Friday, May 28, 2010

beef in blankets ... because cabbage rolls sounds unappealing

Stuffed cabbage rolls courtesy of - you guesed it - smitten kitchen.
Pretty delicious.
Not excessively time consuming.
Unfortunately not looking amazingly appetizing. Must find a way to make them look pretty.
But tasting delicious - most important feature.
Where do cabbage rolls come from? Cabbage makes me think Germany, Russia... so maybe Eastern European? No idea

Serves 4-6 generously

1 cabbage (she said savoy, but I used a normal old green cabbage - savoy would have been prettier)
2 small brown onions, finely chopped
2 parsnip, grated
2 carrots, grated
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
500g beef mince
3/4 cup white rice
3 tbsp tomato paste
Plenty of salt and pepper
Good home-made simple tomato sauce for poaching (tomato, garlic, butter, olive oil)
Green salad to serve

Cut the core out of the cabbage. Bring a large pot of water to the boil with a good pinch of salt. Put in the cabbage, turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Drain the cabbage well.

Soften the onion in olive oil over a low heat. Add the parsnip, carrot, celery. Cook until soft and smelling delicious.

In a large bowl, mix together the onion mixture, mince, rice and tomato paste and season well with salt and pepper.

To make the rolls. Cut the core out of the leaves and roll up about 1tbsp of meat mixture. Try to roll it in the same way you would roll a spring roll.

Layer the rolls in a wide-based pan with a lid. They can be in two layers. Pack them in tightly. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and your tomato sauce to cover.

Put on the stove, bring to a simmer, put the lid on, and cook gently for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it and top it up with water if it looks a bit dry. Be careful with it - burnt cabbage is horrendous.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

take a little squid and put it in a salad (carrot salad!)

Grating. What isn't better when grated than chopped or whole? Grated cheese - better. Grated apple - better. Grated carrot - amazing. Grated chocolate - pretty tasty.
So.. grated carrot salad with middle-eastern-ish flavours and grilled squid. Pretty damn special.
Thanks again to smitten kitchen for the inspiration.
Sorry that the picture is so rubbish.. maybe, one day i will fix it. Maybe not!
Try this.
This served 3 of us
3 large carrots, grated
2 tbsp flat leaf parsely, chopped
2 tbsp mint, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
3 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted in a pan until delicious and golden

2 large squid, tentacles included cut into bite sized pieces and scored

2 tbsp olive oil
2 crushed cloves garlic
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp harissa (find it in your gourmet deli)
3 tbsp lemon juice

Pita bread and rocket leaves to serve

In a pestle and mortar combine and bash the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika. In a small pan mix together the oil, garlic paste and harissa. Heat over very low heat until fragrant. Pour into a small bowl. When cool-ish add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour a couple of tbsp of dressing over the squid. Marinate at room temperature for 10-20 minutes (or not at all depending on how time pressed you are).

Mix together the carrots, herbs, almonds and feta.

Fry the squid in 1tsp oil over very high heat until just cooked. Dress the salad. You will probably not need all the dressing.

Serve the squid over the salad with pita bread and rocket leaves. Delicious

Friday, May 7, 2010

very rich burnt butter, pear and chocolate cake

Thank you again to Smitten Kitchen for this recipe.
Last day at the psychiatric hospital - I needed to take something with me. I was going to go back to old faithful choco brownies, but felt inspired by the bowl of pears on the kitchen bench.
This did not disappoint.
Almost more dessert than cake.
Would be great with some cream/ice cream as a bit of a foil for the richness.
Let it cool a touch before cutting it so the chocolate can set.

1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch salt
3 eggs
115g butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 small pears, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 9 inch springform tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Put the eggs into a free-standing beater and mix on high speed until very very thick and pale (about 5-10 minutes).

Brown the butter by melting in a medium saucepan until brown bits form on the bottom and it smells nutty (about 6-8 minutes). It will help if you stir the solids off the bottom as it starts to brown. Keep in a warm place.

Add the sugar to the eggs. Beat for a few more minutes.

As the egg-sugar mixture starts to lose volume, turn down to 'fold' and add the flour and brown butter, alternating. Mix very gently for less than one minute or until combined. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with the chocolate and hte pear.

Cook for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and springs back when touched. Test with a skewer.

Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan, before releasing. It is easiest to cut this cake when cool, but delicious when warm. Dust with icing sugar.