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!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Eggplant Thick Chips

NAME: _Eggplant Thick Chips

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
Marinade:
2 eggplant fruit
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp powdered coriander seed
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
1 tbsp cooking salt
1 tbsp honey

Fritters:
marinated eggplant from above
2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 eggs
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)

Sauce:
1 eggplant fruit
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp Parisian essence
1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cooking salt (divided)
1/4 tsp honey
1/2 cup water (divided)

METHOD:
Marinate the eggplant a few hours ahead of time. Mix the ingredients other than the eggplant thoroughly in a suitably sized non-reactive bowl. (Glass or stainless steel) Cut off and discard the ends of the eggpant, slice into 1cm slices.layer these into the bowl containing the marinade and press down with a suitable sized plate and weight. Set aside for two to four hours.

Make the sauce by cutting the skin off and dicing the eggplant finely. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the eggplant and a pinch of the salt, then add around 1/4 cup of water. Allow to boil and when the water has evaporated, fry the eggplant cubes for a few more minutes, then remove from the pan to a bowl and set aside.

Dice the onion, put the olive oil into the pan, add the onion and the rest of the salt and the water, repeat the procedure but keep going until around half the onion has browned. Add back the eggplant and stir to combine, then add all remaining ingredients. You may use further water to bring the sauce to the consistency you want. Remove from heat and set aside, warming again just before serving.

Making the fritters: Prepare three bowls, one containing a cup of wholemeal flour, one containing the two eggs, beaten, and a third bowl containing the remaining ingredients mixed well together.

Remove the slices of eggplant from the marinade and discard the liquid. Squeeze the eggplant slices between the palms just to shed any excess liquid, then firmly press each side of each slice into the plain flour, then shake off excess, transfer to the egg to coat both sides, then to the seasoned flour mix for coat the outside.

Put some of the olive oil into a frying pan and get it as hot as the olive oil is able to stand (medium heat) then fry the egg plant slices in small batches, adding olive oil as needed.

SERVING:
Serve with rice or burghul and a Greek style side salad. Spoon the sauce over the grain, and also over the eggplant if desired.

NOTES:
Burghul is cracked wheat, make it as you would rice, with two times as much water by volume, and allow it to absorb all the water, then let it stand for a few minutes to even out the moisture. It's definitely the nicer carb to serve with this dish...

The eggplant can be left un-marinated, and dipped as above and fried right away, but the flavour is better with the marinating time.

ENJOY!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Asparagus Cream Gnocchi

NAME: _Asparagus Cream Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
couple of bunches of saparagus
500g - 1kg of potato gnocchi
around 1/2 cup each of sour cream and thickened cream
50 - 100g butter
water
(See NOTES)

METHOD:
Wash the asparagus and cut as much as you can into 5cm cylinders. At a certain point along the stalk, it will become too woody to make a really nice dish, so I prefer to use that bit for stocks and other meals. (Leave the tips whole if you prefer.) Divide into two equal portions.

(Also, see NOTES for a way to save time by cooking ahead.)

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add one portion of asparagus. Add a few tablespoons of water to steam asparagus. Keep an eye on it and stir as it simmers. Meanwhile start to boil enough salted water to cook the gnocchi in.

When the asparagus is deemed soft enough, transfer to a heat-proof bowl and blend / puree to a soft smooth paste. Put the other half of the butter and the remaining asparagus into the saucepan and again simmer with small amounts of added water to steam the asparagus to desired texture, meanwhile place the gnocchi in the boiling salted water and wait for it to float.

While the gnocchi are cooking add the pureed asparagus back to the saucepan with the second portion and stir, adding sour cream and cream. Don't let it boil, just keep it below a simmer, until the gnocchi have floated for around four minutes.

At that point, drain the gnocchi and place in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the asparagus sauce and increase heat, stirring constantly.

When the sauce is just about boiling you'll observe it to thicken noticeably, at this point, remove from heat and transfer to serving dish.

SERVING:
Serve immediately, with grated cheese if desired.

NOTES:
I've deliberately left the quantities vague, around three bunches of asparagus (18 or so thick stalks) is generally enough to use with a kilo of gnocchi.

Cook-ahead: I also buy asparagus when it's on special and process it to the puree stage and divide it into portions of approximately 9 - 10 stalks (around 1 cup of puree) and freeze, that way all I need to do is buy fresh asparagus to simmer and add a portion of pre-blended asparagus and the meal's pretty much made. Not sure how long it keeps in the freezer, ours never lasts more than two months. %)

ENJOY!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Vaguely Italian Chicken Marylands

NAME: _Vaguely Italian Chicken Marylands

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
2 chicken marylands (see Notes)
4 long middle rashers of bacon
1 head broccoli
150g sugar snap peas
1 bottle passata
2 cups mirepoix (see Notes)
1 white onion
3 cups red wine, used divided
1/2 cup soya
salt
about 3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
olive oil ad lib

METHOD:
Trim the rinds off the bacon rashers and set both aside, trim up the marylands (or whatever cut you use) ready for marinating. Make up the marinade of soya sauce, 2 cups of red wine, and (not mentioned in ingredients but you can if you like) crushed fresh garlic, cover the chicken cuts with the marinade in a bowl and weigh them down with a plate.

Meanwhile, slowly fry the bacon rinds in olive oil to flavour the oil, then discard the rinds when they are crunchy. Set aside the oil until the chicken has had at least an hour to marinate. Pat the chicken pieces dry and sear, flesh side first, then skin side, until the sides have taken a brown crusting. Do this as quickly and on as hot a pan as you can. Lay the pieces in a roasting pan or other oven proof dish and cover the top surfaces with the bacon slices.

Cut the broccoli into egg sized florets and trim the sugar snap peas and surround the chicken pieces with them.

Heat the mirepoix, passata, and the last cup of red wine and simmer to reduce to about half. Carefully pour over the vegetables and around the chicken pieces (try not to get sauce on the tops of these) then thickly sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 90 minutes at 180C, turn off the heat and alow to set in the oven for another ten minutes.

SERVING:
Plate 'er up and put 'er down!

NOTES:
I suppose breasts or drumsticks might do, but marylands are just a good shape to work with and taste great. You need large pieces of meat but not too high in profile.

Mirepoix is finely diced carrot, onion, and celery sweated together in (usually) olive oil. I make mine ahead of time and freeze in ziploc bags.

I sometimes make parmesan crusted corn cobs with this, Weird combination but it works. Just take a few clean shucked corn cobs and brush with a bit of anchovy and / or olive oil then coat in grated parmesan and roast on a lower rack at the same time as the rest of the meal.

ENJOY!

COUNTER

Email Subscriptions powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe to all my blogs at once!

Your email address:


Powered by FeedBlitz