Friday 31 December 2010

December 2010 - White Christmas Ice Cream Cones

When I started out this blog at the beginning of the year I certainly didn't realise that I would find myself finishing up the year long trip through the issues of delicious. magazine with the 100th issue but it sure is a wonderful way to end up. The scanner did some delightful things to the holographic "delicious."  on the front cover of this issue too. Like I said in my last post I have thoroughly this journey through my back issues (and current issues) of delicious. I plan to keep using them regularly and posting new recipes from them, although not as strictly as I have this year. 

I can hardly believe that I have a stack of 100 issues of delicious. magazines now. I am glad that I do though. There are so many recipes, 1000's I am sure, to go through and to try out. I have only really scratched the surface here this year. I have had a few failures and a couple of things not to my taste but I think that is to be expected when you are trying new recipes. I have to be honest and say that Valli Little has become my foodie hero over this past year. Her recipes are almost always amazing and there are so many of them. I have to wonder how she comes up with all of them. I would think that a large proportion of the recipes I did this year were from her and I am sure that there will be many, many more to come in the future. 

While I earmarked a number of recipes in this issue there were only 2 that I really, really wanted to make. The first I will write about next month, since this is a double issue after all. The second was the magnificent cover recipe, Valli's White Christmas Ice Cream Cones. They just looked fantastic. The styling of the cover was just so beautiful as well. I figured that since it was the 100th issue I just had to do a cover recipe and it was a bonus that it was one of Valli's recipes too. I wish that I could have styled mine like the ones on the cover but, alas, I did not need 6 of these nor did I want to take out the three that I did make at once so my picture looks rather plain. I will also admit that I didn't really follow Valli's recipe either. Instead of using glace fruit chopped and soaked in sherry I used the last of my homemade fruit mince. For the chocolate, all that I had in the house was dark chocolate chips so I roughly chopped some of those up. I don't own wine flutes but I do have some ice cream soda glasses so I put my filled paper cones into them to refreeze. I really enjoyed this dessert a lot and it looked really good. I am sure that it would be just as good using Valli's original recipe but I wanted to use up some stuff that I had on hand so mine are more fruit mince Christmas cones than white Christmas cones but still very, very nice. 

White Christmas Ice Cream Cones

Makes 8 (I halved the recipe and got 3 with a little bit left over)

  • 125 gr mixed glace fruits
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 125 gr dark chocolate
  • 1.25 litres vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
  • Finely chop fruits and place in bowl with sherry and let soak overnight.
  • To prepare paper moulds, cut eight 30cmx20cm sheets of baking paper. Trim 8 sheets of plain A-4 paper into the same size. Lay baking paper sheet over a sheet of regular paper and bring top right corners into the middle of the paper and then roll to form a cone shape. secure with sticky tape. Repeat with the remaining sheets of paper and place in 8 champagne flutes or slim wine glasses.
  • Finely chop or grate chocolate.
  • Drain the fruits and discard the liquid. 
  • Fold into softened ice cream with the almonds and chocolate.
  • Scoop the mixture into the cones, packing down ice cream tightly to get it into the point. 
  • Put in freezer overnight to refreeze.
  • To serve, remove tape and unwrap the paper. Invert cones onto serving plates.

Thursday 30 December 2010

December 2009 - Mangomisu

On to the penultimate issue for this year long journey. I can hardly believe how quickly this year seems to have gone and how wonderful this experience has been. I have certainly discovered a lot of lovely new recipes, ones that I have made and ones that I am going to go back to make. I am really please with how this has turned out. I will admit that when I started I was at a point of just buying delicious magazine because I always had. I didn't make much out of it and didn't even really read it that much. I have now rediscovered how wonderful it is. Discovered that there are an amazing amount of quick, easy and very delicious recipes in each issue. I can't wait to go back and try some of those recipes that I earmarked to make but haven't yet. 

This issue, like most, had a lot of recipes that I want to try. I have, in fact, started Valli Little's Apple Iced Tea tonight. I had planned on making this for Christmas day but I just didn't manage to get it done. Not that I really needed anything more at Christmas time so I decided to wait a little while to make it. However I found a bottle of apple juice on special today so decided to snap it up and make this while it was available. I am sure that it will be lovely and refreshing. I will not worry about the sliced apple as I will want it to last at least a few days in the fridge, plus apples are expensive at the moment. 

Another drink that I am quite interested in is Jill Dupleix's Young Coconut & Berry Slushies. I am intrigued by the young coconut juice. I think that it could be quite nice. I have never seen the plastic cups of young coconut juice with flesh that she writes of but I have seen cans of young coconut juice in the local supermarket so will probably try it with that. The berries are raspberries and anything with raspberries is good as far as I am concerned. This would definitely be one to try during the heat of summer. 

The recipe that I had originally picked to make for this post was Valli Little's Maple-glazed Ham. I planned to, and did make this for Christmas. I don't recall ever having glazed a ham before and I was fairly pleased with how this one turned out. The fat on it wasn't all that thick so that did expose the flesh more than I had wanted but it was still very good. Although I am left with a huge amount of ham to use. I will have to slice it up and freeze a large portion of it as there is no way that I will be able to get through it all. I really enjoyed the glaze. If there wasn't hundreds of wonderful sounding recipes out there to try I would probably do it again.

Ever since this issue came out a bit over a year ago I had always wanted to make Valli Little's divine looking Mangomisu which graces the cover of this issue. A delightful mango and orange flavoured tiramisu cake. I hadn't had an opportunity to make it. It was one that would be difficult, although not impossible, to reduce down in size and I didn't want to have too much of this hanging around for me to eat. Being full of cream and the rich mascarpone I knew that I wouldn't be the most agreeable thing for my grandfather so I waited for an opportunity to make it for my family when there would be other desserts on offer as well. My grandfather did end up having a small amount though and seemed to go okay. I didn't use the Grand Marnier as I am not overly keen on it so I just used extra orange juice. I ended up using a lot more savoiardi than specified. More like 450 g. The layers of savoiardi needed to be pressed down well for the whole of the dessert to fit in the springform tin, even so, it only just fit. I chilled overnight and  don't think that I would do anything less to be honest. To remove from the tin, I warmed a knife under hot water, dried it off and then ran it around the tin and it came out easily and looked wonderful. The raspberry sauce was a delightful addition. It is not strictly necessary but it adds a bit of a tang and cuts through the richness a bit. I highly recommend this dessert for your next special occasion. I think it will become a traditional addition. Although next time I am going to try it with some cherries and some grated chocolate on each layer for a black forest misu.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

December 2008 - Chicken Parcels with basil, tomato & bocconcini

Nice quite day here. I telephoned my family overseas for Christmas. They were all gathering at my Uncle's house today for their Christmas meal so I took advantage of that and rang in one hit. It was so good to talk to them all, I wish I could have been there myself though. Hopefully I will get over for there again for Christmas one of these years, I just need to do a better job at saving money. Perhaps that should be my new year's better at saving. Actually, that probably isn't such a bad idea.

I really wanted to make the cover recipe from this issue, Valli Little's Chicken salad with Spiced Figs and Buffalo Mozzarella. It really looks so very delicious. The spiced figs are actually kind of like mulled figs as they are poached in a red wine and spice mix that reminded me very much of mulled wine, except for the inclusion of 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar which would give a wonderful richness and tang to the poaching liquid. This liquid is then reduced down to be a dressing for the salad. The chicken is browned in a fry pan and then finished off in the oven. I would probably add some extra greens but I think that this would make a wonderful lunch. I didn't get to make it as figs aren't in season here yet so I will have to wait to give it a try. 

I considered two recipes for my Christmas eve (well day at the time) meal. Ham with red wine & cinnamon glaze. It sounded really good but I found a different recipe that I wanted to make more. The Cranberry Meringue tarts also looked really, really good. Although the meringue on top was actually little meringue kisses that were cooked separately. If I had made it I probably would have done it more like a lemon meringue pie/tart and spread with a regular meringue and brown it either with a blast in the oven or with a blow torch. In the end I went with something different, which didn't even end up being ready on the night but that was okay because I had already eaten more than enough. 

One night I found myself with a chicken breast that really needed to be used up so I went through the December issues and came across Louise Pickford's Chicken Parcels with Basil, Tomato and Bocconcini. This was really, really easy and quick to make. I only used the bambini bocconcini so I probably should have used a bit more than I did as it pretty much disappeared. The chicken was lovely a moist though. I used some of the lemon basil that I have growing to add a little citrus tang to it and it was delicious. I will admit that I forgot the balsamic glaze when I plated up but it was still very nice without it. I ended up serving with asparagus and carrots. It was all very good. 

Monday 27 December 2010

December 2007 - Wasabi-coated Salmon with Cucumber Salad

Well, it is a ridiculous hour of the night/morning. I had just managed to get to sleep after tossing and turning and then some hoon decided to race up and down the street outside honking their horn. Grrrr. Now I am feeling tired but also unable to get back to sleep presently so I thought that I would get a post done. I had a lovely Christmas, I hope that all of you out there did too. I spent almost all day out, firstly with my aunt & uncle for a lovely roast lamb & veg lunch. followed by plum pudding and trifle.  I then spent the afternoon/evening with friends and their family. It was a lovely day. I even managed not to eat too much. 

From this issue I considered making Ben O'Donoghue's Mexican Barbequed Pork Belly. It looked like a really good recipe where you make your own Adobo marinade. I have been curious about adobo as I have read a number of Mexican recipes that use a "can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce" and I was never really sure what it was. I knew that I wasn't able to buy the product in the local supermarket, although I know a couple of places to get it online. Ben's recipe seems quite easy. There were two reasons that I didn't do this recipe. The first is that I don't have a gas bottle for my bbq so that makes using it rather impossible. The second reason is that I have used a lot of pork belly recently and I decided that it was time for a change. I do really like pork belly but it certainly isn't the healthiest cut of meat and I really think that it needs to be a very occasionally thing. In fact I probably need to leave making it for when I am having company so that I don't have a heap of leftovers to eat too. 

I also considered making Kate Nichols' Pancetta, Sage & Onion Stuffing (or one of the variations) as part of my Christmas meal. I was, at one point considering making both a glazed ham and stuffed rolled turkey breast. However, I finally realised that as much as it would have been lovely, it would be just too much food for me. So since I had the ham in the fridge and the turkey breast (which I actually bought ages ago) was in the freezer I decided to just do the ham. I will do the turkey at some other time and might do this lovely sounding stuffing for it then. 

When I went through this issue in January I referred Valli Little's lovely sounding Wasabi-coated Salmon with Cucumber Salad. It just looked and sounded so good and lovely and refreshing. I just love wasabi. I have a terrific recipe for rice salad with wasabi dressing. I have also used the dressing on other salads too. I really like snacking on the wasabi peas. They have a wonderful heat to them. It is hot and sharp but doesn't burn for a long time. I really enjoyed this. The wasabi in it was really subtle though so I think that next time I would reduce the amount of flour. The processor didn't do the best of jobs processing the peas up, I think it would have been better if I had done it in batches rather than trying all at once. It  probably would be just as easy to bash them up in a mortar & pestle however I forked out the money for a KitchenAid food processor so I use it as much as possible. The salad that went with it was excellent. I used alfalfa sprouts instead of the bean sprouts as that is what I could get. Plus I much prefer alfalfa to bean sprouts. I have said before that I am not hugely keen on seafood but I did really like this and I really want to start incorporating more seafood into my diet so I will be on the look out for more meals like this one. Tasty, light and fresh. 

Friday 24 December 2010

December 2006 - Soft Breakfast Tacos

Happy Christmas eve to everyone out there reading. I hope that you are having a great one. I am so glad that I had the day off work today as I actually managed to get a whole bunch of stuff done. I got all my washing and cleaning done, something I haven't done in just one day for ages. Plus I made my Christmas meal for myself. Half of my family live overseas and when with them we always had  a big dinner on Christmas eve. I decided to go with that this year as I will be spending Christmas day out and I still wanted to get my usual Christmas treats, like my once a year Jellied Carrot Salad. Not your usual salad fare but it is something that both my gramma and mum used to make and pretty much takes me straight back to childhood. The reason it only gets make once a year is because it is made with jelly, crushed pineapple with juice, sugar, grated carrot and a whole bunch of whipped cream. Definitely not an every day thing but wonderful for a once-a-year Christmas treat and I enjoyed it a lot tonight.

I have actually made two dishes from this issue. The first was Valli Little's Tamarind-roasted Vegetables. I am sure that I must have done something wrong when I made this as it was just awful. In fact, I couldn't even eat it. The favour was hideous and it was so overcooked and some parts were burnt. Okay, so the overcooked and burnt were probably my fault, I should have taken it out earlier. I have a feeling that the taste problem was the tamarind. I have always bought tamarind concentrate from Herbie's Spices but I was out and I found some in the supermarket and decided to give it a try. It seemed different than the stuff from Herbie's. It was definitely a lighter colour. I will be getting more from Herbie's and will try it again because I have made a tamarind potato dish before and it was fantastic so I am determined that this one will be too.

The other recipe from this issue was one that I have always wanted to make, Kate Tait's Soft Breakfast Tacos. After the disaster with the vegetables I just wanted to make something else from the issue as there is a lot of nice things in there. This was just perfect. I made this for breakfast this morning. I didn't have any cream so just used milk which makes it a bit healthier, especially since I got a large dose of cream tonight. I also substituted the coriander for parsley, which I have an abundance of in the garden. In the salsa I just used the tabasco sauce rather than chilli and tabasco sauce and it was spicy enough for me. I really enjoyed it. It was very easy and quick to make and was sufficiently filling for breakfast. I will definitely be making these again. 

Wednesday 22 December 2010

December 2005 - Roasted Spatchcocks with blood-plum glaze

This month is starting to sneak away from me. Before we know it Christmas will be here and gone and then it will be 2011 and I will be wondering where the previous year went. It really is amazing how quickly the past few months seem to have gone. I will admit that early in the year, in the midst of problems at work, I wondered if the year was ever going to pass by. Thankfully those problems were fixed and time did seem to move much quicker after that. Only one more day of work for the year. At 5:00 pm tomorrow I get to lock the door of the office, put up the closed sign and not go back until the new year. We always close down between Christmas and new year. It is a wonderful thing to do. It is a great time to recuperate from a long year and get ready to start the new one. 
This gorgeous red covered issue with drool worthy Macerated strawberries with Champagne sorbet on the front cover had a wonderful Christmas feast in it. All of the recipes were wonderful looking from the Glazed ham through Spicy prawn cocktails & the alcoholic 24-carat Christmas drink to the wonderful sides of Kumara crumble and baby green vegetables with lemon pepper butter. It was all glorious and the recipe that really hooked me was Valli Little's Roasted Spatchcocks with Blood-plum glaze.  I was surprised recently to find spatchcocks in the meat section of one of the local supermarkets and I knew that I just had to buy some to use. They were kind of expensive but if we want the local supermarkets to stock these things in smallish rural towns then we have to be willing to pay for it (within reason of course). I also noticed recently that my favourite butcher in town in now stocking a range of more unusual meats since they have moved into their new larger premises. The day I was there they had some quail and venison and some other things that I can't quite remember at the moment. 

Valli's recipe, like almost all of hers that I have made, was fantastic. I couldn't get the blood-plum paste so I went with the quince paste, which I already had in the fridge. It was simple and quick to make and so very nice. The meat was so tender and moist but quite rich. The glaze gave it all a lovely sweetness while the hint of lemon just cut through it nicely.  I used prosciutto instead of pancetta as that was what I had on hand. I served it with the asparagus dish from the December 2002 issue sans the bocconcini. It was a lovely combinations and would be just as perfect as a Sunday roast as it would be a Christmas meal. Oh and the recipe indicates one spatchcock each I don't think I even ate half of one, I am not sure how anyone could eat a whole one in one sitting.

Monday 20 December 2010

December 2004 - Hot dogs with fiery onion relish

Oh dear, I am really tired. It was a really big day a work today. So many people that want everything done before Christmas but there is only so much that you can do and some people's expectation are pretty unreasonable. I am also not really sure why people are so desperate to get things done before Christmas, yes we will be closed for a week after Christmas but it is only a week. I could understand if it was a month but seriously, a week. Another thing, I have moved around. I couldn't think of anything worse to do a day or two before Christmas. Oh well, to each their own. 

I think that the last time I looked at this issue I was keen to try the Chicken baked in Limoncello with zucchini 'spaghetti'. It really does look wonderful. However limoncello is so expensive. Although I do have a recipe to make my own but I have never gotten around to making it. There are a few recipes that I would like to try out that have limoncello in them so perhaps I should just bite the bullet and by myself a bottle especially at the moment when zucchini is in season and so nice. 

I was intrigued by Valli's Pineapple wafers with ice cream and chocolate sauce. The wafers include blended pineapple in the batter and once cooked moulded over dariole moulds to form a little basket. This is then filled with a couple of scoops of coconut ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. I would have loved to make this but I had another dessert lined up for the month. Plus since it is the lead up to Christmas there are little nibblies at parties and big meals and desserts still to come so I don't really need to add extra desserts into the mix. 

I ended up making another lunch dish from this issue, Silvana Franco's Hot dogs with fiery onion relish. Serving the hot dogs on pita bread was a really good idea. It is filling but I think they are better for you than the hot dog rolls that you buy in stores. The fiery onion relish that is really the only actual cooking part of the recipe and it is really worth making. It has a nice little kick to it and went nicely with the salsa sausages that I bought from my butcher to use as I couldn't come at the idea of frankfurts. I really enjoy this and it was so quick and easy to do too. 

Thursday 16 December 2010

December 2003 - Easy Mincemeat Danish

Back to working full time has left me with little time to swan around doing whatever it is that I do. It also means that I have less time to get everything done. Needless to say I have been a little bit slack on posting. I am not sure if I like working full time. So far, I have managed to get up and get going in plenty of time each day so that is a start. Pretty tired in the evenings though and not overly keen on doing too much in the way of cooking unfortunately. 

I had planned on making Barry Vera's Peppered beef salad from this issue, but I couldn't find any nice tapanade that didn't cost the earth. I will have to make a trip out the the winery to get some. They have a variety of different local produce in the cellar door shop including a very nice tapanade. 

Bill Granger's Chicken noodle salad looked really good. Nice fresh ingredients with a lovely Asian-style dressing. Although it does use egg noodle and most noodle salads that I make I use glass noodles. The egg noodles would probably make it a bit more filling than a glass noodle salad. I just didn't feel like making it though. 

Actually what I did make was Valli Little's Easy Mincemeat Danish. One night I just wanted some thing sweet to eat and I have a jar of mincemeat in the fridge that I made. I also had some puff pastry in the freezer that had been in there for ever. The edges were starting to dry out but it was still okay. They were so simple to make and very tasty. Plus with the homemade mincemeat it is just perfect. I highly recommend making your own it tastes amazing and is so easy to do. Although I remember the first time that I did it after I bought my KitchenAid processor and I ended up with a paste as it processed things so much more quickly than my old one and I a just didn't realise it. 

Fruit Mince

2 cups sultanas
2 cups dried fruit mix
1 1/2 cups currants
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and grated
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, 
1/4 cup lemon juice
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup good Brandy 
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Put sultanas, mixed fruit, currants, apple, rinds and juice into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, Brandy, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and cloves and stir until combined.

Spoon fruit mixture into a 5 cup capacity sterilised screw-top jar. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Sunday 12 December 2010

December 2002 - Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini

It is supposed to be summer here but with the exception of a couple of hot days it certainly doesn't seem like it. Rain, rain and more rain and if it is not raining then it is overcast. The vegetable garden really doesn't appreciate it. There has just been too much rain and not enough sun. My zucchini is covered in powdery mildew. My tomatoes are full of grubs, although the cherry tomatoes are okay. I have gotten 3 small cucumbers so far but the leaves on it are starting to yellow so I am not sure how much longer it is going to survive. It is so disappointing as everything was looking so good initially. It is still early in the season so I am considering pulling out the zucchini and tomato and planting fresh plants to see if I can still get some decent veg this year. 

Rick Stein's Crisp Chinese roast pork with steamed rice sounded really good. Which is a lovely pork belly recipe where the pork flesh is rubbed with a combination of Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, sea salt flakes, five-spice powder and sugar. Rick does point out the need for a nice layer of fat on the pork so as to produce decent crackling. I have just, tonight, had a lamentable experience with an incredibly lean piece of pork belly. There was barely any fat on it and the crackle, while slightly crunchy, did not do what it was supposed to. The meat turned out dry and stringy. I was really disappointed. Next time I purchase a piece I will make sure to have a bit more of a look at it. I think that my next pork belly recipe will be this easy one from Rick Stein. 

Also marked in this recipe was this wonderful Sweet potato & leek roulade with Xmas stuffing. I couldn't really make it for the blog since I have made it previously. Not only is it a wonderful vegetarian dish for Christmas but it is also a really good side dish at Christmas, or any time really. I highly recommend giving this one a go. 

I have now made the dish from this issue, Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini, twice this month. The first time was as a side dish where I forgot the bocconcini. I then made it again today as a salad for lunch. It was very good both times. Today, I added some lemon basil in place of the regular basil and added a squeeze of lime juice. This was such an enjoyable and simple dish and worked perfectly as a side dish and as a salad. 

Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini

Serves 6 (as a side dish)

  • 700 g green & white asparagus, trimmed (I couldn't get white) 
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil (I only used a small drizzle) 
  • 200 g red & yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (I just used red) 
  • 200 g black olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 12 basil leaves, chopped 
  • 4 bocconcini, roughly torn
  • Cook asparagus until just cooked but still firm. The recipes says to boil it, I prefer to saute for 5 minutes or steam. 
  • Heat oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook, tossing until warm. 
  • Add olives and warm through. 
  • Remove from heat and add garlic, basil and asparagus and toss to combine. 
  • Serve as a side dish or with crusty bread as a salad. 

Thursday 9 December 2010

December 2001 - Baked Mushrooms

It seems a bit quick to be revisiting this issue but since the launch issue was a November/December issue I don't have much choice. It is a good issue, in fact most of them are, so I am not too worried about revisiting it. 
I again salivated over the Hummus with ground lamb & pinenuts. It really does look so very good, however I was looking for something for breakfast. 

I recalled that there was a wonderful recipe for Baked Mushrooms by Jacques Raymond in this issue. I tossed up whether to make this recipe or, what I eventually did make for November, his Crispy pork belly with spiced lentils. Now that I had another chance at it this issue it was a pretty foregone conclusion that I was going to come back to this recipe. It was just as fantastic as I had hoped, although I am sure it would have been even better with freshly picked, wild mushrooms like Jacques says in his introduction to the recipe but even though there had been a lot of rain recently I hadn't come across any fresh mushrooms. I did buy some lovely portobello mushrooms on special and they were perfect in this. I served the mushrooms on some lovely toasted pane de casa from a local bakery. It was a wonderful breakfast and I will be doing this one again. 

Baked Mushrooms 

Serves 4 

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 8 medium Swiss Brown or field mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • 5 eschallots, sliced 
  • 2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts (I used walnuts) 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut oil (I used walnut oil) 
  • 50 g butter, cubed 
  • Parmesan shavings 
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Preheat oven to 180 C. 
  • Line baking tray with foil and brush with melted butter. 
  • Quarter mushrooms if large or leave whole if you prefer and add to the tray. 
  • Combine garlic, eschallots, hazelnuts and oils in a bowl and season with salt & pepper. 
  • Pour over the mushrooms and toss to combine. 
  • Then add parmesan, butter and half the thyme. 
  • Cover with a second sheet of foil, seal and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. 
  • Serve with toast and remaining thyme. 

Tuesday 30 November 2010

November 2010 - Middle Eastern Chicken with chickpea, herb & feta salad

On to the last issue for the month with Valli Little's divine looking Three-tier Brown Sugar Pavlova. Slathered with cream and covered with oozing berries it looks so good, almost good enough to eat right off the cover. However, having already experimented with several different ice creams and sorbets and also having made the fruit salad dessert I didn't think that I needed another dessert for this month.   

I was going to make Valli's Greek Lamb Meatball Salad. I had every intention of making it right up until I decided that I didn't have everything I needed to make it and made something else. I am planning making it on the weekend for lunch though. Although who knows if I will actually get it made. I seem to have said that I will go back to a lot of recipes. I will admit that I have gone back and made a couple but not nearly enough of them. Although perhaps when I am not sticking so strictly to an order I will make more of here and there next year.
I ended up making the Middle Eastern Chicken with chickpea, herb & feta salad. I was worried that it was a bit light on vegetables so I added some deseeded and sliced cucumber and some chunks of tomato. It was nice, although I am not sure that you can combine sumac, lemon juice and oil and call it Middle Eastern. I think that some chilli or some cumin or something would have been nice to pep it up a bit. It was fine as it was but I might play around with it a bit if I make it again. 

Middle Eastern Chicken with chickpea, herb & feta salad

Serves 4
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil 
  • 1 lemon, sliced, plus juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 x 200g chicken breast fillets 
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 1 round Lebanese bread, cut into wedges
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 75g  Persian feta, drained
  • Combine sumac, 1 tbsp oil, lemon slices & lemon juice, reserve 1 tbsp for dressing. Add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C. 
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil to large oven proof fry pan over medium heat. 
  • Cook chicken (I also added lemon slices) for 3 minutes each side and then place in the oven for 8 minutes or until cooked.
  • Loosely cover with foil and let rest at least 2 minutes. 
  • Melt butter and 2 tsp oil in another fry pan over medium heat. 
  • Season bread (I didn't do this) and cook for 4 - 5 minutes turning regularly until crisp. Remove and keep warm. 
  • Add chickpeas to pan and warm through.
  • Slice chicken and toss with chickpeas, bread, parsley, onion, feta and drizzle with reserved marinade. 

November 2009 - Mojito Fruit Salad

Well, this is cutting it a lot finer than I had wanted. I had planned on doing this post this morning in between my doctor's appointment and going to work. However my doctor was running 30 minutes late (for her 2nd appointment of the day) and all I had time to do was race home and get changed and head back to the office. Then tonight I was off to my grandparents again as my uncle is leaving to go back home again early tomorrow morning. I was so good to see him. I hope that it is not another 2 years between visits. I guess I will just have to go up there. 

I fully intended on making Valli Little's Basil ice cream, well more of a basil frozen yoghurt. I was absolutely fascinated by this combination of the basil and the sweet frozen yoghurt. I really do want to make this. I recently purchased some seedlings of lemon basil so I might try making this ice cream with that once it has grown enough so that I can pick it. Although I suppose that I should also try it with the common sweet basil to see what it is like. 

Another recipe that I tossed around was making David Thompson's Black sticky rice with custard apple. David Thompson is the god of Thai cooking. He is an amazing chef. He books are wonderful, full of knowledge and, I think, absolutely necessary for any one wanting to make Thai food. I had recently purchased some black glutinous rice on a whim and it is sitting in the cupboard not being used. I will definitely have to try this recipe. I have only ever had custard apple once and I recall that I wasn't overly keen on it but I will give it a go for this recipe. 

I ended up making Jamie Oliver's Mojito fruit salad. This was a lovely light fruit salad that has the kick of the rum added to it. I actually divided my fruit mixture in half. Half I added the rum to and half I didn't. This was so that I could use the fruit on my muesli at breakfast. I really enjoyed this one a lot and as the summer months warm up I think that this will be made more than once. 

Mojito Fruit Salad

Serves 4-6
  • bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
  • finely grated zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • white rum, to taste
  • 1/4 large watermelon, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe mangoes, stoned, flesh cut into chunks 
  • 1 ripe pineapple. peeled, cored, cut into chunks
  • In a very clean pestle and mortar, bash most of the mint leaves with the finely grated lime zest.  
  • Add the sugar, a good glug of rum and the lime juice, then mix again gently.  
  • Toss the fruit together in a bowl with a little of the mojito mixture. 
  • Leave for 30 minutes for flavours to combine. 

Monday 29 November 2010

November 2008 - Strawberry Sorbet with aged balsamic vinegar

Back to work, the boss is back on deck and it is busy, busy, busy again but if I am going to get these posts in this month there is no time to waste being tired after work. Although I have promised myself that I will get an early night tonight to try and catch up on some of the sleep that I missed out on over the weekend. 

There was really only one recipe that I was going to make out of this issue. This is because I was recently given the ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer by a wonderful friend over at Taste forums. I was over the moon as I had been looking at purchasing an ice cream machine or attachment. Initially I had thought that I would be able to get the attachment from for a lot less then they cost here but apparently the ice cream attachment for the US machine is not compatible with ours. I am not sure why exactly though. I have used it several times now and I am so, so please with how it works. It makes wonderful ice cream and terrific sorbets. 

My first foray into ice cream making using the KitchenAid attachment was this Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Oh my, was it ever so rich and sweet but it was oh so good too. It was relatively easy to make, although once the cream was added to the caramel it took ages for it to all combine together as the caramel solidified slightly and it took ages for it to all melt again. It was a great ice cream to make once but it probably wont be a regular that I make since it was so incredibly rich and too sweet for my liking. Perhaps I could reduce the sugar/caramel in it. 

I made this extremely easy Eggless Summer Berry ice cream, with some frozen mixed berries that I had had in the freezer for ages. It was nice, and I liked that it wasn't nearly as sweet as the salted caramel ice cream. Although the sheer amount of cream in it again made for something very rich. I also think that I may have heated the cream too long. It just didn't taste quite right too me. I will admit that I did prefer the custard based ice cream rather than the straight cream. Although I know that there is also a condensed milk ice cream that I would be interested in trying. For some reason I did not take a picture of this one. 

As well as the ice creams I have attempted two different sorbets. Both of which are based around the same recipe from this issue. Skye Gyngell's Strawberry sorbet with aged balsamic. I love the combination of strawberry and balsamic. Valli Little has a lovely Strawberry & Balsamic ice cream that I had made a couple of times last summer when I had a large amount of strawberries to use so I was very keen to try this sorbet recipe. I also made a Raspberry Sorbet based on Skye's recipe, although without the balsamic and using frozen raspberries and slightly more sugar, but I did this by taste. In the strawberry sorbet recipe the balsamic was just used to drizzle over the top when serving but instead I used it in the actual recipe in place of the lemon juice. I think that was better to put it in the sorbet rather than just drizzling over. This was such an easy recipe to make and was such lovely refreshing dessert. I am sure that I will be making this over and over again. 

Strawberry Sorbet with aged balsamic vinegar

  • 500 g ripe strawberries, hulled
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon 
  • Aged balsamic, to drizzle 
  • Almond biscotti, to serve
  • Place 400 g berries in food processor with sugar & lemon zest & juice (I used 1 tbsp of balsamic instead)
  • Process until smooth. 
  • Taste & add more sugar if necessary. 
  • Place mixture in a shallow plastic container and freeze for about 2 hours or until frozen at edges. 
  • Beat with an electric beater, then return to the freezer. Repeat this process 2 - 3 times or until frozen. 
  • Whiz the sorbet in a food processor once before serving. 
  • (Alternately, churn the mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.) 
  • Halve or quarter remaining berries, then place in serving glasses with scoops of sorbet. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve with biscotti. (I didn't)
Strawberry sorbet: 

Raspberry sorbet: 

Sunday 28 November 2010

November 2007 - Cucumber, spring onion & goat's cheese salad

Woo Hoo! Two posts in two days, so glad to be getting these done. Although I will have to do two tomorrow so that I can get them all in before the end of the month. I have had  a bit of a lazy day today and probably should have had this done before now, but better late than never I guess. 

This was the last of the three issues that I was missing when I first started going through my collection. I think it was also the first issue that I managed to pick up on ebay. While I had looked through it when I first got it, I didn't really read through it as much as I would have had I had it when it was first released. It is a lovely issue with some great food in it. 

Valli's Tequilla chicken with pink grapefruit salad looked so wonderful and I am sure it would have been terrific. I have a recipe for marinating steak in a tequila, lime, chilli and olive oil which is just fantastic. There were two reasons that I didn't make this one, first is that tequila is really expensive, especially the nicer stuff that you would want to use in these dishes. There is no point using the cheap stuff, I drank plenty of it when I was younger, and it is just rocket fuel. It really wouldn't be very nice in the dish. The other reason is that I cannot have grapefruit as it interferes with medication that I take. 

Nigella's Anglo-Asian Lamb salad also looked terrific. A lovely combination of Thai and English ingredients. The redcurrant jelly would add a lovely hint of sweetness but still tart at the same time. It seems a great addition in place of probably palm sugar. I think that the addition of some pomegranate to the salad with some sprouts, snow or sugar snap peas, capsicum, cucumber and some halved cherry tomatoes would fill out the salad a bit. I don't think I could come at it as the recipe reads as a main meal you really could add anything you wanted to fill it out though. 

I, instead, made another side salad to go with the Chive & Beetroot Couscous and curried honey chicken. I ended up making Patricia Wells' Cucumber, spring onion & goat's cheese salad. It was okay. Nice and refreshing but I am finding that I prefer goat's cheese in a cooked dish or with stronger flavours. I found it just a bit over powering for the delicate cucumber flavour. I replaced the cream in the dressing with natural yoghurt to lower the fat a bit but also because that is what I had on hand. It is probably not one that I would make regularly. 

Cucumber, spring onion & goat's cheese salad
Serves 4

  • 1 telegraph cucumber
  • 3 spring onions with bulbs, trimmed 
  • Goat's cheese 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup light thickened cream (I used about 1/2 c. natural yoghurt)
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped chives 
  • Peel sections of the cucumber, but leave some peel for decoration, cut in half and deseed and slice into half moons. 
  • Finely slice onions. 
  • Combine all ingredients for dressing. 
  • Toss cucumber, onions and 3 - 4 tbsp of dressing. 
  • Serve with goat's cheese. 

Saturday 27 November 2010

November 2006 - Roasted white fish wrapped in smoked bacon

Argh, even less time to get these all these posts done. I do have an excuse though. I was out last night. Only to a family bbq but out all the same. It was very good. My uncle is home, it has been a couple of years since he has been here so it is good to see him. I don't have a lot of family nearby so it is always good to see those that live away. I had planned on doing a post when I got home but it was late and I just didn't seem to get it done. 

There are some lovely recipes in this 5th birthday issue. There are two that I make regularly, Chicken Breasts with goat's feta, semi-dried tomato & basil stuffing and Peas and Beans with Pistachio Pesto both are fantastic recipes and go very well together. The Baby Spinach, Orange & Macadamia salad is also very nice but I make the other two recipes regularly. The pea dish is the perfect side dish and I have made it with a variety of main meals. The chicken is a very popular (and easy) dish for entertaining. 

Another dish which I think would be perfect for entertaining is the one I chose to make from this issue. There were a few things that appealed to me but my eye was particularly drawn to Jamie Oliver's Roasted white fish wrapped in smoked bacon with lemon mayonnaise and asparagus. I didn't have smoked bacon but used prosciutto instead. Nor did I have have the thick fillets that Jamie used in the recipe so I used 2 small fillets and reduced the cooking time as needed. I also substituted the rosemary in the dish with dill as I find that rosemary can be very overpowering. I really enjoyed this meal. I didn't make my own mayonnaise but I did have some of Neil Perry's signature mayo in the fridge so I added the lemon juice to some of that. It was really nice and definitely suited the asparagus. I also served some sautéed potatoes with it. This is one fish dish that is definitely going to go into rotation, although next time I will not be so liberal with the mayo. 

Thursday 25 November 2010

November 2005 - Chive & Beetroot Couscous

Oops, I just realised how close to the end of the month it is and I still have a bunch of posts to get done. I seem to keep putting them off. I guess because I had made a recipe from each issue, except 2010, within the first 10 days of the month and I was making sure that I didn't post them all really quickly and now here I am having to stuff them all into the end of the month again...doh. 

The first recipe that really caught my eye was Rick Stein's Calamari & Chorizo salad with garlic & chickpeas. Now I have admitted several times on here that I am not the biggest seafood fan but this recipe really appealed. I have eaten and enjoyed calamari in the past, and not just the crumbed and deep-fried stuff from the fish & chip shop, lovely fresh stuff cooked properly. I always seem to forget when the seafood truck comes to town and I really didn't want to make this with calamari from the supermarket so I decided I would leave this one until I was able to pick up some nice stuff. I am sure that it will be very good when I do eventually make it. 

I then looked at making either of Valli's Stir-fry Chicken with Pesto or Chef's Salad which were part of the Tuesday Night Cooking section of this issue. Both are quick easy recipes. The stir-fry being full of flavour with the pesto and vegetables, although I wasn't too keen on the cream in it. The chef's salad would have been a good light meal for a hot, lazy night. However, those hot, lazy, don't-want-to-cook nights have been few and far between so far which is very unusual for this time of year and when making the final decision on what to make from this issue I was actually looking for a side dish, which neither of these recipes are so I moved on to something else. 

I was actually looking for a side dish to go along side a recipe from another issue and I chose Jill Dupleix's Chive & Beetroot couscous. This is a fantastic side dish which I will make over and over again. I could also be changed up using a variety of different herbs, I think that dill would work well in it with the chives and perhaps some parsley. I just love beetroot and the couscous just soaked up the fabulous colour of the beetroot. I had planned on making this to go with a lamb dish, but lamb was way too expensive when I went to buy it so I served it with curried honey chicken. It went together okay but it would have been better paired with the lamb. 

Chive & Beetroot Couscous

Serves 4 as a salad

  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) couscous
  • 300 ml boiling vegetable stock (or boiling water) 
  • 1 large (250g) cooked beetroot, finely diced 
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 3 bunches chives, snipped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100g soft goat's cheese
  • Combine couscous & boiling stock in a bowl and cover and let cool. 
  • Whisk together oil and lemon juice and season to taste. 
  • Combine couscous, beetroot, tomato, chives and pour over dressing and toss to combine. 
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes so that the couscous will take on the colour. 
  • Serve topped with goat's cheese & chives.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Cake Decorating - The Purse Cake with shoes

I did my first paid cake this past weekend. Yay! I was given carte blanche with it too which made it even better. It was for the 21st birthday of a lovely young woman that I know through work. I don't know her very well but know her enough to know that she loves shoes, bags, make up and the like so I decided to do a purse cake with a pair of shoes and some make up for decoration. I had wanted to make a pair of sunglasses too, but I couldn't find a template to use.

I purchased some midnight black fondant online, since it is so hard to colour your own black. I had a large amount of pink fondant left over from the carousel cake so I added some violet colour paste to turn it a lovely shade of purple. I added gum tragacanth to some of the black and purple fondant so that I could make the decorations. After waiting 24 hours for it to start to work I spent a lovely afternoon making a pair of shoes, mascara, lipstick, eye shadow palette, buckle & handle for the purse and flowers for decoration. 

I made 2 x 23 cm square chocolate cakes using my perfect decorating cake. I trimmed each cake and cut them in half (to make 4 loaf-sized cakes) and stacked them filling each layer with ganache. I then trimmed the whole thing again creating an angle on the front. This was then covered with ganache and left to set overnight. Finally it was covered with fondant, black on the front with purple on the sides back and creating a flap on the front. Unfortunately, the handle that I made had not dried for long enough and collapsed when I placed it on the cake so I made a new one. At first I tried to drape it, but it started stretching so I just sat it on top of the bag. The flower decorations were stuck on the shoes and bag. An embossing tool was used to get the stitching detail. 

It was such a fun thing to do. I just loved the whole process right from planning and searching flickr for ideas to the making and decorating. The birthday girl just loved the cake too however she did not cut it at her party on Saturday night but waiting until her actual birthday yesterday. It has also given me another possible 21st cake to do for an Enchanted Forest themed party...I hope I get the job. 

Friday 19 November 2010

November 2004 - Chorizo, quince paste & manchego salad

Well, today wasn't nearly as busy as I thought that it was going to be. There was still quite a bit to do but at least the phone wasn't ringing off the hook as well. I hope that doesn't mean that everyone will right next week when my boss is away. Murphy's Law says that they will. I have also been busy tonight cake decorating, but that is for another post. I also have to get up early in the morning to take one of my cats to the vet for her annual check up but I just had to get another post done before heading off to bed. 

Bill Granger's Schnitzel roll with fennel coleslaw on the front over looks really nice. Made with some lovely Parmesan veal schnitzel including finely chopped parsley and thyme in with the breadcrumbs. The fennel coleslaw sounds like a nice alternative to regular coleslaw and would go nicely with the schnitzel. However I had looked for fennel not long ago only the week before and all I could  find  was gigantic fennel bulbs, which I tend to find can be a bit woody when they are big. So I decided to make something else.

Ben O'Donoghue's Vietnamese prawn salad was another recipe that I considered even though I am not overly keen on seafood, I am trying to get myself to eat more of it as I know that it is very good for you. Serving the prawns with the strong Vietnamese flavours in this lovely salad would be one way to start introducing them. I prefer to buy peeled prawn as I am not keen on the whole peeling thing. The only peeled prawns that I could get on shopping day were imported and I will not buy imported prawns. I will wait until the seafood man is in town and will get some nice ones off him and make this lovely salad. 

I instead decided to make Jill Dupleix's Chorizo, Quince Paste and Manchego salad. I was surprised not long ago when I was looking in the special cheeses section of on of the local supermarkets to find manchego cheese, which is a sheep's milk hard cheese. They also have Maggie Beer's lovely quince paste. I couldn't get any radicchio so I used a handful of wild salad leaves. I really don't like green olives, although I did have some really nice ones at a lovely restaurant in Sydney (I wish I could buy those ones), so I put in some small marinated kalamatas. I also couldn't get Spanish almonds so used some blanched almond. It was very good and I would make it again as a lovely lunch meal. 

Chorizo, quince paste & manchego  salad 

Serves 4 

  • 2 mild or hot chorizo sausages, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 head radicchio, trimmed (I used wild salad leaves) 
  • 100 - 150 g quince paste, cut into small cubes 
  • 100 - 150 g manchego cheese shaved 
  • 12 Spanish green olives
  • 2 tbsp Spanish almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Heat oil in pan and fry chorizo until starting to crisp up. Serve 1 tbsp of chorizo juices for dressing. 
  • Mix, vinegar, oil & chorizo juices for dressing.
  • Toss all ingredients together with the dressing, except for the cheese.
  • Divide mixture between plates and top with shaved cheese. 

Thursday 18 November 2010

November 2003 - Mushroom Burgers

This has been a long week and there is still one day to go. It has been raining lots over the past few days so my foot is aching like crazy. I guess that is something that I am just going to have to put up with for a while longer, if not for life. :-( Things have been very busy and stressful at work, but next week will be bliss with my boss away. However it will mean another very busy day tomorrow getting everything done before he goes.
I am so very tired tonight, and I was very tired when I was deciding what to make from this issue. In the end I broke my rules and made Valli Little's Mushroom Burgers, which I have made regularly since this issue came out. Over the years I have tweaked the recipe and am still making changes. I like to add in roasted capsicum, olives and capers to the onions with the semi-dried tomatoes. It is really, really good. I have been known to leave off the prosciutto when I am wanting a vegetarian meal. I have also served the stuffed roasted mushroom with salad and not worried about the hamburger buns. It is something that is really easy to make and very tasty and nutritious when you are tired. (Although I would love to try the Little Provencal tarts with tapenade and creme fraiche on the front cover.) 

Monday 15 November 2010

November 2002 - Moorish Crunch Salad

How cute is the baby pav with the sparkler in it on the front cover? I really love it, I think it would be cute for someone's birthday. Plus the gorgeous rivulets of red berry sauce running over the glossy white of the pav and the cream is a fantastic contrast. The light blue cover makes it pop too. It almost makes you want to get up and make it straight away. However, I was recently given a KitchenAid ice cream attachment by a wonderful friend and I made myself some terrific, but very sweet and rich, salted caramel ice cream. The indulging in sweet and salty ice cream means that I really shouldn't be making any other desserts this month.

I considered making Stewart Wallace's Yoghurt and Garlic Marinated Spring Lamb. It looked really good and full of herbs and spices. However I really wanted to get making early on in the month and since I was already doing a roast from the first issue I didn't want two in a row. Being on my own there is always a lot of left overs and it would mean two roasts in one week. That would just be too many left overs for me to get through before they went bad. Looking at the recipe again now, I think that it is something that my grandparents would like so I might make it the next time I have them around for dinner.

Valli Little's Lemon Saltimbocca was also considered. I quite like saltimbocca. The combination of chicken, prosciutto and sage is fantastic. I also love lemon, especially in savoury dishes so the combination of the chicken, prosciutto and lemon slices would just be terrific. It would be something quick and easy to make after work plus it would be very easy to make for one. I didn't end up making it as I was looking for something for lunch one day and didn't want anything meaty.

I ultimately decided to make Jamie Oliver's Moorish Crunch Salad. This was fabulous for a wonderful light but tasty lunch. It was nice and crunchy, although I did grate the carrot rather than cut into matchsticks and I just don't have the patience to matchstick carrots. I keep meaning to get myself a julienne peeler but it is something that I can live without so I haven't bought one yet. I do have a v-slicer, however I find it hard to use for things like carrots as I am not sure how to use the holder with long veg, the prongs don't seem to stick out far enough. Although if I really tried I am sure I could work it out. I really enjoyed this as a light lunch and it is definitely another lunch time salad that is worth keeping. I am sure it would be good as a side dish also. 

Wednesday 10 November 2010

November 2001 - Launch Issue - Crispy Pork Belly with Spiced Lentils

I have finally arrived at the launch issue of Delicious magazine. Delicious arrived on the magazine landscape when there was little else in the way of cooking magazines. At least I don't remember there being much. I think that Vogue Entertaining and Living was around and probably Gourmet Traveller but there wasn't much in the mid-range of magazines. that had meals that could easily be made after work with ingredients that could, mostly, be found locally. There do seem to be more recipes now that require ingredients that I cannot get then there used to be.  I fell in love with the magazine right from this first issue and I have never really lost that passion for it. I did go through a small period in 2007 when I lost a bit of interest but I quickly regained my interest. I am so pleased that I did and that I have had the opportunity to go through each of the back issues and discover new and wonderful things. I cannot believe that I only have a few issues to go.

I have been busy making a lot of recipes from the November issues but it has taken me a while to get this first post done as I needed a weekend to do the recipe from this issue. I really wanted to make something special out of here since it was the launch issue and all. There were some recipes out of Jamie Oliver's Happy Days book, it would have to be one of my favourite of Jamie's books. Although that is being tested by his new one, Jamie Does..., which I love. I had already made most of the recipes featured so I moved on. 

There was a lovely recipe for Hummus with Ground Lamb and Pinenuts from Moro: The Cookbook which looked incredible. I love hummus and the addition of a spiced ground lamb on top sounded fabulous. I am not overly keen on pinenuts although I think that is because they are such a volatile nut and they go rancid so quickly. You really need to be able to get them fresh if possible unfortunately I can only get them from the supermarket here. I would really like to try this dish at some stage, perhaps with some flaked almonds instead of the pinenuts. I think that it would make a really good lunch dish as part of a tapas.

I wanted to make something a bit special and there was really only one recipe that fit the bill for me. It was Jacques Reymond's Crispy Pork Belly with Spiced Lentils. Since using pork belly for the first time earlier this year I have now used it quite a lot. It is a relatively cheap cut of meat to buy and is lovely to do a nice slow roast with. It is certainly becoming quite popular now but back in 2001 it would have been pretty unusual. This is a fantastic recipe and I really enjoyed making it. The lentils are the perfect accompaniment to the rich full-flavoured pork dish. There was only one thing I did that wasn't in the recipe, I made a gravy from the cooking liquid in the pan, which I had strained into a small saucepan and thickened slightly with a flour and water slurry. The crackling was fantastic. I wasn't sure that it was going to crisp up but it did wonderfully. I highly recommend making this one and I plan on making it again for friends soon.

Crispy Pork Belly with Spiced Lentils

Serves 4

  • 1 kg fresh pork belly on the bone 
  • 1 tbsp Maldon sea salt 
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 2 star anise 
  • 5 juniper berries 
  • 4 cloves 
  • 12 whole black peppercorns 
  • 45 g butter 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 carrot, diced 
  • 2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 3 fresh bay leaves, 2 sprigs fresh thyme and parsley stems tied with kitchen twine (bouquet garni) 
  •  Pre-heat oven to 160 C.
  • Pat skin of pork with paper towel to make sure it is dry, rub with the salt. 
  • Heat a large oven-proof saucepan or casserole dish over medium heat. (I used my 28 cm Swiss Diamond sauté pan)
  • Add honey and spices and caramelise slightly. Add 30 g of the butter and the pork belly, skin side down, to the pan. Cook over a low heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until crisp and golden. 
  • Transfer pork to a plate, add vegetables to pan with rest of the butter. Place pork on top skin side up.
  • Pour vinegar over the top and cook until completely absorbed. Add the wine and bouquet garni. Reduce liquid by half and then add water, up to 1/3 thickness of the pork. 
  • Cover and roast in the oven for 3 hours adding extra water as necessary. (I uncovered it for the last hour)
  • Slice and serve with the lentils. 

Jacques' Spiced Lentils 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 small red chillies, deseeded (I left the seeds in one of them)
  • 4 curry leaves 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 250 g green lentils (I used "French-style" lentils) 
  • Zest of 1 orange 
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • Heat oil in saucepan and add garlic, celery, chillies, curry leaves and cinnamon. Stir to allow the flavours to develop. 
  • Add lentils, orange zest and stock. Season with salt & pepper and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. 
  • Can be served hot or cold.