Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Very delicious greek-style roasted tomato salad

Thanks for Gourmet Traveller. This salad was pretty delicious. Roast tomatoes with lemon, garlic, oregano, crushed almonds, feta, raisins.... wow
Salty feta, sour lemons, sweet raisins and beautiful tomatoes.
We had it with steak and a crisp green salad dressed with lemon and olive oil.

8 beautifully ripe tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic, skins left on and bruised
7 strips of lemon peel
Large handful of oregano, bruised in your hand
3/4 cup raisins
3 bay leaves, crumbled
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed roughly in the mortar and pestle

Large handful of feta cheese, crumbled roughly
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp roughly crushed roasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the tomatoes into a baking dish that gives them a nice snug fit. Tuck the garlic, herbs, lemon peel and raisins underneath and in the gaps between the tomatoes. Any herbs or raisins sticking up will get quite crisp so try to tuck them away. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle over the fennel seeds and season generously with salt and pepper.

Put in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to collapse and smell beautiful. Remove from the oven and arrange on a serving platter. Crush the garlic out of the skins and mash into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the tomatoes and then sprinkle with almonds, feta and the juice of half a lemon.

These would be good with crusty sourdough bread and salad for lunch.

Friday, April 23, 2010

chocolate sandwiched Anzac biscuits for the long weekend

These are good, really really good.
Sandwich together regular Anzac bickies with chocolate icing.
I accidently used 1 tbsp treacle and 1 tbsp of golden syrup instead of all golden syrup. I like the result.
I made 84 biscuits, so 42 sandwiched little darlings.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp treacle (or use all golden syrup)
1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup SR flour

Preheat the oven to 140C. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper.

Mix together the oats, coconut and SR flour.

Melt the butter, sugar and syrups in a separate bowl in the microwave. Add the bicarb mixture and stir, it should fluff up.

Add the wet to the dry mixture and stir well.

Shape teaspoonfuls into balls. Press down with your fingers to flatten. Leave about 1cm between them to spread.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Sandwich together with chocolate icing.

Chocolate Icing
Put in a bowl 2 tbsp dark cocoa, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tbsp softened butter. Pour over about 1 tbsp boiling water. Stir well. Add more water or icing sugar to get a thick, but spreadable icing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Suck out the brains prawn curry with home-made chappathis

Craving satisfied.
Now that I no longer feel like curry I can start thinking about other foods. Or can I? This was so amazing I think I could eat it every night of the week.
Please leave the brains in your prawns when you cook them. Then when you eat them (with your hands) rip off the head and suck out all the sweet prawny goodness.
Thank you Jamie Oliver - I love this curry.
You only need half the sauce to serve four people. Freeze the rest for another day.
Feel free to substitute grilled chicken or fish or vegies for the prawns. But please try the prawns as they are seriously good. And make sure you suck out the brains.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 long green chillies, seeds removed and finely sliced
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, chopped roughly
1 handful of fresh curry leaves (now plant a curry tree - you won't regret it)
3 onions, whizzed in the blender until roughly chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
6 very ripe delicious tomatoes, whizzed in the same blender until roughly chopped
400mL coconut milk
16 very delicious fresh tiger prawns, unpeeled

Serves 4

Put the oil in a large pan over high heat and then pour in the mustard seeds. When they start to pop add the chillies, ginger, fenugreek and curry leaves. There will be some spluttering and spitting. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until deliciously fragrant.

Add the chopped onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until starting to go golden. Add in the turmeric and chilli powder and fry for a minute. Now add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until a nice thick consistency, like thickened cream.

In a separate pan heat a tbsp oil. When very hot add the prawns. Cook for 1-2 mins on each side or until coloured. Pour over half the hot curry sauce (freeze the rest for another day). Put a lid on it, make sure it is simmering and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked.

Serve on a plate with chappathis. Do not give people a fork - give them a finger bowl instead.

This is a rough recipe. You really need to do it by feel.
1 tbsp olive oil
Generous pinch of salt
~1 1/2 cups flour
Warm water

In a bowl mix the olive oil, salt and flour. Gradually add warm water and mix with your hands until you get a soft dough. Knead gently for 2 mins.

Preaheat a dry pan over high heat (or bbq or grill pan). Rip off walnut sized pieces of dough and roll until nice and thin and vaguely circular. Place into the hot pan. Cook until bubbled up and starting to blacken slightly. Turn once and cook second side until blackening. Remove from heat and if you are feeling indulgent butter generously.

No excuse for not making these - everyone has flour, water, salt and oil in their house.

rosy pink poached quince (without any rose in them)

I found quinces at Wray Avenue last week. They needed a good week to ripen up. I was also avoiding cooking them as so many recipes I found said you need to cook them in excess of 12 hours. 12 hours watching one dish? Not going to happen.
These poached quinces were really special served with double cream.
They could also replace apples/pears in any recipe once poached like this. Think quince crumble, quince tart, quince pie.
To stop the quinces browning, put them straight into water and sugar liquid as soon as cut.

5 quinces, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 1/2 cups of water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Put all ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Put the lid on, lower the heat and simmer gently for 2-3 hours or until very tender.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

baby poo (mexican corn) soup with chunky guacamole

this looks like baby poo - hence the name
it tastes pretty amazing
shame about the colour (and texture!)
try to ignore it
this is worth it
yummy smoky chilli delicious goodness

I have no idea why the cobs are cooked in the soup then removed. try it?

5 yellow or red banana capsicum, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
4 long red chillies, cut in half lengthwise, seeds kept in
1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander
1.2kg corn kernels (cut from about six juicy con cobs), reserve cobs
1L good chicken stock

Preheat the grill to high. Place capsicum, chilli and garlic, cut side up on a baking tray. Drizzle with about 1tbsp olive oil. Grill until starting to blacken, turn and drizzle with more oil as necessary and grill until second side is also black. You may need to remove different things at different times. Leave until cool enough to handle and peel capsicum and chilli, squeeze garlic from its skins and roughly chop.

In a large saucepan heat about 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute until very tender (5-6 mins) but not golden. Add spices, saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add corn (save 2 cups for later), stock, reserved cobs, garlic, capsicum and chilli and 2 cups of water. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until corn is tender (15-20 mins).

Remove cobs and discard. Puree mixture until very smooth, then cool to room temperature. In the meantime cook the reserved corn in a bowl in the microwave for 2-3 mins or until tender. Return to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature with a big dollop of the chunky guacamole and some tortillas/corn chips and maybe even some natural yoghurt or sour cream.

Combine 2 golden shallots, finely sliced and 2 tbsp lime juice in a small bowl. Leave to macerate for 5-10 mins or until the onion is no longer acrid. Add 2 avocadoes, coarsely chopped and mash well. Mix in 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered, 1/2 cup chopped coriander. Season well to taste with salt and pepper and for lime.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Greek slow cooked lemony Lamb and beans

Adapted from Gourmet Traveller. Delicious. The beans will not stay bright and green because of the long cooking time. Ignore the colour. They are delicious like this.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
800g boneless lamb shoulder, in 3cm pieces
1 1/2 punnets cherry tomatoes
1 small tub tomato paste (about 3 tbsp)
150mL white wine
400g green beans
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley
Juice of 2 lemons

Saute the onion gently in the olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 mins or until tender. Turn up the heat, add the lamb and cook until nicely browned (5-6 mins).

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours or until lamb is tender.

Add beans (and water as necessary). Cook for a further 15 minutes. Add herbs and lemon juice and cook for another 30 mins or until lamb is very tender and sauce has reduced. Season very well with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with gremolata and serve with a peppery rocket salad and fresh crusty bread.

Mix together 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tbsp chopped dill, zest of one lemon, 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped, salt and pepper. Store wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to eat.

Monday, April 5, 2010

easter monday banana and walnut muffins

These are based loosely on Bill Granger's berry yoghurt muffins. Thanks Bill Granger.
Try them with butter. Butter makes the world a better place.
Note the crocodile pot holders. Very cute.

Makes 12-15

1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
100g walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large bananas (these ones were huge!) roughly mashed so there are smooth bits and chunks
Raw sugar or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a muffin tray with patty pans.

Mix the flour, cinnamon, sugar and walnuts in a large bowel. Mash the bananas then stir in the buttermilk, yoghurt, eggs and olive oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients then gently stir in the wet ingredients until just combined.

Spoon into tin, sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remember to eat them warm with cold butter.

Original recipe calls for 440g (2 cups) mixed berries instead of the banana and no orange zest or nuts.

the yeast working for my hot cross bunnnnnnies

I love making bread and other yeasty goods. Not much satisfies me more than the mixing, kneading, rising, baking, smell of bread permeating every nook of the house and finally the finished product, hot from the oven with cold butter melting into the fluffy mess. These little darlings were delicious. They did stale a bit by the next day, but not to worry! A zap in the oven and more butter and they were divine again.
These fluffs had dried and cooked apple in them. None of that nasty store-bought mixed peel either - I made my own. No bitter disgusting stuff here.
Recipe adapted from April 2010 Gourmet Traveller magazine.

Candied Orange Peel
In a saucepan combine 1 orange, in 5mm slices, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the orange is translucent. Cool the orange slices in their syrup and store in the refrigerator. To use, cut the bitter white pith away from the outer skin. Cut the skin into small dice.

Candied Lemon with Apples
In a small saucepan combine 1/2 lemon, in 5mm slices, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, 2 granny smith apples, unpeeled, cored and diced and 1 cinammon stick. Bring to the boil and then cook for 20 minutes or until the lemon is translucent. Strain the fruit and reserve the fruit separate to the syrup. Return the syrup to the pan and cook until thick and syrupy (this will end up being your glaze for the buns). Remove the lemon from the mix and dice into small pieces. Mix back together with apple.

5 cups plain flour
150g sultanas
50g dried apple, diced
Diced skin from 3 slices of candied orange
Reserved cooked lemon and apple
14g dried yeast (2 sachets)
3 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups milk
100g butter
1 egg

In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk and butter until the butter melts. Only heat it to body temperature. When the butter has melted, whisk in the egg.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sultanas, dried and cooked apple, candied peels, yeast, cinnamon, allspice and zests. Make a well in the centre and add the milk/butter/egg mixture. Mix well.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (I wonder now whether my dough hook in my electric mixer would have done the trick). Place into a buttered bowl, cover with glad wrap and rise in a warm place for 30-4o mins or until doubled in size.

Knock back the dough. Divide into 20 even (or not so even if you are me) pieces. Knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange the dough in a pan that will fit them neatly. They need at least 1cm rising room between each ball. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 220C. Make a smooth paste from some plain flour and water. Spoon into a piping bag (or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off). Pipe a cross onto each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake until golden and hollow - another 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake them like I did!

Brush the hot buns thickly with the reserved fruit glaze from making the apples and lemon.

Eat warm with plenty of butter.


free-form pumpkin pie/tart

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
The pastry is amazing. Flaky, almost like puff pastry. Try it.
Add a simple salad of spicy rocket leaves with salt, pepper, good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The freshness and pepperiness of the salad is perfect with the buttery, rich tart.
It would generously serve 4 for lunch or dinner. It could serve 6 as an entree.

1 1/4 cups plain flour
a generous pinch of salt
150g butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
a good squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup iced sparkling water (substitute with iced tap water)

In a food processor combine all ingredients for the pastry except the water. mix until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the soda water in a stream until the pastry comes together in a ball. Do not overmix. Pour onto plastic wrap, push into a rough disc shape, wrap up well and refrigerate for an hour or up to a day or two.

1 small butternut pumpkin
1-2 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, sliced in half circles
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
good pinch of ground chilli
1/4 tsp smoky papria
3/4 cup gouda cheese, grated
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves

For the pumpkin.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel, then cut the pumpkin into 1.5cm dice. Mix with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until cooked, and getting dark golden around the edges. Remove from the oven. This can be stored at room temperature for a few hours, or refrigerate for a day until ready to assemble.

For the onion.
Put the butter into a small pan. Add the onion, salt and sugar. Cook gently for 10-20 mins or until the onion is soft and starting to brown gently. Do not cook over high heat. Stir in the paprika, nutmeg and chilli. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Roll the pastry out to make a 40cm round. Mix together the pumpkin, onion, cheese and sage. Season to taste with plenty of pepper and salt as required. Place the pastry onto the baking sheet then pile the pumpkin mix in the middle, leaving a 3-5cm border around each edge. Fold up the edges to semi-enclose the filling. This pastry does not need glazing - it goes lovely and brown without it.
Bake for 30-40 mins or until golden brown.

Serve with a crisp fresh salad and enjoy.


Peeman in the garden

this is where leo sleeps
i don't think it looks comfortable

Arabian Nights

mum and dad