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Monday, 28 March 2011

Osso Bucco in Dark Beer

I learnt a few things from this recipe. Firstly, as it turns out any almost any liquid is suitable to cook in. Secondly, not to be afraid of braising in beer, it is awesome. I was expecting a really condensed beer flavour but there was not. The flavour was developed but complimented the others and was no stronger in flavour than red wine is in braising. Thirdly, to use more beer next time. I thinned the beer out with a little chicken stock fearing it would be too intense. Finally, to make small incisions in the connective tissue around the outside of the osso bucco, otherwise it curls up. Any cut of stewing meat would be suitable to substitute with and, use any beer you think would be appropriate.

Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 a sprig of rosemary chopped
1 slice of osso bucco per person (1kg diced if using other meat)
3 shallots sliced thinly (or 1 small onion)
2 field mushrooms in big chunks
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
Bouquet garni (1/2 a handful of different herbs tied together with kitchen string)
3 tbs dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
1.5 stubbies of Tooheys Old
1 capsicum oven roasted, skinned and chopped
7 or 8 silverbeet leaves deveined and chopped
2 tsp garlic oil
Parsley chopped
Mash potato

Preheat an oven to 140C. Oil the osso bucco slices and season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Make a few shallow vertical cuts around the outside of each slice to stop it from curling. Sear the osso bucco over a medium high heat in a large saucepan. When you have good colour, transfer to a clean plate. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan, toss occasionally until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the beer, add the porcini, place the osso bucco on top of the mushroom mixture, add the bouquet garni, put on the lid and transfer to the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the saucepan from the oven, take out the meat and cover it. Remove the bouquet garni, mix in the garlic oil, capsicum and silverbeet and cook over a medium low heat for five minutes. If necessary add a little chicken stock. Mix in the parsley, check for seasoning, spoon into bowls, add some mash, place the meat on top.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Garlic and Red Wine Sauce

I made this for a lamb rack. After eating the lamb rack though, I have decided to either trim all of the fat off prior to cooking or deal with lamb cutlets only. The lamb was delicious, the sauce was excellent but, that much fat on a plate is not cool. The oil combination I used for the garlic was rubbed on the exterior of the lamb, the tomatoes I placed under the lamb while it roasted and I used the resting juices. You could just as easily roast the tomatoes by themselves for 15 minutes or so (until they begin to collapse), coated in a little oil.

1 head of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Porcini salt
Black cherry vinegar (or balsamic)
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
1 tbs butter
1 shallot diced (or 1/2 a small onion)
1 cup red wine
1 cup stock (I used chicken)

Cut the top off the head of garlic exposing  the tip of each clove. Combine the oil, porcini salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the garlic in some foil and cover with the flavoured oil, seal the foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour at 180 C. With 20 minutes to go for the garlic, oil the tomatoes and bung them in the oven. Saute the shallot in the butter over a medium heat. When translucent add the wine then stock. Reduce, adding more stock if necessary, reducing the temperature if necessary. Remove the garlic from the oven and using the back of a large knife, squish the garlic out onto a chopping board then squish the garlic some more, adding it to the sauce. Add any meat resting juice you may have and add the tomatoes to the sauce, squishing them a little. Check for seasoning, add some parsley, add a little butter if wanted. Put on meat.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Blue Cheese Sauce

This is my first attempt at making blue cheese sauce, not from timidity, my wife hates stink cheese. There are a few components about this recipe that make it interesting. Primarily, it is a simple process with few ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. Secondly, not very much sauce is required as the stuff it is made of is strong. I had about 2 tbs on my massive piece of rump and it was plenty. Finally, as with any recipe I create, quantities are not particularly important and, ingredients are interchangeable or omittable. For example, if you don't have wine don't use it, if you don't have stock use a little water, use veal/beef/vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, use red wine instead of white wine, use different blue cheeses, like cream? use more of it. Whatever.
I can see this being useful with chicken, roasts, salads (when the sauce is cold), with avo on toast, in mayo. Again, whatever.

1 shallot in small dice (or 1 small onion)
1 tbs butter
1 heaped tsp of garlic oil
30 - 40 gms Blue Castello
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbs cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
Steak resting juice
Chopped parsley

Melt the butter over a medium heat, add the shallot and garlic oil. When the shallot is translucent (about 5 minutes) add the wine, allow to come back to the boil then add the cheese, cream and chicken stock. Allow to return to the boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Reduce for 10 minutes, adding the steak resting juice and, more stock if necessary.
Finish the sauce with a small squeeze of lemon, check for seasoning, add some chopped parsley.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Crispy Teriyaki and Nori Chicken

This is a great recipe as finger food for parties. The only downside is it can be a bit time consuming as you need to cook in batches, allow about an hour. I have basically stolen this recipe (with a couple of modifications) from an Anglo/Japanese cookbook called Yoshoku.

Sunflower/grape seed oil (about 1.5 litres)
1kg chicken thighs chopped into thirds
2 nori sheets (sushi paper)
Teriyaki marinade (see previous recipe)
2 cups corn flour
3 or 4 lemons

Combine the chicken with the teriyaki marinade in a bowl and refrigerate. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat. Roughly chop the nori sheets then put into a food processor to finely chop, pushing the pieces down occasionally. You can do this with a knife but it is messy, the shards fly everywhere. Season the corn flour with salt and pepper and the finely chopped nori, stirring with a fork to combine. Drain the chicken well and dust in the corn flour, removing to a clean plate (this step is a tad gluggy on the fingers but worth it). Deep fry the chicken turning if necessary. It should be cooked when it takes on a golden colour, if in doubt, cut a piece open - have a squiz then eat it. As you remove the chicken, sprinkle with a little salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook in batches topping up the oil as necessary.
Serve the chicken with wedges of lemon.

Basic Teriyaki Marinade

This is another recipe we use relatively regularly. It is simple and tasty with few ingredients. Whats really great about this though is that you can really dress it up, it is possible to add all kinds of additional flavours. Some suggestions would be chilli (fresh or dried), five spice, mirin, wakame, sesame seed and lemon/lime juice. Mostly often we use this for chicken thighs.

1/2 cup teriyaki (I prefer Kikkoman)
2 tsp grated ginger
1 -2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp sesame oil

Mix it all together.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Pork with Canelli Beans and Star Anise

2 large potatoes in large dice
1 large carrot in large dice
2 handfuls uncooked canelli beans
1 onion in large dice
3 pork forequarter chops in large dice
1 chilli sliced
3 garlic cloves sliced
1 litre chicken stock
Sage chopped
1 rosemary sprig stripped
1 star anise
1 handful flat leaf parsley (stems removed and chopped)
Zest from 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for serving

Combine the pork with a small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, zest and half the rosemary. Brown the pork in a casserole dish and remove to a clean plate. Saute the onion, garlic, remaining rosemary and chilli over a medium heat until the onion is transparent. Deglaze the pan with stock, lifting all of the sediment from the bottom. Add the pork, vegetables, sage, parsley stalks and the star anise. Simmer over a low heat for 1.5 to 2  hours keeping an eye on the level of stock. Check for seasoning and serve with parmesan shavings, a squeeze of lemon, a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley leaves.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Fresh Tomato Sauce

This is the first time I have bothered to skin and deseed a tomato, I really wish I had done it earlier. Provided you have tomatoes that smell like tomatoes, the result should be fantastic. The process itself takes very little time. Score one end of a tomato and dunk it in the water you are boiling for your pasta, in less than a minute it will have blistered where you scored it. Remove the tomato, peel of the skin, quarter and jam you thumbs in there to take out the pulp. In total, about 2 minutes.
This entire recipe should only take the time it takes to boil the water and the pasta. Prepare the ingredients as the water starts to boil and cook the sauce while the pasta boils. I am guessing that capers would be great in here as well.

2 deseeded ripe tomatoes
1 shallot sliced
1 garlic clove sliced
Olives (I used Always Fresh Deli Style Olives)
1 small handful of basil and parsley
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Squash the olives with the back of a large bladed knife, remove the seeds and give the flesh a rough chop. Roughly chop the tomato. Roughly chop the parsley and basil. Heat the olive oil, add the shallot and garlic. When aromatic, add the tomato and olives with some salt and pepper. Toss the contents and reduce the heat. Add the herbs just before you add the sauce to your pasta.

Barbecued Vegetable Ravioli (Filling)

I bought a ravioli making device and test drove it last night. Heaps easier than trying to form them yourself. Sadly, unless you have a pasta machine or can buy freshly made pasta, rolling it out by hand is not worth the effort. Try as you might, you cannot roll it out thin enough. Regardless, the filling  for the ravioli would make either an excellent pasta sauce of its own (thinned a little) or would be fantastic as a dip. Very simple and tasty.

1 smallish eggplant
1 field mushroom
1 zucchini
1 small beetroot peeled
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
3 tbs sour cream
1/2 grated Parmesan
1 small handful of basil leaves
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar

Slice all vegetables (except the shallot) into 1 to 2 cm slices. Chop the sage and thyme. Combine the sliced vegetables and herbs and some olive oil in a bowl with some salt. Barbecue the vegetables until cooked. Combine all ingredients in a food processor checking for seasoning.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Pan Fried Field Mushroom

A little white wine would work very well with this also.

Olive oil
Field mushrooms
Garlic sliced
Sage leaves (or other)
Porcini salt
Cracked pepper
1/3 cup chicken stock

Heat a non-stick pan to medium, melt the butter and when it starts foaming, add some olive oil to stop it from burning. Add the sage leaves and garlic and fry until aromatic. Remove the stem from the field mushroom and place gill side down into the flavoured oil. Fry for five minutes then turn over placing the cooked garlic and sage leaves on top with some porcini salt and cracked pepper. Allow to fry for a couple of minutes then add the chicken stock, placing a lid on top. Reduce the heat to medium-low cooking for another 4-5 minutes or until the stock has reduced. Remove to a plate whole or slice and display as necessary.


So rad, so easy to do but, so often killed to death.
    Rib on the bone
  • The best quality steak you can afford will give you the best result you can afford. I can't afford King Island beef and I can't afford Wagyu. The cuts I buy are rump, rib fillet, t-bone, rib on the bone and eye fillet (I can get it where I live for $18 a kg) and, I prefer meat from the butcher.
  • If you can get steak cryovaced, store the meat whole in the fridge for up to three months, it will be more tender, great for when it is on sale.
  • Only salt meat just before you cook it. To see why simply get some meat and put some salt on it and watch the blood come out, it only takes a few minutes and you'll see why.
  • If you do decide to cook a thick piece (eg rib on the bone or eye fillet), after you have seared it, finish it in a preheated oven (180C) for about 15 minutes. Check it occasionally,
  • Resting meat not only makes it more tender by allowing the fibres to relax it also stops the eater from ending up with blood all over the plate and, the resting juice is perfect for adding into sauces or spooning a little back over the top.
  • I usually finely chop fresh robust herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) and rub them on the steak with some olive oil while the meat comes to room temperature.
  • Have the cooking surface mingin hot before you start.
  • If you are using a barbecue you can achieve the criss-crossed effect by turning the meat anywhere between 45 and 90 degrees after the first minute or so on each side.
  • The last 5 points are applicable to any meat suitable for frying.
Olive oil
Herbs finely chopped (eg rosemary)
Salt and Pepper
Butter (optional)
Porcini salt (optional)

Preheat the barbecue or frying pan to very hot. Take steaks from the fridge and coat lightly in olive oil and chopped herbs and a little fresh cracked pepper. When the meat is close to room temperature add to the cooking surface, turning after a minute or so to 90 degrees. When a few small pools of blood form flip the steak preferably to a fresh hot spot on the barbecue, turning 90 degrees again after a minute or so. When a few small pools of blood come through remove the steak from the barbecue to a plate, cover and put in a warm place to rest for 5 minutes. If you want a medium steak, allow for a few more pools of blood on either side. If you are unsure if it is cooked, poke it with your finger, if it is really soft, its not cooked, if its hard, its way way cooked.

There are three very simple methods of finishing steak without making sauce. One, as soon as it is removed, place a knob of butter on top, the residual heat will melt it. Two, once cooked add some porcini salt. Three, spoon a little of the resting juice back on top again.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Whole Mushroom and Cognac Sauce

I served this with steak on the weekend, it was low maintenance and tasty. The simple ingredient that really makes the difference here is the resting juice from the steak which I had cooked after starting the mushrooms off. You can use that idea for any warm/cooked sauce that you make, much like in gravy. Its not a punch in the face but it gives sauces more depth. Of course the most prominent flavour here though will be the cognac but you could just as easily use brandy or port, even scotch whiskey if you wanted to. This is enough for 6 steaks.

1 tbs garlic oil (more if necessary)
1 shallot thinly sliced
1 bag of small button mushrooms
3 tbs cognac
1/2 cup stock (use what you have on hand)
3 tbs mascarpone (substitute with any form of cream)
The resting juices from steak

Add the garlic oil and shallots to a pan over a medium heat. When aromatic add the mushrooms whole and toss through the flavoured oil. Continue to move about occasionally until coloured all over and a bit soft, about ten minutes. Add the cognac to the pan (be careful it may flare), stirring to remove any caramelised bits from the bottom. When almost completely reduced (about 1 minute) add the stock and allow to reduce. Cook steak, rest steak somewhere warm. Once reduced add the mascarpone and turn down heat to medium low. When reduced add the resting juice from the steak, increase the heat and reduce further. Check for seasoning and spoon over your steak.