Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bill's Creamy Semolina With Bay Leaf And Parmesan

Hello everyone, last night I was lucky enough to have dinner at Barrenjoey House at Palm Beach. I've been wanting to go there for a while and was really looking forward to it, although somewhat disappointed that Darren Simpson was such a recent departure from the head chef role. It turned out to be just the kind of place I like - large and airy, with a real "by the seaside" feel to it. The food was gorgeous. They had fish and chips on the menu and I just knew it was the sort of place that would do it well, which was the case, and then I followed up with chocolate souffle which was divine - all warm and melting chocolate. The only downside was that just before I left home to go there I realised that the shops wouldn't be open this morning, being ANZAC day, and I still had a few items to buy for the lunch I was serving today that I had planned to buy fresh! So at 11.00 last night I was wandering around a supermarket snatching up herbs and croissants.

Now today's recipe is another from the ever reliable Bill Granger. It dates from the time he used to do a breakfast segment on Angela Catterns' breakfast show on local radio (yep, 2005). I loved listening to that slot, and obviously the sound of this particular recipe appealed as I printed it from the ABC website and have made it a few times now. I really love semolina (very similar to polenta) and this is a good one for dinner on cooler nights.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

Bill's Creamy Semolina With Bay And Parmesan

Serves about four

What you need:
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 170g semolina
  • 60g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, if you have it

What you do:

  1. Place milk, bay leaves and salt in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a moderate heat.
  2. Reduce the heat and slowly add the semolina in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps forming.
  3. When all the semolina has been added, adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles, and stir constantly until the semolina pulls away from the side of the pan, which will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir through the cheese and a sprinkle of nutmeg if you have it.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Salmon, cabbage and potato

Hello everyone, I had dinner during the week with my friend Jan who lives in Potts Point and therefore is never short of a new fabulous place to entice me. We went to the Sardine Room, and really just the name was enough to get me there, conjuring up images of a glamorous, 1940s style bar. It's actually a little restaurant in Challis Street in Potts Point, specialising, of course, in seafood. I was intrigued when the owner made a point of telling us that several of the dishes were cooked in stock NOT cream, which could be a selling point to some, but not me. Bring on the cream I thought to myself. In any case, we both plumped for a risotto which had fennel and something else, I've actually forgotten already but it was some sort of seafood, and really very nice. But as I was quite stressed that evening, the highlights for me were the lovely glass of red and the luscious slice of chocolate and hazelnut tort with frangelico mascarpone - I definitely needed that combination to make me feel more settled!

Now this week's recipe comes from Jill Dupleix's book Take Three. As she doesn't actually title the recipes in the book I have just named it according to the three chief ingredients, which may not sound that exciting, but it's a very nice dish. It has caraway seeds, which I always think impart a magic touch.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Salmon, cabbage and potato

Serves four

What you need:
  • 4 x 200g fillets of fresh salmon
  • 1/2 medium white cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • 10 small potatoes (baby kipflers are around at the moment and very good)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 200ml white wine (or you can substitute verjuice)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds

What you do:
  1. Cook the potatoes, (either peeled or unpeeled, whatever you prefer) in simmering, salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Cook the cabbage in simmering, salted water for about 10 minutes - you want it to remain fairly crunchy - then drain well.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the wine and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the drained cabbage and toss well.
  5. Place the salmon fillets on top, cover tightly, and cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until the cabbage is tender and the salmon is cooked but still pink and moist in the middle.
  6. Gently remove the salmon fillets and keep warm.
  7. Add the vinegar and half the caraway seeds to the cabbage and toss well for a minute.
  8. Arrange a heap of cabbage on four serving plates and top each with a salmon fillet.
  9. Drain the potatoes, cut in half and tuck them around the salmon.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining caraway seeds and serve.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apple and almond crumble

Hello everyone, well, although summer is not entirely gone, it is definitely cooler in the mornings and evenings, and around this time of year my thoughts always turn to fruit crumbles. They are so delicious and warm! During the week I made the crumble recipe given by Jamie Oliver in this month's delicious magazine, an apple and plum one with lovely dried fruit and nuts through it. It tasted great but I must say involves a huge amount of peeling and slicing and cooking fruit. The crumble I'm giving you is another one from delicious magzine, but from quite a while ago, May 2002 in fact. It's a Delia Smith one and one of my reliables for when I have friends coming for a meal. Raw almonds, as used in this recipe, are really good right now.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

PS How excited was I to see that there will be a session called "The Secrets of Bourke Street Bakery" at this year's Sydney Writers Festival on 15 May? I've already booked my tickets!

Apple and almond crumble

Serves 6-8

What you need:
· 700g Granny Smith apples
· 225g Golden Delicious apples
· 25g brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

For the crumble:
· 110g whole almonds, skin on
· 75g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
· 175g self raising flour, sifted
· 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
· 110g demarara (or caster) sugar

· Pouring cream and/or custard and/or ice cream, to serve

What you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Peel, core and slice the apples into thickish slices.
3. Toss the apple slices in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves
4. Arrange in a baking dish and set aside.
5. To make the crumble, place butter, flour, cinnamon and sugar into a food processor and process until you have crumbs.
6. Add the almonds and process again until the almonds are finely chopped (it’s OK to have a few chunky bits).
7. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the apples, spreading it right to the edges of the dish. Using the flat of your hand, press it down quite firmly all over – the more tightly packed the crumble the crisper it will bake. Finish by lightly running a fork over the surface of the crumble.
8. Bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
9. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving warm with cream, custard and/or ice-cream.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Crunchy breakfast pear muffins

Hello everyone, well, Easter is upon us and I have been so good, resisting all egg and hot cross bun temptation so far. Unfortunately I think I have actually missed the hot cross bun thing for the year, but I'm sure there'll be some chocolate eggs or bunnies to enjoy between now and the end of the weekend. I am planning to call by Accoutrement in Mosman later today to pick up some treats as I have been ogling their gorgeous Easter display for a few weeks now.

This week's recipe is a quick and easy muffin which I whipped up yesterday afternoon, then sampled while losing myself in the DVD of The Time Traveller's Wife (definitely not up to the book standard). They are lovely and moist with the pear and easy to freeze, ready to be freshened up in the microwave. I found the recipe in Good Living some time ago. Regular readers will be surprised to learn that on finding some chocolate in my cupboard I threw that in too - chocolate works so well with pear and is a lovely surprise in a muffin!

Have a wonderful Easter.

Love from Jane xx

Crunchy breakfast pear muffins

Makes 6 large muffins

What you need:
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour (you can use regular white if you don't have wholemeal to hand)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain low fat yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or light olive oil
  • 1 cup peeled, diced pear
  • 100-150g chocolate, optional
  • 1/3 cup pecan nuts, finely chopped

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Using a 6 cup capacity muffin tin, either spray the holes with olive oil spray, or line with paper cases.
  3. Sift together into a large bowl the flours, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. Add the oats and half a cup of the brown sugar and the chocolate if using, and stir to combine.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, yoghurt and oil.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Muffin mixes do not like to be overmixed and will give you lumps of concrete if you stir too many times!
  7. Gently fold through the pear.
  8. Divide the batter between the muffin holes or paper cases.
  9. Mix together the remaining brown sugar with the pecan nuts and sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.