausages
Toast the Group A seeds (each separately) in a hot dry frypan, as each starts to roast and becomes fragrant, place in a herb blender or pestle & mortar and grind to a powder, then mix these and the Group B with the mince and finely diced fat for around five to ten minutes, keeping as cool as possible. Refrigerate in between if necessary, use a heavy wooden spoon rather than warm hands, and mix only until some stickiness forms in the mixture.

Fill casings slightly loosely to around 50cm lengths, spiraling each length as for boerewors. Use a wooden skewer to keep flat if necessary.

If not using skins, form into long cylinders around the same diameter and length and coil those, this will definitely need two skewers to keep their shape.

To make casserole
Put rice in a suitable saucepan with the teaspoon of salt, put on stove until saucepan is hot, then add 3 cups of water, stir once, cover the pot, and once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. When almost all the water is absorbed, add the turmeric and saffron and stir well to incorporate, then add the frozen greens and once again stir well. Leave covered on low heat until all water is absorbed, then turn off heat and allow to steam until partly cool.

Meanwhile, fry as many sausage spirals as will cover most of the casserole dish in the olive oil, on medium heat until each spiral is nicely browned. Remove sausages from the pan and set aside.

Warm the oil from frying the sausages to sizzling, add the cayenne, smoky paprika, tomato paste and golden syrup, stir several times, and then add as much of the chicken stock as will make a sauce.

Line a casserole dish with baking paper, then fill with rice to within 2-3cm of the top. Push about a quarter of the cheese cubes into the rice, then lay the cooked sausages over the rice, push olives all around the outside of the sausage sprials, evenly spread the rest of the cheese over, drizzle the tomato sauce over evenly. Break an egg over each sausage spiral, then place in a medium oven and bake until the top is well browned.

If desired, sprinkle with chopped parsley and coriander leaves, serve immediately. Can be eaten cold but better hot. Each person should take a whole section.

The sausage is loosely based on mergue sausages, but the amount of spiciness is turned down a bit.

I used collagen casings but I also give the recipe for chevup style skinless sausage style.

The spiral coil in both styles of making the sausages needs to be tight so that the egg doesn't run through.

If you like, you can beat a few eggs and drizzle them over the rice before putting the sausages etc on top.

Size your casserole dish for the number of people who will be dining - each spiral and the rice under it forms a full meal portion.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lasagne Coniglio

NAME: _Lasagne Coniglio

300g minced rabbit meat
150g diced bacon
1 large brown onion chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried "nane" (mint)
salt to taste
1 tin diced tomato (250g approx)
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 cups stock
2 tbsp olive oil

Enough lasagne sheets for four - five layers
salted water to cook

Cheese Sauce and Topping
3 tbsp plain flour
around 50g butter
2 cups stock
1/2 cup sour cream
water to adjust
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fine ground black pepper
1 clove garlic minced
100g sharp cheddar diced small or grated
1 raw egg, beaten.

Fry the onion, garlic, diced bacon, and minced rabbit over medium heat for 10 - 20 minutes, stirring and turning often. Add the basil and mint, diced celery, and salt, then add the diced tomato and stock. Allow to simmer for around half an hour, then set aside to cool.

Make the cheese sauce by melting the butter and dissolving the flour in it, then adding the stock, salt, pepper, garlic, dijon mustard, and sour cream. Bring the temperature up and add the cheese, Wait for it to begin thickening but not fully thickened yet, and the cheese is melted and dissolved. (Do this on low heat so you have plenty of time. Stir continuously.) Set aside and allow to cool.

Bring the salted water to a rolling boil and add the lasagne sheets. Simmer until the sheets are just soft enough to bend without cracking. Drain the sheets and lay out separately to avoid sticking together. Oil pyrex baking dish and lay the most cracked and broken lasagne sheets in a layer on the bottom, then follow up with thin layers of meat sauce, more sheets and so forth until the dish is full to within about 1cm of the top. Finish on a layer of pasta sheets.

Pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cheese sauce over the lasagne and work it down the sides and between the layers as much as possible. Now stir the beaten egg into the remaining sauce and mix in well, then top the lasagne with as much of this as will fit.

Bake in a moderate oven (160C or so) for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the lasagne, if it looks like it may start browning too much on top, turn the oven down. At 45 minutes, turn the temperature up to 210C and leave for another 5 - 10 minutes to brown the top in spots.

Serve immediately, with polenta biscuits if you have them.

The more linguistically-inclined will have realised that coniglio is rabbit. Don't let this put you off, this dish is delicious! Oh all right, substitute chicken if you're squeamish...  I generally make a lot of extra cheese sauce, add instant polenta, and bake this in the oven in a shallow baking tray alongside the lasagne.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Green Bean Fasolia a la Ted

NAME: _Green Bean Fasolia a la Ted

A large brown onion
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1 kg green beans
3 - 4 ripe tomatoes
2 - 3 tbsp tomato paste
2 - 3 tbsp dried mint (see NOTES)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (see NOTES)
2 - 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 - 2 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil

Slice the onion into 5mm thick rings, then dice the rings, put in a heavy base saucepan or pot over rapid heat with the olive oil, peel and roughly chop the garlic and put that in as well, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat slightly and cut the green beans into the pot, stirring as you go. Add the teaspoonful of salt, keep stirring occasionally.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pot, then add the mint, sugar, tomato paste, lemon juice, and about quarter of the water. Simmer for around an hour or so until beans are tender and keep adjusting water so the sauce is as thick as you want it.

Serve with bread or rice or polenta strips. I like a fair bit of sauce so I use more rather than less water, but some people prefer this almost dry. Suit yourself.

If you can get to a Continental food store they generally have Greek or Turkish dried mint, it seems to impart the best flavour. Use raw sugar, also for best flavour. And shop around for te ripest redest tomatoes and the brightest green beans you can find.



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