Saturday, December 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Firstly, get a big dish to hold all the stuffing together. it is best to get a deep pyrex so you can mix the ingredients with your hands. Finely chop a big bunch of parsley (flat leaf), about 5-6 tomatoes and 2-3 onions. Add some crushed garlic (about 5-6 cloves but to taste), salt, black pepper, mixed spice. Oh and 2 cupes of long rain rice, thoroughly washed. Add some olive oil (I told you the quantities are a bit off). You dont want the mixture to be too wet as it will make stuffing it hard.
Now to the vineleaves. wash them very well. Soak them for about a minute in hot water and then squeeze the water out carefully without tearing them. At this stage it is best to get a big glass chopping board. Lay out a vineleaf, dull side up. Carefully cut out any stem left. Put a small amount of the rice mixture (be careful not to overstuff as they will open up during cooking) at the bottom of the vineleaf in a horizontal log, fold up sides and bottom and then roll up. Make them as tight as possible. Arrange in a pot that is large enough to fit all the vineleaves but not too large so the lid is close to the top layer of vineleaves. if this is too hard, it is common to put a plate over the top to keep in the moisture.
Make a sauce out of 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste, the juice of about 2-3 lemons, hot water and some more oil. You want the sauce to be thin but bright red. Pour over vineleaves, the liquid should just come to the top layer of vineleaves. Bring the pot to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and leave for about an hour, it shouldnt take more than an hour and a half, the best way to tell if it is done is to taste it and then you can change the seasoning.
Serve with raita (yoghurt, salt, mint and garlic) and a fresh salad.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The breads were made with a mixture of rye, spelt and white flour. The rye and spelt we got from a friend who grinds his own grains for bread making. It has proved very hard to buy bakers four! Apparently most bakeries these days buy their doughs premixed with the yeast, improvers etc already in the mix. A kind of 'add water and mix' thing. I think we have found an internet supplier who delivers flour who we might try. It is amazing to think that something we eat so much of is so processed and is so different to the bread we used to eat 100 years ago. I am not sure I really like the thought of all those chemicals in my bread, even from so called fresh bakeries.
We have tried partially baking and then freezing loafs as suggested in the comments in my last post about bread, and then rebaking them when we want fresh bread. This worked ok, though I think we need to tweak the initial baking time (to make it longer). Making 4 loaves of bread at once is the easiest way to do things and if we manage to control ourselves and not eat it all at once, it can last us for a week . Below is a photo of an asparagus and pea soup (for recipe see my post in October) which the pain de campagne was a perfect friend to...
Monday, November 12, 2007
My herbs! I decided to grow some of the essentials in pots until we sort out a proper garden. The very first night they ate my parsley. The next night they started on the basil. It took them a few days to finish off the mint. I have decided they didnt even like the mint, they are just paying us back for evicting them from the roof.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The next day I marinaded some lamb backstraps overnight in olive oil, garlic, lemon, cumin, corriander, a squiz of tomato sauce and some lemon myrtle for that Aussie touch. I served it with a couscous salad, and some BBQ'd eggplant, fennel and corn. To top it off I made a yoghurt dip with mint, cucumber and garlic. Very similar to the BBQ's of my childhood, though a lot simpler...
What I like about this new BBQ is that I have somehow roped Nathan into being the cooker of meat, so all I do is marinade the meat, make a quick salad, and then sit on our new deck chairs and wait for dinner!
Monday, October 29, 2007
We also got some gorgeous deck chairs, but I am afraid the torment of trying to work out which table would fit best was too much for us in the heat and so we still have to get that. Still we have our bbq so I cant complain.
Anyway, as you would have guessed, more BBQ recipes to come...
Monday, October 22, 2007
The recipe is simple. Preheat oven to 200C. Dust four lamb shanks in flour and brown on all sides in a frying pan or the casserole dish to be used in the oven. Remove shanks and in the same pot fry up some diced onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft. Add half a bottle of red, a bay leaf, some fresh thyme and parsley. Return the shanks, add some stock, season, bring to a simmer and then transfer, covered to an oven. Bake for 30 min at 200C then reduce the heat to 160C. bake for another 90 min, turning the shanks once.
The first night I served this with mashed potatoes, buttery peas and silverbeet braised in lemon. The next day was a school night and I heated the leftovers and served with brown rice. Next time I make this dish I might spend the extra 4 dollars and get the shanks pre-trimmed of fat, as this can be quite a fatty dish otherwise. Still, in a cold night, nothing beats a bit of fat!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Ok this photo does NOT do this soup justice. We had guests over for dinner and i didnt feel comfortable taking photos of my own soup (it somehow seems a bit insane really). It is actaully really green in colour.
Asparagues and Pea Soup
300g Asparagus sliced finely, tips reserved
bunch of parsley
1.2L stock or water
Bring stock to the boil. Add asparagus and peas and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend the soup until creamy. At this point, add the parsley and reblend. Season, add a dollop of cream if you want (it doesnt need it) and add the reserved tips and gently reheat for 5 minutes. Serve with olive baguettes (see previous posts)
Asparagus and Gruyere Omelette
5 free range eggs
milk or cream
bunch of asparagus, blanched and sliced into 4 cm lengths
50g Smoked salmon
Beat eggs and milk/ cream until light. Melt butter in a pan on medium heat. Add a pinch of nutmeg to the eggs and some pepper (no salt until cooked as this shrinks the eggs). Carefully pour egg mixture into hot pan and cook on low heat until the top is still wet but the bottom is beginning to turn golden. On one half of the omelette, add the asparagus and gruyere, fold the omelette over and heat very very gently until the cheese melts. Open the omelette carefully, insert the smoked salmon inside the fold, and plate. Serve with toasted sourdough.
The unrested doughThe rested dugh doubled in size
Nathan then did two things with the dough. He made olive and parmasen sticks with half the batch, and olive baguettes with the other half. We ate them with a pea and asaparagus soup (will blog the recipe to this later...) and was just perfect.
The final product. I want some more now!
I wont lie to you. Making bread in this way is time consuming and it isnt something we can do every day at the moment. It is however such a natural, healthy way to eat bread, I have really found myself not enjoying commercially bought bread (especially presliced) recently, and hope that one day when we gat more time we can start making this an everyday thing. Till that day, once in a blue moon will have to do!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
And that was breakfast!
1 pack of fettucini (next time i think i would use a smaller pasta like orriechette or spirals)
300g mushrooms, sliced
2 bunches asaparagus, washed, woody end snapped off, and cut into 2 cm pieces
8 rashers of pancetta, sliced finiely
thin cream (I used low fat but I dont like overly creamy pastas)
1 red onion, sliced
Cook the pasta in lots of boiling water until cooked. Drain.
Meanwhile, fry garlic, red onion, and chopped pancetta in olive oil for a few minutes until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add white wine, turn up heat and let sizzle for a minute. Add asparagus, peas and cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until asparagus is cooked, only a few minutes. Season, add to drained pasta, mix well and serve with parmasen cheese.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
'Whats that?' ,I asked Nathan
2 bulbs of fennel
1 tin of tomatoes
1 large onion
3 gloves garlic
Cut the fennel into thin slices and fry in olive oil with the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tinned tomotoes, season and let simmer for around 10 minutes. Meanwhile grease a baking tray and preheat the oven to 200C. Add the fennel mixture to the tray with some chopped parsley, top with cheese and then breadcrumbs, and then bake for around 15-20 minutes until golden.
Oven baked red snapper in foil
1 red snapper cleaned and scaled
1 spring onion, slice thinly
garlic, ginger, chilli sliced thinly
Wash and dry fish with paper towell. Make 4 cuts on each side of the fish in the fattest part of the flesh. Fill with sliced ginger, garlic, corriander, chilli and spring onion. In the cavity of the fish put in exra herbs as well as thinly sliced lemon slices. Pour soy sauce over fish and season well. Wrap the fish in 2 layers of foil to potect leakage, and bake in a hot oven (200C) for 20 minutes or until cooked.Sorry about the terrible photos!
We ate these two dishes with steamed rice. The perfect meal!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
When I lived in Richmond I used to buy my wild mushrooms from a stall where I never knew which mushrooms would be for sale, but they were always brilliant. One week the trader had some interesting mushrooms which were hollow in the middle (I can't remeber what they were called) and he suggested I stuff them with blue cheese and cook them in butter with onions and garlic. Yum! Anyway now i live in the burbs so on a weeknight when I decide I need a mushroom risotto, I am at the mercy of Coles. This time I bought some shitake and oyster mushrooms which turned out ok, but I would have preffered swiss brown or chesnut.
The dried porcini mushrooms are an absolute must. I must admit I am not a fan of what they smell like out of the pack but after soaking for 20 minutes they are so earthy and warming.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
300g arborio or other short grain rice
1L chicken stock, hot
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
5 spring onions sliced
2 cloves garlic
300g mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
150ml white wine
30 g parmesan cheese, grated and extra for serving
Soak the porcini mushrooms and drain the liquid into the boiling stock. Chop the mushrooms.
Fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter until the mushrooms have reabsorbed the liquid they released. Add the rice and fry on high heat for around 3 minutes, until coated in the mixture and starting to go clear on the edges.
Add the white wine and stir until absorbed. Turn the heat down and start adding the stock, one ladel at a time, stirring continuously until liquid absorbed before adding more stock. This usually takes me around 20-30 minutes. The rice is ready when it is still firm, but creamy.
Add a knob of butter and the parmesan, turn of the heat, mix well and leave to sit for 2 minutes.
Serve on warmed plates with extra parmesan if desired. You can see I like my cheese ;)
P.S. Sorry about the photos, I need to learn how to take nice food photos...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
15 Celestial Ave
The first time I went to Supper inn was about 4 years ago. A friend and i had gone to see a band at Ding Dong on a Friday night and had somehow thought beer was a good substitute for food. When it got to about 1am we were starving but really didnt feel like souvlaki. Walking down little bourke, we saw people walking into an alley and dissapearing into what looked like a Chinese restaraunt. Following them we found ourselves walking up some narrow stairs with decor of a sauna room and when we got to the top were suprised to find a very busy dining room and the most delcious smells two slightly tipsy and very hungry girls could smell...
I have been back there over the years many times, and not just at 1am. Last night i went there with some girlfriends for dinner who had never been there before and while moaning in delight over the pork ribs in mandarin sauce and peking duck, thanked me for finding it and taking them.
For you see, even though i have been there many times, i still dont always find it. There is something about Melbourne laneways that confuse me and make it very hard for me to retrace my steps. All i ever remember about the lane Supper Inn is on is that it has bluestone on the road. Not very helpful?!
The food is what people go for, definitely not the ambience or the customer service. And who cares about that stuff anyway, when you are eating the best congee in Melbourne, or the spare ribs, or the schezeun beef or mmmmmm, its all good. Last night we also got the deepfried eggplant, tofu and green beans which was so so good. I love what the Chinese do to eggplant. There is a wine list which is expensive but it is BYO too and there is some rather good Chinese Beer.
So if you havent tried this place yet, hurry! I am hungry just thinking about it. Just be prepared for a queue and some rather rude service.
A cold has been creeping up on me since Monday night when I went to see Tori Amos at Hamer Hall. I then sent it into overdrive by going out last night and drinking a little too much red wine. Today i was meant to play soccer, but all I have done so far is read recipe books and eat some chicken soup which was in the freezer from one of my big batches I made a couple of months ago. mmmmm
I think most people have a chicken soup recipe that they think is the best and make in winter when the dreaded cold has taken hold. But this really is the best chicken soup recipe ever. My mum made it for me as a child, and over the years I have altered it to include ginger and lemongrass, but the basic recipe is the same. Even fiancee Nathan now calls it the best chicken soup, though maybe the fact someone else makes it for him when he feels crook is why he likes it so much...
The best ever chicken soup recipe
Makes enough for about 6 serves, I usually freeze most of it
6-8 chicken drumsticks, excess fat removed
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
lemongrass stalk finely chopped
ginger finely sliced
cinnamon and nutmeg
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsley chopped
handful of basmatti rice
large bunch of parsley (flat leaf)
lemon to serve
Combine chicken, bay leaf, carrots, celery, cinnamon, nutmeg and onion in a large pot and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for at least one hour
Strain stock through a seive, removing the chicken pieces to a plate and discarding everything else. Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the stock and simmer 20 minutes. At this point I usually refrigerate the stock overnight and the next day remove the layer of fat that floats to the top. The next day, remove the chicken from the bones, add to the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the rice after washing it thoroughly and boil 15 minutes. Chop the parsley and add to the soup and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes. Serve with a good squeeze of lemon.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This recipe was as simple as it gets. Chuck a chicken, some herbs, leeks, celery, carrots and garlic into a pot with wine, stock, spices and some kipfler potatoes and turnips (though I accidentally bought parsnips instead... ) and simmer for 2 hours.
The uncooked pot
After 2 hours the chook was removed to a serving platter with the potatoes and parsnip and served with grilled sourdough rye bread and creme fraich mixed with horseradish. I also steamed some silverbeet and doused it in lemon.
Notice there is no photo of the finished product? That is becasue it didnt look so good with everything a bit mushy and the chicken falling to pieces. The chicken was nice, but most of the flavour had gone into the stock, and if it wasnt for the creme fraich, the dinner would have been a bit plain. Thank god for creme fraich, it makes everything better.
So, the left over chicken breast was used to make sandwhiches for work the next day ( a whole chicken for 2 people is way too much, even if you do live with a bottomless pitt called nathan). By Tuesday I was starting to feel the ill effects of the weather and had a bad cold coming on. All i wanted was soup, made using the stock from the pot au poulet, and at Brigette's advise, i was planning on making an onion soup, as I had never made one before, and it sounded like something that would be good for a cold.
Of course I was feeling rubbish so Nathan offered to make it for me. It is nice to have boys around sometimes.
After consulting my trusty Cooks Companion and finding Stephanie Alexanders version way too lenthy, I gave Nathan the recipe from Leane Kitchen's cookbook. Recipe follows, with slight modifications...
French onion Soup
650g small brown onions
2 cloves garlic
sprigs of thyme, rosemary, a bay leaf
1 cup white wine
baguette (day old)
Slice the onion into thin slices and fry in 60g butter at low heat for around 30 minutes until starting to caramelise and smells good, stirring frequently. Add the finely chopped garlic with 2 tablespoons of flour and fryfor 2 minutes at low heat. Add the herbs, stock, wine and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Leave for 25 minutes until the onions have resorbed the moisture.
To serve, cut baguette into slices and grill on the both sides, then add shredded gruyere and grill until melted. Put cheesy bread into soup bowls and ladel soup over the top.
This soup was really really good. And I think that was becasue of the stock. Nathan you did a great job though, thankyou! We ate this for 2 nights and I am starting to feel much better. Making stock with a whole chook and lots of vegies seems to be a brilliant way to do things, as the stock was much more flavoured than my usual stock made from chicken drumsticks, and so I just might start doing this more often...
So that was 4 meals for 2 from one chook. Pretty good I think!