Sunday 28 February 2010

February 2010 - Tangy Honey and Mustard Chicken

So I come to the end of February and another month of delicious. read and re-read, scoured and agonised over. From most of them I could made the majority of the recipes in them. There were a few let downs, things not a good as I had hoped and changes to the menu when ingredients couldn't be located or time didn't permit. I am definitely more enthused about looking at the back issues more often. Hopefully now I will return to them again and again and not just the same recipes but to choose something new as often as possible.

Issue 90 of delicious. is an all-Australian issue and there are so many good recipes in it. I wanted to make at least half of them. The recipes from the usual contributors, Ben O'Donoghue, Jill Dupleix, Belinda Jeffery and Curtis Stone all looked great. I considered making Jill's Thai Kangaroo Salad with Crisp-fried garlic, however other recipes caught my eye and I forgot about it. I will have to add it to my ever growing list of recipes to make at a later date. Belinda's Not Quite Peach Melba looks so good and will make a fantastically simple and tasty dessert for the next time I have people here.

There is a very interesting feature in on three icons of Australian food culture, Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer and Alla Wolf-Tasker. I have to admit to not knowing who Alla Wolf-Tasker was before reading this feature but it was certainly very interesting. Each of these wonderful women provided 3 recipes. I would have loved to make one of them but none of them were exactly what I was looking for. Not that I was really sure exactly what I was looking for but while they all sounded really good they didn't grab me and say make me instantly.

The guest "chef" in this issue is Paul Mercurio who, I remember, as an actor. The short article indicates that he now has a cooking show, I have never seen it, and has released a cook book. I guess that the term chef is being used rather loosely here. Perhaps I am just being a bit of a foodie snob though....I am not sure. I do find myself annoyed when people call themselves or are called by others a chef when they haven't done the years of apprenticeships and studying and work in kitchens to earn that title. I started out training but, and I will be honest, couldn't hack it. My love of cooking revolves around making the things that I want to and that I enjoy making and not being forced to make what others want. I was starting to resent cooking so decided that I would find a different day job and keep my love of cooking for myself, my family and my friends. Whenever someone says I am a great chef, I correct them. I am a cook, I am not a chef. Oops, kind of got off on a rant there, sorry. Paul's dishes do look good and I would be interested in having a look at his cook book at some stage.

As always, Bill Granger's food looked awesome. It was a barbecue feature. I do own a barbecue but I do not have a gas bottle for it at present. The other problem with it is that it is a very big 4-burner hooded barbecue and it seems ridiculous to heat it up for one person. I am planning on selling it when I have a garage sale and then purchasing something smaller. Probably the lovely Weber Baby Q or perhaps this great looking Cobb Premier Portable Grill. For now though I tend to make most barbecue things on a grill pan on the stove but some times it would be nice to actually do it outside. Even if just to keep the kitchen cooler in the middle of summer.

In the end after a long day at work and a special on free-range chicken thigh fillets I decided on one of the most simple dishes in the magazine, Tangy Honey & Mustard Chicken. I really enjoyed this. It was easy to make after work and was full of flavour. The recipe has it served with a salad but it was a cooler here the night that I made it so decided on serving it with some vegetables instead, some left over harvard beets and pea, corn and carrot mix. It made of a lovely meal and was definitely better that the first thought I had upon arriving home, take away pizza. Plus it was quicker to make this than it would have been had I ordered a home delivered pizza and significantly cheaper.

Tangy Honey and Mustard Chicken

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • Pre-heat oven to 160 C (fan forced)
  • Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  • Add chicken and marinade for at least 5 minutes. (I left mine for about 30 minutes)
  • Heat a char-grill pan over a high heat, lightly oil and cook each side until defined grill marks show.
  • Transfer to a tray, I used a pizza tray lined with foil for ease of clean up, and bake in the oven for 10 - 12 minute or until cooked through.
The original recipe just had the chicken cooked on the char-grill pan but I find that I always end up with a burnt outside and uncooked inside just using the char-grill pan so I prefer to colour the outside and finish off in the oven.

Tangy Honey Mustard chicken

Wednesday 24 February 2010

February 2009 - Risoni with Lemon Pepper Prawns

The cover recipe, Strawberry & Almond Crumble with Creme Fraiche, caught my eye but having just made a strawberry pie and strawberry muffins I was strawberried out so I looked a bit further in issue #79.

Jamie Oliver's Roasted Eggplant Tabbouleh sounded really good. Spiced up with cumin and cardamom, I love cardamom, with cucumber and pomegranate arils added in it was just about irresistible. So out to the garden to collect some of the finger eggplants I have growing but I was foiled as there were none that were ready to be picked and it will be a while before they are ready.

The next recipe that I had marked was Sumac Chicken with Persian Tomato Salad, I think that it was marked from when I had made it when I first bought this issue. It was wonderful then and I thought about making it again for here but I decided that it would be best to try something new rather than redoing one that I have already made before. I have also used the same marinade from the recipe on chicken and lamb with excellent results and had them with other sides.

In the end I went with Risoni with Lemon Pepper Prawns. It was okay but not outstanding however that could have been caused by the many changed that I made. I have said previously that I am not a huge fan of seafood but occasionally I do get the urge to have some thing seafoody. This normally consists of canned tuna or salmon made in to a mornay type casserole or formed into patties with some mashed potato and various other bits and pieces. More rarely I buy a few prawns and try something out. The recipe called for sugar snap peas, snow peas and snow pea sprouts. I had, of course, forgotten to write all of these down on my shopping list and I came home without them. Instead of going back down town I decided to replace the sugar snap peas and snow peas with some zucchini that desperately needed to be used. I replaced the snow pea sprouts with flat leaf parsley. Some how my calculation in reducing the recipe from serving 4 to serving 1 were not quite right either. There wasn't enough zucchini, parsley or prawns or should that be there was too much risoni. Either way the balance wasn't right. The lemon in it was nice but all in all it was a bit bland. It probably would have been better if made with either the ingredients listed or more of the stuff that I did use. To be honest I will not be making this again but it takes a lot for me to be convinced to make a seafood dish again.

Risoni with lemon pepper prawns

February 2008 - Strawberry Muffins

There were two recipes that I have had marked to try since I bought issue #68 the first is Belinda Jeffery's Star Anise Chicken with Gingered Red Cabbage. I had intended all along to make it to post here. However when I was looking red cabbage was really expensive. I have, however found half a tiny head that was reasonably priced so I will probably make it this weekend. I may even post it as an extra, so stay tuned.

The other recipe that I have had marked to make were some lush looking Strawberry Muffins that are part of a feature by Valli Little on healthy back to school lunch boxes. There are a number of other recipes in there that I may try at some point too as I am always looking for something nice for lunch. The Spicy Felafel Wraps sound great although I am very partial to Simon Bryant's Felafel with Yoghurt sauce that he made on The Cook and The Chef show on the ABC here in Oz. The Lamb Pasties definite sound like something to try and have in the freezer for when I can't be bothered doing anything but turn the oven on. The Potato Frittata sounds great but I am reluctant to use 8 eggs in anything that doesn't involve sugar.

In the end the decision to make the Strawberry Muffins wasn't hard as my local IGA supermarket had strawberries on a very good special so I picked up a punnet or 6. I used some of them to make a Glazed Strawberry Tart on the weekend from my Gramma's recipe. It was beautiful.

Glazed strawberry tart piece

That took almost 4 punnets but I still had another 2 and a bit to use up. I had some for breakfast with cereal but I decided that I would take one of the extra punnets and make the muffins. They are soft and have a subtle strawberry flavour with the chunks of berry disintegrating slightly. They have the right amount of sweetness. Perhaps the only complaint is that there is a bit much butter. I think I would reduce it to 60 g next time. Although with the giant mint slice, the pie and now muffins I certainly will not be making them again any time soon. I have put most of the muffins in the freezer so that there is something sweet when a craving hits.

Strawberry Muffins

Makes 12 (I actually got 20)

  • 400g plain flour, sifted
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 punnet strawberries, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • Pre-heat oven to 190 C (fan-forced).
  • Line muffin trays with papers.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
  • Add strawberries and stir to coat in the flour.
  • Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. (I used my 500ml measuring jug)
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until only just combined.
  • Fill papers 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  • Bake 18 - 20 minutes or until risen and slightly golden.

Strawberry Muffin

Saturday 20 February 2010

February 2007 - Moroccan Eggs

At the start of this month I had made a list of the recipes that I was going to make from each magazine. From issue #57 I had fully intended on making the cover recipe, Fontina Cheese & Basil Toasted Sandwiches. They looked easy, tasty and something that I could make for a simple lunch. However when I came to actually make it I had changed my mind.

I decided instead to try a new breakfast dish, Moroccan Eggs by Valli Little. During the working week I am lucky if I manage to get myself a bowl of cereal or toast with coffee but on the weekends I like to cook something nice. I am partial to cornbread muffins (just cornbread mixture cooked in muffin tins) split in half and then spread with butter and golden syrup. Another favourite is this Blueberry Corn Bread recipe on Taste. I normally make it with frozen raspberries. As much as I like the sweet breakfast foods, I am partial to savouries for breakfast. I love an omelette stuffed with sliced tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese, this Baked Eggs with Tomato and Chorizo recipe is wonderful and I have been drawn to this Ham and Cheese French Toast but I have never been quite game to try it. So I was pleased to find a savoury recipe that would be perfect for breakfast.

The recipe is actually part of the regular "Tuesday Night Cooking" section of the magazine. These recipes are all relatively quick meals to make after a long day at work. However this one seemed perfect for a nice breakfast on a Saturday morning. It was a different way with eggs, very tasty and was incredibly easy to convert to making for one.

Moroccan Eggs

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp dukkah
  • 4 slices Turkish bread, split
  • 1/2 c hummus
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/3 c mint leaves (I didn't have any so used parsley)
  • Tomato chutney, to serve
  • Heat oil in fry pan over a medium heat.
  • Break eggs into pan being careful not to break the yolks.
  • Let cook until whites start to become white rather than translucent and then sprinkle each egg with 2 tsp of dukkah and continue to cook until done to your liking. I cooked mine until the yolk was hard as I am not a fan of runny yolks.
  • Meanwhile toast the bread, then spread with hummus, top with an egg and onion.
  • Sprinkle with mint leaves and a dollop of tomato chutney (I used some home made tomato relish).

Moroccan Eggs

Sunday 14 February 2010

Mint Slice

Recently on Taste forums there has been a few "pimped" biscuits that would, I am sure, make Pimp That Snack proud. First up was a drool worthy wagon wheel, then came a chocolate royal to die for. Both of these were made by the lovely EmmCee over at The Claytons Blog. I had been considering trying the chocolate royal myself however I am not a huge fan of large quantities of marshmallow, it gets way too sweet for me way too quickly, so I scrubbed that idea and put my thinking cap on as to what I could "pimp" myself.

For a long time my favourite chocolate biscuit has been Arnott's Mint Slice. I love the dark chocolate biscuit base, the creamy minty filling and the dark chocolate coating. It seemed that it would be easy enough to recreate on a large scale. I just needed to find the right recipes to make it work.

Not that long ago Taste had added recipes that had been published in Vogue Entertaining + Travel to their enormous range of recipes. When they were first added I went through all of them saving ones to make. I recalled that one was a lovely chocolaty biscuit so I decided to try using it for the base of my giant mint slice. The Very Chocolate Biscuits recipe was just perfect. I was able to form large balls from the dough and pat them out on cookie trays for baking. It is a firm biscuit but with just the right amount of chewiness to it. I made half the recipe and got two 15 cm diameter biscuits plus 12 smaller ones. I made these last night and left them overnight so that they cooled completely.

I moved onto what I would use for the minty filling. It is more of an icing filling than a marshmallow. I remembered years ago making treats with my mother called peppermint creams. They were minty treats that were half dipped in chocolate. Since I hadn't made them since I was a child I wasn't sure how they were made. A search of Taste gave me a couple of recipes, both involving egg white and neither having the best ratings. So I cast my net further and turned to google. Which is where I found a recipe on the lovely blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, that would be perfect. I made half a recipe of this and it was just the perfect amount for my two large biscuits.

Biscuits topped with peppermint cream filling biscuit topped with peppermint cream filling

I had purchased some food-grade mint oil for use in chocolate making and this was perfect for use in the filling instead of the essence. Arnott's say on their packaging that they use pure mint oil in their mint slice so it was only right that I used it in mine.

For the chocolate coating, I didn't have any dark couverture chocolate left but I doubt that I would have used it on this anyway. I like to keep it for special occasions and even though this is kind of special it really is just for me and a couple of other to share so I didn't bother. I was going to use Lindt 70% chocolate to coat it but when I was at the supermarket Whittaker's Chocolate was on special so I purchased a block of their Dark Ghana (72%) and their Bittersweet Dark (42%) and I melted about half of each block. I spooned it over them so that the top and sides were coated and then I put them in the fridge to set.

giant mint slice coated with chocolate giant mint slice coated with chocolate 2

I let them set in the fridge for as long as I could bare it before testing them. It probably could have set a bit longer but I just wanted to try it. It was perfect, it tasted just like the real thing, if not better. I am thinking that with a couverture chocolate it would be divine. I think that I will make my own small mint slices at some stage.

Giant mint slice cut

I will admit the piece I ate was big and after all the testing and trying while making it and the "cleaning up" of the drips of melted chocolate I actually feel quite sick from eating too much sweet stuff, oh dear. I am sure I will feel better in the morning once all that sugar has been processed. :)

February 2006 - Chicken Sausages with Nectarines, Chickpeas and Redcurrant Sauce

The picture of the Easy Paella on the front cover of Issue #46 looks so very enticing. I would have loved to have made it but the recipe was for 4 - 6 servings and from initial appearances it looked a bit difficult to divide up. I would have been possible of course but I would have been left with half a can of this and half a can of that and bits and pieces of a bunch of other stuff. Sometimes it is just better to resign yourself to the fact that it will be easier to make something else so that you are not eating the same thing for a week.

There was a few other recipes that I considered, the Mykonos Fruit Cup caught my eye as basically fruit salad with boozy yoghurt topped with a berry puree. I had picked out another dessert to make from a later magazine. Although with this one full of fruit and yoghurt I did think long and hard about it since it wasn't full of sugar, fat and cream. My next consideration was Creamy Lemon Curd Mousse, this was full of sugar, fat and creme fraiche so it too was discarded. The next option was tomato & sweet pickled pepper salad however I couldn't find any sweet pickled peppers (the available at selected supermarkets apparently doesn't include mine.) I settled on Nancy Duran's Chicken Sausages with Nectarines, Chickpeas and Redcurrant Sauce. This was oh so simple but so very good. I baked the sausages instead of bbqing but I followed the rest of the recipe. The redcurrant sauce was great and I will use the rest of it on some thing else. I did soak and boil my own chickpeas instead of using tinned.

Chicken Sausages with Nectarines, Chickpeas and Redcurrant Sauce

Serves 4

  • 750 g thin reduced-fat chicken sausages
  • 400 g canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 3 small nectarines, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 c. loosely packed cups baby basil leaves
  • 1 loosely packed cup parsley leaves
Redcurrant sauce
  • 1 small eschalot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 c (160 ml) chicken stock
  • 1/4 c redcurrant jam (I used Baxter's Redcurrant Jelly)
  • Bake sausages in the oven on a rack in a roasting pan at 190 C for 40 minutes or until cooked through then slice into pieces.
  • For sauce: put eschalot and red wine vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil and simmer until vinegar is almost gone.
  • Add stock and simmer until reduced by half.
  • Add jam and stir until melted and boil until reduced and thickened.
  • Combine chickpeas, nectarines and herbs. Place on plates, top with sliced sausages and drizzle with the sauce.

Chicken sausages with nectarines, chickpeas and redcurrant sauce

February 2005 - Caramelised Leek and Bacon Pilaf

Moving right along to 2005, so half way there already this month, which I am very pleased with. Issue #35 turned out to be very tempting and it was very difficult to make a decision on what to make and blog about. There are several recipes in here that I will make, like Pork with Fresh Peach Chutney, who wouldn't want to use the wonderful stone fruit that is available at this time of year. The Barley Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts sounds really good and I am sure it will be some thing nice and healthy to have in the fridge for lunches. Although I would probably substitute the pine nuts for pistachios or almonds, I am not keen on pine nuts outside of pesto. Another quick and easy recipe that I considered was Linguine with Chilli Tuna and Broccolini. I love pastas dishes and I think that I will make this one for dinner soon.

In the end I decided to go with another easy dish for a quick meal after a long, frustrating day at the office. The Guest Chef in this issue was Ainsley Harriott, I haven't used a lot of his recipes before. Although I know that in another issue of delicious. some where down the line there is a wonderful Beef Bourguignonne recipe of his that is just divine. However his Caramelised Leek & Bacon Pilaf was not divine. In fact it was pretty average. After following the recipe the rice was cooked but there was still an awful lot of liquid in the bottom of the pan. When I tested it, it was pretty bland so I decided to add some veg to it and poured in a heap of frozen peas and some chopped up mushrooms that I had in the fridge. I turned the heat up to high and cooked until the liquid was boiled off, the peas were heated through and the mushrooms cooked. In the end it turned out okay taste wise but the rice was, of course, over cooked. If I make it again the liquid in the recipe will need to be reduced, oh and don't use as much butter as suggested I drained a lot of it away and it was still pretty greasy.

Caramelised Leek and Bacon Pilaf

Serves 2

  • 50 g unsalted butter (I would use no more than half this)
  • 2 leeks (white part only), washed, finely sliced (I used a couple of red onions as that was all I had)
  • 2 good pinches of ground allspice
  • 100 g rindless bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 c (150 g) basmati rice
  • 2 c (500 ml) vegetable or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2/3 c Greek yoghurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Melt butter in deep pan with lid over med-low heat. Add leeks with a pinch of allspice and cook until softened and beginning to brown slightly. Add the bacon and cook until golden.
  • Add rice and stir until coated then add stock and season.
  • Bring to the boil cover with the lid and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes or until the rice is cooked and liquid absorbed.
  • Fold in the parsley and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  • While rice is cooking, mix the yoghurt, garlic and remaining allspice to serve with the pilaf.

Caramelised onion and bacon pilaf

Saturday 13 February 2010

February 2004 - Fig and Goat's Cheese Tranche

Figs, figs everywhere. February is the month for figs. There are all sorts of recipes in many magazines this month that use them. My grandparents have a fig tree and have had plenty of them, which they are giving away left and right. I got some from them last year and made my own fig jam. It is lovely but I don't tend to eat a lot of jams. From the amount of it I have made in the past 6 months you would think that I eat it all the time. I make it for Christmas presents but I ended up with way more than I needed. I now have jars of strawberry, spiced peach, nectarine & brandy, fig and apple & ginger jams on my shelf to be used to.

The recipe that I chose, Valli Little's Fig & Goat's Cheese Tranche, used fresh figs, which I picked from my grandparents tree only an hour before I used them, and also used some of my stored fig jam. It also allowed me to use up the rest of the goat's cheese I bought for the Beetroot, Goat's Cheese & Walnut salad I made earlier. While it was very nice and made for a good lunch, I am not sure it will feature on my menu again. It was a bit too sweet for my liking. I think that it would have been nice to add some thin slices of prosciutto crumpled up on it before baking. Although it would no longer be vegetarian and I try to eat a certain amount of vegetarian meals each week. It saves me some money and is good for me. To add a bit of pep to this one I drizzled with a chilli honey that I purchased from The Honey Farm in Tasmania, they have some excellent products for sale on their website check it out if you get a chance.

Fig and Goat's Cheese Tranche

Serves 3

  • 1 block (375g) puff pastry (I used one sheet of ready-rolled)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup good-quality fig jam
  • 120g soft goats' cheese
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 3-4 ripe figs, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbs honey
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  • For the pastry, since I used a ready rolled sheet I didn't have to roll it out much. I just folded the sheet in half and rolled slightly to press it together. Place on a baking sheet and brush with the egg and then prick with a fork.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then place another tray on top and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool for a few minutes while a your grill heats up to medium-high.
  • Spread cooked pastry with jam top with goats cheese, rosemary and figs.
  • Grill until cheese is starting to turn golden.
  • Remove from grill and drizzle with honey.
  • I served with salad greens.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Tranche

Tuesday 9 February 2010

February 2003 - Corn Salad and Spicy Potatoes with Tomato Salsa

Moving right along to issue #13. I really wanted to make the Duck Breasts with Berries but I could not get any duck breasts. I might as well have asked for hen's teeth as duck breasts at the couple of places that I enquired. I was told that they could special order me a whole duck but I didn't want a whole duck, I just wanted two breasts. Maybe one day I will be able to get them and come back to this recipe but I am not going to hold my breath.

I, instead, found my way to the "cooking with Bill Granger" section and discovered not one but two recipes that I wanted to try. He had a whole section devoted to a Mexican feast. I quite enjoy Mexican food and most of these recipes looked to be quick and easy so I chose two from the same page, Corn Salad and Spicy Potatoes with Tomato Salsa. I would have made it three with the Watermelon Vodka Juice but I didn't have any vodka in the house. I have made something similar in the past though. Bill used vodka, ice, sugar syrup and chopped watermelon blended up. I used to freeze chunks of watermelon to blend up with vodka and sugar syrup. That way you don't have ice watering things down.

The corn salad and the spicy potatoes with tomato salsa were very good. I particularly liked the corn salad. Everything was fresh and it was light and clean tasting. As part of Bill's feast he served it all with fish tacos. I had no interest in going there, so I pan fried a lightly seasoned pork leg steak and it worked very well with the two sides. The only thing I changed flavour wise was in the corn salad. It called for coriander leaves. I cannot stand coriander leaves. I have no problem with ground coriander seeds but the leaves just taste like soap to me. So I will always either substitute it or make something else.

Corn Salad

Serves 4

  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 3 cups of fresh kernels from 3 - 4 cobs of corn (depending on size)
  • 20 ml lime juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 green capsicum (I used red), finely sliced
  • handful of coriander leaves (ugh! I used flat leaf parsley)
  • Husk the corn and remove as much of the silk as possible. With a sharp knife slice down each cob to remove the kernels, or used a corn stripping tool if you have one.
  • Heat oil in a fry pan and add corn and fry stirring constantly until cooked. This will take about 3 - 4 minutes. I let it brown a touch just to add to the flavour.
  • Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper and add lime juice and leave to cool.
  • Before serving add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Corn salad

Spicy Potatoes with Tomato Salsa

Serves 4

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 40 ml lime juice
  • 1 tsp tabasco, or to taste
  • 2 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
  • 1 kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed clean and halved (I just used baby potatoes quartered)
Tomato Salsa
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 20 ml lime juice
  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
  • Combine all ingredients for the potatoes and toss thoroughly to combine.
  • Turn out on a baking tray and bake in the oven until done, mine took about 30 minutes, Bill suggest an hour but mine were cut smaller.
  • While potatoes are cooking combine all ingredients for the salsa and set aside for flavours to combine.
  • Serve potatoes topped with the salsa and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.

Spicy potatoes with tomato salsa

February 2002 - Beetroot, Goat's Cheese and Walnut salad

It has taken me a while to get back here, unfortunately there has been some stuff happening in real life that has kept me away. I have still been cooking away but just not blogging away. However I am back now and getting started on the back log.

You will have seen this cover last month, it is for issue #2 from January/February 2002. I am so grateful that delicious. quickly moved from being published every second month to monthly. Having already looked through this magazine several times I was drawn to one recipe in particular. It comes from the wonderful Valli Little and is so striking and simple but full of flavour. The recipe I chose was Beetroot, Goat's Cheese & Walnut salad.

This was just terrific and I am sure that any other lovers of beetroot would enjoy this too. To cook the beetroot for the salad I rubbed them with olive oil and roasted in the oven for about an hour as they were pretty big. I tested them by pushing a knife in to make sure that they were done. I then cooled them before peeling. It is a good idea to wear a pair of gloves when peeling beets, I didn't this time around and ended up with some pink hands for a couple of days. The recipe also called for walnut oil for the dressing and toasted walnut pieces for the actual salad. I could not obtain walnut oil so I decided to go with macadamia oil and to follow through on that I used macadamia nuts in the salad. I think it worked quite well. Although I might try a different nut next time, perhaps pecans. I really enjoyed this, I had it for dinner but I think that it would make a great lunch option.

Beetroot, Goat's Cheese and Walnut salad

Serves 4

  • 450 g cooked beetroot, peeled (you want fairly big ones)
  • 125 g soft goat's cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100 ml walnut oil
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp bottled grated horseradish
  • 150 g mixed baby salad leaves
  • 70 g walnut pieces, lightly toasted
  • Pre-heat oven grill.
  • Slice beetroot in to rounds approximately 2 cm thick.
  • With the remaining off cuts, dice them into small pieces.
  • Mix the goat's cheese and half the chives, I also added a small amount of the horseradish.
  • Spread this mixture thickly over the beetroot rounds.
  • Combine vinegar and garlic in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the oils. I had trouble getting this to emulsify so I put it into the small bowl of my KitchenAid food processor and wizzed it up. It worked a charm. Stir in horseradish and remaining chives.
  • Grill beetroot rounds until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  • Combine salad leaves, diced beetroot, nuts and dressing and divide between 4 plates and top with beetroot round.

Beetroot, goat's cheese & macadamia salad