Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kangaroo with pomegranate salad

Yes that's right kangaroo. There's lots of it in the Aussie supermarkets, it's low in fat and high in iron, hasn't been injected with hormones or antibiotics and is very well priced.

I bought some my first week here (in May) studiously put it in the freezer and tried to avoid eating it. To be honest I was scared. I didn't want to eat something yukky (who does) and someone told me it smelt awful while it was cooking. I left it in the freezer.

Last weekend the flat had a BBQ. The freezer was raided and the kanga pulled out. Well I thought - this way I can try a little bit, it'll be cooked outside on a BBQ and it will finally be used up. About four drinks later the BBQ was served. With my dutch courage in full swing I popped a bit in my mouth and nothing awful happened. It was actually really nice, tender and meaty like steak. Awesome! I like kanga. New food joy.

So all those who can - please do try some. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Use it in any way you would steak. 

Tonight I bought some more kanga and put it together with this pomegranate salad I first tried at Otto's in Woollamooloo.

Pan fried kanga with pomegranate salad.

1 steak of kanga per person at room temperature seasoned and oiled
1/2 pomegranate per person
1/2 nectarine per person chopped
8 almonds per person chopped roughly

Make the salad first. The trick with pomegrantes is to cut it into quarters (very carefully as like beetroot they stain) then fill a bowl with water and immerse the quarters in the water while you remove the seeds from the flesh. The delicious seeds sink and the bitter pith floats allowing it to be sieved off, then drain the seeds and place in a bowl. Add the nectarine and almonds. Mix and set aside.

Heat the pan and place the kanga in. Cook the same as you would steak - minutes on each side. The top side will look slightly watery when it's time to turn. Rest covered with foil for 5 mins - you do want the steaks medium rare.

Slice up and serve on a bed of the salad.

The slight sourness of the pomegranate goes well with sweetness of the almonds, nectarine and meaty kanga steaks.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rocky road (um delicious)

This is so easy to make and so easy to eat. I wanted to make a bit of a gourmet style rocky road, so it's a bit special and different for Xmas. Lovely for a wee present. Plus I'd like to think it's the tiniest bit healthier than the usual sort - if you squinted a bit.

To make this I used: 
2 Large blocks of 75% dark chocolate
1 x 400gm pack of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits
1 bag of vanilla marshmallows - quartered if they're the large kind
Peel of one small orange chopped small and stirred in a hot pan till dried.
1/2 t salt

I really wanted to try the orange peel - but forgot, as I did the salt into the chocolate (damn!)

Oil some pans - I used olive oil on a round and a loaf tin. I found the mixture quite thick so you can use whatever pan you like really as it holds it shape and doesn't run.

Melt the broken up chocolate slowly in the microwave. 30secs till it starts going then 10 secs intervals, stirring each time.
Stir in your other ingredients.  Mix really well. I reckon I could have gone another 100gms or so of the mixed nuts / fruits. To further eek out the choc mixture and make more servings.
Spoon into your vessel, spread in a single layer.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours till set.  Cut into wedges with a large knife dipped in boiling water.

Makes about 20 good sized bits - depending how big you make them. Total cost about $15


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumpkin and chocolate tartlets with meringue

I made a recipe everyone! I had some inspiration a while back - beetroot meringues. Well I made them they were really good, but perhaps a wee bit too beetrooty and earthy for me. With a few tweaks they could turn up here later. However I was really keen to see this idea working so decided to try with pumpkin, since we all know that pumpkin works well in desserts like pumpkin pie.
Here's my recipe. I quite like how they are pretty healthy - especially if you use filo pastry on the bases. Enjoy good home made food made of real ingredients everybody.

Pumpkin and chocolate tarlets
Makes six tartlets

Home made pastry - 2c flour, 125gms cold butter, 2 T icey water (or try filo, sandwich three layers together with a light brush of butter)

1 butternut squash or small pumpkin
4 T honey
½ t ginger
¼ t cinnamon
¼ small orange – juiced
½ t salt

3 eggs separated
2 T castor sugar
½ t vanilla

6 squares chocolate – milk or dark

12 walnuts

Blitz the cold butter and flour in a food processor till the mixture is powdery. Add icey cold water till the mixture sticks together when you press it lightly with your fingers. Pour on to the bench and mould into a ball, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.

Quarter and de-seed your squash. Steam with a small amount of water in a pot till just soft. Let cool then scoop the flesh from the skins. Let the flesh drain in a sieve over a bowl.

Get a six-cup muffin pan greased and heat your oven to 200c. Once the oven is hot roll your pastry out to 1mm thick and line the muffin pans leaving a 1 cm sticking up to account for shrinkage. Prick all over with a fork, drop the oven to 180c and pre cook till the pastry just starts colouring.

Meanwhile push the pumpkin through the sieve into a clean bowl and mix in the spices, orange juice, salt and egg yolks.

Take the pastry cases from the oven and fill with the pumpkin mixture. Pop back in the oven for aprox 10 mins – the mixture should puff and just start colouring.

Remove from oven and place a square of chocolate on top of each tartlet, so it begins to soften and add some chopped walnuts. Leave the oven on.

Whip the egg whites till thick and add the sugar gradually till it’s mixed in and not grainy. Add the vanilla. The meringue should hold its shape. Using a teaspoon pile the meringue on top of the tartlets. Place them back in the oven and cook till meringue is browned – this is pretty quick so keep your eye on it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jamie Oliver's sticky artichokes and pine nuts

I love Jamie - he's my fav chef. His food always looks and sounds delicious and his laid back style works for me.

I was browsing a book sale the other week, checking out the cook books section. I've had a bit of interest in Greek cuisine lately and there were a few books covering off the style, however many of the recipes seems ho hum and nothing different than you'd easily find on the internet with a quick search. Also big on my list is the design of, photography and illustration in the books and these were also not to my taste. I'd decided that perhaps I wouldn't spend the money when a Jamie Oliver book caught my eye.

Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece and France. Oh la la such an awesome mixture of flavours and styles. A quick flick through showed a good array of recipes new and old and some documentary style photography (thumbs up). For $30 it was in my bag and I spent the rest of the night was spent reading it cover to cover.

One section which really took my fancy was Spanish tapas. I now want to live in Spain then come back and open a tapas bar.

Here's Jamie's sticky pine nuts and artichokes.

In a pan heat some oil and add finely chopped rind of 1/4 lemon. Fry till crispy. Add fresh thyme (I didn't have any so put loads of parsley in at the end), then the pine nuts. Toast the nuts then add a drained jar of artichokes. Stir through a good amount of honey (Jamie says a teaspoon, but I reckon I used a tablespoon) Season and cook till sticky.  Add the parsley and serve.
This image is from (my pics looked awful)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ricotta fritters

This is the recipe from the side of the ricotta pottle.  Ricotta is delicious, and I am hooked. This stuff tastes ever so slightly sweet out of the container so there will definitely be some ricotta desserts in my future.
I'm on the fence about these fritters. First taste they were a bit bland but lemon juice squeezed over the top and some avocado perked them up a bit.
Again another way to use up stuff in the fridge.

500gms of ricotta (or for me what was left in the tub)
Small handful of basil chopped fine
Handful of cherry tomatoes quartered
Two handfuls of spinach chopped fine
Clove of garlic chopped fine
Shallot (so fancy) chopped
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs

Pop all the ingredients bar the flour in a bowl and mix well.  Add the flour and mix till combined. Drop in spoonfuls in an oiled pan. Once they were brown I left them on the side of the pan away from the heat for a bit, just to help cook through.
Serve with lots of lemon juice and avocado slices.

Hint when making fritters, pancakes or similar always do a test one first, this will help ensure your pan is the right heat and you get the hang of how the mixture will react in the pan. Plus it's always the first taste test too  :)

Below some more questionable mobile phone photography.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pasta with salami, ricotta and vegetables

I've never bought ricotta before, and at the supermarket today whilst having a good peruse of the cheese section found a nice little pottle at a reduced price of only $3.  I do love my bargains, and the ricotta had a good six days to go till its use by date.  I happily popped it in my trolly along with some bocconcini and grana padano.

Once home and being peckish I decided to whip up a bit of an early dinner consisting of the following.  Use as much of the following ingredients as you need for the amount of people you have.  i.e I made enough for two servings.

Salami, cut into chunks and fry till crispy. Drain off the oil once it's almost done and add the tomato. Cook for a min or two longer then turn off the heat and stir through red capsicum, chopped basil, spinach and rocket, a tablespoon of ricotta (per serving).  Stir everything together
At the same time boil a pot of water and add (preferably home made) pasta, recipe here.
Once you're done, add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the mixture in the frypan.  Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and some toasted nuts (I forgot these unfortunately on mine)