Tuesday, January 25, 2011

{Zucchini Carpaccio}

Jay reckons he doesn't like zucchini so this raw zucchini salad was a bit of a gamble, turns out he loved it and every last ribbon was eaten, the idea came from the latest Delicious magazine although I changed four ingredients, when does a recipe become yours? how many changes? I would urge you to make this, either version, its really really good and sexy too, I'm going to make it again this week so that's a good indication of its deliciousness.

...the salad
3 small zucchinis
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp toasted pinenuts
1/2 tbsp rinsed capers
1 tbsp currants
100g persian fetta
handful of flatleaf parsley

Have the zucchinis at room temperature, slice them into thin thin ribbons using either a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, lay out on a flat platter, drizzle with the olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then scatter over the pinenuts, capers, currants, persian fetta and lastly the parsley, serve immediately.

Monday, January 17, 2011

{Smoked Trout, Potato & Mint Salad}

This recipe is a perfect herby summery salad for four, filling enough for dinner and really fresh and tasty, it takes moments to construct and the dressing is a real winner.  

In other news I have finally figured out how to grow mint, all those rumours about it running rampant and taking over entire gardens never eventuated at our place, it always shrivelled up and faded away, but I've cracked it now, it likes a bit of shade, since providing my little mint babies with some lovely shade they are thriving, bless.

...the salad
1 kg chat potatoes
2 x 175g smoked trout fillets, flaked
2 cups mint leaves
1 cup dill leaves

...the dressing
1/2 cup sourcream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp white balsamic or cider vinegar

For the dressing whisk all the ingredients together and set aside. Boil or steam the chats till tender then let them cool for ten minutes or so before slicing and arranging them on your plate, top with the smoked trout, dill and mint and a drizzle of dressing, too easy.

{Ottoman Lamb with Eggplant Bechamel}

This recipe was torn excitedly from the Epicure! the name alone was enough to make me want to make it, it is a bit long winded I won't lie to you but its worth the fuss, I made the lamb the day before to break it up a bit but also because dishes like this taste better the next day anyway. 

Also half of it got put into the freezer because this recipe feeds 4 to 6 peeps, it would be great for a dinner party you could serve a green salad along with it, I will definitely make it again, I am kiwi girl after all and a sucker for slow cooked lamb.

...the lamb
1kg lamb diced into large chunks
150g capsicum paste
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red capsicums, diced
12 kalamata olives, pips removed
500ml tomato sugo
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 bayleaves
150ml red wine
handful flatleaf parsley
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sugar

...the bechamel
1 large eggplant
60g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
4 cups milk
75g parmesan

Heat some olive oil in a big casserole with a lid (a la le crueset) and add the diced onion, allow it to soften but not colour, add in the capsicums, lamb and capsicum paste and cook for a few minutes then add in the garlic, olives, oregano, tomato sugo, wine and bayleaves, simmer for a few more minutes then chuck in the cumin, paprika, chilli, sugar, s+p and 400ml water, put on the lid and simmer really gently for three hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile prick and bake the eggplant in a hot oven (200) for about 50 minutes or until it feels very soft when you press it and the skin is wrinkled. When cool enough to handle, peel away the burnt skin and discard along with the stalks, puree the flesh.

Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter on a low heat, add the flour and stir well to make a roux, cook it for a couple of minutes then, slowly add the milk whisking thoroughly to get a smooth consistency and cook for about 10 minutes till thick. Add the pureed eggplant, a little s+p and simmer gently for another couple of minutes, remove from the heat, stir in the cheese till melted.

To put the dish together, spoon the lamb into the bottom of your serving dish then dollop / drizzle on the eggplant bechamel, bake uncovered at 180 till bubbling and brown, about half an hour. Serve on cous cous with a good scattering of fresh flat leaf parsley.

{Goats Cheese & Pesto Bake}

This recipe has been a favourite of ours for a quite a few years and is for our lovely neighbour Miriam who is a vegetarian with a beautiful singing voice, we get to listen to her sing occasionally, unfortunately all she hears coming from our house is me screaming like a banshee at the children.

We had a watercress and avocado salad with it, it needs a salad with a lemon juice dressing to cut through the richness of the goats cheese and pesto, hope you try this one Miriam, I'll be over soon to raid your plum tree :)

...the bake
olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 zuccinis, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
120g soft goats cheese
150g basil pesto
handful grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200. Heat a frypan over medium heat add a little oil and the sliced onions and cook till soft, sweet and just starting to colour, transfer them to a pie dish then add the zuccinis to the pan, season them and fry them to the same stage, adding the garlic half way through. 

Pop them on top of the onions then dollop half the goats cheese around along with half the pesto, next layer is the sliced tomatoes, season them then top with a handful of grated cheese and finish with dollops of the remaining pesto & goats cheese, bake for about 30 minutes till bubbling and golden.

Friday, January 14, 2011

{Surf 'n' Turf}

So it's date night at our place and we feel like something a little bit fancy, I've even got out the tablecloth although I'm not going to iron it, we're not that fancy, our fingers are crossed that we have worn out the wee peas enough that they might go to sleep so we can watch a movie later, and we've always loved surf 'n' turf, its a great combo and so retro. 

You need to act pretty fast once the steaks are cooked so have everything ready to go, we had it with oven chips, I told you we weren't that fancy ! and baby carrots, it was perfect and so was my date.

...the dish
olive oil
2 fillet steaks
salt, to taste
8 green king prawns, shelled, deveined, tails intact
20g butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup white wine (alternatively ¼ cup beef stock)
1 cup cream
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, season the steaks with salt and a drizzle of olive oil and cook for 4-5 minutes each side, depending on how you like them and how thick they are.

Remove from the pan and keep warm under foil. Now's when you need to move pretty fast, heat a wee bit more oil in the same pan and cook prawns 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

Lower the heat and add the butter and garlic to the pan, cook gently until soft. Stir in the wine or stock and cook for a further minute. Add cream and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes then toss back in the prawns, add the parsley and heat until warm through. To serve, place steaks onto plate, top with 4 prawns and a generous drizzle of cream sauce.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

{Lime Tart}

This tart is another of Nigel Slaters recipes, his food is just so gorgeous, I wish I was his friend and could go to dinner at his house, alas he couldn't live further away and so I have to make do with following his recipes and sharing them with my own friends, this was perfect eaten during an outdoor summery lunch accompanied by a few vinos and just before a backyard game of cricket, ahhh summer, how delightful.

...the pastry
170g plain flour
50g icing sugar
90g butter
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cold water

...the filling
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
the juice of 5-7 limes (180ml)
175ml double cream

To make the pastry put the flour and icing sugar into a bowl, add the butter which is cut into chunks, and rub till it resembles fine breadcrumbs, mix in the egg yolks and the water and bring the dough together into a thick log with your hands. Wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200, cut thin slices from the log of pastry, then press them into your tart tin (needs high sides 3.5cm), pressing the pastry gently up the sides and over the base (it is too fragile to roll.) Make certain that there are no holes or cracks, otherwise the filling will leak through. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper into tart case and fill it with baking beans, blind bake the tart case for 10 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and bake for a further 5 until the pastry is dry to the touch.

Turn the oven down to 150. Finely grate the zest from two of the limes. Squeeze enough limes to get 180ml of juice (this depends on their ripeness). Mix the eggs and sugar, beating lightly for a few seconds till combined - you don't want it to be frothy - then stir in the lime juice and cream. Pour through a sieve, then stir in the lime zest. Pour into the baked tart tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove while the filling is still a little wobbly. Leave to cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.