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Category Archives: Savoury Food

Roast Beef with Caramelized Onion and Raisin Chutney on French Bread

Here’s a a lovely combo that’s perfect for an alfresco weekend lunch. Thick slices of roast beef, with an easy onion and raisin chutney, on French bread with greens and cherry tomatoes and anything else you fancy.  Pretty easy to prepare, with the satisfaction of having made your own delicious chutney!

Sweet Onion and Raisin Chutney (adapted from July 2013 delicious. magazine)

Ingredients

100 gm raisins

300 ml sweet fortified wine (I used Pedro Ximenez sherry)

100 ml sunflower or vegetable oil

1 kg large red onions, halved, thinly sliced

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

125 ml white wine vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Place the raisins and and wine in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove, then set aside to soak for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to colour and stick to the pan.

Add the sugar, cook, stirring frequently for a further 30 minutes or until the onions are a rich brown colour.

Add the vinegar and soaked raisins, including the soaking liquid, then cook stirring often, for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. This will give you a few jars, so plenty of chutney to use later.

Roast Beef

Ingredients

500 gm piece scotch fillet (this is enough for 2 large sandwiches)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Place a heavy based baking dish in the oven to heat through.

Thoroughly coat the fillet in salt and pepper on all sides. Drizzle with the olive oil over all sides. Place in a hot frying pan, searing quickly on all sides to caramelize the fillet. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C. Place in the baking dish in the oven with the pan juices, adding the butter.

Cook the beef for 15 minutes for medium rare or 15-20 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven when cooked to your satisfaction and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Sandwich

Assemble the sandwich with the following ingredients or whatever takes your fancy:

French bread stick, butter, roast beef, cherry tomatoes, baby salad greens, sugar snap peas, sweet onion and raisin chutney, plenty of salt and pepper.

 

 

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Cherry Tomato Tart

This is more a throw together than a recipe. The sort of thing you can whip up when you need a super quick lunch or supper dish!

Store-bought puff pastry tart base, some caramelized onion for the base, then topped with goats’ cheese, cherry tomatoes and a scattering of fresh herbs. I made mine in a rectangular flan tin, but a round one would do as well. You might have to adjust the quantities.

Ingredients

1 quantity store-bough puff pastry ( I used 2 sheets from a 3 sheet pack of Pampas Butter Puff Pastry)

1 red onion, chopped

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Goats’ cheese – or similar crumbly soft cheese. You will crumble this into the tart, so quantities are flexible, about 100gm should be enough

15-20 cherry tomatoes, or more if you want to pack them in, on the vine

Fresh thyme leaves for scattering

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Butter a rectangular flan tin (or a round one), and fit with the puff pastry sheets which you have cut to shape.

Fry the red onion in the butter in a small frying pan over a low to medium heat, until the onion begins to soften. Add the brown sugar to caramelize the onion and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Lay the caramelized onion onto the pastry base. Crumble the goats’ cheese into the tart. Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the goats’ cheese, place a few whole ones on, too for effect.  Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned, the cheese melted and the tomatoes softened. Nice served with a green salad.

 

 

 

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“Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme” Meatballs

Here’s a really quick and tasty meatball dish. The meatballs are baked, with cherry tomatoes which makes a simple sauce. You can also customise the meatballs by adding chili, cheese or more sauce. They’re great served on crusty bread as mini burgers too!

The meatballs are very herby, cooked with rosemary and sage, and served with more rosemary, thyme and parsley. Hence the name – my homage to the Simon and Garfunkel version of “Scarborough Fair”, a favourite song of mine. I love the live version on the album Live 69 http://www.simonandgarfunkel.com/music/live-1969/.

Ingredients 

1 onion

500g good quality minced beef (I used wagyu beef mince – wonderful flavour)

1/2 tsp rosemary sprigs 

1/2 tsp sage leaves

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp balsamic vinegar 

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2-3 tbls breadcrumbs or a good couple of handfuls 

12 cherry tomatoes 

6-8 truss cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves 

1/2 tsp torn parsley leaves

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C non fan forced, 210 degrees C fan forced.

Chop the onion finely, or blitz in a food processor.

Put the beef mince in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the mince with a spoon. You could do all the mixing using your hands if you wish. Add the chopped onion, rosemary sprigs and sage leaves, which have been finely chopped.

Add the beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs, mixing to combine so that the mixture holds together. You will need to use your judgement about how much of the breadcrumbs you add to give you a good consistency to make meatballs.

Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls. Place them side by side, fairly snugly, into a baking dish. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and push them as many halves as you like into the spaces between the meatballs. Scatter some more rosemary springs over the top with more salt and pepper.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until the meatballs are brown and cooked, but still nice and moist in the middle, if you cut one open.

You could serve as is, but it’s nice to add some more cherry tomatoes. Blister some truss cherry tomatoes in a hot frying pan by dry-frying for a couple of minutes. 

Serve the meatballs with the blistered tomatoes, scattered with thyme and parsley.

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Treacle Glazed Barbecue Steak

I saw this recipe on James Martin’s entertaining new series James Martin’s French Adventure. I acquired the book to go with the series, see here for a link. It’s a tasty take on the traditional barbecue steak, with a sticky treacle glaze.

I cooked with sirloin, a cut I think barbecues well. Any large thick steak would do, thick enough to cut into decent slices once cooked.

The quantities in my recipe are for 2; James’ original recipe is for 4.

Easy to cook, easy to eat!

Ingredients

1/2 baguette

50ml olive oil

1 half of a cut garlic bulb

2 large steaks (sirloin, rib eye, scotch fillet, all work well)

1 tbsp black treacle

A few thyme leaves

A splash of Worcestershire sauce

A couple of drops of Tabasco

2 spring onions

Mixed salad greens to serve

Method

Preheat a barbecue or cast iron grill pan on the stove top, till very hot.

Slice the baguette lengthways, then cut in half crossways. Drizzle with a little of the oil and char both sides on the barbecue or grill pan.  Remove and rub the cut surface of the garlic over the cut side of the baguette. Cover loosely with foil to keep the baguette pieces warm while you cook the steaks.

Pour the remaining oil into a bowl, add the black treacle, thyme and Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, and mix together.

Cook the steaks on the barbecue or grill pan for about 4 minutes, then baste with the treacle mix and cook for 2 more minutes. Carefully turn the steaks, spoon over some more treacle, leaving a little for drizzling once the the dish is served. Cook for a further 4 minutes. Remove the steaks from the heat and leave to rest.

Cut the spring onions into 2 or 4 pieces lengthways, depending on the size of the onions.  Place on the barbecue or grill pan and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning halfway through.

Place the baguette pieces on a serving platter. I used the grill pan to serve once it had cooled down. Slice the steaks thickly, and put on top of the baguette pieces. Scatter the salad greens and spring onions on the platter. Finish with a drizzle or two of the treacle sauce to serve.

 

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Pumpkin Ravioli 2 Ways: Goat’s Cheese and Watercress Filling; Goat’s Cheese, Pumpkin, Thyme and Hazelnut filling

 

I love home-made pasta, and I’ve been using my benchtop pasta machine over the years with success. I recently began using the pasta making attachments to my Kitchen Aid. The roller and cutters are essentially the same as the benchtop version, except that there’s no hand turning, as the machine rolls and cuts using the Kitchen Aid’s motor. This is really great as you’ve now got two hands free to feed and guide the pasta to create pasta sheets and beautiful cut pasta!

The basic recipe I use for the pasta dough is a Jamie Oliver recipe, from his Cook With Jamie. Click here for the original recipe. It’s straightforward and easy to follow. For my pasta, I added some mashed baked pumpkin to give the pasta a lovely orange colour  and subtle taste. (I used half Jamie’s quantities which made a good 2 dozed or so ravioli). I filled the ravioli with goat’s cheese mixed with wilted watercress, and also pumpkin, thyme and hazelnuts. I was very happy with the tasty results!

Ingredients

Pasta

3 large free range eggs

300g Tipo ’00’ flour

3 tablespoons or so of butternut pumpkin (squash) baked in the oven with a little olive oil, then mashed. The amount you use will depend on how “orange ” you want the pasta to be. If you add too much, the pasta will be too soft to roll, so start out adding less – you can always add more.

Filling

3 tablespoons or so of any soft goats cheese or curd

1 tablespoon or so of wilted watercress ( a few good handfuls of watercress will wilt down to 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon mashed baked pumpkin

2 teaspoons roast chopped hazlenuts (about 10 or 12)

A few chopped thyme leaves

Method

Put the eggs and flour into a food proccesor and whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to the work surface and bring the dough roughly together. Add the baked pumpkin, starting off with a little at first, then adding more if you need to. Bring the pasta dough together into one lump.

Knead the dough and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, until the pasta dough starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury.  Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it.

Now is the time to prepare your filling, so you are ready to fill the ravioli once the pasta is rolled.

To wilt the watercress, place it washed in a small frying pan or saucepan with the barest amount of water. Cook over a low heat until it wilts. Break up the goat’s cheese with a fork, and mix in salt and pepper to taste.

To half the goat’s cheese add the watercress, and to the other half mix in the mashed pumpkin, thyme leaves and roast chopped hazelnuts.

I should note here that I inadvertently mixed in some wilted watercress into some of my pasta dough –  so I went with it – creating some lovely green speckled pasta dough that you can see in some of the photos. A happy accident!

For the pasta, dust your work surface with some Tipo ‘00’ flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you’re getting nowhere, but in fact you’re working the dough, and once you’ve folded it and fed it through the rollers a few time, it should be smooth and silky.

Now roll the pasta dough working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you’ve got down to the narrowest setting, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you’ve got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides. For ravioli, roll the pasta down to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it.

Once you have rolled the pasta, you will need to work quite quickly, as the pasta dries out. Place the rolled pasta on a lighly floured board. Cut the pasta sheets into two if they are really long, or use two rolled sheets if they are the right length to make the ravioli. You can cover the unused sheets with a tea towel for a few minutes while you are making ravioli with the other sheets.

Place small spoonfuls of the filling on one pasta sheet, allowing for a border when you come to cut the ravioli. Moisten the exposed pasta and put the other pasta sheet on top. Press down to divide the sheets into individual ravioli and, making sure you don’t trap any air with the filling, seal the ravioli edges.

Cut pasta into shapes using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife. Dust the ravioli with a little flour to help them keep their shape if you’re not cooking immediately, or alternatively pack them carefully into freezer bags and freeze for cooking in the future.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and put the ravioli in. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until al dente. The fresher the ravioli are, the quicker they will cook.

For a quick sauce, heat a little butter in a frying pan until the butter foams and add lots of black pepper. Pour over the ravioli and serve with shaved parmesan.

 

 

 

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Jamie Oliver’s Moroccan Fish – Revisited

 

I was going over some recipes from posts from the past. Here’s a great Jamie Oliver recipe from his 15 Minute Meals. I thought I’d blog it again as it’s fairly easy to prepare. The fish is served with couscous and a lovely Middle Eastern style salsa, and a pungent sauce of yogurt with harissa on the side. Although it’s a simple dish, it does take a little longer than 15 minutes to prepare…

Some wonderful Middle Eastern flavours, with a heady mix of fiery hot harissa, sweet pomegranate and apricot, tart preserved lemon and cool yoghurt.
Jamie uses bream. I’m not sure if bream in the UK is the same fish as in Australia. I used yellow tail bream which looked perfect for the recipe. Jamie’s recipe calls for whole fish, heads and tails removed, but obviously still on the bone. I would recommend fish fillets, preferably with the skin on, if you don’t like picking out the bones.

Ingredients
Salsa
1/2-1 preserved lemon (be careful that the brand you choose isn’t too bitter – if possible make your own)
A handful of dried apricots
A couple of strips of preserved red pepper
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 pomegranate
Fish
2 whole bream, heads and tails removed, scaled and gutted OR 4 fish fillets of choice, preferably skin on
Rock salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 spring onions
A few sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon or to taste of harissa
3-6 saffron threads covered with 100 mls boiling water and left to infuse for a couple of minutes
Couscous
1 cup couscous
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
Salt to taste
To serve
1/2 cup fat free yoghurt
A  handful of pistachios

Method
To make the salsa, blitz the lemon, apricots, peppers and the parsley in a food processor until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and squeeze in the juice of half the pomegranate. Mix, season to taste.
For the fish: score the the fish in a crisscross fashion on both sides, down to the bone if using whole fish rather than fillets. Season all over with rock salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the fish, cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes each side for whole fish, 2 minutes for fillets.
Add finely sliced spring onions, thyme sprigs, harissa to taste and saffron threads and their soaking water. Scrunch up and wet a sheet of greaseproof paper and tuck it around the fish. Cook on low heat for the time it takes to prepare the couscous or until the liquid is half evaporated from the frying pan.
To make the couscous, add couscous to the boiling water in a small saucepan. Add salt, cover and stand for about 3 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, fluffing up the couscous as you stir.

To serve:
Pile the couscous onto a serving platter and spoon the salsa over the couscous. Lay the fish on top, spoon over some of the pan juices, and scatter over the pistachios. Hold the other pomegranate half in your hand and bash it with a spoon to release the seeds and juice. Serve with a bowl of yoghurt on the side with a little harissa swirled through for a pretty colour.

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John’s Chermoula Chicken

 

 

Another glorious autumn day in March, the warm and languid days more like an Indian summer. I was  at Palm Beach, visiting the Architect to celebrate the birthday of the Delegator. I am always in for a treat on a Palm Beach visit – not only a lovely view but always scrumptious food.

Thr Architect had made his famous orange and almond cake, always delicious, but the real surprise was that the Delegator himself had made a beautiful chicken dish based on that wonderful spice concoction, chermoula paste. It was unctuous and fragrant, and accompanied by couscous, grilled asparagus, vine ripened tomatoes and a little aoli, made a lovely lunch dish.

The Delegator used Christine Manfield’s Chermoula Paste  available from specialty grocers such as Simon Johnson in Australia. It’s not that difficult to make your own, if you can’t access this paste or similar.

Here is my rough approximation of the recipe as told to me by the Delegator.

Ingredients

12 chicken thighs fillets, skin on or off, depending on your personal preference

1 tbls of Chris Mansfield  Chermoula Paste or see here for a link to a Neil Perry recipe

1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

3 lemon halves

A few sprigs of lemon thyme

Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

A dozen slices of prosciutto

Method

Marinate the chicken thigh fillets in a large bowl with the Chermoula Paste, olive oil and the juice of the lemon. Leave for a few hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Remove the chicken mixture and place in an ovenproof baking dish. Add the 3 cut lemon halves and lemon thyme to the mixture, and  season with salt and pepper. Finish by layering the prosciutto slices on the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

The chicken will give up a lot of juice, along with the lemons, so it’s great to serve this chicken dish with couscous or rice, or even crusty bread.

Well done to the Delegator for his inventive and delicious dish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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