Thursday, February 28, 2013

Better than KFC

It's strange that I decided to post these two recipes here today. It was not intentional, I had intended to share some random recipes and then I realised - Kentucky Fried Chicken! Perhaps I should have tried making southern fried chicken again?

I haven't eaten KFC in well over 15 years, but if you do, here is a great alternative I am sure.

I don't actually like coleslaw very much, so I had never made it before.

A few months ago, I had a handful of cabbage leftover from cooking something else so I thought I would give it a try. This is a basic recipe that I am adding it to my repertoire, for those people who like coleslaw. I might play around with it a little more, but for now, if you come to my place, this is the coleslaw that you will be eating. I made it again for my son's birthday party on the weekend. Our table was decorated with some bright seventies melamine that had come from my childhood home. Imagine a hot pink pineapple shaped bowl, and bright orange and avocado coloured salad servers. It put me in a retro mood for the salads: potato salad, coleslaw and a rice salad.

The recipe origin? Was it Gwenyth? Or Donna? or maybe that Jewish cookbook that I had out from the library? It was only a few months ago, but I can't remember, all I know is that I had scribbled it hurriedly onto the back of an envelope. Here it is:


serves 4-6

• 300 grams cabbage (shredded)
• 1 carrot (grated)
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise  
• 2 teaspoons cider or white wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons caster sugar
• salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve. 


Sorry, no mashed potato photo, but you now what it looks like, right?

You are probably wondering, why a mashed potato recipe? I had been plodding along making mash potato with random quantities of potatoes, cream/milk and butter for years. But last winter when I was playing around with my bangers and mash recipe (watch this space) I wanted to get it right. I wanted mashed potatoes that were oozing creamy goodness every time that I made them. After consulting a few cookbooks (I think this one is from Jamie Oliver) this is what I came up with.

Every time I have made mashed potato since, they have been perfect. I usually use cream, and make this less often. As a child, mashed potato was on the plate with every evening meal. But now it is more of a treat, an indulgence, it has it be, I have been know it eat very large bowls of it. 

Mashed potato is pure comfort food. Enjoy.

Mashed Potatoes

serves 4-6

• 1 kilogram potatoes (peeled and cut into large pieces)
• 100 ml cream or milk
• 100 grams butter
• salt and pepper

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender. This will take about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the potato pieces.
When the potatoes are cooked, tip them into a colander to drain and leave for four minutes. Add the cream and butter to the hot saucepan and return to the heat. Warm the cream and butter over a low heat until the butter has melted. Push the hot potatoes through a potato ricer, straight onto the cream and butter. Beat with a spoon, then season to taste.

The recipe states that you use a potato ricer, I actually don't have one, so I just mash my potatoes, but I have written it this way, because if you do have a potato ricer, then I'm sure you potatoes would be all the more creamier.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin with Feta and Pine Nuts

I was just telling a friend about this yummy pumpkin recipe I made last week. While it was still on my mind I'd thought I share it with you too. I have no idea where this recipe came from, I know that I scribbled it out from a library book - possibly a Greek one? If you know this recipe or the book, please let me know. I can not claim credit for the genius of this simple dish.

Roasted Pumpkin with Feta and Pine Nuts

serves 4

• 1 kilogram pumpkin (peeled and cut into small pieces)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
• salt and pepper
• 1 tablespoon pine nuts
• 80 grams feta cheese (crumbled)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and toss well with the oil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pine nuts and feta over he top of the pumpkin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spaghetti Bolognese

I had written in an earlier post that I would be going 'back to basics' this year.

Surely a good spaghetti bolognese recipe is a must on anyone's list of basic recipes. I thought that my recipe was fairly standard, however a few weeks ago I took a batch of my spaghetti bolognese to a friend in need. Her family absolutely loved it, not only was it a much needed night off for her, but she told me her children were asking for second helpings. Really, is there any greater complement? She has asked me for the recipe.

I have been cooking my spaghetti bolognese pretty much the same way for over 20 years. I usually use beef mince and a good smoked bacon in my sauce, as I always have that at hand. However many years ago, I made a few adjustments to my recipe original recipe. By using half pork and half beef mince and by using pancetta instead of bacon, it makes for a damn good bolognese. I always make these changes if I am cooking this for someone else.

I have been known to make a quick bolognese sauce late in the day and have simmered it only for 30 minutes. It still tastes great, but if I have the time, I usually cook it for 2 to 3 hours. The best thing about bolognese: everyone can make it, everyone loves it and it freezes well. There is always (always) 2 or 3 containers of this sauce in my freezer.

How do you make you bolognese sauce? What are your secrets?

Spaghetti Bolognese

serves 4-6

• 500 grams spaghetti

• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion (finely diced)
• 1 carrot (finely diced)
• 1 stick celery (finely diced)
• 100 grams pancetta or bacon (finely diced)
• 2-3 cloves garlic (crushed)
• 500 grams beef mince (or 250 grams beef and 250 grams pork)
• 2 x 440 gram tinned tomatoes (chopped)
• 1 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1/2 cup red wine
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 generous tablespoon fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme)
• salt and pepper

to serve 

• parmesan cheese

In a large heavy based pot heat the oil to medium heat and gently sauté the onions, carrot, celery and pancetta. When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat and add the mince to the pan. Cook until browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, bay and herbs. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 1-2 hours. The longer the better.

Twenty minutes before serving, bring some water to the boil to cook the pasta. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Serve the spaghetti with the sauce.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Papardelle with Salmon and Tuna

Exactly one month since my last post here...Oh dear... Is anyone still out there?

Meals have been pretty simple at our place, mainly due to the heat over the last month. I do have a small pile of recipes next to the computer waiting to be typed up. I have also been playing around with a few family style recipes which I hope to share with you soon. I have discovered that if food comes in the form of a patty, be it beef, pork, chicken or fish, there are no complaints. There is no seven year old screaming 'yuck,' before the plate hits the table, there is no six year old, pushing her plate away in disgust after just two bites. Yes, it's only taken me eight years to find this out, but patties are the answer.

But today I share with you a different kind of recipe. I'll be honest, my kids did not want to eat this. But I find that their tastes change like the wind. One day pasta can cause excitement, on other days it just doesn't.

I think this recipe originally came from a Vogue Entertaining Magazine, I don't think that I changed it much. I hand wrote it into my, 'at the time' recipe book, after the very first time I cooked it. It was made for friends for a mid-week, after work dinner party (remember those!) about 15 years ago. It went down a hit. It is quick, but impressive. It is fairly rich, but very yummy, I imagine eating it for lunch, under large trees on a perfect summers day, a simple green salad on the side and a glass of white wine in my hand. Having said that, is tasted pretty good on a rainy Tuesday night last week, at home, with the kids and the last of the shiraz.
Pappardelle with Salmon and Tuna

serves 4

• 400 grams pappardelle pasta

• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1 salmon fillet- approximately 200 grams (cut into tiny cubes)
• 1 x 250 gram punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
• 1 clove garlic
(finely chopped)
• 1 red chilli (finely chopped)
• 1 teaspoon anchovies
(finely chopped)
• 1 x 140 gram tin tuna (drained and flaked)
• 1 cup tomato passata or pureed tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon basil leaves (torn)
• salt and pepper to taste

to serve

• extra basil leaves 
• grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring the water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and quickly saute the salmon and cherry tomatoes. Once cooked, remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat. Saute the garlic, chilli and anchovies, then add the tuna, tomato passata and torn basil. Heat through. Just before serving, return the salmon and cherry tomatoes back to the pan an mix well. Toss through the cooked pasta and serve topped with the extra basil leaves.
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