Saturday, February 19, 2011

chilli and chive baked ricotta

what you need

Olive oil, to grease

500g fresh ricotta

2 eggs, lightly whisked

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives

1 tsp chilli flakes

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

what to do

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush two 250ml capacity ramekins with oil to lightly grease.

place ricotta in a clean cloth and suspend over a bowl to drain four at least an hour.

Combine ricotta, egg, chives and chilli in a bowl.

Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon ricotta mixture among ramekins and smooth the surface.

Place on a baking tray.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden and set. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

Turn onto a cheese board. Serve with a fresh crusty baguette

Or refrigerate then slice and use as required

dried feta stuffed olives

what you need

1/3 cup plain flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbs milk

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 1/3 cups finely grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of cayenne pepper

400 gr Spanish feta stuffed olives, rinsed, drained *

Extra-light olive oil, to deep-fry

what to do

Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the flour on a plate. Combine the egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

Dip olives in flour and shake off excess. Dip in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat. Place on lined tray. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.

Add enough oil to a large saucepan to reach a depth of 5cm. Heat to 190°C over medium-high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 10 seconds). Add one-fifth of the olives to the oil and cook for 30 seconds or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 4 more batches, with the remaining olives, reheating oil between batches. Place in a serving bowl and serve.

*feta stuffed olives are available from most continental delis

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

chocolate tart

what you need
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons cold water
170 grams bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Chocolate shavings (optional)

what to do
To make the crust, thoroughly mix flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut butter in chunks and add to bowl. With two knives or pastry blender, cut butter into flour, tossing to coat with flour until largest pieces are the size of pine nuts and remaining pieces resemble coarse breadcrumbs.

As you work, scrape flour up from bottom of bowl, and scrape butter from knives or pastry blender. Do not let butter melt or blend completely into flour. Drizzle 1-1/2 tablespoons cold water over flour mixture while tossing and mixing, until just moist enough to hold together when pressed.

Add remaining water if needed. Turn out on plastic wrap. Gather into a flat disc, pressing together any loose bits. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees celsius). Let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature, or until pliable enough to roll without cracking.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 14- by 9-inch (35cm - 23cm) oval, about 1/8-inch thick (3mm), rotating and dusting with flour to prevent sticking.

Brush excess flour from dough; fold in half to transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough. Unfold dough. Loosely fold and roll edge, without pressing, to form rimmed crust. Place parchment with pastry on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown (crust edge will be a little raw inside).

Meanwhile, for filling, melt chocolate in microwave on 50 per cent power (medium) about 2 minutes. Stir frequently until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from microwave. Stir until melted; set aside.

In bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Pour pecans and melted chocolate over whites; fold with spatula until batter is uniform colour.

Remove crust from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celsius). Dollop filling on crust. Spread to 1/2-inch (1.2cm) thick. Bake 10 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (fudgy inside).

Cool on baking sheet on rack. Serve warm or cool. Cover and refrigerate after two hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, top with chocolate shavings.