Friday, December 19, 2014

{Spicy Potatoes + Peas}

If I ever want something from Jay like these in a size 38 preferably in time to wear to the "uncles" xmas day shindig because clearly if anyone will appreciate a sexy pair of shoes its them, then I make him this for dinner.  It's his absolutely favourite dinner and it could not be easier to pull together.  Thank god his favourite meal is not salmon en croute.

...the spicy spuds
800g potatoes peeled and diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic finely chopped 
1 tbsp ginger finely chopped 
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
freshly ground pepper 
50g butter
3 spring onions finely sliced 
1/2 cup peas (cooked in microwave for a minute or you could add to spuds for last few minutes)
2 fried free range eggs
greek yogurt 
a lemon or lime

Bring the diced potatoes to the boil in a large saucepan of salted water cook for 13 minutes then drain into a colander and let them sit and steam for a few minutes.

Pop the oil into a large frypan on medium heat, add the mustard seeds and once they start to pop add in the ginger, garlic, curry, turmeric and chilli flakes stir for a minute or two then drop in the butter and the cooked spuds season with s+p and cook for five minutes stirring often.

Serve with a sprinkling of sliced spring onions and peas (or sometimes I like to use diced cucumber) top with a lovely fried free range egg, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dollop of greek yogurt. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

{Citrus Cake with Cardamom Syrup}

I cannot get my head around traditional xmas cake it is not something I ever want in my mouth.  I do love cake though and  always bring a cake to this festive picnic we have every year with our neighbours.  I came up with this syrup idea yesterday, I thought it, I baked it and I took it along to the park last night. It turned out to be a real christmas cracker of a cake.  A keeper.

She is pretty and sweet but also zesty and spicy with lovely little bursts of cardamom seed, not to mention as light as the clouds I gazed upon as I reclined on my picnic rug.  

So this is now officially my version of a xmas cake, a xmas cake for when it's 30 degrees and you are picnicking in a park surrounded by gumtrees.

...the cake
125g softened butter (plus extra for brushing the bundt tin)
2/3 cups caster sugar
a lemon, zested and juiced
an orange zested
a lime zested
2 x eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
2/3 cups buttermilk

...the syrup
3/4 cup caster sugar
an orange zested and juiced
a lime juiced
3 slices of fresh ginger
4 x cardamom pods, crushed so the seeds can escape
thick dollop style cream to serve

Preheat oven to 180.  Brush a 20cm bundt tin generously with the extra butter.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add in the zest of an orange a lemon and a lime, give it a mix then add in the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

Juice the lemon you just zested into the buttermilk and give it a stir to combine.  Next fold the flour and buttermilk alternatively in batches into the butter gently and until just combined.

Pour batter into the bundt tin, even it out and give it a tap on the bench before popping it into the oven for 30 - 35 minutes.  Test with a skewer, cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning upside down onto a wire rack with baking paper underneath (for syrup drips).

While the cake is in the oven and towards the end of the baking time you can make the syrup by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan, bring it to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once it boils turn it down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Strain the syrup and pour it over the warm cake then arrange the candied orange zest and cardamom seeds from the syrup over the cake.  Serve with thick cream.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

{Mr Wolf Pizza Dough}

I've tried many pizza recipes over the years and was quite crap at the whole thing until I got my pizza stone.  Since then I've gotten a whole lot better at the home pizza making business and now I am killing it using Karen Martini's Mr Wolf pizza dough recipe thanks to my pal Rach.  

Also can I just say that I love that when I whip up a batch of this lovely dough I get to ferret away some lovely soft balls in the freezer making for a quick dinner after swimming lessons, in the time it takes me to whip off my bra and make a gin dinner is ready.  High five Karen, and Rach.

...the pizza 
800g flour
250g semolina
20g salt
2 sachets dry yeast (14g)
600ml mineral water / or tap water is just fine
50ml olive oil

Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the flour, semolina and salt into the bowl. Whisk the yeast, mineral water and oil in a separate bowl. Turn the mixer to slow, add the liquid all at once, and bring together to a soft dough. Once combined, turn the speed to medium and mix for six to eight minutes until you have a smooth, silky, springy dough.

Remove the hook and push the dough down into the bowl. Cover and allow to prove for 45 minutes in a warm spot.

Preheat oven to 220, pop your pizza stone in if you have one.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and gently knead it with your hands, roll into a log shape and portion into balls as desired (6 or 8). Allow balls to rest for another 5 minutes under a clean tea towel.  Next roll or press out to desired thickness on baking paper. Add your favourite toppings and using the baking paper transfer it to your pizza stone and bake for 10-ish minutes, or until it looks done.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

{Spicy Crunchy Flatbread & Tuna Salad}

It is officially summer now and also officially the silly season. We drove out of the city today to find our small but perfectly formed christmas tree so as I sit here its lights are twinkling (flashing manically) and there is the smell of pine in the air (mingled with nachos) and a christmas movie on TV (that we've all seen a dozen times).  Summer naturally means salad, so here's a new one for you to try. It is so delicious, I think you'll really like it.

...the salad
2 large round flatbreads, rolled up tight and thinly sliced
1 x tsp cajun spice mix
2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 x 185g tin of best quality tuna in olive oil or chilli oil

2 x lebanese cucumbers, halved longways and sliced
a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup edamame beans
1/4 a red onion, finely sliced
3 shakes of tabasco
1 x tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of half a lemon
1 large handful of torn basil leaves
1 large handful of picked italian parsley leaves

sea salt + pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

Toss the sliced flatbread in the cajun spices and olive oil in a big frypan. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook for 2 - 5 minutes, or until the bread is starting to crisp and turn golden. Remove from the heat, add a generous sprinkle of sea salt and let them cool (and get crunchy).

I used frozen edamame beans so to prepare those you just add them to boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes, then drain them and run them under cold water, then pop the beans out of the pods.

Mix the rest of the salad and dressing ingredients together in a large bowl or on a platter, season with salt and pepper and then top with the crunchy bread strips and serve with a lemon wedge.