Saturday, 18 May 2013

Beef Eye Fillet with Polenta and Mushroom Jus

The jus is divine and goes perfectly with polenta. You can use mashed potatoes if you don't have polenta in the cupboard. While it looks like a long list of ingredients it's actually very easy & quick to do.

serves 2
takes 30 minutes

Beef Eye Fillet & Mushroom Jus
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100g of beef eye fillet, sliced (bring to room temperature)
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup instant cooking polenta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cavolo Nero
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 bunch cavolo nero, leaves stripped from tough stem, washed & chopped or substitute with Kale or Spinach

  1. Heat butter in a fry-pan on medium heat. Season eye fillet with salt & cook for 2-3 minutes each side (depending on thickness) for medium rare, or longer until done to your liking. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes while you make the mushroom jus. To rest meat place on a plate cover loosely with tinfoil and a tea towel on top to keep warm.
  2. Add mushrooms and a bit more butter to the pan the steak was cooked in. Sauté mushrooms for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add beef stock, balsamic glaze, brown sugar and any resting juices from the beef.
  3. Simmer rapidly until jus is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  4. To make the polenta, pour chicken stock into a pot & bring to the boil. Add polenta to boiling stock while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook 4-5 minutes stirring frequently until thickened to the consistency of porridge. Fold through parmesan cheese.
  5. To cook the cavolo nero or kale, heat butter in frying pan on high heat, add & stir fry for 2 minutes or until wilted.
  6. To serve, slice eye fillet in half, spoon polenta onto each plate, top with eye fillet and some cavolo nero. Spoon over mushroom jus. Bon appétit

Hot and Sour Chicken Meatball Soup

This is adapted from Donna Hay, a very quick weekday meal with chilli...of course. Have I mentioned that my chilli plant is going crazy? So not sure why I ended up buying the chilli jam for this recipe...

  • 250g thin dried rice noodles
  • 400g free range chicken mince
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chilli jam
  • 1 free range egg white
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • bunch of baby bok choy, trimmed & roughly chopped
  • handful of beans or sugar snap peas, trimmed & halved
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • garnish with freshly chopped chives (I used garlic chives from my garden) or spring onions & freshly chopped chilli
  1. Place the noodles in a glass bowl & cover with hot water for 6 minutes. Drain then set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix together chicken, minced ginger, 1 tbsp of the chilli jam, egg white, salt & pepper.
  3. Heat oil in large pot over a medium heat and cook ginger stirring for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 tbsp of chilli jam, stirring for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, increase heat to high & bring to the boil.
  5. Roll chicken mix into small balls (about 1/2 tbsp) & add to the stock & cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the bok choy & beans (or peas) and cook 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat & add fresh lime juice. Serve with garnish on the side & enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Warm Chicken Liver Salad with Rarebites

This is adapted from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals...took me around 45 minutes! You obviously have to enjoy liver for this one, very rich which is why it's served with a basic salad.

  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • 100g Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened yoghurt
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of tabasco
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • mixed salad leaves
  • 50g alfalfa sprouts
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 10g feta cheese 
  • olive oil
  • 400g free range chicken livers, cleaned & trimmed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp marmalade
  • 125ml Marsala
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened yoghurt 
  1. To make salad - toss all the salad ingredients together and arrange in large serving platter & set aside.
  2. To make Rarebites - heat oven grill on high. Cut ciabatta into thick slices and lightly toast on both sides. Finely grate cheese into a bowl & mix with the yoghurt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. Spoon over the toasted ciabatta & return to the grill on the middle shelf, removing when golden & crisp. Arrange around the edge of the salad platter.
  3. To make Livers - heat a frying pan on high heat with 1 tbsp of oil and add the chicken livers and rosemary leaves. Toss regularly for 3 minutes, season with salt & pepper, add the marmalade & Marsala, carefully light with a match, let flames subside & cook until sticky, then remove from the heat & stir in the yoghurt. Enjoy!

Prawn & Pea Chilli Fritters

We normally have frozen peas & prawns in the freezer so this is a great go to weekday meal. If you're not into chilli simply leave it out as these are still light & tasty without it. Serve it with a simple green salad or fresh tomato & mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar - I like the truffle glaze as it's nice & thick.

serves 2
takes about 30 minutes
  • 2 free range eggs, separated
  • about 1 cup of shelled raw prawns, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 fresh chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
Mint Yoghurt Sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened yoghurt
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Whisk all the yoghurt sauce ingredients together & add in more lemon juice if you wish.

  1. Beat eggs whites until soft peaks form.
  2. In another bowl add the egg yolks, prawn pieces, peas, spring onions, salt, pepper, chilli, flour, lemon zest, parsley and mix together.
  3. Fold in the egg whites.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and then add spoonfuls of the fritter mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and then flip carefully. Test if cooked by feeling top of the fritter with your finger, if it wobbles its not cooked yet.
  5. Serve with the minted yoghurt. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, 8 May 2013

    Roasted Cauliflower Soup

    Cleaning out the freezer I came across some cauliflower I had frozen and forgotten about. If in doubt make can throw whatever you like into it, blend it and viola!

    serves 2
    takes about 40mins

    • about 2-3 cups of chopped cauliflower, I didn't even bother defrosting, just threw it straight into the oven
    • 1 garlic bulb, peel away the outer layers of the bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic
    • olive oil
    • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soak in water while roasting cauli
    • 1 tbsp miso paste OR sea salt
    • leaves from fresh thyme (I have plenty in the garden if you are local & want some!)
    • 3 cups of water OR vegetable stock
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika OR plain paprika
    • 1/2 large lemon
    • pinch chilli flakes
    1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Spread cauliflower & garlic on a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper.
    2. Bake 30 minutes until golden, rotating cauli half way through.
    3. Add cauli to a blender along with drained cashews, thyme leaves, miso, lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups of water or stock.
    4. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without
      burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add to blender.
    5. Blend until pureed then add 1 tbsp olive oil, paprika and rest of the water/stock. Blend again. At this stage I transferred into a saucepan and finished off with a stick blender as I had over filled my food processor!
    6. Pour into a saucepan (if you haven't already) and check seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if you wish.
    7. Reheat on a very low heat until just warm. You might have to pop a lid on the saucepan to prevent the soup hitting the walls.
    8. Serve with toast on the side & enjoy!

    Saturday, 4 May 2013

    Spicy Lamb Burgers

    Lovely juicy, spicy patties. Serve between flatbread or 'buns' of choice but let the lamb be the star. Adapted from Hugh's River Cottage Everyday.

    makes 4 patties
    • 1/2 tsp each: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns
    • 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken up
    • pinch cayenne pepper or chilli powder
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika (or 3 tsp normal paprika)
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 500g minced lamb
    • olive oil
    For the yoghurt sauce
    • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
    • 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • handful mint leaves, finely chopped
    • pinch sea salt
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
    To serve
    • Flatbreads or mountain bread or pita or good ole burger buns
    • lettuce leaves
    • cucumber slices
    • red onion, finely sliced
    • tomatoes, sliced
    1. In a dry pan over a medium heat toast the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, black peppercorns and cinnamon until nice & fragrant for a minute or two.
    2. Grind to a fine powder - I used a spice grinder but you can use a pestle & mortar.
    3. Combine with cayenne powder, paprika, garlic & salt.
    4. Add the lamb and mix it through all the spices. Set aside for at least an hour. I left mine in the fridge overnight.
    5. For the yoghurt sauce, toast the cumin & coriander seeds in the pan you used for the burger spices. Grind to a fine powder.
    6. Add to yoghurt, with garlic, mint & salt.
    7. Toast the sesame seeds over a medium heat until golden (1-2 minutes), cool then add to yoghurt.
    8. When ready to cook the meat, shape the patties about 2cm thick. Lightly brush with oil and cook in a medium-high heat.
    9. For medium-rare burgers cook 3-4 minutes each side.
    10. Leave the patties to rest while you heat up the 'buns'.
    11. I put all the condiments on the table so everyone could make up their own burgers. Bon appetit!

    Saturday, 20 April 2013

    Spicy Pumpkin Soup

    Its been a very rough time of late so I was looking for some comfit food and what's better than good ole pumpkin soup as we head through autumn. So many variations on this classic but tonight the flavour focus was on fresh coriander and fresh chilli served with a thick greek yoghurt. Take out the chilli and use less coriander if you want something a lot more mild.

    serves 3-4
    takes about 35mins

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced 
    • 1 large red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
    • bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped including stems
    • 2 bay leaf
    • 1 kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded & diced (tip - if you have time bake the whole pumpkin in a oven preheated to 180oC for 1 hour and it makes it easier to peel & chop & adds a lovely flavour)
    • 600ml vegetable stock
    • salt & freshly ground pepper
    • thick plain greek yoghurt
    1. Heat the oil in large pot over a medium heat and add the onion & garlic, cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
    2. Add the ginger, chilli, coriander, bay leaves & pumpkin & cook for another 3 minutes.
    3. Pour in the stock & bring to the boil then reduce the heat & simmer for 20-25 minutes, stir occasionally until pumpkin is tender.
    4. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves & leave to cool for 5 minutes.
    5. Using a stick blender (or transfer to food processor) process until smooth.
    6. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
    7. Reheat gently over a low heat, stirring.
    8. Remove from heat and pour into soup bowls.
    9. Garnish each one with yoghurt (or if you are feeling decadent, some cream) and enjoy! I served this with Vogels toast spread with a touch of butter.