Saturday, February 27, 2010

Patatas Bravas

I love potatoes. Have I ever mentioned that? I think they are one of my favourite foods, right up there with chocolate. I find myself indecently excited whenever potatoes are on the menu, and it takes all my willpower to not shout "Let's choose the potato dish" when out with friends and selecting a side to share. This week's recipe is a really yummy potato dish from one of my favourite recipe writers, Matthew Evans, from his book Weekend Fare. I could eat kilos of it (but I know where the kilos would come to rest).

Have a good week, love from Jane xx

Patatas Bravas

Serves 5-6 as as side dish

What you need:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons of a good vinegar - a Spanish sherry vinegar is ideal
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (or ordinary pepper)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoky Spanish paprika
  • 1 kg good frying potatoes, washed well
  • Olive oil for frying

What you do:

  1. Beat the egg yolk, sherry and garlic, drizzling in the olive oil in a stream as you whisk, in the same way as you would make a mayonnaise (if you do indeed make your own mayonnaise).
  2. Whisk in the tomato puree, pepper, salt and paprika and check the flavour. This sauce should be reasonably bold tasting.
  3. Cut the potatoes into roughly 2-3 cm dice and fry in plenty of olive oil until cooked through and lightly browned.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the pan and drain on a couple of paper towels.
  5. Serve the potatoes warm with the sauce either on top, or served on the side as a dipping sauce.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sticky soy and maple pork burgers

Hello everyone, I'm finding that being in the city for work now and so close to a handful of cafes that make good hot chocolate I'm having one nearly every day! It's a little out of control. But I keep telling myself good for my bones. I have most recently concentrated my attention on Adora in the arcade next to the Sofitel Wentworth. They do great hot chocolate and you get to choose a chocolate from their display every time! Now I have to say they are not my favourite chocolates, that honour definitely lies evenly split between Just William and Belle Fleur, but I'm not going to turn down the offer. During the week I happened to try the caramel and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was a really luscious burnt caramel flavour. I think I might have to intervene before this becomes a habit!

This week's recipe comes from the September 2009 issue of delicious magazine. It is a great summertime dish and really easy to put together. I love the flavour of maple syrup; make sure you use a proper Canadian one, not some nasty synthetic! You should be able to find a good maple syrup fairly easily if you check the labels.

Have a happy week! Love from Jane xx

Sticky soy and maple burgers

Serves four

What you need:
  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped (or I often swap chives for onions for this sort of use)
  • A small piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander (or mint) leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of a light olive or vegetable oil, plus extra to brush
  • 4 fresh bread rolls
  • To serve: sweet chilli sauce, sour cream, shredded lettuce, sliced radishes

What you do:

  1. Mix together in a large bowl the mince, peanuts, onions, ginger, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup, chilli flakes and coriander or mint.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Shape into 4 patties, cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a tray with baking paper, or preheat a BBQ.
  5. Heat a fry pan over medium high heat and brush with a little oil.
  6. Cook the patties for a couple of minutes on either side until golden brown OR cook the patties on the BBQ until cooked through.
  7. (If you are using the oven) Transfer the patties to the baking tray and bake in the oven for a further 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.
  8. While the patties are cooking, split and toast the bread rolls.
  9. Mix the oil with the remaining soy sauce and maple syrup and then brush over the cooked patties.
  10. To serve, sandwich the patties in the rolls and serve with the accompaniments you have lined up.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nutmeg cake

Hello everyone, I have been on quite a mission this year to actually get to lots of different cafes and restaurants that are reviewed and make me think "Hmmm, that sounds like a good place to try" (but often don't do anything further about it). During the week I had dinner with my friend Maria at Finola's in the Balmain Bowling Club , as I have heard lots of great things about the food there. It's an interesting setting, as you are right there in the bowling club with the greens to one side and a crowd playing poker in the bar (good for cheap drinks!). The menu is quite Irish influenced and I enjoyed my fish pie. Then today I am going to Revolver at Annandale, lured by a review that mentioned they do very good hot chocolate there. Yes, I know that most of you think it's way too hot and humid for hot chocolate, but in the interests of research I am prepared to go there!

This week's recipe is for a really, really good cake that I must have made a thousand times over the years. I remember discovering it in a Vogue Wine And Food Cookbook from 1991 when I was first living out of home and it seemed quite sophisticated to me (probably because it wasn't the usual chocolate). It's very easy and has a great texture. I think you'll like it.

Have a lovely week, love from Jane xx

Nutmeg cake

What you need:
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspooons of baking powder
  • 2 cups of plain flour, sifted
  • 125g butter
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking powder.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, baking powder and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Rub in the butter until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  5. Spread half of the mix over the base of the prepared cake tin.
  6. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
  7. Add the beaten egg and nutmeg to the milk.
  8. Pour the milk into the remaining sugar and flour mixture and stir together well.
  9. Pour this mix into the cake tin on top of the first lot of crumbs.
  10. Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake shows it's cooked.

This cake is delicious served with thick cream or Greek yoghurt, or icecream of course.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roasted walnut and preserved lemon salsa

Hello everyone, last week I reported on my broken down fridge from the previous weekend. The new one is working beautifully, but my goodness, even though I think I don't have a lot in my fridge usually, I am very conscious of how much rebuilding I have to do. There are so many basic things that I reach for and then remember having to throw out whatever the item is. Slowly, slowly I am restoring things.

I tell you what, the fridge wasn't my only disaster. Last Saturday the clutch in my car went! It was terrible at the time (particularly as I was so flustered that I couldn't find the hazard lights!) This morning I was out and about in the car and so thankful that if the clutch had to go, thank goodness it wasn't today in the pelting rain. It could have been a lot worse!

On Sunday my friend Cathy and I went and tried a fairly recently opened restaurant called Cavallino in Terrey Hills of all places! Trust me, if you like authentic Italian food, it's worth the trip. I had really delicious hand made pasta (although the sauce was rather salty), and we indulged in profiteroles with a wicked chocolate sauce for dessert. Definitely worth a return visit, that one.

Today's recipe is another one that I snipped from the pages of Good Living, so I don't know whose creation it is. But I can assure you that it is luscious. And a bit unusual which is always good when you want to impress family and friends. The key is using fresh walnuts, which you can easily get at Harris Farm or nut shops, rather than packet walnuts, and rubbing them with a teatowel to remove as much skin as possible. Trust me, it doesn't take too long and once you have tried it you will see the difference it makes to the flavour of the nuts. The original recipe is made with coriander, but as I loathe that herb I used mint instead and it was lovely. The salsa is sensational served over barbecued fish, but of course you could do it with fish cooked any way you like, or serve the salsa with other meats or vegetables. It is very summery and refreshing.

Have a happy week! Love from Jane xxx

Roasted walnut and preserved lemon salsa

Serves about four

What you need:
  • 80g walnuts (shelled)
  • 3/4 of a preserved lemon
  • About 1 cup coriander or mint leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or less, use your judgement)
  • Sea salt

What you do:

  1. Roast the walnuts in a hot oven (200C) until golden brown (probably about ten minutes - stay close to the kitchen so you can judge the timing by the aroma).
  2. When the nuts have cooled, wrap them in a clean teatowel and rub vigorously to remove as much skin as possible.
  3. Roughly chop the walnuts and place in a bowl.
  4. Rinse the preserved lemon (does anyone actually do this? I don't), discard the pith and finely chop the skin.
  5. Add the lemon to the nuts.
  6. Add the chopped coriander/mint, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt to taste.
  7. Spoon over whatever you have cooked to go with the salsa.
  • Note that the dressing is best when made just before serving.