Thursday, 29 August 2013

Piquant Sauce a la Ted

NAME: _Piquant Sauce a la Ted

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp tomato sauce (or tomato paste)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sambal oelek or other fermented garlic & chilli paste
1 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 cup water

In small saucepan over medium heat combine the flour, butter, raw sugar, and cayenne pepper, keep stirring until it bubbles and the flour starts to colour slightly. Add about half the water, stirring continuously, then add remaining ingredients. Use remaining water to adjust consistency.

Like, uh... Just splash it on stuff like your BBQ meats or on chips or whatever... %)

I've used harissa paste and sriracha sauces with equally nice results. Also, use honey or golden syrup to vary the sweetener, and try apple cider vinegar or straight white vinegar for different flavours.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sage and Mushroom Stuffed Capsicums

NAME: _Sage and Mushroom Stuffed Capsicums

2 large capsicums
1 egg
2 tbsp milk

1 cup basmati
2 cups water (beef stock)
12 small button mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
4 tsp dried sage
1/4 nutmeg
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tbsp pine nuts

Prepare the rice, boil 1 cup rice in 2 cups stock or water, reduce to simmer once boiling and simmer until all water is absorbed. Set aside.

Stem and skin mushrooms, cut caps into 8 sections. Place in saucepan with the butter, caraway seeds, and pine nuts. Fry until pine nuts smell toasty, add the rice and toss while still frying, add the sage and ground nutmeg, stir, salt to taste, and take from heat. Allow to cool before use.

(If you didn't use beef stock for the rice, add a tsp beef stock powder at the same time as adding the sage and nutmeg.)

Cut capsicums in half lengthways, remove ribs and seeds, trim the stem and seed mass without puncturing the capsicum. Over a medium flame, hold capsicums in tongs and char-blacken the outside.

Arrange in glass ovenproof dish, microwabe on 50% power for around ten minutes, until they have partly softened. Fill with the stuffing, brush over filling with a glaze made of the egg and milk beaten together. Place in oven for 60 minutes at around 190C.

Serve hot, or cold as mezes.

I tend to use the stock powder option a lot, as I often have rice left over from another meal. I use one of the milder stock cubes and crumble it to powder.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Austrian Style Pork Hock

NAME: _Austrian Style Pork Hock

1 sliced shank of pork (see Notes)
150g bacon
150g Strassburg section
1/2 cup lard
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 nutmeg
1 green apple
2 glasses red wine
1 tbsp grape molasses
1 tbsp german or dijon mustard
1 tsp ground black pepper
200g brine sauerkraut (see Notes)
2 medium potatoes
2 medium carrots
12 small brussels sprouts
150g pickled beans (see Notes, need to be prepared ahead a week at least)
1 litre water
salt to season

In a heavy-bottomed pot, place the lard. Wash and then pat dry the pork slices, add to the lard on medium heat, and fry until the meat takes a bit of brown colour. Chop bacon, onions, and Strassburg sausage, and add to pot.

Core, peel, and slice the apple around 5mm thick slices, add to pot. Add the caraway seeds, and grate half a nutmeg over, add the fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt,fry for about five minutes turning often.

Pour the red wine over, stir in the mustard and grape molasses, add a litre of water. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for at least one hour and up to two, until the pork skin is soft enough to cut with a fork.

Peel and dice potatoes to 2cm cubes, peel and slice carrots to about 2cm slices, wash and trim the brussels sprouts. Add these to the pot along with the sauerkraut and pickled beans, try not to rinse them beforehand, Bring back to a simmering boil and leave to simmer for another half hour or until vegetables are tender.

Serve with crusty bread or dumplings or - why not? - with both. Good if made a day ahead, too.

The shank is pre-sliced at the butchers as "casserole" pork. If not, get your butcher to slice it into 1.5 cm slices for you, unless you want to spend ages with a hacksaw and washing bone chips off. Skin definitely on for this dish.

Pickled Beans:
Make a brine 2 water 1 vinegar 1/2 salt by weight, top and tail green beans, fill a clean sterilised jar with beans, then pour hot brine over, put lid on, and shale to release any air bubbles. Add more brine to completely cover, allow to cool, store in a cool place.

The pickled beans are something I like to have in the fridge because they keep for several months like that, and I can buy beans when they're cheap and still have them available in off-season. I also pickle raw cauliflower florets, baby carrots and julienne carrots, and radishes this way, same reason. They store for months in the fridge or a cool spot.

The sauerkraut I discuss in another recipe on this blog, you can use the salted sauerkraut that you find in delis and some supermarkets. Don't use pre-flavoured and prepared sauerkraut for this, it needs the salt/lactic acid flavour.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Baked Fish Italian Style

NAME: _Baked Fish Italian Style

2 - 4 fish fillets (I used Australian Flathead x 4, you could use flake or something similar)
1 clove garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup milk
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup crumbled sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cauliflower
1/2 cup bread crumbs
a few sprigs of fresh parsley

Fish Spice
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried garlic granules
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried juniper berries
1 tsp salt

For Fish Spice:
Crumble the bay leaves, place in spice blender, add all the other ingredients, blend to fine powder. Place in an airtight jar for keeping.

For Main Dish:
Trim cauliflower to small florets, blanch in boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes. Use plenty of water to carry some of the pungency away. Trim and clean the fish fillets of bones and traces of skin. Lay cauliflower florets on the base of a glass-lidded casserole, lay the fish fillets on top, aiming to cover the surface from edge to edge.

In a saucepan put the olive oil and gently warm, peel and mash the garlic and drop into oil, allow to warm until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then add three teaspoons of fish spice and stir through. Whisk the cornflour in a few tablespoons of milk, add the rest of milk and cream to saucepan and increase the heat, stirring gently. When almost simmering, add the crumbled cheddar and stir until melted.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the milk with the cornflour, mix well in, and pour all over the fish fillets. When the cream has run to the base of the dish, sprinkle the remaining two cheeses over the fish, and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over that.

Put lid on casserole and place in moderate oven for around an hour. At one hour, check with a skewer that cauliflower and fish are close to done. Remove lid and turn oven to 210C - 220C. (hot)

Pprepare the rice (1 cup Basmati rice 2 cups water 1 tsp salt) bring to boil with the lid on, simmer until all water is absorbed, then stir and set aside.

Check the fish in the oven, cheese should be browned well. When it is, the dish is done.

Allow to cool for five minutes, then plate up atop a bed of rice, dress with a few parsley sprigs.

I used a bit more oregano than is usually called for in fish spice, but then I like oregano. Play with the fish spice recipe until you get it the way you want. Also, parsley - I generally pluck off just leaves from the sprigs, but that's because I expect my garnish to be eaten along with the dish...


Friday, 16 August 2013

Penne Marco Polo Mio

NAME: _Penne Marco Polo Mio

300g penne or similar
salt to boil
150g section of strassburg or gypsy ham
1 medium brown onion
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup basil leaves or 1/3 cup dried basil
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup black dry salted olives
1/2 cup fine grated parmesan or romano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
a pinch ground cinnamon

Toast the pine nuts in a heavy frypan until golden to brown. Transfer to temporary bowl, set aside. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and return to low heat.

Put on enough salted water to boil the pasta in, (I generally drop the pasta in at the same time, it really doesn't make much difference, believe me.)

Chop the onion around 5mm chunks, add to pan, stir. Square up the Strassburg or ham section, cut into straws about 2mm - 3mm thick and 3cm - 5cm long. Add to pan and stir. Finely chop the garlic, add to pan and stir. Add half the basil, chilli, pepper, and cinnamon. Chop the sundried tomato into 5mm wide strips.

Check the pasta and stir to separate. Increase heat under frypan and stir in the broccoli. Continue to stir regularly until broccoli has turned deep green, add the olives, sundried tomato, and remaining basil, turn off heat and set aside.

As soon as pasta is just soft enough to eat, drain and quickly rinse, then return to pot and place back on medium heat. Stir in the fried mix and toasted pine nuts, add remaining olive oil and mix that in, then stir in the grated cheese and serve immediately.

Can be served as above, or toss a handful of washed spinach leaves through and then serve.

Pasta Marco Polo isn't precisely what this dish is, but it's close. Putanesca isn't precisely what this dish is, but it's close. Also feel free to substitute ham or any other such charcuterie meats for an experiment. Use strips of red capsicum or zucchini. The important thing is not to overpower the basil/cheese/oil/garlic combination too much. Mine was an "opportunistic" meal, made with what was to hand. Go wild!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Masala Chicken Eggplant

NAME: _Masala Chicken Eggplant

2 cups eggplant flesh (see Method)
1/2 tin tomato pieces or 1 cup chopped Roma tomato
250g chicken pieces
chicken stock
1/2 brown onion
6 curry leaves
1 tsp harissa or minced chilli
1/2 tsp salt (more or less, to taste)

For Garam Masala:
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp seeds from green cardamom pods (about 2 -3 pods' worth)
1cm stick of cinnamon

For Garam Masala:
Crumble the cinnamon stick into a hot heavy pan, add the other spices, and roast until they're fragrant. Grind to powder, store remainder in airtight jar, keeps a month or two.

For Masala Chicken Eggplant:
Put stock, tomato pieces, and chicken pieces in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add a teaspoonful of the Garam Masala, the chilli, and the salt. Finely chop the onion, and add. Leave to simmer for an hour, then remove chicken from pot, remove all bones and skins, put just the meat back.

Eggplant should be peeled and cubed to around 1cm - 1.5cm size, soaked in plain water for around an hour before use. Add the eggplant to the chicken about 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Serve as a side dish or as a main with basmati rice.

I make this as a part of a larger meal, you could double the quantities and make a full meal of this.


Tandoori Roast Whole Cauliflower

NAME: _Tandoori Roast Whole Cauliflower

1 cauliflower head
2 tbsp crumbled paneer or similar white cheese (cottage cheese crumbles?)

For Tandoori Spice
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp coriander seeds
1/3 stick cinnamon, broken in chunks
5 - 10 whole cloves
1/3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp garlic granules or powder
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp dried onion flakes

For Marinade
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp tandoori spice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup besan flour

For Chutney
2 cups mint leaves
1/2 a brown onion
1/3 dried red chili (or 1 tsp harissa)
1 lemon
1 large or 2 small ripe Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp besan flour
A couple pinches of salt
1 tsp honey

For Tandoori Spice:
Toast the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves in a small pan until they start to get fragrant and a bit toasted brown. Medium heat. Grind in spice grinder or powder in mortar and pestle along with granulated garlic and onion flakes. Add the powdered ingredients, mix well. Store whatever you don't need in an airtight jar in a cool dark place, it keeps for around a month or two.

For Tandoori Marinade:
Put garlic and salt in mortar and pestle or food processor and mince to paste. Add tandoori spice, besan flour, and buttermilk and mix well / process

Finally! The Cauliflower:
Make sure cauliflower is washed, clean, and dry. Remove the bottom part of stalk and all the leaves. Put a plastic bag in a bowl just big enough for the cauliflower to sit in upside down. The bag should be open and the edges rolled over the rim of the bowl so the bag in effect lines the bowl. Put the cauliflower into the plastic bag, and drizzle the marinade around so it gets in all the cauliflower. Lift the plastic bag out and makes sure to squeeze marinade so it covers every part of the cauliflower. Push as much air out of the bag as possible and twist it closed. Leave for at least an hour before removing from the bag and proceeding. Overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 190C - 200C. Put cauliflower upright in a baking tray lined with baking paper, place in oven lower half and roast for 45 - 60 minutes, until the stalk feels cooked when you prick it with a wooden skewer and the outside is brown.

Chop the onion and tomato finely. Put in food processor, squeeze lemon juice over, add other ingredients and blitz for a minute or so, until it forms a chunky, salsa-like consistency.

Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle crumbled cheese over, let people carve off their chunk and spoon chutney over.

I pilfered part of this recipe from the 'net, but it's only vaguely like the original by now. %) I added the section on making Tandoori spice rather than relying on premade store-bought spice mixes, because that way you can adjust it to suit. I made this very mild compared to the original recipe, because I like the other flavours to come out.

I used buttermilk where yoghurt was called for - I like buttermilk and figured by adding a spot of besan flour would give the necessary consistency and also add a nice flavour note, and it does.

You can use lime in place of lemon for the chutney, I only had lemons and it's still bearable...


Saturday, 10 August 2013

SoakTEd Walnutses

NAME: _SoakTEd Walnutses

Walnuts (quantity to fill a jar of your choice, see METHOD)
Olive oil

Sterilise your jar and lid in boiling water, also sterilise a slightly smaller plastic lid that will fit inside the jar mouth to hold walnuts down from floating out of the brine. While you're dealing with hot water, make a brine of around 4tsp - 6tsp salt per litre of water, allow this to cool before using.

Shell as many walnuts as you'll need to fill your jar. (I've generally made this in 250mL jars, just enough for a TV snack for two people.) Separate the walnut halves and remove the dried membrane and discard.

Put walnut halves and other stray pieces into the jar, shake down to compact. Leave about half a centimetre at the top - depends on the lid you're going to use to hold walnuts down. Add the cooled brine to cover walnuts, put the smaller lid in upside down to hold the walnuts submerged, and put a few layers of cloth over the jar, or put the lid on but leave open.

Leave in a cool dark spot (pantry, kitchen cupboard, etc) for a few days. Check daily - if it begins to bubble or fine white yeast pinpricks star to form, the walnuts are done. Also, after four days, no matter whether bubbles or yeast have formed, consider the walnuts done.

Empty walnuts onto a teatowel or cloth, and shake vigorously to shed the excess brine. Don't wash them, instead spread them out on a baking tray, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 180C for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring them around once to ensure even roasting. You want them just starting to brown a bit.

Serve hot, eat right away. Or allow to cool, and use in cooking. Warning: These may cause you to explode with bliss. Seriously...

There's a lot of stuff online about "activating" nuts, so I thought I'd try it with a fermentation process, only I didn't want to fully ferment them, just start them. Four days is about the limit. I may try a bunch done fermented vegetable style, left for a month or so with a starter of lactobacillus. (From whey or sauerkraut liquid.)



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