Top Food Blogs

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Four Simple Salads for Christmas

It is only 10 days to go and we are all planning the meal for our Xmas day. Turkey, ham, seafood and do we do hot or cold? A lot of Australians choose to have a cold meal if they eat during the day, slightly more relaxed because of the hot weather. When I say cold, meats just out of the oven at room temp and served with salads instead of hot vegetables.
There are so many beautiful fruits in season at the moment and of course a wide array of vegetables.
You don't have to go without either and can combine the two into salads, or perhaps we should say accompaniments to the main meal. Those who love their vegetables won't miss out. Give them a gorgeous dressing, which can be made well ahead.
I will endeavour to put up some more salads in the coming days !

Potato and Blue Cheese Salad

Small baby chat potatoes perhaps a kilo or just work out at least 2 per person, cut in half
8 bacon slices
1 cup crumbled blue cheese your favourite or a good Roquefort
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup sour cream

 Cook potatoes in boiling in salted water until just tender. Drain and cut in half. this can be done the day before and kept in the fridge.
Whisk oil, vinegar, shallots and parsley, mustard, sour cream and honey together and season with salt and pepper.
Add the dressing to the warm potato.
Chop the bacon into small pieces or cook whole until crisp, drain and crumble.
Mound the potato onto your serving platter and scatter with bacon, blue cheese and chopped chives

Nectarine and Feta Salad

1 pkt Baby spinach leaves
250 grams soft feta cheese
2 nectarines
slivered toasted almonds
black sea salt or if unable to find use black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey
Rylstone olive oil

Mix the honey and olive oil in a jar and set aside.
Wash and cut the nectarines into quarters and then again into eights
Simply break off the feta into largish chunks
Toss the lot onto your serving plate, sprinkle with the slivered almonds and black sea salt and drizzle over the dressing at serving time. Easy…….

Tomato, Asparagus and Cress Salad with Haloumi

 2 bunches fresh asparagus steamed
150 grams fried haloumi
1/2  Red onion finely sliced
Salad greens and 1/2 bunch watercress
3-4 chopped tomatoes
white balsamic condiment
Fresh sea salt 
Rylstone olive oil

After steaming the asparagus, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Fry the haloumi in a little olive oil and drain on paper towel. Put the asparagus onion and tomatoes in a bowl and toss with white balsamic condiment.
Arrange this on a mix of salad greens and cress and scatter the fried haloumi on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.

 Caramelised Sweet Potato and Fig Salad

 4 small sweet potatoes cut into wedges and roasted
75 grams toasted pine nuts
baby spinach and rocket mix salad  ( you can buy these leaves already packaged )
1/2 bunch watercress
4 ripe figs, cut into eighths
100 grams shaved parmesan cheese
Balsamic glaze
brown sugar

Toss the sweet potato pieces in the oil and balsamic glaze in a plastic bag.
Place into a roasting pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Roast until just tender turning over during cooking time. Set aside to cool.
Put the cut figs into a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil and cracked pepper.
Place the salad greens and cress onto a serving platter and top with the sweet potato and cut figs.
Scatter with the toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan and drizzle all with balsamic glaze and a little olive oil.

All of these can be increased in quantity, for a big crowd.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits

I just love all the delectable food items on sale at Christmas time. Does it allow one to indulge, just because its Xmas ?
I can't answer that question for all of you,  but for me its a good excuse .
There are so many tempting delights in the shops. Panforte, chocolates, rum balls, muscatels, little biscuits in a variety of Christmas shapes, glace fruit, puddings of all sorts and everything is packaged so beautifully to entice the purchaser.
Jacqui and I have just done our annual day chopping and marinading for the Christmas cakes.
I have made some tomato relish and hope to do some chutney, given the time.
I love a gingerbread cookie and although readily available, often at great expense, I decided to make some myself, this year. Sprinkle with icing sugar or ice and decorate.
Not having a Christmas tree cookie cutter on hand, I used a star instead. Of course you can use a gingerbread man, heart or any shape you desire.
These are a lovely fun thing to make with small children.

125 grams butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 egg
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
11/2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 175C
Place the butter and the brown sugar into a saucepan on the stovetop and melt, making sure the sugar is  totally dissolved. Put aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix the egg and golden syrup into the melted butter mixture .
Sift the flour, bicarb and spices into the butter mixture to form a dough. If you feel you need to add a little extra flour do so at this point but gradually. The mixture needs to sit for an hour before using.
Place a piece of baking paper over the dough and roll to approx 5 cm thick and cut into your desired shape.
Place on baking paper lined trays into the oven for about 10 mins.
When cool sprinkle with icing sugar, or make an icing using just icing sugar and a little milk so it is slightly runny and easy to use.