Sunday, March 21, 2010

mmmm yum chorizo burritos

Thanks April edition of "delicious" magazine. You have triumphed once again. My only change from the original recipe was to decrease the amount of red onion because I am somewhat scared of ruining a delicate recipe like this with the acrid overbearing flavour of too much raw onion. Angela made the dressing and put zest in it as well as juice - good move.
The quality of the final dish is really dependent on the quality of your ingredients. Use really fresh salad ingredients and hunt for a very delicious fresh chorizo sausage.
Lots of salad. Add another chorizo and you could easily feed 5 people.
This is fun. You get to eat with sauce dribbling down your hands.

Serves 4

2 cobs corn, microwaved unpeeled for 3 mins or until cooked, then kernels sliced off
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocadoes, chopped roughly
Large handful of coriander, chopped
1/4 medium sized red onion, sliced very thinly in half moons and plunged for 20 seconds into cold water
1x 400g can of red kidney beans

1 tsp ground cumin
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

3x really good quality fresh chorizo sausages - it's nice to have one with a bit of chilli in it if you can hack it
Tortillas, to serve (we used wholemeal and warmed them in the microwave to soften)
Sour cream, to serve

(do you really need a method? Just get it in!)

Mix together the corn, tomatoes, avocado, red onion and kidney beans.

Make the dressing by combining lime zest and juice, vinegar and olive oil. Pour over salad and stir gently to combine.

Carefully slice the chorizo into 1/2cm slices. Heat up a griddle pan and grill the chorizo until delicious and crispy.

Put the salad in a bowl on the table and let everyone help themselves. Make sure you have plenty of napkins. It will get messy. You might want forks too so people can get all the little goodies that have dropped out the bottom of their wrap.

ooohhhh yum!

Mum was not happy when I said I wanted to make this instead of letting her have her new favourite - the goat from the boatshed - for dinner. The goat is superb. This is maybe better. I suppose being sick of having meat and salad this is a bit more fun. A bit more flavour than a mesculun salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic as we seem to have every night here. Give me flavour.

Bryony's favourite sour lemon cake.

This cake is amazing. Follow the recipe exactly. Do not skimp on lemon zest.

I made this one for Bryony's 25th Birthday party. Decorated around the edges with seriously delicious hazelnut palmiers from Martineau's.

I ice it with a simple lemon icing made of icing sugar, a knob of softened butter and lemon juice. I think it is best with a really thin icing as in this picture.

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan.

Cream the butter, sugar and zest. Beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour, sour cream and lemon juice.

Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 mins.

Do not overcook.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The First of Julia - Saute de Boeuf a la Parisienne

Beef Stroganoff was always my favourite dish as a child. We had it with white rice and green peas. I always ate it in the most awful way possible - mixing up the stroganoff, rice and peas together into a delicious mess on the plate. The last time I attempted to make beef stroganoff it was a tough, spectacular failure.
Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cookery" volumes I and II. For xmas from Simon. Now to see what Julia can do with Beef. Here is her interpretation. The steak is wonderful and tender (we used rump). Try to keep it pink in the middle, like any good piece of beef. This recipe is adapted from Julia Child's recipe. I did reduce the amount of butter a bit. It is amazingly rich, but also amazingly delicious.

1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced shallots or green onions
1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper

2 1/2 lbs. filet of beef (we used rump steak) - cut into slices 1/2 inch by 2 inches
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup Madeira (I used sherry)
3/4 cup good brown stock
1 cup cream
2 tsp cornflour stirred into 1 tbsp of the cream

Salt and pepper
Chopped flat leaf parsley, to serve

Saute the mushrooms in a 9-10 inch enameled skillet in the first lot of oil and butter. Cook for 4-5 minutes to brown lightly. Stir in the shallots or onions and cook for another minute. Season well and then decant onto a plate.
Place the second batch of oil and butter into the pan over moderately high heat. When the butter foam subsides, saute the beef, a few pieces at a time until brown on the outside, but still rosy red in the middle. Remove to a plate. Discard the sauteing fat.

Add in the Madeira and then the stock. Boil down rapidly, scraping up all the delicious bits on the bottom of the pan. Boil until reduced to about 1/3 a cup. Beat in the cream and then the cornflour mixture. Add the mushrooms and simmer for a minute more. The sauce should have thickened a bit. Taste now for seasoning.

Season the beef the return to the skillet with any juices that have leaked onto the plate. Baste the beef with the sauce and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the parsley to serve.

Make sure you have something on hand to mop up the juice - bread, rice, pasta. We had a really fresh green salad and crusty white bread.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gran's tomato chutney - woo hoo

We have finally made the much anticipated chutney that Gran used to make for us.

Step 2: find her recipe for bread - then my afternoons of cheese and chutney sandwiches will be complete.

8 lb (~3.6kg) very ripe tomatoes, chopped into 8 pieces each
1/4 lb (~100g) salt
2 lb (~900g) white sugar
1 quart (~950mL) vinegar
1 oz white pepper
1/4 oz allspice
1/4 oz cloves
1 oz chillies, chopped
4 large apples, chopped
4 large onions, chopped
4 large red capsicum, chopped

Place all ingredients into a large pan. Boil for 1-1/5 hours (we boiled for 2).
Bottle into sterilised glass jars.
Makes 4-5L.
You will finish this all in a month - so delicious

Cheese and chutney sandwiches
Dip grilled french trimmed lamb chops into it
Dip ham and cheese toasted sandwiches into it

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pretty much the best dessert for a summer dinner party - Strawberry Ice-cream cake with pistachio meringue

Dinner at Eloise's place on Sunday. We are to sample the results of her attending a cooking class in Vietnam. So I offered to make dessert. But what would go with a Vietnamese dinner on the 3rd day of +40C weather in a row. Ice cream, sorbet and meringue. Very very delicious. The meringue ends up soft and chewy. This is great. It could really be made up to a week in advance and left in the freezer as long as it is well sealed - perfect dinner party material. It has serious wow-factor too. Make sure you keep the egg whites from the custard for the meringue or vice versa depending on the order you make this. I managed to avoid this step and ended up using twice as many eggs as really necessary.

You will need an ice-cream maker and two days to make this dish. Given that instruction - it is not difficult and not time consuming. You just need time for it to set. My next investment - a real ice-cream maker that doesn't require pre-freezing the bowl and a blast freezer. Sounds expensive! If you want to get fancy - call it a "Frozen Strawberry and White wine Vacherin". Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller. Stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting.

Strawberry Sorbet
120g caster sugar
120mL water
500g fresh strawberry puree, strained
70mL good white wine (I used a Sauvignon Semillon Blanc)

Combine sugar and 120mL water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 minute the cool completely. Combine with strawberries and wine. Freeze until ice crystal start to form then fluff it around with a fork. Continue this process until you end up with a nice fluffy/icy sorbet. Alternately you can freeze it in an ice cream maker. Return to the freezer and seal well until ready to assemble the cake.

Strawberry Ice-cream
250g fresh strawberry puree, strained
400mL pouring cream
160mL milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
80g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
30 mL strawberry liqueur
Juice of one lime

Bring the cream, milk and vanilla beans to a simmer over medium heat. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and thick and the sugar is dissolved. Try not to make them bubbly. Pour the cream mixture over the top of the eggs, whisking continuously to avoid scrambled eggs.

Return the mixture to the pan. Stir continuously over low heat until the mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon and does not taste 'eggy' anymore (7-8 minutes). Do not boil the mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl in an ice water bath.

Add the strawberries, lime juice and liqueur. Freeze in an ice-cream maker. Seal well and store in the freezer until required.

Pistachio Meringue
150g egg whites
150g caster sugar
150g icing sugar
15g cornflour
150g ground pistachios
Zest of one lime

Preheat the oven to 100C. Draw three 22cm circle templates by tracing along the inside of a 22cm springform cake tin. Turn over the baking paper so you don't end up with pen/pencil on the bottom of your meringues.

Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. With the motor running, add caster sugar in a thick steady stream and continue mixing until you have stiff peaks and the mix is thick and glossy. Sieve over the icing sugar and cornflour, add pistachios and lime zest and fold through gently with a large metal spoon.

Carefully make three discs on the prepared templates, smoothing the top but not squashing out the air.

Bake until crisp but not coloured - 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave meringues to cool completely in the oven. Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble.

Strawberries, hulled, cut into wedges and sprinkled with sugar - to serve

Place a meringue disk in the base of a 22cm diameter ring from a springform pan, lined with glad wrap and on a baking-paper lined tray. Trim edges to fit as necessary. Spread a 2cm layer of strawberry ice-cream over meringue. Any remaining ice-cream must be eaten by the cook at this stage. Smooth the top. Place another meringue disc on top and press gently. Freeze until firm.

Spread a 2cm layer of sorbet over meringue. Smooth the top and eat the leftovers. Place remaining disc on top. Cover well with glad wrap and freeze overnight or until firm.

To serve. Take out of freezer 5 minutes before serving. Serve on a chilled platter. Pile the strawberries on top. Cut into slices with a sharp knife. Expect no leftovers.

Serves 9 generously. Could stretch to feed 12 but best for 10!

Probably the best pasta ever - salami and fennel!

I was craving pasta. Bryony always loves pasta. This is our interpretation of Jamie Oliver's Pasta with Salami and Fennel from Happy Days. We both love ricotta cheese, so here it is. Super super delicious. Honestly my new favourite pasta. It sounds wintery - but we ate it on a 35C day and it was perfect. Please make this. You will love it. We served it with a really nice gourmet tagliatelle. Fettucine would also be good. Use a nice egg pasta - it is worth the extra $3.
150g good spicy Italian salami, cut into soldiers
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
2 small bulbs of fennel, finely sliced, green frilly tops reserved for garnish
1/2 onion, finely sliced
2 x tins of canned tomatoes (we used one whole tomatoes, one of my favourite canned cherry tomatoes)
Good glug of white wine
1 dried chilli, crumbed
Salt and pepper
Big handful of basil, sliced

Put the salami into a cold pan and bring it up to temperature with a good glug of olive oil. This will allow the fat to render. Cook until delicious and crispy. Lower the heat and add the sliced garlic and fennel seeds. Cook for 1 minute over a low heat. Add the fennel and onion and stir. Put the lid on the pan and increase the heat a bit. Cook until the fennel starts to caramelise - about 5 minutes. Add the wine and then the canned tomatoes and the chilli. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until nice and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving stir through a generous handful of sliced basil. Top with big dollops of the ricotta and then the pangrattato. Garnish with the reserved fennel sprigs.

Herbed Ricotta
400g tub of ricotta
Zest of one lemon
Handful of basil, sliced
Small handful of mint, sliced
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Season very well with salt and pepper. Tweak the quantity of lemon so it is nice and sour.

Large handful of fresh breadcrumbs made from a good sourdough or ciabatta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Head up a good tbsp or so of olive oil in a pan. Add the bread, salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Cook until the bread is nice and golden.

Pink Smarty cupcakes for Hannah's cupcakes-filled birthday

Hannah requested that Angela make her vanilla cupcakes with pink buttercream icing and smarties. I wanted in on the action. The result - delicious fluffy cupcakes. Delicious icing. Hannah was thrilled. I think she asked too many people for cupcakes because she ended up with three different plates. I may be biased - but ours looked and tasted the best!

We made 24 mini and 26 regular sized cupcakes

200g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 +3/4 cups (405g) SR flour
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the cupcake pans with patty pans.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar and vanillas. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined (it may curdle slightly, but dont worry as it will be fine once the flour is in).

Fold in the milk and flour in alternate batches.

Spoon into patty cases (only fill about 2/3 of the way). Bake for 15-20 minutes for the regular sized ones and shorter for the mini ones. I have a habit of not using a timer and just stay in the kitchen and check on them regularly. They are ready when they spring back to the touch and are lightly golden. If they peak in the middle like nipples the oven is too hot or they are too close to the element.

Butter Frosting

100g butter, softened
3 cups (450g) icing sugar
Vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Food dye

Use a blender to cream the butter and vanilla bean. Add the icing sugar and food dye and mix well. Add the milk, in tbsp increments until desired consistency is reached. I like a thick buttercream icing that will hold its shape when decorated.

Two summery cocktails for a hot night

Dinner at Eloise's place. Must find some nice cocktails. We decided on two fruity ones.

Carpe Diem
10 strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
90 mL clear apple juice
30 mL lime juice
150mL gin
8 basil leaves, torn
Champagne or soda to serve
Basil leaves - to serve
Cucumber slices

Blend strawberries, sugar, lime juice, apple juice and vanilla bean until smooth. Pour into a 1L capacity jug. Add gin and basil and stir well. Top up the jug with champagne or sparkling water.

Serve over crushed ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a basil leaf and a slice of cucumber.

Ying Sling
This was definitely the favourite of the night. Not too sweet. Nice and strong. A little bitter. Beautiful pale pink. Super easy.

450 mL bacardi rum
300 mL lychee puree (blend a can of strained lychees. Strain the puree to remove gritty bits)
300mL ruby grapefruit juice
Dash of Campari
Mint Leaves, to serve

Mix all ingredients in a jug. Serve in a short glass with plenty of crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves.