Thursday, 23 May 2013

Leek Buttermilk Bake

NAME: _Leek Buttermilk Bake

3 leeks
2 medium waxy potatoes
2 medium brown onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp dijon mustard
50g butter
1 egg
1 to 1.5 cups cottage cheese
1 - 2 cups grated sharp cheese

Either sheets of puff pastry
or make a bread dough with
150g baker's flour
90ml water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast

If making the pastry, take about mix and knead as for bread dough, let rise for 40 minutes, punch down and roll out as thin as possible, fold in sides to middle and then ends to middle and roll out again, ensuring the pastry is big enough in every direction to cover the pie/flan dish.

Lay dough into pie/flan dish pressing into the bottom edge all the way around, and all the way up the sides. Set aside to rise for about 20 minutes, then place in refrigerator to stop further rising and set the pastry. Save scraps of pastry aside for the topping.

Slice leeks into 1cm slices, onions into 1/2cm slices, peel potatoes, quarter lengthways, and slice each quarter in 1/2cm slices also. Chop the two cloves of garlic. Place potatoes into a pan with the butter and a few spoonfuls of water to promote steaming of potatoes. Once they begin to soften add onion garlic and leek, cook until soft. Add mustard and buttermilk, heat until it's thickened and almost dry.

Use stick blender to mix egg and water, add shreds of left over dough and blend until it achieves a consistency, set aside.

Place about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on the bottom of the pastry shell. Add the cooled filling, the rest of the cottage cheese. Spread the egg batter over the top, then sprinkle the cheese over.

Bake in 200C oven for up to 45 minutes, until done.

Serve with steamed vegetables.

See also Chicken Leek Pot Pie once I put the recipe up.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Wholemeal Honey and Buttermilk Loaf

NAME: _Wholemeal Honey and Buttermilk Loaf

200g wholemeal flour
150g baker's flour
210ml buttermilk
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Egg wash (if desired)
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp bicarb

Place flour in dough mixer, start on medium speed and add the yeast and salt. when mixed through, add the honey and allow to mix, then add in the buttermilk, reduce speed to medium low. Allow mixer to knead the dough until well come together, about 7-10 minutes. Keep switching off and lifting the mixer and unsticking the dough ball from the bowl to allow it all to knead thoroughly.

Remove the dough ball with floured hands, work a few sprinkles of flour around the outside. Place in a bowl that has been brushed with olive oil, brush the top with olive oil, and allow to rise for between 30 and 60 minutes depending how long it takes to double. Turn out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, punch down and shape round, leave to rise the second time.

If desired, mix up the glaze and brush top of loaf, slash 4 - 6 times, place in oven preheated to 185C and bake for 45 minutes or until done. (Depends on your oven.)

Heavier flours don't rise that well, and form a dense crumb. This same recipe can also be made with spelt flour and baker's flour.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cottage Cheese Lasagne Roll-ups

NAME: _Cottage Cheese Lasagne Roll-ups

Pasta: (If making from scratch)
400g OO flour
3 eggs plus two yolks from filling (see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
(Otherwise, 12 - 16 premade fresh lasagne or canneloni sheets)

1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp chopped salt-preserved lemon rind
1 brown onion chopped
8 cloves garlic (See Method)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Grapeseed oil mixed
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1 - 2 cups cottage cheese
1/3 cup fresh fine grated Romano
3 roma tomatoes
3 halves oven-roasted roma tomato
2 egg whites (add yolks to the pasta dough if making from scratch)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Cooking salt to season.
Around 1 cup shredded sharp cheese such as cheddar.
Around 1/3 cup of finely grated Romano.

Make the sauce.
Chop half the garlic cloves roughly. Add the oil to the saucepan, heat close to smoking, add the chopped onion and the rough-chopped garlic. When onions are just beginning to turn golden, add the tin of chopped tomato and the chopped salt lemon rind, the basil, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt, leave simmering for at least half an hour, preferably two. Depending on which pasta you are using, you may add half a cup of stock or water. (See Notes)

Make the filling:
Mix the egg whites and grated Romano into the cottage cheese, add salt to season, mix some more. Set aside. Slice the fresh roma tomatoes and the oven roasted romas, set aside.

Prepare the pasta. 
If making from scratch, place flour in a mixing bowl, add a teaspoon of salt, mix through, make a well in the centre and add the 3 eggs and 2 spare egg yolks, mix through. The mixture should initially be crumbly but slowly come together after around five minutes mixing (by hand) and form a hard dough ball. Add water as necessary to achieve this very hard consistency.

Make a well in the dough, add some olive oil, knead on a board, keep making a well and adding more oil a few drops at a time until all the oil is absorbed into the dough. Keep kneading for at least five minutes, then roll the dough out into a log about 3cm diameter and as long as it makes. Cut in halves successively until you have 16 slices, roll these out as quickly as possible using a pasta roller, to the #7 setting. Try to get the patches of dough as wide as the pasta machine will allow, and lay the pieces out interleaved with waxed paper.

If using prepackaged sheets, cook in boiling water until almost done, and allow to surface dry without washing.

Prepare the dish itself:
Spoon enough cottage cheese mixture onto each sheet of pasta to cover completely, lay several slices of fresh tomato interspersed with slices of oven roasted romas along one edge, sprinkle a little chopped fresh basil over the tomato. Roll each sheet so the tomato edge ends up inside lengthways.

Spoon a bit of the sauce into a baking dish, lay the lasagne roll-ups in so there's a little space between them, top with the remaining sauce. Place in 185C degree oven for 45 minutes, then remove from oven, sprinkle the cheddar and Romano evenly over the top, increase oven temp to 200C, and return the baking dish to the oven for a further 15 - 20 minutes.

Serve immediately, spoon a little of the sauce over each plated pair of roll-ups.

Technically, this is a form of canneloni, but not quite. You could use ricotta but cottage cheese makes this a much heartier meal. Fresh pasta may take a bit longer at 185C to cook properly, as it goes in fresh and uncooked. That's okay, the way to test is to cut a pinwheel slice off a roll-up and see - if there's white showing in the pasta dough where you cut it, it isn't cooked through yet.
If using prepackaged pasta, it will be 3/4 cooked when you pull the dish together so the sauce can be quite thick. If using fresh pasta, you may want to add half a cup of water to the sauce to better cook the pasta, which will absorb some of the liquid.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Bigos #1

NAME: _Bigos #1

1 cup prunes
20gm dried porcini or (wild forest) mushrooms (See NOTES)
2 cups stock, beef preferred, or chicken or vegetable
1 tbsp pork lard
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion
half head cabbage
half a kilo of sauerkraut  (See NOTES)
1kg Polish sausage (See NOTES)
1kg kabanossa (See NOTES)
1kg leftover boneless meat (See NOTES)
150g bacon cubes, around a cupful (See NOTES)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (See NOTES)
1 cup red wine
1 tsp heaped of caraway seeds
Salt and black pepper to taste

If necessary, pit the prunes. Put prunes and mushrooms into enough boiled water to soak them, set aside.

Rinse the sauerkraut and drain well. Cut sausages into 2cm - 3cm slices, meats slightly larger.

Slice the cabbage thin, place in a large heavy saucepan along with the fats. Peel the onion, quarter lengthways, add to saucepan. If using uncooked meats, add them now as well. Add caraway seeds, and saute until cabbage is reduced to about half.

Add remaining ingredients sauerkraut, tomato, stock, the soaked prunes and mushrooms and the clear liquid they were soaked in, preferably leaving the cloudy sediment out, and red wine, bring to a simmer.

Simmer for one and a half hours. Add water if needed to prevent burning, stir often.

Serve in bowls with smallish boiled peeled potatoes.
Bigos is even tastier if kept in a cool place for 24 hours and re-heated.

"Bigos" is almost a Polish national dish, it's also known as "Hunter's Stew" and was often made to use up leftover meats and smallgoods and the last of the season's sauerkraut.  It's delicious served fresh, reheated, or even frozen and reheated.
  • There are mixes of dried mushrooms available that are every bit as good as porcini in this recipe. I've used home-dried portobello, dried field mushrooms, and whatever comes to hand.
  • Use salt-pickled sauerkraut, either home-made or store bought.
  • Sausage/bacon - smoked Polish sausage can be used in place of Kabanossa, just omit the bacon or the smoked flavour becomes quite strong.
  • Meats - can use fresh beef, fresh pork, leftover roast, leftover ham - pretty much whatever. Mutton is not recommended.
  • If using bacon, 1cm cubes is about right, but again, whatever is to hand.
  • Use 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes instead of the tinned tomatoes, if you prefer. 


Borscht Soup #2

NAME: _Borscht Soup #2

3 - 4 beetroots
1 turnip
1 large potato
2 medium carrots
1 kg beef, cubed around 2cm
1 large brown onion, cut into 1/8ths
2 ltrs beef stock
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups fine chopped fresh cabbage
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup sour cream

Place the beef and onions in a large saucepan along with about 1/2 the stock. Set to simmering, for around an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the root vegetables to around 1.5cm cubes, place in remaining stock, add the dill and vinegar, set aside.

Allow the cooked broth to cool, skim off any froth and excess fat. Add the remaining stock with vegetables in, return to heat for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the shredded cabbage, boil for another ten minutes or so. Add the cream and serve.

Serving - can be done immediately, when the soup is hot, or served cold later, or (best by far) kept cool for a day or two, gently re-heated, and served.

In any case, serve with rustic bread.

Variations include adding pork meat and sausages, cubed potato, parsnip, etc. I made the recipe above with cabbage that had been shredded and slow-cooked in butter days before as part of another meal, and was rewarded with a beautiful flavour. Don't be afraid to experiment a little. Add red wine as well as red wine vinegar, use caraway and fennel seeds when boiling the meat. All these variations work.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

My Fried Green Tomatoes

NAME: _My Fried Green Tomatoes

green tomatoes
1 cup flour
1 cup fine corn meal
2 raw eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp fine ground cumin
1 tsp fine salt
pinch of fine salt
1 - 2 cup oil. (EVOO, rice bran, grapeseed mix is good)

(See notes) Prepare tomatoes as per the Notes. Place plain flour in a small bowl, corn meal in another small bowl mixed with cumin and salt, Beat eggs, milk, and pinch of salt in a third small bowl.

Put oil into a heavy frypan and heat just under smoking heat, maintain this temperature.

Dip tomato pieces into egg, dredge in flour, dip in egg, and finally dredge in corn meal, then place in frypan and fry, turning often, until golden to lightly browned, drain on a slice of bread or some paper towel.

Prepare in small batches, as if you leave coated pieces laying around for five minutes, the salt will draw moisture, and the coating may try to drip off the pieces.

If you turn them gently, and only turn them once the underneath side has browned, you should be able to keep all the coating on the tomato rather than crumbling all into the frypan.

As a side dish, best served hot.

I was lucky enough to have a crop of cherry tomatoes late in the season that were not going to ripen, and they are too small to slice, so I just cut them in half. That meant a large surface of smooth skin, which the initial flour would not have stuck well to. Hence the double dipping procedure.

If you have larger green tomatoes that can be sliced about 7mm thick, do so, if you have cherry tomatoes, halves should be no thicker than 7mm, if they are larger (grape tomatoes) perhaps quarter them. The idea is that the thickness should be such that the inside of the slice/half/quarter cooks just soft in the time it takes for the crumbing to brown.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Stuffed Kale Rolls

NAME: _Stuffed Kale Rolls

24 large Black Kale (Kavolo Nero) leaves
12 smaller Black Kale leaves
250gm beef mince
4 small brown onions
8 cloves of garlic
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
Bunch of fresh oregano leaves
Bunch of fresh mint leaves
100g Crumbly Fetta cheese
100g Drained salt pickled sauerkraut
1 cup Basmati rice
Olive Oil

This dish is prepared in several stages. The mince can be prepared a day in advance, and in fact I generally make about 3 times the amount of mince and freeze the rest for other dishes. I'll deal with each stage separately to make it easier.

Finely chop 2 small onions and two peeled cloves of garlic, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onions and garlic, fry until onion goes slightly glassy, and add the mince. Chop oregano and mint leaves until you have about quarter of a cupful of each, add that to the mince, stir through and allow the flavour to permeate, then add three quarters of a tin of chopped tomatoes and the tablespoon of tomato paste, plus a cup of water. Add two more cloves of garlic, minced. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 45 minutes, adding water if it becomes too dry. (But you do want it relatively dry.) Set aside to cool.

Chop about a quarter of a cup of mint leaves, and in a bowl stir together the mince, the mint leaves, the sauerkraut, an extra teaspoon of salt, and the cupful of uncooked Basmati rice. Cube or crumble the fetta and fold into the mixture. Set aside

Finely chop the remaining two onions and peel and finely slice the other four garlic cloves. Fry in a saucepan (perhaps the same one as the mince was cooked in) in about a tablespoonful of olive oil, until the onion becomes golden with occasional brown bits. Add the remaining tin and a quarter of tomatoes, about three cups of water, salt, and about a quarter cupful of chopped oregano leaves. Simmer for around 30 minutes.

FINALLY, The Rolls:
Take the 24 large kale leaves and shave the thick spine down to the same level as the leaf. Boil a large saucepan of well salted water, and put the leaves in stalk end first, then slowly press down into the water. Leaves should turn bright green when blanched, and be softened but not so soft as to tear. At this point, empty the boiling water and flood the leaves in cold water to stop the cooking process.

With the stem end towards you and spine side down, place a tablespoonful of the filling mixture in the centre of each leaf, fold the sides in, the bottom up, and then roll to the tip, forming a parcel with the filling inside.

Roughly tear the remaining kale leaves and put about half on the bottom of a large saucepan, probably the same one as was used to blanch the larger leaves, then arrange the rolls in a layer so that they wedge each other so they will stay closed, then add the sauce. lay the remaining kale leaves on top, and if the liquid from the sauce hasn't covered the rolls, add a bit more water until the rolls are covered to a depth of about a centimetre.

Put a lid on the saucepan, bring contents to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard the covering leaves when done, remove the rolls from the sauce, arrange on a plate, and spoon some sauce over. Serve hot or cold.

This was an experiment, because I like dolmade and cabbage rolls, and I LOVE kale and especially Black Kale. You could leave out the sauerkraut and perhaps use very finely shredded cabbage, but I liked it the way it was.



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