Showing posts with label grapefruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grapefruit. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Simple Sides - Pink Grapefruit Beets

Simple Sides - Pink Grapefruit Beets

This is just a really quick post about what is one of my favourite side dishes at the moment. I really love the earthiness of beetroot, and our tree is currently laden with pink grapefruit which led to this experimentation. Ordinarily, I add a little balsamic when I roast my beets, but the grapefruit juice brings a brightness with the acidity, rather than the richness that balsamic vinegar does. The ginger adds a little bite and the pink peppercorns add a dill-like freshness to the whole situation.

This is great served alongside a roast and if you have leftovers, they make the best salad with grains and a little Greek Yoghurt or goat’s cheese.

Simple Sides - Pink Grapefruit Beets

Pink Grapefruit Beets

8 baby beets, peeled and quartered
1 pink grapefruit, zest and juice
Thumbsize piece of ginger, peeled and grated
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pink peppercorns
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 170C

In a casserole dish, pour in the baby beets, olive oil, zest, ginger, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour over the grapefruit juice. Cover the casserole tightly with a lid, or alfoil, then pop in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender.

Remove the lid/alfoil and pop back in the oven for a further 15 minutes so the juice reduces a little.

Serve, drizzling with the reduced juices.

Simple Sides - Pink Grapefruit Beets
Simple Sides - Pink Grapefruit Beets

Monday, July 6, 2015

Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing

Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing

I feel so blessed to be food allergy free. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Makes eating out and just cooking in general so easy. I have quite a few family members and friends who aren’t so lucky. Whilst there is a variety of allergies I sometimes have to cater for, the most common one is gluten. Unfortunately for those friends, the gluten intolerance and allergy generates fairly full-on, sometimes hospital inducing reactions. It’s a little more serious for them than the discomfort that some gluten-avoiders get, so every single ingredient needs to be gluten free.

At a recent cousins catch-up Lance and I hosted, I needed to make a gluten-free cake. Now, because I am fine to eat everything, I don’t buy gluten-free flour, and I didn’t want to buy some especially for the occasion. Which led to a decision – make my own gluten-free flour out of things I do buy, like buckwheat flour, rice flour, chick pea flour, or go flourless? I decided to go flourless. This cake does call for gluten free baking powder, which I have as a default. You can leave it out altogether if you need it gluten free and don’t want to buy new baking powder. The cake is already a dense style, so it’s not especially missed, just make sure the whole thing is well beaten whilst mixing.

The pink grapefruit that we planted when we first moved in has had it’s first fruit-bearing season, and I wanted to make a citrusy cake to celebrate this fact. I love pink grapefruit so much! Tart and tangy and refreshing. So good! And seeing as our basil plant clearly hasn’t been informed that it’s actually winter now, and is still growing like crazy and given the success of a previous lime and basil cake (for a cousins catch-up on my side of the family), my flavour profile was decided. I didn’t have enough almonds to make an almond meal cake, so I adapted Nigella’s Lemon Polenta Cake, which uses a mixture of polenta and almonds, and is drizzled with a lemon syrup to make a wonderfully moist cake.

Just because I wanted to show off, I added a toasted meringue icing, also grapefruit and basil flavoured. The cake doesn’t really need the icing – but I figure, if you’re making a cake for an event, you might as well go all out, right? Go big, or go home!

Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing

Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue


200g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
6 large basil leaves
2 cups almond meal
¾ cup fine polenta (cornmeal)
3 eggs
Zest 1 pink grapefruit


Juice of the pink grapefruit above
½ cup icing sugar
6 large basil leaves

Preheat oven to 180C. Spray the sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with cooking spray and line the base with baking paper. I like to allow a little overhang, then clip the base into the ring to secure it.

In a coffee/spice grinder, finely grind the basil leaves with half of the caster sugar. Add the basil sugar, remaining sugar and butter into the bowl of a standmixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the almond meal, polenta and baking powder. Turn the mixer down to low/medium and add 1 egg, then 1/3 of the dry mixture. Alternate the egg and dry mixture for the remaining 2 eggs and polenta. When this is fully combined, beat in the grapefruit zest.

Scrape the mixture into the cake tin, and bake for around 40 minutes. The top will be a little golden, and will be pulling away from the edges a little. Place the cake tin on a cooling rack. Don’t remove the cake yet.

Just before the cake is done baking, bring the icing sugar and grapefruit juice to the boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the basil leaves. Stir well, then set aside to infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves

When the cake is out, prick all over the top gently with a cake tester (or thin toothpick). Pour the warm syrup over the cake. Leave it to soak in and cool in the tin.

Whilst the cake cools, make the meringue icing

Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing

Pink Grapefruit and Basil Toasted Meringue Icing

2 egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
Pinch cream of tartar
Juice of 1 grapefruit
Handful of basil leaves

Get ready by wetting a pastry brush and placing the eggwhites in a clean bowl of your standmixer, and attaching the whisk attachment. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a pot large enough that the end will be submerged in the liquid, but not touching the bottom of the pan.

Place the grapefruit juice in a measuring cup and add water to make it up to 100mL. Add this, the sugar and the basil leaves to a medium pot and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully remove the basil leaves.

Brush down sugar crystals with the wet brush. Continue heating the syrup until it reaches 115C, this will take around 10 minutes. Leave it on the heat, but start whisking the eggwhites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Keep an eye on the thermometer, and when it reaches 120C, take it off the heat, increase the speed of the mixer to high and slowly pour the syrup in a thin, steady stream down the side (avoid it touching the whisk). When all of the syrup is incorporated, lower the speed to medium and continue beating until it’s cooled to room temperature and the meringue is thick and glossy.

Spread the meringue over the cake with a spatula, deliberately creating peaks and swirls. Fire up your mini-blow torch and gently brown the edges of the meringue swirls, being careful not to let it burn.


Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing
Entertaining without Gluten - Flourless Grapefruit and Basil Cake with Toasted Meringue Icing

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 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