Showing posts with label zucchini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zucchini. Show all posts

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole
Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

There are blossoms on my mango tree. And a few on the blueberry shrub. Spring is definitely in the air. Intermittently. It’s supposed to be thunderstormy and rainy again any day now. Despite being around 24C yesterday. And nights are still cold. So slow-cooked foods and casseroles are still well and truly on the cards. Rich flavours that warm you up are still part of my cravings.

This beef and pear stew combines sweet and savoury in a fairly subtle way.The cinnamon and ginger waving a friendly hello to the sweetness of the pear and the red wine in a way that made me then go on to cook a full mulled-wine flavoured stew. More on that soon. Everything is cooked in the one pot, veges and all so it's the complete package.

Whip me up a bowl, I'll be sitting under a blanket on the couch. At least for a few more weeks.
 Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole
Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

800g beef chuck, diced
1/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
Oil to fry
3 baby carrots, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
2 buerre bosc pears
1 bay leaf
3 anchovies
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
¼ cup capers
1 small zucchini, large diced
Cooked brown rice to serve

Preheat your oven to 175C

Combine the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika. Whisk to mix it well.

Heat a coverable dish that can go on the stovetop and in the oven (such as a tagine) over medium-high heat and add a thin layer of oil. Dust the beef chuck pieces in the flour mix and brown on all sides. Do it in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove the beef and set aside.

If the pan is dry, add a tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. Then add the capsicum and carrot and cook until softened, a further 5-10 minutes. Stir through the anchovies, cinnamon and ginger until the anchovies have ‘melted’.
Pour in the stock and red wine, bring to the boil then add the bay leaf, pear, capers and the beef.

Cover, and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, then add the zucchini. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with brown rice.

Still Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine CasseroleStill Cold at Night - Beef, Pear and Red Wine Casserole

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

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


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beetroot and Coconut Gnocchi with Green Tea Butter Bean Sauce

For me, the easiest way to make sure I eat well and healthfully is to be prepared. And because I can be seriously lazy, or time-poor (or both), I like to do prep work lazily too. One of the easiest tricks is to just cook too much and you have immediate leftovers. Whenever Lance and I cook a roast (because usually the prep work is a team effort on roasts), I always roast more vegetables than we’ll eat, which I then will use for lunches to take to work. Given that I don’t peel any vegetables, only scrub them before roasting, it really is no extra effort at all. So when Sunday came around and we popped a roast on, I also roasted 2 large beetroot and set them aside to make this dish.
You may remember my sweet potato and coconut gnocchi that was inspired by a dish I never ate at Solomon’s? Well, what we did eat was beetroot and coconut gnocchi, and that was amazing too. So I wanted to give that a go, as well, giving the flavours a Skamp twist. To be honest, these gnocchi were slightly too dry for my liking. I imagine they need either some egg, or perhaps just some oil added into the mixture to bind it better. The sweet potato texture didn’t require anything extra to hold their shape and the mouth feel was perfect. These were a touch dry, so next attempt I will add maybe 2 tbsp coconut oil to the beetroot mixture. Eating it with sauce took away the dryness, but it needed the sauce.
Seeing as the beetroot are really earthy, and I was going to add some leftover rosemary roasted lamb to the sauce, I decided to add caraway and rosemary to the gnocchi to enhance this rich earthiness and the flavour was unbelievable. For the sauce, I made a ‘creamy’ sauce out of butter beans and green tea, to add grassiness to the earthiness, with some fresh lemon and parsley to brighten the flavours up. Then added some peppery watercress and sweet bee pollen to garnish and round out the flavours even more. So. Good. To keep this vegan, you can omit the roast lamb (and bee pollen if that’s your deal). I tasted the sauce and some crumbs without the lamb and it didn’t need the meat.

Beetroot and Coconut Gnocchi with Green Tea Butter Bean Sauce
(serves 4)
2 large roasted beetroot
Coconut flour as necessary – I used 10 tbsp
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp fresh minced rosemary
Coconut oil for frying
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup strong brewed green tea
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, finely sliced into rounds
Big handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded cooked lamb
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Bee pollen and cress leaves to serve
Preheat the oven to 150C to keep the cooked gnocchi warm. Pop the kettle on. Brew a cup of green tea, allowing to steep for a good 5 minutes at least, to develop the flavour. Set aside until ready.
Put the beetroot into your food processor and pulse to break up. Add the salt, pepper, caraway seeds and rosemary, and process until smooth. One tablespoon at a time, add coconut flour and pulse to combine until it forms a dry-ish dough, similar texture to play dough.
Scoop teaspoonfuls and roll to form gnocchi shapes, put on a plate. Heat a frypan to medium and add a knob of coconut oil and allow to melt and heat. Add a handful of gnocchi at a time, fry for 3 minutes or so until ‘golden’ and then flip and cook the other side. Set on a plate and pop in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with all of the gnocchi.
In your blender, blend the green tea and butter beans until smooth. In a pan or small pot, add the butter bean mixture and zucchini and gently simmer for 10 minutes or so until thickened slightly, warm and the zucchini is soft. Add the cooked lamb and after the meat has heated through (approximately 5 minutes) add parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Scoop some sauce onto your serving plate, gently place the gnocchi on top and scatter cress leaves and bee pollen to serve.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthday Meals - Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce

My husband and I both tend to have birthday week, at least. Sometimes birthday month. We generally don't buy each other presents unless there’s something specific we find (this is true for all gift-giving occasions). Instead it becomes a week or so full of birthday-related activities. This year, his parents threw their annual party. The day of his birthday I met his boat after work and we had tapas and beers at Monk Brewery with a few friends and the next day I cooked him this for dinner for his Birthday + 1. I had told him I wanted to cook him something special for his birthday and he told me he doubted I could. Everything I cook was special. Bless him.

We are both big fans of ribs. Sticky, BBQ sauce smothered ribs. Preferably smokey. Along with my collection of hot sauces, I have a handful of different BBQ sauces in my pantry, too. I was thinking about how they all have a similar base flavour, and started contemplating what it was that makes a BBQ sauce taste like a BBQ sauce. Basically it’s a combination of sweet, salt and vinegar. The ‘sweet’ is usually fruity. And then it’s got some spice in there. Pretty simple, really. I knew I didn’t have enough time to come home from work and cook ribs (they are so much better slow-cooked), but I still wanted that sticky sweet sauce. I got it in my head to make a pasta, but didn’t want to just use a BBQ sauce from the bottle because they tend to be a bit ‘much’ in large quantities. The vinegar and sugar can take over.

I had been given a few sundowner apples from my parents’ after an orchard trip. I’m not the hugest fan of them to just eat, I find they can be a bit ‘floury’. I like my apples tart and crisp – like pink ladies, or fujis. But, I thought they’d make the perfect sweet base for a BBQ sauce. I added some figs, because I had some. You can always substitute another apple, or maybe a few nectarines or peaches seeing as they’re in season. To me, the sauce turned out perfectly and Lance swears up and down that it wasn’t BBQ sauce but was delicious. I asked him what it tasted like and what BBQ sauce tasted like. He repeated back all of the same flavours for both. What was ‘missing’ was it being further reduced to concentrate the flavours like the traditional condiment – but this was the reason I didn’t want to just use a bottled sauce in the first place. So, I am going to make this again, but cook it in my slow cooker for a few hours to reduce it further, then puree it to make a condiment BBQ sauce. And as a compromise, I am calling this a BBQ Pasta Sauce instead of just a BBQ sauce.

To make the pasta, I had some beautiful little yellow squash and zucchini, then some leftover roast beef that I shredded. Some pork or chicken would go well, too. Then I added a tonne of basil and flat leaf parsley at the end. I wanted it to be more of a vegetable than a herb.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices, so don’t get too overwhelmed by that. For me, they are all pantry staples. The mustard seeds and cumin seeds I measured before I toasted and ground them. If you have pre-ground spices, then you’d probably need a little less.

Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce
(serves 4-6)
2 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 apples
6 figs
1 shot bourbon
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Assembling the Pasta
6 yellow squash, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded cooked beef
Bunch basil leaves, roughly torn
Bunch flatleaf parsley leaves, roughly torn
500g egg noodles

In a large, tall sided pan (I used my tagine pan) on a low heat, add the olive oil and when it’s warmed up, add the shallots and garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes until translucent. You don’t want to colour them, you want it sweet and soft. Then add the apples, figs, salt and bourbon. Stir well, then cover and leave to simmer around 10 minutes while you prep the rest.

In a dry pan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds for 15-30 seconds until the mustard seeds ‘pop’. Add to a spice grinder or mortar & pestle with the peppercorns and grind until fine. Add the two paprikas and chili powder to the spice mix. Mix together the water, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey. Pour into the apple mixture. Add the spice mixture into the pan as well and mix everything really well. Cover again and simmer away for at least 20 minutes. The fruit should break down and go mushy turning into a delicious sticky sauce. Check for seasoning.

Meanwhile, place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions. Add the squash, beef and zucchini to the sauce and cook until warmed through and the vegetables have softened – 10 minutes. Add the pasta when al dente, and the herbs, and stir through. Serve!