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    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Puff Pastry Made by My Own Hand- Lets Make Pissaladiere - French Pizza

    I have been making lots of pastry recently but never really the elusive Puff Pastry.
    Its not really hard just takes time
    You need to allow at least 4-5 hours to go through the process.
    This recipe yields 500 gms completed pastry
    Only 2162 calories for the lot.

    Rachel Allen was demonstrating how to make this beautiful Pastry and she made Pissaladiere.
    The renowned French Pizza.
    I have been caramelizing a bunch of onions. This will be dinner tonight.

    200 gms Strong Flour
    200 gms Good Unsalted Butter
    Cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice
    You will have to judge how much water the flour will absorb try about 100 mls first and add little by little till you get the dough right.

    Make a dough with the flour and water
    When it has formed a ball
    Wrap in plastic
    and sit aside in the fridge for 30 minutes
    Meanwhile take the butter out of the fridge,
    Lay on plastic and bash it into a rectangle
    Wrap up, back into fridge till ready to roll
    On a lightly floured work bench
    Ro;; your dough into a rectangle
    Place bashed out butter on top
    Brush any excess flour off the pastry
    Fold edge into middle
    Keeping g the edges neat

    Turn the pastry
    And roll out to a long rectangle again
    Brush off excess flour again and fold edges into center as before
    Neaten the edges and make a dent in it this show you are on your first round of rolling
    Wrap and back into fridge for 30 minutes
    So we now have it out of the fridge and start to roll again on a lightly floured bench
      Rememberalways roll away from you, turn to do other end
    Brush excess flour off
    and start to fold again
     Bring the back end into the centre

    and turn around and roll again.
     Once again when rolled brush excess flour and fold once more into 3
    Put 2 dents into it to let you know you have passed the 2nd roll out.
    Back into fridge another 30 minutes
    I decided to go for the 4 roll out option
    so after it had been through the 4th turn

    I let it rest and then rolled it out.

    Its is so silky quite unlike frozen pastry. I just loved working with it.
    Not so good for the Lo-Cal but
    if it is your main meal... a 90 gm disc = 389 KCals

    If you are frugal with your topping, its not a bad meal and bloody tasty at that.
    So I am going with the Pissaladiere the Southern French Pizza
    Very simple I do add a little sugar to help the caramelisation
    Caramelised Onions
    Peel and slice 2 large onions
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon sugar

    Just gently saute the onion in the olive oil
    Season with S & P and sugar
    This will take about 20 minutes
    Set aside

    Black Olives stone removed
    Red Roasted Pepper
    Thyme leaves
    Sprinkle of dried oregano
    1 egg beaten with a little water
    What can be simpler than that

    Roll out the pastry and cut into disc about 10cms
    Brush with egg wash. just to the edges don't go over, this could stop the layers from rising

    Top with caramelised onions
    Place anchovies, black olive and roasted red pepper
    Pre-heat oven to 200C

    Line a baking tray with baking paper
    Bake about 15 minutes, if not golden enough
    You can pop back in for a few more minutes.

    Let cool a little before serving

    They are a bit skew whiff
    But tasted amazing
    I have frozen some more discs, for future lunch/dinner
    So if you have some time try this pastry worth every fay calorie
    I also made 2 vol au vent just for practise
    Nice snack for Dale later today

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Spicy Vege Soup - Its Lunch Time Again

    When we moved house a couple of decades ago, I left a large full on kitchen to one, that is about a third of the size of the old one.
    So I got rid of all the mixers, blender etc and bought small versions of them.
    I also had the misguided thought, that I would need lots of bench space.
    Well not so. My small kitchen has catered for up to sixty people.
    Organization is the key word.
    Anyhow these mini appliances served me well, but now that I am at home, cooking, cooking, cooking, I decided to upgrade to a grown ups food processor, which does it all. I love it.
    Yesterday, when making lunch, first it was kneading the bread dough,
    Then slicing all of the vege for my soup.
    Then pop on the blender, done!

    This morning I made breadcrumbs with the leftover bread…then popped
    the little whisk attachment on and now meringues are in the oven.
    I don’t think I have ever made meringues before.
    I may have made the odd Pavlova, but not the little things.
    Thought I would make a treat for the little grand daughters,
    to take on their road trip to Rotorua.
    Little Pink Clouds
    Sandwiched them together  with some Ganache
    They should keep their sugar levels up

    Onto the soup
    My friend Rex sent me his favourite Chili Bean soup.
    I didn’t have all of the ingredients.
    But I was curious about the addition of cabbage to his soup.
    I had 1/4 Cabbage left in the fridge so I decided to try this version.
    This is a keeper.
    Funnily enough the Cabbage along with the Carrots, add sweetness to the soup.
    I did add a little bit of sugar just to boost the flavour.
    I also used the spices from my Spicy Bean Soup you will find here.
    This is very Lo Cal
    3 normal ladlefuls only 106 Kcals
    Leaves room for bread and a little butter

    Olive oil 3 tablespoons
    1 med onion, sliced
    2 med carrots, sliced
    1 med parsnip peeled and sliced
    1 kumara peeled and sliced
    1/4 cabbage chopped
    2 cloves garlic sliced
    1 can Cannellini beans
    1 teaspoon Cumin
    1 teaspoon Coriander
    1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
    1 tablespoon Oregano
    1 teaspoon Celery salt
    1 tablespoon Vegeta
    1500 mls hot water
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    The whole soup yields
    Cals 819
    Weight 2707 gms

    Sauté onion till soft
    Add spices, oregano, celery salt, Vegeta and sugar and cook few minutes
    Add carrots, parsnip and kumara

    Stir and cook gently to get the sweetness out of the vege

    About 8 minutes
    Add cabbage
    Stir well
    Add hot water
    Bring to boil
    Simmer about 15 minutes

    Add beans
    Simmer just a few minutes
    Add red wine vinegar
    Taste and adjust seasoning with Salt and pepper
    Leave about an hour
    Take out half of the vege
    Blend and return to pot

    Serve with some nice bread.
    Here's the here
    This is from my Calorie Counting Blog.
    Now, a quick word about the bread.
    If you would like the bread with a nice crust.
    Just flour the tin
    And sprinkle the top of the dough with flour
    before baking.
    When it cooked take out of tin and back into the oven for another 5 minutes.
    This develops a really nice crust

    For a softer crust, oil does a good job.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Chicken Deep Dish Style - Looking for Sunday Lunch for The Family?

    Thursday at Grandmas
    Its busy
    "Planking" by Cleo 
    Computers and colouring in by the others

    Once upon a time when we were first married, we were invited to dinner.
    Diane the hostess made this chicken dish. We loved it.
    Of course I asked for the recipe and Diane introduced me to the Triple Tested Recipe Book compiled and published by the Lower Hutt Plunket, as a fund raiser.

    Over the years I have made several of the recipes. Funnily enough I reckon I have cooked more out of this book than most of the hundreds of other books I own.
    I loved the names.
    This one 
    Chicken - Deep Dish Style 
    then we have
    Veal Roast That Can Wait
    Down Easy Pudding and so on.
    Many a dinner party in Wellington, was created from this book.

    So back to the recipe it tastes like Old Fashioned Roast Chicken
    All those herbs in with the bread, just delicious
    If there is any left over it is even better the second day
    Thought it would be excellent to serve the Grandkids
    They loved it.

    So back to the recipe.
    There are 3 stages
    First cook the chicken
    Make the bread mixture
    Make the White sauce

    1med size chicken
    1 carrot rough chop
    1 parsnip rough chop
    1 onion cut into quarters
    2 cloves of garlic sliced
    Thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley
    Salt and pepper
    2 bay leaves
    Water enough to cover the chicken

    Put everything in a large pot
    Bring to boil and simmer for about an hour
    Cool in the water
    Remove chicken
    Take meat off the bones and put to one side
    Reserve the stock

    1/2 a baguette about 300 gms
    Cut into 1 cm cubes
    1tablespoon chicken stock powder
    1 small onion finely minced
    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    Salt and pepper
    2 beaten eggs
    1/2 cup hot milk

    Toast the bread in the oven till golden
    Place in a big bowl
    Along with stock powder, herbs vege, salt, pepper
    Eggs and milk
    Mix well till the bread has absorbed everything

    White sauce
    6 tablespoons butter
    6 tablespoons flour
    4 cups hot reserved stock
    Salt and pepper
    2 eggs beaten

    To make the white sauce
    Melt the butter in a pot
    Add flour and stir well
    Cook about 4 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste
    Add stock
    Whisk and bring to boil
    Simmer stirring till thickened
    Taste and adjust seasoning
    Add beaten eggs and mix well

    Now to assemble
    Grease a gratin dish
    Layer 1/2 of bread mix
    Add 1/2 chicken meat

    Cover with half of the sauce
    Repeat with the remainder chicken, bread and finishing with the sauce

    Pre-heat oven to 180C
    Bake for 1/2 hour
    Till golden and bubbling

    Remove, let sit for at least 20 minutes
    Cut into slices just like Lasagne

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Spicy Bean Soup- Serve with Garlic Bread- What a Lunch

    My daughter Katie and her friend Justine... here they are flanking our friend Mr Heinz

    both make this lovely healthy Bean Soup.
    Heaps of Protein from the beans, lots of vege and some cayenne to get your blood buzzing!
    I ruined the health bit, by serving it with Garlic Bread, which was oozing with lovely Herby Garlicky butter.

    Juice TV staff were very pleased with this.

    The recipe below would feed 4 people as lunch.
    6 people as a Starter, of course, I trebled the recipe for the staff lunch

    You can use any stock you like
    Vegetable for the Vegies in your life or Beef, Chicken.
    I made stock from a Bacon hock, really means winter to me.

    1 cup /can black beans drained
    1 cup or can of kidney beans drained
    2 bay leaves

    30 mls olive oil
    3 carrots chopped
    2 celery sticks
    1 onion chopped
    1 -2 cloves garlic crushed
    Sea salt
    1 teaspoon cumin, ground
    1 teaspoon coriander, ground
    1/4 -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    50 ml red wine
    5 cups Beef/Chicken or Bacon stock
    1 cup of water
    Salt and pepper.

    Garnish with fresh coriander and sour cream (optional)

    Heat oil
    Aadd carrots onion celery and garlic and
    Cook over low heat for 8-10mins

    Stir in cumin, coriander, cayenne and oregano
    Salt to taste

    Add the wine stock and water
    Stir to mix all the ingredients together
    Add bay leaves
    Bring to the boil
    Reduce heat, then cover and simmer for about 20mins - stirring occasionally.

    Transfer half the soup [including the solids] to a food processor or blender.
    Process till smooth.
    Return to the pan and stir to combine well.

    Reduce the soup a bit and adjust the seasoning if needed.

    Serve with the garnish

    Filo Fish Parcels-Blue Cod - King of the Sea

    I was watching an old Taste of NZ programme on Food TV and Peta Mathias went Bluff Oysters and Blue Cod tasting. Both, some of the world's best seafood.
    At a restaurant in Bluff, (sorry cant remember it's name) the Chef, (can't remember his name either) demonstrated his 2 most favourite ways to cook Blue Cod. This beautiful fish is so sweet and flaky and just superb.
    We had our friend Stu from Oz, here for the night. Blue Cod is not always available but my friendly Fishmonger was able to oblige.
    Don't want to alienate our Australian friends, but our cold water fish is far superior.
    Good chance to give him a treat, with this delight.
    Like the Chef, I cooked it two ways
    Simply pan fried in butter and olive oil, with a squeeze of lemon juice
    AND this fabulous little Filo Parcel
    Actually even though this fish is marinated in flavoured cream, it is not too bad for the Calorie Count.
    The Chef had olives in his marinade. I replaced that with lemon zest.
    Thought the olives might just overpower the delicate fish

    For 3 people
    2 sheets Filo pastry per parcel
    Melted Butter
    60 gms of fish per person

    150 mls cream
    Leaves of about 3 sprigs thyme
    1 tablespoon chopped coriander
    Zest of a lemon
    Sea salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

    Marinate the fish for about an hour

    Drain on a rack
    Meanwhile take a sheet of Filo
    (Don't forget to keep a damp tea towel covering your Filo to stop it from drying out)
    Brush with melted butter
    Lay another sheet on top
    Place a piece of fish at one end
    Roll up into a parcel and brush all over with melted butter
    Place finished parcels on a baking sheet
    Bake in an pre-heated oven 195C for about 15 minutes
    1 parcel each with a small filet of Pan Fried Blue Cod
    Just serve with some Sea Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper and  wedge of Lemon

    The beautiful pan fried Cod on the bottom.
    Now I decided, as I am cooking seasonal food at the moment, to make a
    Cabbage and Potato bake
    Not only is seasonal food more tasty but currently any out of season foods are enormously and crazily expensive.
    A lot of this produce comes from Queensland and because of their damaging floods this year, their crop production is way down.
    So all the more reason to go with the flow.
    Cabbage, blanched, is such a beautiful colour , unfortunately by the time the bake is cooked, it doesn't look so good, but the taste is terrific.
    I also cook the potatoes for a few minutes to get them started
    You can prepare this dish, par cook it and finish off 30 minutes before you need to eat.

    For 3 people I used
    Melted butter to grease the dish and to brush the potatoes for that extra flavour
    4 med potatoes sliced thinly
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 med onions sliced
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cabbage broken into leaves
    1 tsp Massel Stock powder, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
    50 gms fresh breadcrumbs
    40 gms grated cheddar cheese

    Blanch the cabbage in boiling salted water
    About 1 minute
    Remove and drain
    Remove the stalks, they are just a little tough
    Add potatoes and cook for about 4 minutes
    Saute the onions in a pan with Olive oil till soft
    Set aside

    Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together

    Now to assemble
    Grease the casserole dish
    Put a layer of potatoes
    Brush with melted butter
    Half of the onions
    Season with S & P
    Layer of Cabbage
    Another layer of potatoes and onions
    Brush with melted butter
    Brush with Butter
    Pour over the hot water with chicken stock
    Cover and bake in 180C for about 30 minutes
    You can put this aside now and leave till you need it
    Cover with Breadcrumb and Cheese mix
    Back into oven for another 25 minutes
    Test with a knife point
    Make sure it goes right through easily and it is piping hot
    Leave for about 5-10 minutes then

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Cold Cut Pie

    Apparently at Easter American Italian families make. Cold Cut Pie.
    I was watching Cake Boss on Food TV. Buddy the star of the show and the owner of Carlos Bakery, is a loud Hobroken, American Italian. The cakes that come out of that shop are amazing.
    It’s a great show. Actually this is the only savoury dish that they make there.

    Courtesy of a Blog called Deedee Delights, I got this information about this dish… it seems that during Lent & the 40 days of fasting, this cold cut pie was made by the Italian women on Good Friday, as an abundance of meat & richness that was abstained during Lent. It was prepared, cooked, and chilled on Good Friday, but could not be cut & eaten before noon on Easter Saturday. Although some people serve it on Easter Sunday. Many Easter dishes were made in advance so the local Priest could come and Bless the prepared foods for the Feast of Easter.
    If you go to deedee’s blog click here you will see the real recipe

    At first I thought it looked reminiscent of New Zealand’s Bacon and Egg pie. On second glance after Googling it, I found it has far more complex ingredients than the humble but delicious Bacon and Egg Pie. Also its more like a quiche.

    And it is not pastry but dough.
    This is my version, my Husband is not keen on Deli meats, so I bought Sopresso which, with it’s chili content, was a compromise and worked well, just enough flavour

    So I had some ricotta and spinach mixture in the fridge, I bought some Italian Sopresso, Mozzarella and Parmesan, you could add any other appropriate cold cuts.
    This was a great success

    It is best eaten at room temperature
    Don't cut until it cools.
    The custard needs to set.
    Its hard to give quantities, seriously you can add whatever

    For a 23 cm pie
    I used a packet of Sopresso chopped
    1/2 cup ricotta, mixed with spinach, lemon zest, garlic
    Cubes of mozzarella
    Grated Parmesan
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Go easy on the salt as most of the ingredients are salty.

    I used my Basic White Bread Dough
    2 cups white flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 packet yeast (8gms)
    230 mls hand hot water

    Put yeast and sugar in 200 mls of hand hot water
    Leave about 5 minutes to activate the yeast
    put the other ingredients into the food processor
    Whiz for a second or two
    Add yeast mix
    Let it whiz, not too fast..
    If it is not forming into a ball slowly add a little more water, until it does
    the dough should have left the sides of the processor
    Knead about 2-3 minutes on the bench

    Form a nice smooth ball 
    Turn the ball over so it has a nice smooth skin
    and place into a greased bowl
    Toss it around to make sure it is oiled
    Leave to rise about 1 hour

    Punch down and do the same knead again

    Proportion the bread into 2/3 for the base and 1/3 for the lid
    and leave for a second rise
    Around 30-40 minutes

    On a floured bench roll out the larger piece and line
    a baking tin.
    I used a quiche tin with a removable base
    Fill with your wet mixture
    Roll out the lid and cover mixture
    Crimp edges together
    And bake at 190C
    Turn it around after 20 minutes
    Bake for another 15 minutes
    Carefully take it out of the tin and put on a cooling rack
    If the bottom is looking a little white and soft
    Pop it back in the oven for another 5 or so minutes

    Cool on a rack,
    Cut a big fat slice and Enjoy

    There was leftovers
    Lunch today. Yes