Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.
Place the chicken on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the flesh with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens. Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Mea culpa. I'm offering an apology to anyone who may subscribe to this feed, and felt they were revisiting some old posts today. I was shifting things around a bit and relabelling some items and I have discovered that any editing (even adding a label) means a re-distribution of an old post. Won't make that mistake again in a hurry.
And now to the lamb. As a good Aussie girl, I love roast lamb in any form, and I have been trying to put together some lamb recipes for this blog. Unfortunately, my incompetence with the camera left me with a couple of recipes that resulted in such horrible shots that I binned them. Time to search for a pretty lamb recipe, and where better to find a pretty recipe than a Vogue cookbook, called "Wickedly Winter". Unfortunately I can't find a link to this book - it was published in 2000 and sometimes shows up on Ebay, so maybe try that if you are interested. Anyway, this roast combination creates a lovely vision on the plate - just carve the chops 2 by 2, pink if you like it that way, and lie beside the very pretty vegetable braise, which I am still enjoying as leftovers. Easy and delicious and pretty, and after all, if it doesn't look good no one will want to eat it.
Rack of Lamb With Roasted Nicoise Vegetables
adapted from "Wickedly Winter: A Vogue Entertaining Cookbook"
1 tbl olive oil
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped roughly
500g zucchini chopped
750g potatoes, chopped to rough 3cm cubes
3 tomatoes peeled and chopped roughly
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbl finely chopped fresh parsely
1 rack of lamb with 8-10 cutlets (fed 2 adults and 2 kids - get another rack if you are serving more people)
Heat olive oil in a large pot (or a very large frying pan), and saute the the onion, zucchini and potato for 5 mins over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and herbs, season and cook for a further five minutes. Tip the vegtables into a roasting tin.
Preheat oven to 220C. Place the lamb racks on top of the vegetables. If you want to keep the racks looking pretty, wrap each bone in some foil to stop them from charring. Roast the racks for 10mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C and roast for 20-30 mins or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and rest the meat, loosely covered with foil for 5-10 mins. Seve with the vegetables.
Friday, August 22, 2008
1 600g blue-eye trevalla fillet, skin removed and pin-boned
grated zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
10 thin slices flat pancetta
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C. Season the fish with zest and pepper. Place fish on an oven tray, and wrap slices of pancetta around the fish, overlapping each one and tucking the edges underneath. Drizzle with good extra-virgin olive oil. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. (NB The original recipe calls for panfrying the pancetta wrapped fillet before baking, but I didn't, and my pancetta was still crisp and my fish was cooked, so my advice would be don't bother).
Thursday, August 21, 2008
For prep: 1/2 cup good olive oil Cornmeal
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
We're as deeply into the Olympics here as anyone, with the swimming a particular highlight. Back in 2000, dearest husband and I were very spoiled and got to the final day of swimming at the Sydney Olympics, when Grant Hackett won his first 1500m gold. Ever since, I love watching these hard men of the pool as they churn through the swimming equivalent of a marathon. So there was no question that we would be glued to the box to see if he could take out his third consecutive gold. And seeing the amazing Michael Phelps crowned with his final gold was another highlight - if only he were swimming for Australia! Too bad Hackett just missed out (although silver is great too), but it was a fantastic race. If only it went for 1550m I think Hackett might have won...
A friend dropped in to help us cheer, and I decided that cake was required. Mid-winter means lots of lovely crunchy Granny Smith apples, and as the Granny Smith apple is Australian, it felt a good way to support the Hackett campaign (OK I'm stretching; I just like the cake). So here is an easy peasy apple cake adapted from "Modern Classics 2" by Donna Hay.
Apple and Cinnamon Tea Cake
adapted from "Modern Classics 2" by Donna Hay
185g butter, softened
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and halved
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Line the base of a 22cm (8 inch) springform tin with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 160C. Beat butter, sugar and cinnamon until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture, and add the milk. Stir to combine.
Spoon mixture into tin. Cut a row of deep slits into each apple, and arrange the apples on top of the cake. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Serve warm with cream.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Usually I try to plan on Sunday night what I will cook for the week ahead, firstly, so that I don't find myself in a panic, and secondly, so that I don't have a daily trip to the supermarket. But some weeks the wheels fall off. This week I have had two kids sick (on three separate days), a funeral to attend and a sick friend to help. Organisation has gone out the window. So this week's meals have had to be from the school of minimal effort for maximum taste.
Take a bow Donna Hay. Donna is the queen of this sort of cooking. She has published at least six cookbooks, first in Australia and then overseas as well as her own magazine. All of her work seems to revolve around good tasting meals that are usually fast and not too difficult. Her magazines are beautifully styled and photographed as well. I tend to turn to her when I feel swamped by chaos - thank you Donna. This recipe is from the Aug/Sep 2008 Donna Hay Magazine. The ginger and chilli flavour the chicken but it is not overly spicy at all. And by the way, the dipping sauce is quite sour - up the amount of brown sugar if that is more to your taste.
Ginger and Chilli Chicken Skewers
adapted from Donna Hay
4 Chicken thigh fillets, halved
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 long red chilli, seeded and chopped finely
30g ginger, chopped into matchsticks
2 tbl Shaoxing wine (replace with sherry if you need to)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup coriander leaves
Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped mint.
To make the dipping sauce, whisk ingredients together. Set aside.
Combine the chicken, oyster sauce, chilli, ginger, shaoxing, garlic and coriander, and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Chargrill or BBQ for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with the dipping sauce and some steamed rice.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Last Saturday, I had a Mother Daughter weekend away in the country with darling oldest daughter, and thought a batch of biscuits would be good for Dad and darling youngest daughter at home as well as the other Mums and Daughters at our weekend away. Flipping through my new Dorie cookbook(Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan), I came across Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, which looked like the right biscuit for this particular weekend. I was right. By Monday they had been demolished.
Yum, yum, yum and yum! I played around with the recipe a little. My youngest daughter, who adores chocolate couldn't believe her luck when I told her I had made biscuits containing two of her favourite things in the world - milo and maltesers. She adores both, and dessert for her is often a glass of milk with milo. Maltesers are a less common treat - but one she really loves. Translation for any readers overseas: Biscuits = cookies; Milo = chocolate ovaltine but better; maltesers = honeycomb balls in milk chocolate.
Chocolate Milo Malteser Drops
(adapted from Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops from "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup milo
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
170g unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups maltesers, coarsely chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Line baking sheets with baking paper. Sift the flour, milo, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. Beat butter and sugar together until light and floffy (about three mins). Add eggs one at a time beating well (1 min) after adding each one. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add half the dry ingredients, then add the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Do not overbeat! Mix in maltesers and choc chips by hand.
Place tablespoons of the dough on baking sheets, a couple of inches apart. Bake for 11-13 mins, rotating your baking sheets half way through. When done, the biscuits will feel soft and puffy (don't worry, they firm up as they cool). Allow to cool on the trays for 2 mins before moving to a rack for them to cool.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
For the vinaigrette:
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
You can tell by recent posts that I have been doing a lot of entertaining lately. I love the whole process of cooking for others: hunting high and low for new recipes; creating a menu that works; the shopping and the preparing. Last week, I was helping with a cocktail party, when we received a sudden influx of late RSVPs, and I started to panic that we wouldn't have enough food. There is no doubt that this is my one great fear of entertaining, so I decided to whip up some cocktail chicken sandwiches to supplement the other offerings.
I have been making this sandwich recipe for more than 20 years, and people always comment on how good they are. I think it is the unexpected crunch of the celery and the sweetness of the sultanas. My best tip for good sandwiches is to keep the sandwiches covered with a damp teatowel while you are assembling the platters so they don't dry out. There is also no need to butter bread.
1kg chicken breast fillets
1/4 bunch celery, chopped thinly
1 bunch green onions, white chopped thinly, greens discarded
150g slivered almonds, toasted
sandwich bread (white always feels indulgent and naughty - perfect for a party)
Spread chicken out in a baking tin, and pour over the buttermilk. Cover with foil and bake at 180C until chicken is cooked through, 30-40 mins. Allow chicken to cool in the tin, then chop it into 2cm cubes. (If you are that way inclined, save the chicken juice/buttermilk in the tin, and freeze it for later use in a soup.)
Put all ingredients in a bowl, and stir in mayonnaise, pepper and salt to taste. Be quite generous with the mayonnaise so the filling is lovely and moist. If you can, leave this mixture in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.
Fill the sandwiches generously, then slice off the crusts and slice each sandwich into thirds to make ribbon sandwiches. An electric knife is great for this as it will cut through the sandwiches without dragging on the bread or the filling.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
- 125-250g thickly sliced good quality bacon
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 large eggs
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Smoked Salmon Spread adapted from "Barfeoot Contessa Family Style" by Ina Garten
250g cream cheese, at room temperature 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish -- drained 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 250g smoked salmon, minced (the original recipe only called for 125g but I love a stronger balance of salmon than cream cheese).
Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.
Friday, August 1, 2008
So how do you make a great roast chicken? The simplest version that I make is no more tricky than:
- Rinse medium-sized chicken under the tap, and dry with paper towel
- Pop it into a baking tin
- Give it a good sprinkle of pepper and salt
- Shove it into the oven for 1 hour at 200C (drop to 190C if you think the skin is getting too brown). Check it is cooked by piercing the thigh and looking for clear juices.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes (or if you live in my house, serve straight away because everyone is too starving to wait a moment longer for dinner)
- Serve with whatever takes your fancy: vegetables, salad, potatoes rice
- NB no added oil, butter or anything else, and the chicken comes out with delicious skin and moist flesh.
But some days, I want to do something a little fancier, and this recipe delivers a great roast chicken and lovely vegetables as well. I found it when I was looking for the Sizzling Beef recipe in "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong. The chicken is beautifully moist and tender, and the vegetables are delicious.
Kylie's "Radical" Roast Chicken
adapted from "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong
1 x 1.5kg chicken (free range if available)
1/2 bunch tarragon
4 sprigs rosemary roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter (I used only about 25g)
1 whole garlic bulb
10 fresh bay leaves
1 tbl sea salt
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
6 medium sized kipfler potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
5 small golden (aka french) shallots, unpeeled but cut in half
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch cracked white pepper
Preheat oven to 220C. Rinse chicken under cold water. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast side up. Place tarragon, and half of the rosemary inside the cavity. Using your hands carefully separate the skin from the meat over the breast and thighs (this is easier than it sounds - just slide your hands in between). Spread butter under the skin ( or lay very thin slices of butter).
Lightly crush garlic cloves and scatter over chicken with bay leaves, salt and remaining rosemary. Place carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and shallots around the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
Cover roasting tin with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 180C. Take off foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through and vegetables are tender. To test the chicken, insert a skewer into the thigh and press against the meat. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear. The chicken should be lightly browned. Remove chicken from oven, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. (If you would like to brown up your vegetables a bit more, remove the chicken from the tin for resting and return the vegetables to either a hot oven or put them under the grill briefly.)
Remove the chicken from the tin and serve with the roast vegetables.