I love Pepe Saya butter and I tried Pepe’s ghee for the first time in my Chicken Biryani
My fresh, raw juice was enough to sustain me through a divine facial and massage today but by the time I arrived home I was starving! So I made a nice big plate of pasta (to share of course). Usually the pasta is the star and the sauce is quite minimal but I decided to bulk up on the crisp, green, seasonal vegetables.
You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste but be careful not to add too much extra pesto. The pasta should be slightly flavoured, not thickly coated.
250g bavette pasta
Hand fulls of fresh peas
Handful of chopped fresh asparagus
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped dessert spoon of pesto
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil, add a generous amount of salt and toss in the pasta. Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic and chilli until fragrant. Add the asparagus and peas and as they start to turn bright green, add the pesto and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve some of the water. Toss the pasta through the sauce using the leftover water to loosen the sauce.
Serve the pasta piled up on a dish, sprinkle coral pink shreds of smoked salmon over the top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Let the pasta cool slightly before topping it with the salmon to avoid cooking it. Don’t squeeze lemon juice over the pasta once it is served as the acid will cook the salmon.
Some of the most amazing produce is in season right now including some of my favourite vegetables that not only taste delicious together but also present a visually delightful contrast. I have made traditional gnocchi many times but tonight I enhanced the recipe with beetroot.
1kg of red skin potatoes
2 small beetroots
1 free range organic egg
Wash and scrub the beetroot and leave 3cm of the stems on. Steam until tender, set aside until cool enough to handle, rub off the skin, the stems should be soft enough to pull away or simply cut them off. Chop the beetroot into chunks, place in a blender and process until they become a fine puree.
Wash the potatoes, leave the skin on and place in a pot of warm water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Toss the broad beans in with the potatoes, remove after a few minutes, place in a bowl of cold water, peel off the tough skins and set aside for the sauce. Continue to simmer the potatoes and drain once tender. Peel off the skins and press through a ricer making a mound of potato on a clean work surface.
Add the beetroot puree, a generous amount of salt and a handful of flour. Start mixing the ingredients with your hands and add the egg once some of the steam has evaporated from the potatoes to avoid cooking the egg. Fold in the ingredients and add more flour until the mixture starts to hold together without being too sticky and test for the right texture by gently pressing on the dough with your finger. When it springs back, you don’t need to add anymore flour.
Divide the dough into baseball quantities and generously sprinkle the work surface with flour. Roll out the dough into long sausage shapes and then cut into pieces using a floured knife.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and carefully drop in a few handfuls of gnocchi. As soon as they rise to the top they are ready to be removed using a slotted spoon.
Only cook the quantity of gnocchi that you intend to eat straight away. The rest can be frozen by placing them on a floured tray. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a bag or container for easy storage. To cook, simply place the frozen gnocchi in boiling water and they are ready when they float to the surface just as with the fresh ones.
Fresh broad beans
1 clove of garlic, sliced
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant and add a generous splash of white wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate, toss in the peas, cook for a minute, add the broad beans and a sprinkle of dill. Spoon the sauce over the hot gnocchi, roughly break up pieces of bocconcini and place on top with fresh dill.
I’ve been in a ‘soup mood’ all week and here’s another creation!
1 medium brown onion, finely diced
3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 medium potato, peeled and very finely diced
300g of frozen peas
200g of spinach
1 heaped tablespoon of natural yoghurt
1 heaped tablespoon of Bitton Moroccan Spice
Chopped fresh coriander
Chopped fresh chilli
Extra virgin olive oil
Saute the onions in a generous amount of butter and olive oil until translucent but without browning. Add the garlic and celery and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add a generous splash of white wine and cook until some of the liquid evaporates. Add the Moroccan Spice and saute until fragrant.
Stir in the potato, peas and spinach, pour over enough stock to cover and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir in the yoghurt and leave to cook until the potato is tender. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.
Return to the heat, check the seasoning, add more salt and Moroccan Spice to suit your taste. Stir through more vegetable stock if the soup is too thick. Mix in some freshly chopped coriander just before serving and top with a dollop of natural yoghurt, chilli and coriander.
Some crusty toast is perfect with this to dip and wipe the bowl clean!
After getting some inspiration from a chef who loves to experiment, I had to try my hand at replicating his delicious soup without a recipe. It was so warming, healthy and completely satisfying and although mine did not turn out exactly the same, the flavour was very close.
1medium onion, finely diced
2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
Extra virgin olive oil
250g frozen spinach
300g frozen peas
Full cream milk
1 heaped tablespoon of Bitton Chilli Garlic Masala
Heat a saucepan and add a generous amount of butter and some extra virgin olive, saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and continue to saute until softened but not browned. Add the Chilli Garlic Masala and saute until fragrant. Defrost the spinach and peas and add to the saucepan. Cover with vegetable stock and enough milk to loosen the mixture and make it a runny consistency.
Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer for 5 -10 minutes until the ingredients are well combined. Transfer to a blender and blitz until the mixture becomes smooth. Return to the saucepan on low heat, add salt to taste, more Chilli Garlic Masala if desired, more stock and milk to achieve a smooth, drinkable soup.
I am a bit vague on the measurements of ingredients with this soup because it’s really up to personal taste. You can have it thick, runny, mild or spicy. It’s up to you!
The next course for tonight’s dinner was an adapted version of a recipe I posted earlier.
Cooked sticky Jasmine rice
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Bitton Chilli Oil
White sesame seeds
Roasted sesame oil
Garlic finely sliced
Ginger finely sliced
600g frozen broad beans
Place the broad beans in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds and drain. Peel the skin off the broad beans and set aside. Saute the sesame seeds, garlic and ginger in sesame oil using a fry pan on medium heat until fragrant but not browned. Toss through the broad beans for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through and set aside.
Heat some sesame oil in the fry pan and cook the egg to your desired consistency (fully cooked or runny are both delicious). Serve some rice in a bowl, top with broad bean mixture, the cooked egg, drizzle with Bitton Chilli Oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and sprinkle generously with coriander.
This ladies lunch was weeks ago now but for some reason I still haven’t shared these recipes. I was craving sour cherries so much so that I started eating them straight from the can! The lavender and rose petals that delicately adorn the cream add a subtle floral feminine touch – perfect since it was for a ‘ladies lunch’.
3 cups self raising flour
80g of chopped, salted, room temperature butter
1 cup of full cream milk
Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub through the butter lifting your hands high above the bowl to aerate the mixture until it forms fine crumbs. Pour in the milk and combine with a butter knife until the dough just comes together.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together 5 times without kneading. Roll out the dough to a few centimetres thick and cut out rounds. I used the opening of a glass dipped in flour the way my mum taught me. Once you’ve cut out the scones, gently press together the leftover dough and cut again.
Place the scones close together on a baking tray, dust with flour and bake at 220°c for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked. Wrap the hot scones in a tea towel immediately to keep them soft and warm.
Can of cherries in syrup
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and half the juice
Drain the cherries and combine with the zest and juice of the orange and lemon. Bring to the boil in a saucepan and simmer until the cherries reduce into a thick sauce. You can add sugar to adjust to your personal taste but I was in the mood for a citrusy tang rather than a sickly sweet jam. Place in the fridge to cool and the sauce will become thicker.
300ml of whipped cream topped with edible rose petals and lavender.
After many cups of tea, warm scones slathered with aromatic, fluffy cream and homemade cherry sauce, I continued with the therapeutic activity of dough making for our lunch.
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A handful of chopped coriander
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until it forms a dough. Add a little more water if the dough is too dry and add more flour if it becomes too sticky. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and leave it to rest for 15 minutes. Separate the dough into golf ball sized portions and roll them out into thin discs. Cook on a hot pan without oil for a minute on each side or until they get dark brown patches. Keep warm under a tea towel.
1kg of chicken tenderloins
3 heaped teaspoons of paprika
2 heaped teaspoons of coriander powder
2 heaped teaspoons of garam masala
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup of natural yoghurt
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
1 handful of fresh coriander root
4 cloves of garlic
5cm piece of ginger
1 medium onion, diced
Place all the ingredients (except the chicken, mint and coriander) in the blender and pulse until combined. Toss the chicken in the marinade with the coriander and mint. You can do this the day before to let the flavours penetrate the juicy chicken but it still tastes amazing if you cook it straight away.
Cook the chicken under the grill until the marinade has thickened and begins to brown.
Chop up some cucumber into tiny cubes and toss it through thick natural yoghurt.
To serve, spoon some yoghurt onto a chapatti and top with chicken, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and fresh coriander. Wrap it up and and you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t tasted this earlier! You don’t need to host a ladies lunch to try this recipe. I could eat it everyday. Until the next post, that’s a wrap!
I love the richness and comfort of a slow cooked sauce; the way the deep red bubbles simmer away as the ingredients release their flavours to become one. Now that the autumn change is in the air, I have automatically felt like a hearty dish in celebration of a new season.
I’ve been enjoying a diet high in vegetables lately but a stew truly tastes better with meat and lots of bones that add depth of flavour. The lamb riblets are perfect because they have just enough meat on the bones.
500g lamb riblets
4 large carrots
4 sticks of celery
1 large brown onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
5 bay leaves
2 cans of tomatoes
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 a bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Fry the lamb riblets in some olive oil until the fat melts and becomes golden, add the onion and garlic and saute on a low heat until the onions soften but don’t go brown. Peel the carrots and chop into 4 chunks across the width. Chop the thick parts of the celery stick into 4 pieces across the width and dice the thin pieces finely. Add the carrots and celery to the pot and saute for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, parsley and enough water to loosen the sauce and cover the lamb and vegetables with liquid. Stir well, put the lid on the pot and simmer for around 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add salt to taste before serving.
2 large potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
10 black peppercorns
Peel and chop the potatoes into 2cm cubes. Put the potatoes, whole garlic cloves, peppercorns and a generous amount of salt in a pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Test the potatoes with a fork and drain when tender, keeping the peppercorns and garlic cloves.
Press the potato, garlic and peppercorns through a ricer, back into the pot and return to a low heat. Add a 5cm piece of butter to the potato and stir until it melts. Pour in milk gradually until you reach the consistency you want. Add salt to taste.
This is one of my favourite dishes for lunch and dinner. I make variations of this recipe using diced cucumber with tuna; broccolini, asian greens like bok choy or choy sum and sometimes top it with a fried egg leaving the yolk soft so it runs through the rice when you break into it. When I cook rice, I often make extra so I can use the leftovers for quick meals like this one.
2 large cloves of garlic sliced
Roasted sesame oil
Tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
A handful of spinach
A handful of frozen broad beans
Pour boiling water over the broad beans, drain after one minute and peel off the skins. Sauté the garlic in sesame oil over a low heat until fragrant, add the spinach and sauté until it wilts. Turn off the heat and stir through the broad beans. Serve the garlic spinach and broad beans over hot rice, drizzle generously with roasted sesame oil, tamari, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and freshly chopped coriander.
My mum’s friend came to visit today and I prepared a pretty lunch and decadent dessert to make it special for the ladies. I used the heirloom carrots, beetroots and figs that I picked up at Sydney Markets on Monday and shared in my post ‘The Grower, The Baker & The Fresh Juice Maker‘.
Beetroot Stack with Avocado Puree, Broad Bean Pesto, Heirloom Carrots & Target Beetroot
3 large beetroots
Extra virgin olive oil
Peel and slice the beetroot into 1cm thick rounds. Place in a baking tray, drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and sprinkle with salt. Coat the beetroot in the dressing, cover and roast in a 200ºc oven for 45 – 60 mins until the beetroot is just cooked but still holds it’s shape. Place the beetroot into another tray when cooked and leave in the freezer for a few minutes to cool down. The beetroot needs to be at room temperature to assemble the stack.
1 1/2 avocado
Place the avocado flesh, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Broad Bean Pesto
300g frozen broad beans
1/4 of a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 large cloves of garlic
25g of basil and lemon basil leaves
50g fine parmesan
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Teaspoon of pinenuts
Pour boiling water over the broad beans, drain after 1 minute and the skins should be loose enough to peel off. Reserve 12 whole broad beans for the garnish. Put the peeled broad beans, roughly chopped garlic, parmesan, basil, salt, pepper, zest of half a lemon and juice of 1 lemon in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Add the olive oil and pine nuts and blend again.
3 heirloom carrots (1 yellow, 1 purple, 1 white)
Baby basil leaves
12 broad beans
2 small target beetroot
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice reserved from roasting beetroots
Slice the carrots into rounds the thickness of a 5 cent coin and thinly slice the target beetroot into rounds.Toss the carrots, target beetroot and reserved broad beans in olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Smear some broad bean pesto across a plate and place a round of roasted beetroot in the centre. Spread some avocado puree over the beetroot and place another slice of beetroot on top. Gently press down to help the avocado puree spread between the layers. Continue this process 6 times or until you use up the beetroot.
Dot some broad bean pesto around the plate and press stacks of heirloom carrots on top. Put some broad bean pesto on top of the beetroot stack and garnish with a pistachio. Place the broad beans and target beetroot slices around the plate. Decorate with baby basil leaves, pistachios and drizzles of the juice reserved from roasting the beetroots.
The crunch of the raw carrots, target beetroot and pistachios add the perfect contrast to the soft roasted beetroot, broad bean pesto and avocado puree.
Individual Fig & Frangipane Shortcrust Pastry Tarts
1 sheet of ready to use shortcrust pastry
Pure cocoa powder
Icing sugar for dusting
4 fresh figs
125g almond meal
125g icing sugar
2 1/2 eggs
Put the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and blend until creamy using an electric beater. Add 1 egg and beat through, add the second egg and continue to beat, add the remaining 1/2 an egg and beat until combined. Pour in the almond meal and Frangelico and combine. Put the mixture in the fridge.
Cut the sheet of pastry into 4 even squares and dust with a mixture of pure cocoa powder and icing sugar. Spread some of the frangipane mixture over the pastry leaving a centimetre border around the edges. Bake for 10 mins at 200ºc and remove from oven. Slice figs lengthways into four pieces and lay on the pastry base. Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and return to the oven for 8 – 10 mins at 180ºc.
If the frangipane mixture has cooked over the edges of the pastry, simply cut around it to form a square. Serve warm with a dollop of double cream.
Happy belated International Women’s Day! xx
There’s been a few cool nights lately and with the decrease in temperature comes the temptation to indulge in wintery dishes. My stew is flavoursome and healthy and the only thing I served with it was a dollop of natural yoghurt.
4 medium potatoes
3 large cloves of garlic
1 large eggplant
1 large brown onion
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 tins of tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A handful of fresh coriander
Peel the potatoes and cut each one into 12 even chunks. Slice the eggplant into similar sized chunks to the potatoes. Fry the potatoes until golden and set aside. Fry the eggplant for a few minutes and set aside. Cut the onion into strips, the garlic into slices and saute until softened. Return the potato and eggplant to the saucepan and add all of the tomatoes and salt to taste.
Simmer for 45 mins or until the potatoes are fork tender. The eggplant will break down and thicken the sauce but if you want it to remain in pieces let the potatoes cook for a while before adding the eggplant to the sauce. Just before serving, stir in the spinach, mint and coriander.