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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lemon and Herb Barbequed Loin of Lamb

Spring is in the air with a hint of summer ! I refuse to put on winter clothes again and am looking forward to a warm, rain free summer with lots of outdoor entertaining and a few drinkies of course.!
You may have guessed I love lamb and here is another little beauty. I find it never disappoints !
This lamb dish is very simple, can be increased easily if you have more guests or you can use boned legs of lamb. The loins are smaller and very tender, but it works just as well with the small boned legs that are readily available at Thomas Dux,  all good butchers and Woolworths.
Until the weather does get a little warmer serve the lamb with Roast Vegetables Greek style or the Couscous from my previous lamb recipe. I usually make extra to serve at the table.
Until I post some yummy salads with maybe a touch of Thai after my trip to Thailand.

leaves of 2 sprigs of thyme
leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary
juice and rind, of a lemon
4 cloves crushed garlic
4 slices of ginger finely chopped
3 tablespoons of honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 boned loins of lamb
1-2 tablespoons Rylstone olive oil
salt and pepper

Put into the blender the herbs, juice, rind, garlic and ginger, honey, salt and pepper.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of herb mixture and mix with the olive oil
Add remaining herbs to the butter and reserve 2 tablespoons for later.
Generously spread the loins with the herbed butter and put together using cooking twine.
Score the loins and rub the herb and oil mixture into the meat. Put into a china dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. If you don't have time for this, it needs to be marinated for at least 4 hours.
Cook in a preheated oven 200C for 20 minutes. Cook for a further 15 minutes on a barbeque or
under a grill.
Carve into 2-3 cm slices and serve with the reserved herb butter mixture melted to a sauce.
Make extra to serve at table

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pork and Veal Thai Meatballs with Yoghurt sauce

Getting in the mood with a touch of Thai, again. I had some of the yoghurt sauce in the fridge  from my vegetable pasties and it was also delicious with the meatballs.
Fresh ingredients and beautiful aromas of freshly chopped coriander and mint, have you salivating for these before you have cooked them.
They can be adapted and made a lot smaller for finger food for a party.
Serve them with a really fabulous salad and when the weather gets a bit warmer a mango salsa would be beautiful with them too.

1kilo pork and veal mince
1/2 red capsicum
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic *
2 teaspoons minced ginger *
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
3 tablespoons chopped mint
1 stalk lemongrass finely chopped
2 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce or to taste
1 egg beaten
Canola or peanut oil

* I used for this recipe a minced  bottled garlic and ginger bought from an Asian supermarket

 Finely chop onion, capsicum, lemongrass and whole garlic and ginger if not using minced.
Add these along with the chopped mint and coriander to the pork and veal mince. Mix thoroughly and add Sweet Chilli Sauce  and the beaten egg to bind the mixture. At this point you can add salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into balls  about the size of golf balls. If making them this size a kilo will make about 20 meatballs.
Heat the oil in a shallow fry pan and add the meatballs. Don't put them all in at once and don't overcrowd the pan. Turn them to make sure each side is evenly cooked.
Drain on paper towel and serve when ready with the yoghurt sauce, or alternatively serve with extra Sweet Chilli sauce
They can be made earlier and reheated. They also freeze well.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Fab Finds

Just had to share these finds. I always try out new things, sometimes good sometimes not. This is a goody ! The Woolworths Select brand of Thick Greek Style Yoghurt.
Really thick and delicious.

Also from my local Indian Supermarket Mothers Recipe brand, Garlic and Ginger Paste.
Getting me in the swing of  things for all the Thai, I am going to be cooking ! So easy and a really nice blend. Great if you are in a hurry or haven't got the fresh on hand !

Friday, 14 September 2012

Thai Vegetable Pastie with Yoghurt Sauce

I will be in Thailand as this goes to print, to source some fabulous cooking schools and gourmet walking trips through the unknown parts of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I hope to get a great Food Tour organized for next year, so watch this space. There is a lot of  eating to do and I have set myself, a pretty hectic schedule.
Before leaving I thought I would get in the mood  and make this little vegetable pastie probably more like a samosa without the right pastry. I used puff pastry and Yellow Curry paste from the Spirit House. There are many store bought curry pastes, use a green if you like, slightly different taste but still a little chilli and Thai ( sort of ) You could use an Indian Curry paste as well, medium to hot
The yoghurt sauce is a fabulous and very versatile . Wait till the summer barbeque, delicious with lamb and chicken too.

2 tablespoon oil
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 red capsicum
2 potatoes peeled and chopped
200 gams chopped pumpkin or sweet potato cut into 2cm pieces
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic
2 cm piece chopped ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
30 grams curry paste or 1 good tablespoon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Puff pastry sheets thawed in fridge
1 egg

Yoghurt sauce

1 cup plain Greek style yoghurt
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Make the yoghurt sauce first and keep in the refrigerator.
Toast the nuts in a pan until slightly golden on a low heat. If you don't happen to have pine nuts slivered almond would do. Add the ground cumin and turmeric and cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
Remove from the stove and  cool . Process until finely ground.
Add the remaining ingredients and give a quick pulse to combine or use a hand mixer. Check seasoning, maybe add a little salt.
Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and coat in the spices. Add the rest of the vegetables and tomato paste and stir through.
Add one cup cold water, and bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove lid and add chopped parsley and coriander. Stir and keep cooking until liquid has evaporated. If you find the vegetables aren't cooked and water has evaporated add more water, until they are cooked.
Set aside and cool.
Preheat oven to 175C
I used a bowl turned upside down to mark a 15cm circle on my pastry sheets. Of course if you want to serve them as finger food use a smaller cutting guide.
This mixture will make 6 large pasties.
Divide the mixture into six and place an amount on each pastry circle. Work one sheet at a time at a time, if you find this easier.
Pull pastry up to centre and crimp together with your fingers.
Place on a baking paper lined tray and wash with the beaten egg.
Cook for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Serve with the yoghurt sauce and a chutney if desired.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Leek and Prosciutto Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Leeks are plentiful at the moment and I love cooking with them. Risotto is not hard to make it just requires 20 minutes of your undivided attention with continual stirring. You can always pour yourself a big glass of wine and chat to your guests as you make it ! There are a number of oven bake risottos and I haven't tried this one in the oven , purely because I prefer to cook them the old fashioned way !
Although, some steps for this are done in the oven making it a little simpler.
I think the secret to a good risotto is a good strong stock and it must be boiling hot when it hits the rice to keep the cooking going. If you don't make your own there are many great stocks available in store these days other than a stock cube. But by all means use this if you have too, but keep in mind they are quite salty. Try a Massell stock powder instead !
If you prefer pancetta to prosciutto that is fine too, as long as they are thin slices.
How much stock to use is approximate, you may end up using slightly less or more. It doesn't matter. The important thing is for the risotto to be creamy, not too dry or too runny. Do not drown the rice in stock it should only be just covered maybe 1/4 cup at a time , absorb and repeat until done approx 18-20 minutes. This recipe will serve four, it is easy to increase amounts !

300 grams Arborio rice
1 large leek finely sliced
6 slices thin prosciutto
1/2 punnet cherry or truss tomatoes ( if they are small use the lot )
2 large cloves crushed garlic
1 litre chicken stock
80 grams butter
3/4 cup  white wine
2 tablespoons fresh or dried tarragon if fresh unavailable
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 180C. Place prosciutto and tomatoes on a baking paper, lined tray in the oven for approx 10 mins.
Remove from the oven and break the prosciutto into smallish pieces and set aside.
Place stock in a saucepan alongside the pan you are going to cook the risotto in and bring to the boil.
In the pan  you are cooking the risotto, melt 60 grams of the butter and saute the leek and the garlic with the wine, until soft.
Place the rice into the pan and stir to thoroughly coat in the butter, leek mixture.
Begin ladling the hot stock, about 1/4 cup at a time, and wait until totally absorbed until the next ladle of stock is added, keep repeating and stirring the whole time.
About 5 minutes before finishing, add the tarragon, and stir through.
When the rice is done, turn off the heat and add the prosciutto, the remaining butter, a twist of black pepper and gently toss the tomatoes through trying to keep them whole. If some break up that's fine, but it is quite nice when you are eating to get a burst of tomato every now and again.
Just be careful with salt content, prosciutto and parmesan and stock are all salty !
Serve at once with extra parmesan.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Steamed Apricot Pudding with Creme Anglaise

We made this little pudding for Fathers Day dinner. I haven't made it for years and had forgotten how delicious and easy it is.
My friend Jacquie and I were mad about steamed puddings in the early 1980's.
I did a cooking course back then with Gretta Anna who taught us how easy a steamed pudding can be. She passed away a year or two ago, but she was a great inspiration to me and a lot of cooks I am sure.
Everything can be prepared before and it can sit waiting to pop in the oven as you sit down to the main.
The creme anglaise is a cheats version and can be done well ahead too.
If you don't have apricot jam to line in the little dishes, use peach as I did for half of the puddings.

90 grams chopped apricots
50 grams sultanas chopped if large
250 grams self raising flour
juice of a medium sized orange and zest of that orange
2 tablespoons butter melted
4 tablespoons sugar
200mls milk
2 eggs
apricot or peach jam
1 teaspoon vanilla

Creme Anglaise

Cream thickened
Custard store bought
Basically its half the quantity of cream to custard. As an example, 600ml custard to 300 cream with 2 tablespoons icing sugar added. 

Simmer the apricots and sultanas in the orange juice for about 1 minute to soften. Set aside.
Beat the sugar with the eggs and add the melted butter. Sift the flour.  Add the milk and alternate with the flour a little at a time until all mixed in. If you still have a lot of juice in the soften apricots drain some off. This purely depends how juicy your orange is !!
Add the vanilla, apricots and sultanas along with the orange zest and mix through thoroughly.
Butter 6 x 150 gram pudding moulds. Place 2 tablespoons of the jam on the bottom of each mould.
Divide the mixture evenly amongst the moulds, but don't let it come to the top as the mixture will rise. Tap onto the bench to even out the mixture.
Place into a baking tray. You may leave them at this point until ready to cook.
At cooking time preheat the oven to 180C, fill the baking pan with boiling water to come half way up the sides of the moulds.
Cover the pan with buttered foil and press tightly down to avoid ant steam escaping.
Cook for 25 - 30 minutes. or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Serve with the Creme Anglaise

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cheese and Chilli Dip

My children told me I have to put this dip on my blog. They love it, as do adults ! I also served it for the dinner party for the 30 young men, whilst they consumed 100 beers ( or so it appeared )
It goes very well with a Mexican themed meal and will disappear in no time. Great for a snack before Chilli Con Carne. I think it is best served with corn chips or you could use the pita chips from my previous blog. Great for outdoor summer easy entertaining.

1 small finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 cup  hot chicken stock
100 grams  Philly cream cheese
150 grams sharp cheddar or those cheese blends that are already grated and so readily available in supermarkets
100 grams grated parmesan cheese
1 small red chilli or 1 teaspoon of minced chilli from a jar.

In a saucepan saute the onion and garlic and chilli in the butter. Add the flour and stir to combine.
Add the chicken stock and mix through the roux.
Add the cheeses and stir until melted.
Keep stirring until cheese is melted and mixture is thick. Be careful with salt content as stock will be salty if using cubes and parmesan is salty.
Serve warm with chips garnish with finely chopped tomato if liked.
If you make it well ahead and find on reheating it is too thick, just add a bit more stock, to thin.
it will be gone in no time !!