Sunday, January 23, 2011

peasant style chicken, potatoes & chorizo

This would have to be my daughter, Alexia's favourite dish, a very simple one pan dinner that is so easy to make and perfect for a sunday night dinner.

what you need
1 whole large free range chicken cut 1/2
2 chorizo sausages sliced
200mls chicken stock
1 kg potatoes quartered lengthways skin on
1 large onion sliced
2 gloves garlic finely chopped
fresh rosemary chopped finely
fresh oregano chopped finely
olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper

what to do
Lay potatoes in the base of a heavy roasting dish, top with the sliced onions.
Rub the chicken with some of the olive oil, chopped herbs and garlic, and place on top of the Potatoes and onions.
Place chorizo around the chicken
Pour in chicken stock , and season well with the sea salt and cracked pepper.
Roast in a moderate oven till the chicken is well browned and cooked to the bone

chilli crab

  • Nothing like fresh crabs, Paul and the boys decided on a quiet Friday night to drag the boat down to the swan river. After may hours, with all the nets down they pulled up 8 monster blue swimmer crabs, and what better way to cook them than in a thick hot chilli sauce.
I think it was more fun watching these three guys dig into the large bowl of chilli crab, dipping the crusty bread and slurping up all that hot spicy sauce. On the down side was now having to clean the walls and windows that are now have red spots all over them.

  • what you need
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 green (uncooked) blue swimmer crabs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 fresh long red chillies finely chopped
  • 1 tbs finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbs dry sherry
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 6 spring onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crab linguine with chilli, lemon and garlic

what you need

  1. 100ml olive oil
  2. 1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  3. 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  4. 3 pared strips of lemon zest, finely chopped
  5. 450g linguine - fresh if possible
  6. 2 tbsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
  7. 225g freshly cooked white crab meat
  8. 2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

what to do

  1. Put the olive oil, chilli, garlic and lemon zest into a small pan and put over a gentle heat until it begins to fry. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
  3. Tip the chilli and lemon mixture into the pan the pasta was in, then add the lemon juice and season. Heat until sizzling, then add the linguine and crab meat to the pan and toss gently over a medium heat to warm the crab through.
  4. Add the parsley, season, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Monday, January 3, 2011

baked gorgonzola figs with macadamia, honey, balsamic dressing

what you need

8 fresh ripe figs

50gr gorgonzola cheese

1/3 cup toasted, finely chopped macadamia nuts

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Fresh dressed mixed greens

2 tablespoons full flavoured honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

what to do

Trim off the stem end of the figs, and using a sharp knife cut an X into the top of the fig 3/4 of the way down leaving the bottom of the fig attached.

Roll some of the gorgonzola into small balls about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in size, then roll the balls into the macadamia nuts gently pressing them into the cheese balls. Place the figs on a baking sheet, then place a cheese ball into each fig. Gently squeeze the fig to enclose the cheese inside. Brush the figs lightly with a little olive oil and place the figs in a preheated oven, until the figs are heated through and the cheese is just beginning to melt.

While the figs are heating, divide the greens on top of each of four plates. Mix together the honey, balsamic, and olive oil. Place the figs on top of the greens and drizzle the figs with a little of the honey, balsamic dressing. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Risotto Milanese

what you need

4 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced finely
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 large pinch saffron threads
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)

what to do

Bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Lower heat, keep warm.

In the risotto pan, add the olive oil and onion. Cook the onion slowly for several minutes, until soft but do not brown. Add the rice and cook the rice for a couple of minutes. Add the saffron. Add the white wine and cook for a couple of minutes until the liquid has cooked off.

Start adding the stock. Add a couple of ladles initially and stir. Use a rubber spatula instead of a spoon. This really is the best tool - you can really lift the rice off the bottom of the pan. When you begin adding the stock, start timing the risotto. It should take between 20-25 minutes. You should stir the rice as much as you can, not allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not boil the rice, just keep it on a simmer. As soon as the liquid has cooked off, keeping adding the stock by the ladleful.

After about 20 minutes, taste the rice. It should be soft, but still retain a little firmness (bite). When you think it is done, do not add any more liquid. Four cups of stock is usually just right. When the rice has absorbed the liquid, turn off the heat and add the parmesan. Serve hot and add more grated parmesan to the top if you like.

Sicilian stuffed arancini

what you need
5 cups chicken broth
pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cups Arborio, Carnaroli or Aquerello rice
a rind of Parmigianno Reggiano cheese (if you have it) or 2 tablespoons grated cheese
2-3 egg whites
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (you can also use panko)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (approximately) of meat sauce, bolognese, or ragu
vegetable oil (I used Canola) to give you about 4 inches of oil in your pot for frying

Make the risotto:

Heat the broth, add the saffron to it and keep it warm in a pot next to the pot in which you want to make your risotto.

In a medium size heavy pot, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion with a pinch of salt gently for a few minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the rice, raise the heat a little and toast the rice for a couple of minutes. Add a couple of ladlefuls of broth and stir the risotto. Add the cheese rind. Lower the heat a little - you do not want the mixture to boil, but just to simmer gently. When the rice has absorbed the broth, add two more ladlefuls. You can tell when to add the broth by running your spoon through the mixture. If the liquid immediately fills in the crevice you make, let it cook some more. If it remains clear, it is time to add more broth (see photo in post for an example). Keep adding broth and stirring, repeating until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. You may not use all the broth. If you don't have enough broth, continue with plain water. If you don't have a cheese rind, at this point add the grated cheese and mix. Pour the risotto onto a baking sheet and let cool. You can refrigerate it to let it cool.

Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and beat a little with a fork. Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl. Place the meat sauce into a small bowl.

Scrape the cooled risotto into a bowl and add the whole beaten egg. Mound some risotto into your hand using a quantity a little smaller than what size you want the finished arancini. With a spoon or your hand, make an indentation in the risotto. Place about a tablespoon of meat sauce in the indentation, add some risotto over the top and gently mold the whole thing into a ball. Roll the arancini in the egg whites and then in the bread crumbs. Place the arancini onto the wax paper. After they are all done, place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat about 4 inches of oil in a small pot or use a fryer if you have one. When the oil becomes hot enough to fry, lower the arancini one at a time into the oil with a handled strainer. Let fry for a few minutes, checking the color so they do not burn and gently rotating them with the strainer. When they are golden brown, remove with the strainer and place on paper towels to drain.

Italian stuffed mushrooms

18 large (about 2 lbs.) white mushrooms
Extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup Marsala wine
1 ½ cups, fresh bread crumbs (can substitute with gluten free crumbs!)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove stems and coarsely chop them, reserving the caps. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushrooms to the heated oil, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook until mushroom mixture is dry, about 5 minutes. Slowly add Marsala. Cook until Marsala has evaporated, about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs. Set aside the bread crumb mixture to let cool, and then add Pecorino Romano, parsley, and garlic. Mix thoroughly.

Place mushroom caps in a single layer (rounded side down) on a greased cookie sheet. Spoon mushroom filling into caps, drizzle with olive oil, season with pepper, and bake until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes. Arrange mushrooms on serving platter and drizzle with a little aged balsamic vinegar