Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Salmon and Vedgetable Fish Cakes

    There is absolutely no reason why you can't use vege other than potato to make fish cakes. We have done it with kumara but this time I was using up vege in the fridge and it was delicious. Excellent if you are cutting down on carbs...well I did use a few breadcrumbs to help bind the mix.
    By the way, if you can, always use good bread to make crumbs.
    Anytime you have stale bread turn it into crumbs and stick them in the freezer in a plastic bag.
    Right now on with the cakes.

    1 carrot diced
    1 stick celery sliced
    1/2 small swede peeled and diced
    Wedge pumpkin peeled and diced
    1 red chili finely chopped
    1 shallot fine dice
    2 tbs chopped parsley
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 tin salmon drained and broken up
    1 egg
    Some breadcrumbs (optional)

    Vege oil for frying (I like to use rice bran oil)

    Wedges of lemon.

    Bring the vege to the boil and simmer till tender.
    Drain well and roughly mash.
    Add egg salmon and parsley and mix well. This is where you add the breadcrumbs if the mixture is a little too wet. This is entirely up to you,

    Shape into cakes with wet hands..if you have time stick them in the fridge to firm up a little but this is not necessary.

    In a hot pan add the cakes and fry in the oil till golden brown.
    You may need to turn the heat down a little once they get going to prevent burning.
    It seems to take about 4- 5 minutes each side.

    I think they only need a light squeeze of lemon juice to compliment them but use your favourite ketchup/relish if you wish.

    Not only fab but healthy as well.

    Buttercup Pumpkin and Chocolate Rum Pie

    Funnily enough this is not an American recipe it was cooked by an Italian
    …Giorgio Locatelli on Food TV.
    Keeping with the Italian theme...I have even presented it on an Italian plate
    that my husband lugged back from Italy as hand baggage nearly 20 years ago.
    We still have all 8 plates and bowls and a beautiful jug which is featured
    in one of my photos earlier in this blog. The Poached Eye Filet photo in fact.
    But enough trivia let's get cooking.

    This is really so simple and the filling is so smooth and silky and chocolatey with the hint of cinnamon coming through…
    Just use store bought pastry or make your own sweet shortcrust if you’d rather.

    1 Pkt Frozen Sweet Short Pastry thawed

    1 buttercup pumpkin peeled and cut into chunks for cooking
    100 gms bitter chocolate broken into pieces.

    100 gms sugar
    100 mls water
    1 cinnamon stick broken up

    50 mls black rum.

    Heat oven 200◦

    Roll out your pastry and lay it in a greased and floured pie dish.
    Bake blind (i.e.cut a circle of baking paper to fit inside the pie dish and lay it on the pastry.Cover with dried beans to weigh it down…you can reuse these)
    for 10 minutes.
    Remove from oven take out the paper and beans and put back in for
    another 3 minutes just to firm up the base.

    Meanwhile cook the pumpkin...I did it in the microwave but you could bake it in the oven in a covered dish till very tender.
    Don’t boil it this will make it too wet.
    Mash pumpkin in a bowl add chocolate pieces.

    Heat sugar, water and cinnamon till syrupy 5-10 minutes) throw in the rum cook for another 30 seconds and add to the bowl.
    The hot syrup starts to melt the chocolate.
    Pile into pie dish and put pie back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

    Cool and serve with whipped cream or crème fraiche.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Weekend Cooking with Friends

    We had have a couple of weekends away and have had a lot of fun cooking
    with friends who like me, find being in the kitchen a pleasure, not a chore.
    There was a great success and also a big failure I’ll show both!!!
    We’ll start with the success.
    I have never made fresh pasta before as I have never invested in a machine, but my friend Diana who has a wonderful kitchen, and all sorts of gadgets and mod cons has made this investment…so we decided to go all out and make ravioli. After all I have seen enough Chefs on the Food Channel making if they can do it I can.
    It’s a bit time consuming but very enjoyable. If you haven’t got a companion to talk to…put on your favourite music and “boogie on down!!!”

    Now as you can see from the blurb I am not an expert pasta maker but this worked for us.
    This fed 4.
    To make the pasta

    1 ¼ cups sifted strong flour
    Pinch salt
    2 large eggs

    Make a well (with high sides) of the dry ingredients and drop in the eggs.
    Start mixing the flour into the eggs slowly with a fork… just a little at a time
    keeping the little well highish, so that the egg doesn’t run all over the bench, which is terribly messy…
    when it is nearly all combined start using your hands and knead well.
    You may need to add a little water if too dry, do it by the teaspoonful or better still just wet your hands. You don’t want a wet dough.

    When it is a nice smooth ball (about 5-7 minutes) wrap in glad wrap and leave to rest for about an hour.

    Cut into 4 and take out 1 quarter and keep the rest covered while you work the dough.

    Start to wring the dough through the machine on the highest setting, fold in half and then put it through again, repeat for about 8 times to get it nice and silky.
    Now down a notch on the dial and keep on squeezing it through, changing the setting down till you get to number 1.
    You should have a nice long rolled out piece of dough.
    Put to one side and repeat all of this with the next quarter.
    They should be about the same size.
    Lay one on the bench and place teaspoonfuls of filling every 3 cms into little mounds.
    We got 7 out of each long strip.
    Brush exposed dough with a little water and lay the other strip over the top.
    Press around each little mound tightly with your fingers.
    Use a 7 cm cookie cover and cut out your dear little raviolis. Very pretty.
    Each one needs to pressed firmly with your fingers to get out any air bubbles.

    Sit on a piece of parchment paper till ready to cook.
    Continue on with the rest of the dough to complete

    While the dough is resting make the filling.

    250 gms ricotta cheese
    ½ pkt frozen spinach balls cooked drained, squeezed dry and finely chopped
    10 leaves basil finely sliced
    ½ grated finely tasty cheese
    ½ cup mashed roasted pumpkin or squash (you can use boiled if easier)
    1 egg white
    Nutmeg freshly grated
    Sea salt & black pepper to taste

    Mix all ingredients well

    1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    3 cloves garlic
    1 tsp chili flakes or 1 finely chopped freah chili

    Shaved parmesan
    And freshly ground black pepper
    Extra basil leaves

    Heat through gently till garlic tender we are only just flavouring this oil.

    Now take the raviolis and drop into a large pan full of well salted boiling water.
    Cook them for about 4-5 minutes.
    Drain and plate up
    Drizzle 1 tbs of dressing over warm plates.
    Lay the raviolis out, say 4 per person.
    Drizzle well again with the dressing, some parmesan, black pepper
    And then the basil. Beautiful.

    Now not so beautiful is
    “Honey We’ve Stuffed up the Duck”

    I have to show this as it is probably one of the worst dinners my friend Debbie (who by the way is an excellent cook) and I have ever done.
    The ducks had been simmered in a very tasty Asian master stock for a couple of hours and then all that had to happen was a bit of roasting along with the kumara (nicely seasoned, halved and oiled.)

    Of course I think the imbibing of some very nice champagne and too much talking
    ...maybe our seemingly loss of smell, had something to do with it…anyway voila…

    Here you have it people…how not to make:
    Wild Duck with Kumara

    I will add we did eat it.
    Those little black pieces that look like leather soles in the front were the kumara, (which was OK when all the black toppings had been carefully peeled off).
    The duck was like old leather, but the bits you could tear off with your teeth were tasty... the Asian master broth had done it's duty.
    By the way it did not ruin our evening.

    So I thought I would share these adventures with you.

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    CrispyNoodle with Mushrooms and Bok Choy

    I have made this a couple of times before, but we just had it for lunch and I had to write it down quickly while I remember; as whatever I did this time was sensational.
    I saw it on Huey's Cooking Adventures on Food TV. I have made a couple of changes to the original,this is my version (working with whatever you have in the pantry and fridge!!!)
    This is a golden noodle cake with asian styled tasty vege on top.
    Think Rosti made with Asian ingredients...But lighter...healthy too.

    PS Sorry...I have just looked at this again and the presentation and the photo doesn't do this justice at all. Next time I make it I will replace the shot.
    Don't let this put you off.
    Now please carry on!!!

    Using a 20 cm pan you will make a cake enough for 2 people.

    125 gms Rice vermicelli
    1 tbs Peanut Oil
    1 tsp Sambal Olek (An Indonesian Chili sauce)

    2 tbs peanut oil
    2 cloves garlic • Peeled and Crushed
    1 tbs Fresh ginger • Peeled and finely chopped
    1 tsp sambal olek •
    5 Portabello Mushrooms • chunked
    sea salt

    3 x Baby Bok Choy • break off leaves and wash well. Get rid of any sand
    Soy sauce • 1 tbs
    Sesame oil • good dash
    Beef stock • ½ cup use the campbells concentrate dissolved in water

    Prepare the noodles: Put them into a bowl, pour over boiling water and leave about 10 mins, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss about a 1 tbs of peanut oil,sambal olek and a little salt through them, to stop them sticking together.

    Take your 20 cm (approx) non stick pan and pour in about 2 tbs peanut oil get it pretty hot and then add your drained noodles...push them down so they form a cake the size of the pan and about 3 cms thick. Cook over a moderate-high heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown and then turn the cake onto a plate and slip the uncooked side back into the pan to brown it…push it down firmly (you may need to add a little more oil, it’s up to you.) It should have a crunchy crust and a tender middle. If it is not golden enough for you just slip it back in and leave for another few minutes. The extra cooking won’t hurt as the noodles are quite moist.

    Meanwhile heat the extra oil in a larger pan or wok, over high heat add the mushrooms season with a little sea salt toss arounnd till they start to brown, turn heat down add the garlic, 1 tsp ginger and sambal olek, soy sauce, sesame oil and beef stock, bring to boil and toss in the bok choy cover and steam about 5 mins.

    Turn out the finished cake onto nice plate and place vege on top and spoon over some of the lovely juices
    I could almost go and cook it again but that would be too greedy.

    Raspberry Coconut Cake

    It was birthday cake time again at work and I decided to work with the Lemon Coconut Teacake recipe (previously posted) and try a different flavour. This worked really well. Everyone loved my cake!!!
    By the way frozen berries are brilliant, just take out what you need and put the rest back for another time.

    It is basically the same recipe as below, but I replaced the whole cup of milk with pureed raspberries and yoghurt. I kept the lemon flavoured icing, that tang is pretty good.

    I made 2 cakes which was quite simple as it is a one bowl operation...while 1 is cooking,whip up another. This makes 12 good servings.

    First heat your oven 170◦ and grease and line the bottom of a 23 cm cake pan.

    These quantites are for 1 cake
    All into a large bowl
    1 ½ cups flour sifted with
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    Pinch salt
    1 cup castor sugar
    ½ cup coconut
    Zest 1 lemon
    2 large eggs
    Put 3 tbs pureed frozen raspberries in a fluid measuring cup
    add 3 tbs plain yoghurt and top up to 1 cup with milk
    In with the rest.
    125 gms unsalted butter melted

    Extra pureed rapsberries to sandwich the cakes together.

    Mix really well with your wooden spoon making sure it is well incorporated.

    Into the greased pan, give a quick tap and into the oven for 30- 35 minutes.
    Test with skewer if it comes out clean its done.

    Cool in pan 5 mins and turn onto rack and let them cool completely.
    Place one cake on plate and cover with the extra pureed raspberries,
    top with the other cake

    To ice
    1 ½ cup icing sugar
    1 cup coconut
    1 tsp lemon zest
    ½ cup lemon juice
    2-3 tbs pureed raspberries

    Mix and spread over the cake.

    Blueberry Ricotta Hotcakes with Honey Butter

    This photo from the trusty phone doesn’t do these delicious pancakes, justice so please don’t be put off they are fab. Served with bacon (optional), bananas and champagne with orange. What could be a better start to the weekend.

    I was inspired by the Bill’s Food programme on Food TV…
    Alton Brown of Good Eats did a programme on hotcakes and his suggestions on the best way to make blueberry pancakes was a must do! So here’s the result.

    It is a little bit of work as you have to separate the eggs, but the good news is that you can make the mixture at least an hour ahead which is great if you are having friends for brunch.

    First make the honey butter it needs to be chilled. You can freeze it and cut off little circles as you need them.
    250 gms butter
    2 tbs your favourite honey

    Soften the butter, mix with the honey, chill, then make into a sausage in glad wrap and chill till you need it. (Just like the photo)

    Then for 4 people (4 each) take
    1 cup flour
    1 good tsp Baking powder
    Pinch of salt

    4 eggs separated
    250 gms ricotta cheese
    ¾ cup milk

    Frozen blueberries

    Vege oil for cooking

    Beat the egg whites to soft peaks

    Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix the ricotta with the milk and
    egg yolks ...throw into the dry ingredients, mix well, then carefully fold in eggs whites.

    Lightly grease hot pan…dob nice big spoonfuls of batter onto it and now here’s the trick with the blueberries…drop 6-7 berries on each hot cake. Cook for about 3 minutes first side, turn over for another 2 minutes. They want to be nice and golden brown.

    Keep them warm in the oven as you go.
    Make the stack, put a little honey butter between each one.
    Top off with a circle of the butter and serve.