Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Cooking

It is the season to eat until you explode!!!! and the need to spend days sitting infront of the boiling oven in 33C heat preparing.

We love it. and dam you freaky "White Christmas" Euro/Americanos the cooking

Zucchini Pickle

This was Liams discovery while he was sitting around being a French housewife and I was the bread winner before we left on the Euro tour. We survived on this for a couple of months while living as hobos. In the end it was so good we were rationing so we didnt run out.

1.0 kg zucchini
4 onions
2 apples
Apple cider vinegar
500g sugar
1 tblsp Tumeric
2 tsp Curry powder
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tblsp Brown mustard seeds

Dice the zucchini, onions, apples into 5mm pieces (+- 1mm ...yes im an engineer).

Add about 100ml of water and boil them until they are soft.

Add 400ml apple cider vinegar (important here to adjust to taste, ive killed too many things by just following the recipe), sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, tumeric, curry powder, cayenne pepper and mustard seeds.

Boil for 25-30 minutes and thicken with 1 tablespoon cornflour and a little vinegar (make them into a paste) and boil for another five minutes.

Pizza Tartiflet

This is a classic Marseillais pizza. using creme freche instead of a tomato base. For the fully classic marseille experience its cooked in a woodfired pizza oven in the back of a truck (yep, smoke stack out the roof and everything). This was our little christmas eve dinner.

1 Pizza base
1 onion
2 large potatoes steamed and sliced
200g of bacon pieces
a small can of mushrooms (or fresh)
2 soup spoons of creme fraiche
salt, pepper

Fry the bacon pieces, after a couple of minutes add the onions and mushrooms. Fry for a bit, add the parsley and salt and pepper

Butter the base with crème fraîche. Lots of Creme fraiche. Put on the potato slices followed by cheese and cook at 180C.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Shredded Pork Stew

So I know that a lot of the folks who read this blog are in Australia, and Australians don't on the whole eat a lot of pork (just try to get decent lamb in this country though - it probably came from NZ) but I thought I'd pass this along.

True Mexican cooking - as opposed to Tex-Mex, which I also like and which is most of what you get in anything called a Mexican restaurant - involves a lot of rich stews and/or stewlike substances stuffed into other things. And often, for whatever reason, their stews involve the meat being shredded, instead of cubed. I like the texture this leads to, and it also helps get those yummy sauces spread around a bit. So when Coz brought home a slow-cooking "crock pot" the other day, I thought I'd try to make a shredded pork stew, though the shredding technique should work equally well with any meat in just about anything stew-like. I started from some recipe I found online and as usual ended up tweaking things fairly severely, but the first version last week went something like this:

~1 lb. beans (I think they were pintos) soaked overnight with a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a couple of dried chilies. Cooked in the slow-cooker for about 6 hours, then drained.

~1 lb. pork loin boiled for about an hour with a couple of bay leaves and some more crushed garlic. Skimmed the fat off the top and drained, reserving the liquid for later. Left to cool (pour cold water over it, or leave the whole pot out in the snow for a bit :) Then you literally shred it with your fingers; work the stringy fibers of the meat apart, but try not to break them too much.

~1 lb. of Italian sausage, skinned (recipe calls for chorizo, but we didn't have any.)
Saute in a big pan (I like our tall-sided paella pan for the job, as its harder to spill things out of, but a big frying pan or wok should work) until it starts to brown. Remove the sausage, but don't clean the pan.

1 large onion, sliced.
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped.
8-9 baby potatoes, quartered.
Sautee in the juices in the same pan until the potatoes start to brown. Re-add the sausage, the shredded pork, some salt, and some baby carrots, and cook for another few minutes.

Transfer to your stewpot, and de-glaze the frypan with some red wine; pour that in too. Add your beans, some oregano, and some more chili - I used a couple of tablespoons of smoky chipotles in adobo, pureed, which are the bestest chilies ever. Added about a cup of the liquid reserved from the pork, and the rest of about a cup of red wine (what I didn't use for deglazing.) And the juice of a decent-sized lime. And 2 cans of diced tomatoes (fire-roasted; my favorites.) Oh, and some bacon left over from breakfast. Stewed this for absolutely _ages_ in the slow-cooker, but a couple of hours on a low simmer on the stove would probably do it. Served it over rice with sour cream. Yum!

Todays version of same has no beans in it, nor sausage, but a huge amount of shredded pork (whole pork shoulders are cheap to begin with AND they were on sale for half-price. I used half of what I got off the shoulder, and this stew is going to be twice as big as the last batch.) Gave in to temptation and just used a whole head of garlic this time. Put the carrots in early with the potatoes so they get that almost-burnt carmelly flavour that carrots do. Added cubed eggplant and sliced capsicums when the veggies were about half-done. Used about the same amount of chipotles - for the double batch - and added a bunch of fire-roasted milder Hatch chilies. Twice as much tomatoes. Half again the red wine. A bit of ground cumin. I'm a little worried that dropping the sausage and pre-boiling the meat will mean there isn't enough fat in it (Hey! Fat is good!), but its a stew; it can't exactly dry out on me. Smells good anyways - I'll let you know.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


I have a billion baby toms. I'm open to suggestions - what the hell am I going to do with them all?

So far, it's been:
Salsa (really good! will post my ideas here later)
Pasta sauce (handy serves in freezer)

Last year I made chutney. But we didn't eat it all. Though a jar of chutney could be a good christmas pressie for mum.
Yesterday, I should have left some sliced toms out there, and harnessed the power of the blazing heat and sun to dry them. Oh well. Live and learn.
I've been taking them to work too, and feeding my colleagues tasty home made toms from the fridge.

Any other ideas?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Tried my own muesli bars today. In fact, they're still in the oven. I hope I remember to take a photo!
So, the doc and I are still searching for an answer to my lack of B12. But she's circling around coeliac, so I thought I might test out a gluten-free diet for 2 weeks, and see what happens. If it's a reality, then I guess I'd better get use to it anyway. Gawd. I'd always hoped I'd never be one of the high-maintenance guests at parties.

So, I was always going to make muesli bars. But now I can't make them with oats. So I made peanuts the base.

400gm peanuts
100gm almond slivers
165gm 'seed mix' (papitas and sunflowers)
100gm sesame seeds
150gm cashews

Roasted at 160 in oven for 20 minutes.
The peanuts had their skins on, so after the 20 mins I played with them until I'd got most off.

The glue roughly follows Moni's recipe - 2 big dessert spoonfuls of peanut butter, honey and brown sugar. I could have done with a tiny bit more glue, I think. Of, and a pinch of salt.
I mixed it all up, and pasted it into the lamington tray. Important to keep the glue warm, otherwise it's really hard to mix. Spose if the nuts had still been hot, that would be a different story!
Threw it all in the oven, and left it for 10 minutes.
Then put baking paper over it, and gave it a damn good pressing! With a tea towel to avoid the heat.
Back in the oven for 15.
Out to take of the paper. I'm glad I did this - pulling the cooled stuck nuts off the paper for nibbles didn't work - they were stuck. It was really easy to pull it off when hot.
Back intot he oven for 5 to dry out a little more.
It's cooling now, and here's a picture of it! I hope it's tasty!

LATER: They were well tasty. A little heavy on the sesame, but great nonetheless. Mores soon!

Leeky joy

I grew leeks!
I've been waiting for them to get big enough to eat...I mean, I knew they were growing on down under the ground, where I couldn't see, but, you know, it was my first time...
I turned them into potato and leek soup. First time for that too. I read a few recepies, hated them all, and made one up. Here's a ruff redaction:

butter and oil
2 huge leeks, and 2 tiny ones, chopped
many potatoes. I think they were dutch creams
vegeta stock - in cold water, and enough to cover the mix
teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
huge splosh of cream

Saute leeks and garlic in butter and oil. Add potatoes. Add stock. Boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Remove and keep some liquid, just in case. Blend. Splosh in cream, bring back to heat. We ate it with parsley and chorizo garnish. And more pepper.

Was well tasty. Horray for tasty home grown leeks!

ASIDE: I also found potatoes in my garden. tiny, baby, shouldn't be allowed away from their mother kinda size. So I boiled their bottoms off, and ate them today for lunch, with a boiled egg (home made), parsley, alfalfa and mayo. Woot!

Monday, 26 October 2009

I've been busy!

I've been making potato and leek soup, and muesli bars, over at my blog.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Smoky Puttanesca

Saving this for re-use, sharing... and also asking for more puttanesca recipes, or ideas for things to try with this one; it was good, but not quite what I was going for.

Sauteed for ~3 mins:

6 cloves of garlic diced (well all right; 12. But they were tiny little things and hardly counted for half.)
Half a large Spanish onion, diced.
1 tin smoked sardines. (no anchovies :( )
1 chipotle in adobo, diced, and a bit of the adobo sauce from the tin.

Added, then simmered for ~20 minutes:
1 small tin of tomato paste + 3 tins of water.
1 medium tin of chopped fire-roasted tomatoes.
about a glass of red wine.
about a tablespoon of smoked paprika.
20 black olives, chopped.
3 tablespoons of capers.

Those chipotles are hell-on-wheels, but I think it needed a bit more hot. Liked the various smoky flavours running through it. The rough source baseline recipe called for crushed tomatoes rather than paste and water, but you work with what you've got...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Potato and Olive Salad

Kim asked for this Morrocain recipe from Claudia Rodin,

500g of new potatos (not old apparently)
3 tlb olive oil
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp paprica
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch chilli power
bunch of parsley
1/2 spanish onion - chopped
12 olives

Peel and boil the potatos in salted water until tender. Drain and cut into 0.5 or 0.25 fractions. If the mean potato size < 2.5cm then scission is not necessary. In a salad bowl, add oil, lemon juice, paprika, cummin, chilli pepper and salt. While still warm add the potatos and parsley and onion and olives and agitate gently.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Roman Salted Cod stuff

I ate something like this in Rome when I was there. It was amazing but I could never find the recipe back. Google fails because it always wants plums to be plum tomatos. Stupid googel. Anyway girl is bringing back Baccalao from itally for me. This will be cooked next week I think

Salt Cod with Prunes

  • Prepared Salt Cod
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Dried Prunes
  • Pine Nuts
  • Dried Bread
Thinly chop the onion and the celery, including the leaves. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and celery and sauté quickly. Add the soaked salt cod fillets, the dried prunes and the pine nuts. Let simmer until the oil begins to emulsify, taking care not to stir too often so as not to break up the fillets. (If necessary, add water. The final result should be very liquid.) Adjust for taste and serve over 2-day old, toasted bread slices.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Spicy Plum Sauce

of course! der Speedy!

having been given some of BT's flukey plum largesse it's experiment time for me too.

so to the Googlemobile and instant success. this not being Baking (and therefore Science) I've done what I wanted to one of St Stephanie's recipes. hers is here. cracking stones etc is not for me, I couldn't find the muslin, and I only used 1 kg of plums instead of 1.5kg (saving the rest for something else), so this is my version -

  • 1 kg plums
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp seeded mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1 tsp salt (actually, I forgot about this)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp garlic

  • score the plums into segments. if the flesh comes off easily, well, hooray, otherwise bung them stones and all into a medium saucepan (like I did).
  • put everything else into the pan.
  • bring to the boil and stir well.
  • turn down to a medium simmer and cook until plums collapse, stirring occasionally. this turned out to be over an hour rather than the 20 mins in the recipe. even then, they still had a lot of structure. cooking for an hour doesn't do any harm anyway, and dear god, it smelled fantastic. I stopped once the liquid started to reduce and become syrupy.
  • strain liquid into a bowl then tip it back in the pan.
  • pick out all the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and stones. yes, okay, the muslin would have been handy.
  • dump the fruit back into the pan.
  • whizz with your stick blender. you'll find out if you left a stone in there!
  • bring back to the boil and continue to cook till it's as thick as you like. remember this doesn't have to become thick like jam, it's a sauce.
  • spoon/pour/funnel into hot, clean jars.
  • seal tightly once the steam has stopped rising from the jars. but don't just walk away from them and come back later - they've got to still be very hot.
  • leave for a week before using. in theory. not sure if I can follow that instruction.
the resulting sauce is thick, gloopy, dark, deep, mysterious and spicy. I can't wait to try this with some good meat, or it will probably go really well with a sharp cheddar too. YUM.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Epic fail!

The jam doesn't seem to have worked. Way too runny, Don't know why. Perhaps I should have let it boil a little longer? I know I added too much vanilla essence (didn't have a pod).
I wonder if it would taste OK with ice cream?

I don't eat ice cream.
Maybe on muesli!

Kitchen adventures

Went to the market, where we found 6 boxes of unwanted plums. They were ok - a bit past it, not sellable, sure, but I've eaten worst things from my fridge. There were three of us, so we got two each.
So I built some jars of plum and apple jam, from here. I'm yet to see if they will set, or even taste good. But the sticky horrid pink jelly I had to peel off the bench fills me with confidence. They will be cold and set by morning.
I also have plans to dry some of them. But I ate one raw, and they're not flavoursome. They might not be tasty dry.
Chutney might get a look in, too.
I had to get rid of some apples, too. I just didn't eat them fast enough. Though I'd have given a medal to any who could have eaten a whole box by themeselves. So the jam was good for about 7 apples, but this apple cake took about 12 more out of the box. I think I'm down to 2 or 3 now.
Sadly, the cake turned out very, very warm delicious batter. Good crunchy around the outside though. The problem was probably the tin. My tall round tin made everything too dense. Thin and flat, like they suggest, would be great...But I don't think I have one like that.
I also made port-you-geese chicken from this site again, without too much chili so that I could share it. It's not as much fun when it's not burny. But it is still a good chicken.
The pumpkin that was slowly turning to mush on the bench became spiced baked orange for the cous salad, that went beautifully with the chicken. So of course, after all this, I had to have someone over to eat it all! And get rid of some plums!

So, got any good plum chutney recipes?

(stolen somewhat from my blog)

Monday, 31 August 2009

terribly good fool-proof* chocolate brownies

I'm not bad at baking if I do say so myself, but brownies have always eluded me. they usually turn out too cakey. I love cake, but cake isn't brownie. so this recipe makes me feel happy and clever. and heavier. sigh.

a lady from a book-making class I went to a while back gave it to me. we took turns making morning tea, and this was her contribution. she must be very devoted to it - when I asked for the recipe, she wrote it straight down on a scrap of paper without having to think.

this works beautifully with the Basco all-purpose gluten free flour as well. dangerously scoffable especially when you cut it into little squares. wafer-thin, don't you know?

  • 125g butter
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup almost-but-not-quite firmly packed brown sugar (the darker the better)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs

  • as with all baking, it's best if ingredients are at room temperature
  • preheat oven to 180C, if you're lucky enough to have an accuate oven
  • grease and line a small pan about umm... a bit smaller than A4-sized and about 3-4 cm deep. that's what I use and it's just right. I'm crap at measuring pans, which is naughty, because for baking you should try and use the same dimensions as described in the recipe. except she didn't tell me
  • melt butter, chocolate and brown sugar together in a medium bowl - about 40-50% power in a microwave, minute at a time and stir in between
  • sift cocoa, flour and baking powder together into a larger bowl. yes, you lazy bugger. sift. it does make a difference, especially with the cocoa
  • add the butter/choccie/sugar mix to the dry ingredients and combine
  • lightly beat the eggs (just to combine them). I use the bowl that's just had the wet ingredients in, because it saves washing up another...
  • mix the eggs in - fold and stir rather than beat. no need to beat
  • pour into the pan
  • bake for approx 35-40 minutes. test by skewer or wait until the brownie has risen in the centre (it won't rise much) and has slightly cracked open
  • cool a little in the tin then turn out and cool completely

I have to add, resist the urge to slice it when it's still warm, because a) it's much more crumbly and just gets messy, and b) much as I'm a fan of scoffing straight out of the oven, this is SO much nicer after a few hours, or even the next day. the moisture content rises and it becomes perfectly brownie-like, but when it's still warm it's drier and cakier. so a bit of patience pays off. and it is brilliant straight from the freezer. unfortunately.

*no guarantees

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pork with Red Wine Poached Pears

I made a thing.

It started with some pork chops. I like applesauce with my pork chops, and we didn't have any, so I thought I'd do something else fruity with them. Pork and fruit seems to work pretty well. So I dug around the cookbooks in the kitchen and found a recipe for Prune and Sage Pork Chops.

But I didn't have any prunes. Or any sage. Or, in the end, any white wine, thyme, shallots, chicken stock, or parsley... or effectively _any_ of the ingredients for the recipe. (Time for a shop.) So I faked it, stealing a few ideas from the original, and got:

~3/4 cup red wine (a Merlot)
the juice from a tin of tinned pear halves
salt and pepper
~1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
"some" chipotle pepper sauce, to taste (more than you think - the sweet of the rest drowns out the chili.)

Brought to a simmer in a small pot, removed from heat, added the pear halves, covered and let sit. Seasoned the pork chops and seared on both sides in a pan, then removed to a tray in the oven until just done, then removed to rest. Put a nob of butter in the chop pan with some salt and pepper and about 1/4 cup diced onions. Sauteed for a couple of minutes, then added 1 tablespoon of flour and sauteed for another minute. Stirred in the pears and the pear liquid and simmered for ~4 minutes, until thickened somewhat. Added the juice of 1/2 a lemon (one of the sweeter Meyer ones, from my grandmother's garden) and removed from the heat. Poured the sauce over the chops and served with boiled baby taters and broccoli.

Really rather nice. I would not do this without the chipotle - or at least some form of chili - and lemon juice; it would be too sweet. Could have used a bit more rosemary (or possibly some of the sage I didn't have.)

Figured I'd best write it down; there is no way I'm coming up with the same thing from the same starting point a second time...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Cajun Arse-periment

half a chicken breast, big chunks
a chorizo, sliced thin
some bacon, cubed (I had some 'cut your own' left over)
one onion, diced
garlic (you do the maths)
'cajun' spice (stole ideas from here, then added more paprika, and lots of smoky paprika, and didn't bother with their amounts except as a ratio guideline)
carrot, diced
a can of white beans
a can of tomatoes
green beans, in little pieces
crapsicum slices

In a casserole, brown them all in olive oil. Let them rest on paper (that's gotta be healthy, right?).
I burned the bottom of the pot, so I glazed with water to clean it up before the onions. The water went a great colour, so I kept it as stock.
Brown onion, garlic. Add spices, stir. Throw in tomatoes to stop the burning happening, mix, add meat, carrots and the magic water. Let it all warm up again.
When it's simmering, turn it to a low heat, add beans, put lid on, leave it for 10.
Take the lid off, let it reduce for 20.
Add the geen beans, stir through, allow to heat. Either add the crapsicum to the pot to warm them, or use as garnish. I like my crapsicum crunchy.
Serve on rice.

Totally tasty. The smoky paprika was a great addition. I also added some chopped fresh toms that needed eating, but I don't think it made a major taste difference. The amount of water from the glaze was small, about 3 tablespoons. I feel that it could have reduced a little longer - it was a bit wet. Then again, I might have been dreaming of paela, and not getting paela!
The beans had disappeared by the time we ate it. I think I'd put them in after the 10 min simmer next time.
I might add sweet potato next time too.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Arse-periment with Pumpkin

Step one: Get a whole pumpkin
Step two: Put it in the oven.
Step three: Eat tasty soups.

Well, kinda.

I read a cool recipe like this in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few months back, and wanted to try it out. But I hadn't remembered it, so I made it up.

I sauteed leek and garlic in olive oil, with thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. While this cooked, I took the top off the little pumpkin (would have been less than 2k, just) and removed the seeds. There wasn't much room in there, so I scraped out some of the flesh and threw it in with the leeks. I added chicken stock to the leeks too, and warmed it. And there was a spare potato lying around, so that was thinly sliced and tossed in too.
I poured the stock mix into the shell, put the pumpkin on a tray, and put it in the oven for about 2 hours. It held up very nicely. Oozed a fair bit of sugar, which went black and sticky. I stirred it a fair bit. The liquid was never boiling, but was always warm. The flesh began to soften enough to scoop into the soup after about an hour.
The resulting soup was lumpy, sure, but quite tasty. I didn't feel like blending it. I threw some roughly chopped rocket over it for token green (and I have an absolute surfeit of paving rocket at the moment). It was nice with bread and butter.

I came back to the left overs about an hour later. The skin peeled back from the remaining flesh very easily. I sliced it into wedges, and scooped it into containers. I now have lots of tasty roast pumpkin flesh, and no idea what to do with it!

The original recipe is here, and I think I'd like to try this way next time. Sounds like a tasty soup too.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Waking up next to St. Stephany

Slavic blogfollow this Rob (I think the time difference works for you

Poached Eggs with yoghurt and garlic sauce

4 eggs
2 tbl butter
2 tbl parsley
3 cloves of garlic
pinch of salt
2 tbl chives
500g yoghurt

Pound garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, mix with yoghurt and chopped chives.

Poach the eggs and drain on kitchen paper

Melt the butter and fry the parsley briefly in a frypan, pour over eggs and serve immediately.

Man its the ONLY way to wake up on sunday afternoon

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Morrocan student food - Kefta Mkaouara

Holly crap, I turn my back and all of a sudden there are MILLIONS of activity on my old dead blog...WTF

Anyway, its awesome. I just did my first dinner here (my friends are all drinkers and lovers not eaters and fighters). Cooked morocain, and im looking forward to cooking more for people here. Man I miss it.

Anyway, this is something that was described to me sitting on the floor of a carpet shop in Morocco as what he used to cook when he was a poor student. In the end I managed to have it for lunch on the side of a oasis in the desert watching arab kids jump from the palm trees into the pool.


Moroccan Meatball Tagine called Kefta Mkaouara or Kefta Mkawra. Well-seasoned meatballs are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Eggs are an optional but classic addition to the dish.


----- For the Kefta Meatballs -----
  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg) ground beef or lamb (or a combination of the two)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped very fine
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (or 1/8 teaspoon ground hot pepper)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
----- For the Tomato Sauce -----
  • 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ---------------------------------
  • 3 or 4 eggs (optional)

Start Cooking the Tomato Sauce

Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes OR cut the tomatoes in half, seed them and grate them.

Mix the tomatoes, onions (if using) and the rest of the sauce ingredients in the base of a tagine or in a large, deep skillet. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Note: If using a tagine, place a diffuser between the tagine and burner, and allow 10 to 15 minutes for the tomato sauce to reach a simmer.)

Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low, just enough heat to maintain the simmer but low enough to avoid scorching. Allow the sauce to cook for 15 to 20 minutes before adding the meatballs.

Make the Kefta Meatballs

Combine all of the kefta ingredients, using your hands to knead in the spices and herbs. Shape the kefta mixture into very small meatballs the size of large cherries – about 3/4 inch in diameter.

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce, along with a little water – 1/4 cup (60 ml) is usually sufficient – and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.

Break the eggs over the top of the meatballs, and cover. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are solid and the yolks are partially set. Serve immediately.

Kefta Mkaouara is traditionally served from the same dish in which it was prepared, with each person using crusty Moroccan bread for scooping up the meatballs from his own side of the dish.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Hock it up, baby

I bought a hock, for soups. I'm doing some research. Here's some stuff I found.

Ulitimately, I want a soup I can freeze for lunches, and fill with veg, and hopefully barley.
But this crazy hungarian one looks good.


Dried Bean Soup with Smoked Pork Hock - Bableve Recipe
Ingredients for 6 servings
- 1 smoked Pork hock, about 750 g (1 lb. 8 oz.)
- 200 g (7 oz.) turnip
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz.) carrot
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- Salt
- Sour cream
  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Place the pork hock in a soup pot; cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. If the broth is too salty, add more water.
  3. Continue cooking until the pork is almost tender; add the beans.
  4. When the beans are almost cooked, add the other vegetables, cut into pieces.
  5. Once the hock is cooked, remove it; bone it, chop the meat and return it to the pot.
  6. Make a roux: brown the flour in the oil until nicely colored; add the garlic and heat for a few seconds. Remove from the heat; sprinkle with paprika; add 250 ml (1 cup) cold water; mix well and add to the pot.
  7. Bring to a boil; continue cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Jó étvágyat ! (Bon appétit !)


This one looks so very convoluted, I'm not even going to put the recipe here. Just the URL.

Some good ideas from a forum of peeps here.

And this one looks delicious, but I can see that when you do it properly, like take the 2 days, it would taste fabulous. I just don't have the time.

I think I'm going to boil the hock, add the barely, and then add some veg. That sounds exciting enough for me today. Should I put the onions and garlic, herbs in when the barley goes in?

What would you do with your very own smoked pork hock?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

St. Stephanie's Chilli Con Carne, as promised

In case you don't have the Orange Bible.

500gms dried beans (borlotti, red kidney, what ever - but I'm too lazy - I use 2 cans)
1kg chuck steak, cut in 2cm cubes
2 bay leaves
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped (yeah right - pack it in!)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1kg tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped (screw that - canned is fine. Still working out the amount though...2 cans seems ok)
1 1/2 teaspoons freashly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (go easy - it gets hot quick)
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons polenta

Soak beans over night, then drain and rinse. Put beans into an enamelled cast-iron casserole with meat, bay leaves, onion and garlic, and barely cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until beans are just tender (about 1 1/2 hours).
(Because I use canned, and they're already soft, I cook the meat like this for about an hour, and then tip the beans in for another 20 minutes or so. Works ok. But of course, soaked beans taste better).
Preheat oven to 180. Heat oil in a large frying pan or cast-iron casserole. Stir in tomato, seasonings, and polenta. Simmer for 10 minutes until tomato has collapsed. Tip sauce over meat and beans, stir will, then check and adjust seasonings. Transfer pot to oven and cook for one hour. Serve it as it is - chilli con carne is a complete meal in its own right.

She's right, too, with all that polenta in there.

I added extra polenta once. Don't. The water gets sucked into it, and the consistency is all wrong. Like clag glue.
I go a little bit overboard on the spices, but do be careful, the cayenne is deadly.
I cook it in the oven with the lid off - it turns nice and gloopy then.
This freezes and reheats beautifully. And the meat is always soooooo soft.
Makes for great hiking dinner - reheats the body, and lots of good GIs.

Monday, 1 June 2009


Take a whole smoked chicken, bought from the markets purely for its novelty value.

Then come up with a plan of what to do with it.

Remove some of its meat. Chop roughly. Fry in butter and olive oil, cracked pepper, half a lemon (squeezed, then quartered again and pieces chucked in the pan), thyme and rosemary.
Move to a plate, deglaze pan with wine and a bit more lemon juice. Reduce until doesn't smell alcoholic. Keep juices.
Saute leek and garlic. Add risotto, mix. Add the wine juice, allow to be soaked up by rice. Slowly add vegeta stock until rice is cooked, like usual.
Add frozen peas, mix through, 4 minutes.
Add chicken, mix through, allow to reheat.
Warmed crusty bread, butter, pepper and white wine. Tau and Tittle's chardy is nice. But a Riesling would be better.


P.S. Arse-speriment: an experiment that could go arse up. You don't know until you try.

Sunday, 24 May 2009


I've recently discovered gnocchi. It's more exciting than pasta, and can live in the freezer for emergencies. But I need ideas of what to put on it.
The first time round, I think we just had parsley/rocket/basil chopped finely, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of oil. I do remember it being tasty.

Tonight, I thought I'd make a sauce.
I've thrown half an onion (I had it lying around) and some garlic in a pan. Let them saute. Thrown in a chorizo, thinly sliced (everything's thinly sliced) and movd it around a fair bit, until some of the fat is leaving the sausage. I've tipped a can of diced toms and half my glass of red in it. There's also a big bay leaf and a spring of thyme. And cracked pepper.
I thought I'd let it simmer until the tomato has collapsed, and it's thicker.

I'll let you know if it works.

It were well tasty!
In the last 10 minutes or so I cooked it on high with the lid off, to help it turn into a sticky mess. Added a bit of gnocchi water when it got too dry, and that was great - the floury water helped to sauce it up good.
Served it with lots of parsley (standard 'green' around my house) and parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Watercress Soup

More in the line of Nik's original post about this blog than my previous submission, this soup has a really yummy spicy flavour - which surprised me, because watercress had always sounded pretty dull to me. If you didn't have cress available, I think it would work a treat with a good spicy rocket.

As given to me:

3 bunches of watercress, top and bottom separated
3 whole, peeled Idaho potatoes
2 onions, rough chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger
3 cups of vegetable stock or water
cooking oil

Heat a cooking pot and add two tablespoons of cooking oil, and all of the ingredients except the watercress. Saute for two to three minutes, then add 2 cups of water / stock. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, turn the heat up and add the rest of the water / stock, add the bottom of the watercress, bring to boil. Let it cook for a few minutes, add the top of the watercress, and turn the heat off. Puree in small batches and serve with sour cream or creme fraiche.

My notes:
Why so many recipe have use broken engrish sentence? Bugs Rob (but I transcribed faithfully, rather than lose anything...)
Sautee the potatoes whole? I think not; I chopped them up in chunks first. I also didn't bother to peel them - its getting blended, after all, and the skins have good flavour and vitamins.
I added more garlic, on general principles.
Don't be shy with the salt/pepper, or the sour cream.

Roasted Capsicum Hummus

The recipe as given to me:

2 cups of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight OR canned chickpeas, rinsed
2 roasted red capsicum, cleaned and deseeded
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch of parsley
1 cup tahini
1 cup olive oil

Cook the chickpeas, with a little salt, until soft. Drain, reserving some cooking liquid. In a food processor add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, parsley, roasted capsicum, and puree until smooth. Add the oil in a slow but steady stream while its still running. Stop, scrape the sides, add some salt and pepper. Start the food processor and continue to add oil til the desired texture is achieved. Taste and correct the seasoning.

My notes:
I used a bit of lime juice on the suggestion of the guy who gave me the recipe, and more garlic on general principles.

Marinated feta

BaggyT told me Nik was asking for a recipe. Here's what we do...

a 2kg tub of feta (cut into 1cm cubes)
4 litres olive oil
a metric heap of garlic (seperated into cloves and peeled)
tiny red chillis
fresh rosemary

Stuff into bottles. Leave for a week or so before eating. Or longer. This makes about 6-8 large bottles of the stuff. You will probably want to start with smaller amounts.

There are tricks, like remembering to put some flavour agents into the jar before stuffing it full of feta, and making sure the oil covers everything so the top doesn't go mouldy.

You can also use thyme. And lemon zest (cut off lemon with potato peeler). Dried chilli can be used.

For me, the compulsory items are the cheese, oil, pepper and garlic (especially the garlic)... and maybe the chilli. All other flavourings are up to you and what you have in the cupboard at the time.

Once emptied of feta, the oil is packed full of flavour. You can stir through pasta or put on pizza. Or shove on crackers without the feta... The garlic goes all soft and sweet. Mmmm. I should get out the stuff we have in the fridge! (we are crap and forget to eat it these days)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Nik finds interwebfoodz

Here is the portuguese chook recipe.
Wants more face-burning, from memory.

Braised sausages with puy lentils

olive oil
100gms pancetta, cubed (I had bacon)
2 red onions, sliced thin
12 toulouse sausages (or great pork - i reckon these are little ones, not full-length, judging from the picture. I used fresh butcher's chorizo - made a good spicy meal)
Garlic, squashed (I used 3 big ones. The recipe says 2. I say go with what you love)
2 sprigs thyme
300mg puy lentils (I used "french" - black. still good)
750ml chicken consomme (I used chook stock)
150gm baby english spinach, chopped (I used parsley from the garden)
Crusty bread to serve

Heat oil in heavy-based fry pan. Brown pancetta over medium-high heat. Remove with slotted spoon.
Add onion, saute until soft or slightly browned. Add to pancetta.
Fry sausages in the same pan, until golden.
Return pancetta and onion to the pan, add garlic, thyme, and lentils and stir well. Pour in consumme and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
Stir in spinach and season to taste. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Man, this was GOOD! First time I've cooked lentils. I'd do it again, and again!

Beany stew

A beany stew, based on what I had, wtih some pre-planning.

4 chicken marylands
rock salt, peppercorns, one clove garlic, thyme, lemon verbena (I had no lemons - otherwise I would have used rind. This worked really well).

Grind spices in coffee grinder thingy, cover chicken legs in mix, let sit.

1 chorizo
smoked pork neck
One onion
bay leaves
white beans, already soaked (it's what the packet says!)
2 carrots, diced
One apple, diced
white wine
vegeta stock

Heat olive oil. Brown chicken legs, set aside.
Chop chorizo and pork, brown, set aside.
Glaze pan with wine, reserve juices.
Cook onion, garlic, herbs till soft. Throw pork products back in. Add beans. Mix well. Add juices, enough stock to almost cover mix. Set chicken legs under the mix (try to get them completely covered - I almost did but they were very big legs!). Bring to boil, let simmer 30 minutes. Add carrots and apple and mix through.

I turned it off at this point - I knew it needed another 30 minutes or so in the oven, lid off, and we were more than 30 minutes away from dinner. I was also hoping that the fats would float to the surface, and help the top to brown when it got to the oven stage. They did a little, but I'd only left it for an hour. Not even enough to get it cool.
I had put too much water in - I ladled lots out, and this helped.

Remove lid, cover surface with breadcrumbs and pepper. Put in oven until top is browned, beans are done, or you are starving.
Serve with a liberal (fistful!) sprinkling of chopped parsley, and a cold white.

The carrots and apple cook very fast, so I try to leave them out for as long as possible, rather than let them become mush. The apple is an amazing sweet smush in your mouth, unexpected. It fits so nicely with the spicy chorizo.
If I'd had celery I would have added that too.
It was really delicious for dinner again tonight. Just threw the whole pot in the fridge overnight, and the whole pot back in the oven this evening. No fuss! Sweet!