Saturday, May 29, 2010

Maple glazed roast potato and apple

Hello everyone, I've had a lovely week off work these last few days and seem to have spent a lot of time in the car driving all over Sydney running endless errands that have been piling up. One advantage is that on several occasions my trips took me close to specialty food shops that I have wanted to try but which aren't normally on my way anywhere. I was particularly fortunate to strike two specialty chocolate shops on one day. One was Adriano Zumbo's chocolate shop in Balmain, at which I had heard there was very good hot chocolate to be had. So I stopped there to sample it and it was really quite good. Not as good as Koko Black in Melbourne, but good enough to make me think about going back to try the various flavours of hot chocolate on offer. Then later that day I noticed a shop called "Christophe...Ses Chocolats", a chocolate maker, which is in a suburb called Russell Lea. On my way back I stopped in and bought a handful of chocolates and they were delicious! So nice and fresh and there were so many beautiful sounding flavours it was hard to choose! I think it will be a good thing to go back to work and remove myself from all these temptations.

This week's recipe is a great winter time dish and just luscious. The original recipe uses kumara, but being the potato lover that I am I substitute potato. You can use either or even both. It's from the Autumn/Winter edition of SOS and a very good dish to have in your cold weather repertoire.

Have a wonderful week. Love from Jane xxx

Maple glazed roast potato and apple

Serves six

What you need:
  • 1.5kg potato and/or kumara, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and quartered
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 180ml orange juice
  • 125ml maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C.
  2. Place the potato and/or kumara and apple into an earthenware dish which will hold them snugly.
  3. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, make a syrup with the butter, orange juice, maple syrup, ground cloves, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the syrup over the potato/kumara and apple.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and roast in the centre of the oven for an hour, basting every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and continue to cook for about a further 30 minutes, or until caramelised, basting as necessary.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tagliatelle with onion sauce

Hello everyone, last night I was meeting some friends to see the wonderful Irish writer Colm Toibin as part of the Sydney Writers' Festival and we went for a bite to eat beforehand at the GPO Cheese and Wine Room in the city. It was great! It's a very atmospheric kind of place and the staff were warm and welcoming. The menu was wonderful - I really had trouble choosing. In the end my friend Ann-Maree and I shared a vegetarian dips plate and a plate with three cheeses matched to three half glasses of red wine. It was all so good. I really can't wait to go back there again and again! With some evening sessions at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival there should be more opportunities.

This week's recipe is a very simple and beautiful pasta dish. It comes from one of my favourite writers, Diane Seed, in her book The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces. I hope you like it too!

Love from Jane xxx

Tagliatelle with onion sauce

Serves four

What you need:
  • 500g tagliatelle
  • 100g butter
  • 500g onions, thinly sliced
  • Chicken stock
  • 200ml cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

What you do:

  1. Melt the butter and cook the thinly sliced onions in a covered pan over a low heat until they are soft. Do not let them brown.
  2. Cover with chicken stock and simmer, with the lid on the pan, for another 25 minutes.
  3. Start cooking the pasta following the packet directions.
  4. Allow the onion mix to cool a little, then puree it.
  5. Stir the cream into the onions, then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  6. Drain the pasta and stir through the onion sauce.
  7. Serve the pasta and sauce with Parmesan cheese served separately.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spaghetti with ocean trout and capers

Hello everyone, yesterday I went to one of the first events at this year's Sydney Writers' Festival which was a talk by the founders of the famous Bourke Street Bakery. It was held at the Surry Hills Library and the two speakers, Paul Allam and David McGuinness, shared some of the "secrets" of the bakery. It was fascinating, and a lovely addition was on that arrival they had a generous selection of their famous tarts set out on a big table, so that everyone could have one on the way in! It was a really good start for this year's Festival for me.

This week's recipe comes from Pete Evan's book Fish, from which I have had mixed results, but this one was a real winner, particularly as I had left work late that day, so was anticipating a late dinner, but despite the lengthy list of ingredients, found that it cooked up pretty quickly and was delicious.

Have a lovely week. Love from Jane xx

Spaghetti with ocean trout and capers

Serves four

(If you don't like capers by all means leave them out, I don't think their deletion will impact too markedly on the dish).

What you need:
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped banana chilli
  • 6 anchovies, roughly torn
  • 60g choppped green olives
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers
  • A large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 400g ocean trout, skin and bones removed and cubed (it's really important that the skin is removed, I forgot this detail when I purchased my fish and consequently had some difficulty with the cubing)
  • 3 handfuls of rocket
  • 4 tablespoons salmon roe (optional)

What you do:

  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil, garlic and chilli in a large pan until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  3. Add the anchovies, olives, capers and parsley.
  4. Drain the pasta, add to the pan with the garlic mix and toss well.
  5. Add the lemon juice and ocean trout and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir through for 30 seconds. The idea is for the fish to be served rare, so you are just warming it slightly around the edges and then allowing it to cook a little more when served from the heat of the pasta.
  7. Add the rocket and mix through until slightly wilted.
  8. Transfer the spaghetti and fish to a serving bowl and garnish with salmon roe, if using, before serving.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cashew ginger fingers

Hello everyone, last Sunday we celebrated Mum's seventieth birthday over lunch at Aqua Dining at North Sydney. I hadn't been near the pool for over twenty years and I have to say the addition of this glamorous restaurant is a master stroke (no pun intended). It was a gorgeous sunny day and our table looked out over the pool and the harbour. The service was flawless and the food heavenly. I had the Hiramasa Kingfish and it was one of the most beautifully cooked pieces of fish I have ever eaten. The restaurant also did a cake for us and it was luscious, all full of strawberries and mascarpone. All in all, an outstanding restaurant experience.

This week's recipe is a quick and easy slice from my Women's Weekly Biscuits and Slices book. I wouldn't say that this is one of their better books but from time to time I'll make something from it that is good, and this is one of those.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

Cashew Ginger Fingers

What you need:
  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 cup unsalted, roasted cashew nuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped glace ginger

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a 20cm x 30cm lamington tin with baking paper.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Stir the sifted flour and ground ginger into the butter mix.
  5. Spread this mix evenly over the base of the prepared tin.
  6. Bake the mix in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in the pan.
  7. To make the topping, combine the icing sugar, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the butter is melted.
  8. Stir in the nuts and ginger.
  9. Spread the hot topping evenly over the cold base.
  10. Cool before slicing into fingers.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spicy potato tagine with olives

Hello everyone, I was prompted to share this particular recipe today following two different conversations this week. On Tuesday a friend was telling me about the tagine he'd made on the weekend and as soon as I arrived home I started searching through my cook books for some lovely tagine recipes I remembered cooking previously. I love a good tagine and they are so warming and comforting in winter. Then this morning I heard an interesting early morning discussion between Angela Catterns on local radio and a potato grower, who was setting up his stall at the Penrith markets. I think he reeled off the names of about ten different varieties of potatoes he had brought to market for sale and they all sounded very enticing.

Hence another recipe indulging my love of potatoes. This recipe is a different take on the usual tagine as there's no meat, so it works for vegetarians, as a side dish or just as a dish on its own for anyone who likes potatoes and olives! I found the recipe in Spectrum in the SMH and it says that it is adapted from Paula Wolfert's book, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xx

Spicy Potato Tagine With Olives

Serves 4-6 when served with couscous or rice

Peel and thickly slice 900g of yellow fleshed potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water. In a heavy saucepan (or well seasoned tagine), heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and fry a finely chopped onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add a chopped tomato, 1/4 teaspoon each of paprika, ground ginger and cumin, and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Stir for two minutes.

Add the drained potatoes, a bay leaf and a quarter of a lemon (whole). Toss, then add a handful each of chopped parsley and coriander (or you could substitute mint if like me you don't like coriander) and a couple of good pinches of salt. Toss, then add 5 saffron threads and 1 1/2 cups of hot water.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a warm serving dish and discard the lemon. Add 24 pitted green olives to the liquid remaining in the cooking pot and boil until the juices have reduced to a thick sauce. Pour over the potatoes and garnish with half a preserved lemon, chopped.