Sunday, 27 June 2010

Vietnamese summer salad

Does anyone have a better salad than this? its still pretty damned good but not perfect. I added fish sause and about a handful of mint.

much also needs more chilli....lots of chilli

¼ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup water
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp red chili sauce/paste/oil
1 ½ tsp minced ginger
½ pound flank steak
1 cup fresh basil leaves (I didnt have this)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (or this)
1 cup fresh mint leaves (this I was good)
½ red onion, sliced finely (used shallots instead)
½ seeded English cucumber, halved and sliced finely
2 cups julienned carrots
½ cup dry roasted peanuts

*Optional* cooked rice, prepared as you like

Combine light soy sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, garlic, and chili sauce/paste/oil and ginger in medium bowl. Whisk or stir to blend. Pour approximately 5 tablespoons into a resealable plastic bag or large container. Cover and refrigerate the remaining dressing. Add steak to bag/container, seal, and turn to coat. Chill 30 minutes or overnight (for a more stronger flavor) to marinate.

Heat broiler to 400 degrees F. Broil steak 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, or until medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes and slice thinly at an angle, across the grain.

Place basil, cilantro, mint, onion, cucumbers, and carrots in large bowl and toss. Top with sliced steak, drizzle with reserved dressing, and sprinkle with peanuts.

Can be eaten with a bowl of cooked rice or alone for a healthy low carb alternative. Let the ingredients mingle overnight for a more intense flavor. If you choose to do this then keep the basil, mint and cilantro out of the dish till you are ready to eat to keep them from getting droopy in the dish.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Roman Cheesecake

It's been a while since I cooked it for Yule Feast and Cold Wars. I have a cunning plan to put it in many places so it can't be lost.

Savillum (Cato 84)
(Cato - 180 BC
Cato. Liber de agricultura)

Savillum hoc modo facito: Farinae selibram, casei P. II S una
commisceto quasi libum, addito mellis P. - et ovum unum. Catinum
fictile oleo unguito. Ubi omnia bene commiscueris, in catinum indito,
catinum testo operito. Videto ut bene percocas medio, ubi altissimum
est. Ubi coctum erit, catinum eximito, melle unguito, papver
infriato, sub testum subde paulipser, postea eximito. Ita pone cum
catillo et lingula.

Make a savillum this: Mix 1/2 libra flour and 2 1/2 libra cheese, as
is done for libum. Add 1/4 libra honey and 1 egg. Grease an
earthenware bowl with oil. When you have mixed the ingredients well,
pour into the bowl and cover the bowl with an earthenware testo. See
that you cook it well in the middle, where it is highest. When it is
cooked, remove the bowl, spread with honey, sprinkle with poppy, put
it back beneath the testo for a moment, and then remove. Serve it
thus with a plate and spoon.

Serves 4
750g ricotta
1 cup flour
6 Tbs honey
1 egg
2 Tbs poppy seeds

Blend cheese flour, 4 Tbs honey and egg. Grease baking pan with oil.
Pour in mixture and bake in hot hot (400F) for 20-30 minutes. Cover
with foil for first 10-15 mins. Remove from oven drizzle with honey
and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Replace in oven for 5 minutes and

The above recipe, translation and redaction comes from Giacosa, Ilaria
Gozzini, (1994), A Taste of Ancient Rome, The University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.

And here is the recipe we actually used at the feasts.... not quite
the same, but I didn't re-read the recipe at Cold War, and the result
was so well received, we just did the same again for Yule.

3kg ricotta
750g honey
200g poppy seeds
4 cups flour
5 eggs
makes about 12 cakes

Mix every thing together. Shove into buttered foil pie tins. Bake in
oven about 200C-ish until starting to brown. Allow to cool a little
before attempting to stick in head.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Le parfait d'armangnac aux pruneaux

Frozen prune mousse with armangnac (with commentary)

450g best quality presoaked dried prunes, stoned (I got a packet from the shops, that were soggy in their bag already, stoned, and they seemed to work fine. Perhaps Oz has better access to prunes?)
a few strips of lemon zest (I could have gone a little heavier on this I think)
4 tbsp armagnac (I used brandy. Couldn't get armangnac)
500ml thick double cream
whites of two large eggs
2 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of salt

Soak the prunes with the lemon zest and armangnac for an hour or so. Remove lemon zest and whizz prunes and armangnac in food processor until a puree.
Whisk egg whites with salt until stiff, then add sugar. (And then whisk some more? The recipe says nothing. I whisked, and don't think it did any harm.)
Whisk the cream until it has a floopy consistency. (Why? Surely thick double cream has been beaten enough already? I had to be careful not to make butter)
Carefully fold the prune puree into the cream and then, with a wooden spoon, fold in the stiffened egg whites. (I think all the egg whites are doing is cutting the thickness of the cream. I may be wrong)
Spoon into individual serving pots and place in the freezer for no more than 2 hours. (it says 6-8 serves - I filled 10 espresso mugs, and then a small pyrex dish, and had plenty of bowl to lick. No idea how big their pots are!)