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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mince and Ricotta Pie

This dish is a simple family meal, a winter warmer. It is a variation on Cottage Pie, Moussaka  or Lasagna if you like, and appeals to all ages. It is quite simply a ragu with a cheese topping. I served it with a green salad and garlic bread.
You could really use lamb mince or beef mince, I used beef for this recipe.
The secret is in the ragu, a slow cook and it has to be tasty.

1 kg mince
2 tablespoons Rylstone Olive Oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 carrot grated
1 celery stalk finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups ricotta
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
 a good tablespoon finely chopped oregano

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and saute the onion and garlic for a minute. Add the celery and cook another 3 minutes. Add the mince and cook until it has browned. Add the carrot, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and stock. Simmer until it has reduced slightly approx 10 minutes and add the wine. If you don't have any wine you can add extra stock or water.  I like to continue coking for about an hour at this stage, if it becomes too dry add extra water .
When the meat has absorbed a lot of the liquid, check the seasoning. If using stock always be careful of the salt content.
Place the ricotta, cheeses, eggs and oregano into a bowl and mix. You may add extra salt and pepper at this stage if required.
Spoon the mince into a appox 6 cup casserole dish and top with the ricotta and cheese mixture.
Cook for around 15-20 minutes, until cheese is golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Miso Glazed Blue Eye Cod with Ginger Risotto

Thursday night, compliments of my son James and The Versatile Gent, I dined at Ocean Room in the overseas passenger terminal. Luckily for us there wasn't a cruise ship in the terminal, as we were seated right at the window, looking straight across at the Opera House. Stunning view and evening.
What a fabulous dining experience ! The staff were so attentive and smiling without being snooty. We started with a glass of Bollinger as we perused our 12 course degustation menu.
It really was outstanding, the food, the wines and the service. Japanese fusion food, a taste sensation and an art. Every dish was a talking point in itself and each got better as we went along.
We dined on wagyu beef with grilled tofu, dashi consommé and lime chilli soy, autumn vegetable collection with a house made anchovy and garlic broth. Simmering pork belly, quinoa crusted prawns oh the list goes on. My favourite of the 12 dishes was a grilled sweet miso cod.
I don't have the recipe from Ocean Room, but decided to give it a try. Not bad at all, the family were certainly delighted with the result. Not quite as good for me, but not too bad all the same.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented rice, barley or soybean. It is quite readily available in the Asian section of your supermarket or at an Asian supermarket. Mirin and rice wine vinegar are also quite readily available.
I served it on a bed of julienned salad vegetables with an orange miso dressing.

2 pieces Blue Eye Cod
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons mirin ( Japanese wine )
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar.
This amount is enough for 2 large pieces of cod if you have more just increase 1 tablespoon of each of the ingredients per piece of fish. I also cut the fish into smaller chunky pieces.
Mix the marinade and spread over the fish and set aside for 1/2 an hour.

1 cup Arborio rice
4 -6 cups chicken stock kept simmering beside your risotto pan.
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 onion chopped finely
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
1/2 cup mirin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large knob butter

Orange Miso Dressing

1 tablespoon white miso
4 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons grated orange rind.

Make the salad dressing and set aside. Prepare the salad vegetables. I used carrot, cucumber, radish and capsicum and a lettuce mix.

Preheat the oven to 175C

The risotto takes about 20 minutes. The fish can be put in the oven about 12 minutes before the risotto is ready.
In a frypan saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until translucent, being careful not to burn it.
Add the rice and toss around the pan with the onion and garlic.
Slowly add a cup of stock at a time, stir through and wait until it is fully absorbed. Add the next cup with the chopped garlic stir through and continue adding a cup of the simmering stock at a time waiting until each is fully absorbed. You may add extra ginger if you like. Nearing the end add the mirin with the last of the stock. Add the knob of butter just before serving. The risotto should be a little sweet. If you think the mirin isn't doing it add a little extra.

As the risotto is getting near to being cooked, place the pieces of cod on baking paper and place in the oven, for about 10-12 minutes.

Dress the salad with some of the orange miso dressing.
Place a pile of salad on a plate and place the fish on top and a spoon of the risotto beside it . Drizzle the fish with a little of the orange miso dressing too !!

My version of miso cod
Rhubarb Cocktail from Ocean Room

Wagyu flat iron steak, Tasmanian pepper jus, quinoa crusted prawn, Americaine cream, agedashi taro potato
 Vegetables served with the anchovy and oil dip sitting on top of the oil burner to keep it warm !

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Osso Bucco

We have just had an incredibly wet week of staying indoors and feeling like we would never see the sun again.
Rugby continues to dominate our lives as the British Lions are still here and won't be here for another 12 years. Brisbane and Melbourne have been full of fun and frivolity in the past weeks. Fans dressed in crazy funny outfits and now its Sydney's turn to host the last game, on Saturday.
One game all, in the test series it promises to be very exciting.
Get a crowd around and watch it on TV if you don't have tickets. An osso bucco is a great dish to make and it can all be done the day before and reheated just before serving.
Beef osso bucco, seems to be more readily available at the moment, rather  than veal.
I definitely prefer veal to beef, I feel it takes on much more flavour and is more tender. The beef needs to be cooked a little longer and never seems as succulent to me, but IF you can't get veal try it with the beef as I had to the other night. Veal is often available frozen, so perhaps defeats the purpose. If you can get it fresh, use veal which is the traditional Milanese recipe. It is really quite delectable.

1-2 kilo veal or beef osso bucco or buy it as 2 pieces each person
2 tins diced tomatoes
3 finely chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
250 mls red wine
600 mls chicken stock or to cover the osso bucco
2 finely chopped carrots
2 sticks finely chopped celery
3 sprigs fresh lemon thyme.
8-10 tablespoons vegetable oil
50 grams plain flour approx depending how much veal you are using
fresh parsley
lemon zest

Preheat the oven 180C.
Choose a large casserole with a lid and only have the veal on the bottom with one layer on top. If you don't have a casserole large enough use two smaller ones.
Put all of the veal pieces together with the flour in a plastic bag and shake until the veal is coated with the flour.
Heat the oil in a fry pan and brown the veal on both sides. Remove and set aside.
In the casserole dish heat some more oil and soften the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
Place the veal on top in  a layer.
Heat the wine in the fry pan you cooked the veal and scrape off any of the reside of veal left from the browning.
Add this wine to the casserole with the tomatoes and stock and thyme. The meat should be covered so add more stock if it isn't.
Place int your preheated oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
Traditionally it is served with a risotto milanese and gremolata or gremolada.
This is a mixture of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic and I think it  adds a great contrast to the creamy texture of the sauce, but some do find it a little too sharp.
Up to you, try it I am sure you will love it.