Sunday, May 30, 2010

ricotta and blueberry muffins

what you need
75g butter, softened
175g reduced-fat ricotta
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
150g fresh or frozen blueberries

what to do
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 12 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan with paper muffin cases.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, ricotta, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift flour over butter mixture. Add milk. Gently fold in flour and milk until just combined. Fold in berries.
Spoon into muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

chicken and chorizo rolls

what you need

1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs
500g chicken breast mince
i chorizo sausage,finely chopped/minced
1 egg, plus 1 extra lightly beaten egg
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 onion, grated
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed
good homemade Tomato to serve with

what to do
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
Process crumbs, chicken and unbeaten egg in a food processor until well combined.
Place in a bowl, mix well with all other ingredients, then season to tase.
Place 1 pastry sheet on a floured surface and halve.
Spoon an eighth of the mixture lengthways along centre of each piece. Fold 1 edge of pastry over and tuck in beside filling, then fold over other side to make a roll, pressing down lightly to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
Cut rolls into 3cm pieces and cut two small incisions into each roll to prevent splitting.
Place on baking sheets, cover and chill for 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the rolls are lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve with sauce on the side

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lime, Chilli and Gin Jelly Oyster Shots

what you need
10 rock oysters
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons gelatine
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
60ml gin
1/2 red chilli finely chopped
tabasco sauce to taste
1 lime, sliced into thin wedges

what to do
Divide oysters between 10 shot glasses.
Bring stock to the boil, remove from heat. Add gelatine and stir until gelatine has dissolved. Stir in all other ingredients. Cool to room temperature.

Pour mixture evenly over oysters. Top with lime wedges.

Chill for 1-2 hours until set.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

chicken stock

A good Chicken Stock is the building block of many a good soup, sauce and stew. Quality home made stock is to the Chef as much a staple as good olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Although there are many retail varieties of stocks now available, many of them I find too salty and contain a lot of unwanted additives. Plus I find something very enjoyable and therapeutic about making stocks for my kitchen. Not only can you claim to your quests that the entire dish is made from scratch but you will know exactly what is in the food you are eating.

What you'll need
6 chicken carcasses approx 1.5-2 kilos (4 lbs)
2 medium onions (peeled & quartered)
2 celery stalks (washed & roughly chopped)
2 peeled carrots (peeled & roughly chopped)
3 bay leaves
5-6 black peppercorns
Cold water

Makes approximately 3 litres of stock

What to do
Place all the ingredients in a large pot and cover with water.
Bring it all to the boil.
Once boiling immediately reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 4 hours.
Every hour skim the foam off that accumulates on top and discard.
Strain the stock.
Discard the solids (if you used meaty carcasses, feel free to pull any of the meat off and use as desired).
Strain the stock through a fine strainer to remove any fine solid particles.
Refrigerate over night, (the following day remove and discard they layer of hard fat that has solidified on top overnight).

The stock can now be used as required, refrigerated for 2-3 days, or portioned and freeze to be used at your convenience for up to a few months.

If a very clear broth is desired, leave out the carrots and simmer for only 2-3 hours.
If a richer, darker stock is required brown the bones first in a 200 degree oven (400 Fahrenheit) and simmer for 6-8 hours (this may require adding more water during the simmering process to prevent the stock drying up).


what you need
310ml (1 1/4 cups) warm water
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
3 1/2 tbs olive oil
450g (3 cups) plain flour
2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 1/2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves
20 pitted kalamata olives

what to do
Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy. Place flour and half of the sea salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with oil to grease. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Brush a 20 x 30cm Swiss roll pan with 2 teaspoons of remaining oil. Punch down centre of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough is elastic and has returned to original size. Press into the prepared pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 20 minutes or until doubled in height. Use your finger to press dimples into the dough. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle over rosemary and remaining salt. Press the olives into the dough.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on base.
Serve warm or at room temperature with good olive oil for dipping or filled with a variety of continental meats and marinatd vegetable and a little aoili

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Margherita Pizza

Margherita is a pizza prepared according to a recipe of the Italian chef Raffaelle Esposito. The pizza was first made in 1899 when Queen Marghereta visited Napels to escape a cholera epidemic in the north of Italy. The ingredients used to make a Margherita pizza, tomatos, mozzarella cheese and basil, imitate the colors of the Italian flag. Queen Margherata liked the pizza so much that she wrote a thank you letter to Esposito, who decided to name the pizza after the Queen.

what you need
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. plum Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 12" uncooked dough crust
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese

what to do
Combine 2 Tbls. olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and salt in bowl.
Allow to marinate while making dough.
Brush dough crust lightly with olive oil.
Top with cheese, then tomatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in preheated 480F oven on pizza stone for 8−10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and top with parmesan cheese, then basil.

Cool on a for 2−3 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

pecan pie pizza

I tried this pizza the other night for a group of friends and while they all only took one slice, to be polite of course, deep down i know they all wanted more, nice and warm straight from the oven and topped with vanilla bean ice cream. it wa so good.

what you need
10-12 inch basic pizza base
caramel sauce
110 gr caster sugar
1 cups pouring cream

what to do
Place sugar in a deep heavy-based frying pan and place over low-medium heat and stir until sugar just begins to dissolve. Cook without stirring, but shaking pan occasionally, until a golden-amber caramel forms. Meanwhile, heat cream in another saucepan until almost boiling, then gradually add to caramel, taking care as mixture will spit violently. Return mixture to heat and stir until well combined and smooth. Serve sauce immediately or cool to room temperature. Sauce will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week. Sauce will thicken once refrigerated, warm to achieve the desired consistency.

pecan filling
150gr butter softened
150gr castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3 eggs
150gr self raising flour, sifted
200gr roughly choped pecans

what to do
place sugar, butter, vanilla bean paste and eggs in mixer and beat till light and fluffy
add sifted flour and mix thoughly
fold through pecans.

to put together
roll out pizza dough and place on a oiled tray
spread half the caramel sauce once cold over dough leaving a rim around the edge
gently spread the pecan filling over the caramel sauce
bake for approx 10 minutes on 220c or until the centre springs back when touched.
Drizzle withthe remaining caramel sauce and serve hot with vanilla bean icecream

cheat tip... you can always buy the caramel sauce, and use sweet pastry if you prefer over pizza dough.

Spicy cashew nuts

These spicy cashews are great to serve at a party or when friends come over for drinks you can also toss a few into a salad to give some extra crunch

What you'll need
1 kg Raw Cashews
30 grams Sea Salt flakes
50 grams Cajun Spices )
2 Egg Whites Lightly whisked

What to do
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, rub the mixture together with your hands to get a good coating over the cashews

Place on a lightly greased tray and dry at 120degC (250F) for 40 minutes
Once cool keep in an airtight container. They will last for a couple of weeks and you can crisp them up again in an oven at about 100degC (230F) for about ten minutes

Olive, goats cheese & chargrilled vegetable tarts

what you need
Olive oil, to grease
12 60gr short pastry tart cases
120g goats cheese
50g char grilled eggplant, coarsely chopped
10 semi-dried tomatoes, halved length ways
10 pitted black olives, halved lengthways
20 small fresh basil leaves

what to do
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly brush a baking tray with oil to grease. Place the tartlet cases on a prepared tray.

Divide the goats cheese among the cases and top with the eggplant, tomato, capsicum and olive.

Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until just heated through. Top with basil leaves. Arrange on a serving platter to serve.

corn blini with avocado and salmon roe

what you need

1 x 425g can corn kernels, drained
100g (2/3 cup) plain flour
3 eggs
2 small ripe avocados, halved, stones removed, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 tbs fresh lime juice
2-4 drops red Tabasco pepper sauce
Olive oil spray
40g salmon roe
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

what to do
Reserve 40g (1/4 cup) of the corn. Place the flour, eggs and remaining corn in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, for 3 minutes or until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the reserved corn.

Place the avocado, lime juice and Tabasco in the clean bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Process for 1 minute or until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil spray to grease. Heat over medium-high heat. Place five 1-tablespoon quantities of the batter into the pan, allowing room for spreading. Cook for 30 seconds each side or until golden. Transfer to a baking tray lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 5 more batches, with the remaining batter, reheating the pan between batches, to make 25 blini.

Spoon the avocado mixture among the blini. Top with salmon roe and coriander leaves to serve

Saturday, May 15, 2010

eggplant bruschetta

Bruschetta (pronounced "brusketta") is a traditional italian antipasto, where ‘bruscare’ means ‘to roast over coals’. it is then rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Most people think the word ‘bruschetta’ refers to the topping itself and not the dish.

what you need
2 large eggplants sliced
2 gloves garlic crushed
170ml olive oil
juice of one small lemon
salt and cracked pepper to tatse
4 slices bruschetta
grilled dense bread that has ben rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil

what to do
Heat a char grill or pan and place a few pieces of eggplant at time and cook till browned and soft. repaet till all egplant is cooked.
Place egplant in a bowl and combine with all other indredients, season to taste.
Top four slices with the bruchetta mix and drizzle a little extra olive oil over.


what you need
1 loaf white Italian style bread
300ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
capers to tase
5 ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
½ bunch basil
Salt and pepper to taste

what to do
Remove the crust from the bread. Cut into even sized cubes and bake until golden brown and dry. Cool.

In a bowl place the oil, vinegar and garlic. Add the bread and toss.

Remove the core from the tomatoes and roughly chop. Thinly slice the red onion and add both to the bowl. Pick the basil leaves and tear into small pieces, add the capers. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Friday, May 7, 2010

panettone french toast with mixed berries

what you need
3 eggs 1/3 cup (80ml) thin cream
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
2 tbs caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Two 1.5cm-thick rounds of panettone* (cut across horizontally), quartered
250g frozen mixed berries, thawed
2 tbs icing sugar, plus extra to dust
40g unsalted butter
Thick cream or yoghurt, to serve

what to do
In a wide, shallow bowl, beat eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. Add the panettone, turn to coat and leave to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down from time to time to ensure it soaks up the batter.

Meanwhile, place half the berries in a blender with icing sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth. Combine with remaining berries and set aside.

Heat half the butter in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Drain excess egg mixture from half the panettone slices and cook for 1-2 minutes each side until golden. Keep warm while you repeat with remaining butter and panettone.

To serve, place two slices on each plate, dust with icing sugar, and top with berry compote and a dollop of cream.

chefs tip... you can substitute panettone for and dense fruit bread...