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Category Archives: Savoury Food

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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This variation on traditional Mac ‘n’ Cheese is from Jamie’s Super Food family Classics. It’s a lighter version of the dish and is full of tasty veg in the form of butternut squash (pumpkin), so it’s very healthy!

I have included Jamie’s recipe with only some slight tweakings here. I made the recipe without the crumbs and popped beans topping, adding a few seeds and basil leaves as garnish.

The photos I took are of a HALF quantity – which was a pretty gernerous dish. The recipe below is for the FULL quantity.

Ingredients

l leek

1 onion

olive oil

1 butternut squash

1 heaped tbls plain wholemeal flour

500ml semi-skimmed milk

450g dried macaroni

2 tsp English mustard

300g cottage cheese 40g Parmesan cheese

For the topping

1x 400g tin of cannellini beans

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 slice of wholemeal bread

My topping

A handful of toasted seeds (pepitas, linseed, sesame or what ever you have in the store cupboard).

Basil leaves

Method

Wash and trim the leek, peel the onion, then finely chop and place in a pan on a medium heat with 1tablespoon of oil. Cook and stir while you carefully halve the squash lengthways and deseed, reserving the seedy core. Chop the squash into 2cm chunks, leaving the skin on, and stir into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the flour, followed by the milk and 500ml of water. Simmer with a lid ajar for 35 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Parboil the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and tip back into the pan. Carefully pour the contents of the veg pan into a food processor and blitz until smooth (working in batches, if necessary) to make your sauce. Taste and season to perfection, then pour over the pasta, add the mustard and cottage cheese, finely grate over most of the Parmesan and mix well. Transfer to a high-sided baking dish (30cm x 40cm), then grate over the remaining Parmesan. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

For Jamie’s crumbs and popped beans:

With 15 minutes to go, drain the beans, then toast and dry fry them in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until popped, shaking occasionally. Peel the garlic and put in the processor with the chilli  flakes, seedy squash  core,  rosemary  leaves  and  bread  and  blitz  into  crumbs.  Add to the beans, then toast and toss until crisp and gnarly. Serve the pasta with the toasted beans and crumbs on the side. Good with a lemon-dressed salad.

For my topping:

Serve with a handful of toasted seeds scattered on top and a few basil leaves.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Jalapeño Tomato Salsa: Everyday Super Food

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Another simple, tasty and healthy recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. The dish is more of an assembly than a complicated cooking procedure. If you can bake sweet potato, fry beans, cook rice, and make a salsa you have this dish covered!

My decided to cook the black beans instead of using tinned beans. Probably a mistake – soaking and cooking took so much time!  The rest was easy peasy, and the dish looked as tasty as it was.

Ingredients

2 x 200g sweet potatoes

100g brown rice

250g mixed colour tomatoes

2 spring onions

1 x 200g jar jalopeños

1/2 bunch coriander

1 red onion

olive oil

1 level tsp cumin seeds

1 x400g tin black beans

2 heaped tsps cottage cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the sweet potatoes, then season and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through. After 30 minutes, cook the rice according to packet instructions or your favourite method, then drain. Roughly drop the tomatoes, finely slice the spring onions and place both in a bowl. Tip the jalopeños and their liquid into a blender or food processor putting in most of the coriander, reserving some leaves for decoration. Blitz until smooth, then return the mixture to the jar, using 2 tablespoons to dress the tomatoes and spring onions. The remaining dressing can be used for other meals.

Peel and finely slice the onion. Put a pan on medium heat on the stove top with 1 teaspoon of oil and the cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds then stir in the onion and a splash of water. Cook and stir for 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, then add the beans and all their juice. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thick and oozy, stirring occasionally. Taste and season, loosening with splash or two of boiling water if needed.

Divide the beans, rice and tomato salsa between plates. Split open the sweet potatoes and add one to each plate. Spoon over the cottage cheese, season with black pepper and finish with the reserved coriander leaves.

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Jamie Oliver’s Super Squash Lasagne

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I am cooking lots more healthy recipes these days, trying to cut down on the “bad” things in my diet. I am also interested in vegan recipes, as I sometimes cook for a vegan work colleague. Similarly I often make gluten-free recipes as increasingly friends are suffering gluten intolerance. The passionate baker in me finds that a little daunting at times!

This recipe for a meat-free, low-fat lasagne, is dedicated to Quirky Sister No 1. She is recovering from major surgery and is learning to adjust to some dietary restrictions. She’s doing very well!

This is another recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. I really appreciate Jamie’s approach to healthy and delicious eating. While all the recipes are carefully written to be nutritious, there’s still that lovely attention to how food tastes and looks. We eat with our eyes so food has to look good to make us want to tuck in! It’s a simple butternut pumpkin lasagne. In Australia we call butternut squash pumpkin. Squash or pumpkin, this vegetable goes well roasted in slices, in the lasagne. It’s also a source of vitamin A according to Jamie. He has baby spinach in the lasagne too, great for iron.

I am including Jamie’s recipe from his excellent book, with a few variations, as in the lasagne pictured: I used ordinary lasagne sheets, not wholewheat, as I prefer the former. I also used half the amount of baby spinach, as that’s all I had on the day I cooked. Half the quantity was plenty! I left off a sunflower seed topping.

I love the classic combination of pumpkin and sage, and  added a scattering of sage leaves to each layer. It worked really well, giving a nice depth of flavour to the pumpkin. I substituted sage leaves on the top of the lasagne, too, for the rosemary sprigs Jamie mentions.

Ingredients

olive oil

1  large butternut squash (1.5kg)

1 level tsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic

1 fresh red chilli

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

200g baby spinach

a handful of fresh sage leaves, plus a few more for the top

60g Parmesan cheese

250g dried wholewheat lasagne sheets

400g fat-free cottage cheese

100ml semi-skimmed milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and rub 2 large roasting trays with a little olive oil. Carefully  halve and deseed the squash, leaving the skin on, then slice into ½-inch half moon shapes.
Lay in a single layer across the trays. Sprinkle over the ground coriander, and a pinch of sea salt  and black pepper, then roast for 50 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic and deseed the chili, then finely slice both and place in a large pan on a medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until golden, then add the balsamic and tinned tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and 1 tin’s worth of water. Simmer on a medium heat for  15 to 20 minutes until slightly thickened, or until slightly thickened, then season to perfection. ( I found that the tomatoes needed a good 30 minutes to reduce down).
To layer up, spread a third of the tomato sauce across the base of a 25cm x 30cm baking dish. Cover with a layer of raw spinach leaves and a few sage leaves, a layer of roasted squash,  a fine grating of Parmesan and a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with  lasagne sheets.
Loosen the cottage cheese with the milk, mashing the curds a little, then lightly season and spoon over the top. Finley grate over the remaining Parmesan. Rob the remaining sage leaves with oil, then place on top of the lasagne.
Bake at the bottom of your oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling, then serve.
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Preserved Lemons

 

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Preserved lemons are the easiest and one of the nicest ways to make use of a lemon bounty.

In late summer, earlier this year, I was the lucky recipient of lot of beautiful lemons from an old tree in Burradoo, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. The lemons were mostly quite big and thick skinned, with a mild tang. They were well used in my kitchen, for several weeks. Lemon cake and lemon curd were obvious candidates for the produce.

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I also made a jar of preserved lemons for a visit to my Palm Beach haven. I’ve made preserved lemons a few times, using various recipes. I turned this time to see what Jamie said on the subject. The following is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Ingredients

Fennel seeds
Coriander seeds
Cinnamon stick
Peppercorns
Bay Leaf
Sea salt
Large fat Lemons

Method

You will need a good preserving style of  jar for this recipe. Make sure the jar is clean, there’s no need to sterilise.  The jar should also have a strong clasp or well fitting lid. The jar should be airtight.

In a bowl, mix the spices and the sea salt. Cut a cross into the lemons, almost to the base, but making sure that the quarters stay together. Push the seasoned salt into the lemon segments. This can be tricky as the the lemons are slippery, but persevere.

Pack the lemons as tightly as possible into the jar. The less space there is between the lemons the more attractive it will look and you won’t need to use so much salt. As you layer the lemons, juice will be squeezed from the lemons. Make sure the lemons are covered with juice – you can top up with additional lemon juice if needed.

Close the lid and put the jar into a cupboard away from the light. The lemons will be ready after one month of preserving. Jamie says that the lemons will last for about 2 years – I have usually used them all before then!

To use, discard the flesh and pith and use the rind with grilled chicken, lamb or fish, and in Moroccan tagines and casseroles.

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