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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Roast Pork (and its remnants)

There are three parts to this recipe which make it interesting 1) the trivet 2) the crackling and potatoes and 3) the gravy.
  1. A trivet keeps the meat off the bottom of the roasting pan and are usually metal, this one is edible. Use root vegetables, possibly onion (will be strong), herbs and garlic under your roast to catch the juice from the meat. Once the meat is cooked, take the trivet out of the pan, remove the garlic skin and blend the whole lot and add it to your gravy. If you don't want the floury texture of the potato, blend everything else and eat the spuds.
  2. Before you start roasting, pat dry the meat and rub sage salt into it. When the meat is cooked, remove the skin as a whole piece with a knife and place on a rack above your roasting potatoes and crank the temperature to 220C. Pour the remaining fat from the roasting pan over the potatoes as well and baste occasionally. To achieve perfect potatoes, cut the potatoes in half length wise and place flat side down, roast without turning and baste.
  3. Place the pan on the stove top over a medium heat, add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the tray and allow it caramelise before deglazing. In this case I used cranberry juice to deglaze. It was great. Once you have deglazed the pan, pour the contents into a saucepan, its easier.
2kg rolled pork loin roast
1-2tbs sage salt
X amount of medium sized potato
2 carrot
6 garlic cloves
1 cup cranberry juice
2 tsp sugar
1 cup white wine
1 cup stock
1 tbs minced parsley

Preheat oven to 250C. Pat down the pork with paper towelling and rub the sage salt all over. Create a trivet by arranging 2 halved potatoes, 2 halved carrots and 6 garlic cloves (all oiled) in the middle of the roasting pan, making sure that the garlic is in the middle or it will burn. Place the pork on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes at 250C the reduce the temperature to 180C. Roast for a further 1 hour 40. With 45 minutes to go, place as many potatoes halved and oiled as you need, cut side down onto another roasting tray and put in oven. Roast potatoes for an hour.
When the meat is ready, remove from oven, carefully take off skin in one piece and place on a plate, cover with foil and place somewhere warm or cover with a tea towel. Put the skin on the oven tray over the roasting potatoes and pour over any pork fat over the potatoes. Increase the temperature to 200C for the remaining roasting time.
To make the gravy, remove the trivet and blend. Put the roasting pan over a medium heat, sprinkle some sugar over the pan, allow to caramelise, deglaze with cranberry juice, scrapping up any browned bits. Pour into a saucepan adding the wine, stock and trivet blend. Reduce over a medium heat to your desired consistency. Pour any of the resting juice into the saucepan. Just before serving, add in the parsley.

The remnants:

The following day, reheat over a medium-low heat any remaining gravy and thin out slightly with either water or more cranberry juice. Crack in as many eggs as will fit, poaching until just cooked and serve on toast. Sounds gross but it is amazing.

The left over meat is great with Jarlsberg cheese, mushroom and porcini salt on a toasted sandwich.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Baked Mushrooms

There is a common theme here, I love mushrooms. This is about as complicated as I get with baked shroom. Usually I merely put sliced garlic, parsley, a sprinkling of wine, lemon rind and butter and occasionally Parmesan. This however was wicked.

1 tbs each of chopped fresh basil and oregano
2 tbs bread crumbs (I used Japanese)
1 tbs roasted tomatoes
2 cloves garlic chopped
Lemon rind
Wine (I used Riesling)
4 large flat mushrooms

Grease an oven tray and pre-heat the oven to 200C. Pour a little wine over the top of each mushroom. Mince the remaining ingredients with a knife, add pepper and divide evenly across the top of each mushroom. Bake for 20 minutes or until the shrooms have collapsed.

Porcini Salt

I have made flavoured salt many times before, they add so much flavour and depth to a meal. Using a mortar and pestle, grind any flavour you choose (e.g. rosemary, chilli, five spice, lemon rind) with some salt, allow it to dry then store in an air tight container (otherwise it will go stale quickly), it is that simple.
A friend of mine told me about this particular salt variant last year and it wasn't until recently that I tried it. I am a fool and should have done it much sooner. Porcini salt can be (and should be) used in salad dressings, on roasted potato, on grilled/barbecued/fried meats, in fritatas and scrambled eggs just to name a few. In this case, you should use a spice grinder or food processor as a mortar and pestle just won't do the job.

5-7g dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbs sea salt flakes

Grind porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder or food processor. When you reach the desired consistency, mix with the salt and store in an air tight container.

Mushroom Goo

I make variations of this regularly. Sometimes I use it as a pate, sometimes I put it through pasta, most recently it went on filo pastry with cold smoked salmon and basil, topped with more filo, milk wash then bunged in the oven. Sometimes I use sour cream and others natural yoghurt. In this instance I have used a sweet late harvest Riesling which worked brilliantly, normally I would use a quantity of wine and chicken stock. Mushroom is fantastically versatile, basically you can do anything with it you choose.

500g mushroom in small dice
1/2 an onion in small dice
2 cloves of freshly minced garlic
1 cup late harvest Riesling
1 knob of butter
1 tbs of oven roasted tomato oil
150-200g cream cheese
Garlic chives chopped

Melt the butter oven a medium high heat until foaming then add the tomato oil, onion and garlic. When fragrant add the mushroom and toss quickly to coat before the mushroom absorbs too much oil. Cook over a medium heat until the mushrooms have taken on some colour and have become soft. Season to taste. While this happens, thin out the cream cheese with a little boiling water to make it workable then add the garlic chives. Add the wine to the pan and allow to reduce almost completely, set aside to cool for five minutes. Combine mushroom and cream cheese.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Garlic and Parsely Prawns

This is well tasty. The most time consuming portion is peeling the prawns. I have used cooked prawns here simply because peeling cooked prawns is more simple.

1 kg of cooked prawns peeled
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs oven roasted tomato olive oil
5-6 cherry tomatoes quartered
Juice of half a lemon
3 tbs finely chopped curly parsley
Chilli flakes for serving
Mayonnaise for serving

Fry the garlic in the oil over  medium high heat until fragrant. Add the prawns and tomato and toss to combine, cooking for one minute. Add half of the parsley, the quartered tomatoes, season to taste and toss to combine, cooking for a further minute. Add lemon juice and stir for a further thirty seconds. Remove to a plate topping with chilli flakes (optional), a drizzling of mayonnaise and the remaining parsley

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Meatballs are brilliant, put in any flavour you want, make it as spicy as you please, coat in semolina, fill with cheese or, use different types of mince.
The only difference here is that I have used a red wine based sauce and a vinegar with the bread when it was toasted. Try pouring the sauce over some cooked pasta and finishing with the meatballs on top for a more substantial meal or, bung toothpicks in them and take them around as canapes with the sauce for dipping.

750g premium beef mince
1 tbs each of chopped parsley and sage
1 handful of copped basil
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 a chopped onion and sauteed
2 tbs crumbled feta
1/2 a chopped onion raw
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2-3 tbs tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 cup stock
1-2 tsp sugar
Slices of turkish bread/ciabatta
Balsamic or cherry vinegar for drizzling
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
olive oil

Combine meat, sage, parsley, half the garlic, the sauteed onion, egg, feta, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Coat your hands in olive oil and form the mixture into even sized, bite sized balls, coating your hand with olive oil as you go. Shallow fry the meat balls in batches over a medium-high heat until coloured but not cooked. Set aside.
Add remaining raw onion and garlic and saute. When fragrant and translucent add wine to deglaze. When the wine has reduced to about a third add the stock, tomato paste, meatballs and sugar to taste and cook over a medium heat to reduce. Just before serving, add the chopped basil and stir through.
Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and cherry vinegar over the bread slices and toast until golden.
Serve in warmed bowls with bread in the middle of the table for dipping/mopping.

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Basil Fritatta

Fritatta's are rad, you can add almost anything to them. The only things you really need to remember are to a) do not over crowd and b) do not over cook. The process is much more simple I might add, with a non stick pan.

4 medium sized sebago potatoes pre-cooked and cut into 2cm dice (approx)
1 handful of roughly chopped button mushrooms
1/2 an onion diced
2 tbs of oven roasted cherry tomatoes
1 handful of basil leaves
1 cob of corn, stripped
1 knob butter
1 tbs oven roasted tomato oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbs chopped rosemary
6 eggs
3tbs natural set yoghurt
1/2 a cup of milk
Parmesan cheese to top

Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Melt butter over a medium-high heat in a non-stick pan and add onion, rosemary, potatoes and tomato oil when bubbling, stirring for 5 mins. Add garlic and mushrooms and stir until fragrant and have taken some colour. In the meantime, combine eggs, yoghurt and milk. When mushroom/potato mix is ready, swill around to allow oil to go up the sides. Add egg mixture, pour in corn kernels and add layer of basil leaves, topping with parmesan. Cook over a medium heat until sides and bottom have set then transfer to the oven for about ten minutes, checking frequently with a skewer. Alternatively, place under a grill. Cook until just cooked and turn out onto a plate.
Serve with salad, cooked meat, whatever.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Firstly, grown your own cherry tomatoes, they are the shiz and will save you heaps of money.

I was hesitant to try oven roasted tomatoes in the past as they sounded like 'poor mans semi dried tomatoes'. One of my mates convinced me otherwise when I told him I had an over abundance of fruit. I've even used capsicum. He told me to roast them just as they are with olive oil at about 90 C for a couple of hours. I roasted them at 130C and put stuff on them. Regardless, they are fantastic.

Use the tomatoes in antipasto, in pastas, on biscuits, through shanks, in omelette's and just about anywhere you want a sweet tomatoee hit. Use the oil in salad dressings, to finish cooked meat (eg chicken breast or pork chop) and to flavour butters/oil in the cooking process.

There are no measurements here, it will depend on how many tomatoes you have. Don't use too much balsamic or fresh herbs, just have enough for them to be in the background.

Cherry tomatoes halved
Fresh oregano and basil finely chopped
Garlic finely chopped
White Balsamic
Olive oil to coat
Olive oil to fill jars

Toss the ingredients and place on a baking paper lined roasting tray. Roast in the oven anywhere from 90 C to 130 C until collapsed and flavours have developed (45mins to an hour). Remove from tray and place into jars topped up with olive oil, scraping every bit of mischief in.


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Hassleback Potatoes

They have been done plenty of times before. This version uses the duck fat from the previous recipe and almost ends up as half potato sized chips. I have used a metal skewer as the bamboo kind get stuck and need to be pushed through. If you are gentle enough with your knife it wont become damaged.

3 tbs confit garlic duck fat
8 medium sized sebago potatoes peeled and halved length ways
1 tbs each chopped rosemary and sage

Preheat oven to 200 C. Insert a skewer length ways as close to the cut edge of a potato without splitting it. Using a sharp knife thingly slice accross the potato, remove skewer and bend potato slightly. Repeat for remaining pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and place on a roasting tray. Throw tray in oven and cook for up to 40mins basting frequently. Once potatoes are golden, remove, season and serve immediately.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Confit Garlic

4 Heads of Garlic (approx 40 cloves)
330g ish Duck Fat
Rosemary chopped

Peel the garlic and place in a small pan with high sides along with the duck fat and garlic. Cook at the lowest temperature on the stove for about 45 mins. It should be barely bubbling. Remove and cool. Pour contents into a sterilized jar and refrigerate. I keep mine for up to six months.

To use, place whole cloves (fat removed) on biscuits with cheese and tomatoes or place on a platter with antipasto. Return the unused fat to the jar to cover the remaining cloves.
Use the fat to roast potatoes and meats.

testing testing attention please

my name is alex and i love cooking for others. i read recipes extensively but never use them and rarely cook the same thing twice. i have been attempting to write a cook book for my family but, progress has been slow due to the nature of good food and company often going with wine.
the recipes are either combinations of flavours that i enjoy or are variations of recipes i have read. if you like what you see please subscribe and, feel free to comment.
i hope you find it useful in some way.