I’m revisiting a recipe I blogged in 2018 from Jamie Oliver’s super simple book 5 Ingredients. All the recipes in the book are easy to prepare and can be whipped up quickly with 5 simple ingredients.
I have recently grown some lovely Roma tomatoes on four tomato plants which I have nurtured from little seedlings. I’m no gardener, so I was delighted with their first bumper crop! I have another crop ripening, so I thought it would be great to use them in this delicious supper or lunch dish.
So here’s the recipe. Lovely on its own and even better served with crusty sourdough!
4 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh sage (15g)
350g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
4 large portobello mushrooms
40g Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Peel and very finely slice the garlic. Pick the sage leaves. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel the mushrooms, reserving the peel.
Place it all (peel included) in a 25cm x 30cm roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and toss together. Pick out 12 perfect garlic slices and sage leaves for later and sit the mushrooms stalk side up on the top. Bake for IO minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven, crumble the cheese into the mushroom cups and sprinkleover the reserved garlic and sage*. Return to the oven for I5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything’s golden then serve up.
*I added some rosemary sprigs too, as rosemary works well with sage.
A while back I discovered how easy it was to hot smoke salmon. I love cooking salmon – grilled or baked – and I love eating traditional smoked salmon, or cold smoked.
Hot smoking is kind of a cross between cooking and cold smoking. You apply smoke during the cooking process to give the salmon a lovely woody, smoked flavour.
I’ve posted a few hot smoking recipes before. Here’s the how-to of easy hot smoking and some of the recipes using hot smoked salmon.
How to hot smoke salmon:
All you need is an aluminium foil container, aluminium foil, a cake (wire) rack, some wood smoking chips, and a barbecue and you are right to go!
Ingredients A few sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or sage leaves
Salmon fillets, skin on
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of sugar
1-2 teaspoons chili paste or sambal oelek (or leave out if you prefer)
Method Preheat your barbecue to high. You will need a large aluminum foil container, readily available at supermarkets. It should be big enough to hold the size of the fish fillets you are going to smoke. You will also need a wire rack, the kind for cooling cakes on, that will fit inside the container.
Line the base of the foil container with wood smoking chips. These chips (usually hickory) are available at barbecue supply stores or hardware stores. Scatter the rosemary and sage over the wood chips.
Place the wire rack inside the container, so it sits about halfway down.
Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt and sugar and rub with the chilli paste and a drizzle of olive oil. Put the fillets skin side down on top of the wire rack.
Cover the container with a large piece of aluminium foil, that’s been doubled over. It should completely cover the container. Using a metal skewer, pierce holes in rows across this foil lid. This is to allow the smoke to escape.
Place the container on the barbecue, turn down to a medium heat and put the top of the barbecue down. If your barbecue doesn’t have a top, you may have to cook for a little longer, as cooking with the top down captures more heat.
Cook for 10 to 15 minutes – the time taken will depend on how well cooked you want your salmon and the presence/absence of a barbecue top. After a couple of minutes the container will start to smoke.
After the 10-15 minutes of cooking, turn the heat off and leave it to sit for 5 minutes before opening the container. This will allow the residual smoke to continue to penetrate the salmon.
You can always check the “doneness” of the salmon by cutting into it, but, like a barbecued steak you risk spoiling the look of it. However if you are serving to fussy eaters who like their fish cooked through, then it’s worth doing.
This is the basic method. You can serve the hot smoked salmon in a myriad of recipes – here a few pics and links to some recipes.
I’ve been experimenting with fish pies recently, with the memory of a great fish pie cooked for me by an Englishman who clearly knows his pies and his fish. Thank you Ken, for your inspiration!
My version is quite simple – smoked fish fillets and poached fresh fish, with some braised leeks, in a white sauce. Topped off with creamy mashed potato and a liberal scattering of grated cheddar. Great on the day, and even tastier reheated the next day, too, when the flavours have developed.
These quantities make a very substantial pie for two, or would serve four with smaller portions too. Double the quantities for a really big pie!
4 large potatoes, good for mashing
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter
300 mls full fat milk
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
100g white fish
150g smoked mackerel
150g hot smoked salmon
1 tablespoon plain flour
75g cheddar cheese, grated
Wash the potatoes thoroughly and place whole into a large saucepan. Cover completely with water. Bring to the boil and cook on a medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through. Be careful not to overcook – you don’t want the potatoes breaking up. Remove from the heat and strain in a colander.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel quickly and place the still warm potatoes in a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons butter and 50 mls of milk. Season with salt to taste. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes really well with the butter and milk, making sure there are no lumps.You can of course adjust the butter and milk amounts to personal taste and because potatoes do vary, requiring more or less butter/milk to get the right consistency.
Cover the mashed potato bowl with aluminium foil to keep warm.
Wash the leeks well and slice into ½ cm rounds. Heat 1 teaspoon butter with the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the leeks and cook over a low heat until the leeks are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Just make sure temperature is low and the leeks don’t brown. Once cooked, remove from the heat.
Heat the remaining 250 mls milk in a wide saucepan until just at a simmer. Place the white fish fillet into the milk, and continue to simmer and let the fish cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Check if the fish fillet is cooked by putting a skewer into the thickest part of the fish. If the skewer goes in easily and is also easy to remove, it should be cooked.
Remove the fillet carefully with a slotted spoon. Roughly break into chunks. Strain the poaching milk into a bowl or jug.
There’s no need to cook the mackerel and salmon, just break into chunks.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
To make the white sauce, melt 1 tablespoon butter, over a low heat, in the saucepan in which you poached the fish. Add the plain flour, and mix together to a smooth paste, making sure to use a wooden spoon. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the poaching milk, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, combining the paste with the milk. Turn the heat to medium, bring to the boil, then reduce to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened, stirring regularly. Season generously with salt and cracked pepper.
To assemble the pie, place the leek slices and fish chunks in a baking dish. Gently stir through the white sauce. Top with the mashed potato, roughing up the potato with a fork for a little artistry. Scatter the grated cheddar over the pie.
Cook the fish pie in the preheated oven for a 20-30 minutes or until the potato is brown and the mixture underneath is bubbling.
Serve with a green salad and chunky sourdough, or just on its own. I had some beautiful young garlic from a spring harvest market, so I roasted those with the pie. Really delicious!
Summer in Sydney is fast approaching, and it’s time to think about some different ways to use the barbecue apart from grilling steaks, chops and the obligatory snags!
Pizza on the barbecue is a great invention. I developed these recipes a while back, and they are so much easier than cooking pizza in a conventional oven. If you haven’t got a pizza oven, wood fired or otherwise, give the barbecue method a go! But you do need a barbecue with a hood, as this method relies on creating a really hot oven environment to cook the pizzas quickly.
Making pizza on the barbecue is really easy as I discovered when I made one for the first time. I make lots of pizzas – home made is always nicest – but I was delighted with how quick and easy grilling the dough on the barbecue is.
You make a normal pizza yeast dough – then grill it for a minute each side on the bars of a very hot barbecue. Then dress the grilled pizza with your toppings of choice, place on a baking tray and heat on the barbecue on medium heat, with the hood down to simulate an oven.
Fresh, hot, grilled pizza made right in front of your friends! You could even do “make your toppings” with everyone customizing their own pizza!
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast 1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C) 2 to 2 ½ cups Tipo 00 flour, plus more for dusting 1 tsp sea salt Extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings Roast Pumpkin, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onion and Taleggio Pizza
1/4 butternut pumpkin, baked in pieces, skin on 1 avocado, sliced A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved A few sugar snap peas 2 spring onions finely chopped A few slices of taleggio cheese Rosemary sprigs to garnish
Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Pizza
1 cup grated cheddar cheese 2 spring onions finely chopped 1 pear, sliced 2 -3 artichoke hearts, sliced A handful of crumbled blue cheese (to taste) Rosemary sprigs
Method Pizza Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.
Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.
Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat your barbecue to very high.
Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.
Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:
For the Roast Pumpkin, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onion and Taleggio Pizza:
Scatter over the roast pumpkin, avocado, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, spring onion and taleggio.
For the Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Pizza:
Scatter over cheddar cheese, spring onions, sliced pear, sliced artichoke hearts and crumbled blue cheese.
Return the pizzas to the barbecue, turn down the heat to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the pears/veggies are crisp and a little charred – about 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove the pizzas from the barbecue and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Slice and serve piping hot!
I was given a present a while back of some beautiful ceramic bowls, great for serving soup in, but also a perfect receptacle for individual rustic pies.
This is a really simple recipe, the filling for which can be adapted to suit your individual taste.
I had some chunky ham pieces and a leek in the fridge so decided that they would be the basis for some simple pies. I also had a lovely washed rind cheese, soft and melting, that I thought would go beautifully with the ham and leek. I’m a huge fan of nuts, so it was a no-brainer that I decided to put some walnuts in the pies as well. They added a lovely crunch and texture to the pies.
All these ingredients were stirred into a white sauce, piled into the bowls, topped with puff pastry and baked in the oven.
I made my own puff pastry, which was a little time consuming. I’m not including the recipe here, I actually can’t remember where I sourced it from!! Looking back on past posts on my blog, I see that I usually make rough puff pastry. So I’m not quite sure why I decided to go the full puff on this occasion. I recommend using a good bought butter puff pastry for the recipe.
I decided I would put a rim of pastry around the edge of the bowls, but this didn’t really work. I’m not quite sure what I did wrong. I have included the photo, as I like to be honest about what works and what doesn’t in my cooking. I’ll know next time to do some more research about how to fix this issue!
The recipe makes two substantial deep bowl pies. You could double the quantities for a larger pie in a conventional pie dish.
1 large leek A knob of butter to cook the leek Salt 200g ham chunks 50g any soft washed rind cheese A small handful of walnuts or to taste
White sauce 25g butter 25g plain flour 600ml milk Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of butter puff pastry or the equivalent ( I normally use the Careme brand, readily available in Australia, when not making my own)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing
Cut the leek into small slices. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the leek with a good pinch or two of salt. Cook on a low temperature until the leek slices are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Chop the ham into bite sized pieces and roughly slice the cheese. Chop any whole walnuts into smaller pieces.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes, to make sure the raw flour taste is cooked out.
It’s important to do this and the subsequent stirring in of the milk with a wooden spoon.
Gradually stir in about a third of the milk, making sure the milk is incorporated and there are no floury lumps. When the sauce has noticeably thickened, add another third of the milk and repeat the process. Add the last third of the milk and cook until the sauce is nice and thick. Simmer gently for 5 minutes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir the ham, leek, cheese and walnuts into the white sauce in the saucepan. Pile the mixture into the individual bowls.
Cut out circles of puff pastry that are larger than the diameter of the bowls and will be enough to completely cover the tops. Brush the tops of pies with the beaten egg.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the top of the pies are golden brown and puffed up.
I was looking for a quick dinner involving steak this week. I have a great butcher in Balmain village, with superb free range meat, and their beef is particularly tasty. I had a beautiful piece of sirloin, so how best to cook to showcase it?
Jamie Oliver has a really simple steak sandwich recipe in 5 IngredientsQuick and Easy Food. I’ve made it a couple of times and it’s great!
I made a few tweaks, mentioned in parentheses in the recipe. I made the sandwich with sourdough bread and I charred some spring onions instead of onion, preferring the milder flavour. I prefer Dijon mustard too.
Here’s Jamie’s recipe. Highly recommended for a delicious, quick steak sandwich. Lovely with a little tomato salad.
Ingredients 250g sirloin steak, ideally 1.5cm thick 1 large onion (or 3 or 4 spring onions) 2 teaspoons American mustard (or Dijon) 4 slices of nice bread (I used sourdough) 50g provolone or fontina cheese
Method Pull the fat off the sirloin, finely slice the fat and place it in a large cold nonstick frying pan.
Put on a medium-high heat to render as it heats up, moving it around to coat the pan, while you peel and slice the onion/spring onion into thick rounds. Add them to the pan to char for 10 minutes, turning halfway.
Meanwhile, cut off the sinew, then place the steak between two sheets of greaseproof paper and pound with your fist until just under 1 cm thick. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then brush all over with the mustard and cut into two.
Add a good splash of red wine vinegar to the onion, toss for 1 minute over the heat, then divide between two slices of bread, leaving the pan on the heat.
Sear the steaks in the screaming hot pan for just 40 seconds on each side, then slice and lay over the cheese, cover, turn the heat off and leave to melt for just 40 seconds more.
Lay the steak on top of the onion, pop the other slices of bread on top, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and devour.