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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Chicken Mushroom and Kale Pasta with Lemon Herbed Bread Crumbs

This is the first time I have used fried bread crumbs with a pasta and it made feel silly I'd never done it before. So much flavour and crunch for so little effort. Quick and easy and another excuse for me to bung some kale into something else - I love that stuff.

500 gms chicken thighs fillets
2 handfuls mushroom roughly chopped
3 big kale leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
2 rashers of bacon in dice
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (may need more)
1/2 cup white wine or bubbles
1/2 cup chicken stock
Juice of half a lemon
Rind of half a lemon
2 thick slices of nice bread (I used sour dough)
1 tbs of basil leaves minced
1 handful of minced parsley
1 knob of butter
Parmessan cheese
Chilli flakes
1 packet of spaghetti
Salt and pepper

Blitz the bread, mix with the minced basil, lemon rind and minced garlic. Pour in a little extra virgin olive oil and combine well. Roast spread out on a tray at 180C for about 10 minutes, keep your eye on it. Remove from the heat when done.
Have your pasta water boiling and ready.
Season the chicken with salt and fry in most of the extra virgin olive oil over a medium high heat, remove to a clean plate when you have great colour. Fry the bacon until you have great colour then add in the chopped garlic, throw in the mushroom and some salt and pepper, get some nice colour.
Cook the pasta.
Add the kale to the mushroom/bacon mixture and toss through the flavoured concoction. Chop the chicken then add back to the pan along with any juices. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce for a minute or two. Pour in the stock, lemon juice, half a cup of the pasta water and half of the parsley and continue reducing. Add in the knob of butter and toss/shake about to emulsify the sauce. Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce.
Spoon into bowls, top with parsley, a little salt and pepper, a good helping of bread crumbs and chilli flakes and a little extra virgin olive oil.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Salsa with Pork Belly

Tonight I had a revelation.
Pork belly sauces made from the meat juices and cream etc are nice and all but you are always left feeling heavy afterwards. Today I made a very simple salsa for some taco boats (lunch) and used the remainder on some pork belly (dinner). It is the first time I have walked away from pork belly feeling refreshed. The acidity from the tomato, lime and red wine vinegar just smashed through the unctuous pork fat. The salsa took a mere 5 minutes from start to finish. Whilst I wouldn't mess with the simplicity of the salsa, some mint probably would work quite nicely in there too. The photo is terrible as I hadn't anticipated that this would be anywhere near as great as what it was.

Pork belly
10 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 bunch of coriander
1/2 tbs sugar
1/4 of a red chilli
1/2 a red onion in dice
1 tbs garlic oil
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper
Salad of any description

Cook some pork belly, make sure you get some proper crackle on that shiz. Salt it hard cook it at about 30 mins per 500 gms at 180C and smash it in the last 20 mins at 220C. I find poultry scissors are great at dealing with crackling - pro tip.
For the salsa? Just blend the rest of the ingredients but leave it chunky. Check for seasoning and adjust with more salt and pepper or lime or red wine vinegar. Add salsa to pork, eat some salad (optional).


Wiltof Triple Cream Brie and Lemon

I've never eaten wiltof before prior to this. It was more bitter than I was expecting but it has a refreshing taste. Prep for this was about 10 minutes and it has only about ten minutes cook time. Nice snack. I think next time though I would have grilled the cheese over the top. Cheap and simple.

4 wiltof quartered
Garlic oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Triple cream brie in slices
A lemon cheek or two
Chopped parsley

Oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on a grill over high heat for a couple of minutes until you get some lines/colour. Top with a piece of brie, a squeeze of lemon and some parsely. I reckon chilli flakes would be rad too.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Cous Cous Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Roast Potato and Minted Yoghurt

This was good, defo doing this again.

2/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup cous cous
2/3 cup lentils cooked
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup yoghurt
1 handful of mint
1 handful of coriander
Juice from half a lemon
2 cups diced roasted sweet potato
2 handful of quartered cherry tomatoes

Cook the quinoa and cous cous according to the packet instructions, but bung a slice of lemon in there while it cooks. When done, fluff with a fork and fold through a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you follow the link above to the lentils it will show you how I prepare them, for this dish I was chasing lemon so the dressing I made for it was the same as for the recipe but lemon juice instead of red wine vinegar and honey instead of sugar. Mix the lentils in to the cous cous/quinoa concoction. Combine the yoghurt and lemon juice with some chopped coriander and mint and some salt and pepper. Place the gear onto a serving tray then layer up with roast sweet potato, tomatoes, some coriander and yoghurt sauce. Finish with some salt and a good grind of pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Pistachio Romesco Sauce

I made Romesco sauce a few years ago and it was nice but it was hard work. Traditional Romesco sauce is made with blanched almonds and hazelnuts. To prep the hazelnuts you need to oven roast them and then rub the skins off with a tea-towel. That task sucked. Anywho the reiteration I've come up with here was simple and quick and versatile. I served this with scallops, prosciutto and guacamole but it very easily doubles as a dip.

100 grams shelled pistachios
3 slices of ciabatta crusts removed, diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp chilli flakes
2 pinches paprika

Toast the nuts and garlic in some olive oil over a medium heat. Remove to a clean plate. Add the remaining oil then toast the bread. Blitz the ingredients (only half of the vinegar) together, check for acidity and add more vinegar if required. Add water until you reach the consistency you'd like.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Flaked Salmon Pasta with a Mushroom and Asparagus Sauce

Wow, two recipes in a month, things are getting hectic. This was delicious, I made my own pasta here but store bought would be fine, if possible buy some freshly made pasta from a deli if you have the opportunity perhaps. The salmon was just as simple as shallow frying and really all the sauce was was some sautéed mushroom, asparagus pieces, pasta water and cream. One of the things I did do here actually (I cooked this a few days ago...) was make some basil chips. Basil what? Heaps simple, get half a bunch of basil and pick the leaves, lightly salt and toss in a little oil. Roast for 5-10 minutes, just don't let them burn. Very interesting flavour - initial beautiful basil hit then an after taste of green tea. I plan on doing more with this concept, very interesting.

3 salmon fillets, skin on
Two big handfuls and mushrooms sliced
1 bunch asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs cream (or more if you're keen)
2 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Enough fresh pasta for 4
Handful of sage leaves
Parsley for garnish
Basil chips
Cherry tomatoes quartered
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper

Have all of your ingredients ready to go as was you start it all happens quite quickly. Have your water simmering and ready to cook the pasta. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat some extra virgin olive oil over a medium high heat, fry the sage leaves in the oil until crisp - remove and reserve. Place the salmon fillets in skin side down and cook until the fillet is cook about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the side - do not allow the skin to burn, this becomes part of the garnish. Turn when ready and when the fillet feels about medium rare to medium, remove to a clean plate. Cook your pasta.
Add the butter to the pan and when melted add in the mushrooms and some salt and pepper giving them some great colour. When mostly cooked add in the asparagus pieces and cook for a further minute. Squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a mix. Pour in the cream and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Give the pan a good shake to emulsify the sauce, when combined turn off the heat. If the pasta is cooked, drain and toss through a little extra virgin olive oil.
Carefully remove the skin from each fillet and slice on the diagonal. Flake the flesh. Add a portion of pasta to each serving bowl, spoon over some sauce, some flaked salmon, garnish with some basil chips, fried sage leaves, parsley, cherry tomatoes, some freshly cracked pepper and a little drizzle of extra virgin.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dukkah Crusted Labne and Lamb Backstrap Pizza

An awesome ex-student of mine gave me some dukkah and lamb herbs for Christmas last year and I finally got around to using them. This was delicious and simple and I can thoroughly recommend giving it a go yourself. Labne is a cheese you make from yoghurt (seriously this only takes 10 minutes). The fiddliest part of this is rolling the cheese into balls and then dusting them but even then, that only takes 15 minutes. I made my own pizza bases here but I would imagine that using toasted Turkish bread or kebab bread would be just as great. The amount of oil used will seem terrifying but its only for marinating and can be re-used as part of a salad dressing, used in pesto (a nod to Tracey), or used in confit (a nod to JP). Next time I use dukkah, I think I am going to make my own. You will need to make the labne three days in advance.

1 kg natural yoghurt
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp salt for the labne
45g packet of dukkah (mine was lemon and herb)
1.5 litres of extra virgin olive oil
1 lamb backstrap
Lamb herbs
Individual pizza bases
Garlic oil
Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
A little red wine vinegar
Some fresh parsley

Combine the salt and crushed garlic for the labne into the yoghurt. Place a muslin wrap over a bowl doubled over, pour in the yoghurt. Bring the sides of the muslin wrap in and tie around a wooden spoon then hang in a bowl. Place in the fridge for three days re-adjusting the height of the bag if necessary so that the yoghurt is not sitting in the extracted liquid.

Remove the yoghurt from the hanging bag into a clean bowl. Pinch tablespoon sized quantities out and roll into a balls, place onto a clean plate. It helps if from time to time you rinse and dry your hands, the
yoghurt does become sticky. Roll each cheese ball in the labne then place carefully into another clean bowl, throw in a little fresh parsley then cover with the olive oil.

Pre-heat an oven to 180C. Paint the pizza bases with garlic oil, sprinkle on some chopped parsley, grate over some parmesan then top with a little mozzarella. Bake until they have great colour.

Season the lamb fillet with some lamb herbs, salt and pepper. Sear on a barbecue to your liking (mine were rare). Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes under some foil then slice very thinly. While this is happening dress the rocket in some garlic oil, some more grated parmesan and a little red wine vinegar.

Smear a labne ball on a pizza base, load up some lamb and rocket then tuck in.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Turkey, Caramelised Onion and Mushroom Pinwheels

Nice. I think though next time I would space them out over two trays to get better colour on the sides. I cooked caramelised onion here (which takes a considerable amount of time) but bought stuff would be fine, it adds a great complexity and sweetness to the whole shebang.

3/4 cup caramelised onion
2 handfuls minced mushroom
garlic oil
2 cups grated cheese
500 gms turkey mince
1 handful coriander leaves chopped
2 sheets puff pastry
Salt and pepper
egg wash

Cook the mushrooms in a bit of garlic oil with some salt and pepper. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (except for the puff pastry and egg wash) and refrigerate until cool (hot mixture will melt the puff pastry). Spread the mixture out evenly between the two sheets of pastry leaving a lip to join up at the end. Paint some egg wash on the lip and gently roll up the pastry (using the plastic backing from the puff pastry sheets makes it easier). Cut each turkey log into 8 even slices. If you've got time, place them in the fridge to firm up. Egg wash the pastry. Roast in a 180C oven for about 20 minutes or until they have nice colour. I ate mine with some sweet chilli sauce.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Raw Humus (wellll almost...)

There are some local markets near my place that have heaps of cool food but by far and away my favourite thing from there is a raw humus that a dude makes. A friend asked me to see if I could do it so I had a go. The end result was very similar and certainly worth making again. It doesn't taste anything like regular humus in much the same way that raw corn tastes nothing like cooked corn. The cooked part in this? Salted cashews, I couldn't have been bothered finding raw ones. This was better a few hours later once the ingredients had had some time to get to know each other.

1 tub sprouting mung beans
1/2 a thumb on ginger
1 clove garlic
1 stick of celery finely diced
1/4 of a bunch or coriander
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbs sesame oil
1 handful salted cashews
1/2 tsp paprika (or to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Pepper and salt

Using only half of the juices, combine the remainder of the ingredients in a blender into a paste. Adjust the juices levels, salt and pepper accordingly.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Braised Rabbit with Star Anise and Cranberries

A mate of mine recently gave me a whole stack of bunny wabbits, dressed and everything. Having never cooked rabbit and only eaten it once this was new territory. I did some research and this is attempt number one. Many recipes pointed out how delicate a flavour it is but most recipes have bold flavours like mine so I went for the safe option. Not surprisingly - its quite like chicken. On the upside, this was very nice but next time I will be more gentle. The most interesting part was the cranberries, a few recipes I saw called for sultanas or raisins which I do not like in savoury food. The cranberries puffed up heaps but the flavour went to the background - my wife didn't even know until I told her after that they were there. Tasty.

1 kg of rabbit on the bone
2 rashers of bacon cut in batons
1 stick celery in fine dice
2 carrots in fine dice
1 onion in fine dice
2 big handfuls diced mushroom
3 cloves garlic
1 tin tomato purée
1 star anise
1 handful of dried cranberries
1 good slug of red wine
2 bay leaves
A bouquet garni  (tie some herbs together)
A splash of Brandy
1 cup chicken stock
Flour for dusting
Salt and pepper
Butter and extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs sour cream
Parsley and chilli flakes
Good mash

Season the flour and dust the rabbit. Heat the butter until foaming then add in some olive oil. Brown the rabbit then remove to a clean plate. Fry the bacon then remove to a clean plate. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot until soft then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant then remove. Add more oil/butter sauté the mushrooms with some salt and pepper, add the onion mixture and bacon. If you want a thick sauce, cook through some of the left over flour from dusting. Deglaze the pan with the Brandy and red wine and when the boozie smell is gone pour in the tomato, cranberries, star anise, stock and stir to combine. Place in the bouquet garni and add the rabbit pieces. Reduce the heat to low, add a lid and leave it for 1.5 hours. Remove the rabbit pieces and take the meat off the bone (discard those), chop into bite sized pieces then return to the sauce and stir through the sour cream. Check for seasoning. Garnish and serve with some mash.