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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mashed Potato

Mashed potato is capable of taking almost any flavour. For the mash itself I allow one medium sized potato per person and about 1 tbs of butter for 4 people. Use as much milk as is necessary to gain the right consistency and don't be afraid of salt. If you are adding other dairy products, reduce or replace the milk. Also, try different spuds, I really like kipfler potatoes in mash. Try the following additives to mash or combinations there of (example: mayo and sour cream make it taste like potato salad).

  • Natural yoghurt
  • Sour cream
  • Finely diced spring onion or shallot
  • Horseradish or horseradish cream
  • Wasabi paste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parmesan cheese (particularly excellent with yoghurt)
  • Porcini salt
  • Sauteed mushroom
  • Feta
  • Feta oil (instead of milk)
  • Cream
  • Minced parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Roasted/confit/fresh garlic
  • Parsnip
  • Lemon rind
  • Extra virgin olive oil (instead of milk)
  • Roasted cherry tomato oil (instead of milk)
  • Blue cheese, Camembert, Costello
  • Browned butter (buerre noisette, nut brown butter)
  • Seeded mustard
  • Truffle salt

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Basil'd Chicken

This is a stupidly easy method for getting a fresh, green, basil flavour into chicken. This also works well with steak, bacon or basically just about anything hot. The result is subtle but noticeable. I can see this method also being transferable to other soft herbs and lemon rind, if you were to use a microplane. Two other tips I can offer here are 1) try and always and have meat you are about to cook, close to room temperature and; 2) only add salt to meat just prior to cooking.

Chicken pieces (I prefer thigh fillets)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Basil leaves
Lemon (optional)

Preheat a barbecue to high. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat in olive oil. Line the bottom of a tray with basil leaves. Cook the chicken on the barbecue and when ready remove and place on the prepared tray. Add more leaves to the top of the chicken and either add more chicken on top or cover with foil and rest for a few minutes.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Lemon and Rosemary Barbecued Potato

I imagine this would also work roasted.

Olive Oil
Stripped rosemary
1 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Slice the potato into rounds about 0.5 cm wide. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat and cook on a preheated barbecue plate, remove when golden on both sides (approx 5 minutes).

Beetroot and Feta Dip

This would also work very well with raw beetroot. Try to use the best extra virgin olive oil you can be bothered using, it makes a difference.

2 medium beetroot
2 tbs crumbled feta
1 clove garlic
1 handful of mint leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (may need more)
1 tbs cherry vinegar (may need more)
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the beetroot into wedges. Season the wedges then coat in olive oil then roast in an oven at 200C for 30 mins then allow to cool. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend. If the mixture is too dry, add more extra virgin olive oil. Taste the dip and see if it needs a) more mint b) more vinegar c) more salt/pepper d) more garlic.
Serve with toasted crusty bread. We ate this with barbecued lamb backstraps and a parsley salad.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mushroom and Silverbeet Risotto

This did require some preparation but it was very tasty. If you don't have silverbeet use spinach. When I made this I used the leftover stock from the Garlic Thyme Pot Roasted Chicken recipe which was about 400ml and topped it up with store bought stock. I also used the fat from the top of the stock instead of the olive oil and butter to toast the rice.

2 cups risotto rice
4 cups chicken stock (more may be necessary)
8 silverbeet leaves deveined and roughly chopped
2 tbs yoghurt (natural or Greek)
1/2 an onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 sprig rosemary stripped
2 tbs pesto
5 chicken thigh fillets
1 lemon
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
300 gms diced mushroom
1 1/2 cups white wine

Combine chicken and pesto and allow to marinade in the fridge for a while.
Steam or boil the silverbeet until just cooked, drain, squeeze out any moisture, allow to cool then blend with the yoghurt in a food processor then set aside in the fridge.
Heat 1 tbs butter in a large heavy based frying pan, when it foams add 1 tbs olive oil. Add the stripped rosemary and half of the garlic, cooking until fragrant then add mushrooms, toss to coat and saute until mostly cooked. Add 1/2 cup white wine and reduce, remove and set aside.
Cook the chicken in a frying pan in a little oil over a medium heat (so the pesto doesn't burn) until just cooked and set aside.
Heat the stock in a medium sized frying pan. Using a large, heavy based frying pan with high sides, saute the onion and remaining garlic over a medium high heat. When translucent add risotto rice and toss to coat, toasting for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and allow to almost completely absorb. Reduce the heat to medium. From this point add 1 ladle of stock at a time when each previous one is almost absorbed. When the stock is almost all gone, try a few rice grains, if they are still quite uncooked add more stock to your saucepan and continue until cooked. This should take about 18 - 20 minutes.
When the stock has been absorbed and the rice is just cooked, remove from the heat, stir in the silverbeet,  any juice from the chicken, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning then spoon into serving bowls.
Top with sliced chicken and a squeeze of lemon.

Garlic Thyme Pot Roasted Chicken

Pot roasting is fantastic and requires little preparation. This recipe takes about ten minutes to prepare, 2 1/4 hours to cook, the cold meat stays moist and the left over stock can be used in risotto. The fat will rise to the top when refrigerated and the stock should keep for at least a week. This recipe is largely inspired by a Donna Hay recipe but I have included it here as I think the stock from this chicken is the business for risotto.

1.5 kg whole chicken
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
1 handful of thyme
1 lemon (skewer the skin a few times)
6 potatoes washed and quartered
1 onion halved the sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup stock

Put half of the thyme, a few garlic cloves and the lemon in the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs with string. Place the chicken and the rest of the ingredients into a fitting casserole dish, season with salt and pepper and put into a pre-heated oven (150C) with the lid on for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid, add some veg if you wish then continue cooking for a further 45 mins.