Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Moving

Just letting you know that in a few days time I will be retiring this blog and transferring my recipes to my new blog Too Cold for Llamas
Cheers :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fagioli all'uccelletto

A very exotic title which means 'beans in a jar'... not so exotic, but still absolutely delicious!  I originally found this recipe in Delicious magazine.
60 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to store
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 fresh sage leaves
500g canned cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
300g tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp caster sugar
Heat the olive oil in a large frypan, add garlic, sage, cannellini beans, passata, paste and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Pack into a sterilised preserving jar and cover with a little more extra virgin olive oil.  Allow to cool, then seal. These keep well for up to 1 week if kept chilled.
I sometimes make half the amount which works well too.

Marinated Summer Fruits

I've been trying to include more fruit in my diet and find a way to use the fruit I buy before it goes off!  I've tried poaching and bottling which is nice but this recipe is the best!  Basically you fill a jar or preferred container with fresh summer fruit such as peaches, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, oranges, cherries or whatever you fancy.  Then you make a vanilla syrup to pour over the top.. and with a splash of cointreau or your favourite liquer, you'll be hard pressed to keep the jar full enough to maintain your appetite!
I've included the recipe as it is in Delicious magazine, but you can really use any fruit you desire.
165 g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 tbsp of liquer
2-3 peaches, thinly sliced
4 small nectarines, peeled
1 orange, peeled, segmented
1 cup cherries
1 punnet blueberries
1 punnet raspberries
2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced
Place sugar in a saucepan with 1 cup (250 ml) water and vanilla.  Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, simmer for 5 minutes, then cool.  Add liquer, if using.
Layer the fruits in a large sterilised jar, then pour the cooled syrup over top. Seal and store in the fridge.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portuguese Tarts

I've been wanting to make these for ages.  Years ago I used a recipe by Jamie Oliver where he rolled the pastry with cinnamon and sugar; and recently I read a recipe on Not Quite Nigella where the custard seemed really easy.  I decided to fuse the 2 using Jamie's pastry idea and NQN's custard.  I have to say that I absolutely love making these pastry circles.  I think it's the thrill of seeing the swirls created by the cinnamon sugar as you roll out the discs of pastry, it's somehow very therapeutic.  Some people like to go to spas to relax, me... I like to roll pastry!
Makes 12
3 egg yolks
115g   caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
230ml  Cream or  NQN suggests just  milk works  well too
170ml Milk
2 tsp vanilla extract or Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
1 sheet of puff pastry
1  - 2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1. Lightly grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray.

2. Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a pan and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.

3. Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. Cut the pastry dough sheet in half, sprinkle one half with cinnamon sugar.  Put the other half on top, sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end and cut the pastry log into 12 x 1cm rounds. Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out until each is 10cm in diameter.

6. Press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Biscotti al Pistacchio

Once again I was trawling through one of my favourite blogs, 101 Cookbooks when I came across this gorgeous recipe for Biscotti al Pistacchio.  It drew me in as it combined three of my favourite things ... biscotti, pistacchios and Italy. It brought back memories of the day I marched into a biscotti factory in Trastevere and tried to order biscuits with very limited Italian from a Nonna with NO english.  I managed to come away with the most delicious bag full of mixed Italian biscotti which sustained us for about 6 hours as we drove south to Amalfi. 
This recipe originally comes from Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, The Rome Sustainable Food Project.
This is one of the easiest recipes you could try, so give it a go and chew on a little bit of Italy today!
(I halved the recipe ... as there are only 2 of us and it made approximately 24 biscotti)

250g raw pistachios
100g granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

scant 1/4 cup egg whites from 2 large eggs
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, for coating cookies
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.

Pulse the pistachios in a food processor with 50g of the granulated sugar until the nuts are finely chopped.
Combine the ground pistachio-sugar mixture with the honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the egg white, mixing until the dough is well combined and soft. At this point, add the rest of the granulated sugar and mix gently.
Form the dough into small balls, and roll them in the icing sugar to coat well. Transfer the balls to cookie sheets lined with baking paper, leaving at least an inch between each cookie.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges of each cookie are golden.
These cookies can be stores in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes approximately 24

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin & Feta Muffins

I have to admit that I made these muffins more out of a duty to my body than my tastebuds, but my tastebuds are now shouting "Thank you!" as these muffins are divine!
The recipe comes from a cute little cook book called Martha Goes Green and was also featured on 101 CookbooksI tweaked the recipe a bit to suit myself.These will be great for work lunches and will most likely freeze pretty well too.... Yum!

18 foil muffin pans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cubed pumpkin (1 cm dice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds kernels (I used a mix of these plus pepitas and pine nuts because that's what I had in the cupboard!)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
100g cubed feta
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard  (I substituted french mustard - once again because that's what I had and it worked really well)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup / 180 ml milk
2 cups SR flour 
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third and arrange muffin pans in two 12-hole muffin pans and set aside.

Sprinkle the olive oil and some salt and pepper over the pumpkin. Toss well and turn onto a baking tray. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 - 25 minutes or until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool.

Transfer two-thirds of the pumpkin to a large mixing bowl along with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, parmesan, two-thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard. Gently fold together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together and add to the pumpkin mix. Sift the flour onto the pumpkin mix, top with the salt and freshly ground black pepper and fold together just until the batter comes together, being careful not to over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans, filling each hole 3/4 full, top each muffin with a bit of the remaining pumpkin and feta.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Serve with a big dob of cold butter!  Yum!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pork, Pistacchio and Pancetta Terrine

This terrine is delicious and versatile.  What can I say... it's perfect!  You can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serve it with just about anything.  I have to say that the apricot chutney is delicious but I didn't make it this time as I have some lovely plum chutney which will go just as well.  It is a surpisingly moist terrine that simply melts in the mouth ... Bon appetite!
Recipe from Taste

Ingredients (serves 8)
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
600g pork mince
600g chicken mince
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy
2 tbs chopped fresh continental parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground white pepper
55g (1/3 cup) pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
16 (about 170g) slices pancetta  (Works equally well with bacon)
Crusty bread, to serve
Cornichons, to serve

Apricot chutney
2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbs finely grated fresh ginger
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy
500ml (2 cups) water
185ml (3/4 cup) cider vinegar
300g diced dried apricots
155g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until onion softens. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool completely.
Add the pork, chicken, brandy, parsley, thyme, rosemary, allspice and pepper to the onion mixture. Mix until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to develop the flavours.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Add the pistachio, egg and salt to the pork mixture and mix until well combined.
Arrange rosemary sprigs lengthways along the centre of an 8cm-deep, 8 x 20cm (base measurement), 1.5-litre (6-cup) capacity non-stick loaf pan. Arrange pancetta, overlapping slightly, over the base and 2 long sides, allowing the sides to overhang. Press pork mixture into pan and smooth the surface. Fold over pancetta to enclose filling. Cover terrine with non-stick baking paper. Cover pan tightly with foil to seal.
Place the pan in a large baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the terrine is warm to the touch. Set aside to cool slightly. Top with another loaf pan. Place a heavy object (such as 2 or 3 cans) on top to compress the terrine. Place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to chill.
Meanwhile, to make the apricot chutney, heat the oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until onion is soft.
Add the brandy and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add the water, vinegar, apricot and sugar. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until the mixture reduces and thickens. Transfer to a clean, dry jar. Seal and invert for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Turn the terrine onto a serving plate and remove excess jellied fat. Set aside for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Cut into slices and serve with the chutney, bread and cornichons.