Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moroccan Eggs


I love making these delicious eggs for breakfast or lunch on cold winter days, however they are equally good for an easy dinner. After a busy day yesterday, I found myself out of time to get my grocery shopping done, this is what I made for our dinner.

The cupboard is never really bare.

With a glass of wine and perhaps too much yummy sourdough bread, it was the perfect way to end a crazy day.

Moroccan Eggs 

serves 4

• 600 grams tomatoes (diced) - you can used tinned tomatoes
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion (diced)
• 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (roughly ground)

• a pinch of saffron threads
• a pinch cayenne pepper

• salt and pepper
• 4 eggs
• 3 tablespoons parsley or coriander (roughly chopped)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onion and garlic with the cumin seeds. When the onion is soft, add the tomatoes, saffron and cayenne pepper. Season to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Make 4 indents in the tomato mixture and crack each of the eggs into the indent. With a fork thin the eggs whites over the surface of the tomato. Cover and until the egg yolks are cooked to your liking. Serve immediately with the parsley sprinkled over the top and lots of thick toast on the side.

Last night was the first time that I had made this dish with tinned tomatoes, it hardly seemed to make a difference.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Winter Greens

If you have been reading my blog from the start you would know that it was only last year (aged 38) that I discovered the delights of brussels sprouts and kale.

During early autumn, these wonderful winter vegetables started appearing in local shops and markets, I excitedly snatched them up, like a child in lolly shop. I have been trying a few new recipes and these are some of the ones I like best.

My husband and I are still shaking our heads, we just can't believe how much we love brussles sprouts. Can't believe it!

This is such a healthy dish and so moreish. I could easily eat just a big bowl of this and nothing else.

Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Almonds 

serves 4

• 18 brussels sprouts (trimmed, cored and finely sliced)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• salt and pepper
• 2 tablespoons parsley (roughly chopped)
• 150 grams almonds - natural (roasted and slightly crushed)

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and stir-fry for about 30 seconds before adding the butter. Continue to cook for another minute before removing from the heat. Season to taste and toss through the parsley and almonds. Serve immediatley.

This recipe is from "Riverstone Kitchen"

This recipe is more of an indulgence. All that cream! Cook only occasionally, to be nice to your health, but there was no way that I was not including it here. Really, you never can go wrong with anything made of bacon, cream and cheese. Yummy!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cream and Almonds

serves 4-6

• 700 grams brussels sprouts (trimmed)
• 100 grams smoked bacon (cut into strips)
• 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
• 1/2 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 300 ml double cream
• salt and pepper
• a squeeze of lemon
• 4 tablespoons homemade breadcrumbs
• 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and simmer the brussels sprouts for about 4 minutes, until almost cooked. Drain and cut the sprouts in half. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon and almonds, saute until lightly browned. Add the sprouts and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream and bring to the boil, let it bubble away for 2-4 minutes until it has reduced to a thick sauce. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. 

Transfer to a ovenproof serving dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and cheese and sprinkle over the top of the sprouts. Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately

This recipe is from "Sophie Grigson Country Kitchen"

It is any wonder that I have seen these kale chips on so many blogs, or that Gwyneth also raves about them in her book. Make these today. Make them for an afternoon treat when the kids get home from school. Make then to serve with dinner. Make them and you'll probably stand at the kitchen counter and eat most of them before anyone else gets look in.

And did I mention that they are very good for you. 

Kale Chips

• 1 big bunch of kale (stems removed and torn into 4 cm pieces)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Toss the kale with the oil and spread out over two baking trays. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy.

This recipe is from "Notes from my Kitchen Table"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Crepes


I am still trying to slip vegetarian meals into our weekly menu's. Italian food and anything with cheese is usually a winner. I made these delicious cannelloni crepes last night, an instant hit and something I think we will be eating quiet a bit of. It seems like a lot of steps and fussing about but it's not at all, it was really easy and the recipe was foolproof.

The recipe is from "A little bit of this, A little bit of that" The beautiful cookbook by Isabella and Sofia Bliss with Sylvana Spina and Nonna Spina.

There is a meat variation in the book, Chicken and Leek Cannelloni Crepes, I might try that one soon.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Crepes

cannelloni di ricotta e spinaci

serves 4-6

for the tomato sauce

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
• 1 x 400 gram tinned diced tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• salt and pepper
• 6 basil leaves (torn)

for the filling

• 60 grams baby spinach leaves (blanched and finely chopped)
• 250 grams ricotta cheese (mashed)
• 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
• 1/2 teaspoon  nutmeg
• 1 egg
• salt and pepper 

for the crepes

• 150 grams plain flour
• 500 ml milk
• 3 eggs
• pinch of salt

• butter or oil (for frying)
• 125 ml cream (for baking)
• 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (to serve)

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Lightly grease a lasagne dish with oil.

To make the tomato sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the garlic, tomatoes and sugar. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Allow to simmer while you prepare the filling and cook the crepes. Check and stir the sauce regularly, adding a little bit of water if needed. Stir the torn basil into the sauce when it has finished cooking.

To make the filling: Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.

To make the crepes: Sift the flour into a bowl. In a jug, mix the milk, eggs and salt. Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour. Whisk continuously to make a smooth runny batter. Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add about 2 tablespoons of the mixture to the centre of the pan, swirl the pan so the batter covers the base to make a large crepe (17-20 cm in diameter) Cook until the bottom of the crepe is golden brown, flip the crepe and cook for a further minute. Set aside and make the remaining crepes (you should get about 10-12 crepes)

To prepare the cannelloni: Place a crepe onto a plate or cutting board and place about 1 tablespoon of mixture down the centre of the crepe. Roll up the crepe and put it into the lasagne dish, edge side down. Repeat with all of the crepes. Spoon the tomato sauce over the cannelloni, just to cover, then drizzle the cream over the sauce. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the cannelloni with the grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unintentionally - more stock and a veal stew

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and The River Cottage philosophy and I've enjoyed watching the "Season's Series"of The River Cottage on the ABC recently. When watching a "Summer's Here" episode, where Hugh made a veal casserole, I instantly wanted to cook his recipe as soon as possible.

I had to ask for the veal shoulder at the butcher, and thought that I would buy two kilograms to try a French 'blanquette de veau' as well. The butcher told me that the veal was cut into chops, was that OK? I said it would be fine and he disappeared out the back. When I got home and went to cut up my meat for the recipe, I found that one kilogram of the veal was bone, they weren't exactly what I would call chops either. My 'blanquette de veau' would need to wait for another time. At least I had enough meat to make Hugh's stew and now enough bones to make my first veal stock.

Hugh's Veal Stew

serves 6

for the beginning

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
• 1 x 440 gram tinned tomatoes or  600g fresh tomatoes (roughly chopped)

• 1 bay leaf
• a good pinch caster sugar
• salt and pepper

for the stew

• 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 kilogram veal shoulder (chopped into 3cm pieces)
• a generous dash of brandy    

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 75 ml double cream

• 100-200 ml chicken or veal stock 

for the extra flavour

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
• 2-3 anchovies (drained and roughly chopped)
• 2 tablespoons double cream

for the end

• lemon juice

to serve

• mashed potatoes
• steamed green beans
• lots of crusty bread

First, heat the oil in a small saucepan and gently saute the garlic, don't let it colour. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and sugar. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the tomatoes are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy based casserole and brown the veal in 2 - 3 batches, it’s important not to crowd the pan. Add more oil if you need it. After browning each batch, set the veal aside. After the last batch, keep the pan on the heat and deglaze with the brandy. Return the veal to the casserole and pour over the tomatoes. (Hugh sieved his tomatoes, I didn't - if I had used fresh tomatoes, I may have sieved them to remove the seeds) Add the tomato paste and cream to the pan. Add enough stock to almost cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook gently for 1 1/2 hours. (Hugh cooked his veal for for 45 minutes to an hour - I'm not sure we were dealing with the same quality of veal)

Once the veal is simmering slowly, heat the last tablespoon of oil in a small frying and gently saute the garlic for half a minute. Add the anchovies and the double cream and cook gently, stirring, until the anchovies have almost dissolved. Add this to the stew while it cooks. 

When the veal is tender, taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve piping hot.

We served this with mashed potatoes and greens beans and with Hugh's suggestion of lots of crusty bread. Yum! There is a lot of liquid in this stew. Naturally my kids screwed up their noses when I put it on the table - "not soup again!"

This veal stock recipe is based on the recipe in this "Meat" cookbook. As you will see, it is very similar to the stock base that I have been using. Adrian also adds a pigs trotter to his stock. I did not have this at hand (who does?) but I will try that next time.  

Veal Stock
makes approximately 3-4 litres

• 2 kilograms chopped veal bones (roasted for 20 minutes, turning once)

• 1 pigs trotter (split in half lengthwise)
• 2 onions (roughly chopped)
• 2 small carrots (roughly chopped)
• 2 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
• 5 stalks of flat-leaf parsley
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 4 garlic cloves

Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Skim any scum from the surface while simmering. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool. Refrigerate and allow time for the fat to set, then skim the fat off of the top. This can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making homemade stock


I have always made homemade soup and chicken stock.

I practically lived on homemade chicken soup when I first left home at 17. I was living alone and in a new town; to me it was comfort food, nutritious and inexpensive. I would make a big pot of my Nana's chicken soup for the week, spending money on food over the weekend, when I had some else to cook for. This is how I was able to set up my home, savings on groceries meant I was able to buy something nice for my house.

I use chicken stock as a base for most of my soup recipes, even recipes that ask for vegetable stock. I love the rich flavour that it brings to even a simple vegetable soup. While I have always made stock, I have always had a container of Maggi chicken stock in the pantry as well, just like my Nana always did. Perfect for adding some extra flavour to a casserole or making a quick soup or gravy.

However, I am trying to make a shift to using only home made stock, so I have invested in a few extra containers and have frozen my stock in 1 cup, 2 cup, 1 litre and 2 litre quantities. Ready for any use.

I love making stock (any slow - back to basics cooking) It can give you a real sense of achievement.

Last week when I made this chicken stock, I used chicken wings that were on sale from my local butcher. Nothing goes to waste. The stock is frozen. The chicken meat can be shredded up as cold meat for sandwiches or added to pasta dishes and soups. The vegetables are picked out (to avoid herbs and peppercorns) and pureed. I then freeze the pureed vegetables in small zip lock bags and add the pureed vegetables to mince dishes: bolognaise, shepherd's pie, meat pies, even taco mince. If you are a mother, you have probably already been doing this for years.

If we are talking about not wasting anything, don't forget to save the carcass from your next roast chicken. I usually put the leftover chicken frame into a bag and freeze it until I have about 4, then use them to make my stock.

Here is the recipe I have been using for 20 years now. I hope you can find the time to make your own stock too.

On the weekend some friends rang to say that they would be calling in for a visit around lunch time. It was unexpected and I didn't want to go to the shops. I looked at the contents of my fridge and pantry and made a simple Asian chicken soup. It was a nice change to sandwiches, which is usually what is on offer when these friends call in unannounced. They were excited by the effort I had made for lunch. On first tasting the soup, one of my guests looked straight at me and said - "you have made your own chicken stock!"

Well worth the effort I'd say.

Chicken stock

makes approximately 2-3 litres

• 1.5 kilogram chicken (whole/carcass/wings/back/neck/etc.)
• 2 large leeks (roughly chopped)
• 2 small carrots (roughly chopped)
• 2 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
• 5 stalks of flat-leaf parsley
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 2 garlic cloves

Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Skim any scum from the surface while simmering. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool. Refrigerate and allow time for the fat to set, then skim the fat off of the top. This can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

I had never made lamb stock before, so I used my chicken soup stock base and it seemed to work well. It made a delicious gravy to the lamb roast that we ate last week.

I used the bones leftover from a lamb roast and four lamb shanks. I had kept them in the freezer until I had enough bones to make the stock. I've frozen the stock in containers of 500ml (2 cups) so when I am making a lamb roast, I just need to defrost the stock and bring it back to the boil; ready to make my gravy. If I need the stock for soup I can just defrost more containers.

I have been reading a few chefy-type cookbooks that I got from the library, next time I might try roasting my bones before making the stock. This seems to bring out more depth of flavour, and you can never have too much flavour.

Lamb Stock

makes approximately 2-3 litres

• 1.5 kilogram lamb or bones
• 2 large onions (roughly chopped)
• 2 small carrots (roughly chopped)
• 2 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
• 5 stalks of flat-leaf parsley
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 2 garlic cloves

Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Skim any scum from the surface while simmering. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool. Refrigerate and allow time for the fat to set, then skim the fat off of the top. This can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dutch Ginger and Almond Slice

My kitchen smells of delicious buttery shortbread and ginger.

I am eating a piece of this slice now, still warm from the oven. Perfect with my cup of tea.

I have made this slice again this morning, I tried it for the first time last week when a friend came over for tea. There was amble leftover from our afternoon tea, which was happily polished off the next day by unexpected weekend visitors.

You have to take your hats off to the ladies in the Woman's Weekly test kitchens, they really do make our lives easy. This very simple recipe comes from "The Country Table" Woman's Weekly cookbook.

Dutch Ginger and Almond Slice

make 20 squares

• 1 3/4 cups plain flour
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 2/3 cups glace ginger (roughly chopped)
• 1/2 cup blanched almonds (roughly chopped)
• 1 egg
• 185 grams butter (melted)

• 2 teaspoons icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 20 x 30 cm lamington tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, ginger, almonds and egg. Mix well. Stir in the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the mixture into the prepared tray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the slice is lightly golden. Leave the slice in the tray for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with sifted icing sugar and cut into squares.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Azerbaijan - the kutaby

On Sunday, I had only one thing planned - cooking Azerbaijani food with my family. I had imagined us all in the kitchen leisurely rolling meatballs, threading kebabs, kneading dough and chopping salads.

But some days just end up topsy turvy. After some unexpected (but lovely) distractions, we didn't get home until after 4pm. I had no intention of not cooking our feast, so it was all hands on deck. The whole family did end up in the kitchen together; rolling meatballs, threading kebabs, kneading dough and chopping salads. It just wasn't as leisurely as I had hoped.

The kutaby was the last thing that was prepared, honestly, it was touch and go - would it ready in time? (really, who did not read that you had to knead the dough to 15 minutes and then rest it for 30?) By delegating some easy jobs to my little helpers, we managed to get all of the food on the table at the same time.

This was not something I have made before and preparing it was rushed. Having said that, the flavours were delicious, maybe not to everyone's taste, but to me - yum! My problem with this recipe was the pancake. It was far from pancake-like and didn't look like the picture. I had eaten something similar when I had backpacked through Turkey, the texture had been soft like a flatbread, this is what I had expected. Maybe it is not suppose to be pancake-like?? These were more like an empanada pastry and puffed up in the oven - not like the picture!

Oh! I found that the dough processed in the food processor was very soft and I had to work in quite a bit of extra flour while kneading it on the bench. Could this have been the problem? next time I will add 1/4 of cup of water and then more if needed. I wonder could this make a difference?

I have written the recipe here and I think will play around with it a bit. Like I said, the flavours were yum.

If you have any kutaby tips I would love to hear from you.


Stuffed Pancake

makes 4

for the pancakes

• 1 cup flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
• 1 egg (beaten)
• 1/2 cup water

• beaten egg or water for sealing

For the stuffing

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup shallots (finely chopped)
• 2⁄3 cup spinach (roughly chopped)
• 2⁄3 cup sorrel (roughly chopped) - if unavailable, use more spinach plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander leaves (finely chopped)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons dill (finely chopped)
• 1 tablespoon dried sour plum paste (lavashana) - if unavailable use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• salt and pepper to taste

to serve

• 1/2 cup yoghurt

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan and gently cook the onions for a minute. Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook until well wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the sour plum paste (lemon juice). Season to taste.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix flour, salt, butter, egg, and water to make a soft dough. Remove dough. Knead on a floured surface for 10–15 minutes, or until dough is shiny and elastic. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out to 3 mm thickness. Cut out four circles, about 15cm in diameter. Spread the filling on one half of the circle and fold in half. Seal the edges with a bit of beaten egg. Gently place the kutaby on the baking tray and brush with more egg. Bake for about 25–30 minutes, or until brown. Arrange in a warmed dish and serve with yoghurt for dipping.

This kutaby recipe is from here
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...