Friday, December 18, 2015

Brodetto - a seafood feast for Christmas

I took one of Silvia Colloca's recipes and adapted it to our family, so thank you to Silvia.  She is a wonderful Italian cook who lives in Australia.  This dish looks and tastes spectacular, and you can adapt it for more people. This is for 4 people.
What I love about the dish is that it is lighter than similar dishes like paella, and it is very relaxing to chat over mussels at Christmas and the cook does not get stressed.
You can make this over one day - but who wants all that work at Christmas!  Instead most of the work is done a day ahead and by the fishmonger, all I had to do on the day was heat up some sauce, chop some parsley, add a few bits and cook the mussels - all in all it took about 10 minutes.  Use a large flat bottom pot to cook the sauce in, one that goes to the table. 
Buy pot ready seafood and its a breeze, by that I mean mussels and pippies that have been prepared, with no bits hanging off them, and pre filleted snapper as well as prawns that have been peeled and deveined. You can vary the seafood, buy what is good and fresh and what you enjoy (calamari would be good).  I also think some saffron would be a nice addition if you are so inclined.  Do not overcook the seafood, a few minutes is all they need.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Quick Pickled Vegetables

OK, I admit it, I am obsessed.  I love quick pickles as a way of adding to a summer salad and jazzing up vegetables.

This is the basic pickled vegetable recipe, and can be adapted to any vegetable.  The trick is to combine herbs and spices that you enjoy.  Use the pickles in salads, on sandwiches or as side dishes, they are great for summer.  They make great Christmas presents too.

It is a very forgiving recipe, and I have often chopped the herbs in the blender with the water before adding them all to the pot.

You can keep these for up to 5 days in the fridge, or use them after about 1 hour.

Cooked vegetables, pickles, homemade ketchup

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Great cake for a dinner party

This cake is one I saw on a great cooking show,  Good Chef, Bad Chef , I recommend using both almond extract and amaretto (Yum).  I think another good combination would be rose water and vanilla. 
You must check the cake with a skewer and make sure it comes out clean, mine takes a little longer than the recipe says.  I also put the juice of a half a lime over the cake when it came out of the oven - make it taste even better.  I also used almond slivers instead of flakes as they are a bit crunchier, seem to match the pistachios better.
Its an easy, gluten free cake that tastes wonderful!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanks Ben for the perfect dessert

I do not often take a recipe and not change it, but this one I saw on TV from Bens Menu is a definite winner.  Perfect for Christmas time, and serves a few more than 4 I would say!  I really like Ben's show as it is showcases Australian food, and has recipes that any family would enjoy.
I also think this is the perfect recipe for when you are stuck, as all it takes is some eggs, you could top it with any cream and seasonal fruit, or try lemon or lime curd.  Thanks Ben, I hope you don't mind me reproducing (ie copying) it here, it was originally his grandmothers recipe.

6 egg whites
9 ounces or 255 g sugar
2 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence
150 g whipped cream, to serve
1 punnet strawberries
Mint, to garnish
Icing sugar, to dust
  1. Pre-­heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Remove egg yolks from the eggs being careful not to get any yolk in the whites.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat on high for around 12-14 minutes or until stiff peaks.
  3. Shape onto a large pavlova shape on round tray.  
  4. Bake for approximately 1 and a 1/2 hours. The pavlova will rise up but collapse again as it cools. To serve top with whipped cream and strawberries. Garnish with mint and a light dusting of icing sugar

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pickled Yellow Pepper Rings

We went on a cruise across the south Pacific, and my husband had these in salads.  He loves them so I have been looking for a recipe, and found one at the National Centre for Home Food Preservation.  Its easy to do and works a treat.  You do need to preserve these, so you will need the right equipment.
Here is how they turned out:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vietnamese fish cakes

I have several recipes for these fishcakes, and they all involve fish and red curry paste.  Then the fish cakes turn out too strong for me, with no taste of the fish.  When I saw a Bill's recipe with no curry paste, I tried it out, found it a little too simple and modified it as below.  These cakes taste more of fish than curry and so they do not assault the senses!
If you cannot get snake beans, just use normal beans. If you like the fish cakes a lot more spicy, add a chopped chilli to the fish mix.  Serve with a simple Vietnamese salad of lettuce, mint, coriander, sliced mango, bean sprouts and a dressing of lime, olive oil seasoned with a dash of soy, fish sauce and sugar.  As for the fish - I use the cheapest white fish fillets at the market, the only thing to avoid is very oily fish.  You can make really little fish cakes and serve them as starters for a party with the dipping sauce.
I made a batch of these and froze them, then vacuum  sealed them and froze them - turned out great, just defrost and fry.
The recipe makes enough for 4, with a few left over for lunch the next day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Zeppole or mini ricotta donuts

This is an old italian recipe and a great way to use up left over ricotta. You will find lots of recipes on the web, but this one works every time.   Be warned!  they are addictive, and they attract hoards of people, particularly children.

Two ways to serve these, firstly dusted in lots of icing sugar, or secondly make a honey drizzle of 1/4 cup honey, fresh thyme (about a teaspoon) and finely grated zest of a small lemon.  Simmer the honey etc until it is fragrant and you have a thin sauce to pour over the Zeppole.

When making these, do not over mix them.  Easy does it. You can add lemon or orange zest to the recipe if you so desire, or cinnamon to the icing sugar, see how the mood takes you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Coconut and Chocolate Bread.

Last time we went to Hawaii I was determined to go to Bills in Waikiki, unfortunately I got bronchitis and was sick and coughing for most of our time there.  Even a short walk to Bills was too exhausting.  Oh well, I will just have to go back! 

Oh Yum!  this is Bills recipe, with a little tweaking from me.  All the family wanted it warm, and it is a little crumbly then, but after it has cooled down and for a few days later, its slices perfectly and can be toasted and eaten with butter.  What an afternoon treat it is!  And so simple, just put everything into a mixer and mix.

One change you could make with this is to top it with some grated coconut, it should look good and taste good too.
For Muffins:
Use the same mixture, but add 1 cup of coconut, and some chopped pecans or choc chips if you have any.  Put into muffin cases and bake at the same temp as for the bread.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nigellas cheats potato pancakes.

Traditionally Blinis are made with buckwheat and potatoe.  These ones are made with normal flour, and instant potato flakes known in Sydney as Deb.  Not something I usually have in the kitchen, but for these I make an exception.  

You could substitute some of the flour for wholemeal flour, it will give this a more nutty flavour.  Do not add any salt as the instant potato will have plenty in it already.  Just sample the first one you make to check the seasoning.  Make sure you chop the spring onions very finely, and don't forget the lemon juice!  Take care not to make these too large if you want them for starters, and when you flip them, press them down so that they are not too thick.

As for toppings, well I use the traditional sour cream, smoked salmon and capers with a little dill and lemon to garnish.  Cream cheese also works well, and you can also add little slice of red onion if you fancy.  Otherwise go for it!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Allan's Yamba Seafood Chowder

A good friend of my husband, Allan, obtained this recipe from a restaurant in Yamba, NSW.  He was able to obtain the ingredients list, but not the actual quantities, so after quite a bit of experimentation he has perfected the recipe.  It is a lovely, smooth, creamy and turmeric broth stacked with lots of seafood - a delight to eat.  Allan added half a crayfish tail to our dinner recently, and it was delicious and very filling.
I am sure you could vary the seafood to your taste, so go ahead and experiment!  You could also vary the taste according to the curry powder you use, and the addition of ginger and chilli if you like it hot.
This recipe serves 4 as a main course, so it would probably serve 6 for an entrĂ©e at a swish dinner party.  When it says simmer it means SIMMER not boil!!  Boil seafood and it will be tough and horrible.  In fact, you do not boil anything in this recipe, even the mussels should be steamed rather than boiled to death!
 Image result for seafood chowder

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownies

I use this recipe for when adults are coming over, it is a very rich brownie.  Freeze any left over for a coffee in the sun at a later date!
Cooking time will vary, and you will have to use your cooking radar, I take them out when they look right and smell as if they are cooked.  Nothing is better than your cook's instinct!  Put pecans in if you like, I just make them without as it is easier to cut them into little morsels of yumminess.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Easy wonderful chocolate mousse

Thanks to Masterchef Australia for this one - simply inspirational.  You can use any kind of chocolate for this (including white).  You make it the day before your dinner party, then finish it off on the day!  Matt Preston made a white choc mousse with blueberries and coriander, but you can use it with any fruit you like.

Chocolate Mousse

350g coverture Chocolate

Sunday, March 8, 2015

BBQ Ribs

Yum, Yum,  these are really delish!  The recipe is adapted from one by Neil Perry - his recipes in the SMH on a Saturday are terrific, and although he is a great chef, they are really easily done at home.