January 12, 2018
G’day, MASCARPONE is a cheese which has a thick, creamy texture and a unique and sumptuous flavour. It’s not a curd cheese, but a cultured cream as is yoghurt. Anyway, folks, it’s delicious. But if you can’t lay your hands on any (though try), you can use thick sour cream.
Leek, Mascarpone and Olive tarts.
400g savoury short-crust pastry; 3 leeks, trimmed; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 1/2 cups mascarpone; 3 eggs, lightly beaten; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme; 1/2 cup Kalamatta olives, pitted; salt and freshly ground black pepper.
It’s OK to use the commercial frozen pastry, just let it defrost before using it. If you make your own, roll it out till it’s 3 mm thick and line 8 individual 10cm tart tins. Blind bake these tart shells. That means, line them with baking paper and fill them with uncooked rice or beans, (that stops them ‘bubbling‘ when they cook), put them on a baking tray and cook them for 15 minutes in the oven at 200 deg.C. Take them out of the oven, remove the paper and rice or beans then spoon the mascarpone filling (recipe below) into the shells and bake them in the oven at 180 deg.C for about 20 minutes until the filling is golden and just set.
Filling: Finely slice the leeks, which you’ve washed well and drained. Then pop them into a pan with the olive oil and heat until they’re soft but not brown. Put them into a bowl and let them cool then stir in the mascarpone, eggs, thyme and olives, also salt and pepper to taste.
Parsnip, Garlic and Mascarpone Puree.
500 g parsnips, peeled; 4 cloves garlic; 3/4 cup mascarpone; pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated if possible); salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Chop the parsnips into pieces and cook them in boiling water with the whole, peeled cloves of garlic until they’re tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and let them cool then put the parsnips and garlic into a processor and puree until smooth. Add mascarpone and continue to blend then season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
You can use this puree chilled as a dip, or gently warmed as a hot food accompaniment.
January 5, 2018
How to make the pancake.
First you’ll need a pan – that’s why it’s known as a PANcake.
Pancakes are supposed to be the oldest man-made food in the world. The original pancake was believed to be a mixture of ground grain and water, cooked on a hot stone outside someone’s cave. Since then, the pancake has been made everywhere – or just about. Traditionally we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday so that we use up the milk, butter and eggs before Lent – or some of us do.
In France they call then ‘crepes’, in Russia ‘blinis’, Holland has its ‘pannekoeken’ and thinner ‘flensjes’, Germany has ‘eierkuchen, Mexico ‘tortilla’ and Hungary ‘palacinta’. All those countries and more eat their pancakes for lunch or dinner and also breakfast. They eat them sweet or savoury, big or small, stuffed or topped.
Anyway, let your own imagination run riot. Good luck!
Just before you start, let me warn you that often the first pancake spoils. So don’t despair – it happens to the best of us.
Melt a little butter in a frying pan or preferably an omelette pan. When it’s very hot, pour off as much butter as you can and then with the pan still off the heat, put in 3 tablespoons of the pancake batter (recipe below) and quickly swirl it around the pan until the bottom of the pan is completely coated. Put the pan back on a high heat and cook the pancake until the top sets. Shake the pan a little from time to time to loosen the pancake. When it’s cooked on the first side, flip it over onto the second side either by tossing it in the air, if you have the confidence to do so, or by flipping it over with a spatula. Cook until the second side is brown and then flip your pancake out onto a warm plate, put a dob of butter on it, squeeze some lemon juice, sprinkle some brown sugar, and then roll it up. It’s delicious.
Don’t forget to take your pan off the heat whilst you’re doing all this. When you’re ready to cook the second pancake, put in another dob of butter, swirl it around and pour off whatever you can, then put in some more mixture and proceed as before.
Pancakes are best eaten as soon as they’re cooked. They can be stored in the fridge, but personally I don’t do it.
1 cup plain flour; 1 1/4 cups milk; 1 egg; pinch salt. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, pop in the salt and then break an egg into the centre of it. Mix the egg into the flour and salt and then add the milk, a little at a time, beating it well to keep it smooth. When you’ve poured the last of the milk into it, you should have a very smooth thin batter.
For a savoury pancake, follow the above instructions but when you’ve squeezed the lemon juice on the pancake (or crepe if you’re out to impress), put a flattened-out piece of steak onto the pancake, sprinkle it with a combination of grated or flaked cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Roll up the pancake and Bob’s your uncle (or Charlie’s you aunt). Anyway folks, the steak must be thin, thin, thin. I use, when I’ve the money, eye fillet which I flatten with my knuckles and the palm of my hand so it’s what’s known as a minute steak.
Now you may have noticed I didn’t cook the steak. But for those who don’t eat raw steak, drop the flattened pieces of fillet onto the hot pan, turn it almost immediately and sear the other side. For those who are addicted to salt, sprinkle a little garlic salt on the meat. But remember the cheese has salt in its make-up. Also, salt toughens protein.
Of course you can add onions or leeks or anything else your heart (or palate) desires. But if you bulk up the filling it will be hard to roll the pancake. Actually there’s no reason you must roll the lot up. But if you add too many conflicting flavours you lose the simplicity of not only the thought but the subtle flavor of the eye fillet.
If you use Porterhouse or Rump, make sure you cut out any gristle as well as the fat. Also, you may have to use more exertion to achieve the required thickness of steak.
Anyway – good luck.
December 29, 2017
Leftover Ham & Turkey Tortilla.
Tortilla is simply eggs and potatoes. I’ve expanded the idea to cater for Christmas leftovers. But really, folks, add whatever you have left over. The tortilla’s a topic for argument in bars and kitchens across Spain. Nobody disagrees that its main ingredients are eggs and potatoes, but will fight almost to the death over the inclusion, or not, of garlic and onions. So imagine how they’ll shout over the inclusion of leftovers!
Roughly chop leftover ham and turkey. The same with leftover vegetables and salads. Peel and slice (1 cm thick) say about 500g of potatoes. The amounts of ingredients depend on how many leftovers you have. So my figures are subjective. Anyway, 6 ml OLIVE OIL or 1/4 cup, 1 BROWN ONION sliced, GARLIC 4 cloves thinly sliced, 6 EGGS.
Put the potato slices in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes then drain and set aside. Put the oil in a deep-sided, non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion softens. Add the potato and chopped leftovers to the pan and stir. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour over the potato. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Serve with Heathcote white wine.
December 22, 2017
WATERMELON – 92% water.
During our hot, hot summers water consumption isn’t only good-o, it’s essential.
Some take their intake of water by drinking beer. Others, like myself, crunch watermelon. Especially at Christmas time. Mind you, I don’t for one moment believe Jesus Christ or his followers ate watermelon at the last supper. But, along with the bread and wine, it would have been a good option.
Anyway, to be more up-to-date – watermelon is the colour of Christmas, along with mint. Red and green. I know those colours have nothing to do with the desert area where the manger was nestled in its oasis and where Christmas first raised its head. But now we are swamped with red berries and green holly leaves. Plus a fat man with a white beard, dressed in red. So why not a slice of watermelon decorated with a sprig of mint and a spoon of white feta cheese? OK, very Christmassy, eh?
Now beside the watermelon spoon a dollop of tuna (canned is perfect), sprinkled with garlic juice and scattered with pitted cherries and dates. Fish is appropriate as Christmas food since Jesus was not only a fisherman of men’s souls, but also of actual fish too. John Dory to be exact. Nevertheless tuna will fit the bill.
The crisp crunch of the watermelon is made even more appealing by the addition of the fresh mint flavour. The tuna, dates and cherries, further make this summer meal fulfilling. Remember, you’re not only getting loads of Vitamins A, C and some B6, and minerals, but bucketloads of water as well.
December 15, 2017
What ham (pig meat) has to do with the celebration of the birth of Christ, Christ knows. Even Santa, who was invented by Coca Cola, isn’t related in any way to ham. The ham in the name of Hamburgers is in memory of the beef from Hamburg which was served to migrants on their way to the USA on the America-Hamburg ships.
The Chinese, most of whom aren’t Christians, are big pork eaters.
Anyway, regardless of the above, we Aussies are eating stomach-loads of ham every Christmas – and, I must admit, I think ham is great. By the way, Christ was a Jew and the Jews religion forbids pork.
Nevertheless ham is essential to Eggs Benedict for a Sunday brunch
On a toasted muffin (or ordinary piece of toast) put a slice of ham, then slip a poached egg on top and coat the egg with hollandaise sauce. Pop a cross of anchovies on top for garnish if you wish.
Melt 250g of butter in a small saucepan, then in the top of a double boiler whisk 4 egg yolks. Put a tablespoon of the melted butter in with the eggs and when they start to thicken, take them off the heat. Let the melted butter in the saucepan cool a little then gradually whisk it into the eggs. Now add a tablespoon of lemon juice very, very carefully drop by drop still whisking away. Sprinkle in a pinch of cayenne pepper and keep whisking. If it curdles, just whisk in the yolk of another egg.
You can make Hollandaise in your blender, but it will not have quite as strong a flavour as the hand-made Hollandaise and it’ll also be a little paler in colour.
Put the egg yolks, lemon juice and cayenne into your blender and melt the butter in a saucepan as before. Put the cover on the blender and blend it at high speed for 3 seconds. Then take off the small plastic cap and pour in the butter with the blender still going. Pour it in slowly and by the time it’s all in the sauce should be finished. If it is not quite fully blended, leave it on high for another 5 seconds.
Serve the sauce at once or, if you have to keep it warm, pour it into a warm basin, stand the basin in a pan of hot, but not boiling, water and cover it.
If the sauce curdles or separates, you’ve either let the sauce get too hot while it was cooking or you didn’t let the butter cool before you whisked it into the egg yolks. If the sauce looks green, you’ve made it in an aluminium bowl with a metal whisk. Use a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl.
December 8, 2017
G’day – Well it’s stone fruit season again. Hooray, eh?! I’m partial to fruit with savoury dishes. Remember that tomato and pumpkn are fruits – as is anything with a pip, so they say. Anyway, stone fruit with a touch of garlic and chilli, a little lemon uice and a lamb chop is heaven on a stick or, in this case, chop bone.
The other day I served, as a main course, after soup and an entree of a smoked salmon and orange 2-egg omelette, a boned butterfly of pork with a wedge each of watermelon and cantaloupe. These wedges were placed on the plate with the pointy end of the wedge facing the pork. They were placed so as to allow an equal amount of space between them so I could place a mixture of diced apricot, peach and nectarine which were flavoured as follows:-
For 1 peach; 1 apricot; 1 nectarine. In a bowl mix a scattering of mint, parsley and pine nuts, the juice of enough garlic to satisfy your palate, diced tomato and baby spinach leaves. Add the juice of a good sized lemon and drizzle the lot with a little honey. Or, instead of honey, splash in a little sweet sherry or mirin.
Make sure you don’t overcook the pork, but do cook it through as uncooked pink pork is tough. For those of you who don’t like fruit with a savoury dish, go to another post or stop reading. Good luck.
December 1, 2017
Another quick entree idea. Simple, inexpensive, yet tasty. Mix and match ingredients that are on hand and suit your palate. In other words, if you don’t have any garlic no worries – forget it. Or if you don’t like cumin replace it with oregano. Use Butterbeans or Chick Peas for that matter. You see, it’s the idea that’s the idea. Forget the minutae and concentrate on the overall picture.
I served the mixture over a slice of toasted Turkish bread, topped with a cross of anchovies and crowned with a thatch of golden crisp shredded ginger.
White bean mixture.
In a blender or food processor put a drained can of cannellini beans, 2 roasted garlic cloves, a tablespoon of tahine, 1/4 cup chopped mint, 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and olive oil and a teaspoon of ground cumin. Process till the mixture’s smooth, spoon out into a dish and drizzle with olive oil before serving.
Crispy shredded ginger.
Shred (grate) some peeled fresh root ginger then deep fry in hot olive oil until it’s golden and crisp. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper then use for garnish.
November 24, 2017
Egg & Blue Cheese entree.
Put a handful of fresh raw spinach leaves onto a white plate. Throw on some peeled, cut-up orange. Scatter 6 pipped black Kalamata olives. In the middle of that gently place a peeled, soft-boiled egg topped with a couple of anchovies and a good spoonful of Blue Cheese sauce. Add a floweret of broccoli and cauliflower and, if you have some, a few slices of smoked salmon. Easy, eh?
To soft boil the egg. Don’t take the egg straight from the fridge to the saucepan. Run it under the hot water tap for a second to get it to room temperature then poke a little pin hole in the blunt end to prevent the egg cracking. Just let the pin go in a millimeter, not halfway into the yolk. Bring the water to the boil, let it cool down to simmer and slide in the egg. Simmer it for one (1) minute, then take the pan off the heat, put a lid on top of the saucepan and let the egg stand in the water for five (5) minutes. Then you’ll have a soft, beautiful boiled egg. Take the egg out of the hot water with a slotted spoon and put it straight into cold water. When cool enough to handle, tap the egg gently all over with the back of a teaspoon so that the shell is cracked all around and put it back into cold water then shell it. When it’s shelled, put it back into cold water again until it’s cooled right down. This will prevent a grey ring forming around the yolk.
Blue cheese sauce. Splash a small amount of milk into a small saucepan with the same amount of Greek yoghurt and a finger-sized amount of Blue Cheese. Warm the milk and cheese and yoghurt while you mash the cheese to form a wet paste. If it’s too runny, stir in a teaspoon of plain flour. If that makes it too stiff, splash in some more milk. DON‘T LET IT BOIL. If it’s not right – give up.
November 17, 2017
One often hears the question asked “Are you a breast or a thigh man?” Well, I’m both. A chicken breast, if cooked correctly – that is, not to dry it out – is delicious. But then so too are thighs.
A few days ago I was asked by a charming voice belonging to, I thought , an equally charming woman, if I remembered a recipe I had written decades ago. Although I don’t eat cornflakes, the recipe called for a cup of crushed cornflakes. I tried to deny the recipe was mine. Then the now smug voice quoted my long-ago published cookbook which contained the above-mentioned cornflakes. Here it is. She insists it’s wonderful!
I must admit, on reflexion, I’d add garlic and either thyme or oregano.
Crispy Parmesan Chicken
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed; flour; 1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons milk; 1 cup crushed cornflakes; 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese; 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese; 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
Coat the chicken in flour and egg mixture. Combine the cornflakes, cheeses and parsley and roll drumsticks in crumbs until well coated. Bake at 200 deg.C for 35-40 minutes or microwave on High for 2-3 minutes until chicken is cooked.
If you use the garlic and thyme or oregano, add them in with the cornflakes mixture.
November 10, 2017
This week the idea is a simple one. Simply steam some green leaves – spinach, beetroot leaves, silverbeet etc. – until they wilt. Serve them on a white plate with a thick slice of good quality (20 to 36 months old) cheddar cheese hidden amongst the pile of hot, wilted greens. Pour over that a good splash of combination of juice of large lemon, teaspoon of honey, splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Serve either as a entree or beside a piece of gummy shark.
November 3, 2017
BUGGERED IF I KNOW ENTREE.
Bite size flowerets of broccoli – steamed till soft; bite size flowerets of raw cauliflower; 1/2 ripe tomato, raw; a small handful of spinach leaves, raw; 1/4 peeled mango – diced, raw; 1/2 small handful of pumpkin, peeled, diced, cooked till soft; 1 small handful of sweet potato, peeled, diced, and cooked till soft.
Place the above into a pasta bowl and turn them gently.
Dressing: Juice of 1/2 large lemon; good splash of light soy sauce; juice of 3 garlic cloves; splash of mirrin; sprinkle of cracked pepper.
Mix these together with a sprinkle of chopped herbs of your choice.
The hot and cold ingredients create an interesting sensation of texture as well as colour and taste. I believe this concoction should be eaten with a spoon rather than a fork. My reasoning is that the dressing can be picked up with the solid ingredients. I’ve called it ‘Buggered if I know Entree’ simply because, when asked what I would name the entree, my reply was as above. The same reply was given when asked why I mixed hot and cold ingredients. Anyway I liked the look and taste of the result.
For those good folk who like and insist on flesh with what they eat, I suggest an amount of cooked diced chicken served either hot or cold – or bacon or anchovies or elephant’s toe-nails if they take your fancy. But don’t add or consume anything you don’t like. Good luck.
October 27, 2017
We all know Cajun flavour is a mixture of hot spices which is often spread on fish or chicken as well as steak in many a local eating establishment. Most good folk to whom I’ve posed the question “What’s the place of origin of Cajun?” answer “The local pub.” Indeed it is a popular flavour for hiding flesh which is a little past its used-by date. Naturally that may be a little harsh when most fine counter lunches are scrupulous in serving only the very best of ingredients. That being said, let me inform those who believe ‘Cajun’ is the taste of the Caribbean, that it is a flavour popular with people who belong to the French speaking community of the Bayou area of Southern Louisiana.
Origin – an alteration of ‘Acadian’ relating to Acadia, a former French colony in Canada (now Nova Scotia). Since this epistle is about food, not history, I’ll forget the Brits’ involvement. But then the Greek ‘Arcadia’ is an ideal rustic setting.
Anyway, Cajun spice mixture smells and tastes terrific.
Cajun fish and lime. 4 fish fillets, each 250g; 2 teaspoons each ground cumin, ground coriander, sweet paprika, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder; 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper; 2 teaspoons fennel seeds; 2 limes, thickly sliced.
Put the fish into a large bowl together with all the other ingredients except the limes. Toss everything around to mix well and make sure the fish is thoroughly coated. Cook the fish on an oiled and heated grill plate or barbecue till it’s cooked as you like it. At the same time cook the lime slices on the oiled and heated grill plate, turning them until they’re browned on both sides. Serve the fish topped with the lime slices.
October 20, 2017
PAW PAW (PAPAYA)
Paw paws, or papaya as some people call them, grow in abundance in Queensland. It is a fruit, of course, which most people eat but there are some people who make a paste of paw paw and rub it on lumbago, ingrown toe nails, lumps, bumps, bites and all sorts of things. Paw paw grow on trees and there are male and female trees. For every male tree there must be eight female trees for the female trees to bear fruit.
Paw paw is a meat tenderiser (as is Kiwi Fruit) as well as a fruit and is particularly good for you. It’s rich in Vitamins A, B, B1 and C, magnesium, potassium and beta-carotene, and has anti-cancer and anti-parasitic properties as well as being a general detoxifier. It’s also a very good digestive. People in most other countries eat the little black pips – so don’t throw them away, eat them and banish indigestion naturally.
Paw paw is full of dietary fibre and the enzyme papain which decomposes protein so throw some in when you’re cooking gravy beef, an old chook or any other tough meat and it will tenderise it.
Eat the ripe paw paw raw, the green ones you should cook.
Paw Paw (Papaya), Kiwi Fruit (Chinese Gooseberry) et al.
In a saucepan, over a LOW HEAT melt 80g butter with a couple of tablespoons of pine nuts until both have turned a golden brown (not black). Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and the same of orange juice. Pour the result over a handful of wilted/steamed baby spinach leaves, long beans, some cubed fresh paw paw and sliced peeled kiwi fruit, mint leaves and finely chopped red onion. This mixture of texture and flavour marries well with a pork chop (minus fat) or a lamb chop. I often serve the mixture without the protein (meat) as an entree.
SMOKED TROUT PATE. 400g whole smoked trout; 1 egg yolk; 2 teaspoons white vinegar; 2 teaspoons mustard powder; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1/3 cup olive oil.
Take the skin off the trout and get rid of all the bones then coarsely flake the flesh. Put the egg yolk, vinegar, mustard powder, lemon juice, lemon pepper and garlic into a blender and process till well mixed. With the motor still running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream. Lastly add the flaked trout and blend till smooth.
TUNA PATE. 1 small can of tuna in oil; 1/2 small white onion, chopped finely; 30g butter, softened; 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind; 2 teaspoons lemon juice; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped; 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped; 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped.
Put the tuna and its oil, the onion, butter, lemon rind and juice and garlic into a blender and process till smooth. Scrape the mixture out into a medium sized bowl then stir in the capers, mint and oregano making sure that all the ingredients are well combined.
October 6, 2017
CANTALOUPE. An Italian monk was introduced to a cantaloupe from Armenia. The monk was gardening at Cantalupo, a castle which was the summer residence of the Popes during the Renaissance period (1700s). The refreshing melon (resembling a rock to some) has many health-giving attributes if eaten raw or warmed as the side kick to, say, a lamb chop.
The soup idea I’m offering is designed to be eaten cold but, if wished, can be served warm to hot. BUT DON’T BOIL IT.
Cold Cantaloupe Soup. 1 large cantaloupe; grated rind of 1 lemon; 3 1/2 cups milk; 1 bay leaf; 1 clove; 1 piece of cinnamon stick; salt; watermelon for garnish.
Scoop the pulp out of the cantaloupe and keep on one side enough of the flesh to fill a cup when diced. Coarsely chop and then puree the rest of the flesh, adding a little milk if necessary. Put the rest of the milk into a saucepan with bay leaf, clove, cinnamon and lemon rind, heat, but don’t let it boil, then allow to cool fo r 5 minutes. Strain the milk and stir it into the cantaloupe puree, adding a pinch of salt. Pop it in the fridge to chill well – it must be served really cold. Garnish with diced cantaloupe and watermelon.
September 29, 2017
This isn’t a CORNISH PASTIE. It’s a Spanish something-or-other …. The Cornish Pastie was a miners‘ lunch packed in pastry instead of in a paper bag. The left hand end of the pastie held the meat and vegetables, the right hand enclosed the dessert – usually fruit. The shape of the pastie was so that it had two ‘handle‘ ends which the miner held while he ate the pastry-covered food. As he’d been mining tin, which was said to be poisonous, and he had no facilities down the mine to wash his hands, he threw away the ‘handles‘ once he’d consumed the rest of his packaged lunch.
Since you’re not a tin miner, have no fear – eat the lot. By the way, use the best cheeses you have.
Using a plate as a template, cut a circle out of a square of frozen puff pastry. On one half place. small handful of grated cheddar cheese. Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese and young spinach leaves, garlic juice and diced chorizo. Fold the ‘vacant‘ half of the pastry over the mixture. Seal the edges by slightly wetting the edge and press together with your fingers. Brush with a beaten egg and place the package into a hot oven until the pastry turns a golden brown.
PS. You can decorate the top of the package by cutting strips of the remaining pastry to form simple ‘shapes‘ which you press onto the surface of the package. Easy eh?
September 22, 2017
Canned tuna has many of the goodies we expect from fish. And it tastes terrific too – the olive oil, in my opinion, helps also. This is just a very simple example of using canned tuna to enhance a meal. Empty a can of tuna – oil and all – into a blender with half as much plain Greek yoghurt and blend. It makes a wonderful, healthy sauce. The Europeans have a classic recipe of Tuna Sauce with Veal. They use fresh tuna, whereas I actually like the flavour of the canned variety.
Here is a simple mayonnaise recipe which, mixed with tuna, capers, garlic and anchovies, will keep your taste buds in excellent order – and possibly your marriage too.
Hard boiled eggs with Tuna Mayonnaise –
Mayonnaise: 1 egg yolk; 1 teaspoon French mustard; 1 teaspoon lemon juice; 2/3 cup olive oil.
Whisk the egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Keep whisking adding the olive oil a few drops at a time until you’ve used about 4 tablespoons of the oil, then pour the rest of the oil in slowly, whisking all the time.
Tuna Sauce: 1 x 185g can tuna in oil; 3 anchovy fillets; 1 tablespoon capers, drained; 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; salt; freshly ground black pepper.
Empty the can of tuna – with its oil – into a blender, add the anchovies, capers, garlic and lemon juice and blend until it’s smooth. Fold this tuna sauce into the mayonnaise, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and pop it into the fridge for about an hour.
September 15, 2017.
Lamb of course is a young sheep – anything, say, up to 6 months old – then it becomes Hogget. By then its flavour has developed more. It’s also known as 2-Tooth. Once it’s shorn, in other words its fleece has grown enough for its fleece to be cut, it’s Mutton, with an even stronger flavour – and tougher meat. I like (very much) lamb loin chops. I cut away the fatty tail and discard the bone. Dust one side of the meat with ground cumin and coriander. Place the spiced side down onto an oil-wet, hot pan. Turn after half a minute. Cook the other side for a quarter of a minute, turn off the heat and leave the chop heating for another half minute or until it’s cooked to your liking. But don’t over-cook it.
Steamed Lamb Shoulder.
1.5 kg lamb shoulder; a good sprinkling of salt; freshly ground black pepper; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; a pinch of cayenne; a sprig of thyme, chopped.
Rub the lamb all over with the salt and ground black pepper. Mix the crushed garlic and olive oil together and spread over the shoulder, then sprinkle with the cumin, cayenne and thyme. Wrap the shoulder in a thin clean cloth, making sure it’s fully covered and wont come undone during cooking. Put the bundle into a steamer, bring to the boil and cook for an hour and a quarter.
September 8, 2017.
I was going to write on the Spanish Tapas as I’ve got a vet mate Dr. Jack Ayerbe. Tapas started their life as bread, a slice of which was placed over the top of one’s drink, presumably to keep the flies from slaking their thirst at your expense. Folk started to eat the bread and so demanded a better quality. Soon the bread was topped with samples of food – so Tapas were born. Anyway, because I also randomly thought of soup and Spain “A first rate soup is more creative than a second rate painting” Gaspachio came to the fore. (Spanish painting is another story – my Spanish vet has an old traditional Spanish ‘masterpiece’.). But as the weather’s cold, cold Gaspachio isn’t (or shouldn’t be) on the menu – so Pea and Asparagus soup Hot. A tip – add some mint and parsley just before serving.
Pea and Asparagus Soup.
250g frozen peas; 1 kg fresh thick asparagus; 5 cups chicken stock; sea salt; freshly ground black pepper; a few flat leafed parsley leaves.
Hold each end of an asparagus spear between your finger and thumb and bend it till it snaps. It will snap just where the woody part of the asparagus starts. Do that to each of the asparagus spears. Cut off the asparagus tips, and keep them for garnish when serving. Keep the woody ends of the asparagus to one side too. (I’ll tell you what to do with them at another time.) Chop the rest of the asparagus spears and add them and the frozen peas to the boiling chicken stock and cook till they’re soft – about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste then let the soup cool a little before pureeing in a blender. Blend in batches, adding the parsley leaves with the last batch. Pour the blended soup back into the saucepan, throw in the asparagus tips you kept to one side and gently heat for 5 minutes. Serve straight away.
September 1, 2017.
Michael is one of the senior on-air folk at ‘Sound of the Mountains’. The station services the Riverina, mainly Tumut and all towns north, south, east and west. Michael doesn’t like walnut, and is a bit iffy about smelly cheese. But I’m not, so Michael, close your eyes and ears and concentrate on the potatoes.
Potatoes (or whatever) with Blue Cheese and Walnut Sauce!
450g small new potatoes; small head of celery; small red onion; 125g blue cheese; 2/3 cup fresh cream; salt; freshly ground black pepper; 1/2 cup walnut pieces; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes. Meanwhile slice the celery and red onion, then add them to the potatoes and continue boiling for another 5 minutes. Whilst they’re cooking mash the blue cheese then put it into a small saucepan with the cream and, stirring now and then, heat gently till it’s hot but not boiling. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the vegetables and put them into a warmed serving dish, pour over them the cheese sauce and top with the walnuts and chopped parsley.
August 25, 2017
A few thoughts for side dishes fun. If one is cooking a butterfly of pork or a lamb chop it is often more pleasant to serve a side dish of a vegetable or salad rather than confuse or over-burden the plate with a profusion of tastes and textures which rival the Botanic gardens. For instance, it is elegant to serve say a minute steak on a plate with a garlic sauce which you think is appropriate. In a plate, or plates, beside the main dish a selection of the sweet potato chips, in another broccoli and walnuts or a salad. Anyway apart from the washing up involved, it’s easy and good fun. Also, it allows the eater to pick and choose flavour and quantity.
Sesame Sweet Potato. Brush sweet potato slices with sesame oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake in the oven at 200 deg.C until golden brown.
Pine Nut Butter. Cook a couple of tablespoons of chopped pine nuts in some butter (about 80 g) over a low heat until they’re golden brown then stir in about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour over spinach, blanched broccoli or other vegetable and top with freshly ground black pepper.
Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Cut a garlic head in half, sprinkle it with olive oil and bake in the oven until it’s soft and golden (about half an hour). Squeeze the roasted cloves to rid them of their skins. Peel and boil potatoes till soft then mash them with some butter, sea salt, cream and three quarters of the roasted garlic. Serve topped with a little more sea salt, melted butter and the rest of the roast garlic.
Warm Walnut Dressing. Put a good splash of olive oil into a saucepan with a handful of walnuts and some sprigs of rosemary and heat slowly so that the flavours infuse the oil. Pour, warm, over cooked Brussels sprouts or broccoli, and over the top squeeze some lemon juice. Sprinkle with black olives and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
August 18, 2017
PEAS. Peas were once grown in the veggie patch at the bottom of our back yard. They were protected from the chook-run by a wire netting fence. When they weren’t in season our mums made soup from dried peas. Nowadays frozen peas are available – and they’re good, plus save that tedious task of shelling them. But the down side is we don’t have the pea pods.
So what? I hear you mumble. Well, no pods no fresh pea stock. And why do you want pea stock? To make pea soup, that’s why.
First the Pea Stock:-
500g pea pods; 1 shallot; stalks of a bunch of basil and a bunch of mint (you can use the leaves to make the soup); salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Peel and finely slice the shallot then put it into a saucepan with the washed pea pods, and the herb stalks. Cover them with water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the stock through a fine sieve. If you want a stronger flavour put the stock back in the pan after sieving it and boil it till it’s reduced by about a third. Let it cool then store in the fridge or freeze until you want to use it.
Now the Pea Soup:-
If you don’t have basil use thyme or oregano – either fresh or dried – but remember the dried is a lot (4 times) stronger than the fresh. The reason I’m using frozen peas for this recipe is because of their colour. When you add a third of the peas at the end you get a bright pea-green colour that you can’t get by using fresh peas.
1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 small white onion; 500g frozen peas; 600ml hot pea stock; 1/2 small bunch of mint leaves (from the stalks you’ve used for the stock); a bunch of basil leaves (again from the stalks you’ve used for the stock); pinch of sugar; 1 teaspoon salt.
Peel and finely chop the onion and cook it in the oil in a medium sized saucepan until it softens but doesn’t brown. Add two thirds of the peas, half the mint and basil leaves, the sugar and salt and the pea stock. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Blend the soup, in batches if necessary, adding the rest of the peas, mint and basil leaves, to a smooth puree. Check to see if you need more seasoning then serve hot, or let it cool and serve chilled.
August 11, 2017.
Immediately corn is picked, its sugar begins converting to starch, so it is best eaten just-picked.
(a) Take the husk off a cob of corn – cut the corn in half and heat it in a microwave oven (or steam it, or boil in water). Stick a skewer down its centre once it’s cooked. Brush it with melted butter or olive oil. Roll it in chopped mint and parsley and very finely chopped, browned pine nuts.
(b) Pull the husk down from a cob of corn, brush the corn with butter or olive oil. Sprinkle a little garlic and chopped pine nuts over the exposed cob. Pull back the husk, tie it with wet string or wire – throw it on the BBQ. The husk will blacken. Take it off the heat, let it stand for a short while – brush off the burnt husk, eat the corn.
(c) Make a thin pancake. Butter one side. Spoon on cooked corn niblets, garlic juice and chopped orange segments. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Roll the pancake into a cigar shape. Scatter crisp-cooked bacon pieces over the package. Dollop it with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt. Eat.
August 4, 2017
These easy to make puffs and bikkies go well with your favourite tipple.
Chorizo Sausage Puffs
Puff pastry (you can use the frozen commercial pastry); Chorizo sausage;
1/2 cup grated cheese; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon paprika.
From the pastry which you’ve allowed to defrost, cut out circles (saucer size or whatever size you like). Chop the chorizo finely and put a small amount in the middle of each pastry circle. Put some cheese on top (use a mild cheese as the chorizo is spicy) then gather the edges of the circle of pastry up to form a little parcel or pastie shape. (Make sure the contents are sealed well inside). Brush the parcels with beaten egg, sprinkle lightly with paprika and put them onto an oiled, or non-stick baking tray. Pop them into the oven and cook at 230 deg.C for 10 or so minutes util they’re golden brown and puffy. Serve hot.
1 1/2 cups plain flour; 3 tablespoons softened butter; 1 egg yolk; 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese; pinch of salt; pinch of dry mustard powder.
Rub the butter into the flour in a large bowl, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then mix in the egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, salt and mustard until you can make a ball of the dough. Take the ball out of the bowl onto a lightly floured board or bench and roll it with your hands into a log shape. Wrap the log in foil or plastic wrap and put it into the fridge to chill and firm for 10 minutes.
Take the log out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut it into 6 mm thin slices (or thinner if you prefer). Put the slices on baking paper on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 200 deg.C until they’re crisp but have not changed colour. You can flatten them a little or make a design on them with a fork to give them character if you wish before they go into the oven.
July 21, 2017
For the filling in the following recipe you can use anything you’ve left over in your fridge. I’ve used mainly pumpkin and some diced cooked lamb. Anyway, your imagination will solve what, how much and when.
From a sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry which you’ve allowed to thaw, cut the biggest circle you can. Put the circle onto an oiled baking tray (or use baking paper on a baking tray). Spread on it some cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or tomato paste (or both cheese and tomato paste) leaving a 5 cm border clear round the edge of the circle. Mix together a good handful of mashed (smashed) cooked pumpkin, some finely diced onion, cooked broccoli and cauliflower or spinach or whatever including some finely diced cooked meat of some kind, a tablespoon of butter, a little olive oil and some garlic juice and spread the mixture over the top of the cheese/tomato paste. Fold the outside rim of the pastry circle back over the mixture to make a containing wall all round. Finely slice half a leek and toss it quickly in olive oil then sprinkle over the top of the filling. Bake in the oven at 200 deg.C for about 20 minutes or until the pastry’s a crispy golden brown.
July 14, 2017.
Teryaki sauce is often served with chicken. For a change try it with butterflied pork steak.
Teriyaki Sauce. 1/2 cup soy sauce; 1 cup water; 4 tablespoons brown sugar; 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic; 4 tablespoons minced ginger; 1/4 cup honey.
Put everything except the honey into a saucepan and bring to the boil. With the pan still on the heat, stir in the honey and keep stirring until the sauce starts to thicken. That will take about 7 or 8 minutes.
July 7, 2017
Dukkah is simply a combination of various nuts and spices and is used as an appetiser or a snack. I also sprinkle it on a steak then push it into the meat before cooking it. It’s great as a crust on fish, chicken or lamb, even sprinkled on cooked vegetables. Bread dipped in a little virgin olive oil then into a dish of dukkah is a good way to help a glass of wine go down.
Pepperberry and Lemon Myrtle Dukkah.
1 cup sliced almonds; 3 tablespoons sesame seeds; 1 tablespoon each coriander and mustard seeds; 1 teaspoon fennel seeds; 1 tablespoon ground lemon myrtle; 1 teaspoon each ground pepperberry and salt.
Roast the almonds, spread in a single layer in a baking tray, in the oven at 180 deg.C for 4 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Move them about once during this time so that they’re evenly browned. Coarsely chop them in a food processor and put them into a large bowl. Toss the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes until they’re brown then add them to the almonds in the bowl. Heat the coriander, mustard, cumin and fennel seeds separately in the dry frying pan for a couple of minutes each, crush them in a mortar and pestle then add them into the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with the lemon myrtle, pepperberry and salt, mix well and store in an airtight container. Does not need refrigerating.
June 30, 2017
Mountain bread, I believe, is now called a food wrap. Anyway, I’m sure you know what I’m meaning when I refer to that flexible flat bread which resembles a plate-size pizza base.
Spread it with a horseradish cream (a commercial product). As it is hot, you will determine the amount you use. Then sprinkle diced raw broccoli and grated carrot (a small handful) over one half of the wrap. Place strips of chicken breast (which you’ve quickly sealed in a hot pan) on the broccoli and carrot. Roll the wrap into a large sausage-roll shape, spray or brush with olive oil and, if you have any, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Pop the roll into a hot oven. Leave it until it browns and becomes crisp.
Serve as an entree topped with a good spoonful of Greek yoghurt splashed with a little soy sauce.
Peppered Pineapple Ice-Cream.
The spice of the pepper counteracts the sweetness of the honey and pineapple. I think the combination is good-o. Give it a try – it’s different!
1 large pineapple; 2 egg yolks; 3 tablespoons honey; 275ml thick cream; 275g Greek-style natural yoghurt; 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the husk from the pineapple, cut into quarters and discard the hard core. Chop up half of the pineapple, put it into a blender and liquidise it.
Beat the egg yolks with the honey until they’re light and frothy. Heat the cream until it’s almost boiling then whip it into the egg yolks and honey followed by the yoghurt, liquidised pineapple and pepper.
Put the mixture into the fridge to cool then into a freezing tray in the ice compartment set at the lowest temperature. Leave it for 2 hours then, when it is just frozen to a slush take it out of the freezer, transfer it to a bowl and whip it to break up the ice particles. Put it into a plastic container, cover and put it back in the freezer at the coldest setting for another 4 hours or until it’s set. It should then be kept in the freezer at the normal freezer temperature for a further 12 hours and transfered to the fridge half an hour before serving. Garnish with the rest of the pineapple, chopped.
Pepper should be bought whole as the flavour deteriorates when ground. Black pepper is strongly aromatic besides being hot and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Freshly milled black pepper is suitable for most casseroles and stews, vegetarian dishes and pasta. Used as a sweet spice it can be added to cakes, particularly gingerbread, and also to cream and fruit desserts.
White pepper has a clean, sharp flavour and is hotter than black and should always be used in pale-coloured sauces or dressings for both flavour and appearance.
Green peppercorns are generally used to make a sauce for rich poultry and game.
June 16, 2017
Using a plate or saucer as a template, cut a circle of puff pastry (I use the commercial frozen stuff because I’m lazy), spread it to taste with a prepared horseradish cream (you can buy it in shops). On half of the circle of pastry put a small handful of browned mince, onion and garlic (to taste), and some spinach leaves. Fold the empty half of the pastry over the mince and seal with your fingers. Brush with a beaten egg, or with oil or even milk to help brown the pastry. Pop it into a hot oven 200 deg.C for 20 minutes or until brown. Serve on a puddle of the sweet chilli sauce.
Sweet Chilli Sauce
125g fresh red chillies; 125g sultanas; 4 cloves garlic; 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger; 3/4 cup white vinegar; 3/4 cup water; 1 1/2 cups white sugar; 2 teaspoons salt.
Wash the chillies and snip off the stalks then put them into a blender with the sultanas, peeled garlic, ginger and enough vinegar to be able to make a puree. Put the puree into a saucepan with the water, sugar and salt and the rest of the vinegar. Bring to the boil, stirring from time to time, until the sauce thickens. Let it cool then store in an airtight bottle or jar.
June 9, 2017
Most of our Australian cooks consider aubergine needs to have the bitterness squeezed out of its flesh before cooking. The strange thing is I’d been cooking aubergine for years before being told of this bitterness business. And my aubergine had no trace of a bitter flavour. Therefore I flicked through my old cookbooks to see who was the first to mention this supposed bitterness.
I searched the libraries and finally, in the Mitchell Library, found what I considered the answer to the mystery – reference to the ancient Greeks who believed the aubergine contained poison and so called it the mala insana, the ‘roaring (or raging) apple’.
These ancients, after their Saturday gymnasium, would cook up some aubergine which grew wild about the place, then they’d hop into a barrel or two of retsina or the like ….. and usually have one or two more than was good for them. Off they’d stagger home, kick the cat, fall over the doormat, abuse the missus and fall asleep in the corner. Next morning they’d shamefully admit it must have been something they’d eaten ….. “Those bloody aubergine are poisonous’ they’d mutter darkly. Therefore the good wife would soak the fruit in cold salted water for hours, then press it under heavy rocks before cooking it. This, they believed, got rid of the poison.
Today’s cooks still follow the ancient custom, the only difference is the poison is now referred to as bitterness.
Well, folks, let me tell you, aubergines aren’t bitter at all. (Maybe an old aubergine, like old cooks, can be somewhat bitter, but then we shouldn’t be cooking old aubergine should we?)
Aubergine are also known as eggplant and melanzana, a fruit which is native to southern Asia. It is one of the best fruits of the world and it is probable that it was known throughout India and even Egypt, the Far East, the Near East, Europe and the Latin countries and the Americas.
It can be cooked whole in its skin, peeled, sliced or chopped. A famous Turkish aubergine recipe Imam Bayildi or ‘The Fainting Imam’ is honoured throughout the world. It is cooked with mutton.
Whatever the shape or size or colour, aubergines must be firm and of uniform colour. Those that are soft or shriveled have had it.
2 large eggplants; 3 cloves garlic, diced; 4 tablespoons olive oil; salt and freshly ground black pepper; sprigs of Italian parsley.
Cut the eggplants into rounds 2 cm thick. Place the rounds, side by side in one layer, into a well-oiled baking dish. Sprinkle each round with a few pieces of chopped garlic and pour the rest of the oil over the top. Bake in the oven at 190 deg.C for 25 minutes. Lift out onto a serving platter, sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper and coarsely chopped parsley. Is good served with crusty bread, cheese, or served as a vegetable with any meal.
PS. I’m a blue cheese lover and so, if you are too, maybe this Gorgonzola sauce will improve your slice of eggplant!
125 g Gorgonzola, chopped; 1/2 cup milk; 1 tablespoon butter; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 2 tablespoons cream.
Put the Gorgonzola, milk and butter into a large frying pan, sprinkle with salt and some freshly ground black pepper, and cook over a gentle heat, stirring until it’s smooth and creamy. Stir in the cream and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. Spoon over slices of eggplant.
Is also good stirred through Pasta.
May 30, 2017
The Iceberg lettuce has been a favourite with older Aussies for generations. But the Bok Choy boys have been playing well and gathering legions of followers. The interesting thing is that many ardent Iceberg followers have little, if any, knowledge of the player statistics. The lettuce has virtually nothing going for it except ‘nos’. No cholesterol, no sodium, no dietary fibre, not any fat or proteins either. Hardly any carbs, some energy and Vitamin C. So even though it doesn’t kick many goals, it’s been a player since the Persian kings in 550 BC tossed it in their salads.
The great Greek doctor, Hippocrates, told his patients it would calm their nerves on the Grand Finals of the chariot races. The Chinese didn’t start barracking for it until the 5th Century and, though I have no evidence to back up this assertion, I believe Genghis Khan introduced it to them along with pigtails.
Dear old Chaucer in 1387 gave it a mighty cheer and its light green has been in the top four every year. Every pub and cafe offer their spectators either salad or chips. (Usually both are served). Don’t, for a moment, believe I’m denigrating the Iceberg. Strewth, cobbers! I’m told that white milky substance one sees seeping from the cut stalks is actually hallucinogenic. (So if you don’t eat it you can smoke it!) And it’s crisp freshness is a joy on a hot summer’s day. So who is this upstart team which is vying for the pennant? Bok Choy – also known as Chinese Shard or Pak Choy.
It certainly has a more distinctive flavour than Iceberg. And its history of playing in every Asian Grand Final is impressive indeed.
Bok Choy’s promoters cry that it can be eaten raw or cooked simply by steaming it till it wilts then serve it with crisp water-chestnuts and oyster sauce to outplay most opponents.
But the opposing team shout that they, too, can be cooked. To date its only history is salads. But shredded, softened in butter with onions, capers and chopped red capsicum and they’re a threat to the opposition.
So, being prudent, I’m not putting my money on the outcome of this Grand Final.
If the VFL (Vegetable Food Lovers) have any sense, they’ll employ Mike Brady to sing “Up there Iceberg, In there and fight, Show them your crispness, Show them your might.” (The political boys could have done with his rousing anthems, too.)
Maybe the Iceberg boys don’t believe they need help so “Up there Bok Choy, In there and skite, Show ‘em your goodness, Show ‘em you’re right” would secure a decisive win for the underdog.
Anyway, without the Brady anthem I reckon it’d be a draw.
Now another victory flag is being waved with pride and joy. It’s been awarded in San Francisco. My Thai daughter-in-law, following her own game plan but with a little coaching from my son, has produced a brownish daughter. Proof that Aussie and Asian can come together without struggle. So maybe Iceberg and Bok Choy can play a friendly game in our kitchens, too.
Grand finals are played to find a champion once and for all.
Lettuce in Sour Cream and Capers.
30g butter; 1 lettuce finely shredded; 2 tablespoons finely chopped red capsicum; 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion; 2 tablespoons sour cream; 1 tablespoon capers; salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste .
Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and saute the lettuce, red capsicum, onion, capers and sour cream for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
To make Lettuce Soup.
Simply add enough beef or chicken stock to the above recipe to feed the number of people at your table.
May 26, 2017
Tumut Burgers are what my mum used to serve my brother and me for Sunday brunch – Uncle Skinny would smoke a trout he’d caught down near the old wooden bridge!
1 crusty roll; butter; 1 egg, lightly poached; dried basil leaves; smoked trout; grated tasty cheese; freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the bread roll in half and pull out the inside of the rounded half. Throw that away then butter the inside of the roll. Sprinkle it with basil then slip in a lightly poached egg. Top that with some smoked trout and then grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Pop it under the grill to brown. Make sure the cheese completely covers the smoked trout and the bread otherwise the roll will burn. You can use a raw egg if you wish, I do, but then you’ll get an underdone Tumut Burger.
Another type of Tumut Burger.
1 crispy roll per person; butter; small pinch dried oregano leaves; 1/2 cup diced, cooked lamb; 1 tablespoon Greek style yoghurt; 1 spring onion, sliced; shredded lettuce; black olive for garnish.
Cut the bread roll in half and pull out the inside of the rounded half. Butter the inside of the roll, sprinkle with oregano and pop in the diced lamb. Spoon on the yoghurt drop on three or four slices of spring onion then cover with shredded lettuce. Garnish with a pitted black olive.
DUCK – too much for two, not enough for three. That old saying may be right if we are talking about wild duck,but farmed ducks are, in most cases, much larger than their wild mates. Mind you, both have a great amount of fat. (God put the fat there to protect the bird from the cold water in which it sat.) Farmed duck may never see enough water for it to swim in. And, even though a duck is a duck, it’s sold and served as duckling.
Ducks are ubiquitous and have been eaten since Ali Oop, the mate of the Flintstones, discovered fire. It’s easy to cook, but many, many cooks are frightened to try. But you won’t be, will you? Oh, by the way, before you heat your oven, wonder over why Peking Duck isn’t now called Beijing Duck!
1 duck; salt; 1 cup beanshoots; 1 oven bag; juice of 1 lemon; splash soy sauce; 1 crushed clove garlic; 1 teaspoon honey.
Pull the fat out from inside the duck near the Pope’s nose, then make a slit near the neck and tuck the neck in, or you can cut it off and throw it into your soup pot. Rub the inside of the duck with salt and stuff it with beanshoots. These are used to absorb the fat and can be thrown away when serving, unless you want to eat duck fat.
Put the duck in an oven bag and add the lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic and honey. Tie up the bag, making a few holes in it near the tie to let out some of the hot air, then put the bag into a baking dish and put it in the oven to cook for 20 minutes for each 500g at 190 deg.C.
When it’s cooked cut away the bag, but be careful because it will be extremely hot. Carve as you would a chicken.
May 12, 2017
G’day, Up Lacmalac hill, past the Singing Tree and on to where the pines now copy the vistas of Europe, Boydie and Hazel lived. Their house was just above the Green Paddock and where Little Sandy and Big Sandy Creeks met to make a sandbank the wild dogs used as a stepping platform to get across without wetting their paws.
Boydie, also known as ‘Tall Timbers’ or ‘The Colonel’ was a devotee of grilled lamb chops. While he was cooking them over hot coals, he’d spray (mist) them with water from the race which ran from the creek to his back door and beyond. “The mist of water saves them from shrinking,” he’d smile.
And I follow his wisdom still. If I’m barbecuing I use the mister my wife has for her ironing or, if she complains, I use the fine spray on the end of my garden hose. And, dear reader, it works. The mist not only wets the chops, but causes a wet cloud of stem which also prevents the chops shrinking.
In the kitchen I put a little water into the tray under the griller stand on which the chops sit so they can drip the fat from them. The griller’s heat causes the water to steam, therefore doing the intended job.
Mind you, if you don’t leave the chops on (or under) heat for too long, they shrink very little. I often heat a little olive oil in a pan. Sprinkle the chops with a little cumin and coriander and pop them into the hot pan.
After half a minute (no more) turn the chops and leave for a minute. The chops will be still pink in the middle but, remember, they will continue to cook once they leave the pan.
The idea is not to dry the chops out, either on the BBQ, under the griller or in the pan.
Next week I’ll tell you how to cook a carrot.
May 5, 2017
G’day, these simple recipes are a simple yet heartfelt thank you to the memory of Rung, a beautiful Thai lady chef who cooked at and co-owned Woodend’s Khao Jao restaurant. Her husband and daughter now run the restaurant and are my dear friends. So try this little taste of Thai.
350g Chinese broccoli or Bok Choy, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Blanch the Chinese broccoli or Bok Choy in boiling water with a little salt – only for 2 minutes – then drain it. Drop the garlic into the oil which you’ve heated in a wok or frying pan and stir it around, over a medium heat, until the garlic is golden brown. Quickly add the Chinese broccoli or Bok Choy, half the oyster sauce and the soy sauce. Turn up the heat and stir continuously until the stems of the vegetable are just tender – about 2 minutes. Drizzle the rest of the soy sauce over and serve hot.
Barbecued skinless sausages
3 sprigs coriander
1 lemon grass stalk, chopped (only the white part)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red chilli, chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
300g minced lean pork
Make a fine paste of the coriander, lemon grass, garlic and pepper by pounding them together in a mortar and pestle – or use a food processor. Stir in the chilli, fish sauce, sugar and pork making sure they’re well combined. Form into sausage shapes and barbecue for 5 minutes each side.
April 28, 2017
Smoked fish or chicken.
Impress your friends by smoking a piece of fish or chicken. Put the fish, chicken or whatever onto the hot plate of your barbecue. Alongside it run a line of lemon myrtle. Cover the meat and lemon myrtle with a dome made of foil and the lemon myrtle will very quickly start to smoke. Let the meat cook for 5 minutes then turn it over, cover with the foil again, and cook on the other side until it’s done.
We’ve all dissected the rights and wrongs of eating the animals depicted on our coat of arms and so I’ll forgo repeating the arguments. I will say that kangaroo meat is relatively fat free and therefore has a tendency to be dry. For that reason I’ve suggested marinating it. If you have a favourite marinade which you believe will be better suited than mine, try both. At separate sittings of course. But do try the smoking idea, it works with tealeaves too.
Marinated Kangaroo Fillet Medallions.
1 cup red wine; 1/2 cup olive oil; 1 sprig fresh rosemary; 4 garlic cloves, broken; 30 peppercorns; 500 g kangaroo fillet.
Mix together all the ingredients and pour them over the kangaroo fillet in a baking dish. Leave overnight – or at least for a couple of hours. Take the kangaroo out of the marinade and slice into thin medallions then sear very quickly (1 minute each side) on a hot barbecue plate.
April 21, 2017
1 rabbit; 1/4 cup olive oil; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 6 sprigs of thyme; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1/4 cup dry white wine.
Preheat the oven to 160 deg.C. Rub the rabbit all over with oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the rabbit into a roasting dish and drop onto it the thyme and garlic, pop it into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Add the wine to the pan, mix in the juices already in the pan and baste the rabbit with them. Cook the rabbit for another hour, basting every 15 minutes, until the rabbit is golden brown.
300 ml milk; 2 eggs; 1 egg yolk; 1 tablespoon crushed horseradish; 1 teaspoon salt
Whisk together the eggs, extra egg yolk, horseradish and salt. Warm the milk then stir it into the egg mix. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 120 deg.C. Strain the custard then pour it into five small oiled moulds. Put them onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Serve as an accompaniment to the rabbit, garnished with sliced snowpeas.
April 14, 2017
Marbled Tea Leaf Eggs.
6 eggs; 3 tablespoons strong black tea; 1 tablespoon salt 2 whole Star Anise (you can buy the Star Anise at Chinese grocery stores or the gourmet section of your local supermarket)
Put the eggs in a saucepan, having first made a small hole in the blunt end, and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the eggs, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then run them under the cold water tap so you can handle them without burning your fingers, and also to prevent the grey ring forming around the yolk. Now, tap them gently all over with the back of a spoon so that a fine network of cracks covers the shells. Having got rid of the first lot of water put the eggs back in the saucepan. Pour in 4 cups of cold water, the tea, salt and Star Anise and bring it to simmering point again. Let them simmer for 30 minutes then turn off the heat and leave the eggs in the liquid for about another hour. Shell the eggs carefully and you’ll find the whites will be traced with a fine marbled pattern. Use them as garnish either whole or cut in halves or quarters.
April 07, 2017
To make a fish pie one needs fish of some type. And in this case, pastry. I have chosen frozen puff pastry – the commercial brand. Although I did consider and, right up to writing this, filo. But I remember, last night when making the pie I’m about to describe, I couldn’t find the filo in my freezer. Therefore the puff. I chose two pie dishes, each would hold enough for one person. I sprayed the inside of each dish with a little olive oil. I then cut up a brown onion and peeled and sliced 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 2 ripe red tomatoes and some raw Atlantic Salmon pieces of various bite sizes and heated the lot in a pan wet with olive oil.
Once that lot was warmed through (I wasn’t cooking it for the table, it was for the pie, therefore would continue to cook once in the oven with its lid of pastry to brown and puff). Anyway, I scooped the mixture into the pie dishes, added some cut up green beans (they would be over-cooked had I included them with the fish etc.) I also popped in some chunks of raw plum and apricot and a splash of cream and a spoon of tomato paste and some green spinach leaves.
On with the lid and into a hot oven until the pastry browned.
By the way, you can use any fish which appeals to your palate.
March 17, 2017
1 rasher lean bacon, cut into strips
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of dried basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 lightly-poached egg
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
1 tablespoon whipped cream
Bake the potato in its jacket in the oven at 220 deg.C for an hour or so (depending on its size), or cook it in a microwave. Now, lie it on its side and cut a hole in the top. Scoop out the flesh and pop it into a mixing bowl with the bacon, basil, freshly ground black pepper and spring onion and mix it all together. Push it back into the spud you’ve hollowed out and just leave a little hollow. Pop the egg into it, top the egg with cheese to protect it from the heat then put the potato into an ovenproof dish and put it into the oven until the cheese is melted and golden. When it comes out of the oven, put a little blob of cream on it – Paddy’s potato.
March 10, 2017
185g shortcrust pastry; 60g sliced gruyere cheese; 4 eggs; 1 cup cream; 125g bacon, chopped; 1 tablespoon butter; 1 small onion, cut into fine rings; 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley; salt; freshly ground black pepper.
Lightly fry the onion rings in butter and set aside. Line a flan tin with shortcrust pastry and lay out the gruyere slices over the bottom of it. Beat the eggs and cream together, add the bacon pieces, onion and parsley and season with pepper. Pour the egg mixture gently onto the cheese and bake in an oven at 200 deg.C for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt. Allow to cool, then gently take it out of the flan tin. Serve with a fresh French salad.
March 3, 2017
John Howard insisted salads be exempt from GST. Now the ATO is objecting to Uncle Tom Cobley and All demanding EVERYTHING is a salad. Hot. Cold. Green or the colour of the rainbow. Even aunty’s hat decoration. Really, one only has to look up the Oxford definition of ‘salad’.
Anyway, folks, this current hot weather is Salad Days for the gourmand and gourmet.
I make a salad dressing by splashing olive oil and white wine vinegar over whatever. Add garlic juice and a squirt of mirin – sweet sherry if no mirin – and a small slurp of light soy sauce. If my lemons are ripe, I forgo the vinegar for a good wetting of lemon juice – though sometimes I use both, and instead of mirin I dribble in a little honey to counter the acids of the vinegar and lemon.
For your interest, Oxford Dictionary says: salad n. cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables or herbs usu. seasoned with oil, vinegar, etc., and eaten with or including cold meat, fish, hard-boiled eggs, etc.; vegetable or herb suitable for eating raw.
February 17, 2017
Zucchini for when your neighbours give you their home-grown vegetables.
Peel and shave the zucchini lengthways with a vegetable peeler and then blanch them in hot water. (Throw them into the hot water and take out immediately.) Dry, then mix with a little olive oil, lemon zest, shaved Parmesan cheese and some cracked pepper. Toast a slice of sourdough bread on both sides. Brush with olive oil. Top with the zucchini then fold on slices of Prosciutto. Top with a lightly poached egg, salt, pepper and more lemon zest. Easy, eh?
February 10, 2017
BLACK OLIVES – ROASTED. 1 1/4 cups black Spanish olives; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 3 teaspoons finely chopped thyme; 5 cloves garlic, finely sliced.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg.C. Whilst it’s heating, rinse and drain the olives then put them into a bowl with the olive oil, thyme and garlic and stir them around until they’re well coated. Spread the olives out on a baking tray and roast them, shaking the tray occasionally, until they have shriveled and the garlic is golden – about 20 minutes. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.) Serve the olives warm. They’ll keep for 2 weeks covered with olive oil in an airtight container in the fridge.
January 27, 2017
Thinly slice pepper crusted salami. Evenly spread out on the rack under the grill. Crisp the slices (this gets rid of a lot of the fat). Put aside. Peel a cucumber (discard the pips), quarter it lengthwise. Cut these four strips into chips. Melt olive oil and butter in a pan. Slightly soften the chips. This is a quick process.
Plate the chips with raw, young spinach leaves and the crisp slices of salami. Serve as an entree.
January 20, 2017
My neighbours Ian and Dianne Rohde filled my mail box with cherries, baby marrows and cucumbers which they’d grown. I skinned the marrows and cucumbers, took the seeds out of the cucumbers, then cut both into little finger-sized shapes and warmed (not cooked) them in a little butter and olive oil, a splash of light soy sauce and sliced garlic (given by another neighbour John Terrell. I had some pre-cooked arborio rice and cubed chicken pieces which I combined with the vegetables. Turning off the gas I threw in the cherries and some cubed orange segments (from my garden). This combination was served in individual Chinese bowls after drizzling honey over each serving.
January 13, 2017
LAMBS’ BRAINS WITH BLACK BUTTER.
Soak, then blanch 500g of lambs’ brains. Dry them on kitchen paper (paper towels) then cut them into slices and season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and fry the brains until they’re golden on both sides then take them out and put them onto a warm serving dish. Add another 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and heat until it starts to smoke then throw in a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley. Stir then quickly pour over the brains. Warm a tablespoon of cider vinegar in the pan and sprinkle over the top of the brains. Serve straight away. This should be enough for 4 people.
December 30, 2016
Don’t overcook ANY food! Cold leftovers (from the fridge) can be diced then stirred into a hot sauce made from a good splash of soy sauce and equal amounts of cream.
Remember don’t boil the sauce – just heat it. Stir in the cold leftovers and serve over hot mashed potatoes.
December 23, 2016
Last week’s recipe for Peter’s ‘Sounds of the Mountains’ radio segment.
1 egg; 1 1/4 cups chilled milk; 1 teaspoon honey; nip of brandy (or orange juice; cinnamon.
Into a blender break the egg, pour in the milk honey and brandy (or orange juice). Blend it, pour into a glass, sprinkle with cinnamon and you’re in business. If you like, use brown sugar, or vanilla essence or drinking chocolate or coffee. Instead of brandy try rum or whisky or sherry or fruit cordial or syrup. Even a spoonful of ice-cream or yoghurt is good.
Listen to Peter each and every Friday around 10.00 am on Sounds of the Mountains
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