Monday, December 26, 2005

Sweetcorn & Ricotta hotcakes with smoked salmon & basil dressing

To use up some more of my smoked salmon I cooked up a treat for Michael & I on Christmas morning, we were not expecting the whole family over until dinner time so wanted something nice to start the day.

After doing the Allan Campion cooking class at Vic Market & him making it look so easy I thought I would try this recipe out for myself. Again it was really easy & have heaps of leftover hotcakes to have for brekky over the next few days. Think the corn & smoked salmon teamed with the basil is a great combination too.

The recipe is from 2006 Seasonal Prodcue Diary, here it is

Sweetcorn and ricotta hotcakes with smoked salmon and basil dressing

1 cup basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled & sliced
120-160 ml (1/2 - 2/3 cup) olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 medium eggs
250g ricotta
60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
125g (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
150g (1 cup) self raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
2 corn cobs
olive oil for cooking
rocket to serve
12 slices smoked salmon

Place basil & garlic in food processor & blend until chopped. Slowly add the olive oil until the basil is pureed & forms a thickish sauce. Season with salt & pepper & set aside.

Beat eggs & ricotta. Add milk and yoghurt & beat until smooth. Sift flour with baking powder and salt & add to ricotta base, stir until combined.

Remove husks and silky tassells from corn. Run a sharp knife down each cob to remove the kernels. Stir kernels through pancake mixture.

Heat a heavy based pan over medium heat. Add a splash of oil to hot pan, then a few ladlefuls of ricotta mixture. Mixture should spread to abt 6 cm wide. Cook until bubbles form on top & base is golden brown. Turn over & cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Keep warm until all hotcakes are cooked.

Place one hotcake on each plate, add a handful of rocket, place another cake on top. Add more rocket & arrange 2 slices of salmon on top. Repeat with remaining hotcakes. Drizzle basil oil around hotcakes & serve immediatley

PS - As you can see from the photo I didnt do the fancy arrangement just for the 2 of us!

Tiramisu Cake Sat 24th Dec 05

After dinner at Tolarnos we came home for coffee, cake & traditional early present opening!

I made a tiramisu cake from Allan Campion & Michele Curtis' 'Food with Friends', it was so easy to put together & a big hit with all. Here's the recipe

Tiramisu Cake

200g dark chocolate chopped into chunks (or use the melts like I did)
3 medium eggs, seperated
60 ml (1/4 cup) marsala
250 g mascarpone
150 g Italian sponge fingers
100 ml strong coffee
cocoa powder
cream to serve

22cm springform cake tin

Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl & set over saucepan of simmering water until melted. Beat egg yolks with marsala until pale & creamy. Add mascarpone to beaten yolks & beat until smooth. Add melted chocolate to mix & stir until well combined. Whip egg whites until stiff, fold into the mix.

Line springform tin with greaseproof paper. Lay half the spnge fingers in the bottom of the cake tin & drizzle with half the coffee. Pour the mascarpone mix into cake tin. Top with remaining biscuits & drizzle with remaining coffe. Cover with glad wrap & refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight until set.

To serve, remove cake carefully, dust with cocoa powder & serve with cream

Tolarno's Mums Bday 24 Dec 05

Christmas Eve is my mums birthday so we always take her out somewhere nice for dinner. Being a big fan of Heweys she requested Tolarnos this year.

The food here is very different to most menus in that it is very old fashioned. To start with we all had the polenta chips with mayonaise & crumbed mushrooms with tartare sauce, strange combination but it worked well, very nice to start with though lots of crumbed & fried food which not really used to.

Next I had the shephards pie pictured, not normally what I would try but thought that I should try & house specialty & steer away from my usual type of choice. It was delicious, the meat has a lovely tomatoey flavour & the mash was very creamy with loads of melted cheese on top, very heavy & def could not eat this all the time, & of course I did not finish it at all. It came with a side of buttered cabbage which sadly was hardly touched.

We noticed Huey cooking in the kitchen which of course thrilled my mum & the waitress who was lovely said it would not be a problem to go up to the kitchen window & say hello. So I dragged my very excited mum up there & intoduced her letting him know it was her bday too. He said a quick hello, didnt listen to what my mum was trying to say & then turned his back, my mum was very disappointed in him, expecting that as on his cooking shows when he tell everyone to come down to his restaurant that he would be more than happy to chat to a devoted fan for a minute or so. My mum has now decided she wont be watching him anymore! Sad as the food & staff were great!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Smoked Salmon - Wednesday 21st Dec 05

This Xmas I was lucky enough to be given a kilo of smoked salmon from one of my clients so will be getting creative & trying out lots of new recipes over the next couple of weeks, luckily I'm doing lots of entertaining so plenty of opportunity!

Wednesday night my good friend Jane moved into one of the houses in my block so to celebrate I made up these little treats. Pumpernickel bread with a dollop of creme fraiche, a sprig of dill & some salmon on top, yum!

Glazed Salmon with warm broccolini Tuesday 20th Dec 05

Another busy day was had & lots to do at home so Michael cooked me this simple but yummy Salmon dish from Bills Food by Bill Granger, heres the recipe

Glazed Salmon with warm broccolini

80 ml (1/3 cup) Mirin
80 ml (1/3 cup) Soy Sauce
2 tblspns grated ginger
2 tblspins red miso
2 tspns sugar
2 tspns lemon juice
4 Salmon Fillets - skin on
1 bunch broccolini


125ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
125ml (1/2 cup) mirin
2 tspns sugar

To serve

1 tspn black sesame seeds
steamed rice

Stir the mirin, soy, ginger, miso, sugar & lemon juice in a bowl, add the salmon & marinate in fridge for at least 15 minutes & up to 1 hour

To make the dressing, bring the ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat & simmer for 10 minutes or until syrupy or like thin caramel. (At this point in the recipe we realised we had now run out of mirin & had to leave it out - still tasted fine though)

Heat the grill, remove salmon from marinade & place skin side down in a lightly oiled non stick frying pan, cook until fish is still pink in the center & is nicely colored

While Salmon is cooking, steam or blanch the broccolini for 2 minutes or until tender but still bright green & crisp. Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds & drizzle with dressing, serve with broccolini & rice. Serves 4

Kent Hotel - Nances Victory Lunch Sun 18th Dec 05

Well its been a busy pre xmas week & only now am I getting the chance to put on some of my posts.

Last Sunday The Nances (our mixed netball team) got together for our xmas victory lunch at The Kent Hotel in Rathdowne street, Carlton. Technically we came adraw with Gertrude & we didnt even play the match due to dates being screwed up from a previous weeks flooding incident at the center. Anyway no one could lock in another date so we called it a draw - I'm happy with that, there is so much on at the moment, no time for anything sensible or healthy like netball.

Anyway we booked a table at The Kent. I was running a tad late as had a monster night the night before, hitting just abt every bar in Fitzroy/Collingwood & then some. Needless to say I wasnt up for a drink at lunch which is very unusual for me, was very hungry though & looking fwd to a nice lunch. To start with we had some pizzas to share which were very nice though the waiter was very pushy about us ordering them & wasnt very happy that we only wanted 2. Next I had the steak you can see pictured, it was very delicious & a huge serving which Lofty siiting next to me was happy abt as he got lots of my leftovers. When the food was over we had to practically beg to put in coffee orders & dessert menus were never offered. So all in all even though the food was great the service really sucked which is a real shame

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pork Dumplings in Chicken Broth Thursday 15th Dec 05

Well tonight I thought I would try something different & make some dumplings. I used a recipe from a table magazine that promised prep time to be only 20 minutes. This was my first attempt though I am sure that for those of you who have ever made wontons of any kind before you will know this is a lie. Also the recipe called for 30 square wonton wrappers, I only used about 2/3rds of the ingredients yet made about 45 wontons so some adjustments may be neccessary. As you can see from the picture I had to move from wonton wrappers to gyoza wrappers when I ran out! I also used noral mushies as couldnt get my hands on any shitake. Having said all that the recipe was very easy to follow even though time consuming & the end result was delicious. As I was only cooking for 2 I also froze the leftovers for another day or 2 (after steaming) which will be nice for a low fuss dinner some night.

Here is the recipe as it was printed to serve 6

Pork Dumplings in Chicken Broth

400g lean pork mince
2 green onions finely chopped
80g drained water chestnuts, finely chopped
2cm piece fresh giner, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, , crushed
3 tspn soy sauce
2 tspn sweet sherry
1 tspn sesame oil
30 squar wonton wrappers
1.25 ltr (5 cups) chicken stock
1/4 chinese cabbage (wong bok), finely shredded
100g shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

Place pork, onions, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic, soy, sherry & sesame oil in a bowl & mix together well

Line a tray with non stick baking paper. Spoon 1 tspn of mixture into the center of a wrapper, brush edges with water & bring edges together so corners meet, now pinch in the edges. Place on preapred tray until done with all the mixture. Cover with a damp tea towell & place in fridge until ready to use.

Place 1Ltr stock & 1 cup water in a large wok on high & bring to the boil. Line 2 bamboo steamers with non stick baking paper & arrange wontons in single layer. Stack baskets, cover with lid & place over stock in wok. Reduce heat to medium & steam for 5 minutes.

Carefully lift baskets out, add cabbage & mushrooms to stock, swap baskets so top is now on bottom, cover with lid & return to wok. Steam for 5-7 minutes or until wontons cooked.

Remove baskets, add remaining stock & 1 cup water to wok, bring to boil. Divide wontons between bowls & ladle over broth & vegetables

Yummy & will definietly be trying out some variations!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Downstairs at The Stokehouse Sunday 11th Dec 05

Saturday was my work Xmas party & I have to admit I think I overdid it on the champas a bit so Sunday was a very slow day, slept in very late & then woke up ravenous.

It was a very hot 29 degrees or so in Melbourne so we headed to the beach for a bite to eat & a walk on the beach. Stomach came first so we had a quick bite at The Stokehouse. Had to wait abt 20 minutes or so for a table which wasnt too bad though I would say the place is slightly overrated downstairs. I had the Marinara (above), which was quite nice, full of heaps of seafood, mussels, pipis, fish, prawns & calamari rings all covered in a rich tomato sauce, all in all very nice. Michael had the hamburger which he said wasnt all that flash. Not too worry the stomach was now satisfied & we went for a lazy walk along the waters edge before heading home for lots of naps & tv time

Think I have just recovered & caught up on my sleep now!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Moroccan Lamb Cutlets Monday 5th Dec 05

Tonight I cooked up these tasty lamb cutlets from a recent Delicious Magazine - very very good

Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Couscous salad & Tahini Dressing

2 x French Trimmed Racks of Lamb (6 cutlets each)
1/2 cup (140g) Greek style Yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn sweet paprika
1/2 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
Zest & juice of 1 lemon


1 3/4 cups (350g) couscous
2 tspn ground tumeric
1 small red onion
1 lebanese cucumber roughly chopped
1 ripe vine ripened tomato roughly chopped
1/2 bunch coriander roughly chopped
1/2 mint, leaves chopped
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup toasted pine=nuts
1 tsp ground cinamon
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest & juice of 1 lemon

Tahini Dressing

1 cup Greek style yoghut
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsn honey (Oops just realised I forgot this!)

Combine lamb with remaining ingredients, rub into lamb, cover & marinate in fridge overnight.

Salad - Place couscous in a large bowl & pour over 2 cups of boiling water, cover & set aside for 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork, add remaining ingredients & season with salt & pepper

Whisk all dressing ingredients together, season to taste

Grill the lamb racks & serve with salad & dressing

Grilled Prawns Sunday 4th Dec 05

Last night I cooked up some prawns from my 'Slice of Port Douglas' Cookbook, it is full of yummy recipes form local restaurants, This one was quite easy to make & quite yummy though if I did it again I would probably only serve as an entree

Grilled Prawn Skewers with lemon myrtle and mango dressing and Jasmine Rice Pilaf - From Ilios bar & restaurant

16 leader prawns or large tiger prawns
4 leaves of fresh lemon myrtle of kafir lime leaves julienned
1 lemon, zested & juiced
1 tsp cracked black pepper
100mls vegetable oil


4 mango cheeks, fresh or frozen (prefer just under ripe)
1 tbspn lemon myrtle oil
2 tbspns virgin olive oil
1 tbspn lemon juice (omit if mango not ripe)

Jasmine Rice Pilaf

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tbspn oil
1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups water of good quality fish stock
salt & pepper to taste

Peel prawns, leaving heads & tails intact then thread onto skewers (I cheated & used peeled prawns & didnt skewer). Combine lemon myrtle, lemon zest & juice, pepper & oil & pour over prawns. Refrigerate & marinate for at least 2 hours.

To make the dressing place all ingredients into food processor & pulse until mixture has a thick consistency

To make the pilaf, place onion, garlic & oil in a baking tray & cook over medium heat until onion soft. Add rice & continue to stir allowing the heat to evenly disperse. Add the water or stock then bring to the boil. Cover with foil & place in preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes or until cooked. Remove foil & season with salt & pepper, running a fork through

Chargrill prawns on hot grill for approx 1 minute each side until cooked

Pretty easy stuff!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cookie Wednesday 30th Nov05

The other night I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Cookie with Rach before heading off to the movies to see Pride & Prejudice - great romantic movie by the way

The cookie business card advertises itself as being a Beer hall - Eating House - Disco & it covers all well. Once you find the entrance, up a staircase off Swanston street, to the left side is a restaurant serving modern Thai food & to the right is the beer hall. We ate in the more casual beer hall, same food, only diff being you have to order at the bar. I have been a few times & my fave is the Lamb & eggplant curry, the lamb is so tender it falls apart & it has a wonderful sweet flavour, we shared this with some steamed rice & it was more than enough for 2. Great place to eat for lunch or dinner but be warned come Friday/Saturday night (& maybe later other nights for all I know) its very packed & not much room for food, great place for Friday night drinks though!

252 Swanston Street
03 9663 7660


Random Travel Notes 3 - Venice - April 2003

This is a photo of a pasta shop front in Venice. I think the colors & shapes are amazing, mexican hats, blue pasta, even some with smiling faces! It was a shame I couldn’t buy any to take home as I was backpacking at the time!