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    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    How to Peel an Onion Without Tears - Canapes for Christmas Parties

    This is age old question and like everyone I have been contemplating this conundrum
    As I was cutting onions the other day it occurred to me that I haven’t cried in ages.
    Over the last year or so I have adopted this way of cutting onions.
    The reason;
    By peeling the skin back and leaving it there you have something to hold onto.
    Onions are a bit of a pain and can sometimes be slippery
    This method was designed in fact to make slicing and chopping the onions without cutting your fingers.

    Cut the onion in half lengthwise
    Chop off the top and peel back the skin leaving the core intact and some skin remaining.
    This gives you something to hold onto.
    So go ahead and slice or chop…no more tears
    Now also it seems that keeping the core intact is the reason that the juices don’t flow the same way and spray into your eyes.. Don’t ask me why but it works for me. Hope it works for you.
    So the reason for this peeled onion was to make a pepper and onion dish to have with fish.

    So simple, not a recipe actually just cooking some vege…but my word it looks divine.
    The colours of these peppers…so summery.
    Just slice 2 onions and sauté in olive oil till soft don’t brown
    Add 2 cloves garlic finely chopped and then
    1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow and 1 green freshly ground black pepper, sliced
    Add to onions
    Sauté till soft

    To add to these vege, blanch some green beans, toss in garlic butter or olive oil - what a lovely accompaniment for a Summer dinner.
    While we are on the hints I have to say Thank you Delia.

    I have a potato ricer which I use for making smooth mashed potatoes but when I was watching Delia
    (For those from the United States she is Britain’s Food Martha Stewart)
    She said don’t go to all that trouble, just use your electric hand beater.
    Start slow add warm milk and cold butter
    Look at that it’s fab.
    Much easier than the ricer I have to say and easier to wash as well.

    Now the mashed potato was for a topping for these lovely little canapés.

    Once again calling on Terry Thompson-Anderson...I made the lovely little bread patty cases. These are wonderful
    They are crispy and you can fill them with anything
    I made mini cottage pies

    You just buy some soft white sliced toast bread.
    Now my hint to get the nicest cases,
    Remove crusts and roll out with a rolling pin as thin as you can. I quarter turn after each roll.

    Cut out shapes
    Butter mini muffin tins
    Gently push in the rounds
    Bake in 200C for about 8 minutes.

    These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days or you can freeze them.

    I made a simple Grandma (My Mother) type mince mixture.
    Thickened with a flour and water slurry.
    Extra flavour from Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce
    Great for Mince on Toast

    Olive oil
    500 gms mince
    1 onion finely chopped

    Beef stock

    Worcestershire Sauce

    Heat olive oil in the pan
    Brown and break up the mince
    Season with salt and pepper
    Remove and set aside
    Add a little more oil and sauté onion till soft
    Return mince to pan
    Add beef stock just enough to cover
    And simmer till tender
    When it is cooked check that there is not too much stock - if so remove some
    We want a meaty thick mixture to fill the little cases
    Make a slurry of the flour and water
    And add to mince stirring till thickened
    Simmer about 10 minutes to cook out the flour taste.
    Add a good slug each of Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce
    Taste and check seasoning
    Adjust if necessary.

    Fill shells
    Top with mashed potato
    This photo taken halfway through the piping the topping - to show the mince.
    This can be done a few hours before.
    A quick grate of Parmesan over the top before they go in the oven is a nice touch.

    Place in 200C oven about 10 minutes to reheat.

    Canapes With Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts

    This is another delight from Signora Hazan.
    I have made them twice now… the original recipe was for good quality sliced white bread.
    This is great but equally as good on French bread slices.
    You could use a food processor but better to be done by hand
    4 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature
    5 ounces creamy blue cheese (Gorgonzola or in my case Castello Blue)

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley

    1 tablespoon chopped pine nuts

    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon whole pine nuts

    8 slices of good quality white bread crusts off

    Turn oven onto 200C
    Put butter, blue cheese, herbs and chopped pine nuts into a bowl
    Mash them up with a wooden spoon until smooth
    Season with freshly ground black pepper and
    Add whole pine nuts

    Spread the mixture on the bread leaving a rim on the outside
    Onto a baking sheet and bake in hot oven until bread becomes golden brown around the edges

    Cut bread into triangles and allow to cool for a moment before serving.

    Good fodder for drinkers.

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