Search This Blog

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Polenta Crusted Pan Fried Potato Chunks

I saw the Hairy Bikers coat potato in semolina to roast in goose fat. It sounded like a great idea so I decided to try something similar. Takes a bit of time, about 30 minutes, but the result is real proper golden and crunchy potato. This was served with crumbed fish. The potatoes have been requested a second night in a row to go with my Pear and Lemon Pork Belly recipe.

3 or 4 tbs polenta (or semolina)
Thyme sprigs
Oil (I used canola)

Peel and cut the potato into the sized chunks you want, I went for about 2 or 3 cm cubes. Boil the potato in a saucepan with a lid for a few minutes to par cook them. Drain the water and allow the steam to dry off your spuds somewhat. Add the polenta to the potato, put the lid on and shake about gently to scuff up the potato and coat in the polenta. Add enough oil to be a few mil deep in a large saucepan and heat to medium high. Place all of the scuffed potato and the thyme sprigs into the oil and fry on all sides until there is a golden colour. Drain on absorbent paper and season with salt.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Crumbs for Fish/Chicken

Use anything you find tasty really but all I would suggest is make your own bread crumbs, its simple. I have made bread crumbs with Chinese five spice in, onion and garlic powder, onion, oregano, just salt and pepper and, a combination of the following and various other herbs. For the bread mix I just use what is at hand, tonight it was left over sourdough bread and 2 slices of bruschetta bread, both I found in the freezer. Sliced white also works. Bought stuff is OK and functional but lacks depth as it is too fine and quite flavourless. Having said that the Japanese version of store bought bread crumbs, Panko, is wicked. If I can get it in western Queensland, you can get it anywhere. Whatever you think you won't use (before you taint it with raw egg etc), put in a freezer bag and into the freezer for another time.

6 slices of bread (ish)
3 or 4 slices of parmessan
1 handful of parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Polenta or semolina
2 or 3 eggs whisked

If the bread you wish to use is not stale, stick it under the grill at a medium heat for a couple of minutes either side but don't toast it as such. Combine the bread (torn), parmessan, parsley, thyme, zest, salt and pepper in a blender/whizz thing and pulverize until you have a both a fine and chunky texture. In order have bowls/plates filled with polenta, egg and bread crumb. Dip your meat product into the previous in the written order, pressing in the crumbs and shallow fry.
Serve with slices of lemon and whatever else.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Chilli Jam

As I used about 10 times the recommended amount of chilli, this wasn't ridiculously hot. Cleaning the chilli's was a bit time consuming but the result was a flavour that was nothing but chilli. I think next time I make this I might add some cardamon seeds as well. Use chilli jam on meat, sandwiches or as a dip.

500 gms long red chilli's
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 capsicum diced
3 tomato skinned and diced
1 thumb of ginger grated
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
500 gms white sugar
1 or 2 star anise

Slice all the chilli's length ways then remove the seeds/membrane with a teaspoon. Rinse all of the chilli's under a tap to remove any remaining seeds. Combine all of the ingredients (sans star anise) in a large saucepan and mix with a spoon. Add the star anise last and pay attention to where it is. Bring the saucepan to the boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Reduce until you reach a jam like consistency, mine took about 2 hours. To test if it is thick enough, spoon some onto a plate and place in the freezer for 1 minute then run your finger through it. If it roughly keeps its shape its ready, if not, keep reducing. When ready, remove all of the star anise (biting into star anise sucks), turn off the heat and add a lid and allow to cool. Spoon into sterilized jars.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Pear and Lemon Pork Belly

This recipe is very similar to my Pork Belly in Apple Cider recipe, was equally as tasty and probably a bit lighter due to the lemon. The roasted lemon and caraway seeds complimented each other  very well and the pear was awesome with the meat.

1.5 kg piece pork belly (more if you want)
Olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 pear sliced thinly
2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tbs salt (or more)
1 lemon quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 tbs cream
Chicken stock
Parsley finely chopped
Roasted potato and sweet potato
Steamed beans

Preheat an oven to 180C. Spread the onion out on a roasting tray to the same size as the pork belly piece, sprinkle the caraway seeds, pear and garlic on top. Toss in a little oil. Pour in about 1 cup of chicken stock.  Rub the salt and some of the caraway seeds into the scored skin of the pork along with some oil. Place the pork on top of the onion, cover with foil/lid and put into the oven for 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid/foil after an hour. Remove the pork from the oven to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, some tongs and some swear words, slice the skin from the belly in one piece. Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan, remove and discard the pear core, squeeze the garlic out and, place on a high heat to reduce. Add chicken stock if necessary. Stick the skin, fat side down under the grill on high on the lowest shelf, turn if desired. Watch carefully that it doesn't burn. When the crackle is ready, remove it to a drying rack with absorbent paper underneath (less cleaning up) to dry out and harden. Add the cream and parsley to the sauce and reduce the heat to very low until you are ready to serve. Slice the pork thickly and serve with the roasted vegetables, beans, chips of cut crackling and the sauce.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Pizza Sauce

Generally for pizza I only use Garlic Oil on the base because I am a bit over canned/bottled tomato. I felt like something different this time, had a few cherry tomatoes and wanted to use them. The result was Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato  with some capsicum thrown in, blended with some basil and pine nuts. On the pizza I had roasted sweet potato chunks, chicken, shroom and some dressed rocket at the end. Dressed rocket on pizza at the end is brilliant.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato (w/ capsicum thrown in)
1/2 a packet of pine nuts
5 or 6 basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil

Blend the lot, smear on the base of your pizza, add whatever on top. Put any left over sauce on biscuits, with some meat or through some pasta.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Asparagus, Pea and Mint Risotto

Light and tasty, very simple. This sounds complicated but it is not. Also, as we were trying this asparagus concoction prior to mixing, we decided that it would be great on biscuits or bruschetta.

2 cups risotto rice
4 cups chicken stock (more may be necessary)
1/2 an onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup white wine

Asparagus Mixture
2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed
3 or 4 slices of Parmesan from a block
1/2 a handful each of mint and parsley
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup frozen peas
2 whole garlic cloves

4 Barbecued Balsamic Thyme Chicken thighs (click the link)
Chilli flakes

For the asparagus mixture allow the peas to defrost then combine the ingredients in a blender using only half the lemon. Check for seasoning, add more lemon if necessary. Set aside.
Barbecue the chicken, remove to a clean plate, cover and rest. When required, chop 2 of the thighs up relatively finely, slice the other 2 thinly.
Heat the stock in a medium sized saucepan, place in the woody asparagus ends and parsley stalks. Using a large, heavy based frying pan with high sides, saute the onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic over a medium high heat. When translucent add the 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 adding the final ladle, add the asparagus mixture, juice from the cooked chicken, the chopped chicken and add the lid and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 4 for 5 minutes.
Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls, top with sliced chicken pieces and chilli flakes.

Shanks with a Gazpacho-(ish) Yoghurt Sauce

As with any meal, the difference between a good and a well tasty meal is how you finish it. It doesn't take much effort and really just compliments your hard work. For example, Parmesan/chilli flakes/extra virgin olive oil on pasta, dressed rocket on a pizza or Gremolata with osso bucco. Tonight I wanted to avoid the bottled  tomato flavour with my shanks and thought about modifying my Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe for shanks. It was easy, punchy, quick and handy on omlettes the next day and with the pasta that accompanied the left over shanks and their juice.

4 lamb shanks
1/2 a medium sweet potato in small dice
1 small onion in small dice
4 large button mushrooms in small dice
1/2 a sprig of rosemary stripped and roughly chopped
1 rasher of bacon in small dice
1 cup red wine (or more)
1 cup stock (or more)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
2 or 3 bay leaves
Some good Mash

Gazpacho Sauce
1 handful cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
7 or 8 basil leaves
3 tbs natural yoghurt
Salt and pepper

Oil the shanks and season them. Add the sweet potato, onion, bay leaves, mushroom, bacon, a little pepper and the rosemary into a French oven or large saucepan with a lid. Toss to combine, add the shanks, wine and stock and place in a preheated 140C oven for 3 hours. Add more wine if you wish and sear the shanks prior if you want but I don't think it makes much difference.
For the gazpacho-ish yoghurt sauce, combine the ingredients in a blender.
Spoon some mash into each bowl, spoon some cooking liquid and vegetables in (minus the bay leaves), place a shank in each and top with some gazpacho gear.


This is the traditional accompaniment for osso bucco buuuut it is brilliant with any stew/casserole. The garlic wakes everything up and the lemon rind cuts through the richness of stewed beef and lamb really well. Toy with it, add some mint or rosemary etc or anchovies.

1 good handful of parsley
3 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

Finely mince the garlic and parsley with a large chefs knife. Add the rind and mix in some olive oil until you have a nice consistency, mostly green and a bit runny.