Top Food Blogs

Friday, 27 April 2012

Smoked Trout and Fennel Lasagne

Back to exploring with fennel again!  I love pasta, particularly combined with the subtle flavour of  trout and fennel.I have been making this recipe for twenty years, it is a variation  from a recipe in a gorgeous vegetable book, by Robert Budwig who is actually a book illustrator and artist and has illustrated several cook books.
I made this lasagne, for my sewing girls the other day and they loved it. It seems quite rich, but is very light and tasty. The parmesan and cream in the sauce can be thinned down with stock, as in, more stock than cream and you don't need a lot to serve, just a drizzle around the plate.
Its a very hard dish to photograph, but hopefully it looks good enough to make. I used a 22 cm square baker
A green salad and a glass of white wine and your done!

1 fennel bulb
200ml fish stock, Campbells, available at supermarket, use remaining for serving sauce
250g smoked piece of ocean trout, flaked
2 tablespoons ground fennel seeds
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
Fresh pasta - lasagne sheets available in the fridge section of the supermarket
Bechamel Sauce recipe to follow

600ml milk
60g butter
60g plain flour
½ onion, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 clove

Warm the milk with onion and herbs, and set aside. Leave to stand for 15 mins to infuse the flavours. Strain the milk, melt the butter in a saucepan, and mix in the flour, cook for a few minutes. Whisk in the strained milk, and continue whisking until combined and simmer gently for 2 - 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and add the fish stock at the last minute.

Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthways, and cook gently in boiling salted water for 15 minutes.  Cut into thin lengthways slices.
Place the lasagne sheets in a greased ovenproof dish, slightly overlapping.
Layer the fennel, flaked trout, bechamel, ground fennel, and parmesan, ending with a layer of pasta, bechamel, ground fennel and parmesan.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 180C.
Serve with a sauce of cream, and parmesan cheese, cut into squares, and use the fennel fronds as decoration.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Eggplant Frittata

I am not sure where I got the original idea for this recipe. Maybe a very old Gourmet Traveller, its a  variation on the American Eggplant Parmigana. I have been making it for so long and it has become  another family favourite. It can be made ahead and reheated. It is delicious and some have even thought it contained meat!!! This will make enough for 8 people cooked in a large rectangular ceramic baker which you can take to the table. A great vegetarian dish.

3 - 4 large Eggplant thinly sliced
Tomato sauce
Olive oil
100 gram mozzarella
100 gram parmesan
8 eggs, beaten together with some S&P
Extra parmesan to serve

Spray a large rectangular baking dish with oil to stop frittata from sticking. I salt my sliced eggplant, and leave to sweat. There are two schools of thought on this procedure, but I do find it removes the bitterness especially if they are slightly seeded. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel.
Flour the eggplant, heat the oil in a large fry pan, and fry the eggplant, until golden and drain on paper towel.  Cover the bottom of the baking dish with some of the tomato sauce, and layer the eggplant, sauce, a small amount of the beaten egg, and mozzarella, repeating layers and top with remaining egg mixture and mozzarella.  Cook in 180C oven for 30 - 40 minutes.  Serve with parmesan cheese and green salad.

  Tomato Sauce

1 Large Onion finely chopped
3-4 cloves Garlic finely chopped  
Fresh tomatoes 1 kilo chopped or tinned tomatoes 2-3 tins
Fresh Basil, Parsley, Chives
Play around with the amounts it’s better to make more than you need. It is also great in a pasta dish.
Gently cook garlic and onions until soft and add tinned tomatoes, salt and pepper, chopped basil etc.  Cook gently for 15 minutes.  If quantity needs to be increased add tomato puree, like Pomi, Sugocasa etc.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Grilled Figs with Goat’s Cheese and Proscuitto

The best thing about cooking for me, is making the most of the ingredients I have at hand. Yesterday I found some figs in the fridge that needed eating so came up with this simple, but delicious recipe. My husband, son and his friends were my taste testers and gave it a big tick of approval. Figs are in season now so make the most of them.

8 Figs
200g Soft goats cheese (approx 25g/1 tbsp per fig)
4-6 Slices of prosciutto (halved lengthways)
Fig Vino Cotto (available at any good deli)

Hold each fig with your index finger and thumb with the top pointing up. Use a sharp knife to make a crossed incision stopping about 1/3 of the way down the body of the fig, ensuring there is enough space for the goat’s cheese to rest in the fig. Wrap each fig in half a slice of prosciutto and secure with toothpicks. Place on paper lined tray and grill bake in the oven 175 degrees for 5-7mins.

Remove from oven and transfer to serving dish, drizzle with Fig Vino Cotto to finish and serve immediately.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Salt and Butter

Butter makes it better ! But sea salt butter, makes it far better. When my husband and I were in France, a few years back on an extended trip, and were actually shopping and cooking, I discovered Lescure Sea Salt Butter . I am also a fiend for salt, so finding the two together was sheer bliss for me. A beautiful French baguette with Sea Salt butter is divine.
When I returned to Australia and joined the Cheese Club, at the Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder, I discovered I could by it there. Well I have now found it at my local Thomas Dux ! But I also found an Australian brand. Pepe Saya and it is made in Sydney at Tempe, and used in some of Sydney's top restaurants. It is sold in rounds and pressed with Murray Basin pink salt at the moulding stage. I believe it is also available at good butchers and delis and Harris Farm !
These products don't come cheaply, but buy some for a special treat.... What about a beautiful juicy steak
with a piece of melting Sea Salt Butter... delicious!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pork Cutlets with Autumn Coleslaw

Autumn has arrived and with it a whole new array of fruit and vegetables, including Fennel.
One of Italy's most popular vegetables, it has a slight anise or licorice flavour. It is crunchy, light and a little sweet,with great versitility, not to mention fabulous looking, and full of vitamin C.
I love it, but I also love licorice, so have a head start. If you haven't used it, please give it a go.
It has a white or light green bulb on the end, with stalks similar to celery, and fine fronds which make a beautiful garnish if needed. Cut the stalks and fronds off, leaving the bulb. Peel outer layer off if broken and bruised.
Cut bulb in half and remove base and rinse in water. Stand upright from base and cut vertically as thinly as you can for this recipe.
You can increase the amounts quite easily this serves 4-6 . If you have a food processor the work is done in no time!
If you have any leftovers, have it on a soft white roll with a hamburger tomorrow!

Half a fennel bulb prepared as above
Half a red cabbage thinly sliced
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 green apple peeled and grated
1 medium sized carrot grated
1 baby red capsicum  finely sliced  (Bello Rosso Baby Red are found in Thomas Dux in packs of four)
1/2 cup raisons
1 cup of toasted pecans

1/2 cup of good mayonaise ( I use S&W Whole Egg )
4 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing
1 teaspoon of sugar or honey
Salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside, or, put into a screwtop jar and give it a good shake to blend.
Toast your pecans in the oven or if you prefer spray a pan lightly with olive oil and gently fry. Set aside
Slice the fennel, cabbage,onion and capsicum and put into a large bowl. Add the grated carrot, apple and raisons and mix through. Add  toasted pecans last. Pour on the dressing and mix thoroughly. Set aside whilst you cook the cutlets.

4 x 200gram Pork Cutlets
Sea salt (Maldon or Murray River) and olive oil rubbed into cutlets
Maple syrup
Brush with a generous amount of Maple Syrup. Preheat oil in pan or grill. Cook about 10 mins each side., or roast in  preheated oven for about 20 mins.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Roasted Lemon Chicken

Over the past three days,  we have wined and dined to excess.  I am totally addicited to chocolate,so Easter is a time for indulgence, but today I am thinking if I ever see chocolate again it will be too soon! We have eaten so many Easter eggs, bunnies and chocolates in every shape and form. My friend Kim made the chocolate cake on the front of the Good Taste Magazine and presented me with half after her dinner party on Friday night. It looked positively beautiful, and tasted so rich and naughty , but finished my chocolate cravings for at least a week!
Tonight I cooked this very simple Roasted Lemon Chicken and served it with a mixed leaf green salad dressed with some sea salt , lemon and a good olive oil. Comfort food of another variety!!

Serves 4-6

             Olive oil
1 ½ kilos of chicken thigh cutlets with the skin on
½ kilo potatoes peeled and cut into 2cm chunks larger if you prefer but make them all the same size
Approx 12 shallots or small pickling onions
6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed slightly
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
2 lemons,
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup white wine
Sea salt and cracked pepper

Prepare the potatoes and place them in a roasting pan of olive oil with the shallots /onions. Roast at 200C for 20 minutes turning once, Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and scatter with the herbs and garlic. Squeeze the juice of the lemons over the chicken cut into quarters and in half again and tuck into the baking pan as well. Pour over the wine and stock, add salt and cracked  pepper.
Roast for 45 minutes or until chicken is golden and tender.
Serve a piece of the chicken some potatoes, shallots and garlic and drizzle over the pan juices.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Simple Apple Tarts with Walnut Crumble

When you want a simple tasty dessert, this is perfect. It can be assembled ahead and popped in the oven prior to serving. The recipe can be easily adapted for more people. Most of the ingredients you will have in the pantry.

Serves 4
Puff Pastry (Careme - Or any quality puff)
2 Large Granny Smith Apples
Fig Jam Approx 2tsp per tart (Glen Ewin is my favourite)
50 mls Maple Syrup ( I use Organic Road Maple Leaf   and keep the bottle handy)
75gm Crumbled Walnuts
2 tbs Brown Sugar
1tbs Plain Flour
3 tbs Butter (Soft)

Peel, core, quarter and slice the apples thinly. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a fry pan on a gentle heat with about 50 mls of maple syrup. Fry the apples gently in the mixture making sure they are coated and slightly cooked. Set aside.

Mix the crumbled walnuts with the remaining butter in a bowl, mix in the flour and sugar to form the crumble.

Line oven tray with Glad Bake. Cut semi-frozen pastry into 4 rectangles approx 10cms x 7.5cms (4x3ins) place onto the Glad Bake lined tray. It will be much easier to handle while it is still slightly frozen - don't worry it will thaw quickly. Score a 1cm wide boarder around the edge of the pastry with a knife being careful not to cut right through.

Spread fig jam onto the pastry inside the boarder. Layer the apple slices on top of the jam slightly overlapping, sprinkle each tart with crumble mixture and cook in a 170 degree oven for 17-20mins or until golden.

To serve, drizzle with maple syrup and accompany with ice cream or custard.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Easy Entertaining Boned Marinated Grilled Lamb

The weather is glorious at the moment and getting a little cooler. Perfect for some outdoor entertaining over the Easter break. Try this very easy and adaptable lamb recipe for the barbeque, or if the weather turns nasty it can be done in the oven. It can be prepared the day or night before and is very yummy and sure to be a family favourite.
We like it with a couscous salad and when the crowd is a little bigger some crunchy wedges are also a hit and make the meal go a little further. If you are feeling lazy, buy frozen wedges, but real wedges aren't that hard to do in the oven. Par boil the wedges before popping them in the oven to roast, to finish sprinkle with some Maldon Sea Salt mmmm.

Tunnel Boned Leg of Lamb, Marinated & Grilled

A trim lamb tunnel boned leg, opened out flat. Serves 6-8
Lamb cutlets, or back strap may be used if having less than this or alternatively more people.

Devilish Marinade:
Worcestershire sauce
Hot English mustard
Tomato sauce or chilli sauce
3 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Ketjap Manis sweet soy sauce
Light olive oil

Make about a cup of the devilish marinade, balanced to your taste. I use approx 30-50 ml of each of the liquids with 3-4 teaspoons of hot English mustard. Place the meat in a double layer plastic bag or a ceramic covered dish and set aside (preferably overnight).

Save a generous amount for pouring over at serving time.  Preheat the BBQ grill and brush with oil. You may thread skewers through the lamb to hold its shape. Grill with the skin side down first, brushing with the marinade. Lower the heat and cook until the first side is browned, painting the surface at least 2 - 3 times. Turn over and cook the other side. This should take approx 45mins. At this stage the thinner parts of the lamb will be well cooked but the thicker parts should still be pink in the middle generating the most taste.

This lamb can also be cooked in the oven after first searing both sides on the grill. Be careful with the heat as it can get quite blackened on the outside from the marinade.

To serve cut longish thick slices across the grain. Drizzle with heated marinade set aside earlier. Serve with a couscous salad.

Cous Cous Salad: (This can be made hours before serving)
Small onion
Toasted Almonds (approx. 100g)
Raisins 75g
Lemon or Preserved lemon
I love the new Gourmet Pearl Couscous (but you can use regular couscous, if using regular couscous simply put into a bowl pour over the hot stock and leave, fluff with a fork when stock is absorbed).Chicken Stock (see below)
Olive Oil

Chop 1 onion and sauté in olive oil approx 2 tablespoons, add couscous to pan. Cover in chicken stock, if using 1 ½ cups of couscous use 2 ½ of boiling stock and simmer on gentle heat for 8-10 mins stirring every few minutes until cooked. Add raisins in the last minutes of cooking. The stock shoudl totally absorbed, when cooked.
Add toasted almonds, finely sliced lemon rind or preserved lemon rind and chopped coriander. Serve warm or at room temperature (dress accordingly).