Showing posts with label gin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gin. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Have you ever had a dutch baby? It’s not the most common of dishes here in Perth, but I absolutely love them because of how versatile and easy they are. It’s essentially one large baked pancake. And like normal pancakes, you can flavour them up in any way you want. But unlike normal pancakes that require cooking in batches, this is all done in one go. That makes it one of my go-to dinner dishes for something quick after the gym. I’ll serve it with some form of vegetable concoction to go on top. It’s also one of my go-to breakfast/brunch dishes. It is a super quick dish to prep, and you can chuck it in the oven while you shower, or sitting and quietly having your morning coffee…and before you know it, you have deliciousness. If I’m making a savoury Dutch Baby, then I love making them with chick pea flour. Both for the added protein it adds, and more importantly, for the flavour profile it adds. Just by swapping out the flour, you add that specific slightly smokey, slightly nutty flavour that chickpeas have. It also makes it gluten free, if that’s an issue for you.

I didn’t get any meat out for dinner when I cooked this dish, so I thought I’d make a ratatouille to go with it. I always have tomatoes and zucchini in the house. Always. And, it has been pointed out to me that I cook with booze a lot. Which I did here. I added some gin and blood orange marmalade to add a little oomph.

If you want my favourite version of a chickpea dutch baby, you’ll need to grab a copy of the Recipes and Ramblings III cookbook. In it, it has the recipe for a Spicy Chickpea Dutch Baby with a Tomato Bacon Jam.
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange RatatouilleEasy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

(serves 2)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp blood orange marmalade
1 shot Gin (I like West Winds Sabre or Gin Mare flavours in this)
3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 roasted capsicum, roughly chopped
¼ tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp salt

Chickpea Flour Dutch Baby

½ cup chickpea flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup milk (soured with ½ tsp lime juice)
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter.

Warm the olive oil to medium in a pot. Add the onions and cook until translucent, but not coloured – around 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a further 2 minutes until that is translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and reduce to a simmer and leave for half an hour or so until all the vegetables are soft and the flavours have intensified. About the time it takes to make the dutch baby!

Heat the oven to 180C

Heat a frypan that can go into the oven to a high heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper and chickpea flour. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Then beat in the soured milk. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined.

Add the butter to the pan and swirl to coat the whole bottom of the frypan. Carefully pour the pancake batter into the pan and tilt back and forth to coat the pan. Place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dutch baby puffs up and is golden.
Remove from the oven carefully (the handle will be HOT. I have learnt this the hard way!). It will deflate once removed from the oven. Spoon over the ratatouille and a scoop of fresh ricotta or Greek Yoghurt

Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille
Easy Dinner - Chickpea Dutch Baby with Gin and Blood Orange Ratatouille

Friday, June 20, 2014

Relax, It's World Gin Day - Hendricks and Chamomile Cocktail

So apparently last weekend hosted World Gin Day! Now, I am a huge fan of gin, so I don’t need a specific reason to drink gin. Or cook with it. But especially drink it. By far, one of my favourite gins is Hendrick’s. It has such a unique, sweet cucumber and floral flavour that depending on how you mix it, is either subtle or strong. On  Tuesday, I went to another of The Classroom Bar’s Spirit Faculty events. Every month they feature an expert walking you through a spirit type and pair it with some awesome snackage. This one was all about the wonderful world of Hendricks. So much fun!

But for those of you who didn't go out and about for World Gin Day, then maybe you should give this cocktail a shot. This is a warm cocktail, using chamomile tea. Elegant and fun all at once. The recipe was adapted from the Treme Cookbook which also features the cold version of the same cocktail – and similarly, you can make this with chilled chamomile. The original used Earl Grey tea, but try as I might, I just don’t really like it much. I find the bergamot takes over too much and is overwhelmingly bitter
. Chamomile is a perfect floral companion to the Hendricks as it's one of it's botanicals. It's also naturally relaxing and caffeine free. Chuck on some jazz, whip up the cream and sit back and toast to World Gin Day.

Cucumber Simple Syrup
½ cup sugar
1 large cucumber

Peel the cucumber and blend it until it liquefies. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a slow boil, stirring here and there to dissolve the sugar. Simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes or so until it becomes a bit syrupy. Pour into a clean glass jar, cover and refrigerate to cool.

Hendricks and Chamomile
½ shot cucumber Simple Syrup (15-20mL)
2 shots Hendricks gin (60mL)
2 shots Chamomile tea (60mL)
100mL whipping cream
4 drops rosewater

Put the chamomile tea on to brew.

Whip the cream and rosewater together until soft peaks form.

Pour the Hendricks and cucumber syrup into a mug, stir. Add the hot chamomile tea and stir again. Top with whipped cream

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


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crab Pasta with a Gin and White Chocolate Sauce

I know that I suggested that you ‘cook’ a ceviche brulee for Valentine’s Day dinner, but I thought I’d also give you a second option. Also seafood. Also containing gin. And this one is a little more Valentine’s Day traditional in that it also contains chocolate! I’ve dabbled with savoury chocolate dishes a few time. This, so far, is my favourite. The sweetness of the crab pairs with the sweetness of the white chocolate and the red peppercorns provide just enough spice to temper against the sweetness. You’ll possibly have noticed I’m also really into gins at the moment. The one I used in this one is made in West Australia, so it might be a little harder for you to find. You can sub it in for a gin of your choice, but the citrusy hit that “Sabre” has is really suited to this dish. If you can get it, definitely give it a go, it’s really nice!

Given that Valentine’s Day is also soon – if you can’t find crab meat by Friday, I’ll also allow you to sub in prawns.

In the photos you’ll see I served this with a salad of leaves and sour cherries. The tartness of the cherries really pops with the richness of the pasta and makes it a complete meal. And given the gin and citrus, harks back to the Aviation cocktail that I’m a big fan of. That would be this dish’s perfect pre-dinner cocktail!

Crab Pasta with Gin and White Chocolate Sauce
200g crab flesh
¾ cup The West Winds“Sabre” Gin
Zest and juice of one lime
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp pepper corns
½ tsp sea salt
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 big cloves garlic, minced
50g white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
250g pasta

Cherry Salad
Mixed salad leaves
12 cherries, roughly chopped
½ zucchini, thinly sliced into rings
Assorted toasted nuts/seeds (I used pepitas, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds)
Salt & pepper

Put a pot of salted water on to boil. When boiling, add the pasta to cook at the point where the garlic is cooked.

In a dry frypan, toast the coriander seeds for 30 seconds or so on medium heat until fragrant. Grind with the peppercorns. Set aside.

In the same pan, gently warm the olive oil and sautee the shallots for 5 minutes or so until translucent. Do not allow to colour. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and coriander seeds. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the lime zest, juice and gin, stir through really well and allow to reduce by about half – another 5 minutes or so.

Add the crab, stir well. Then mix in the white chocolate and butter, stirring frequently to allow everything to come together as the chocolate and butter melts.

At this point, the pasta should be al dente. Drain, then toss into the crab sauce. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Romantic Summer - Salmon Ceviche Brulee

Along with our wedding anniversary, Lance and I still like to acknowledge our ‘dating’ anniversary. We’re both fairly romantic folk, so it gives us another opportunity to celebrate us. We just passed our 6th anniversary of our first date. That first date was Epic. With a capital E. With castles and flying roses and passionfruit wine and dancing. It was seriously wonderful and thinking back over that night and everything that has happened between us in those last 6 years makes me all warm and fuzzy. That first night, we had sushi for dinner (something that Lance had not been a fan of before we became friends and I showed him how good it can be) and as a nod to that, we went to a wonderful Omakase and Teppenyaki restaurant in Mosman Park – Fu Ku. It’s a little pricey, but the food is incredible, so if you like Japanese and want somewhere to go for a special occasion, I highly recommend it! But, seeing as I always have recipe ideas running around in my head and things I want us to try, I thought I’d also make Lance a special meal for our anniversary too.

Given the recent heatwave we’ve been having in Perth, a lot of the dishes I have on my ‘to-cook’ list are ruled out as either too heavy to want to eat, or too labour intensive to want to cook. Which lead me to ceviche. We both love ceviche. We had it often on our last US trip, and since coming back we’ve found it popping up on menus around Perth. Don Tapa in Fremantle and El Publico in Highgate both do great ceviche. And it is so incredibly simple. Whilst you can get all fancy about the ingredients, essentially all you need is fresh seafood and citrus juice to “cook” it. On our last day in New York City, Lance and I went to a fantastic Peruvian restaurant that served a few different types of ceviche including what they called Salmon Brulee. A salmon ceviche formed into a neat square, with a layer of cream cheese on top, and a very thin layer of sugar that had been caramelised to a crisp on top. It was so unique and so delicious. So I decided to make a version of that for Lance.

I kept the whole thing very basic for my first attempt and the result was so good. Using my current citrus favourite - grapefruit and a cheeky little shot of Gin. You can substitute the grapefruit juice for lime or lemon (or a combination). And omit the gin if you're not into it - but I think the flavours go particularly well. I served this with a mango salad on the side, and used some of the marinading liquid to ‘dress’ it (this liquid is called Leche de Tigre in Peru and is considered a potent aphrodisiac AND hangover cure!). And a few home made tortilla chips. I also kept the pieces chunkier for my first attempt - nice and rustic. If you are like us, kind of romantic but looking to keep things fairly low-key with dinner at home on Valentine's Day, this is a fantastic quick and impressive dish for you to share with that special someone.

Salmon Ceviche Brulee
250g skinless salmon steaks
Grapefruit juice from one large grapefruit (around ¾ cup)
1 shot (30mL) gin (I used Gin Mare because of it’s olive flavours)
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1/4 tsp good sea salt
100g cream cheese
2 tbsp white sugar
Mango Salad
2 medium mangoes
2 roma tomatoes
½ sweet paprika
1 small Lebanese cucumber
1/3  Leche de Tigre (from the ceviche)

Finely slice the salmon portions (the smaller you cut it, the less time it’ll take to ‘cook’). Sprinkle with salt. In a glass bowl, add the grapefruit juice, gin and jalapeno. Add the salmon and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cook. As a minimum, 30 minutes. Up to a few hours before you’re going to serve it.

Using a cutter, form a disc (or shape of your choosing) of cream cheese 1cm or so thick. Sprinkle a fine layer of sugar over the top and carefully unmold without pulling the sugar off with it.

To make the salsa – finely chop all of the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.

When the ceviche is ready, strain through a sieve and reserve about 1/3 cup of the juice. Pour this reserved liquid into the mango salsa salad and mix well.

Form the salmon into a pile, carefully slide the cheese disc on top and use a brulee torch to burn the sugar on top.
Serve immediately with some fresh tortilla chips