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    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Nicoise Pasta - Best Chocolate Cake -Thai stuffed Peppers

    We are about to embark on a "Fab and Gay Adventure Around New Zealand"
    I have warned the various friends with whom we shall be staying and they don't seem to be too terrified as yet!
    Meanwhile our lovely Emily is leaving Juice TV to go to London with her partner Wayne.
    Unfortunately we won’t be here for her farewell. So I made a special lunch on Friday.
    She requested Roasted Vegetable Nicoise Pasta.
    I posted that in May of Last year but I will do it again with the quantities for 12 people.

    This is a great dish for a crowd.
    Prep can be done earlier in the day.
    I like to serve it just warm, wonderful blend of flavours

    3 cans best tuna in olive oil
    3 small potatoes per person par boiled 3-4 minutes
    500 gms green beans topped and tailed
    1 med red onion per person peeled halved and thick sliced
    1 tin anchovies broken into small person
    2 heads of garlic in skin just bang with heavy knife
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
    White balsamic vinegar you can use white wine vinegar but
    this is a great product for dressings
    2 punnets cherry tomatoes halved
    Black olives as many as you like

    1 egg per person hard boiled, shelled and quartered
    Big handful basil leaves
    Handful parsley chopped
    Parmesan cheese finely grated
    Vinaigrette Just your favourite one

    500 gms penne pasta

    Heat your roasting pan on top of the stove and slosh in 2-3 tbs olive oil
    Add potatoes, beans, onion, anchovies, garlic,
    Season everything with sea salt & pepper, then toss the vege around till
    all covered in the oil.
    Let them get started for about a minute on the element,
    then transfer to the oven heated up to 200◦.

    Roast 15-20 minutes.
    Throw in tomatoes and olives season again and a little more oil
    Prepare to this stage cover and leave till later.

    Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling well salted water till it still has some bite
    Meanwhile pop vege back into 200C oven while the pasta is cooking

    Break up the tuna into bite size pieces
    Remove vege from oven
    Add pasta and add tuna then drizzle on a little more oil
    and sprinkle over about 3-4 tbs white balsamic vinegar
    Pour into a nice big serving platter
    Arrange cut eggs on top
    Throw around the herbs and just a little vinaigrette
    Look doesn’t this look good

    Of course there must be a cake
    I got this recipe from my daughter Katie
    She found it in a Cook book called The Cake Bible
    It is very moist and delicious. I made 2 cakes
    Nice big cake…feeds lot of people
    These quantities are for 1 cake only
    My friend Catherine gave me this great hint.
    Warm your sugar before creaming. It makes life so much easier.
    Try it…it works
    So you need

    125 gms softened butter
    2/3 cup sugar warmed
    ½ cup icing sugar
    2 eggs room temperature

    1 ¼ cup SR flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ cup cocoa
    Pinch salt

    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Heat oven 180C
    Grease and flour your tin.
    I like to line the bottom with a circle of baking paper.
    Also cover the outside with a wet newspaper collar as shown here

    Cream butter and sugars
    Add eggs one at a time
    Beat well

    Sift dry ingredients
    Mix milk and vanilla

    Add dry ingredients milk mix alternately

    Bake 40-50 minutes check after 40 minutes cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean
    Let cake sit on a rack for 10 minutes in the 10 then turn out and cool.
    It’s important that the cake is cold before you iced.

    This is really easy just pop in the food processor

    1 cup butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons warm water
    4 cups icing sugar
    Pinch of salt
    Food colouring

    Add butter 2 tablespoons water and 1 cup icing sugar into food processor
    Whiz to cream
    Add rest of icing sugar
    Blend then add colour drop by drop till desired colour.
    You are probably going to have to add more water.

    It needs to be a spreadable consistency.
    Actually I should have made more for a cake this size, keep that in mind.

    A trick we learnt from the cake decorating class you pipe a moat around the outside of the cake it helps to keep in the filling.
    I pureed some raspberries and blackcurrants with a raspberry liqueur for the filling
    Made the moat, spread out the filling inside that.
    Then spread more frosting
    Iced the cake
    Just a simple message.
    Had to use the flowers left over from the course
    She was a happy chappy
    We will miss you Em.
    Bon Voyage.
    Just a cross section of the cake.
    It’s a great cake the berry puree really gives it a lift
    Laura Calder “French Food At Home” had a programme on Aperitif
    We had friends for dinner, Stu from Sydney was here again.

    I really liked the idea of this delicious loaf. A Tea Bread I guess it really is.

    1- ½ cups flour
    1- ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    3 x eggs, lightly beaten
    ½ cup plus
    1 Tbsp butter, melted
    2/3 cup olives, pitted and sliced
    125 gms bacon, about 4 slices, cut into lardoons and fried
    1 cup Grated Gruyere cheese or grated Parmesan Pinch of salt, to taste
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

    Heat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
    Butter and flour a loaf pan.
    Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, and stir the pepper through.
    Beat the eggs into the flour.
    Beat in the melted butter.
    Stir through the remaining ingredients to distribute evenly.
    Spoon the batter into the pan and bake 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
    Cool slightly.
    Remove from pan.
    Slice, and serve with drinks.
    I think I left it in too long. It was very frothy and I didn’t test with the skewer early enough.
    See the bubbles. Well when you take it out and let it cool a little it settles down

    Nevertheless it was delicious I would do it again. Very easy too.

    I needed another aperitif and thought of this idea.
    I remember having a sort of fish mousse stuffed green pepper at Yum Char which are delicious.
    So why not stuff red pepper halves with the a mixture for Thai Fish Cakes
    The fish cakes were from a recipe I had seen Rick Stein prepare.
    so I though I would adapt his recipe.
    A good one too. It's that Thai fish cake texture you are looking for almost a bit rubbery.

    Thai Stuffed Red Peppers

    6 red, or orange or yellow peppers or a combo

    500 gms meaty white fish cut into chunks
    1 tablespoon palm sugar
    1 chili chopped
    3 tablespoons coriander stalks and all,
    2-3 Kaffir lime leaves chopped
    Juice and zest of 1 lime
    1 big teaspoon Thai red curry paste
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    1 egg


    Put all of the ingredients into the food processor except for cream
    Whiz until it forms a paste
    Add some cream to thin it out a little (1-2 tablespoons)

    Take a spoonful and fry it in a little oil to make a little cake
    Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

    Halve and core peppers
    Blanch in boiling water
    Fill with mixture
    Place in an oiled baking tray
    Add ½ cup water
    Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes at 200C

    You can make these early in the day and refrigerate
    Take out at least an hour before serving to bring to room temperature
    Cut into half and arrange on a platter and garnish with sliced basil and chopped coriander

    I was pleased with this dish.
    It’s quite filling so actually 1 quarter each is enough for hand around.

    Would make a good first course on a bed of dressed greens
    2 quarters each would do.
    Garnish with lime quarters

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