Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baked ricotta

Hello everyone, I was finally able to do something this week which I have long thought would be fun. I was in Melbourne with my family and on a typically freezing cold Melbourne afternoon, following a brisk walk across town, my two sisters and two nieces and I luxuriated in the warmth and comfort of Koko Black and indulged in the best hot chocolate I've ever had. I was quite sure (all of) the girls would enjoy it and they did. It was such a nice way for the five of us to while away an hour!

This week's recipe uses ricotta, one of my most favourite things to eat in the world. There is nothing like super-fresh ricotta and it shines in this very quick and easy recipe which is perfect for serving guests. It's a recipe I cut out from Good Living some years ago and it is very good. Non vegetarians may wish to serve the ricotta with some slices of prosciutto.

Have a lovely week. Love from Jane xx

Baked ricotta

Serves four

What you need:
  • 750g fresh ricotta
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 bunch of red grapes
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Cut the ricotta into slices about 2cm thick and place on the baking paper.
  4. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  5. Add the grapes and rosemary sprig.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
  7. Allow to cool a little before serving.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Salmon and potato al forno

Hello everyone, I am shortly moving into the city for work, which has its pluses and minuses. The choices for lunch are definitely going to be an improvement on where I am now. Yesterday I was in town and went looking for a sandwich cafe of which I have heard many good things but never stumbled across before. It turned out to be down one of those dingy alleys which you would never explore unless you were on the hunt for something, and there was no signage to indicate the name of the place. Close questioning, and my lunch, proved I had found the right place. It is called Via Abercrombie and they do outstanding sandwiches! So this is one place I'll be visiting regularly.

This week's recipe comes from the August 2009 edition of delicious magazine. Funnily enough there were very few recipes in that issue that excited me, but this one caught my eye as its key ingredients are all favourites, and I was very, very happy with the result.

Have a great week. Love from Jane xx

Salmon and potato al forno

Serves four

What you need:
  • 1 kg chat potatoes
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25g cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Light olive oil
  • 4 salmon fillets, with skin
  • A few mint leaves, finely chopped
  • A small handful of grated parmesan
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  3. Halve the potatoes lengthways and trim the fennel bulb, reserving the leafy fronds for garnishing later.
  4. Cut the fennel bulb into 8 wedges, add these to the salted water with the potatoes and parboil for about 6 minutes.
  5. Drain the vegetables in a colander and leave to steam dry for a minute.
  6. Transfer to a large roasting pan and season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Sprinkle over half the parsley and all of the garlic, dot with the butter and drizzle well with the olive oil.
  8. Toss everything together in the pan so it is all mixed well and then shake out so that the vegetables sit in one layer.
  9. Cook the vegetables in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden.
  10. While the vegetables are roasting, score the skin on the fish.
  11. Season the fish with salt and pepper and push the remaining parsley and the mint into the scores.
  12. When the vegetables are golden, sprinkle the parmesan over the potatoes.
  13. Lay the salmon, skin side up, on top of the vegetables.
  14. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and drizzle with some olive oil.
  15. Cook for a further 15 minutes in the oven.
  16. Just before the dish comes out of the oven, chop the reserved fennel fronds.
  17. Take the fish and vegetables out of the oven, sprinkle with the chopped fennel fronds and serve with wedges of lemon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rum raisin caramel bars

Hello everyone, do you ever cook something that you have highly anticipated, only to find that the finished product (and not because of your skills), comes up short? I had this experience this week. I have had a recipe for a chocolate macadamia cheesecake for twenty years, which I have always wanted to make, but could never find the right opportunity. Well, finally, this week I got around to it and was quite sure it was going to be the most delicious thing I had ever done. Sadly, not. It was quite nice and I was assured by those who ate it that it was "up there" with my other efforts, but I felt somewhat let down by it. I think for me it wasn't quite creamy enough - the recipe writer did emphasise that it was created in a search for something lighter than the usual cheesecake. Oh well....cross that one off the list.

This week's recipe is a winner - it is chocolate so you can't go wrong. Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

Rum Raisin Caramel Bars

Bars can be made up to four days ahead.

What you need:

· 125g butter
· ½ cup castor sugar
· 1 cup plain flour (you can substitute rice flour)
· 2 tablespoons cocoa
Rum and raisin filling
· 400g can sweetened condensed milk
· 30g unsalted butter
· 1 tablespoon dark rum (actually any colour will do)
· ½ cup chopped raisins (can use sultanas)
· ¼ cup coconut
· 125g chocolate, melted
· 30g butter, melted

What you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Grease the base and sides of a 19cm x 29cm lamington pan, cover the base with baking paper and grease the paper.
3. To make the filling, combine the condensed milk and butter in a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring constantly and vigorously over heat for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, then remove from the heat.
4. Stir in the rum, raisins and coconut and leave to cool to lukewarm.
5. For the base, combine the butter and the sugar in a small bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
6. Stir in the sifted flour and cocoa.
7. Press the mix evenly over the base of the lamington tin.
8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until firm.
9. Cool the base for 10 minutes, then spread with filling and cool to room temperature.
10. To make the topping, combine the melted chocolate and butter in a small bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth and spreadable.
11. Spread the topping on the slice and store in the fridge until set, before cutting into bars or slices.