Monday 31 May 2010

May 2010 - Tuscan Roast Pork Belly

This is going to be a quick post as I am exhausted tonight but I really need to get this posted before the end of the night so that it is still posted in May.

There was really only one recipe that I wanted to try in issue #93 and that was Valli Little's Tuscan Roast Pork Belly. There are others but none that I instantly wanted to make as much. I had never actually roasted a piece of pork belly before but this was just glorious. The flavours were beautiful, it was sweet and almost falling apart. The skin turned in to wonderful crackling and the gravy the was so good with the inclusion of marsala. I had my grandparents around for dinner and served it with roasted potato, beets and choko. It was just great.

Tuscan Roast Pork Belly

Serves 6

  • 2.5 kg piece boneless pork belly (skin on and scored)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 tbps fennel seeds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups (5oo ml) dry white wine
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) marsala
  • Place pork on a rack in the sink and pour over a kettle full of boiling water. (Valli said this helps to crisp the crackling). Pat dry.
  • Pound rosemary, fennel seeds, zest and garlic in a motar and pestle until you have a paste.
  • Add oil and mix to combine.
  • Rub over pork and marinate for at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 220 C.
  • Rub pork with 2 tbsp of salt and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, reduce heat to 160 C, add wine to the pan and return to oven for 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven lift meat and scatter onions and lay meat over the onions. Return to the oven for another hour.
  • Remove pork from the pan cover with foil and let rest for 15 minute.
  • Drain off all but 2 tbsp of fat.
  • Meanwhile, add flour to the pan and cook on the stove over a medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes stirring to lift all the pan juices.
  • Add stock and marsala and reduce until desired thickness.
  • Thickly slice pork (mine pretty much fell apart) and serve with the gravy and roast vegetables.

Tuscan roast pork belly

Tuscan roast pork belly

May 2009 - Baked Capsicums Stuffed with Porcini Risotto

So to the penultimate issue for May. There are some really nice Italian recipes in issue #82.

There are two different recipes for Tuscan Bread Soup. The one from the real fast food section looked nice. However Ben O'Donoghue's recipe looked wonderful. Lovely and thick and and full of everything that you would expect from an Italian soup. Since I had already made recently minestrone, and had a heap left over I wasn't keen for more soup in the fridge.

I had planned on making Valli Little's Twice roasted potatoes with onion, herbs and chilli. It is a really easy recipe, although takes a little time. It first involves roasting whole potatoes then cutting them into chunks sprinkling with herbs, sliced onions, chilli flakes and olive oil and roasting further. To make it a bit more rustic tearing rather than cutting the roasted potatoes would probably be nice. I had planned on making these to go with the meal from the May 2010 issue however I decided that I would be better off with a plainer potato for that meal. Plus I was having my grandparents coming for dinner that night and was worried about too much chilli for them.

The recipe that I ended up making comes from an article with recipes attributed to Francesco Garripoli and Valli Little, so I am not sure which of them came up with the fabulous Baked Capsicums Stuffed with Porcini Risotto. It was served with a beautifully tangy parsley and onion salad. I love stuffed capsicums. I do them with a variety of different things from chicken & cheese to a savoury mince meat concoction, there was also a quinoa stuffing that a tried from another blog that was very good. I had never thought to stuff them with risotto before, although I do stuff eggplants with risotto.

The porcini risotto was just lovely too. I used the left over in some risotto cakes the following night and although not as good as it was when stuffed in the capsicum it was still very nice. I think that the sweetness of the roast capsicum and the tangy parsley salad really helped to mellow the earthiness of the porcini mushrooms which were a bit overpowering when the risotto was eaten without those accompanying flavours. I also made the risotto slightly differently too. The recipe had it start out like a regular recipe but had all the liquid put in at once and it left to absorb, shaking occasionally. I have tried this method for making risotto in the past however I find that it is not nearly as nice as a stirred risotto. This was a lovely meal, one that I would make again, although perhaps just with a regular mushroom risotto or any type of risotto really.

Baked Capsicums Stuffed with Porcini Risotto

Serves 6

  • 20 g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups (440 g) arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 L (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 heaped tbsp each of chopped fresh basil, oregano, flat-leaf parsley and thyme
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) grated parmesan
  • 3 large red and 3 large yellow capsicums
Parsley & Onion Salad
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil (I only used a drizzle)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Drain mushrooms and chop. Reserve soaking liquid.
  • Cook onion in olive oil in a large pan until softened.
  • Add mushrooms and rice and stir until rice is coated in oil and translucent.
  • Add wine and cook stirring.
  • Add stock ladle by ladle stirring continuously until the stock has been incorporated.
  • Add herbs, zest and parmesan. Set aside.
  • Pre-heat oven to 190 C
  • Remove the tops of the capsicums and remove the seeds and membranes. Rinse to make sure all seeds are gone and then pat dry.
  • Fill capsicums with risotto, drizzle with some olive oil and bake for 15 minute or until softened slightly and filling is heated.
  • For salad: Toss all ingredients and season with pepper.

Porcini risotto stuffed capsicum with parsley & onion salad

Saturday 29 May 2010

May 2008 - Homestyle Minestrone

Belinda Jeffery's Roast Lemon Chicken with Sicilian Olives on the front of issue #71 looks really good. It is quite a simple recipe using thigh cutlets. Sicilian olives are quite nice, even though I am not normally a fan of green olives. I have bought them previously in one of the local supermarkets however they were sold out when I went looking.

I was then going to make Jamie Oliver's Spaghetti with pan-fried prawns and tomatoes. It sounded nice and different since I don't normally eat prawns I thought that it would be something different. The supermarkets here do have prawns, sometimes though you cannot get green prawns and the night I wanted to make this I could only get already cooked prawns. I have used already cooked prawns in meals previously but they always end up tough so I just decided to make something else.

Since it has started to get cold here I had been wanting to make soup to have for quick meals and lunches. To this end I decided to make Valli Little's Homestyle Minestrone. The recipe said that it made 6 serves so I decided to make half the recipe but I still ended up with a huge amount of soup. It was very nice though so I was not overly concerned. I didn't have any small tubular pasta so I just used risoni in it. It was a nice filling soup. I serve with some slices of garlic bread for a nice meal.


Thursday 27 May 2010

May 2007 - Torta Pasqualina

The recipe on the cover of issue 60, Torta di Verona (mascarpone trifle with blueberries and almonds), looks divine and I am sure that it would taste divine too. However I had already made a dessert this month and had another one planned, which was not delicious. magazine related. Due to this I didn't think that I could make a third one this month.

Jamie Oliver's Mushroom Stroganoff soup sounded really good. He also had a recipe for Steak & Mushroom pie which includes grated cheddar as one of the ingredients which sounded lovely too. Neither of these recipes seem all that Italian to me even if he does talk about mushroom picking with Gennaro Contaldo. Jamie also has Real Mushroom soup recipe (not in this issue) that I have made in the past that is fabulous and I would highly recommend making. Since I had made a similar recipe of his in the past I decided to make something else.

I tossed up making either Debbie Major's Prosciutto, Goat's Cheese & Roast Capsicum Pizza or Steak Tagliata with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. I have, however, already made a pizza and a pasta dish this month and I really wanted to make something different.

To this end I decided to make Angela Boggiano's Torta Pasqualina which is a ricotta, artichoke and spinach pie type thing. It was really easy to make. It made for a very nice lunch. I think that it could have been a bit better with some different artichoke hearts. The recipe called for ones that were marinated in oil, however all I had were ones in brine. I think that there was a bit of a flavour dimension missing there. I have had the marinated artichoke hearts in oil before, they are really nice on toasted focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted capsicum, olives and salami. These ones tasted nothing like those. They were quite bland and, of course, that smoothness that the oil adds was missing. Next time I make this I will use the correct artichokes.

I was really pleased with the pastry. It was just lovely and I think that I will definitely use this pastry for other things. It was so easy to make. The olive oil substituted beautifully for the butter. I was initially slightly worried that it was not going to roll out very well as it seemed a bit stiff and hard (for want of a better word) before I let it rest. After the resting period it was just perfect to work with. I rolled it out without any problems. It lifted off my rolling sheet without splitting or cracking, which is more than I can say about some of the pastries that I have made recently. It was just so beautiful to work with and it cooked wonderfully. I think that the only thing that I would leave out next time is the additional two eggs that are cracked into depressions in the filling. The yolks of the cut egg in the picture looks really weird. It tasted and smelt okay so I am not really sure why it looked the way it did. The extra eggs just seemed unnecessary to me. I did enjoy it though and would probably make it again.

Torta Pasqualina

Serves 8

  • 2 c (300 g) flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 marinated artichokes in oil, drained & roughly chopped
  • 400 g spinach leaves, washed
  • Large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 450 g fresh ricotta, well drained
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 6 large eggs
  • Mixed salad, to serve
  • For Pastry: Mix flour & pinch of salt in a bowl.
  • Add 2 tbsp oil and about 150 ml warm water and mix to form a dough.
  • Knead for 5 minutes or until soft and stretchy (mine wasn't but I didn't want to over work it, it was after resting though). Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • For Filling: Heat remaining oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and fry, stirring often for 5 minute or until softened.
  • Stir in artichokes and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add spinach and allow to wilt for a few minutes.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly,
  • Pre-heat oven to 220 C.
  • In a food processor add spinach mixture, parsley, ricotta, parmesan and 3 eggs. Season with salt & pepper and pulse to combine.
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and roll out into a 38 cm circle and line base and sides of 23 cm springform tin (with overhang). Spoon in filling.
  • Make two indents and crack in two eggs.
  • Roll out remaining pastry to a 23 cm circle and lay on top rolling edges of pastry together to seal.
  • Brush with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake 35 minutes or until golden.

Torta Pasqualina

Torta Pasqualina slice

Tuesday 25 May 2010

May 2006 - Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions

Issue #49 of delicious. is packed with so many wonderful recipes. I had a bit of a hard time choosing, although at the same time I think that I had in the back of my mind what would ultimately make from this issue the whole time.

The first recipe that I really wanted to make was Armando Percuoco's Casatiello. It is a yeast dough that is rolled out and then filled with salami, cheese and boiled eggs. It is then rolled up and placed in a ring pan and cook. I just love salami and cheese. I adore pizza with salami and cheese on it and have been known to eat left over salami and cheese for days after making a pizza.

Another recipe that I considered was Valli Little's Pork Cutlets with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce. The name of the recipe really speaks for itself. I was very impressed with strawberries as part of a savoury meal when I had them in a salad with lamb cutlets. That was one of the reasons I didn't make this recipe as it was fairly similar to that one even though this one is pork and the other lamb. Another reason is that strawberries are ridiculously expensive at this time of year. I suppose that I could have used frozen ones but it wouldn't have been the same and there were plenty of other recipes to choose from.

I decided to make Jill Dupleix's Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions. I know that there would be a lot of people out there that would say yuck to liver but I quite like it. I have however been eating it since I was a young child. My gramma used to cook it and therefore my mum did too. My dad always said that he hated liver when he was a child but loved the way that my mum cooked it. It is also part of a whole animal approach to eating too and there is nothing wrong with these cuts. I will admit that I am not a fan of kidney or tongue and I do not think that I have ever had heart, I may have to give it a try.

One good thing about liver is that it is very inexpensive. From my local butcher I got 1 kg of liver for $4.00. I had my butcher slice it into thin slices and once I trimmed it up a bit I got enough for six meals for me and one for my cats. I think that is pretty good for $4.00! If you can get calf's liver like Jill's recipe calls for it is better, I could only get bullock's liver and it has a stronger flavour. Not a bad flavour but it is stronger. The calf's liver is quite mild in taste. Pork liver is also very nice but butchers don't generally get it in, I have always had to order it from my butcher if I want it.

I only made one change to Jill's recipe. My gramma and my mum always used to soak the sliced liver in tomato juice. I don't know exactly why however I believe that the acidity of the tomato juice acted as a tenderiser. I have always believed that it was also done to remove bitterness but I do not know if that is true or not. Jill's recipe did not soak the liver but I just felt that I had to do it. In fact the only difference in Jill's recipe to my mothers is the balsamic onions. Mum always did onions with liver but the balsamic added an extra dimension to it. It was a wonderful meal. In some ways it was a perfect example of comfort food for me. I served it with the Polenta Senza Bastone from the May 2005 issue and steamed broccoli and the onions. I just loved it and am very pleased that I have more liver in the freezer.

Calf's Liver with Balsamic Onions

Serves 4

  • 750 g calf's liver, cut into 5 mm thick slices
  • Enough tomato juice to cover (1 -2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Balsamic Onions
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced (I used tuscan red onions and sliced in the food processor)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Place liver in a large dish and cover with tomato juice and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes but not too much longer.
  • For onions: Heat butter and oil over a low heat.
  • Add onions and cover with lid and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add balsamic, sugar and season with salt and pepper and cook over a high heat stirring for a few minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • For liver: Heat butter and olive oil over a high heat.
  • Drain each slice of liver, I do this by running it over the edge of the dish, and one at a time, dust in flour.
  • When butter and oil are hot fry slices of liver quickly, they really only need a minute or so on each side. It is easier to cook in batches. When you remove from the pan place on a plate in a warm oven while cooking the rest.
  • Serve with polenta and onions.

Liver with Caramelised Balsamic Onions

Monday 24 May 2010

May 2005 - Polenta Senza Bastone

I started this post two days ago and only got as far as inserting the picture of issue #38. I was at a bit of a loss for words but I think I have them back now, at least for a while.

My first choice for something to make from this issue was Curtis Stone's parmesan-crusted veal escalope and crispy potatoes. It has a nice citrusy sauce with it as well. I have done parmesan-crusted chicken fillets in the past and they have always been very nice. I haven't eaten a lot of veal. I find that it is a slightly bland meat but it is usually nice and tender and I think that is what is required here. In the end I decided to make something else.

I considered making Jill Dupleix's Green Pea & Mint Frittata for a nice lunch but frittatas are very hard to make smaller. I have a few different fry pans, oh and I added a couple of Swiss Diamond pans to my collection recently. However I don't really have one for cooking an individual frittata. I do have one small cast iron one that belonged to my mother and while it is the right diameter it really isn't deep enough. It is the perfect size for making a single fried egg though. I didn't really want to have a bunch of left over frittata so I moved on.

While trying to decided what to have with the meal I was making from the May 2006 issue I decided to see if there were any side dishes in this issue that would work with it. I ultimately decided to go with Nigella's Polenta Senza Bastone. I love polenta both soft and firm polenta. It is a wonderful side dish and I think that I will continue to make it Nigella's way. This involves baking it in the oven rather than standing over and stirring it for ages getting spat at with hot bits of polenta. It was just as good as if I had stood over the stove stirring and went with my meal perfectly.

Polenta Senza Bastone

Serves 4 - 6

  • 1.8L chicken stock
  • 350 g polenta
  • Pre-heat oven to 190C
  • Grease oven proof dish. (I made half a recipe and used a small lasagne dish)
  • Bring stock to the boil.
  • Whisk in polenta and stir continuously when it starts to thicken change to a wooden spoon.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Pour into prepared dish, cover with buttered foil.
  • Bake for 1 hour.

Polenta Senza Bastone

Tuesday 18 May 2010

May 2004 - Baked Lemon & Coconut Meringue Cheesecake

Issue #27 is an interesting issue of delicious. magazine. There was plenty of stuff to read in it. I just loved the article about Rome perhaps one of these days I will travel some where other than Canada. For my next trip I am hoping to purchase a round the world ticket and actually visit some other places although that may also involve having to win the lottery. *lol*

There were really only two recipes that I really wanted to make out of this issue. One being Valli Little's Ricotta Tortas with Marinated Capsicum, which to be honest is just breadcrumb coated ricotta baked in individual quiche tins. Nothing too fancy but the picture looks so good. It would make a lovely lunch with a little green salad on the side. I really like the marinated capsicum too. I always have a jar of it in the fridge as it is wonderful on a toasted ham, sun-dried tomato, marinated capsicum and cream cheese panini (or focaccia depending on what I have on hand).

As much as I liked the sound of the ricotta tortas there really was only one recipe that I truly wanted to make from this issue and one that I was itching to taste from the moment I saw it. It is the winning recipe from a competition on ABC radio here in Australia and it is not hard to see why this Baked Lemon & Coconut Meringue Cheesecake recipe won the competition either. It is a glorious recipe that was beautiful and creamy and deliciously full of citrus tang. It was not overly sweet, which I think is important in a citrus dessert. Some of them are just so sweet that it over powers that lovely tang that lemons, especially, have. I would probably use a plain biscuit for the base next time I make it. The Nice biscuits were good but I don't think that the extra sugar in them is necessary. I ended up making half the recipe and made individual ones rather than one big one. I was so happy with this that I will be making it the next time I am entertaining. In fact, I loved it so much I wanted to make it again straight away. While there are a few steps it is still really easy to make and I highly recommend it.

Baked Lemon & Coconut Meringue Cheesecake

Serves 8

  • 330 g Nice biscuits (I would use any plain biscuit)
  • 120 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 500 g cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c (150 g) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, plus 2 extra egg yolks
  • 1/2 c (125 ml) lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
Meringue topping
  • 2 eggwhites
  • 1/2 c (110 g) caster sugar
  • 1 c dessicated coconut (I used shredded and would use slightly less next time)
  • Pre-heat oven to 160 C.
  • Grease an 8-cm deep 20 cm loose bottomed tart pan.
  • Process biscuits to fine crumbs, add butter and 1 tbsp water and blitz to combine.
  • Press into base and sides of tart pan. Place on a baking tray and refrigerate until needed.
  • Blitz cream cheese in cleaned processor bowl until smooth then slowly add sugar and mix thoroughly.
  • Add eggs and extra yolks one at a time, blitzing only until just combined. Add juice and zest and process until combined.
  • Pour into tart pan and bake for 30 minutes (or until there is only a slight wobble).
  • Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
For topping:
  • Beat egg whites to soft peaks in a clean bowl.
  • Gradually add sugar and beat until thick and glossy.
  • Fold in coconut.
  • Carefully spread the topping over the cheesecake.
  • Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to the touch.
  • Allow to cool completely.

Baked Lemon & Coconut Meringue Cheesecake

Baked Lemon & Coconut Meringue Cheesecake cut

Sunday 16 May 2010

May 2003 - Midweek Pizza

This is the first actual Italian issue from delicious. magazine. There is great variety of food in it. It is not the only Australian food magazine that does an annual Italian issue, I think that most of them do these days. I cannot say whether or not delicious. did it first either. I would like to think so but I just don't know.

There were a number of different recipes that I wanted to make from issue #16. The Semolina Shortbread with Caramelised Apples looked divine and I tossed up whether to make this or another dessert from a later issue for a long time before finally deciding on the other one. I really like caramelised apples. I have been known to slice up an apple, caramelise it and serve with ice cream or custard for a quick and tasty dessert. Plus it is very easy to make for one.

The other thing that really caught my eye was Maggie Beer's Rabbit with Anchovies and Roasted Garlic. I remember eating rabbit as a child but I do not think that I have ever eaten it as an adult and I have certainly never cooked it for myself. I was intrigued and the recipe seemed easy enough. However, at my butcher, and all the others in town, rabbits need to be ordered in and the price I was quoted was more than I wanted to spend on a meal just for myself. I think if I was to have someone over, like my grandparents, I would probably buy one and make the meal. They were away when I was choosing recipes so it wasn't possible to have them over.

I ended up deciding to make Valli Little's Midweek Pizza from the regular Tuesday Night Cooking section. To be honest I didn't follow Valli's recipe at all but I did make a quick and easy pizza. I used Lebanese bread for the base. Topped with home made pizza sauce (that I keep in the freezer), sliced onion, very finely slice Sicilian hot salami, black olives, semi-dried tomatoes and baby bocconcini and baked at 200 C for 15 minutes. It was just perfect for a quick after work meal and something that I do every couple of weeks.


Monday 10 May 2010

May 2002 - Orecchiette (Pasta) with Cream Broccoli

A new month and a new set of magazines to agonise over. May is going to be rather Italian themed as since 2003 May has been the annual Italian issue and even in the 2002 there were a number of Italian recipes so I decided to just go for it. Although there is a rather non-Italian dessert shortly.

I had a craving for macaroni and cheese a few weeks ago. While looking through issue # 5 I noticed that there was Ian Parmenter's Three Cheese Macaroni and I thought that might hit the spot. I had a number of different cheeses in the fridge and thought that I could cobble some of those together to make this. In the end though I wasn't sure what I wanted to serve with it so I decided to make something different.

Valli Little's Eggplant Parmigiana looked so wonderful and would use the bocconcini that I had in the fridge. I really like parmigiana especially a vegetarian version and this one, with the inclusion of capsicum sounded like it would be really good. There were two reasons that I didn't make this, the first was that the only nice looking eggplants were finger eggplants and I didn't think that they would work very well in it. The other reason was that I was looking for something quick to make one evening for dinner and this certainly isn't a quick dish to make.

I decided to make Valli Little's Orecchiette with Creamy Broccoli. Not only was it a quick recipe to make it also included a serve of green vegetables. I left out the anchovies in the recipe, I am not a fan of them unless they are in a long, slow cooked dish where they add richness and depth but without the fishy taste. I just used a couple of shakes of some flaked chillis (hot) and it was just a tad too much but nothing too bad. The cream in the recipe cut through the heat fairly well. I think that this could also be made with light evaporated milk to cut back on the fat a bit as well. I didn't have any orecchiette so I just used some pasta curls. I think that the orecchiette would have worked better as it would have held more of the sauce the the little cup shaped pasta but I am making myself use up some of my stores before I purchase anything more.

I made quite a few changes to the method of the recipe too. I added the broccoli to the cooking pasta in the last couple of minutes of cooking. After I drained that, I used the same pot to fry off the garlic and chilli, I also added some very finely sliced green onions then added some cream and heated, I added the pasta and broccoli and stirred to combine and stirred through some of the grated parmesan. Served and topped with the remaining grated parmesan. I think it was easier than following the recipe would have been.

Pasta with Creamy Broccoli Sauce