Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuna Nicoise with caper and green olive vinnigrette

This was my version of the classic, Tuna Nicoise.

2 portions of fresh Tuna, I find 150g each is enough
4 small vine tomatoes, core removed and quarterd
200-300g agria potatoes
8-10 green beans
1/2 bunch asparagus
Zest and juice 1 lemon
2 anchovies
2 T capers
8 sicilian olives, stones removed
Pinch salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Black pepper
2 tsp water
4 T olive oil
Italian parsley, leaves picked and chopped
2 eggs

Season and oil and tuna steaks and set aside. Cover the potatoes with cold water, add 1 tsp salt and cook until done. Blanch the beans and asparagus in salty water to set the colour, slice on the angle and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook the eggs for 5 minutes. Cool under cold water and peel.

To make the vinnigrette chop up the olives, anchovies and capers, combine in a bowl with the zest and juice of one lemon, the vinegar, salt and pepper and water. Whisk in the olive oil and check for seasoning.

When the potatoes are cooked, strain and cover with a tea towel for 5-10 mins. When they are still warm pour over all but 3 T of the vinnigrette and mix to combine. Season. 1 T is to mix with the vegetables and 2 T for the plate.
Heat a pan on a high heat to cook the tuna. I like mine rare so I only cook it for a minute max each side, the cooking time also depends on how thick it is cut. Cook the tuna while you put the rest of the plate together.

To serve place the potato on the plate, dress the beans, asparagus, parsley and tomato with 1 T of the remaining dressing, arrange on top of the potato. Slice the eggs in half put around the sides. Place the tuna on top of that and spoon over the remaining dressing.

Serves 2

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Steak sandwich

Keeley wanted a steak sandwich for dinner tonight so that's what he got. Have to say, it did hit the spot.

What I did...

400g rump steak
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Caramelised onion
Bellbird bakery rye/wheat toasted
Grilled asparagus

Rub the rump steak with olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a heavy based pan and add the steak, turning once after about 3-4 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes. While the steak is resting carmelise the onions in the same pan.
Toast the bread and spread the mayo on one piece and the chutney on the other.
Slice the steak against the grain, slice the tomato and rip of a hunk of iceberg. Add the onions on top of the chutney, then the sliced steak, tomato and the iceberg followed by the other slice of toast.

I served it with some grilled asparagus and then chowed down with my hands - messy but totally worth it!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Potato Gnocchi with Oyster mushroom, Pancetta and Mushroom broth

So I wanted to make some Gnocchi. I haven't made it at home before and my friend and co worker George gave me a great base recipe to try. I saw some Oyster mushrooms at the vege shop and decided to incorporate it into my dish along with some other treats I found at Med Foods. They sell the ends of their cured meat so I .picked up an end of excellent quality pancetta for $2.50. Bargain. The result was surprisingly delicious! A fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil would also be very good with this.

For the Gnocchi

3 large potatoes (about 750g)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup plain flour plus extra for dusting
salt and white pepper

Clean the potatoes and place in the oven until soft - it took about an hour and a half in my oven. When cooked and cool enough to handle mash the potato into a bowl or a work bench. I used my mouli and the result was excellent.
Add the egg yolks and salt and pepper to taste and gently incorporate the flour, adding more if you need to. The more flour added the firmer the gnocchi will be and what you really want is nice fluffy dumplings. However, if you don't add enough flour you gnocchi will disintegrate in the water... it's a fine line!
Split the dough into 2 on a floured surface and roll into a long sausage about 2cm wide. Cut into about 3cm dumplings and place on a floured tray. At this stage you can leave them for up to 2 hours.
Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil, cook the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi float.
If you are adding the gnocchi to a sauce you only need to blanch the gnocchi for a minute as they will continue cooking.

Serves 2 for a main

Oyster mushroom, pancetta and mushroom broth

100g portabello mushrooms
100g oyster mushrooms
60g pancetta, rind removed but kept and cut into lardons
a knob of butter
handful of Italian parsley, leaves picked
1 T chopped chives
1 clove garlic, bashed a bit
1 bay leaf
a couple of parsley stalks
sprig of thyme
250ml chicken stock
1/2 Divilla Mushroom stock cube - available from Med Foods
Parmesan to serve

In a small pot heat a bit of olive oil and add the pancetta rind, bay, thyme, garlic and one of each mushroom. Gently saute for a minute or so and then add the stock and simmer for about 15 minutes and then strain and set aside.
Heat a medium frying pan and add about 1 T olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and golden.
Increase the heat slightly and add the portabello mushrooms, when starting to brown add the oyster mushrooms and the butter. Add the gnocchi into the boiling water at this stage.
Season the mushroom mix as required and add the parsley in.
Place the strained and cooked gnocchi into the serving bowls and scatter over the mushroom mix. Pour the mushroom broth down the side and sprinkle with the chives.
Finish with fresh Parmesan and serve.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pumpkin, eggplant and chick pea soup with harissa

It was cold tonight so all I felt like was soup, had a few ingredients to use up and felt like something spicy.

What you need:

2 T olive oil
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small-medium eggplant, chopped
1 t cumin
1 tsp smoked parika
3 T tomato paste
1 tsp Harissa paste - more if you like it spicy
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 L chicken stock, vege stock or water
300g pumpkin, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
Black pepper
Zest lemon and juice
1 T pomegranate molasses
1 tsp sugar
1 small bunch spinach, chopped
4 heaped spoons of Greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp Harissa paste
Pinch smoked paprika

Heat oil in the pot, add onion, garlic and eggplant and cook for a few minutes. Add spices, and pastes. Cook for a few more minutes.
Add the stock, tomatoes, pumpkin, courgette and season. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the zest of one lemon and half the juice, the pomegranate molasses, sugar, spinach and coriander. Check seasoning.
Mix the yoghurt, Harissa, paprika and the Juice from the rest of the lemon.
Ladle into bowls and top with yoghurt and some coriander leaves.

Serves 4

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ice cream!

Stopped by Redcliffs Dairy for an ice cream today after taking the dogs to the beach.
With over 30 flavours I found it quite hard to choose... The Deep South range is by far the best. Licorice won for me. Ambrosia and Cookie Caramel for Keeley.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Ravioli of fava and sweet pea with walnuts, lemon and ricotta salata

I have been inspired.
Currently I am reading a book about a young female chef who visits Italy for the Summer and falls in love with the lifestyle and of course the food. So on Monday I decided to make some hand made pasta again. I dusted off my pasta machine, headed to Med Foods to buy some flour and got to work.

Pasta dough
- makes 16 ravioli with enough left to make a lasagna for 6

400g tipo '00' flour
4 eggs
1 T olive oil

Tip the flour onto the bench (or you could use a bowl) and make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs and add the olive oil. With a fork or your fingers mix the eggs and slowly start incorporating the flour. When it comes together knead the dough for approx 10 mins until the dough springs back when touched. Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes. Make your filling.

The filling

75g baby peas
75g fava beans (about 100g unpodded)
1 T olive oil
1/2 small red onion finely diced
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 T ricotta
Flakey salt and black pepper
Zest of 1/2 lemon and a squeeze of juice.

Heat the oil in pan and gently sweat the onion and garlic. Add the peas and favas and heat through. Place in a blender and puree. Season and add lemon and ricotta. Set aside.

Now the dough has rested you can now roll you pasta.
Starting in the widest setting roll about a 3rd of the dough through, folding the dough over itself and back through for the first 2 setting. Make your way down to the smallest setting. By now you should have a long length of dough. Cut this dough in half with one bit being slightly larger.
Lay one piece on a lightly floured bench and place teaspoons of the filling along the sheet.

Brush around the filling with a bit of water and the gently place the other sheet of pasta on the top. Carefully go around and press down the top sheet down, making sure all the air bubbles come out and the ravioli is sealed. If you have a round cutter you can cut them out with that. I didn't, so I just cut them square.
If you are making them ahead of time it is best to dust the tray you are putting them on with semolina flour so they don't stick, alternatively you could blanch them to set the ravioli.

Finishing the dish

2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Handful of toasted walnuts
4 brussels sprouts, broken down to leaves
10-15 fava beans for garnish
20g shaved or microplained parmesan
Ricotta salata- you could also use feta or goats cheese
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice

Bring a pot of water to the boil for the pasta and salt it well. Add your pasta and cook for about 3 minutes. Mean while make the sauce.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion. Sweat down and then add the walnuts and the brussel sprout leaves.
Add the cooked ravioli with a bit of the cooking liquid and gently mix to coat in the garlicy oil. Add the fava beans and season. Squeeze in the lemon juice.
Plate up and garnish with Parmesan and ricotta salata.

Serves 2 for main or 4 as an entree.