Oh I think this is the first official Thermomix recipe I’ve posted. Yes I still have it and yes I still love it. I use it mostly for prep work rather than actual cooking (with the exception of making sauces and custard, which it excels at). It does also make great scones, in about 5 minutes, so I use it a lot for that.
(Yes I know, I purchased a ridiculously expensive machine and I basically use it to chop things and make sauces and scones – let me live, okay…)
After my Prahran market visit the other week, I was all inspired by the produce available there. In particular, the rabbits from the John Cester Poultry and Game stall caught my eye and had me dreaming of a hearty flakey pie stuffed full of a savoury bunny and vegetable mixture.
With that in mind, I made a return visit to the market to pick up ingredients – a couple of rabbits and assorted vegetables.
Oh no! I’m late for last fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge theme, which was “outdoors”. I cooked my dish, which we took to the Avalon Airshow, but ran out of time to write the post and edit photos. Still, here I am – better late than never.
Because I had planned to take my dish to the Airshow, I needed something that I could make ahead of time, that would be okay eaten cold. I decided to make mini lamb pies, from Arabesque, to add to a little picnic that I packed for the day. (more…)
Cookbook Challenge: Week 52
Recipe: Asparagus and gruyere tart
From: AWW Kitchen
Recipe 2: Onion Foccacia
From: AWW Bake
It’s the last week of the Cookbook Challenge! I can’t believe that April, Kat, Shellie and I started it a year ago. 52 themes later, one post and at least one recipe each week, this is the LAST ONE. Amazing! It was a big effort, and I’m quite pleased that I made it right through to the end. There will be another one next year, but it’ll be fortnightly, which should be easier to keep up with. More details to come, if anyone is interested in joining! (more…)
Cookbook Challenge: Week 31
Recipe: Pissaladiere From: The Australian Women’s Weekly “Kitchen” Dear Cookbook Challengers in Melbourne! See the end of this post for details of a meet up!
The theme for this week’s Cookbook Challenge is French, and initially I was stumped. What could I make for French week that would be fairly easy and only involved ingredients already in my pantry?
But after a bit more thinking, I realised there’s TONS of things that come from French cooking! I almost made a dessert (it was a toss up between brulee or clafoutis) but, despite all the sweet things on this blog, I don’t actually have a huge sweet tooth. (Lots of sweet things make an appearance here because they’re easier to photograph…..! Confession time!) So rather than dessert, I made pissaladiere – an onion and anchovy tart.
The recipe I followed for the pissaladiere had a bread type base, although I believe pastry can also be used. The topping is made from a rather large amount of slowly cooked onions, on to which anchovy fillets and olives are placed. Oh. Notice anything missing on mine? I ran out of olives so mine is sans olives!
Despite the missing olives, the pissaladiere was DELICIOUS. There’s something about the combination of the bready base, sweet onions and the salty fishiness of the anchovies that really did it for me. I know lots of people don’t like anchovies, but gosh it’s worth acquiring the taste for them, just so you can eat pissaladiere!
And now an announcement for all Cookbook Challengers in Melbourne! April and I have been discussing a meet up and we have decided on a date. It’ll be a potluck lunch on Sunday 11 July – with the theme being Spanish (which is the theme for the week after – so if you come, you get to tick off your dish for the following week!). Email me or comment on this post if you’re interested. And if you’re a lapsed Cookbook Challenger, perhaps this could be the motivation to get back into it?!
50g butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 large onions (600g), peeled and sliced thinly 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 bay leaf 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 tablespoon baby capers, rinsed 3/4 cup (110g) self-raising flour 3/4 cup (11g) plain flour 30g butter, extra 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk 20 drained anchovy fillets, halved lengthways 1/2 cup (90g) small seeded black olives
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over low heat and add the onions, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Cover the pot and let the mixture cook gently for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the onions to be soft but not browned.
Let the mixture cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme, and stir in the capers.
Preheat the oven to 220°C and oil an oven tray.
Make the base by sifting the flours into a large bowl. Rub in the extra butter, and then stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough (mine needed more flour). Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth.
Roll the dough into a rectangular shape that is about 25cm x 35cm. Place on to the tray.
Spread the onion mixture over the dough, up to the edges. Top with the anchovy fillets, placing them in a diamond pattern. Put an olive in the middle of each diamond.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the base is crisp.
Now I know that pizza pie can refer to just a regular pizza, but I really wanted to do a PIZZA PIE. So I have two offerings to bring to the party.
The first, is a pizza in a pie form – pies with a pizza filling! I made a savoury shortcrust for the bottom pastry, which was then placed into pie tins and blind baked. Then I filled the pie shells with pureed tomatoes, salami, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella. Then it was topped with a lid of (store bought) puff pastry and baked to pizza pie perfection. Despite my lack of pie making experience (and trust me, it showed when I just tried to whack the puff pastry lid on top without wetting it, thinking it would stick by itself) these were still very good. My shortcrust pastry was buttery and soft, and the filling tasted just like pizza. A definite pizza pie success.
My second pizza pie is a pie in pizza form! I cooked up a pot of meat pie filling by browning some diced beef in seasoned flour, and then stewing it with a couple of diced carrots, onions and celery and chicken stock. I made pizza bases from no-knead pizza dough, spread on pureed tomatoes, and then added a thin layer of meat pie filling. Shredded mozzarella went on top of that, and then a piece of puff pastry. Again, it was baked to pizza pie perfection – I LOVED this version, most likely because the pie filling was savoury and moreish.
I did also do regular pizza, but unfortunately Bro ate the ones I was going to photograph (nice one, Bro!). And you may also be wondering about the cupcakes? Well, it’s Penny’s birthday and it can’t be a party without cake. So Penny received vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream and pizza slice fondant toppers. Happy birthday!
A big thanks to Dany for coming over and critiquing my pizza pie creations. Huge thanks also to Alastair for doing the mountain of dishes I generated! I hope you enjoyed my offerings to the party – visit the other attendees to see what they prepared:
Silver beet (swiss chard) is not something that I eat very often. In fact, when I bought a bunch of silver beet to make this Hunza pie, it was the first time I’ve purchased it. We didn’t eat silver beet much when I was younger – my mum had a friend who would give her bunches from her garden, but apart from that we weren’t exposed to it. I don’t recall how my mum cooked it, but I don’t remember it being very tasty.
I have to admit, I had grave misgivings about this recipe. The filling is basically just silver beet, brown rice, cheese and one egg. And… no onion and garlic! (Perhaps that’s a sign that I use onion and garlic too much when I’m surprised by a recipe that doesn’t contain those ingredients.) I had been cooking on autopilot and by the time I thought about what was in it, the pie was already in the oven. As it was cooking, the Boys could hear me muttering, “I don’t know about this. This is going to be awful.”
But you know what? I was wrong! I was so wrong! The pastry is made from wholemeal flour, and the nuttiness of the crust paired nicely with the filling. The edges of the pastry even crisped up nicely. I had been concerned that the filling would be bland, but fortunately it wasn’t. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised, and we all went back for seconds (and maybe thirds…).
The other weekend, we invited Benisa, Dany and Dany’s father over for some food and a catch up.
We started with a twice baked cheese soufflé, taken from this month’s issue of Delicious. In the magazine, it’s a goat’s cheese soufflé and served as a main (with salad), but as I’m still unsure about goat’s cheese I substituted with a sharp cheddar. Also, as we were having it as a starter, I made smaller serves.
The recipe instructs you to turn out the soufflé after the first baking. When I turned one out though, it looked terribly unattractive, so I kept them in the ramekins to serve. By the way, you should’ve seen them in the oven! They rose very high but deflated quickly on cooling. It was a shame that they didn’t reach the glorious heights on the second baking, but they were still delicious. And so cheesy.
For the spinach stuffed chicken roulade, I had an idea about what I wanted to cook, so went searching for a recipe that was similar to what I had in my head. I ended up adapting this recipe from Inglewood Farms (see my recipe at the end of this post). And, am I allowed to say that it was rather good? Well, I won’t lie. It was! (Gee, the modesty.)
And for dessert, we had coconut panna cotta with fresh strawberries. The coconut panna cotta recipe was from taste.com.au and not only was it a cinch to make, but it was delicious – smooth, creamy and fragrant. I was tempted to do some caramelised banana instead of the strawberries, but decided that it would be too rich and sweet. (I tried unmoulding one a few hours before dinner to make sure that I could turn them out okay – and since it was already unmolded it would’ve been a waste not to eat it….).
Despite the expression on Mr Onion’s face, dinner was a success. Don’t mind him, he’s such a crybaby. After dinner, Mr Onion and Mr Cauliflower came to the table for an impromptu photo shoot. Remember our visit to Blenheim a couple of months ago? I saw these in the window of a souvenir shop when we stopped in Kaikoura for some food. I’m not really a knick knack person, but I was strangely taken by them. Why? I really have no idea. I admit that they are ridiculous and kitsch! But I liked them for some reason, so on our way back down to Christchurch, we stopped in Kaikoura just so I could buy them. There were other fruits and vegetables – strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, but Mr Cauliflower and Mr Onion were my favourites. They’re very silly but they make me laugh!
Twice-baked cheese soufflé
From Delicious magazine September 2008
Serves 6 (or 8 as a starter)
You can bake these in advance and reheat before serving.
60g unsalted butter 60g plain flour 350ml hot milk 100g cheese (I used cheddar, the original recipe had goat’s cheese) 1/2 tsp paprika 4 eggs, separated 1/2 cup (125ml) pure (thin( cream 1/2 cup (40g) freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six 1 cup (250ml) ramekins or eight 1/2 cup ramekins (if serving as a starter). Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for about a minute until foaming. Remove from the heat, then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until well combined. Return pan to medium-low heat and stir constantly for 1 minute until it is a smooth paste.
Gradually add the hot milk, stirring constantly for two minutes, until smooth. Bring to the boil, then pour into a large bowl. Add the cheese and paprika, then season with salt and pepper and stir until smooth.
Using a balloon whisk, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric beater to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold one-third of the eggwhites into the cheese mixture (trying not to loose too much volume). Gently fold in another third of the eggwhites, then finally fold in the reminder.
Fill each ramekin with the mixture so that it is three-quarters full. Place in a roasting pan and fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and risen, then remove from the pan and cool.
When ready to serve, increase the oven to 220°C. If you don’t want to serve them in the ramekins, line a tray with baking paper. Run a knife around the edges of the soufflé and invert them on to the tray. Pour about 1tbs cream over the top of each one, scatter with parmesan, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is golden and the cream is bubbling.
1 bunch english spinach 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 30 grams melted butter Small handful of basil, chopped 8 chicken breasts, skin on 6 slices prosciutto
Preheat oven to 220ºC.
Wash the fresh spinach well. Place the spinach in a large pan/pot and cook for about 4 minutes, until wilted. Squeeze the excess water from the cooked spinach and chop finely.
Place the spinach in a bowl with the pine nuts, garlic, butter, basil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together well.
“Butterfly” cut each chicken breast. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over each chicken breast and pound it with a mallet or rolling pin until it is thin and flat.
Place a small amount of the spinach mixture on to the chicken, and roll up tightly. You should be able to roll it so the skin is on the outside. Lay a slice of prosciutto on the chicken where it is not covered by skin, and secure with cooking twine.
Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium high heat. Sear each parcel on all sides, and then place in an oven-proof dish and finish cooking in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
When ready to serve, remove the cooking twine and slice into rounds. Serve with vegetables/salad.
I had some cooked rice left over the other week. Normally, I would make fried rice, which is always quick and tasty. I tried something a bit different though, and tried making rice tarts with an eggy filling (like a quiche).
I mixed up the cold rice with an egg and then pressed it into large muffin moulds, using a glass to press it down nice and flat. However, my largest muffin moulds are silicon, so the rice didn’t really crisp up the way I was expecting/wanting. Actually, the rice that was next to the silicon (ie the sides and the bottom) stayed completely soft. You may notice that the tart in the background, particularly in the photo below, is a bit wonky – that’s because I had trouble getting it out of the mould without damaging it! Oh well, there’s my lesson learned – should’ve used metal moulds/trays.
Despite the soft rice, it tasted okay, although I could’ve been more generous with the salt.
Zucchini and feta rice tarts
Makes 6 small tarts or 1 large one
For the rice tarts
2 cups left over cold rice 1 egg Salt and pepper
For the filling
1 small zucchini 1/2 small capscium 2 eggs, lightly beaten Feta Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 200°C .
Season your rice very well with salt and pepper, then mix in an egg. Lightly oil a large muffin/tart tin. Divide the rice amongst the muffin moulds and press down well, using a glass to get it nice and flat and to help create the sides. Pop it into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the zucchini and capscium into a bowl. Add the eggs and mix together. Season well with salt and pepper.
Pour into the baked rice tarts, top with feta and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is set.
Cold weather always makes me crave soup. I have a couple of soups on rotation during the cold months and one of those is an easy, peasy pumpkin soup.
It basically involves softening some diced onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Then I add peeled and diced pumpkin to the pot, add just enough water to cover the pumpkin, plus a couple of teaspoons of vegetable stock powder. This gets simmered until the pumpkin is soft. Then I mush everything up with a stick blender, season with salt and pepper and add a teaspoon of curry powder (just enough to give it a slight flavour – not too much). We normally eat the soup with a bit of sour cream on top.
The hardest thing about making this soup is peeling the skin off the pumpkin. It’s such a tedious job but made easier with a sharp knife.
To go with the soup, I usually make French onion muffins. The recipe that I use comes from a little muffin book that I bought from a discount shop a few years ago (back when it wasn’t as easy to find recipes online). The book cost me $1! Onion muffins are the only muffins I’ve ever made from the book, but it’s still been $1 well spent!
French Onion Muffins
From Marvellous Muffins by Robyn Martin
2 medium onions 2 tablespoons oil 50g butter 2 cups flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Peel onions and cut into thin rings. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry onions over medium heat until golden. Add butter to pan and melt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Lightly beat eggs and milk. Add onion and egg mixtures to dry ingredients. Add the grated cheese, reserving some for sprinkling on top of the muffins. Mix quickly until just combined.
Three quarters fill greased muffin pans with mixture. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked. Eat warm.