Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fifteen Chocolate Brownies

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve never made brownies before. These are such an intensely good chocolate hit & so easy to make, not even one electrical appliance needed, need I say more. The recipe is from Cook with Jamie, I skipped the nuts as Michael is a bit allergic & I need him to help me eat them or I’ll end up eating the entire tray myself. Also I used glace cherries as for the life of me I couldn’t find any type of dried cherry out there, if anyone knows where in Melbourne I can pick these up please help as I have a couple of recipes that call for them though the glace cherries seemed to work quite well & I didn’t want to go without as Michael loves a cherry ripe & therefore anything chocolaty that uses cherries too. Yum!

Fifteen Chocolate Brownies

250g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken up
optional: 150g dried sour cherries
optional: 150g chopped nuts
80g cocoa powder, sifted
65g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
350g caster sugar
4 large free range eggs
optional: zest of 1 orange
optional: 250ml crème fraiche

Preheat oven to 180c. Line a 30cm rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter & chocolate & mix until smooth. Add the cherries & nuts (if using) & stir together. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, flour, baking powder & sugar, then add this to the chocolate & stir well together. Beat the eggs & mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your mixture into the tray & place in the oven for around 25 minutes. Don’t overcook them, the skewer should not come out clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray then transfer to a large chopping board & cut into chunky squares. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche mixed with orange zest or eat them as they are.

Spicy Roast Pumpkin, Feta & Olive Salad

This is a gorgeous salad to make for lunch or you could even stretch it to dinner as we did by adding a steak or the like on the side. It is another winner from Bill Grangers Bills Food. I know I’ve said it before but I really am loving everything I make from his books & this is no exception. The pumpkin is fantastic with the spices & the dressing really just makes the whole dish & pulls it all together.

Spicy Roast Pumpkin, Feta & Olive Salad

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
800g pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
100g baby spinach leaves
150g marinated feta, drained & crumbled
20 Kalamata olives, pitted

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1 French shallot, finely sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 220c. Place olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper in a bowl & stir to combine. Add the pumpkin & stir to coat. Transfer to a roasting pan & bake for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender & slightly caramelized.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until combined.

Divide the spinach between four serving plates & scatter pumpkin, feta & olives over the top. Drizzle each with dressing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Roast Chicken with Lemon & Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Now that we are having some lovely cool autumn nights I thought it was the perfect time for a Sunday night roast. Jamie Oliver lists this as one of his top 10 recipes in Jamie’s Dinners, and who wouldn’t, a roast definitely has to be on everyone’s favorites lists, doesn’t it? This one differs from the norm in that the chicken is stuffed with lemon, garlic & herbs & the potatoes are parboiled with the lemon & garlic before roasting to make them nice & crisp. It was a beautiful roast, juicy & tender & the potatoes were gorgeous & crispy on the outside even though they didn’t brown up that much & they were fluffy & soft on the inside, as you can see I also added pumpkin which I cant go without when doing a roast & it was delicious also. Mmmm, looking forward to more roasts in the coming cooler months.

Roast Chicken with Lemon & Rosemary Roast Potatoes

1 x 2kg free range organic chicken
sea salt& freshly ground black pepper
2kg potatoes, peeled
1 large, preferably unwaxed lemon
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves
a handful of thyme
olive oil
a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
optional: 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Rub the chicken inside & out with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Do this in the morning if possible, then cover the chicken & leave in the fridge until you’re ready to start cooking it.

Preheat oven to 190c. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cut the potatoes into golf sized pieces, put them in the water with the whole lemon & the garlic cloves, and cook for 12 minutes. Drain & allow to steam dry for 1 minute (this gives you crispier potatoes), then remove the lemon & garlic. Toss the potatoes in the pan while still hot so their outsides get chuffed up & fluffy – this will make them nice & crispy when roasted.

While the lemon is still hot, stab it about 10 times. Take the chicken out of the fridge, pat it with kitchen paper & rub it all over with olive oil. Push the garlic cloves, the whole lemon & the thyme into the cavity, then put the chicken into a roasting tray & cook in the oven for around 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. Toss the potatoes in the pan with the rosemary in the fat that has cooked out of the chicken, then make a gap in the centre & put the chicken back in. If using the bacon, lay the rashers over the chicken breast & cook for a further 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked & the potatoes are nice & golden.
Remove the bacon & crumble over the potatoes. Remove the lemon & garlic from inside the chicken, squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skin, mush it up & smear over the chicken, discard the lemon & rosemary & serve

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Barbecued Sweet Corn with Lime, Chilli & Parmesan Butter

To go with some leftovers I cooked up some corn cobs with a really tasty butter that I found in Ben O’Donoghue & Curtis Stone’s Surfing the Menu. I halved the quantities for 2 & still have heaps of butter leftover which I think will go nicely with some baked spuds. It was delicious & went fantastically with the grilled corn cobs which were tender & juicy yet not overdone at all cooked in this manner.

Barbecued Sweet Corn with Lime, Chilli & Parmesan Butter

4 whole corn cobs, in their husks
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g Parmesan cheese, grated
finely grated zest of 2 large limes
1-2 birds eye chillies, seeded & finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, quartered

Place the corn cobs on a preheated hot grill and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning often. Peel off the husks when cool enough to handle.
While the corn is cooking, combine the butter, cheese, zest & chilli & beat until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Smear each cob with the butter & serve with a wedge of lime

Friday, March 23, 2007

Upside-Down Cake with Apple & Cinnamon

Finally I have used the last of the Granny Smiths so all of my leftover apple recipes (of which I still have quite a few), can for the most part be put away until next years crop. The lucky recipe to score the last lot was this luscious & wicked (see butter & sugar content) cake from one of my favourite sweets men, Bill Granger of course, from Bills Sydney Food. It was delicious as usual, a few steps to get through so not quite as simple as some but well worth the effort. Looking fwd to making something wicked with chocolate next week now that the apples are gone….

Upside-Down Cake with Apple & Cinnamon

100g unsalted butter
100g large firm apples, peeled, cored & cut into 1cm slices
juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

100g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ¼ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pouring cream, to serve

To make the topping, place the butter in a non stick frying pan over medium heat & melt. Toss apples with lemon zest & juice in a bowl & add to butter. Cook apples gently for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar & vanilla & cook for 5 minutes longer.

Remove apples from the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange in the bottom of a greased & greaseproof paper lined 23cm spring form cake tin.

Increase heat & boil remaining liquid in the pan for 5 more minutes until a rich caramel forms. Pour caramel over apples in base of tin.

To make the cake, preheat oven to 180c. Place butter & sugar in a bowl & cream until light & fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Gently fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon.

In a small clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold through cake mixture with a large metal spoon. Spoon evenly over apples & caramel & smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove cake from oven & leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Remove sides from the tin & place a large serving plate on top of cake. Turn cake over onto serving plate, remove base & greaseproof paper. Serve warm with cream.

Lamb with Quince Glaze

For a really quick & easy & very tasty mid week meal this week I turned to the Marie Claire ‘Food Fast’ book for inspiration & found this yummy lamb dish which seriously takes no time at all to put together. As you can see I served it with sweet mash potato & asparagus. Note - you could also make your own quince paste as Another outspoken female did this week but then it wouldnt be as quick would it, very impressed with the effort though?

Lamb with Quince Glaze

600g lamb backstrap or eye of loin
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons quince paste
2/3 cup dry white wine
cracked black pepper

Trim lamb of any fat or sinew. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add lamb & cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until well sealed & browned. Remove lamb from pan & place on a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add quince paste, wine & pepper to pan and simmer for 2 minutes or until glaze has thickened slightly. Simmer lamb in the quince glaze for an extra minute on each side or until cooked to your liking. Slice lamb into large pieces & serve with the quince glaze.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Date scones

From the recent spring edition of Donna Hay edition these scones are quick & easy to whip up for the weekend visitors & a nice change from plain scones, especially if you love dates as I do.

Date Scones

1 4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 ¼ cups wholemeal flour, sifted
2 ½ teaspoons banking powder, sifted
50g unsalted butter, chopped
¼ cup caster sugar
250g chopped fresh dates
1 cup milk
butter to serve

Preheat oven to 200c. Place the flours & baking powder in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar & dates & mix well to combine. Gradually add the milk and mix to form a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Press out to a 2cm thickness & use a 5 ½ cm cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Arrange on a greased baking tray lined with baking paper & bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with butter.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Banana Maple Porridge with Buttered apples

Recently when I had Chloe I was lucky enough to be staying at Freemasons Hospital who have a ‘wing’ at the Park Hyatt which I stayed at for a couple of nights, much, much nicer than the hospital I can tell you, don’t get me wrong, Freemasons is nice but it is still a hospital as opposed to the Hyatt which had huge rooms, no one barging in whenever they felt like it, King size beds, a spa & lots of other luxuries including of course a fantastic menu to choose from! Michael & I also spent our wedding night there so it was nice & nostalgic for us to be staying there again (yes he stayed with me of course). Anyway the reason I’m telling you this is because while I was there I was hooked on there Banana Maple porridge on the menu which I had every day I was there, it was sensational so when I was flicking through Bill Granger’s Sydney Food book & saw a recipe for the same well of course I was dying to try out immediately. I’ve never made porridge from scratch before, normally I go the easy way & just add water & pop it into the microwave. This was a bit more time consuming but well worth the effort, it was sensational, I love it & cant wait to make it every weekend. It tasted exactly like the Hyatt’s so not sure who stole who’s recipe? The buttered apples on top were nice & of course I got to use up more Granny Smiths but next time I think I would just serve with some sultanas & extra banana a la Hyatt & save myself the extra effort & pan to wash up. Also I didn’t serve with extra milk as suggested as didn’t think it was necessary. Yet another winner from Bill’s brekky collection.

Banana Maple Porridge with Buttered apples

1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 banana, finely sliced

to serve
buttered apples (below)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
warm milk

Place oats and boiling water in a medium saucepan & stir to combine. Let oats sit for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to oats in the saucepan & stir again. Bring slowly to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat & bring mix to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. The banana should almost dissolve. Remove from heat & let the porridge stand, covered for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Spoon into bowls, top with apples & extra maple syrup & a jug of warm milk on the side. Serves 2.

Buttered Apples

30g unsalted butter
½ kg hard sweet apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1 tablespoon caster sugar

Place butter in a frying pan and melt over medium heat. Add the apples & sprinkle with sugar. Cook gently until the undersides of the apples are pale golden. Turn very gently to avoid breaking & cook until golden & translucent. Serve warm.

El Mirage, East Brunswick

3.5 weeks in and I had my first sit down ‘meal’ out since the birth of baby Chloe. We put her in her sling & she was wonderful sleeping the whole way through her first dining out experience. It was a lovely day out if a bit windy on Saturday so I decided that instead of sitting around on our bums as we usually do with all of our visitors we would go for a walk & attempt to eat out. Michael’s sister Julie was the lucky one who got to try this out with us. We headed over to Lygon street (East Brunswick end of course) & decided to try out El Mirage, a relatively new café in the strip. We grabbed a seat at the bar on the outside side of the terrace where there was a nice corner to park the pram (we brought it along in case we had problems with the sling), we thought outside would be best in case we ended up with a screaming baby on our hands 7 needed to make a hasty escape. The terrace is nice & spacious with just a few tables & the bar to sit at & the inside looked pretty roomy too which is nice as that is the sort of thing I have to look out for now. Even though we were out for lunch I had breakfast as it’s been a while since I was allowed to eat proper runny poached eggs. I had the Eggs benedict which was served with prosciutto & hollandaise on what I think was a ciabatta roll instead of the usual ham & muffin combo. It worked very well for me, I’m not a traditionalist & I loved the changes, the roll was much nicer than a boring muffin & I love prosciutto, eggs were good & the sauce I had no complaints with. As well as breakfast which range from various egg combos including a Mexican one with beans & home fries that looked delicious when spied coming out on someone else’s plate, bircher muesli & pancakes amongst others, they do serve lunch dishes & the menu all up had quite a nice selection to choose from. Overall a welcome addition to Lygon street for me & sure it will be visited many times again on my walks with Chloe

El Mirage
349 Lygon Street
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
Ph: 9388 0966

Friday, March 16, 2007

Apple Pie

After all my apple recipes I’ve tried this season thks to the tree out the back I cant believe it has taken me so long to get to the good old classical apple pie. With nearly the last of my Granny Smiths I made this superb version from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners. The recipe suggests a mix of both cooking & eating apples however I stuck to the Granny Smiths & it was excellent, my mum proclaimed it was about the best she has eaten & was amazed at how easy the pastry was to make from scratch & of course the result no comparison to the frozen variety at all.

Apple Pie

225g flour
140g butter
85g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks

A small knob of butter
Flour, for dusting
1 large Bramley cooking apple
4 eating apples
3 tablespoons Demerarra or muscovado sugar
zest of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
a handful of sultanas or raisins
1 egg yolk mixed with a splash of milk

Preheat oven to 150c. To make the pastry, in a food processor, whiz up the flour, butter, caster sugar & lemon rind, then add the egg yolk & a tiny drop of water to bind the mix together. Butter a 20cm inch metal pie dish (metal is supposed to conduct heat better & cook the bottom at the same time as the top – I used a ceramic dish with no ill effects).

Divide your pastry dough into two & roll half of it out on a flour dusted surface until 0.5cm thick. Lay the pastry in the metal dish & gently push it down into the sides. Don’t worry if it tears or breaks, just patch it up. Pop the pie dish & remaining half of the pastry into the fridge, peel your apples, core & cut into eighths. Toss them into a pan with the sugar, lemon zest, ginger, sultanas or raisins & a tablespoon of water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the apples are just tender. Remove from heat & allow to cool completely.

Remove the pie dish from the fridge & pack the apple mix tightly into the dish. Egg wash the pastry rim & then roll out the remaining pastry & drape over the top of the pie. Roughly pinch the edges together & trim any excess pastry. Egg wash the top, make a couple of small incisions & bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot with ice cream, cream, custard or whatever takes your fancy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lemon and parsley crusted fish with garlic mashed potatoes

Continuing my obsession with all things Bill Granger & wanting to cook every recipe in my two books of his, last nights dinner was this fantastically fresh fish recipe. The flavours in the coating were really good, especially the lemony tang & perfect with the mash & spinach, another easy winner, this time the recipe is from Bills Food. Also to tell you how easy this is, Michael did the cooking & a fantastic job at that, I had good intentions but went you have a screaming hungry baby the cooking has to be handed over unfortunately.

Lemon and parsley crusted fish with garlic mashed potatoes

80g (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
15g (1/2 cup) roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 thick (about 3cm) white fish fillets such as mahi mahi or blue eye

to serve
50g English spinach leaves
4 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 220c. Place the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and half the olive oil in a food processor & pulse to just combine until you have pale green breadcrumbs.

Place the fish on a baking tray lined with baking paper & press some crumbs over the top of each piece of fish. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil & bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden & the fish is just cooked.

Serve with baby spinach, lemon wedges & garlic mash.

Garlic Mash Potatoes

800g potatoes, suitable for mashing, such as Pontiac or desiree
250ml (1 cup) milk
75g butter
3 garlic cloves, bruised
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cut the potatoes into quarters & cook in boiling water until tender. Remove from heat, drain, then mash in the pan.

Meanwhile, heat the milk, butter & garlic in a small saucepan over a medium heat until hot, making sure you don’t let the mixture boil. Remove from heat.

Discard the garlic cloves & mix the milk mixture into the potatoes with a wooden spoon until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chocolate Truffle Tarts

After all the apple cooking I have done of late, I finally got sick of cooking with the one fruit & decided I needed an intense chocolate fix. Megan was coming over for lunch so I hit her with these Chocolate Truffle tarts. As the name suggests it is pretty much a truffle though in tart form & with the added bonus of an oreo base & lots of luscious raspberries hidden in the tart & the cream it is served with. Very rich & delicious though you would struggle to eat more than one without feeling sick! A quick note, the recipe was to serve four yet I made eight & still had some chocolate mix leftover which with extreme willpower I threw out instead of just eating up. The recipe comes from a recent Delicious magazine.

Chocolate Truffle Tarts

150g chocolate cream biscuits (Oreo’s are what I used)
120g unsalted butter, melted
300ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
300g raspberries
1 tablespoon icing sugar
½ cup cocoa powder, to dust

Lightly grease the base & sides of eight 8cm x 2cm loose bottomed tart pans. Process biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter & process until well combined. Press biscuit mix firmly over bases of tart pans to cover. Chill while you make the filling.

Heat 200ml cream in a pan with the vanilla over low heat & bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat, add chocolate & stir until melted. Transfer to a bowl & cool completely.

Using a fork, crush half the berries in a bowl. Spread over biscuit bases, then cover with chocolate mixture. Cover and freeze for 2-3 hours until firm. (Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.)

Combine icing sugar & remaining berries in a bowl. Crush with fork until sugar dissolves. Press mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl & discard seeds (I omitted this step being quite happy to have my berries seeds & all). Whip remaining 100ml cream & swirl through berry puree. Dust tarts with cocoa & top with berry cream

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Amazing Potato and Horseradish Salad with fine herbs & Bresaola.

Having a Polish & Lithuanian background I absolutely love the humble potato salad & am always on the lookout for new recipes using them. This salad from Jamie Oliver’s new Book ‘Cook with Jamie’ took my fancy right away & the other night I got around to making it made it. I didn’t serve it with bresaola as per the recipe, instead I served it along side a nice juicy steak for a bit more substance. The salad was delicious, I also am a huge fan of horseradish & sour cream so it was the perfect combination for me & one that will definitely be made again & again. I have included the entire recipe for those of you that want to serve as suggested.

Amazing Potato and Horseradish Salad with fine herbs & Bresaola.

680g new potatoes, scrubbed
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
juice of 2 lemons
½ a celery heart, yellow leaves only reserved & rest finely sliced
a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves picked & chopped
2-3 teaspoons of grated horseradish
3 heaped tablespoons of crème fraiche or sour cream
24 slices or bresaola or cold roast beef
a bunch of fresh tarragon, leaves picked
extra virgin olive oil

Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until nicely cooked. Drain them & allow to cool for 5 minutes while making the dressing.

Pour most of the lemon juice into a large bowl and add a good pinch of salt, some pepper, the celery, parsley & horseradish. Mix in the crème fraiche or sour cream. While they’re still hot, cut the potatoes in half or quarters & add to the bowl. Season carefully with more salt & pepper & toss everything together. Have a taste & add more lemon juice if needed.

In the meantime, overlap 6 slices of bresaola in a circle on each plate, pile the salad in the middle & then draw up the edges of the meat. Sprinkle over tarragon & celery leaves, drizzle with a little olive oil & serve.

Serves 4

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fruit Crumble

For a quick wholesome (nearly) snack, a fruit crumble is always nice, I followed Jamie Oliver’s version from The Naked Chef. I also replaced half the flour with oats & used brown sugar as suggested to make it all a bit healthier. I really like the flavour the oats & brown sugar give over the refined white sugar & flour combo any day anyway. As a bonus I also got to use up some more of my Granny Smiths as well as some peaches & nectarines that were getting a bit old sitting around in the fridge. Sorry the photo is not the best but I find it hard to make crumble look exciting – its all in the taste instead.

Fruit Crumble

225g plain flour (or sub half with oats)
115g butter
90g sugar
pinch salt

455g fruit, washed & prepared
3 tablespoons sugar (or sub with brown sugar)

Serve with custard, ice cream, cream, mascarpone

Just stick all the crumble ingredients in a food processor & blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can also do this by hand)

Put the fruit into a shallow ovenproof serving dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Spread the crumble mix over the prepared fruit. Give the dish a bit of a shake & bake in the oven at 200c for about 30 minutes or until the top is evenly golden.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ravioli with fresh herb dressing

Another goodie & quickie for mid week no fuss dinners from Bill Granger, Bills Food
Hope to get back to more elaborate cooking with time but as you all keep pointing out, I do need some sleep time now too!

Ravioli with fresh herb dressing

A handful of green beans
1kg fresh ricotta ravioli
a handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving
shavings of parmesan, for serving

Fresh Herb Dressing
20g (1 cup) fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
30g (1 cup) fresh basil leaves
25g (1 cup) English spinach
1 garlic clove
125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the beans & cook them for 2 minutes. Scoop them out, refresh in cold water & slice them all in half lengthways. Add the ravioli to the saucepan & when the ravioli float to the top, scoop them out with a slotted spoon & put them in a large bowl with the herb dressing. Stir lightly to combine, then divide among 4 serving bowls. Top with basil leaves & parmesan.

To make dressing, place all ingredients, except the salt & pepper, in a blender & pulse briefly until just combined & smooth. Season with salt & pepper.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Apple & Blueberry Shortcake

Yesterday to use up even more of the Granny Smith’s I tried out this recipe from Bill Granger, Bills Food. I love his recipes, especially breakfast & sweets, I find them a bit different to a lot of stuff in my other books & no matter how strange they sound or nervous they make me that they wont work so far I haven’t failed to bake a winner. This was no exception, delicious straight from the oven with some fresh whipped cream, very fruity & the shortcake was lovely & light, don’t worry if when you’re rolling it, it sort of falls apart as it all melts into place when cooked.

Apple & Blueberry Shortcake

4 large Granny Smith Apples
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 egg
185g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
155g (1 cup) blueberries
sugar, for sprinkling

To serve
Whipped cream

Peel the apples, remove the cores & cut each apple into about 16 slices. Put the apples, lemon zest, sugar & 2 tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan, then cover & stew over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft but not mushy. Allow to cool.

Cream the butter & caster sugar together in a bowl until fluffy & smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface & knead until smooth, Divide into two 7 refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Roll each half of cake dough into a round approximately 22cm across. Press one round into a 24cm non-stick springform cake tin. Spread the apples over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge. Sprinkle with the blueberries. Place the other round of dough on top & press the edges together. Brush with water & sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, then allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lamb Cutlets & Greek Salad

This dinner is a week late, I had the lamb sitting in the fridge all nicely marinated when I went into labour last week. My mum suggested freezing them, marinade & all so that’s what Michael did & now we have finally cooked them up. From Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer. The freezing did no harm & the lamb was beautifully tender & the marinade provided great flavour. The Greek salad on the side was yum too with a nice twist on the traditional.

Lamb Cutlets with Yoghurt & Cumin

450-500g Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 large onion
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon Maldon salt
20 lamb cutlets

Empty the yoghurt into a large shallow dish (big enough to fit all of the chops in) & then stir in the cumin. Peel & roughly chop the onion and add it. Break the head of garlic into cloves, peel them & squash them slightly just by pressing on them with the flat of a heavy

The Ultimate Greek Salad

1 red onion
1 tablespoon dried oregano
black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
200ml extra virgin olive oil
5 good tomatoes
1 teaspoon caster sugar
pinch of maldon salt
1 large cos lettuce
1 bulb fennel
125g pitted black olives
400g feta cheese
juice of half a lemon

Peel & finely slice the red onion then sprinkle over the oregano and grind over some black pepper. Pour in the vinegar & oil & toss well, cover with cling film & leave to step for at least 2 hours. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, then cut each quarter into quarters (always lengthwise) again, so that you have a collection of very fine segments. Sprinkle with the sugar & a pinch of salt & leave while you get on with the rest. Wash the lettuce, tear into large pieces & place in a salad bowl. Slice the fennel & add that, then the olives & feta cut or crumbled into large chunks & toss well. Now add the tomatoes, the red onion in its dressing & the lemon juice. Toss gently so that everything is well combined.

knife, then stir into the yoghurt along with the salt. Add the cutlets & stir well. Cover with cling film & put in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat a ridged grill pan & then take the cutlets out of the marinade, wipe with some kitchen towel. Fry for a few minutes each side until cooked to your liking.