Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jerusalem Artichoke Chips

Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week it's time to revisit a seasonal tuber, Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes© by Haalo

You might also know these as Sunchoke or Topinambur. Originating in North America, they are a member of the Sunflower family.

Jerusalem Artichokes are a diabetic friendly ingredient, they have no starch but contain a carbohydrate called Inulin which can't be broken down by our enzymes - this means that the carbohydrate doesn't get converted to sugars. It's also the reason that has led to them procuring the rather unfortunate name of "fartichokes".

Now, putting that aside, I have ploughed ahead and made a quick and easy nibble. Just make sure there aren't too many naked flames around when eating!


Jerusalem Artichoke Crisps© by Haalo

Jerusalem Artichoke Chips

Jerusalem artichokes
olive oil
sea salt

Clean the Jerusalem artichoke with a scourer to remove any dirt from the skin.

As they will discolour when cut, make sure you have a bowl of acidulated water on hand. You can peel the skin but I prefer to leave it on.

Slice the Jerusalem artichokes thinly, keep them in the water while you complete this process.

Once completed, drain and then dry the slices.

Deep fry until golden - it should take less than a minute to do.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.

Serve at once.


Jerusalem Artichoke Crisps© by Haalo

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Époisses

If you've followed my cheese exploits you would know that I especially love washed rind cheese. It's no real surprise that when I first saw this mini Époisses at the deli, that it would end up in my basket.

Époisses© by Haalo

There's also no surprise that I'm keeping this "smelly cheese" under a glass dome.


Époisses© by Haalo

Époisses is a cows milk cheese from Burgundy, the cheese is washed with brine and then local wine and spirits which gives the rind that tell-tale orange colouring.

Époisses© by Haalo


Though it has a pungent aroma, the interior is soft and gooey and quite mild in taste.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #185 Hosting



Thanks go to Cinzia for hosting WHB - the recap is up and offers a gorgeous array of dishes from around the world.

This week we welcome back Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook as our host.

As always entries must be received by

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time

Late entries are accepted at the discretion of your host.


To participate:

Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the complete rules can be found here

Send an email to thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com with WHB#185 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 400px wide


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your blog name/url, preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #184 Hosting


Poor Marija has broken her toe so while you head off to check out the scrumptious recap do send her some good thoughts too.

This week we travel to Italy where Cinzia from Cindystar is our host.

To participate:

Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - you can find the rules here

Send an email to cmc AT cindystar DOT it with WHB#184 in the subject line and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Photo: 250/300px wide
Emails must be received by:
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
(times have been adjusted for changes in daylight saving)


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cauliflower Fritters

Marija from Palachinka is back to host this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have cauliflower.

cauliflower© by Haalo

I am rather fond of all brassicas but Cauliflower would probably be the favourite of the family. I suppose one of the reasons might be caulflowers great relationship with cheese.

The dish I've made takes advantage of this relationship and it's a dish my mother would make on special occasions. I'm not going to say Eurovision is a special occasion but it is fun to get together and pass judgement on the various acts - we may not enjoy the whole telecast but I can guarantee we'll be enjoying these fritters.

cauliflower fritters© by Haalo


Cauliflower Fritters

500 grams cauliflower, cut into florets
1 shallot, finely sliced

80 grams self-raising flour
20 grams grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 eggs
70 grams mozzarella, cut into tiny cubes


Sauté the finely sliced shallot over a low heat until softened and just starting to colour. Set aside to cool completely.

Boil/Steam the cauliflower florets until tender - drain and set aside to cool completely. When cold, roughly break the florets into smaller pieces with your fingers. Add in the sautéed shallots and parsley - stir to toss through.

In a large bowl, place the flour and Parmigiano-Reggiano and whisk in the two eggs until a smooth batter forms. Tip in the cauliflower along with the cubed mozzarella - season with salt and pepper and stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed through the batter.

Shallow-fry heaped-tablespoons of the batter - use a small ice-cream scoop if you want to get even sizes. It's important that you don't cook them over too high a heat as you want to cook out the raw flour taste and not burn the mozzarella. Once one-side is golden, flip it over and brown that side.

Place them on paper towels to remove any excess oil once cooked.

They are best served as you make them but they are also quite tasty cold.

cauliflower fritters© by Haalo




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quince Butter Cake

I still have quite a few of those oven-poached quinces left in my fridge so I've been finding ways to incorporating them into other dishes. This has got to be one of the easiest - a simple butter cake becomes something special.

Quince Butter Cake© by Haalo


Quince Butter Cake

250 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
180 grams caster sugar
125 grams melted butter, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla essence)
100mls milk
Oven poached Quinces


Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Sprinkle in the caster sugar and stir until mixed together.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and add the milk and vanilla - whisk briefly to amalgamate.

Pour the egg mixture along with the melted better into the dry ingredients - stir to form a smooth batter.

Spoon three-quarters of the mixture into a lined cake pan (I used a loose-bottomed, 20cm/8inch square tin).

Arrange well drained quarters of quince evenly over the cake mix - push the quince pieces slightly into the mix. Top roughly with the remaining batter - you don't need to be too precious as the cake will rise and the quince will sink to the middle.

Bake in a pre-heated 170C/320F oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Let it stand in the tin for a few minutes before unmoulding.

To glaze:

I made a glaze using pure icing sugar and a little poaching liquid from the quince and drizzled it roughly over the cake.

Quince Butter Cake© by Haalo


It has this subtle peach colouring and dries to a matt finish.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #183 Hosting


Many thanks to Chris for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging - do check out the recap there's so many dishes to tempt you. While you're there, you can also take part in Chris's Cookbook Clearance Event where you can be in the running to receive a cookbook!

This week Marija from Palachinka is hosting.

To participate in Weekend Herb Blogging:

Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the rules can be found here.

You'll need to email your host by:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
11pm Sunday - Rome Time
7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
(times have been adjusted for changes in daylight saving)


Send your email to palachinkablog AT gmail DOT com
with WHB#183 in the subject line and the following
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Photo size: 250px wide

Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule. If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com
and include your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Quince Zabaglione

Chris from Mele Cotte is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have a basket full of Quinces

Quinces© by Haalo

Recipes for Quince date back to Roman times where they were stewed with honey while in medieval England, quince pastes were preferred.

I personally just love the simplicity of slow-poaching the fruit in a vanilla infused sugar syrup. As time passes, they move from having a rather boring apple coloured flesh to this spectacular, vibrant burgundy colour. The slower the poaching, the more intense the colour.

Oven-Poached Quinces© by Haalo

These lovely poached quinces can be enjoyed as is but as Mother's Day is approaching I thought I'd use them to create a special treat. Having an Italian mother, she does love her "Zabaione" but hopefully my little twist won't be too shocking.


Quince Zabaione© by Haalo


Quince Zabaglione
[Serves 1]

1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Mandarine Napoléon (or another citrus based spirit)
Oven-poached Quince (instructions below)


Place a poached quince quarter in the base of a Martini glass and trickle over with a little syrup. Set it aside.

Make the Zabaglione:

Whisk the egg yolk and sugar until light and creamy - the sugar must be completely dissolved into the egg yolk - when you rub it between your fingers it should be completely smooth. If it feels gritty, you'll need to whip it some more.

Whisk in the Mandarine Napoléon (you can use Cointreau or Grand Marnier) and then place this bowl over a simmering pot of water - make sure the water does not touch the bottom of your bowl.

Continue whisking until the mixture becomes thick and fluffy and has warmed through - you must constantly whisk as you don't want to end up with sweet scrambled eggs!

Once ready, remove from the heat and pour into the martini glass.

Serve at once.

Quince Zabaglione© by Haalo




Oven-poached Quince:

Prepare the Quince:

Before you begin, make sure you have a large bowl of water into which the juice of one lemon has been added. This is needed to keep the quince from oxidising as you prepare them. It's best to work on one quince at a time.

Cut the quince into quarters, remove the core and then peel. Pop the prepared quince into the acidulated water. If you were making a jam and jelly, you would keep the seeds as this contains pectin and helps in the setting - in this case, they won't be required.

Make the Sugar Syrup:

You'll need enough sugar syrup to generously cover the prepared quince - how much syrup needed is dependant on just how many Quince you have.

My basic formula for the syrup is
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 lemon, juiced

Place all the syrup ingredients into a pot and bring gently to simmer - stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

To cook:

Lay the quince quarters onto a deep oven-proof dish and pour over with the hot sugar syrup. Take a piece of baking paper and push this into the dish, making sure it makes contact with the syrup. This forms a seal of sorts and ensure that the quince pieces stay under the liquid. You won't need to disturb the quinces during the cooking.

Put the dish on a baking tray and place in a 120ºC/250ºF oven - cooking time will be at the very least 4 hours but it's not unusual to cook this for 6 or even 8 hours.

Once done let the fruits cool in the syrup then place in a sealed container for storage in the fridge.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Baci Cakes

It's about time that I finally got around to writing about the Baci Cakes I made for my birthday. With some parts of the world coming up to Mother's Day, these little cakes would make a most welcome change from those generic boxes of chocolate.

baci cakes© by Haalo

These Baci cakes are, as I like to call them, cupcake killers. One bite of this light as air cake and you'll forget all about those twee, ultra sweet cupcakes.

Unlike cupcakes these have excellent keeping ability, that's if you can stop people from gorging on them! Even three days later they are as soft as the day you made them.

Obviously by the name Baci, the main flavourings are chocolate and hazelnut, in the form of hazelnut meal. If you use a gluten-free chocolate, you'll also find this a treat you can share with those that suffer from gluten intolerance.

I have slightly modified the recipe for these cakes which come from Phillippa Grogan from Phillippa's here in Melbourne.


baci cakes© by Haalo


Baci Cakes
[Makes 12]

125 grams dark chocolate ( I use Lindt 70%)
100 grams caster sugar
100 grams softened butter
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon Frangelico
100 grams hazelnut meal


Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water and then allow it to cool.

Whisk the egg whites until light and fluffy and then set it aside.

Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until creamy and the sugar has dissolved.

Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring it has incorporated before adding the next.

With the beaters still going, drizzle in the cooled, melted chocolate along with the Frangelico - you can substitute coffee or another liquor or a combination of these instead of the Frangelico.

Sprinkle in the the hazelnut meal and stir this through with a spatula.

Give the egg whites a quick burst with the beater and then take a spoonful and add it to the chocolate mixture. Stir this in well to slacken the mixture.

Tumble in the rest of the egg whites and fold it through, being careful not to deflate the mixture.

I've used silicon muffin cases to make it easier to unmould the cakes once they are cooked. If you use normal cases or pans please make sure they have been well buttered and floured.

Use enough batter to 3/4 fill each case.

Bake in a preheated 160ºC/320ºF oven until risen and cooked through - it should take somewhere between 15-30 minutes depending on case size.

Let them cool slightly before unmoulding. You might find it useful to run a palette knife around the edge of the case before you attempt it.

Let the cakes sit, top side down on a wire rack to cool.

Decorate each with a rough swirl of chocolate ganache.

baci cakes© by Haalo

I consider these to be a cross between soufflé and cake - by the lovely aerated interior you just know it will be so soft and delicate to eat. If you don't like hazelnuts I've had great success using almond meal which might be easier to find.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #182 Hosting

Many thanks to Maninas for hosting last week - do take a look at the recap for some rather delicious ideas.


This week Chris from Mele Cotte is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging.

To participate:
Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - I encourage participants to read the rules to ensure that your post does qualify.

Posts must be written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging during this week (May 4th - May 10th) and the deadline is:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne, Australia Time

Send your email to melecotteblogevents AT gmail DOT com
with WHB#182 in the subject line and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Attach a photo: 250px wide

Like to be a host?

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com
and include your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Brisket Stracotto

Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have Baby Turnips

baby turnips© by Haalo

Turnips are yet another member of the Brassica family and both the root and the greens are highly edible.

Perhaps it is unfair but I've found regular sized turnips to be a bit wanting in the flavour department - they have a nondescript taste and sole purpose it seems has been as a bulking agent.

However, these baby turnips have surprised me in that they are actually quite tangy and full of flavour and have me reconsidering my notions on turnips. A word of warning, they do not keep very long once picked.

The dish I'm making is based on another one of my mother's classic offerings - Stracotto. Cotto means cooked and stracotto roughly means extra cooked - I suppose you might call it the Italian version of stew or casserole. The important part is the long, slow cooking and it is in that application of heat over a long period that tenderises even the toughest cut of meat.

Here in Australia, my mother would make it with girello, which isn't a particularly tough meat but cooking it this way makes it meltingly soft. As with most dishes, it begins with a soffrito - onion, carrot, celery slowly cooked till golden. The meat is added and cooked briefly to colour all sides - it's then finished with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and enough wine/water/stock to create a bath in which the meat will cook.

At the lowest possible heat, the meat then cooks for anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, whole dutch carrots, potatoes and peas are added in the last hour or so to create a complete one pot meal.

For this version I've used brisket and replaced dutch carrots for baby turnips. I've also used these baby pink fir apple potatoes

baby pink fir apple potatoes© by Haalo


To maximise the nutrient value, both the turnips and potatoes are cooked with their skins on - just wash them well to make sure all the dirt has gone.

Brisket Stracotto© by Haalo


Brisket Stracotto

1 piece Brisket

1 red onion, roughly diced
1 stalk celery, roughly diced
1 carrot, roughly diced
sprig rosemary, finely chopped
fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (or use fresh in season)
tomato paste

baby turnips, topped and tailed
baby pink fir apple potatoes
peas


Prepare the brisket:

brisket© by Haalo


This would be the first time I've ever cooked with brisket probably because this is one of the very few times I've seen it for sale.

To add some flavour, make some little slits along the length of the brisket and jab in some slices of garlic. You could also add lardons of pancetta and a few cloves if you like or if you can't be bothered just skip this step.


Prepare the base:

Heat olive oil and a knob of butter in a deep pot and place over a medium heat. When the butter has melted add in the onions, carrot, celery, rosemary and sage - cook slowly until softened and beginning to caramelise - somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. This soffrito is so important because it's the base in which you'll find the flavour of the dish.

Season the brisket with freshly ground sea salt and white pepper and place in the pot. Once lightly browned, turn and brown the other side.

Stir a good tablespoon of tomato paste into your crushed tomatoes and add to the pot, along with a few more whole sage leaves and the garlic. Stir well and add enough water/wine/stock to almost cover the meat - turn the heat up until the liquid starts to bubble and then reduce the heat to the lowest you can get.

Cover and let this slowly cook for 45 minutes - turn the meat over and continue cooking for another two hours, returning every half a hour or so to turn the meat over again. The liquid will evaporate with time so turning is important to ensure evenly cooking.

After this time has elapsed, you can now add the potatoes and turnips - the peas are added in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

The exact time will depend on the size and thickness of the meat and the size of the vegetables you use.

To serve:

Remove the meat from the pot and set aside for a couple of minutes before slicing. Spoon the vegetables and sauce onto the base of your serving dish, reserving some of the sauce.

Slice the meat thickly and drape over the vegetables - spoon over with a little of the reserved sauce.

You will be rewarded with a dish where the meat is ultra tender and beautifully infused with the flavours of the vegetables and herbs, which in turn are also flavoured by the meat.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...