Top Food Blogs

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Gnocchi with Mushroom and Proscuitto

Sydney has been inundated with rain for the past couple of weeks. Weather that has been so bleak, with chilly days and nights only means we stay indoors. We eat, drink, watch TV, watch movies have friends over for a meal or go out to dine and most importantly for me, cook.
The time to try recipes, old and new.
I decided to revisit gnocchi, a dish I haven't made for years.
Coupled with a great red wine, we all loved it. The trick is in the potatoes I think. Buy a variety that is Not for roasting or chips. I used  dirty old desiree potatoes and cooked them in their skins. Cooking them in their skins helps keep the potato flavour and stops them from going too soggy. Soggy potatoes don't make good gnocchi. I mixed it with a little pumpkin to change it and make it a little lighter on the bite. It look like this is a lot of work . It isn't really and is well worth the effort.

650 gram potato washed and scrubbed. Any potato that is good for mashing is suitable.
250 gram jap pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup plain flour

200 grams mushrooms
5 slices prosciutto
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup Parmesan
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
300 ml cream
1/4 teaspoon thyme
8 sage leaves

Turn the oven on to 180C.
Boil the potatoes in their skins, until cooked. Don't overcook them. Set aside to cool
Cut the pumpkin into similar size pieces and place in the oven on a tray to roast the until cooked.
Once the potato is cooled the skin will peel off very easily.
Mash the pumpkin and set aside.
Sieve the flour and salt onto a piece of baking paper and push the potato through a mouli or a sieve onto the flour.
Add the mashed pumpkin.
Break the egg on top and slowly mix the ingredients together with your hands, until the lot is a soft dough. Don't handle it too much, it will come together nicely. If you feel it is a little wet, add a little more flour.
Cut pieces of the dough and roll gently with your hands to form a long sausage shape.
Cut into approx 2 cm pieces and push each piece gently with a fork. This allows the sauce to adhere to the dough, better.
Set them all aside on a clean baking sheet until ready to cook. Sprinkle with a little flour.

Place the prosciutto and sage on a baking tray in the oven and cook until crisp approx 10 mins for prosciutto. Watch the sage as it will easily burn. Set aside when cooked.
Put water on to boil in a large saucepan you would use for pasta and bring to the boil.
Cook the garlic and mushrooms in butter until mushrooms are just cooked.
Add the cream and chicken stock and boil until the cream separates a little and thins out. Add thyme and season.
When the water comes to boil, add the gnocchi to cook. It will take a couple of minutes to rise to the surface which means it will be cooked.
Add the gnocchi to each plate with a little sauce and crunch the prosciutto over the top with some sage and Parmesan. Delicious !

                                             Gnocchi with Mushroom and Proscuitto

Fat little "dumplings" ready to be cooked

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thai Massamun Lamb Shanks

We are off to the southern highlands to stay with wonderful friends for a Xmas in July, well August this week end.
It is also another week end of sport viewing . The first game of the Bledisloe Cup is on and everyone is for ever hopeful about the Wallabies.  If you aren't going out to the game, get some friends around to watch it and a wintery do ahead meal is in order and this is perfect.
I made it this week, delicious. Although I have also made Osso Bucco for a casual dinner for friends last night and Asian Beef Pies for tonight for twelve.
All of these meals can be done and ready so you can spend time with your guests.
Of course I like to make my own paste but a bought one is fine if you are familiar with it. You may have to add extra of the seasonings.
Saturday night we will be indulging in Turkey with all the trimmings, which we are making.
We have cheated on the pudding, we have Heston Blumenthals puddings, they are absolutely delicious.
Look out for them this coming Xmas if you aren't inclined to make a pudding. I am not a fan of bought ready made food, but they are seriously worth consideration.
This is for 6 people.

6 lamb shanks
2 cans coconut milk
300 ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
150 gram massamun curry paste ( homemade is preferred )
fresh coriander
500 gram sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces
100 grams pearl onions or 1 very large onion cut into eights
Rylstone olive oil

Seal the lamb shanks in a little Rylstone olive oil.
Fry the curry paste in remainder of oil. add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer.
 Add fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind puree, and continue to simmer for a minute to allow flavours to infuse.
Add the lamb shanks and cook in a 160C oven covered for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove and ad the sweet potato and onion and cook for a further 1/2 hour.
Serve with steamed rice and freshly chopped coriander.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Asian Style Beef Pie

The weather forgot to be winter for a week, but the cold is back with a vengeance.
So another little tummy warmer for the family dinner or smart enough for entertaining casually.
This is not strictly a pie nor Asian except for the Thai spices. The flavours are subtle and the pie is quite rich, with the addition of the pureed sweet potato. You could always use pastry or another variety of potato as an alternative.
It can be totally made with the inclusion of the topping and sit waiting to pop into the oven to warm through half an hour before serving. Delicious and easy.

1 kilo beef chuck cubed
Rylstone olive oil
2 onions chopped finely
2 carrots sliced and quartered
2 cloves garlic crushed
1tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons palm sugar
1 large red chilli or 2 small very finely chopped.
750 ml beef stock
2 shallots

2 large sweet potato or 500 gram
large knob butter
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
large knob butter
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
3 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans ( optional )

 Drizzle beef with oil and brown in a casserole dish in two or three batches over a med heat.
Add the carrots onions and garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes stirring it through the beef.
Add the stock, soy sauce, fish sauce,  palm sugar and chilli and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for one and half hours. Add chopped spring onions just before serving.
Steam sweet potato and mix through butter and milk with the crushed ginger. Add the pecans last if using.
Divide the mixture into four ovenproof ramekins and top with the sweet potato and warm in a moderate oven for about half an hour.
Serve with steamed Asian greens.