Sunday, 12 April 2015

Vegetable Frittata thingie

NAME: _Vegetable Frittata thingie
(Sorry, no picture, just imagine a generic frittata type thing %) What made this special was just that the vegetables were still screaming and kicking from being picked washed and prepared... %)

Home grown:
About a pound of new potatoes (fresh that afternoon)
About half a pound of  silver beet leaves
Three carrots complete with greens
A bunch of parsley (around a packed cupful when just torn from the thicker stems)
One brown onion

Home made:
one tablespoon each of lard and dripping
2 tablespoons of fresh ground flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Two stalks celery
Four eggs (not this year, but next year this ingredient will join the "home grown" section above...)
Chicken stock cube (or vegetable stock cube. or home made vegetable powders)
2 tbsp grated parmesan or romano
A few cups of water, divided, see recipe
salt to season

Wash the vegetables well and shake dry, slice the potatoes and carrot roots about 1/2cm (1/4 inch) thick and put in a large frying pan with the lard and the dripping and about a cup of water. Include the thicker parts of the carrot greens stems and parsley stems, chopped roughly, and the leaves and top of one celery stalk also chopped roughly. Tear the silver beet leaves away from the stems and set aside, chop the stems into chunky sticks and add them to the pan.

Salt lightly to draw moisture out of vegetables. Put the lid on the frying pan and bring to a simmer, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, slice the onion into lengthways wedges about the same thickness as the vegetable slices, Slice the celery stalks about the same, discard the top and leaves of the second stalk. Roughly chop the remainder of the carrot greens and the parsley. Add them to the pan and leave the lid on for another ten minutes, then remove the lid and allow to evaporate until the vegetables are frying, turn a few times until some browning takes place, then take off heat and spoon into a baking dish.

Beat the eggs, half a cup to one cup of water, flour, and crumbled chicken stock cube until all dissolved and pour over the vegetables in the dish, lifting the vegetables to allow the mixture to penetrate. Aim to have a thin film of egg mixture standing, this will absorb and penetrate while baking. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese over. Stand for a few minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the remaining liquid. Bake in preheated oven 180C - 200C for 30 to 60 minutes, until the topping has a browned colour as you prefer it.

Remove from oven and stand for ten minutes or so, then serve. Also good cold served with a side salad.

Happy to say most of it came from our own garden or endeavours. (Breadcrumbs collected from bread made in house, lard and drippings rendered in house, and I ground the flour using a coffee burr grinder on finest setting, from wheat berries. Next year we're going to have our own eggs again, and I'll have celery growing in the aquaponics so we'll have a supply of that too.)

Adjust the quantities to your preferences, more flour if you like a firmer texture, baked darker brown if you like the more crunchy topping, etc. But carrot greens are a bit of a prerequisite, the fresher the better, which is why I like being able to grow them myself. Store bought carrots either don't have the tops on or if they do, they're several days old and wilted and flavourless.


Friday, 27 March 2015

Bear's Bread Crisps


stale bread French stick
fine grated parmesan cheese
seasonings (see NOTES)
olive oil

Slice the bread stick into rounds 3mm - 5mm thick, lay out as tightl packed as will still lay fflat on a shallow baking tray or baking sheet, brush liberally with olive oil, sprinkle seasoning (see NOTES) over, sprinkle parmesan cheese over.

Bake in oven preheated to 180C for 10 - 20 mintes depending on your oven, until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and immediately spread out on a cooling rack or tea towel, or stacked on each other as pictured. This lets the crisps dr and develop their crispness.
(Please note this was my first batch, it really
needs the olive oil spread all the wa to the edges
in order to cook nicely. These were still okay though.)

Serve as a snack once cooled. Will keep in an open container covered loosely with a teatowel for a few day, but will go stale quickly due to the olive oil so eat ASAP. (Shouldn't be a problem %)

Seasonings can be as simple as Vegeta stock powder, or any other dry seasoning you like. I used:
1 tsp fine cooking salt
2 tbsp Vegeta powder
1 tbsp tomato powder (see below)
1 tsp celery powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp carrot powder
2 tsp basil powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
but you can vary these as you wish. The cayenne is fantastic, as is the garlic powder. Tomato powder also is good.

You can make your own tomato powder by either saving the skins and seeds of tomatoes when you make sauce, or just use whole fleshy saucing tomatoes, boil gently until most of the liquid is reduced, spread out on a drying sheet or baking sheet and either dry in the oven on low heat with the door open, or in a dehydrator if you own one. Once the tomato pulp is completely crisp dry (but not burnt) you whiz it in a blender until it's a fine powder.

Dry tomato pulp, skins, and seeds, just before going in the blender.


REAL Breakfast Crumpets

NAME: _REAL Breakfast Crumpets

2 crumpets per person
1 egg per person
grated sharp cheddar
grated parmesan
crumbled bacon bits

Melt around a tablespoon of butter in your frying pan, sprinkle a few pinches of parmesan where you'll lay the crumpets, hole side up. Drop the crumpets directly onto the parmesan, sprinkle crumbled bacon, grated cheese and some parmesan onto each crumpet, sprinkling evenly to cover. Reduce to medium heat and wait for cheese to start sweating, then add a bit more butter and flip each crumpet over and keep cooking until done, around 3 - 5 minutes. You're aiming to brown the cheese and cause some crispy crust.

Meanwhile, fry your egg (in an egg ring or a large enough ring of onion or capsicum if you prefer) using the last smidgen of butter in another pan and then assemble stacks of one crumpet, one egg, topped with a second crumpet.

Serve immediately. Two crumpets and one egg are a portion for one person.

Bacon can be omitted if you're not a bacon fan.


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.



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