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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pork Fillet Ballontine with Pesto and Fennel

 Looks difficult but it was actually rather simple. A little messing about but a very pleasing result.

1 pork fillet
3 tbs pesto
3 mushrooms
1 chilli
3 slices fennel
8 sheets prosciutto
1 tbs olive oil

Carefully slice pork fillet down the side but not all the way through then fold out the piece of meat. Lay out a piece of cling film, place the meat on and cover with more cling film. Beat the meat out using a meat mallet or a knife sharpening steal until it is about 1/2 cm thick. Halve the piece of meat. Place four pieces of prosciutto on a large-ish sheet of cling film, overlapping slightly. Place each piece of meat on the separate prosciutto sheets. Paint 1/2 the pesto on each piece of meat. Blitz the mushroom, chilli and fennel in a blender. You will need stop a few times and push the gear down to the blades. Lay the mushroom mixture in a sausage form along the top side of each pork fillet. Trim the excess prosciutto from each end. Using the cling film to help you, gently yet firmly roll the pork into a sausage shape then twist round and round until you have an even, firm sausage, tie knots in the end and refrigerate until required.

2/3 fill a medium sized saucepan to simmering then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Gently slide in a bread plate so that it points up then place in your ballontines. It may be necessary to weigh down your ballontine, I used a spatula. Every few minutes, scoop out a little water and add in some fresh water to keep the temperature from becoming too high. Cook for about 35 minutes or so. I cooked mine for 30 and felt as though they could have done with just a touch more. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Remove from the plastic wrap and fry in a frying pan until well coloured all over. If you want to, deglaze the pan with some wine and a little stock, reduce then, add a little butter and maybe some herbs or lemon.

Chicken and Brattwurst Risoni with Corn, Fennel and Mushroom

I love slow cooked stuff - its cheap and the kids smash it to bits.

500gms chicken thigh fillets
3 Bratwurst sausages (or pork)
1/2 bulb fennel in small dice
1/2 bunch spring onion in small dice
1/2 a capsicum in small dice
300 gms mushrooms in small dice
1 handful fresh oregano chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 bunch parsley minced
1 cup sparkling white wine
2 cobs corn, kernels sliced off
2/3 cup risoni
Salt and pepper
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan and chilli flakes to serve

Chop the chicken into chunks. Mix the chicken with salt and pepper, oregano and garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Heat a large non stick pan to medium high. Half cook the sausages, remove to a clean plate. Sear the chicken chunks in batches until they have nice colour then remove the a clean plate. Slice the sausage. Pour any remaining oil from the chicken marinade to the pan and saute the mushroom and fennel. When they have nice colour add in the chicken, capsicum, sausage, spring onion, risoni and wine. Toss about. If you have kept the corn cob and stems from the fennel, add them to the top. Bring to the boil, reduce to the lowest setting, add a lid and braise for an hour.
Remove the lid, remove the corn cob and fennel stalks, add in the corn kernels, Parmesan and mix through and mix. Add the lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper or even a squeeze of lemon if it needs it. Spoon into bowls and top with grated Parmesan and chilli flakes.

Stuffed Mushroom Topped with Scallop and Chorizo

Just a few scallops really go a long way, likewise 1 chorizo sausage can span at least 3 meals. This took about 10 minutes to prepare and about 35 minutes to cook. This was enough as a starter for 2 kids and 3 adults.

2 field mushrooms
1/2 handful parsley
2 cloves garlic
4 tbs Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
1 tbs marinated feta
1 tbs grated Parmesan
1 tbs extra virgin (maybe more)
A little white wine
1 tbs pine nuts
6 fresh sea scallops
10 thin slices of chorizo
Some grated tasty cheese

Pre heat an oven to 180C. Break the stems off the field mushrooms and roughly chop. Roughly chop the parsley and garlic. Mince the mushroom stems, parsley and garlic together until fine and well combined. Mix the Parmesan, parsley mix, marinated feta and half of the olive oil with a spoon. If the mixture is a little dry, add the rest of the oil. Drip a little white wine over each mushroom, divide the bread crumb mix between each, place on a baking paper lined tray, cover with foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to roast for another 10 minutes or until the top is crunchy.
Thinly slice the scallops. Remove mushrooms from the oven.
Arrange the scallops and chorizo on top of each mushroom,top with a few pine nuts, sprinkle over a little grated tasty cheese and return to the oven until the cheese has melted and the scallops are just opaque.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pork Cheek Braised with Fennel and Chorizo, Finished with Watercress and Feta

This is the very definition of sometimes food. Holy moly, so tender you could have eaten this using a brick, the fat from the crackling scrapped off like soft jelly. The butcher warned me about this. The cheek came as an entire jowl, its not very pretty to look at but it certainly did the job. Very little prep, a few hours cooking, a lot of guilty face stuffing. Oh, and I meant to poach some green prawns in the reducing liquid but forgot, it would have been great though...

2 pork jowls (score the skin)
1/3 chorrizo sausage finely minced
1 stick celery finely diced
1 carrot finely diced
1 onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic sliced
1/2 a fennel finely diced
1/2 a capsicum finely diced
1 cup bubbly white wine
1 bunch watercress
2 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs marinated feta
1 tbs caraway seeds
1 tbs salt (maybe more)
1/4 bottle passata
1 tbs sugar
Olive oil

Heat some olive in a large frying pan to medium high. Half cook the chorizo then remove to a clean plate. Oil the pork skin, pour over the caraway seeds and salt and rub into the skin. Sear the underside of the pork jowl until it has great colour then remove to a clean plate. Throw in the veg and garlic and toss about until fragrant. Pour any resting juice into the veg, add in the chorizo, place the jowls on top and pour in enough wine to cover the veg (not watercress or tomato) and come a little up the sides of the meat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 140C.
Remove the lid and place the pork in the oven - it reduces the sauce and dries out the skin. Roast for an hour. Remove the dish from the oven. Take the meat from the pan and place back in the oven, under a medium high grill, 2 or 3 shelves down until crispy and awesome. Good idea to place something underneath it. In the meantime reduce the sauce over a low heat on the stove top with half the sugar and all of the passata. Mince the watercress with the feta and cherry tomatoes. Mix through half of the feta, check the cheek sauce for seasoning and sweetness and add more salt/pepper/sugar if required. If you feel as though it is too heavy, squeeze in some lemon - the feta and tomato will freshen it up though. Slice, arrange on a plate, add some sauce, top with more feta gear and serve with some great toasted bread.

Cheese Souffle with Crab and Prosciutto

First ever soufflĂ©. Un-freaking-real. Ahhhh, sounds terrifying but its pretty simple really - white sauce, strained - eggs whites at soft peaks - egg yolks and flavours with some cheese - buttered ramikins - happy Alex, wife and kids. Sooooo making this again. I really think that this would be brilliant in small muffins moulds as a party food. I will have a wild stab in the dark here however - as I used chunks of crab (my brother brought me some he had caught and picked and it was freaking awesome) I am guessing that it would have dragged down the rising process. It was still fluffy though. Also, next time, I plan on flavouring the milk with chilli too.

4 eggs, seperated
1 small onion in small dice
1 clove garlic minced
50 gms butter
3 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1 handful basil
4 tbs parmessan
3 tbs Tasty or other grated cheese
200 gms picked crab (or more)
2 slices prosciutto grilled

Preheat an oven to 180C. Grease 4 ramekins with a little of the butter then place in the oven. Make a white sauce by sautĂ©ing the onion and garlic with the remaining butter over a medium low heat until translucent. Add in the flour and cook, stirring for 4 or 5 minutes. Pour in the milk and add in the basil. Continue cooking until thickens like thickened cream. While this happens (it only takes a minute or so) beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Chop the prosciutto. Strain the white sauce through a sieve and discard the solids. Stir the white sauce and cheese together until the cheese melts then mix through the egg yolks, crab and chopped prosciutto. Semi-carefully stir through half of the egg white. Carefully stir though the remaining egg white then spoon into the ramekins until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.
I served this with a simple salad of chopped roma tomatoes, balsamic glaze and torn basil. My recommendation is, make a double batch because it is really great.