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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mushroom and Prawn Bruschetta

Easy as. I made this taste even more mushroom like by using some porcini oil I made by soaking some porcini mushrooms in some extra virgin olive oil - an inexpensive little trick. I bought my bread from the Dayboro Bakery, they not only make the best pie and peas in the world, they also bake amazing bread - if you get the chance, check them out.

300 gms prawns shelled
Some great bread sliced
4 or 5 big mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 handful parsley chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbs marinated feta

Drizzle some oil over the bread. Heat 2 tbs of the oil to medium high, bung in the garlic and fry until fragrant, throw in the mushroom, some salt and pepper and cook until coloured. Remove and mix through the parsley and feta, set aside. Grill the bread. Heat the remain oil to medium high then flash fry the prawns until tender and just cooked through. Bread, shroom, prawns on top, drink some wine.

Harrisa Lamb Cutlets with a Corriander Tomato Sauce

I can distinctly remember the first time I ate harissa, it has on a sandwich and it was wonderful - that was almost ten years ago and my wife and I still talk about that sandwich. Since then I have bought harissa a heap of times and they have all been disappointing in comparison. I have been toying with the idea of making my own - until I found this gear - it is amazing. All natural, no preservatives and you can literally taste every single ingredient listed on the side of the bottle. I can honestly say that I have never experienced this phenomenon before. Oh, I should say, if you don't like hot stuff, don't eat harissa. That's an important tip...

Lamb cutlets (3 or 4 per person)
2 heaped tsp harissa paste
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
A slug of red wine
3 tbs chopped coriander
1/2 bottle tomato passata
1 tbs sugar

Mix the harissa paste with the olive oil and 1/2 of the coriander then paint onto the lamb cutlets. Set aside until required. When required, barbecue over a very high heat and cook to medium rare - allow to rest covered for 5 or so minutes.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil to medium high and fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant and slightly coloured. Deglaze with the red wine and simmer for a couple of minutes before pouring in the passsata. Pour in the sugar and a little salt and simmer until required. Add in the coriander to the hot sauce a couple of minutes before using. I served this with some fried potato and sweet potato, a little marinated feta and some lettuce. Very nice indeed.

Asparagus and Prawn Risotto

Two things before I begin. Firstly and again - listen to your mates they know stuff. Secondly - hello stinky wee. A friend of mine told me about his favourite risotto which is an asparagus version - 500 gms blended into the stock, 500 gms added into the risotto at the end. Really good advice, I can see this working with a whole bunch of things eg, bulk garlic, corn, mushroom, lemon, seafood and cream like a bisque and so on. Cheers mate - (sorry I bastardised your simple idea).

1 kg asparagus
300 gms green prawns shelled (shells reserved)
2 shallots finely diced
2 cups aborrio rice
1 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic minced
1 clove garlic bashed
1 L chicken stock
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 chilli sliced
1 lemon

Simmer the prawn shells in the stock for 5 minutes. While this is happening remove the woody ends from the asparagus and reserve, slice up half of the spears and the other half into big chunks. Strain the prawn stock and discard the shells, return the stock to the heat and place in the chunky asparagus and 1 half of the lemon whole. When the asparagus is becoming tender, remove the lemon then blitz it all with a hand blender. Be careful, it could get messy. You should end should end up with a thin asparagus soup. Place in the woody asparagus ends and the bashed garlic and return to a simmer. Go about making the risotto in the normal manner from this point, omitting the woody ends and bashed garlic. Slice the prawns reserving a few to cook in butter and garlic. When you are adding the last two ladles, thrown in the sliced asparagus, sliced prawns, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and the juice of the remaining lemon half - cover and rest for 5 or ten minutes. Add to bowls, top with more Parmesan, a whole prawn, sliced chilli and more lemon if required.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cherry Tomato Jam

The end of your tomato bush is bitter sweet - bummer its dying - way cool that there is so much fruit that you have to come up with new ways to deal with it. Soooo anyways, my wife volunteered me to cook tomato relish at Kindy on Friday. Never having made chutney this seemed a challenge and I thought well, if you add enough sugar to something you can turn it into jam. It was stacks of fun and the kids were radical. To add to that I thought I could preserve as much of the harvest as possible while my seedlings grow. Reality is though, after trying it - it won't last past next week - its too damn good.
Heaps easy - do it.

1 kg cherry tomato sliced in half
2 sticks lemon grass bashed and sliced
1 thumb ginger minced up
1 bottle tomato passata
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
500-600 gms raw sugar
2 tsp olive oil
Dill (or other soft herb)

Saute the lemon grass and ginger until fragrant and soft in the oil, pour in the tomatoes, passata, sugar, vinegar and stir. Bring to the boil and reduce temp to medium (otherwise it will blast all over the place), cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Spoon a little onto a small plate then place in the freezer for a minute or so, if after you've run your finger through it it stays parted, your done - turn off the heat, mix through a little soft herbage, a touch of salt and allow to cool enough to handle for bottling. If not, keep going until it is.


Listening to mates is a great idea. They know things; great bands, cool books, sweet movies and sooper nice food. Thanks Helen. This is a bastardized version of the recipe I was told (apparently my local major supermarket food chain don't stock chickpea flour) but it worked anywho. I grabbed a packet of gluten free flour (read here: rice flour) and hoped for the best. Whilst I am sure the texture is different it did the job. This was made for the Kindy kids when I made Cherry Tomato Jam.

500 gms rice flour
An equal portion of water
1 tbs fresh chopped herbs
Salt flakes
Olive oil for frying

Combine flour, herbs, water and a little salt until it forms a thickish batter. Heat some olive oil in a large non stick pan to medium high, ladle in some batter and fry on one side. Carefully flip and sprinkle with some sea salt flakes. Fry some more, flip, sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Repeat once more then remove. Do this until your batter is gone. More oil will be prepared throughout the process. Eat with anything really.

Tomato Bread V 3.0

And here this reason why my Cherry Tomato Jam will not see November... Tomato Bread versions 1 and 2 can be found here.

Some great bread thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Cherry Tomato Jam

Drizzle some olive oil over the bread, smear over 1 tsp of tomato jam and grill until aweeeesoooooome.

Crispy Skinned Chicken Boobs with Lemon and Oregano

Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.

Skin on chicken boobs
Lemon rind
1 handful fresh oregano roughly chopped
Porcini salt
2 cloves garlic thickly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil

Pat each chicken boob dry. Generously salt each boob, grind on some pepper, add the lemon rind and some extra virgin olive oil then carefully rub in. Allow to infuse and come up to room temperature. Heat some extra virgin to medium high in a large non-stick pan, take the garlic slices off the skin then add in the chicken, skin side down. Spoon all remaining oil/garlic on top while it cooks. Fry until crispy (about 5 minutes), turn and fry on the other side for about 5 minutes, turn back on the skin again, reduce the meat to medium and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Poke it with your finger to test if it is done, it should feel firm but with a little bit of bounce - if it is really soft, keep going until it is cooked. Allow to rest covered for about five minutes while you finish of whatever veg you are having. I served this some roasted herbed potatoes, steamed greens, topped with Cherry Tomato Jam and Tomato Bread V 3.0

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Turkey Wingettes with Cranberry, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic Oil

About 5 minutes work, 45 - 50 mins roasting, heaps cheap, heaps good.

500gms turkey wingettes
2 tbs garlic oil
2 tbs oven roasted cherry tomatoes
2 tbs dried cranberries
1 handful basil leaves
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Chop the cranberries with the oven roasted cherry tomatoes, tear the basil leaves and combine all of the ingredients. Marinade until required. Preheat an oven to 180C, line a baking tray with baking paper (made easier if you wet the tray first), place on the turkey, pour over remaining marinade, roast for 45 mins or until golden. Serve straight away.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chicken Beer Pies with Chilli Tomato Sauce and Pearl Barley

Mmmmm pie. Nice but its not going to stop me from buying pies from my local by any means. Pies are pretty straight forward really, cook some meat, sauté some veg, make a sauce, stick it under some pastry and bake.

500gms chick thighs
1 tbs garlic oil
1 handful sage leaves roughly chopped
A few sage leaves whole
3 large mushrooms in big chunks
4 spring onion roughly chopped
1 cup good beer (I used Coopers Pale Ale)
1 leek trimmed and thinly sliced
2 handfuls baby spinach
3 tbs chilli tomato sauce
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 sheets defrosted puff pastry
Egg or milk wash
Sesame seeds

Cut the chicken into bite sized chunks and combine with the sage leaves, garlic oil and some salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in batches a little olive oil until it has nice colour but is not cooked through, removing to a clean plate when ready. Fry the mushroom until well coloured then add in the leek to sauté. When soft add in the chicken, spring onion, pearl barley and when the pan is hot again, pour in the beer, bring to the boil then add in the tomato chilli sauce and stock. Return to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. If it needs more liquid, top up a little at a time with stock. Check for seasoning then mix through the baby spinach. Preheat an oven to 180C. Grease the top of 5 or 6 ramekins with the butter. Spoon in the chicken mixture to about 1cm under the lip of each ramekin. Place over a pastry lid and squish down over the edges. Paint each with an egg or milk wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, cut small steam holes, and place an oiled sage leaf or two on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Any left over pastry can be pricked with a fork and baked at the same time.
Serve with more chilli tomato sauce.