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!