Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First pick of the crop

My broad bean crop is now producing tons of big fat, bright green beans that I adore.  For my first pick I bashed them up with some Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice and piled them on some toasted sourdough rubbed with garlic - Heaven!

Icy Fun

Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting, I haven't been able to get a photo on blogger for the last few days, I kept getting a 'server error' message.  Looked in the forums & turns out all sorts of people having problems, cleared my cookies & seems ok now.

So now that I am back up and running here is my Cookbook Challenge, icy theme, mango & pineapple frozen fruit blocks.  I loved them yet despite omitting the 'green' stuff I still couldnt convince the kids they were as good as the kind you get in a packet, oh well next time I will just stick to something chocolate flavoured, I did try & they do eat a lot of fresh fruit so I cant hold it against them!

Note - I omitted the mint 'green stuff' as it can have a tendency to turn off the kids no matter what it is or tastes like!

Also, sadly I will not be posting for picnic week as falafels & homus were on the menu & were a complete disaster, they completely fell apart & were inedible, didnt think you  would want to read about plain old dip which was wonderful  so as I'm bowing out for this week, sorry things are a bit mental here & dont have the time to come up with a new dish!

Frozen fruit blocks - Iced - 180 very cool concoctions

1 ripe mango
125g (3/4 cup) chopped fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon chopped mint
185ml sweetened pineapple juice
6 ice block sticks

Put the mango, pineapple, mint & juice in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into 6 80ml icy pole moulds, push the sticks in and freeze for 5-6 hours.

Dip quickly in hot water to remove the moulds

Makes 6

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Delicious Stuffed Roti Bread

For bread week of The Cookbook Challenge I thought I would test myself and make a style of bread I had never attempted before.  I love Roti so when I saw this recipe for stuffed Roti I just knew I had to give it a go!  The bread is incredibly simple to make, no yeast, no kneading, only 20 minutes to rest.  The filling took more time than the bread can you believe, only because I was boiling really big potatoes & they took forever to cook.  Anyway once the filling was mixed & the dough rested, it was a simple task of rolling (I did in all in my hand in more of a stretching method), stuffing, sealing, flattening (again my hand) & frying for a couple of minutes each side in the pan.  I was a little worried they would fall apart as there were some holes left after stuffing them but once cooking they kept their shape really well.  One thing to note was that I had about half the stuffing left so it would be a great idea to double the dough quantity to make 8 as they really are worth it!

I served these with a simple kidney bean salad dressed with red onion, cumin, coriander & lime juice which was perfect alongside, some nice zing to go with the earthy flavours of the bread.  Yum!

Aloo gobi parathas: Roti breads stuffed with cauliflower and potato - Ben O'Donoghue - Ben's Barbecue

Roti Dough

250g plain flour
pinch salt
50ml sunflower oil


300g potatoes
200g cauliflower
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
75g onion, finely chopped
1/2 green chilli, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeriv
1 tespoon chilli powder
juice of 1 lime
sunflower oil, for frying

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt.  Mix in the oil and add enough water to form a soft but not sticky dough.  Wrap in cling wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water until tender.  Meanwhile, in another pan, cook the cauliflower in salted water until soft.

Once the potatoes are cooked, peel and mash them.  Drain the cauliflower, then crush it and mix with the potatoes.  Add the remaining ingredients, apart from the salt and oil for frying.  When combined season with salt to taste.

To make the parathas, take a portion of the roti dough (makes 4 so take a quarter at a time) and flatten it in your hand.  Add a spoonful of the filling then roll the dough into a ball.  Using a rolling pin (or your hands), flatten the ball to around 1cm thick.

Prepare your barbecue or pan on a medium heat.  Lightly oil & cook the parathas on both sides until golden and cooked through.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Italian Week & guess who finally got a new camera

I finally made up my mind and bit the bullet & bought a new camera, went for a Canon 500D.  So far I am still on full auto and haven't had much of a chance to play yet the photos are amazing, especially compared to my old camera.  The soup photo here is old & the pasta & risotto are from the new camera, I am one very happy girl & cant wait to test it out in Cairns on our holiday next week!

When I saw that this week's theme for the Cookbook Challenge was Italian I was very happy, I mean what good Aussie didnt grow up eating spag bol & pizza?  Seriously there is a bit more to it than that and I cook a lot of Italian style food at home, it's almost pure Aussie tucker to us by now.  So I picked out 3 recipes from a book I rarely use even though everything looks and sounds delicious whenever I flick through it, Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy.  The first was this hearty Ribollita, I cook a big pot of soup a week so am always trying out new ones.  Loved this, a good combination of beans, spices and veggies and the torn up bread gave it a lovely silky, thick texture as promised.  Also made up for the Grand Final weekend of excess and junk, think hot dogs & Macca's for breakfast in bed on Sunday morning - all 4 of us!

Notes - I used tinned beans as I am always too lazy to wait that hour for the dried ones to cook  and instead of cavolo nero I picked some fresh rainbow chard from my garden to throw in the pot.  I also added about 3 cups of chicken stock in place of the beans cooking water for flavour & to loosen it up.

My Favourite Ribollita - Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy

310g zolfini or cannellini beans, fresh, or dried and soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1 tomato, squashed
1 small potato, peeled
2 small red onions, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
3 sticks celery, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
a pinch of ground fennel seeds
a pinch of dried red chilli
1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
310g cavolo nero, leaves and stalks finely sliced
2 large handfuls of good quality stale bread, torn into chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil to serve

Add your beans to a pan of water with the bay leaf, tomato and potato.  Cook until tender, dried will take up to an hour, fresh about 25 minutes.  Drain and reserve about half a glass of the cooking water, discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato.

Finely chop your onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  heat a saucepan with a splash of olive oil and add the vegetables to the pan with the fennel and chilli.  Sweat very slowly on a low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until soft. but not brown.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes.  Add the beans & a little of the reserved water and bring back to the boil.  Add the cavolo nero, stir it in and then stir in the bread too.  Add more cooking water if necessary.  Continue to cook for about 30 minutes, you want to achieve a silky, thick soup. 

Season with salt and pepper & stir in some extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Second up was spaghetti & meatballs with a difference.  Chloe loves her spag & meatballs which can get a bit boring so finding a nice variation is always good.  This is a Sicilian inspired dish of fresh tuna meatballs.  Really nice & the tuna was tender unlike some 'meat' balls which can be a bit tough if not cooked right.

Notes - I didnt bother to liquidize my sauce, I like it rustic.

The best tuna meatballs - Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy

For the tomato sauce:

olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

For the meatballs:

400g tuna
olive oil
55g pinenuts
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
100g stale breadcrumbs
55g freshly grated parmesan
2 eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon

First make the sauce.  Place a large pan on the heat, add a good glug of olive oil, your onion and garlic and fry slowly for 10 minutes or so until soft.  Add the oregano, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to the boil.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, then liquidize until smooth.  Add red wine vinegar to taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

While the tomatoes are simmering, chop the tuna up into 2.5cm dice.  Pour a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and place on the heat.  Add the tuna to the pan with the nuts & cinnamon.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry for a minute or so to cook the tuna on all sides and toast the pinenuts.  Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl.  Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, lemon zest and juice.  Mix up with your hands & form into balls a touch smaller than a golf ball.  Place on an oiled tray in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.

Put the pan you fried the tuna in back on the heat with a little olive oil.  Add the meatballs and jiggle them around until they're golden brown all over.  Add to the tomato sauce, serve with spaghetti sprinkled with parsley.

Lastly I made a cauliflower risotto with a lovely crunchy anchovy pangrattato to top it off.  Nice and unusual though the actual risotto flavour was a bit bland so not sure I would make it again, I wont post the recipe for this one

Off to play with the camera now, bye...