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    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    The Best Bacon and Egg Pie

    I always thought I have made a pretty good Bacon and Egg Pie, but one of our local sandwich shops (Naturals Bake and Coffee on Quay Street) makes a boomer.
    I think he adds his grated cheese at the last minute. So moist and flavoursome.

    I was also inspired by a New Zealand TV Chef, Richard Till of “Kiwi Kitchen” fame, on his programme, he discovered an older gentleman domiciled in Napier, who is apparently very famous in his locale for his Bacon and Egg Pie. This gentleman was also famous for his pastry.
    I used shop bought but I am going to give his a go on another occasion.

    So I have pinched a couple of ideas and I have to say it was an excellent pie
    I normally lightly beat the eggs but this time following their lead I just broke the yolks up moving the fork around.
    I think the secret is to use nice streaky bacon...leave fat on
    I have always used cheese, but this time I placed the grated cheese first… Helps to make a seal on the bottom. By the way the cheese is not the hero, it is just that little bit extra.

    I cut the bacon into 2 cm chunks and fried it for a couple of minutes to get the fat rendering.
    This makes the pie filling very moist and yummy.
    I added some chopped spring onion.
    Adds colour and flavour.

    Shop bought Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
    3 rashers per person streaky bacon cut into 2 cm chunks
    Grated cheese
    Spring Onions sliced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Spring onions finely chopped
    Lightly fry bacon chunks don’t drain
    So line a greased pie dish with puff pastry.
    Sprinkle on grated cheese

    Cover with bacon
    Break in enough eggs this size pie (14 cm/5") took 2 ½ large eggs
    Break them up moving the yolk with a fork
    Season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add extra bacon on top
    Sprinkle on chopped spring onions
    Pop on the pastry lid and crimp the edges.
    Brush with egg wash for the golden look.

    Pre heat oven to 210C
    Cook for 5 minutes then reduce to 200C
    Cook for a further 20 minutes

    The pie should be golden brown and crisp. Here it is cooling on the window sill.
    The filling beautiful and moist and you will not be able to get enough of it.
    The pastry just so flaky wonderful
    I made this pie for Dale to take on his fishing trip.
    Size 20cm/8” This took 8 eggs.

    International World Bread Day - Cherry and Chocolate Bread and Mushroom and Onion Bread - Twin Delights

    Cherry and Chocolate Bread and Mushroom and Onion Bread
    Two delightful ways to consume calories
    Tomorrow we are off to a holiday in the sun. Noosa here we come.
    11 days lying around the pool, few walks, some shopping and lots of food and drink.
    Our friend Geoff invited us to go for a spin in his boat.
    I wanted to bake bread. Zorra click here is hosting an event
    to celebrate World Bread Day. The International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (UIB) declared 16th of October as World Bread Day.
    So this was an excellent opportunity to make these loaves I had seen on Television.
    Food TV has been re-running a great old baking show called “Use Your Loaf” starring James Martin (a very young James Martin) and his mate baker Paul Hollywood. I have saved some episodes on My Sky and now was my chance.

    So I turned down the trip, farewelled Dale, sent him off with a freshly made Bacon and Egg Pie and said hello to my kitchen.

    Four loaves - two varieties

    First I made the master dough.
    The secret is to make sure the dough is quite wet before you start kneading.

    1 kg bread flour.
    2 pkts dried yeast
    30 gms salt
    Splash olive oil
    Warm water
    …to get the right temperature I suggest you put 1/3 boiling water and top up with cold water. Prepare about 600mls for this amount of flour

    So add yeast to about 300 mls warm water stir and leave for about 3 minutes

    Meanwhile add flour salt and olive oil to large bowl.
    Stir with your hand and add yeast and water
    Mix and keep on adding water till the flour is all used up.
    Throw onto bench and start kneading
    Knead for about 5-6 minutes till it becomes smooth.
    Back into lightly oiled bowl and leave till it doubles in size
    Cover with oiled plastic wrap or a tea towel
    About 1 hour
    Back onto bench and cut into two.
    Put one piece back into the bowl and set the other aside

    Cherry and Chocolate Bread
    So - add to dough in bowl
    1 cup canned pitted cherries
    1 cup chocolate chips
    It will be very sloppy but persevere - just keep mixing
    Keep adding flour and knead in the bowl till amalgamated.
    Put to one side, cover and prove again for another hour.
    Cut once again into two

    Knead a little and roll into a ball
    On a floured bench
    Pat down using floured fingers
    Slash and place on baking paper on a baking tray
    Throw a tea towel over them and leave about another hour
    Bake at 205C for approx 30 minutes

    The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
    It looks and tastes great.
    Then with the remaining dough
    1 onion finely chopped in olive oil
    5-6 med mushrooms chopped
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Put the dough back into the bowl
    Add hot onions and mushroom mix
    Handful of flour
    over the top
    And knead, adding more flour as necessary
    Put aside as before, and prove, covered
    Cut into two bits
    Shape into balls
    Pat down once again, on floured bench using your floured fingers.
    Place on baking paper lined tray
    Slash - cover with tea towel
    Bake 205C oven 30 minutes.

    By the way Dale returned with a smile on his face, a bit flushed with fishing success… aided also with some Sauvignon Blanc…carrying this lovely snapper.
    Great…fish sandwiches for dinner.
    Sautéed the filets in a little extra virgin olive oil and little butter
    Slice open the remainder of the onion bread
    A little mayo
    Some baby Cos lettuce
    Fish on top.
    What a Productive Day and Haven't we been well fed

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Mayo Three Ways

    So more tasty lunches
    It’s Asparagus season and we can’t get enough of it.

    Prepared a very simple starter "Ultimate Finger Food".
    Asparagus and Prawn Platter

    I went back to yet another old favourite recipe book,
    The Silver Palate Good Times Cook Book, Remember that?

    I wanted to make mayonnaise to dip the asparagus in.

    How does Basil-Parmesan Mayonnaise sound.
    Well it is as good as it sounds.

    2 egg yolks
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons grainy Dijon-style mustard
    3 tablespoons lemon juice

    3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

    2 tablespoon
    Extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup good vegetable oil (I use rice Bran oil)
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In the food processor whiz the egg yolks, Parmesan, basil, mustard and lemon juice
    For 30 seconds
    With the machine running pour the olive oil and vegetable oil in a thin steady stream through the feed tube to make a thick mayonnaise.
    Season with S & P to taste.

    Prepare the asparagus and lightly simmer in salted water along with some prawns

    Lay on plate with a little dish of the mayonnaise.
    Dip in.

    Of course I had a lot of Mayo left so for lunch the next day I went fish shopping.
    Monkfish is an economical buy. I have only cooked it once and I don’t know what I did with it but I didn’t like it.
    TV Chefs are always raving about it so I tried again.
    This time I seasoned it and sautéed it in some olive oil
    Cook first side 2 minutes
    Add a knob of butter
    Flip over and into a 200C oven for about 8 minutes

    Halfway lift it out and baste it.
    Yes it was nice...a good alternative for the more expensive fish.

    When cooked
    Squeeze a little lemon juice.
    Let sit and cool
    I decided to make wraps.

    So on the middle of the wrap
    A big smear of the mayo
    Some sliced cucumber and some Cos lettuce
    Break up the fish and spread on top.

    Roll up and consume.

    The Best Roast Chicken
    The grandchildren were around for lunch so I roasted a chicken…back to the old way.
    First buy a good corn fed free range or organic chicken the difference in taste is amazing.

    The French Roast
    Roasted on a bed of carrots and onions,
    Season interior, with salt, freshly ground black pepper, chopped garlic, fresh thyme and oil.
    Also stuff in a couple of chunks of lemon.

    Pour over a cup of hot chicken stock, I used stock powder.
    Then I drizzled it with more olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper
    Didn't add salt at this stage as the stock cube is salty.

    Into 200C oven
    After 15 minutes
    Take it out and baste with stock
    Another 15 minutes, basted again
    Check on the liquid if it is getting too dry... add more water or as in my case a slug of wine.
    Another couple of bastings
    This keeps the chicken uber moist and juicy.
    It should take about an hour to cook.

    Test the leg joint with a skewer and if the juices run clear you are ready.
    So the chicken is cooked and cooled.

    Some chips cooked in the oven for the request from the small children
    “Chip Butties please Grandma.” A big favourite.

    When I found the Silver Palette mayo recipe it was used to make a salad.
    Got some ideas and then whipped up this salad for the grownups.

    1/2 cooked chicken stripped from the bones
    4-5 strips of prosciutto sliced
    50 gms Gruyere cut into julienne strips
    2 spring onions chopped
    1/2 cup sliced cucumber
    3 tablespoons Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

    Whole Lettuce leaves

    Another excellent lunch.

    And what an excellent stock from the juices and bones.
    Great depth of colour and taste... looking forward to using it.

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Breadcrumbs and Pasta

    Mario Batalli maintains that you should only use good bread for breadcrumbs, and 'fresh bread to boot', not old 'hang around for a few days' bread. Of course to use fresh bread you need to make the crumb in the food processor. Too hard to do it by hand.
    I always freeze any excess and sometimes buy bread especially. Just put into little plastic bags enough for one pasta dish.

    By the way for breadcrumbing fish, schnitzel
    etc I always use Panko crumbs they are wonderful.

    So I have made two dishes using breadcrumbs.

    An old favourite
    Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce topped with Crispy Herby Breadcrumbs
    I just love the flavour and crispness of this dish... make plenty I promise you... its a go back for seconds and even thirds!

    And a wonderful Fish dish I watched Emeril make.
    This I think, is a good post for Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, Presto Pasta Night. click on her blog here,
    People from all over the world, sharing their favourite Pasta dishes

    First for the Spaghetti
    You can speed up the process, if you haven't much time and are are in a hurry, but it’s worth it.

    1 large onion sliced
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 yellow pepper large chop

    3 cloves garlic chopped
    3 anchovies chopped

    2 teaspoons Sambal Olek

    1 can Italian tomatoes
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 cup breadcrumbs
    2-3 tablespoons olive oil

    2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    Gently cook the onion in the olive oil
    When it has softened add garlic and yellow pepper
    Cook about 5 minutes
    Add Sambal Olek and anchovies and slowly cook about 30 minutes
    This becomes really flavourful

    Drain and squash the tomatoes…hands are good, reserve the juice.
    Add to vege mix… season with S & P and cook down another 10 minutes

    Meanwhile cook the spaghetti to manufacturers instructions till it is is al dente
    Reserve some water

    At the last moment put oil in pan and heat
    Add breadcrumbs, oregano and basil
    Toss around and cook for a few minutes till crumbs are crispy.
    Add drained spaghetti into sauce and add a ladleful of spaghetti water to loosen it up.

    Serve in bowls
    Top with the crispy breadcrumbs
    A by-product of the tomatoes
    Bloody Marys made with the juice
    Popped some ice into the reserved juice
    Mix with 2 jiggers of vodka
    Pinch sea salt
    Good shot of freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon horseradish or a good dash of Tabasco Sauce
    Good squeeze lemon juice and some zest
    Slug Worcestershire sauce

    Strain into glasses and consume pre lunch.
    Good aperitif.

    So now to Emeril Lagasse Southern Soul Food Fish Dish.

    I used snapper as one of our guests is not fond of a meaty fish but I think Hapuka/ Grouper, Bluenose would be first choice.
    The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and its so so easy for a crowd.

    150gms fish per person
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

    2 teaspoons Emeril’s Essence (recipe follows)

    * 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    * 2 tablespoons salt
    * 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    * 1 tablespoon black pepper
    * 1 tablespoon onion powder
    * 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    * 1 tablespoon dried thyme

    Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
    This will keep for ages in a air tight jar

    Lemon juice
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

    Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
    Mix 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with garlic and thyme

    Season fish filets with S &P and Emeril’s essence on both sides

    Dab fish with garlic mix and squeeze the lemon juice over the fish.
    Mix breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sprinkle over fish
    Heat grill/broiler to 250C

    Place fish underneath cook about 5 minutes turn pan around and cook further 5 minutes till breadcrumbs are brown.

    We had this delicious fish dish with green beans and mashed kumara.
    Perfect once again .

    The dinner was a bit much for one punter.
    A little nap was needed.