Monday, September 27, 2010

Belgian Bun

A favourite cake that Nonna baked when we were young, I can still smell the nuts roasting on top as it baked.  A really simple recipe that doesn't appear in her recipe books. I think Mum knew it so well she didn't need a copy in latter years.  So I'm delighted that my sister Lucy can supply the recipe, the photos, and her experiences!


Belgian Bun, baked golden brown

Extract from Lucy's cooking book,
with Mum's recipes copied when aged 17
From Lucy...
"Herewith the Belgian Bun creation.  It is so simple as per recipe in my book pictured.  I have pictured each stage to show the dough etc.  You literally just fold everything together and press into the tin.  I used the electric hand beaters for a minute just to blend in the butter and egg and then used my hands to meld it together.   Mum used a round cake tin and I like that but didn't have one available so used a small baking dish 30cm long and so I doubled the recipe to fill it.  Mum said white caster sugar but I found raw caster sugar the other day for the first time so used this instead.  The jam can be anything - in this case it was strawberry mixed with left over fig and ginger jam.  The nuts Mum used were either walnuts or skinned almonds.  Baking temp was 170degrees centigrade and for about 30 mins till golden brown.  Too much baking makes it dry and uninteresting!  Hope you like this!  It was so often cooked in Mum's kitchen and a favorite for family picnics."


Belgian Bun


½ cup Castor Sugar
75g Butter
1 egg
 cups Self Raising Flour
Raspberry Jam
Walnuts or Blanched Almonds for topping


1. Preheat oven to 170ºC
2. Cream the Butter and Sugar until well combined
3. Add Egg and mix well
4. Fold in Flour , until all combined and divide mixture in half
5. Press one half into greased round cake tin
6. Spread Jam over the mixture
7. Press 2nd half of mixture over the jam
8. Press nuts onto the top and bake 30 mins
9. Enjoy and eat same day


Dough ingredients

Dough texture

First layer with jam

Second layer on top of jam; ready to bake

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Nonna's Book Recipes 15 - 19



Lemon Yogurt Cake

Creaming Butter and Sugar
125g Butter (4oz)
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp grated Lemon rind
2 Eggs separated
2 cups Self Raising Flour
250g tub natural Yogurt
½ cup Sultanas

1. Cream Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy

2. Add Lemon rind and Egg yolks, beat well
Folding all ingredients together

3. Sift Flour and fold in alternatively with Sultanas and Yogurt

4. Whisk Egg whites until almost stiff

5. Lightly fold into rest of mixture

6. Pour into greased 23cm x 12cm loaf tin

7. Bake moderate oven 180º C for about 45 mins or until skewer comes out clean

















Butter and Sugar creamed


Tip  Years ago when I worked part-time for a large South Australian flour mill, selling bread machine bread mixes to retailers, I learnt a lot about flour.  Bakers recommend  ‘good’ cooks should never rely on the quality of bought Self Raising Flour (SR Flour). The thorough mixing of baking powder through a packet is unreliable and may explain why sometimes a cake fails to rise.  All ‘good’ cooks will use plain flour and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour.


Just out of the oven! The Cake looks a bit swollen as the red silicon
cake 'tin' is flexible, I find silicon is wonderful to use for baking.

Baked Coconut Pudding



Baked Coconut Pudding

1 cup desiccated Coconut
1 cup stale Breadcrumbs
4 cups Milk
4 tabs Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Lemon, grated rind only
2 tabs melted Butter

eggs, sugar and breadcrumbs
1. Make Breadcrumbs in food processor, or grate stale bread like Nonna used to, messy but it works, trim off any hard crusts. You can use any bread, I use gluten free bread these days. 

2. Soak the Breadcrumbs in a cup of the milk, warmed.

3. Add Coconut to remainder milk in a large mixing bowl

4. Beat Eggs and Sugar together until smooth, not fluffy

5. Add soaked Breadcrumbs and Egg mixture to Coconut mix
ready for the oven

6. Add Lemon rind and Butter

7. Pour mixture into well greased 1½ litre or 2 litre oven proof dish

8. Pace this pudding dish into a water bath (bain marie). Which is a baking dish filled with water.

9. Bake in oven 180°C for 30 – 40 mins until set.  It is starting to over cook if you can see small bubbles in the custard.

10. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

11. Best served at room temperature with fresh cream and stewed fruit




Nicely browned and ready to cool down

Simple and delicious

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tuna Rissoles




Great midweek meals are simple, nourishing and inexpensive. Many of the family will remember staying with Mum and being served tuna rissoles.  I tried to make some recently for this blog but the were dry and fell apart!  So I asked Lucy to share her version, so here is the recipe from Lucy including her photos for this post.


Tuna Rissoles

5 large potatoes mashed
2 large tins of Tuna chunks - in brine not oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 egg lightly beaten
2 – 4  tabs chopped parsley and chives
plain flour in a small bowl with, seasoned with salt and black pepper
1 beaten egg (extra) mixed in a small bowl with and a little milk (1 tabs) to thin it out
crumbs for coating, either breadcrumbs, cornflake crumbs or rice crumbs

1.     Cook and mash the potatoes, you can boil them but Lucy suggests steaming so that they are not too watery. 
2.     fry onion until soft
3.     Mix drained tuna, and all other ingredients in a bowl with your hands then make into rissoles shapes.
4.     Dip each rissole in flour, then into egg mixture and then roll into the crumbs
5.     Fry in hot oil of your choice



rolled rissoles


3 bowls ready to coat the rissoles with crumbs




Crumbed rissoles ready to fry



Lucy notes…. “Over the years I have added a lot more things to the rissole mixture before crumbing.  Like celery fried up with the onion and a little green capsicum. And instead of just white potato I add mashed sweet potato and pumpkin.     I sometimes add sesame seeds to the crumbs.  These are really tasty!  Mum then use to make a creamy tomato sauce to pour on top of the rissoles.  This was just onions and tomatoes fried up till soft.  Add a few tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes then stir in milk ( I find full cream milk better)  Cook till thickened and then add a handful of chopped basil leaves, sea salt, little brown sugar and black pepper.   Pour over the rissoles and serve.  This is so YUM!”






Friday, July 23, 2010

Curried Prawns


Dad (Poppa) loved Mum's Curried Prawns, he would rub his hands together with glee and joyfully peel the prawns in anticipation of dinner.  I think of this dish as comfort food.  It is safe, easy to make, reliable and nourishing. Often people are scared of cooking with seafood so I hope you give this a go, because the prawns are already cooked it is hard to mess it up, just make sure you don't cook the prawns again, they will warm through in the sauce! You can vary the curry heat by the quantity of powder or paste you use.  Mum always used Bolts Curry powder, but any paste can be used as well.  This recipe wasn't in Mum's book but a really important dish from her repertoire as we children we will all remember it very well.  I guess she never felt the need to write it down.  I haven't made it for a while so I checked in with Lucy who cooks it for her Peter! It is one of his favourites, and now Alistair has put it on his top ten list for our kitchen.  Let me know how you enjoy it!

½ kg cooked prawns, shelled and cleaned
2 tabs butter or oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tabs plain flour (Gluten Free GF flour is ok)
1 – 2 heaped tsp curry powder or 1 - 2 heaped tabs curry paste
1” fresh ginger grated
1½ cups milk or coconut milk
Squeeze of lemon juice
Chopped coriander or parsley

1. Fry some onions and garlic in oil/butter until soft and golden
2. Mix in curry powder/paste and plain flour
3. Cook for a few minutes, add ginger
4. Add milk/coconut milk and stir until thickens slightly
5. Just before serving, reheat sauce and stir in prawns and lemon juice
6. Serve with steamed rice and chopped coriander/parsley



Steak Temoana


This is an old recipe of Mum's that I haven't seen her cook for years. It is delicious and dead easy to make, also very low fat if you trim the meat well. In Nonna's day many recipes had their flavour boosted with tinned or packet soups and you will see them used a lot in this blog. These soups are little sachets of salt, stock powder, dried veges, and inexplicable additives so I usually prefer to replace them with alternate ingredients as described below. This way I can control how much salt I'm using and avoid all the additives, fresh is best!

1- 1.5 kg Blade Steak
½ tsp Curry Powder
1 pkt dried Mushroom Soup (**use replacement for GF)
2 tsp Mixed Spice
1 cup Dry Sherry
1 tabs Tomato Sauce
¼ cup Vinegar
1 tabs Worcestershire Sauce
2 chopped Onions
12 stoned Prunes
12 Pineapple chunks (tinned)

1. Measure Curry, Mushroom Soup and Spices into a plastic bag
2. Cut meat into 3-4cm squares
3. Toss meat into plastic bag and shake until meat evenly coated
4. Place into casserole dish with other ingredients placing Prunes and Pineapple on top
5. Cook 2 hours in moderate oven 165ºC

** Instead of using the dried Mushroom Soup you can replace it with 2 tsp beef stock powder, 3 tsp GF flour, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp salt. Place in plastic bag with other ingredients as above.  Add a handful of fresh mushrooms sliced or 50g dried porcini mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water for 5 mins and then sliced, add soaking liquid as well.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vegetable Soup




Childhood memories are filled with an amazing vege soup that Mum made and I had forgotten the recipe. We would sit by the open fire and sip soup that was incredibly smooth and the flavours melded in a way that was hard to know what was in it. A sprinkle of chopped parsley, or a sprig as pictured. Thank you Lucy, it is great that you remember it so well. Here is Nonna's vegetable soup as remembered Lucy:

"I have just cooked up a big pot of vegetable soup that Mum taught me about 35 years ago to cook when I first got married!
The soup starts with a big pot of homemade chicken stock. I pulled one out of the freezer made a few weeks ago. I boiled a whole chicken with onion, carrot and herbs. Into the soup pot I just love putting in whatever needs to be used up in the fridge, as Mum did.  Tonight's soup was almost identical to Mum's except I add ginger and often a few Asian ingredients like lemon grass and some chilli or whatever!


Finely chopped Onions, Garlic, Celery, Broccoli, Capsicum
Grated Pumpkin, White Potato, Carrot
Brown Rice and Quinoa grains (GF)
Barley or "Soup Mix" = Mum's favourite
I also added whole Sweet Corn, microwaved and then sliced off the cob
Chopped Parsley, dried herbs or fresh dried herbs
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper


Place all ingredients on the stove simmering for a few hours so it all congeals together and the vegetables soften. Mum's little trick at the end was to add a tin of tomato soup to sweeten it up a bit and add a little more flavour.  I just added a small tin of tomato paste tonight and a spoon of brown sugar instead to do the trick.


Lemon Delicious Pudding


Golden sponge topping and creamy lemon sauce, this pudding is easy to make and always a winner. Ok, I'll admit that I cooked this a little too long... and the boys told me it was burnt! As you can see by the colour of the crust, the oven was a bit hot for too long and the "sponge" came in 2 parts, soft and fluffy, plus a crisp crust.   If you don't overcook it the sponge will stay attached to the crust. This is a pudding that Nonna made over and over but I am sad to say that her version has gone as it was written on one of the 4 pages fallen from her book.  Jill requested this recipe so for her I post this one up. You can see from mine that it is Ok to overcook a little!! Still Yum!! This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Alexander's "Cook's Companion" p394.

2 Lemons
60g Butter
1½ cups castor sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tabs Self Raising Flour
or use GF flour + ½tsp BP
1½ cups Milk

1. Preheat Oven to 180ºC and butter a 1 litre ovenproof basin or serving dish.
2. Grate the Lemon rind (zest) of 1 Lemon and juice of 2 Lemons
3. Cream Butter and Sugar with zest, add Yolks one at a time
4. Mix in Flour and Milk to make a smooth batter
5. Whisk Egg Whites in a clean bowl until creamy and firm
6. Fold Whites into batter gently and pour batter into prepared basin
7. Stand basin in a baking dish and pour in hot water to come half way up the sides of the basin.
8. Bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool a little before serving with cream

If you like using a food processer this recipe adapts well, after step 4 put the batter into a mixing bowl and then add the whisked Egg Whites.
I have added a new tab for Gluten Free (GF) as I realise so many of us are catering for Gluten Free diets.  I'll got back over all the previous posts and add the Gluten Free method where possible :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Herb Crusted Baked Chicken


This is Chicken Schnitzel to die for. Not fried, baked, with an incredible flavour and texture that is a sensation every time I eat this! The first time I had this was last summer at beach house holiday, a group of 20 year olds stayed overnight and the girls set out in the morning to make lunch for everyone, which was a real treat.  The recipe is designed for fish, but every time I've had it with chicken fillet, but use fish is you prefer.  So I owe a big thank you to Erica R for introducing this dish to me;  I've made some slight adjustments, let me know what you think.

4 Chicken Fillets
1 bunch flat leaf Parsley
3 cloves Garlic
1 - 3 fresh Chillies
2 -3 slices Bread, crumbed
100g grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Lemon grated rind
2 tabs Almonds finely chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Black Pepper


1. Finely chop Parsley, Chilli, Garlic
2. Combine with Bread crumbs, cheese, almonds and enough olive oil to bind the mixture
3. Slice each Chicken fillet into 3 pieces of equal thickness and lay in a single layer in lightly oiled baking dish
4. Spread the topping over the chicken or fish fillets if preferred
5. Sprinkle with Sea Salt and cracked Black Pepper
6. Bake in hot oven 190ºC for 15 minutes

If you like to use a food processer then just throw in all the ingredients except the chicken!! and the olive oil.  Master Chef has caused a revival of this kitchen toy at my place... so chop everything, mix in some olive oil and the spread over the meat, easy and YUM!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Christmas Pudding (Gran's)


I love a good pudding.
This one is old fashioned, a very small amount of flour and lots of bread crumbs.  It reminds me of a bread and butter pudding, with loads of eggs and fruit and cooked in a water bath or a steamer.  As I was putting the mix together it didn't feel quite right so I booted off an email to Lucy, who has been making the family Christmas puddings for some years now.  She said had always cooked the recipe from Aunt Happy. Lu felt I had the wrong recipe... I scouted through the book and realised that Nonna has 2 recipes , this one is Gran's, her mothers.  I will do Happy's later.

It was a cold winters night, a perfectly lovely time to eat Christmas Pudding. We stirred brandy into the warm custard, just before serving.  Gran served a Clear Brandy Sauce, the recipe is in Nonna's book, but I'm not a fan, it is just brandy, water and sugar thickened with arrowroot.  I prefer Brandy Custard, or Brandy Butter or just Brandy flambe' - pour some brandy onto the pud and light carefully!


225g Currants
225g Raisins
120g Sultanas
½ Glass Rum/Brandy (⅓ cup?)
225g Butter
¾ cup Sugar
½ cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tabs Mixed Spice
½ Loaf Stale Breadcrumbs (2 cups?)
5 Eggs

1. Mix fruit with Brandy
2. Cream Butter and Sugar, I used brown sugar, but the recipe didn't specify so white would be ok too.
3. Add eggs one at a time
4. Sift Flour, Baking Powder and Mixed Spice
5. Fold Flour, Bread Crumbs, and Fruits and Brandy into Butter mixture
6. Spoon into well greased and paper lined pudding tin.  Secure the tin so that there is no chance of water leaking inside. I used strings to secure and the paper from a block of butter to line the tin. Make sure that you keep an eye on the process so that there is always plenty of water in the saucepan and boil 4 - 5 hours.
7. Store in the fridge until Christmas and then boil a further 2 hours before serving with brandy Custard.

Recipe for Boiled Custard in another post soon!

N.B. How much is half a loaf of bread in Gran's language? And I'm sure it wasn't fluffy white sliced, so I actually used Gluten Free Potato Bread and decided to measure it out to 2 cups, perhaps you could use a little less, certainly no more. And any bread really would be fine.
How much is half a glass of brandy in Gran's language, a brandy balloon? a sherry glass? I decided it doesn't really matter and settled for a measured 1/3 cup, again you could easily put in more.




Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mustard Sauce


Nonna's Recipe Book page 3

Mustard Sauce on Corned Silverside/Beef

Mustard Sauce
Served with Corned Silverside

1 tabs dry english mustard powder
1 tabs plain flour
1 tabs sugar
2 tabs white vinegar
1 egg
1 cup or more of cooking liquid from the corned silverside

1. Mix mustard,  flour, and sugar with vinegar and a little extra water if necessary
2. Add the beaten egg and whisk into the cooking liquid in a small saucepan
3. Stir well and let simmer for one minute
4. Serve with hot corned beef
(Source: Nonna's Cookbook)

Corned Beef simmering
Corned Beef (Silverside)
1piece corned beef, it is usually silverside
1 tsp vinegar
6 cloves
12 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Wash the meat to remove some of the salt
2. Allow 40 mins cooking time for each 500g
3. Place meat into a pot of warm water and bring to simmering point
4. Skim froth off and discard, as it comes to the boil
5. Add other ingredients and cook gently for prescribed time
6. Serve hot with Mustard sauce or if serving cold, cool in the liquid
(Source: p27 The Commonsense Cookery Book)

The sauce asks for english mustard powder (Keens),  I never use it so I  added a good tablespoon of grainy mustard instead and reduced the vinegar to 1 tabs, it is a lovely sauce.  So often in this book I am surprised that the good old fashioned recipes are just so good. Am I getting old?
The whole family really enjoyed this meal, I haven't had corned beef for many years, a delicious meal for a change. Pretty simple to prepare, my mother-in-law just cooks the meat "very slowly, with nothing added to the water," but I enjoyed the aromas of clove and bay in the kitchen, the point is don't stress if you don't have everything available.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Salmon Asparagus Loaf


I cooked this loaf a few days ago and have been wrestling with a bit of a dilemma... it doesn't taste very good :(   As I make my way through Mum's recipe book I am expecting to be making lots of memorable meals. This one is weird, I think there is something wrong, you can view the original recipe on the Danish Beef Steak post, I've decided not to reproduce it here. Is there a measurement or ingredient wrong? I'm not sure but it has got me thinking...

Do you remember that there was a time when recipes were cherished and secret? Women protected the formulas; they may be ribbon winners in the local country or Royal shows. Attempting to keep their reputations and status; their recipes became secret and sacred. Sharing recipes with a generous spirit wasn't common like it is today.  This Salmon Asparagus Loaf has caused me to contemplate that time and I started to recall stories of my Grandmother in Bowral, NSW; she died when I was about 10 years old. The story was that when Nanna M. was asked to write out one of her recipes she would often skip an ingredient or vary the quantities... people would say "no one can cook like Peg!" And of course, she was a great cook but also competitive and proud.

Was this loaf enjoyed at a champagne luncheon somewhere and Mum asked for the recipe and this is what she wrote down?  Many of us have tucked a recipe aside to cook one day, I think Mum never cooked this as it unusually sweet. Eggs, Cooked Rice, Salmon, Asparagus and a tin of Condensed Milk.  When I read it through before I cooked it I was didn't really think I would like it, but I thought about that old recipe for mayonnaise made with condensed milk and dry mustard, maybe it inspired this recipe.  And it may have, but perhaps a spoon or two of condensed milk, not the whole can.  Interesting experience.  Banjo is one of my most astute food critics, he recommended the bin, I love his expression in this photo, apologies for the poor quality snap, I couldn't resist including it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beef Guide for Slow Cooking

With so much meat being bought from the supermarket it is more difficult to work out the best cut for cooking with, I find it confusing and I worked in a butcher shop at some point in my food career!
I have been thinking more about which beef cut I’ll use as I make my way through Mum’s recipe book. Her book re-introduces me to beef cuts that I rarely use so I thought I would write a short beef guide for slow cooking.
In general people seem to find it difficult to work out the best cut for cooking with, I find it confusing too and I worked in a butcher shop at some point in my food career!
Perhaps it is because we eat less red meat these days.  We have easy access to a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood and chicken, and beef has slipped down the ranking in my kitchen and I’m sure in yours too!  I never do a Roast Beef it is almost always a Roast Organic Chicken, weighing in just under 2kg, smothered in garlic, herbs and seasonings (details another day).  So I have become less experienced with beef buying and today I had some questions to ponder:

Which cut of beef is suitable for various cooking methods? 
When the label says casserole meat, what cut is it?
What part of the beast did it come from?
What did that beast feed on?

Looking at meat in a supermarket display, lined up on trays under plastic film and bright lights it is hard to even think about the animal it came from.  I prefer to talk to the local butcher, get a feel for some honest and sustainable supply chains. The butcher makes me think that the meat is fresher, he knows where the meat comes from and if they are grain fed, I feel closer to the farmyard.  Of course buying our meat at the Wayville Farmers Market on Sundays is a better option.  I never feel very organized when I am there to buy meat up for too many meals… I should think about that really.

Beef Guide for Slow Cooking

The Braising/Casserole meats have lots of connective tissues that will melt to tenderness when braised in a flavoursome stock, with herbs and vegetables and perhaps wine, cook slowly and carefully

Chuck Steak      can be a little fatty but good flavour      cook 2-3 hours
Gravy Beef       melts in the mouth easy to use      cook 2-3 hours
Boneless Shin      flavoursome and tender, my favourite    cook 2-3 hours
Osso Bucco (shin, bone-in)      lovely flavour, bone keeps the structure   cook 2-3 hours
Topside      not my choice for a slow cook, too dry     cook 1½- 2 hours
Round**        lean, clean flavour, can be expensive   cook 1½- 2 hours
Blade (Oyster Blade)      similar to shin, great flavour   cook 1½- 2 hours
Skirt Steak                     easy to cut, lean and tasty  cook    1½- 2 hours
Casserole Steak              never too sure what it is, I avoid unspecific labelled meat

** On display at my butcher they have lovely “round” round steaks for $23.99/kg sold as BBQ steaks. And other braising steaks are available at around $17/kg, maybe as low as $12/kg in the supermarket. To cook the Danish Beef Steak I wanted to cook it just like Mum would.  So I asked my butcher if he could find me some regular, old fashioned round steaks. He sliced 1.5 kg straight off the round part of beef from out the back of the shop, and he reduced the price to $18/kg for his trouble, which was much appreciated. The round steak had an intense beefy flavour and was very tender.

To clarify and avoid confusion over the correct terminology I have referred to one of my favourite cook books to check some terminology: Stephanie Alexander (1996), The Cooks Companion (Viking/Penguin).
1. Braising is to cook meat, slowly in the oven with aromatic vegetables, herbs and stock
2. Meat cooked on the stovetop it is called a Stew, it usually has more liquid.
3. Cooking meat slowly in liquids is also called a Casserole, but actually it is the container, heavy based and with and with tightly fitted lid that is the Casserole.
             

Glad to have that cleared up!


·  

When I was in Japan recently beef was selling for around $80/kg. Very expensive and really the only beef they have has all those fatty sections through it, (see above) called Kobe or Hida beef.  So for these reasons I ate lots of seafood, chicken and vegetables in Japan. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Special Fillet Steak


SPECIAL FILLET STEAK

1. Heat oil in a frypan with chopped garlic
2. Sear Fillet Steak on both sides in oil and place it in a flat oven proof dish
3. Cover with black olives and Cook in a very hot oven 220ºC for 8 minutes


I don't go out and buy fillet steak for the family, (no wonder @ $38/kg).  It is something we would order when we are out, but then I rarely order steak. I'm usually looking for something that will inspire me. This recipe is a perfect way to cook and enjoy fillet steak, so lash out, buy some fillet and enjoy!


Aubergine Parmigiana


I've eaten several versions of Aubergine Parmigiana here and in Italy and they have all been amazing.  I am an aubergine/eggplant fan, anytime it is on a menu I will order it, Indians and Japanese also do incredible dishes with this versatile and 'to die for' vegetable. Tonight, start of the week I usually cook something simple, that may give us some leftovers for Al's lunch tomorrow, something gluten free of course and it is cold so we are looking for warming nourishing meals. My favourite classical Italian cookbooks are "Jamie's Italy" and Marcella Hazan's "Classical Italian Cooking" (for details see my page on "Great Recipe Books"). The version I cooked tonight is a cross over with the classic and a version that an Italian girl Nadia shared with me. Her mother slices the aubergine paper thin and then drops it into a cheesy eggy batter to fry up and then layer upon layer with tomato salsa and cheese on top.  Mine is a combination of these recipes I hope you like it!

AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA

2 large Aubergines (make sure they are high quality glossy black)
cooking salt
3/4 cup grated Cheese (use Mozzarella, Parmesan or Cheddar, your choice)
Batter
3 Eggs
3 tabs Water
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 tabs Rice crumbs/Bread crumbs
Olive Oil
Tomato Salsa
2 Onions finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
2 tins chopped Tomatoes
1 sm tub Tomato Paste
ground Black Pepper
chopped Fresh Herbs

1. Slice the Aubergine thickly, layer into a colander with a generous sprinkle of salt, leave for 30 mins
2. Rinse Aubergine well and pat dry
3. Break eggs into a medium bowl, whisk and stir in other batter ingredients, mix well
4. Heat heavy based frying pan, add a good cover of oil and when hot, but not smoking add pieces of  Aubergine that has been dredged through the batter, coat well before adding to hot oil
5. Fry all of the pieces, keeping the pan topped up with oil. So that they don't get too greasy keep the oil pretty hot, without letting it burn.
6. Meanwhile make the Tomato Salsa by cooking Onions and Garlic in a little oil until soft and golden
7. Add Tomato paste and stir over heat for 2 mins and then add Tomatoes and Herbs and Spices, cook gently 10 minutes
8. Layer fried Aubergine slices, Tomato Salsa and grated Cheeses, ending with Salsa and Cheese.
9. Bake in moderate oven 180˚C

Serve as a side dish, or with a simple green salad.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

White Fish with Currants

Delicious and simple, this dish can be made in advance and is excellent for a crowd, I love food that can be served at room temperature as it takes the pressure off the cook when entertaining. This is a classic Maggie Beer creation that I have taken from her recent extravaganza book "Maggie's Harvest" p80, in the Summer section. We used Tommy Ruffs just like Maggie suggests. They are pretty common here in SA, their name was recently officially changed to Australian herrings, tasty small oily fish.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Serve with salads or roast garlicky potatoes.



White Fish with Currants
130g dried Currants
1 cup Verjuice (Maggie Beer's)
Butter for cooking
1 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
500g Tommy Ruff fillets (Australian Herring)
Plain Flour seasoned with salt & pepper
3 large Red Onions
rind and juice of 3 Lemons
3 sprigs Thyme

Soak currants in verjuice overnight or heat on defrost in microwave for 5 minutes.  Heat a knob of butter with a little olive oil in a heavy-based fry pan over medium heat until nut brown.  Dust each fillet with seasoned flour just before adding it to the pan and seal for 30 seconds on each side.  Add more butter as needed.
Arrange the fillets in a serving dish in a single layer.  Toss the onions in a little of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until softened, then add the lemon juice, lemon rind, thyme, and currants. Add equal amounts of the verjuice and olive oil, taste, and add more of each as required to make a balanced vinaigrette, then heat gently.  Pour the hot vinaigrette over the fish in the serving dish where the "cooking" will be completed.  The fish can be eaten 15 minutes after the dressing has been added or left at room temperature for a few hours (as along as it isn't too hot). If refrigerating, bring back to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Swiss Bliss


SWISS BLISS
1 kg (2lbs) Blade or Chuck steak
1 tabs butter
1 pkt French Onion Soup Mix
½ green Capsicum (Pepper)
2 Tomatoes
½ cup Tomato Juice
1 tabs Worcestershire Sauce*
Salt & Pepper
1 tabs Cornflour

Arrange meat pieces in the centre of large sheet of buttered alfoil,
I found that 2 alfoil parcels was easier to handle. Over the meat
sprinkle soup mix, chopped Capsicum and sliced Tomatoes,
season with Salt & Pepper, mix Tomato Juice
and Cornflour pour over meat,
seal with ends of alfoil, place envelope in shallow baking dish,
bake 2 hours in mod oven 170ºC,  sprinkle with chopped Parsley before serving,


Swiss Bliss is surprisingly good!  I always thought that braising steaks needed a lot of liquid for them to tenderise sufficiently to my liking, we used Oyster Blade steak and it was melt in the mouth, and lovely flavours. I don’t usually buy tomato juice, no one will drink it and the only container I located was a 1 litre can.  Wishing not to waste the left over juice that I’m sure would have decayed in the back of our fridge I used tomato puree instead and included a dessertspoon of water.

* “Lea & Perrins” brand Worcestershire sauce is the one Dad loved in his homemade cocktail sauce for Sydney Rock Oysters: Tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Lemon juice, Pepper and Salt and a dash of Cream. Delicious X



Monday, June 14, 2010

Danish Beef Steak



Many family recipe books show the influence of our European migrants so we expect to see Italian, French, Greek, and Spanish influences.  Mum was more inclined towards open Danish sandwiches (recipes to come in a later post) and today it is Danish Beef Steak and soon it will be Swiss Bliss.  They both sound very exotic, and there is something to be said about a good name.  Probably influenced during one of their many overseas business trips, Mum must have come home all inspired.  (After my recent trip to Japan I went immediately to the Asian grocery stores at the Adelaide Central Markets to stock up on nori, soy and tofu etc).  These are two recipes for good old-fashioned slow cooked meals using cheaper cuts of beef that are transformed into tender, tasty comfort meals that we all really enjoyed.

Danish Beef Steak
Serve with steamed vegetables
1 kg (1½ lb*) Round Steak*
1 large Brown Onion
2 Bay Leaves
¾ cup Red Wine
2 tabs Butter
2 tabs Flour
1 cup Stock
Salt, Pepper, Dried Herbs, pinch of each
2 cloves Garlic
1 Carrot
1 stalk Celery

Cut steak into pieces approx. 4-5cm square. Place meat in a casserole dish, add Onion, Bay Leaves and Wine. Stand overnight in the fridge.  Heat butter in a fry pan and brown the meat in small batches.  Add the flour to the pan and mix into the butter, keep stirring then add all other ingredients.  Bring to the boil, place the meat back into the casserole dish.  Pour in the vege mixture. Cook about 1½ hours in moderate oven 150°C.
*Recipe has been adjusted and rounded up to metric, and altered where I thought was necessary to complete the dish.

When I cooked this I took the meat out of the marinade and dredged each piece in flour. Then browned the meat in the butter.  Because the meat was wet from the wine, it was too heavily coated in the flour and the resulting dish has a gravy that was too thick, so I have changed the method to ensure that you get a better result.  Do let me know how it works for you.