Monthly Archives: January 2012

Spinach Tagliatelle a la Truffle Noir

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After visiting Italy, my Mum returned with this amazing type of delicious Italian Truffle Tapenade… Not too sure what to do with, I created my take on fresh Italian Tagliatelle… Mixed with Roasted Tomato, Leek, Roquette, Spinach and Shallots and of course White wine… With truffle and feta toasts

Black truffle pasta

Summer Style Tagliatelle with Black Truffle Tapenade

Black Truffle Summer Tagliatelle

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • A good bunch of spinach tagliatelle (fresh is always best, but dried works too)
  • Good Italian Olive Oil – enough for cooking as well as mixing through pasta after
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, diced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 of a cup of nice dry white wine
  • Pinch of fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves ripped up (smash them a little to get the most of their flavor)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, preheat oven an roast until charred then peel
  • A few spinach leaves, washed and ripped up
  • 2 tablespoons of Black Truffle, Porcini Mushroom and Olive Tapenade  (similar to this one: http://prg.stores.yahoo.net/bltrta.html)
  • 4 slices of fresh bread
  • 4 slices of soft cheese (i.e. feta)

Method

  1. If using dried pasta, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add spinach tagliatelle
  2. In a pan, sauté the shallot, garlic and leek in olive oil for a few minutes until tender
  3. Add white wine, parsley, spinach and half the basil to the pan and cook until wine has nearly evaporated
  4. Add roasted tomato and then truffle tapenade and combine together, taste and add salt and pepper
  5. Meanwhile, spread some truffle paste on the slices of bread (sliced to form triangles) and placed slices of feta on the top, grill until golden
  6. By this time the tagliatelle will be cooked. Place in a bowl, add olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper, as well as the roasted tomato and truffle mix.
  7. Place in a bowl and mix in the roquette (if you mix it in too early, it will wilt)
  8. Top with extra parmesan if you want to and place truffle and cheese toasts standing up in the pasta
  9. Serve with a little bit of chili sauce and enjoy with a nice glass of fresh white wine

Roasted Pork Belly with Cauliflower Purée, Compote de Pomme and Roasted Carrots

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Mmmm what is yummier than a roast that has been cooking slowly in the oven for a few hours…? What you might not know, is that for fattier meats such as pork belly, cooking it longer at a low temperature actually renders out a lot of its fat!

Pork Belly

Winter Pork Belly

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 800 grams of pork belly
  • 2 onions
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • Thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into strips
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 50 ml of liquid cream
  • Pave de Herve Cheese (or something similar, Roquefort works well too)
  • Parmesan
  • Chives
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

Method

  1. Four hours before you are expecting to dish up, preheat the oven to 250°C (or as hot as you can get it!)
  2. While heating up, take your pork belly and score diagonal lines across the skin both ways
  3. Stab a few holes in the pork and place a piece of chopped garlic and a small sprig of time in each hole
  4. Rub the mustard and salt & pepper all over the pork belly
  5. Take the onions and and slice in half – the initial purpose of the onions is actually to ensure the meat does not touch the baking try (the meat must remain slightly suspended)
  6. Place the meat in the piping hot oven and leave at that temperate for around 10-15 minutes until the skin starts to crackle, then drop temperature to 150°C
  7. Check each hour and base with baking juices
  8. Meanwhile, 1 hour out from serving place carrots in the pork roasting tray
  9. For the cauliflower mash, bring a pot of salted water the boil and cook cauliflower until soft, around 15 minutes
  10. Once cooked, drain and place in a food processor
  11. Add the two cheeses, cream, chives and salt and pepper, mix until smooth and creamy
  12. For the compote, place the apples in a pot with water, simmer for 15 minutes or until tender
  13. Blend using a blender stick (or place in food processor), then add vanilla sugar
  14. By this time your roasted carrots should be soft, remove from tray, together with the onions initially used to raise the meat
  15. Place in a bowl and mash roughly with a fork
  16. Remove pork belly and rest on a board covered with tin foil
  17. Remove most of the fat from the tray and use the rest to make your sauce, by adding some more white wine and cream and bringing to a simmer in a pan
  18. Slice your meat and serve with the roasted carrot mix, compote de pomme and cauliflower purée

Boozy Berries in Tuxedos

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My Mum, for as long as I can remember, has made chocolate coated strawberries at Christmas, however now that I have gotten older, I prefer to make a more ‘grown up’ version

Ingredients

  • A chip of fresh, ripe strawberries
  • Half a cup of Amber Rum, preferably Appleton Estate or Mt Gay (or another spirit you like i.e. vodka etc)
  • Milk Chocolate
  • White Chocolate
  • A toothpick

Method

  1. A few hours in advance, take your strawberries and prick a number of holes in each
  2. Take a bowl and fill with the rum, emerse the strawberries in the rum, cover and place in the fridge
  3. A few hours later, remove strawberries from the fridge
  4. In a bain-marie melt white chocolate and stir with a fork until smooth
  5. Dip strawberries in melted white chocolate and place in the fridge to harden
  6. Once chilled, melt milk chocolate in a bain-marie
  7. This time when dipping the strawberries, ensure you dip each strawberry on each side and leave a V shape in the middle
  8. Using the tooth pick, form the “buttons” down the white “shirt”
  9. Place back in fridge, and serve once very chilled and enjoy
Boozy berries

Boozy berries in Tuxedos

Moroccan Rabbit with Roasted Capsicum Couscous

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A dinner out at a great Moroccan restaurant in Brussels led me to coming home to experiment with this yummy dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 700 gm of rabbit, cut into roughly 8 pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 200gm chickpeas
  • 500 ml of Water
  • 1 spoon of Paprika
  • 1 spoon of Turmeric
  • 1 spoon of Coriander
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 spoon of Ras el hanout
  • 1 spoon of fresh Ginger
  • 2 carrots, sliced into strips
  • A small of handful of fresh parsley
  •  Salt & pepper (always)

For the Couscous

  • 1 1/2 cups of Couscous
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 red capsicum, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, sliced into strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • A splash of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A sprinkle of ras el hanout (not completely necessary, but gives a nice flavour)

Method

  1. Add olive oil, rabbit, onion, garlic, salt & pepper, ginger, turmeric to a large pot over a medium-high heat
  2. Cook for 10 minutes until onions have softened and rabbit is slightly browned
  3. Add the water, chickpeas, carrots, bay leaves, ras el hanout, parsley and coriander and simmer with no lid for around an hour, or until rabbit is tender and most of the water has evaporated, leaving a nice thick sauce
  4. While cooking the rabbit – prepare the couscous
  5. Start by turning the oven on grill
  6. In a roasting dish mix the onion, garlic, capsicums, olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper, olive oil and ras el hanout
  7. Use your hand and mix all together
  8. Roast for around 20 minutes until slightly brown and soft
  9. In the meantime, in a bowl add the couscous and cover with piping hot stock, stir through with a fork
  10. Cover and leave for a few minutes until water has gone and couscous is tender and delicious
  11. Add roasted capsicum mix into couscous and combine
  12. By this time your rabbit tagine should be ready, server with couscous and bon appetit!

Crayfish Farci aux Poireaux, Parmesan et Vin Blanc

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This dish was created after going fishing and returning with two huge, delicious crayfish

A nice day out on the boat, off the Kaikoura Coast in New Zealand, was a day never to forget. After 5 hours of very successful sea fishing, we went to pick up the cray pots to find them full of huge crayfish…

Crayfish vin blanc, leeks, paresan

Crayfish stuffed with leeks, white wine and parmesan

Ingredients (2 servings… but one if you love crayfish!)

  • 1 large crayfish or 2 small
  • Knob of Butter
  • 1 large leek (white part only, chopped finely)
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan (more or less if you want)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove of garli
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
Method
  1. Place live crayfish in pot of boiling water (yes… they do scream, if you prefer you can place a very sharp knife into middle of head, then boil)
  2. Boil for a few minutes until red (do not over cook)
  3. Remove from water and remove all white flesh, taking care not to damage shell
  4. Place empty shells on a baking dish and preheat oven
  5. In the mean time, start to prepare you filling by sautéing the shallots and garlic with butter and white wine, then add leeks and cook until leek, shallot and garlic have softened
  6. Before all liquid has evaporated, add flour and stir quickly, then add milk and form a type of béchamel sauce, add half the parmesan and cook for a few minutes until it forms nice sauce
  7. Add crayfish meat and stir, then remove from heat
  8. Leave to cool slightly, then fill your empty crayfish shell with the mix
  9. Top with remaining parmesan and the place until the grill until golden
  10. Enjoy with a nice glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!

 

 

 

Crab in a Crab

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This dish was created after realizing there isn’t actually that much meat in a crab…

So I had my crab, I got rid of all the bits you can’t eat, cleaned the wee fellah out and went about getting all the white yummy crab meat… only to find… there was only a few tablespoons of meat actually on the main body. What was one to do? How to create the appearance of more? How to create more, that still tasted like delicious crab? Ahh… A soufflé! This dish serves the soufflé within the shell of the cleaned out crab. The pincers are cooked with the meat inside, so it provides a bit of finger licking fun at the table.

Crab in a crab

Crab in a crab served with polenta and raddish

Ingredients  (serves 2)

  • 2 good sized crabs – preferably still alive (I suggest always starting with a living crab, they can go bad very quickly once dead) – pre-boil with celery, carrots and onions (keep if you wish to make bisque sauce for top) then clean out and remove white and brown meat, chuck away gooey bits and the little white filters along the body. MAKE SURE – you keep the shell in tact and clean it out – it will be your serving dish
  • A knob of butter
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Cognac
  • 150ml of cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of tomato puree
  • Dash of spicy sauce i.e. tabasco or chili sauce
  • 1 egg yolk – beaten
  • 3 egg whites

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and place your empty crab shells with pincers and legs still attached on an oven tray
  2. In a pan, melt the butter, add garlic and shallot and sauté until tender and golden
  3. Stir in crab meat and cook 1 minute, then add cognac, set it on fire and stir – it will smell delicious
  4. Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until cream thickens
  5. Add your tomato puree and the dash of spicy sauce
  6. Allow to cool slightly and then add egg yolk
  7. In a bowl whisk egg whites until the form peaks
  8. Add a spoonful of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk and crab mixture and fold in using a metal spoon, GENTLY fold int he rest – if you are two rough here, the soufflé will not be light and fluffy
  9. carefully place this mixture into the crab shells, not filling them completely to the top (the soufflé will rise)
  10. Cook in the oven for around 15-20 mins, checking every once and while
  11. Serve on a bed féculent, to ensure the crab stays up right.

When I prepared this dish I served it wish a bisque sauce which was poured over the top of the soufflé before eating.

To make the bisque inspired sauce you will need:

  • knob of Butter
  • 1 Shallot
  • Some dry white wine
  • spoon or two of tomato paste
  • cognac
  • cream
  • cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Sauté shallots under nice and soft
  2. Add wine as well as the reserved crab stock and cognac, simmer for a few minutes
  3. Add cream and cayenne pepper and simmer until slightly thickened
  4. If you want to be fancy – you can take a gourmet plastic “syringe” and suck up sauce, then place it in the middle of the crab soufflé

Bon Appétit!

Waterzooi au Escargot de Mer

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This dish’s inspiration derives from a day trip to Ghent, in theFlemish area of Belgium

The first waterzooi I experienced was based on Chicken, although fish waterzooi is another famous type in Belgium. A few weeks later, during a trip to the supermarket in France I noticed “escargot de mer” at the fish bar. I really enjoy these little snails and have had them many times at markets in Belgium, where they are cooked in a delicious broth with celery and chili. With the thought of my delicious waterzooi still freshly in my mind, I set about mixing the two. What I got was a delicious new take on the historic waterzooi. I suggest soaking the sea snails for a couple of hours in very cold salty water to remove any gooey stuff…

Waterzooi au escargot de mer

Waterzooi au escargot de mer, as an entrée

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • About 1 kg of sea snails – preferably still alive, fresh is best!
  • 11/2 litres of water
  • 2 carrots – chopped into small cubes
  • 2 leeks (mainly just the white bit, but life is short, so if you want to – why not chuck in a little bit of the green too)
  • Branch of celery
  • 2 small potatoes – chopped into small cubes
  • 2 cups of fish stock
  • a fresh bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and a bay leaf tied together in the bay leaf)
  • 1 cup of cream (for those health conscious mix half a cup of milk and half a cup of cream)
  • 1 egg yolk

Method

  1. Bring the water to the boil, add sea snails and cook until the are tender (remove foam with a spoon if there is some, gross I )
  2. Once cooked, drain, but retain the stock
  3. Remove snails from shells, but keep some shells for presentation at the end
  4. Now – in a pot, melt butter and sauté the carrots, leeks, celery and potatoes until tender
  5. Add the bouquet garni and add the stock from the snail as well as the fish stock, plus salt and pepper
  6. Add the sea snails and poach for 10 minutes on a medium heat (so just simmering) with no lid
  7. Add egg yolk to the cream (or cream and milk mix) and mix into soup mix, it will begin to thicken
  8. Carefully place a few snails back in the shells (only if you the patience, this is purely to make it look funky)
  9. Dish up in shallow bowls, ensuring a couple of shells feature
  10. Enjoy

Asian Fishball Noodle Soup

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I have been to Asia a few times now, and nothing beats a good noodle soup at a great night market… Here is my take from my Malaysian and Hong Kong experiences of the dish.

Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Ingredients (serves 4 as an entree or 2 as a main)

  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • A good sized knob of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 chilli
  • 100gm of pork, sliced
  • 10 prawns (I love prawns, so you can really put as many as you want)
  • 1 1/2 litres of good chicken stock (or you can add stock cubes to water)
  • Spring onion
  • Half a pack of asian egg noodles (or Japanese udon if you prefer)
  • Broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • 2 pieces of firm white fish
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek (asian chill sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of chinese rice wine

Method

  1. In a mortars and pestle, pound ginger, garlic, shallots and chilli until it forms a nice paste (if you haven’t got a morsel and petal, food processor will do)
  2. Heat a good sized pot and add sesame oil
  3. When sesame oil begins to smell fragrant add the ginger paste
  4. Mix continuesely with a wooden spoon ensuring it does not burn, then add slices of pork and prawns
  5. Brown pork and prawns then add chicken stock, spring onions, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce
  6. In the meantime, place your fish, egg, fish sauce, soy sauce, samba oelek, rice wine and cornflour in a food processor and mix until smooth
  7. With wet hands take heaped teaspoon sized portions of the fish mix and make into balls
  8. By this time, if you close you eyes, you could quite easily be in the middle of a Malaysian night market, the smell of seafood, ginger and garlic wafting through the house.
  9. Add the broccoli, egg noodles and fish balls to your soup and cook for around 4-5 minutes until noodles and broccoli are tender and fish balls are cooked through
  10. Serve and enjoy with a good San Miguel beer!

Cooking is more than food

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Cooking is an art

Like notes on a score

Strokes of paint on a canvas

Or taps of feet on a floor

     At the base of every culture

 In the heart of every mother

  To nourish and to nurture

         And to have fun with each other

A good meal needs no words

The language is in the cooking

A vocabulary of sizzles

And is much better looking

There is not greater pleasure

Than realizing your imagination

From your mind to your plate

Despite your frustration

Food can define

Unite and distinguish

As rice does to Asia

And an island is to fish

The recipes in this blog

Are from a kiwi far from home

Experimenting with flavors

From Morocco through to Rome

Embracing more than technique

More than produce and more than flavor

Learning the culture

How one must  love and savor

So here you discover

My take on what I find

But also the story

And the meaning that is behind

By Genna Elvin