Thursday, May 31, 2007

They Go Really Well Together #2


When Tara from Should You Eat that? informed me of a new event she was hosting called They Go Really Well Together...let's say I was intrigued. You can tell by the logo that this is a more unusual type of event.

The ingredients for the month are Banana and Parsley and the objective is to create a dish that uses both these ingredients.

I must say this had me stumped for a while due to the quite strong flavour of parsley and how it could ever partner with banana. My solution came in not using the parsley for it's flavour but for it's chlorophyll!

Once I had that fixed in my mind then finding a way to incorporate it was an easier task. Chlorophyll is sensitive to heat so I decided to make the most of that and add it to a banana ice-cream. The ice-cream would taste like banana but to look at it you'd think it was mint or even green tea - if anything, because of the colour shift in a blind tasting, the flavour of banana is enhanced because you aren't expecting it.

The process of making Chlorophyll is described in this post.

green ice-cream

Green Banana Ice-Cream

200 grams soft, ripe bananas, cut into chunks
350 grams sheeps milk yoghurt
250 mls milk
130 grams caster sugar
Chlorophyll

Place the banana, yoghurt and caster sugar into a blender and process until smooth. Pour this out into and bowl and add the milk - whisk this until it's well combined then store, covered, in the fridge until very cold.

Follow manufacturers instructions and pour into your ice-cream maker to churn - it should take about 20 minutes. Transfer into a freezer proof container and allow to set in the freezer.

churned

I suppose I should add that the ice-cream succeeded - Chlorophyll successfully provided the colour-shift I had wanted and if I had desired I could have made it even "greener". I look forward to having a bit of fun in confusing people with it.

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Making Chlorophyll

There are a few ways to distill Chlorophyll and I like this method prescribed by Sydney Chef Justin North in his book Bécasse.

It uses that much maligned variety of parsley - curly parsley

parsley

Chlorophyll

80 grams picked curly parsley leaves
6 cups water

Wash and dry the parsley leaves.

Place the leaves and water into a blender and process for a few minutes until it forms a bright green liquid.

Strain this through a fine sieve and pour into a saucepan. Over a low heat, stir constantly until you see green particles rising to the surface. It's important that you do this slowly.

Pour this into a container along with a handful of ice and place in the fridge to cool.

chlorphyll

This photos illustrates how the mixture will look when cooled - the chlorohyll has separated from the water, it looks very much like algae.

When cold, pour through a muslin lined sieve, don't push the mix through let gravity do it's job. Once drained you can throw away the water. Scrape as much of the green paste that is remaining on the muslin as possible and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

This should give you about 2 tablespoons of Chlorophyll.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Leftover Tuesdays #5

Since I have some stewed quinces sitting in the fridge I thought they might be the ideal candidate for Leftover Tuesdays - this is an event that encourages us to "recycle leftovers into wonderful and amazing new dishes" and this month it's hosted by Pam from Project Foodie.

Quinces do partner well with creamy things so I thought I'd add them to a baked custard tart made with my never-fail and very short sweet shortcrust pastry - but you could easily substitute the store bought variety.

Once the tart is cooked I top it with the syrup from the stewed quinces that I've reduced - it forms this light translucent jelly skin over the tart as it sets.

tart

Quince Custard Tart
[Makes 2x15cm/6inch tarts]

1 portion sweet shortcrust pastry
stewed quinces, diced
For the custard:
90 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1 egg
250 mls cream

Butter and flour the tart tins - be sure to use the deep fluted loose-based pans rather than the shallow.

Roll out the pastry and line the tins - prick the base with a fork then line with baking paper filled with weights.

Cook in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for about 10 minutes - remove the paper and weights and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the pastry looks dry. You may need to lower the temperature a little if they seem to be browning.

Prepare the custard:
Whisk the sugar, vanilla extra, egg and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved, then add the cream. Continue whisking until amalgamated.

Place a spoonful of custard into the base of each tin, then top with the diced quince - you only want the quince pieces to just cover the bottom of the pan. Pour over the remaining custard and return to the oven.

It's a good idea to bake the tarts on an oven tray in case the custard rises and spills over.

Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the custard has set and the top has lightly browned.

Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before removing.

slice

You can serve it as is, or glazed with the reduced juices from the stewed quince.

To reduce the juice, place a cupful into a small pan and boil rapidly until reduced by three-quarters - let it cool slightly and it should start to thicken. Pour this over the cooled tarts and let it set before serving.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stuffed Gem Squash/Stuffed Acorn Squash

Jeanne from Cooksister is back hosting Waiter, There's something in my... and she wants us to get stuffed...umm..no she wants us to get stuffing...vegetables and fruits that is!

After some thought I settled upon something that caught my eye the first time I saw it - Gem Squash or more correctly Acorn Squash.

gem squash©


They are Acorn Squash but the Grower calls them Gem Squash so that is the name they are being sold under. I must admit that the name Acorn does give you a better idea of their overall shape. They fit easily in the hand with a vibrant orange and green skin and deep ridge marks. My first glimpse of them had me stopping in mid step.

gem squash©


After tossing around various ideas on how to stuff these squash I decided on something quite simple. I sliced them in half along their length and removed the seeds and fibrous parts. The flesh is quite light coloured and it is quite a mild tasting squash.

I par-bake the halves and then fill them in a mix of spinach and béchamel sauce that's been flavoured with nutmeg and a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano. They then go back in the oven to finish cooking.

stuffed gem squash©


Stuffed Gem Squash/Stuffed Acorn Squash

Gem squash, sliced in half lengthways, seeds removed
fresh spinach
thick Béchamel sauce
freshly ground nutmeg
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, extra

Drizzle a little olive oil over the prepared squash - rub the oil in well to coat the skin and insides. Sprinkle over with a little salt.

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven until they have softened and are beginning to colour.

While the squash is cooking, boil the spinach until soft and strain immediately. Allow to cool and then press the spinach to remove any excess water. They need to be as dry as possible. Shred the spinach roughly and set to one side.

The béchamel sauce needs to be thick to hold the spinach and not spill out of the squash. When you add the spinach, season with nutmeg - I find that nutmeg just loves spinach and squash. You may also like to enrich the mixture by adding some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spoon this into the par-cooked squash and return to the oven to finish cooking and set the filling.

stuffed squash©

Monday, May 28, 2007

Rhubarb Ripple Cake

Every since I got hold of Liz Franklin's Quick Breads I've kept returning to one recipe in particular - a mix of raspberries, white chocolate and almond. Just by the ingredients you know that it's going to be delicious.

Since I didn't have any fresh raspberries but I did have some stewed rhubarb sitting in the fridge I decided it might be worth while tweaking the recipe a little to incorporate the rhubarb and in the process created something a bit different.

In the original recipe the raspberries and white chocolate are sprinkled over the top of the cake before it's placed in the oven. For this version I've incorporated the chocolate into the mix itself, then poured out half of the batter into the tin - topped it with the stewed rhubarb that is then covered with the remaining batter. For a final touch I added just a little more stewed rhubarb over the cake top before placing it in the oven to cook.

When you slice it you get this lovely ripple effect through the centre of the cake and small chunks of white chocolate through the cake.

cake

Rhubarb White Chocolate Ripple Cake

250 grams softened butter, cut into cubes
250 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
100 grams plain flour
150 grams almond meal
1 tablespoon milk
150 grams stewed rhubarb
150 grams Lindt white chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F - grease and line a loaf pan.

Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a mixer and beat until light and creamy.

Lightly whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract with a fork and then add it, a little at a time to the creamed mixture. Make sure you stop and scrap down the sides of the bowl to make sure it's properly incorporated.

Once the eggs have all been added, stir in the flour, almond meal and milk.

Spoon out about half the batter into the loaf pan and roughly smooth the surface - top this with most of the stewed rhubarb (leave a little aside for the cake top).

Top with the remaining batter and smooth the surface - spread over the remaining rhubarb, pushing it slightly into the batter.

Place in the oven and cook for about 70 minutes or until it's golden brown and cooked through. If you feel it's browning too quickly, cover with foil.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

cake

Because of the nature of the stewed rhubarb and the white chocolate, this is quite a moist cake - but as it cools and the chocolate sets it will lose a little of it's initial stickiness.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #84

Weekend Herb Blogging heads back down here to Melbourne where the wonderful Ellie from Kitchen Wench is hosting.

This seems a bit egotistical but this edition marks for me, a year of participating in WHB so I thought I'd make a mosaic to celebrate the event.

whbwhb

Many thanks go to Kalyn for starting the whole concept of Weekend Herb Blogging and for all the work she does in keeping it running so smoothly. It's been great to take the time to look a little more deeply into the ingredients we use - it's been the best learning experience and lots of fun to boot.

With that said it's time to return to this edition and this week it's more seasonal produce in the form of Quince!

quince

It does resemble a rather large and misshaped pear but the Quince is quite an ancient fruit. It's mentioned by the Greeks in 600BC where it was considered a symbol of fertility. Some believe it has a far more nefarious past and that it was a Quince and not an Apple that lead to Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Nutritionally Quince is high in Vitamin C, Fibre and Potassium. They really can't be eaten raw and the best method of extracting their hidden beauty is in stewing or poaching the fruit. In fact, the idea of cooking Quince in sweetened liquids date back to first century Rome.

When I stew Quince and other fruits for that matter, I don't tend to add a lot of flavourings as I really just want the fruit characters to emerge. Besides the beautiful perfume that's released as the quinces slowly cook, we also get an amazing colour change - from its rather bland off-white flesh, it becomes almost jewel like with its reddish-pink hue.

quince

Stewed Quinces

approx. 1.5 kg Quinces (roughly 4 medium sized Quince)
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half

Prepare the Quince:

Have a bowl of water at the ready in which you have added the juice of 1 lemon - this will stop the quince pieces from browning.

Cut each Quince into quarters, then peel and core, placing the pieces into the prepared water.

Put the water, sugar and vanilla pod into a large pot and place over a low heat - stirring well until the sugar dissolves.

Add the drained quince pieces - the water in the pot should just cover them.

Turn the heat down so it barely simmers and cover the pot. Allow the quince to cook undisturbed and very slowly for about 3 hours. It's most important that this is done slowly as you'll achieve a much deeper colour change.

Once cooked, let the quinces cool in the pot.

If you aren't going to use them straight away, store them with the syrup in a sealed container in the fridge.

quince

To serve:

There are many things you can do with your stewed Quince but here I'm serving it as lovely lazy Sunday breakfast.

On a bed of yoghurt (I used Tasmanian Vanilla Yoghurt) lay 2-3 quince quarters.

Take a cup of syrup and place in a small saucepan and boil rapidly - you want to reduce this syrup by about half to three-quarters. This will intensify the colour and when cooled will become jelly-like.

Let the syrup stand for a few minutes so it cools a little before pouring it over the quinces. The chill from the yoghurt and quince will cause the syrup to begin setting.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #13

If Italian food is my first love than my second would be Japanese so for this edition of Presto Past Night hosted by the lovely Ruth of Once Upon a Feast I'll be using Udon noodles.

udon

I love the look of these bundles of noodles - and for this dish you can use whatever variety is your favourite, buckwheat, green tea, carrot - they all work well. These are simple whole-wheat organic Udon.

I'll be serving these in a miso broth along with shredded wakame and tofu cubes and for something a little special, seared Harvey Bay scallops seasoned with Sansho.

The best part is that you can have this ready in under 10 minutes - now that is quick!

soup

Miso Soup with Udon Noodles and Seared Scallops
[Serves 2 or 1 very hungry person]

1 bundle Udon Noodles
2 tablespoons Dashi Miso Soybean Paste (or use your favourite)
2 cups boiling water
silken tofu, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon dried shredded wakame, soaked in water for 5 minutes
6 scallops
Ground Sansho Pepper and freshly ground sea salt

Cook the Udon Noodles:
In a boiling pot of salted water add the noodles and cook until just tender - for these noodles it took about 8 minutes but always read the directions on the package and taste for tenderness.

While the noodles are cooking you can make the miso soup and cook the scallops.

Make the Miso Soup:
In a small saucepan place the soybean paste and the boiling water - stir well to dissolve the paste and place back on a gentle heat. Add the drained shredded wakame and tofu cubes and just let them absorb the heat of the broth.

Prepare the Scallops:
The scallops I used are the larger local Harvey Bay variety without roe.
Drizzle a little neutral oil in a dish and add the scallops, turn to coat.
Grind over both sides with salt and a sprinkling of Sansho.

Sear the scallops in a hot fry-pan, about 20 seconds each side - all I want is for the surface to be nicely coloured.

To serve:

Place the noodles in the bowls, pour over the hot miso broth and then top with 3 scallops. Serve with chopsticks and Chinese spoon.


soup


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rhubarb and Sago

With the change in weather some kind of internal switch as been flicked and I find myself noticing rhubarb everywhere - and when they look as good as this specimen they are impossible to resist.

rhubarb

My initial intention was to make a dish of stewed rhubarb but as nice as that was, it seemed a little humdrum. I wanted something creamy to play against the slight tartness of the rhubarb and while a rice pudding would be an excellent match, it is a little time consuming.

My solution came in the form of this almost forgotten ingredient - sago or seed tapioca

sago

When cooked, these tiny pearl grains expand, releasing their starch and becoming wonderfully translucent. To further increase their appeal, rather than cooking them in milk or water, I've cooked them in a mix of coconut cream and water.

To serve, simply alternate layers of sago and rhubarb.

dessert

Stewed Rhubarb with Coconut Sago

Stewed Rhubarb
500 grams rhubarb
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup water

Wash and trim the rhubarb - for larger stalks of rhubarb you'll need to remove any of the tough stringy strands. Slice the stalks at the diagonal in about 2-3cm/1 inch pieces.

Place the rhubarb, sugar and water into a medium sized saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb has broken down and is soft and pulpy.

Coconut Sago
½ cup sago (seed tapioca)
1 cup coconut cream
1½ cups water
½ cup sugar

Place the sago, coconut cream, water and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat. Be careful not to let the mixture boil and make sure you stir this often so the sago cooks evenly.

The sago will swell and the mixture will become quiet sticky as the starch is released. Once the sago has become translucent, it will be cooked and remove it from the heat.

dessert

This can be served warm or cold - you will notice as the sago cools that it will become quite thick. If using the sago cold, stir it well to slacken the mixture before spooning it into your serving dishes.

The hardest part of this dish is not eating it all yourself!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cheese: 180 Acres

This next cheese has been sitting, languishing in a unfinished post for a little while now - the problem, a total absence of information on this particular cheese-maker. Thanks to a small paragraph in the local paper I now know that Andrew Gray from food distributor Raw Materials is the person responsible.

chevre


To be honest, this is one cheese I've bought in spite of it's label but I'd be missing out on quite a good Chèvre if I had succumbed to my initial reaction.

chevre


Removed from it's wrapping, it has a moist exterior but isn't particularly soft - handling it isn't a problem.

sliced


When slicing it will tend to crumble in what I'd class as relatively large shards - similar in fact to both the Udder Delights and Westhaven Chèvre.

Tastewise, it's nicely balanced with a bit of tang (I noted a slight lemon flavour) and a good creamy mouth-feel and worked quite well in a revisit of my roasted mushroom dish.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Coconut and White Chocolate Mud Cake

Tara from Seven Spoons is this month's host of Sugar High Friday and she chose a most interesting theme - a quest to taste the many Shades of White.

I took this as a perfect opportunity to make a cake from AWW's Cakes, Biscuits and Slices cookbook that I've had my eye on for a while. It's a white chocolate mud cake that's smothered in a coconut and white chocolate ganache but to make it even whiter, I've then topped it with shards of flaked coconut.

Pass the fork please!

cake

Coconut and White Chocolate Mud Cake
[Makes 1x22cm/9inch cake]

White Chocolate Mud Cake
250 grams butter, diced
1 lemon, rind finely grated
180 grams Lindt white chocolate, finely chopped
330 grams caster sugar
180mls milk
225 grams plain flour
75 grams self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Coconut White Chocolate Ganache
140mls coconut cream
360 grams Lindt white chocolate, finely chopped

flaked coconut, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.
Line and grease a 22cm/9inch cake pan - a spring-form or loose-bottomed type pan is best.

Make Cake:
Place the butter, lemon zest, white chocolate, sugar and milk into a medium saucepan that is over a low heat - stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set this aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Sift the flours together and place into a bowl - stir in the cooled chocolate mixture followed by the lightly beaten eggs, mixing until combined and smooth.

Pour this into the prepared pan and back for about 1 hour 40 minutes or until cooked through. If the cake looks to be browning too quickly then cover with foil.

Let the cake cool in the pan.

Make Ganache:

Place the coconut cream into a small saucepan and bring to just below boiling point - remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring well to help dissolve the chocolate. You may find you'll need to put this back on the stove, use a low heat and remove as soon as the mixture is smooth.

Pour this out into a bowl and place in the fridge - keep stirring occasionally as it cools and remove as soon as it reaches a spreadable consistency.

Assemble Cake:

Remove the cake from the pan and place on your serving dish.
Spread the ganache evenly over the cake before applying a generous coating of flaked coconut.

cake

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #83

Rinku from Cooking in Westchester is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'll be taking a look at Kale.

kale

Kale is a member of the Brassica Oleracea family and its use dates back to the fourth century BC. It's well known for its anti-oxidant properties and is a good source of Vitamins A, C and K along with Vitamins B6 & E, Folate, Niacin, Pantotheic acid, Riboflavin and Thiamine. It also contains Calcium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium and Zinc.

The dish I'm making this week has its origins in Portugal - their classic soup called Caldo Verde (Green Soup). There seems to be quite a few variations but at its heart is a base of onions, garlic and potatoes cooked in anything from water to a pork bone stock. Once the potatoes have softened, they are either pureed or roughly mashed before the finely shredded Kale leaf is added.

The soup is so named due to the vibrant green colour of the Kale as it cooks. Once served it's topped with crispy sausage such as Chorizo and eaten with crusty bread.

As the weather begins to cool here, it makes an ideal warming lunch.

soup

Potato and Kale Soup
[Serves 4]

1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
700 grams potatoes, cut into cubes
150 grams kale, leaves only, shredded
1 chorizo, diced
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Heat olive oil and a small knob of butter in a large pot over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the onion and garlic and sauté slowly so as to soften the onion but not burn the garlic. This should take about 5 minutes but do keep watch and stir often to ensure it doesn't brown too quickly.

Add the cubed potatoes and stir through - cook for a few minutes before covering with water (or stock). Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are soft and starting to fall apart.

While this is happening, slowly sauté the diced chorizo so it renders its fat and becomes wonderfully crisp, then set it aside.

With a potato masher or the back of a spoon roughly smash the potatoes in the pot - chunky or smooth, it's up to you. I've left some larger pieces of potato in this version as a point of contrast.

Keeping the soup on the heat, I add about a third of the cooked chorizo to the pot along with all the shredded Kale. Stir this well and let it continue to simmer until the Kale has softened. At this stage, taste and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. When seasoning, do take in consideration the spice levels of the sausage you are using.

When cooked, pour into bowls and top with a generous quantity of chorizo.

soup

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #12

For a change, I'll be making a very traditional recipe for this edition of Presto Pasta Night hosted by the doyen of Pasta, Ruth from Once Upon a Feast.

The pasta I'll be using is a speciality from Liguria called Trofie

trofie

it's a little unusual as it's made without egg - it's just flour (usually a mix of durum wheat and semolina), salt and water and is the perfect choice to those that are new to pasta making. There's no complicated rolling and it's simply shaped in the palms of your hands, the action results in it's interesting shape.

Naturally enough, if making any type of pasta just seems a bit too ambitious then you can find it as a dried pasta.

Since it comes from Liguria it makes perfect sense that it's matched to that other Ligurian speciality, pesto and when you think about quick pasta ideas, then pesto must be the perfect choice.

I like to make Pesto as I need it and in the time it takes for the pasta to cook, the pesto can be made. As I said in an earlier post, make it in small quantities and make it often, that way you experience it at it's most fragrant. You can store it under oil but I find that even after a few hours it's will have lost some of it's initial impact.

You can head back to this post to find out how I make pesto - naturally enough you can use your own favourite pesto.

pasta

Trofie al Pesto/Trofie with Pesto

Trofie pasta
Pesto
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Once the pasta has cooked strain it but set aside a little of the cooking water - place the pasta in a bowl and add a few spoonfuls of Pesto along with a little freshly grated Parmesan. Toss this adding a little cooking water to slacken the pesto if it looks a little too thick and then serve in bowls, sprinkled with a little extra Parmesan.

pasta

It's quick and tasty - what more could you ask for?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Surprising Haricot Bean Soup

When I usually think of Haricot beans they don't really fill me with feelings of affection - they are just another legume, a pulse we should all eat more of.

haricot

But recently we had the chance to taste a soup made from this bean at Fenix and oh, what a soup it was. As we gleefully tucked into it at the time, neither one of us wanted the bowl to come to an end. The soup was lush and creamy but as your spoon reached the bottom of the bowl another element came into play, a melange of sautéed onion and jamon were waiting for us.

I've been remembering that taste for the last few weeks so it's of no surprise that I've gone ahead and made my own version. It's not as pretty as the original but I think it's getting there with the taste.

soup

Surprising Haricot Bean Soup
[Serves 2]

For the Soup:
1 cup haricot beans
1 leek, diced finely
fresh chicken stock, hot
salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the Surprise:
1 red onion, sliced finely
Pancetta (or Jamon), diced into small cubes
reserved haricot beans

Prepare the beans:
Place the beans in a bowl and pour over with cold water - make sure it covers the beans by about an inch. Let this sit overnight. Drain and rinse when you are ready to make the soup.

Make the soup:
Melt a little butter and olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and when the butter has melted add the sliced leeks - let this sauté slowly until the leek has softened but not coloured. Stir often to make sure the leek cooks evenly.

Add the drained beans and continue over a low heat - keep stirring as you just want the beans to come to temperature. Add enough hot stock to cover the beans and let this simmer until the beans have softened - you will find that you'll need to top up the stock level as the beans absorb the liquid. You could also use water at this stage if you like.

When cooked, remove about a half cup of beans - strain them to remove any stock, and set to one side.

Blend or Process the remaining soup until smooth - if you want a silky smooth soup, you might want to pass it through a sieve.

Pour this into a clean saucepan and over a low heat, bring it back up to eating temperature. Taste and season, though keep in mind that the pancetta is quite strongly seasoned.

Make the Surprise:

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add the onions and diced pancetta - cook over a medium heat. You want the onions to brown and the pancetta to get brown and crispy - when this happens add the reserved beans and cook for just a few minutes - all you want is for the beans to absorb the cooking flavours from the onions and pancetta and to return to temperature.

Assemble the Soup:

Place a good spoonful of the onion mixture into the bottom of your bowl,

inside

then top with the bean soup.

soup

If you are feeling the need for a little more decadence, top with a just seared scallop.

Or if you are in Melbourne, head over to Fenix and try the original!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cheese: Holy Goat

I first had the chance to sample this next cheese back in November at the Slow Food Farmers' Market - unfortunately as it was only a one-off at the time I really couldn't post about it.

It was indeed a happy moment when at the recent market, the cheese is now in commercial production and when you see them you'll know why I loved them at first sight.

piccolo

Cheese Maker - Holy Goat
Cheese Type - Piccolo
Location - Sutton Grange Organic Farm, Victoria

piccolo

Sold in a rather uninspiring but practical plastic container, 10 to a box, are these thimble-sized goat cheese bites.

piccolo

Only weighing around 6 grams (0.2 ounces) they are resplendent in a soft,white mould which tends to become fuzzier the longer they sit.

piccolo

Besides just eating them as is, they are the perfect size to stuff into zucchini flowers - something I hopefully will be able to repeat come the flower season.

Other Holy Goat Cheese tasted:
Holy Goat Fromage Frais
Holy Goat Mature Skyla
Holy Goat Mature Veloute
Holy Goat Ripe Pandora

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mixology Monday XV

My Bar, Your Bar is hosting this edition of Mixology Monday and chose Tequila as the theme ingredient.

It's hard to go past margarita's or tequila sunrise but I've opted for a drink found in a book called Chilled: Cool Cocktails. Here Tequila and Banana Liqueur combine to form a pre-dinner drink with Blue Curaçao providing us with the visual appeal.

ole

Olé
[Makes One]

45ml Tequila
30ml Banana Liqueur
dash of Blue Curaçao
ice

Place ice in a cocktail shaker along with the tequila and banana liqueur.

Shake well and then strain into a small tumbler.

Drizzle in a dash of Blue Curaçao, letting it settle into that two-tone effect.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day 2007

chocolate box© by haalo



Whether it's celebrated today or on another day in your part of the world, a most Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #82

This week Pat from Up a Creek Without a PatL is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and I seem to have found a rather slippery character at the market by the name of Slippery Jack...

slippery

Slippery Jack or Suillus Luteus is a mushroom I've never handled before and I can certainly understand where the slippery in its name comes from. It does have quite a slimy skin.

slippery jack

Under the cap you'll find instead of the usual gill structure something that is more sponge-like and varying in colour from a pale yellow

slippery jack

to a dark gold as the mushroom matures.

slippery jack

In preparing the mushrooms I have removed the outer skin and the spongy pores - as there is a change of an allergic reaction in these two parts of the mushroom I thought it prudent to take this step and since I know I am susceptible to developing an allergic response, lucky Paalo will get to enjoy them all in a simple omelette.

2DSC_2468.jpg

Slippery Jack Omelette

Slippery Jack Mushrooms
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground white pepper
butter
grated cheddar cheese
1 thick slice bread, warmed (or toasted if preferred)

The Slippery Jacks:
After cleaning the mushrooms and removing the skin and pores, break them into large chunks.

Heat a little olive oil and a small knob of butter in a small pan and when sizzling add the mushrooms and cook until coloured and slightly softened. Season with some freshly ground pepper and set to one side.

Make the omelette:
Lightly whisk the eggs with a little and salt and ground white pepper.

Heat a knob of butter in a small skillet and when melted add the egg mixture. Let this cook for 10 seconds then start pushing the edges towards the centre. Keep doing this and tilting the pan to let the uncooked egg run to the edges.

After a little while you'll find that the top will still be squishy and moist but there's no egg run-off. Shake the skillet to make sure the omelette isn't sticking.

Sprinkle over with a little grated cheese and then top with the cooked mushrooms, fold the omelette over and cook until the cheese has just softened.

Cut the omelette in half and place over the bread, staggering the halves and eat at once.

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