Showing posts with label buckwheat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buckwheat. Show all posts

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Grilled Crab with Gin and Pomegranate Sabayon - with Warm Pink Grapefruit, Zucchini and Buckwheat Salad

Sometimes I see trends in types of recipes that go through my foodporn news feeds and it makes me think, hmm, I’ve never tried that before. It’s such a common dish, or component of a dish and despite being quite adventurous in my cooking, it’s not something I’ve ever made. Or even contemplated making – like mac and cheese. Can you believe this last weekend was the first time I’d ever made b├ęchamel sauce? As I was stirring the milk and it was magically thickening and turning into a delicious thick sauce in a way I’d never seen before, I was thinking about starting this blog. It was initially about trying new things and opening myself up to new cooking experiences, so that we didn’t eat the same dishes on rote. But although the flavours I mix together are often unique and different and new, my methods of cooking haven’t really evolved much.

I watched Julie and Julia on the weekend (with a large bowl of mac and cheese using aforementioned b├ęchamel sauce to cope with all that delicious food on screen) and watching Julie debone a duck and going through the calf leg gelatin section of Julia Child’s cookbook made me determined to make a few more things requiring a different cooking technique to my usual. Whilst I don’t think I’ll ever buy a calf leg, or possibly even debone a duck, I will definitely try a few new things.

I wrote before about being scared of roasting a duck, and that experiment turning out deliciously well. And one of the other things I’ve never really attempted seriously before is sauces or custards with egg. Even making ice creams I try to avoid using custard based ones because cooking eggs like that scares me. I figure I’ll end up with scrambled eggs and ruin the whole thing. But I made a chocolate pavlova for Mothers’ Day and ended up with a whole bunch of egg yolks and decided it was the perfect time to make a pink grapefruit curd. Again, I enjoyed watching the magic of the yolks and grapefruit juice thicken and become creamy and turn from ingredients into an actual dish. So the next step was to make a sabayon sauce. Sabayon (or zabaglione) is a light and fluffy sauce, drink or dessert made using some form of alcohol and egg yolks as the main ingredients.

Things I’ve learnt in these two egg-based sauce dishes is that you need to be patient at first, slowly drizzling the hot liquid into the eggs and whisking first before putting it on the heat and whisking consistently at a brisk pace. But it’s definitely a trick worth trying, you really do feel there is a science behind cooking.

Given that it’s Autumn and the markets are full of pomegranates, this sabayon is pomegranate flavoured and paired with one of my favourite spirits – Gin. I again used the West Winds Sabre for it’s specific citrus notes, but if you can’t get your hands on it, substitute Bombay Sapphire. And like my last Gin dish, it uses crab meat. I had this frozen from our very successful crabbing trip in summer, but you can generally get your hands on crab or crab meat at most supermarkets. There’s something about gin and crab that just *work*, you know! I then put it under the grill to heat the crab and lightly toast the top of the sabayon. The end result is a toasty, airy, citrusy puff of rich sauce on top of the flaky crab meat. So. Good.

This was paired with a warm buckwheat salad. I think next time, I’d like to add a few plain salted tortilla chips as well, for a textural counterpoint.

Grilled Crab with Gin and Pomegranate Sabayon
2/3 cup West Winds Sabre Gin
4 tbsp pink grapefruit juice
2 pomegranates, seeded
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
300g cooked crab meat, picked over for cartilage and shell

Seed the pomegranates and reserve ¼ of the arils for the salad. Put the gin, grapefruit juice and pomegranate seeds into a small saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced to about ¼ of a cup.

Line a baking tray with paper and divide the crab meat into 4. Tightly pack with your hands into patties and set aside until sauce is ready.

Once the gin mixture has reduced, strain through a fine sieve into a glass bowl that you can set above simmering water. Set a small saucepan of water to simmer. Add the egg yolks to the reduced gin and whisk briskly for a few minutes to fully incorporate, then place over the simmering water. Whisk constantly and briskly until the sauce becomes light and fluffy, the colour will turn a pretty pale purple. It’ll take about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking slowly for a few minutes until emulsified. Taste and season as needed. Set aside until salad is ready and you can grill the crab.

Spoon the mixture over the crab and place under a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes until toasted and brown.

Warm Pink Grapefruit, Zucchini and Buckwheat Salad
2/3 cup buckwheat
1 ½ cup water
½ tsp salt
Big pinch fresh black pepper
Olive oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp coriander seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
2/3 cup corn kernels
1 pink grapefruit, segmented and diced
1 tbsp tamari
2 silverbeet leaves, stripped and shredded
1 Avocado, sliced
Handful toasted almonds, roughly chopped
¼ of the pomegranate arils reserved from making the sabayon

Put the buckwheat, water, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer until the buckwheat is cooked, but still chewy, around 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a frypan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the garlic until translucent. Add the cumin, mustard seeds and coriander seeds, stir well to coat in the oily garlic mix. Add the zucchini and corn kernels and cook for 5-10 minutes until the zucchini is soft. Take off the heat.

Stir through the cooked buckwheat, tamari, grapefruit pieces and silverbeet leaves.

Serve with sliced avocado, toasted almonds and the reserved pomegranate arils on top.

 Gently remove the crab with sabayon patties and serve alongside


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Red-sotto - Mushroom and Beetroot Buckwheat Risotto

My cousin told me off the other day for posting yummy stuff on my blog, instagram and facebook page and not inviting her over to eat it. So I organised a cousin's catch up to rectify that. Pretty much everything that I post are just the dishes I cook for my my husband and I day-to-day. We both love food, so I try to keep our daily meals interesting. However, when it comes time to cook for other people, I get quite anxious. I know what I like, I know what Lance likes...but what if other people don't like it? If a dish misses with the two of us, there's always grilled cheese as a back-up. You can't really do that with guests. So I get complete mental blanks when I have to decide what to cook for other people.

My two go-to styles of dishes for dinner parties are pastas and risottos. The main reason being that they're easy to cook enough to feed a large amount of people all at once. Because this dinner party was family, I thought instead of playing it safe and making a chicken and corn risotto or chicken and pumpkin risotto - two of my favourite delicious and generally inoffensive flavour combinations, I thought I'd be a little more adventurous and use beetroots to make this "red-sotto".

The first time I made this, I already had some roasted beetroots and leftover lamb from a weekend roast. I actually roasted extra beetroots after seeing a similar recipe on Potlicker and falling in love with the colour. Knowing I needed a red risotto in my life. I then stirred some shredded lamb through at the end for extra oomph. But it's delicious just as a vegetarian risotto. The beetroot really is the star here. But because the lamb/beet combo worked so well, I chose to serve it with lamb steaks on the side for my cousins. Then, because I was feeling playful, I crumbled sheep's milk fetta over the top. Lamb and sheep's milk - get it? Just like I used red onion and red wine to go with the red beets. I used buckwheat instead of arborio rice, which means it needs to cook a little bit longer and isn't quite as 'creamy', but on the positive side, you can pop the lid on and let it simmer away while you socialise.

It's a very rich, earthy dish, perfect for the current warm days and chilly nights. It also pairs beautifully with the reds we just re-stocked from my favourite winery in the entire world - Cape Naturaliste. The Cab-Sauv has a boldness that holds up to these strong flavours really well.

Note the stained pink fingers!

Mushroom and Beetroot Buckwheat Risotto
4-5 med red beets
splash balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
8-9 small field mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red onion, diced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 cup buckwheat
1 cup water
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp butter
sheep's fetta to serve

Preheat the oven to 175C. Trim the tops and tails of the beets, place in a roasting tray, splash with balsamic vinegar and caraway seeds, then cover tightly with foil. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a suitable risotto pan, then add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add the herbs. Stir well until fragrant, then add the buckwheat and stir to coat each grain in the oil and onion mixture. Should take a few minutes.

Add the wine and cook while stirrying until the wine is absorbed.

Put the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, stir into the buckwheat mix.

Peel the beets and place in the food processor with 1 cup of water. Puree until mainly smooth. Stir this into the buckwheat mixture, cooking until the liquid is absorbed.

Your choice here is to then cook like a traditional risotto, adding a little stock at a time. Personally, I added all of the stock, covered with a lid and simmered it for 30 minutes untl the liquid was all absorbed. Opening here and there to stir and check that it had sufficient stock.

At the end, stir through 1 tbsp butter to make it all glossy and serve with the sheep's milk fetta. Also pictured here, lamb steaks and a dressed kale salad.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Instagrams of Yumness - Roast Chicken and Vegetable Buckwheat Pilaf

This is a weird combination of leftovers/cooked-for-another-dish/new meal that I made for dinner the other night. Confused? Haha! Me too, writing that! Let me explain. Earlier in the week, we had my in-laws around for dinner. For Christmas, they had given my husband a beer chicken frame - it's a ring thing that you put a can of beer in, and place the cavity of the chicken around it and then roast it in the BBQ. The beer steams through the chicken and subtly flavours it. It's quite delicious and seeing as we had a small chicken, my husband roasted it as a taster for them before the main meal. It's something he's planning on experimenting a lot with, I think ginger beer is next on the list! Currently his favourite way of doing it is by adding chillis and garlic into the beer. So anyway, I had about 1 cup's worth of beer-roasted chicken leftover, so that takes care of the "leftovers" part.

And that night, I was making people chocolate gifts for Easter, rather than buying them eggs. I decided on two items, Chocolate Salami and Whisky Marshmallow, Caramel Bacon Bark. I absolutely fell in love with the Chocolate Salami idea when I saw the pictures on my favourite food blog, Always Order Dessert. And the Bacon Bark, which as a vegetarian dish improved by bacon, shouldn't really need further explanation. I will do a post on both of these in the not-too-distant future. It being Easter very soon! But to make the Bacon Bark, I needed to cook bacon! So I left about a quarter cup of small diced bacon in the pan to help flavour this pilaf. So that's the "cooked-for-another-dish" portion.

Add newly roasted vegetables, and that sort of explains what I meant. But after tempering more chocolate than I've eaten all year, toasting nuts, making caramel, burning caramel, making more caramel, melting marshmallow and crushing biscuits, this hearty yet light pilaf was a delightful dinner. And it all comes together with very minimal 'active' cooking time. In fact, I was calling it a 'risotto' until I realised I didn't do the constant stir, add stock, stir that comes with real risotto cooking.

Roast Chicken and Vegetable Buckwheat "Pilaf"
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1/4 cup finely diced bacon bits
punnet of cherry tomatoes
kernels of 3 corn cobs
1 small zucchini, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
splash of apple cider vinegar (or white wine)
1 cup buckwheat
2 cups water (or stock)
pecorino to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cherry tomatoes, zucchini and corn kernels in a splash of olive oil. Add the garlic slices and roast in a moderate oven for around 30 minutes. Until zucchini and tomatoes are soft and squishy and corn is golden and cooked.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon bits in a high sided saute pan or put until crispy. Add the buckwheat and stiry around to coat in the bacon fat. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and stir the buckwheat around in it until it's evaporated. Add the water (or stock), put the lid on and cook for half an hour or so until very almost cooked. Stir through the shredded chicken and cook for an extra 5 minutes or so until warmed. Check for seasoning.

Serve with shaved pecorino, and a fresh crack of pepper.