Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fresh Pasta with Salmon and Prawns

On a recent trip to Griffith to pick up our little Ruby girl, we stayed with an old colleague and friend of mine, Tania. With Griffith being the foodie region that it is, and Tania being Italian, we had an epic weekend of all things delicious.
Including a lesson in great pasta making.

First, we made the dough using ‘00’ flour, 1 egg per 100 g flour, an extra yolk, a pinch of salt and a splash of water.

During the kneading process, I leant my first tip, which was to use semolina, not flour, to dust the bench.

After the dough had rested we rolled it into sheets, again using semolina. Apparently using the semolina instead of flour stops the pasta becoming gluggy when you cook it – this worked fantastically for us.

The second trick I leant was to not fold the dough back over it self while feeding it through the machine. This helps to create beautiful, delicate and fluffy pasta – it also reduces the amount of work.

For the first batch of pasta, Tania made a delicious sauce type thing…
First, gently fry a leek.
Add the juice of 1 lime then stir through about a dozen prawns.
Slice a fairly large salmon steak into pieces and when the prawns are about half done, stir in the salmon.
Add a handful of fresh parsley then pour in about ½ a cup (or so) of white wine but do not stir, just leave it to gently simmer.
Season with a bit of salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Fold the mixture through the fettuccini and serve with chilli flakes, shaved parmesan and a wedge of lime.


Easy, and amazing! I think I had a third helping.

For those interested, this dish matched perfectly with a Windy Peak - Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from the De Bortoli vineyard.

Roast Pumpkin and Fetta Salad

This is a variation of a salad I had in Melbourne years ago at a Café with Aunty Jane. I wrote the ingredients on a napkin at the time and have made it a few times since, each varying a little from the last.

It is quick to make and can be prepared a head of time, or assembled just before you eat.
Depending on how you are feeling, you can either combine everything together or layer it on individual plates.

This time I did individual portions a little differently. June, my step-mother-in-law, asked me to make this salad as entre for Christmas lunch, and assemble it in some plastic tubes she had had made using PVC piping.

This is what I used:
Baby spinach and rocket mixed
Butternut pumpkin, diced and roasted
Fetta, crumbled
Mediterranean stuffed olives, sliced
Red onion, finely chopped
Basil leaves, shredded
Slithered almonds, dry toasted
Balsamic vinegar, caramelised with a little brown sugar

Plastic tubes (about 10cm diameter x 10cm tall)

Place a clean tube on each individual plate.
Put a small handful of the spinach mix in the bottom of the tube.
Add the roast pumpkin as the second layer in the tube.
Lay a few slices of olives on the pumpkin then sprinkle with the crumbled fetta (I use a mild one so it’s not too over powering).
Add the red onion and basil leaves then very gently poke it down, not to squash any of the ingredients but to help it settle a little.
Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top then drizzle the caramelised balsamic over the almonds.

If the balsamic has cooled and thickened too much, just gently heat it back up and it should liquefy again.

To serve, gently lift the tubing away so the salad is left standing.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thai Green Curry

I love Thai food, and on colder nights I particularly love a nice spicy curry. This one is delicious and easy to make which is perfect when you don't have much time.

Like the Penang Curry I made some time ago, I use Mae Ploy curry paste and just add a few extras to boost the flavours you like.

1-2 Tbs curry paste
1 tin coconut cream
1 tin coconut milk
Kaffir lime leaf
Coriander leaves
Snow peas
Fresh lemon grass

In a pan, fry the curry paste with a small amount of coconut cream.
Add the chopped chicken and some finely sliced lime leaf and combine well.
Add the rest of the coconut cream and the coconut milk.
Bring to a gentle simmer and add the finely sliced or crushed lemongrass and chopped broccoli.
Stir through the snow peas and fresh coriander leaves.

Serve with steamed rice and top with a little fresh red chilli for some colour and extra bite.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fried Rice with Baby Broad Beans

I think that broad beans are one of those foods that people are often not sure about.
I was one of those people until last year sometime Mum put baby ones in a salad. This is when I realised that they can be really delicious.

Last winter, after pulling out my tomatoes, I decided to plant out some broad beans to see if they would survive winter in my back yard. They grew quite well and even survived moving house.

In the chaos of unpacking, endless jobs to be done and a non user-friendly kitchen, our meals turned quite basic and rushed, but for quite a while seemed to include lots of baby broad beans from the garden.

This fried rice was something I made up for a quick, filling dinner. It pretty much had the following, but I’m sure you could use what ever you like.

Day-old cooked rice
Spring onion
Shredded baby spinach
Firm tofu
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Massel chicken stock powder
Baby broad beans

Chop all the veggies and dice the tofu
In a wok fry the tofu until it starts to turn golden, then add the stock powder, combine well then set the tofu aside.
In the wok, lightly fry the finely chopped garlic, ginger and chilli
Add the rice, tossing occasionally while it fries.
When the rice is almost done, add the veggies, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Add the tofu to the rice and combine well, but gently.

I served this with some young chive buds as I think they are super cute and add a little kick of flavour.