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Wednesday, 26 January 2011


For this recipe I haven't dusted the shanks in seasoned flour and herbs and I didn't add any tomato to the braising liquid. With no tomato the shanks seemed less 'heavy' and without dusting the shanks I saved heaps of time.

3 lamb shanks
1 sprig rosemary, 1/2 stripped 1/2 finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion thinly sliced
8 mushrooms quartered
8 slices dried porcini mushroom finely chopped
2 carrots in small dice
8 silverbeet leaves deveined and shredded
1/4 cup port
1/2 bottle red wine
500 ml stock
1 handful fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Some great mashed potato

Heat olive oil to medium high in a deep, wide, heavy based saucepan add the stripped rosemary and sear the shanks on all sides then set aside. Add onion, garlic, remaining rosemary and mushrooms to the pan and cook until fragrant and the mushrooms have a little colour. Add more oil if necessary.
Deglaze the pan with port and when almost evaporated add the wine and allow the alcohol smell to cook out. Add the carrot, porcini mushroom and stock then place the shanks on top, add the lid and place into a pre-heated (150C) oven for three hours. Remove the lid, baste and continue cooking for a a further ten minutes. Remove the shanks from  the pan and set aside in a warm place.
Place the saucepan on the stove top over a medium heat and add the silverbeet. While the silverbeet cooks blend the basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Serve the shanks on top of the sauce, mash to the side and top with the basil oil.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mint and Parmessan Crusted Lamb Cutlets

Try this for an entree, simple and tasty. Its seems like heaps of oil but there will be almost as much left.

4 lamb cutlets
1 cup polenta (or semolina)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (from a microplane)
3 tbs chopped mint
Rind from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil

Combine polenta, cheese, mint, rind, salt and pepper. Beat the egg. Dip the lamb in egg then coat in mixture. Melt the butter over a medium heat until it foams then add the oil. Add the cutlets cooking until golden on each side, it should medium in the middle.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Barbecued Balsamic Thyme Chicken

This is one of the few recipes I cook regularly. I often cook this in large batches and freeze either for the kids, quick pastas or open faced sandwiches. Generally though the reason I cook it is for pizza. If you don't have thyme, use fresh rosemary.

1 kg chicken thigh fillets
1 tbs garlic oil
2 tbs fresh thyme sprigs
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Combine the lot and let marinade in the fridge for an hour or so. Barbecue.

Pumpkin, Sage and Chicken Pasta

This started out as ravioli filling and then I realised that I suck at making ravioli. It was however delicious and simple. Here I have used cottage cheese instead of ricotta which I believe tasted better. If you can be bothered making your own pasta it is definitely worth the effort.

1 packet of pasta of your choice (or 300gms homemade)
2 chicken thighs
1 tbs garlic oil
300gms pumpkin
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 good handful of sage
100gms cottage cheese
1 clove garlic minced
3 slices prosciutto

Dice the chicken with a sharp knife then with one hand on the handle and the other a bit back from the pointy end with fingers pushing down, rock the knife over the chicken and mince it. This will give larger chunks than minced chicken, alternatively, buy minced gear. Heat the garlic oil over a medium high heat and before it colours add the chicken. As this begins to fry add 1 tbs of chopped sage. When cooked, check for seasoning then set aside to cool.
Boil the pumpkin and when cooked mash with the butter and 1/2 a tbs of chopped sage and check for seasoning. Set aside to cool. Grill the prosciutto until crispy then set aside to cool slightly before crumbling. Boil the pasta in salted water. While the pasta is cooking combine the chicken, pumpkin, crumbled prosciutto and cottage cheese. Once the pasta is cooked, drain leaving 1 - 2 tbs of cooking water then stir through 2/3 of the pumpkin mixture.
Add the remaining butter to a small saucepan and when melted add the garlic, adding 10-ish sage leaves 30 seconds later. When the leaves are crisp remove from the heat. Put the pasta in bowls and add some of the remaining mixture to the top of each bowl. Pour some of the sage butter over each bowl.

Garlic Oil

This is one method of producing garlic oil, takes very little time, lasts for weeks in the fridge and is extremely versatile. The other method requires whole cloves in oil and more time, however according to another mate of mine, creates a more intense result. I have yet to explore it.
Once you have made this, let it sit at room temperature for twenty minutes or so before using. I almost solely use this as the base for pizza now instead of tomato sauce. Spread some over the bread of your choice with a little parsley and grill for a snappy garlic bread, use as the base for bruschetta, boil some new potatoes discard the water and return to the heat adding some garlic oil, salt pepper and parsley for super quick garlic potatoes. Etc etc.

5-6 large garlic cloves (more if you want)
Extra Virgin olive oil

Peel and finely mince the garlic. Once it is all chopped, keeping one hand on the handle of a large knife and the other on the blunt edge, squash the garlic at a low angle pulling toward you. Repeat until you have a paste of sorts. Transfer into a small dipping bowl (a ramekin will do) and fill to 2/3 or 3/4 with the oil. Top up as necessary.

Rosemary Potato