Wednesday 30 June 2010

June 2010 - Creamy Onion Tart in Walnut Pastry

On to the final issue for June. I cannot believe how quickly this month has passed. In fact it is hard to believe that I am half way through my back issues. I have discovered some wonderful recipes, and not just the ones that I have actually made and posted but all the others that I have marked to make as well. I really hope that I will go back more often and look through the back issues for some thing to make.

I have to admit that besides Valli Little's Spanish Pear Tarts with Pedro Ximenez syrup on the cover I didn't really consider any other recipe than the one I made from issue #94. I am sure there are plenty of good recipes in there and flicking through some things do look quite good. However Debbie Major's Creamy Onion Tart in Walnut Pastry caught my eyes and after that I wasn't interested in anything else. This was a great recipe and super easy to make. The pastry was a bit salty, I wouldn't add the salt when making it next time. The filling was fairly rich given all the cream and eggs in it but it was definitely worth it. I had it for dinner but I think that it would make a wonderful lunch.

Creamy Onion Tart in Walnut Pastry

Serves 6

  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 4 large onions (about 450 g total), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300 ml thickened cream (I used pure cream)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Walnut pastry
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) toasted walnuts
  • 100 g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • For the pastry: place flour, walnuts and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor and blend until nuts are finely chopped.
  • Add butter and process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add 1 1/2 tbsp cold water and process until mixture comes together in a ball.
  • Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.
  • Roll between two pieces of baking paper until 5 mm thick. Line 23 cm loose-bottomed tart pan. Chill for 30 minutes (I put it in the freezer for 10 instead).
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan over a low heat.
  • Add onion and a pinch of salt, cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft but not browned.
  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
  • Line pastry shell with baking paper and pie weights or rice and bake for 20 minutes. Remove paper and bake for a further 5 minutes .
  • Reduce oven to 190 C.
  • Mix onions with parley, salt and pepper and then spread over the base of the tart shell.
  • Beat eggs, cream and nutmeg together with a fork and pour over the onions.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

Creamy Onion Tart in Walnut Pastry

Creamy Onion Tart in Walnut Pastry slice

June 2009 - Greek Rice Pudding

Well, we are getting close to the end of my vegetarian month and I have to admit that I have been a bit disappointed with the recipes on offer in these issues. Perhaps June wasn't the best time of year to attempt it. Maybe in the summer months there would be more vegetarian recipes with more people eating salads and lighter foods during that time. However part of doing this was to find some different vegetarian meals to have during the winter.

In issue #83 I was first drawn towards making Jamie Oliver's Spicy Kumara Soup with Goat's Cheese Crostini. However when I took some time to have a better look at the recipe it was only some curry paste, kumara and stock. There was pieces of roasted capsicum put into the soup after it was cooked and the goat's cheese smeared on bits of toasted bread. There just wasn't enough to it for me. I think that if there was also onion, a regular potato, carrot and perhaps celery in it I might have been more interested but in the end it just didn't interest me enough to make it.

Ben O'Donoghue's Cambodian Beef Soup was something that I was interested in making but it didn't fit my vegetarian menu plan. The Spinach & Feta Filo Pie did fit the menu plan but it wasn't that long ago that I made something similar.

In the end I decided on another dessert, Jill Dupleix's Greek Rice Pudding. Which by a strange co-incidence I discovered is also in one of the July back issues as well. It really is just a creamed rice made on the stove top with the addition of some rose water. I have to admit that I really loved the addition of the rose water and the warmed, home made, strawberry jam on top. It just adds some thing different. Next time I think that I would use a little be less milk and leave out the cornflour. It made for a really nice and reasonably healthy dessert. I had some more of it for breakfast this morning. :)

Greek Rice Pudding

Serves 4

  • 1L (4 cups) milk + 1 tbsp extra
  • 1/2 cup 110g arborio rice
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 cup low-joule strawberry jam, warmed
  • Gently heat milk and rice in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until milk comes to a simmer.
  • Turn heat to low just before milk boils, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice is tender.
  • Add sugar, vanilla and rosewater, and stir until sugar dissolves.
  • Mix cornflour to a paste with extra milk. Add paste to rice, raise heat slightly to medium, and stir well for 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens to a creamy texture.
  • Serve top with warmed jam.

Greek Rice Pudding

Monday 28 June 2010

June 2008 - Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Banana and Palm Sugar

Ahhh, cheese....who doesn't love cheese? I am sure there are those that do not like it but I am certainly not one of them. I love most types, blue is probably the one exception. Although I have had a nice blue cheese dressing previously (not the one I made a while ago though). Rick Stein's Swiss Cheese Fondue looks beautifully rich and glorious and would be terrific to share with friends.

I, however, was much more interested in two different recipes in issue # 72. The first was Jude Blereau's Roasted Eggplant with Chickpeas, Black Olive & Capsicum salsa. A seemingly glorious combination of stuff that I would have never put together myself. The salsa is made up of chickpeas, kalamata olives, roasted capsicum, herbs and feta. This is piled on top of eggplant halves that have been roasted in the oven after being fried for a couple of minutes and then basted with a balsamic, tamari, garlic, and basil marinade. I cannot wait to get my hands on some nice eggplants to make this, just the wrong season. There are still some in stores but they are a bit over ripe and kind of soft.

The other recipe that I was very intrigued with was Melbourne cafe, Birdman Eating's, Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Banana and Palm Sugar. I am always looking for something different for breakfast as well as a new way to use quinoa so this ticked all the right boxes. I was, however, quite disappointed. The palm sugar syrup was a bit over powering. My main problem though was the coconut milk I used though, Ayam brand. It was incredibly thick and the end product was a bit tinny tasting. I will try it using either a different brand of coconut milk or regular cows milk and see what it is like. I think that next time I will sweeten with maple or agave syrup.

Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Banana and Palm Sugar

Serves 4

  • 2 cups (500ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup (200 g) quinoa
  • 250 g dark palm sugar, cut into small chunks (or use 1 1/4 firmly packed cups dark brown sugar)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 c (35 g) shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • Combine coconut milk with 1 cup (250 ml) water in a jug, then set aside.
  • Combine quinoa and a pinch salt in a saucepan.
  • Add half the coconut milk/water mixture, or just enough to cover the grains.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring, over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 - 25 minutes or until the grains are tender and the mixture is a porridge consistency, topping up with some of the remaining liquid if it is becoming too thick.
  • Meanwhile, place the palm or brown sugar and 1 cup (250ml) water in another saucepan over low heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, then simmer for about 30 minutes until it is a thick, syrupy consistency and the mixture has reduced by half.
  • To serve, pour about 1 tbsp of syrup in the bottom of each bowl, spoon over the porridge then add a little more syrup. Top with sliced banana and sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve warm.
  • Store any remaining palm sugar syrup in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Coconut Quinoa porridge with banana and palm sugar

Sunday 27 June 2010

June 2007 - Spaghetti with prosciutto, peas and spring onion

The bright red cover of issue 61 really catches your eye and so does Valli Little's Spicy Beef, Olive & Caramelised Onion Pie. When I first pulled this issue out of the book case to get reacquainted with it I found myself with a large amount of marked recipes. I marked a few more while reading through it too.

This was another issue that was pretty light on the vegetarian recipes and the only one that interested me was Indian Cauliflower & Chickpea curry. It did sound good, but I just haven't felt like curry recently. So I decided that I would jut have to break with my vegetarian month for this issue. I have to admit that I am rather disappointed with the number of vegetarian recipes in the last few issues.

I did consider Jane Lawson's Passionfruit Sponge cake. This was one of the recipes that I have had marked since I first bought the magazine. I love sponge cakes, and they are so easy to make. The added bonus of this one is the beautiful passionfruit curd and passionfruit icing. The problem though is that it is not the right time of year for passionfruit. That is more of a summer fruit and at the moment they are a bit pricey. I know that you can purchase canned passionfruit but I am not keen on it. If I am going to make a passionfruit curd to go on a sponge cake it must be made with fresh passionfruit so I will keep this one until they are back in season.

Ingrid Rihani's Lamb Tagine with prunes, almonds and caramelised onions, a beautiful slow-cooked meal, that I am sure would be rich and full of flavour and delightfully tender. However, I was trying to get through some recipes quickly and it just didn't fall on the right day to make a long slow dish. I had the same issue with Ben O'Donoghue's Classic Coq au Vin. A glorious recipe full of every thing one would expect from coq au vin.

I ended up going with a recipe from Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers of River Cafe, Spaghetti with prosciutto, peas and spring onion. It sounds and looks like a fabulous recipe and I really want to like it because it was really easy to make. However I found it to be really greasy and I didn't enjoy it much which was really disappoint as I love the components. I think that if it had been a creamy sauce or perhaps a bit of lemon juice to cut through all the oil. I am not sure. It was quick and easy to make. It took a little bit less cooking time for me as I used frozen rather than fresh peas. Over all, I don't think that I would make this one again.

Spaghetti with prosciutto, peas and spring onion

Serves 4

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g spring onions with bulb, outside skin peeled away, whit part chopped
  • 400 g podded peas
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g prosciutto slices, torn
  • 350 g spaghetti
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan
  • Melt butter over medium to high heat and cook onion in it for 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Add the peas & 1/4 cup hot water and simmer until water evaporates.
  • Add garlic, parsley and 1/4 olive oil.
  • Cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minute or until peas are tender, then add prosciutto. If more liquid is needed, add olive oil, not water.
  • Cook for a further minute or until heated through.
  • Meanwhile cook spaghetti until al dente.
  • Drain, add to pea mixture and serve topped with parmesan.

Spaghetti with prosciutto peas & spring onions

Friday 25 June 2010

June 2006 - Greek Egg & Feta Pies

Okay, so I really want to get another post done but I am not feeling too well tonight so I will keep it reasonably short. Although I must say that it really will not be hard to keep it short on this one. I certainly wasn't overwhelmed for choice of vegetarian meals from issue #50. There are only 7 vegetarian recipes from the 48 recipes listed in the index, excluding desserts and side dishes. That really is a disappointing number.

I was going to make Valli Little's Spiced Haloumi Pasta. An intriguing mixture of pasta, haloumi and Indian spices served with naan and mango chutney. I was unable to find any fresh curry leaves (or dried for that matter) so I decided to leave this one for a time when I am able to get some. I have bought fresh curry leaves locally in the past so I am assuming that it is a seasonal product and this just isn't the right season.

I ended up making Jill Dupleix's Greek Egg & Feta Pies. These were incredibly simple and very tasty. I only did two things differently. I used puff pastry instead of phaffing around with filo and I chopped up the black olives and sprinkled them on top before baking. I would definitely make these again. Jill suggested serving with salad but it was cold so I cooked some beans and reheated the last of the Airport Potatoes to go with them.

Greek Egg & Feta Pies (my way, LOL)

Serves 4

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 30 g feta, crumbled (I am not sure how much I used, I think I could have used more)
  • 1 green onion, green part only finely sliced
  • 4 black olives finely chopped
  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Divide puff pastry into four. Roll each piece slightly and then use to line a well greased texas muffin pan.
  • Crack egg into each of the pastry cases being careful not to break the yolk.
  • Sprinkle with feta, green onions and olives. Season with pepper.
  • Bake in oven for 15 minute or until pastry is golden and eggs are set.

Egg & Feta Pies

Wednesday 23 June 2010

June 2005 - Airport Potatoes

I seem to be quickly getting through the recipes now, although not getting them posted quite as quickly. I had made the recipe from this issue on the weekend, the same day that I made the Florentine Pears from my last post. The cover recipe from issue #39, Bill Granger's Beef & Noodle Stir Fry with Chinese Broccoli looks just amazing. I think that just the colour of the background helps in it too. It didn't fit with my vegetarian month.

It is another month that is low on vegetarian recipes. I have noticed while looking through the issues that the first couple of years seemed to have a lot, then the next 3 or so years are a little bit bleak and the last 2 years there have been a decent range of recipes again. There is even the odd vegan recipe in there these days.

After looking through the recipes the only one that I wanted to make, besides Ben O'Donoghue's Cheesy Garlic Bread, was Jill Dupleix's Airport Potatoes. Jill describes the inspiration behind these as trays of potatoes in the airport at Rome. The recipe sounded really good and the taste was just sensational. I think that this could be a true rival of the traditional potato bake/gratin at an Aussie bbq. It has the added advantage of being a lot lower in fat too without all that cream. The only change that I will make when I make it next time is to added onion slices in layers with the potatoes. It was just superb. The potatoes were beautifully cooked and lovely and creamy. I used some baby Lady Cristel potatoes that were just perfect in the dish. A waxy potato is needed so that the do not break up while being cooked and mine held together perfectly. Jill suggests that this can be used for a side dish or an entire meal on its own. Now I will confess here that while this is a vegetarian/vegan friendly recipe I served it with a Herb & Mustard roast lamb and veg. I am not sure that I could just have a whole meal of the potatoes.

Airport Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled(I didn't peel mine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (I used Italian Mixed Herbs)
  • 1tb salted capers rinsed well
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 200g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Heat the oven to 190 C.
  • Slice the potatoes about 1/2 cm thick and roughly layer over the base of an oiled roasting dish seasoning with salt and pepper between the layers.
  • Add 1 cup (250 ml) water to the dish and cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine the canned tomatoes, oil, garlic, oregano, capers and half the chopped parsley.
  • Remove dish from the oven, remove the foil and pour over the tomato mixture. Top with cherry tomatoes and return to the oven, uncovered, for 30 - 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Serve with remain parsley scattered on top.

Airport Potatoes

Airport Potatoes with roast lamb and veg

Monday 21 June 2010

June 2004 - Florentine Pears

Well, here I am trying to pack in all these recipes in the last week of the month and I wishing that I had gotten myself more organised early in the month. Part of the problem was that I was stuck on what to make from issue #28.

I wasn't overly impressed with the range of vegetarian recipes on offer in this issue. There was a couple of pasta dishes, a rather uninspiring soup and a couple of salads. There was also a ricotta torte with two pestos which would be nice but needed an army of people to eat it. The other option was a rather strange Spiced coconut eggs, which is a curried egg recipe but it contains not only coconut cream but also thick cream and hollandaise sauce... A very strange combination to say the least. I was curious to know what it tasted like but not curious enough to actually make it.

Since I couldn't find anything vegetarian that really interested me so it was left with going for a meaty dish or dessert. After another trawl through the issue I decided on dessert. There were a number of really good desserts featuring pears. I love pears and this is the perfect time of year for them here. They are lovely and sweet and juicy. I was initially going to make the Pear & Ginger Tart. I considered making when my grandparents came to dinner at the end of last month but it is covered in whipped cream and my grandfather can't eat large amounts of cream. There is also a lovely Pear Charlotte recipe however it used a brioche loaf and I have never found a brioche loaf here.

In the end I decided to go with Valli Little's Florentine Pears. I used beurre bosc pears which were poached in a sugar syrup and then served with a chocolate and coffee sauce, vanilla ice cream and a florentine biscuit. The florentine seems to be rather superfluous but it was nice all the same. As you can see the recipe did not include making the florentines. They are pretty easy to make but I went the easy route and bought some. They are nice but not as nice as home made ones. I think that if I was going to serve this at a dinner party I would make the florentines. I would probably make the vanilla ice cream too. Having said that, I served it with Weis' vanilla bean ice cream. It was very good for a supermarket ice cream. It wasn't super rich but rich enough for me. The seeds from the vanilla beans could be seen speckled throughout and the taste was terrific. I would highly recommend it. Actually, I would highly recommend the whole recipe. I think that it would look impressive for a dinner party and is a great make ahead dessert too. Plus it gave me a chance to use my lovely new bowl.

Florentine Pears

Sunday 20 June 2010

June 2003 - Vegetable Cobbler

I promise that I haven't abandoned my little blog. I went to Sydney for a holiday for a week and it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things. I had a great time on holidays and really didn't want to come home, does anyone? I got to catch up with friends and met some new ones. It definitely was a lot of fun and just what I needed.

I had made my meal from this issue before I went away but I just didn't get around to actually blogging about it as I was racing around doing things before I left. However since I haven't gotten back into the swing of things I now find myself quite behind in not only the posts but the cooking as well. Oh well, I am sure that I can get it all done.

From issue #17 there were a few choices Valli Little's Lamb Shanks with Wasabi Mash sounded really good, however it didn't really fit into my vegetarian plan for the month. I was very nearly persuaded to make Gary Rhodes' Mixed Mushroom & Bacon Pie with Melted Blue Cheese Creme Fraiche, even though it wasn't a vegetarian meal. It sounded and looked incredible, although I was wary of the blue cheese after my last outing with blue cheese. I am not particularly enamoured of blue cheese but the pie sounded fantastic.

One night after a late day at work I was looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner and I decided to go with Valli Little's Vegetable Cobbler. I was very impressed with it. It was easy to make and very tasty and was made from things that I would normally have in my house. I made one quarter of the recipe, although decided it was too hard for the "scone" topping and I made half a recipe of that. I was going to put half on the dish and then just bake the other half but I forgot when I was putting the whole thing together and put it all on top so it was a bit carb heavy. Next time I make it I would also put some green vegetables into it, some quartered brussel sprouts, small broccoli florets or peas. Corn would also be nice in it and perhaps some quartered mushrooms. You really could put anything in it that you want. It was a wonderful vegetarian meal however it could also make a nice side dish with a roast.

Vegetable cobbler

Vegetable cobbler serve

Monday 7 June 2010

June 2002 - Chickpea Lemon & Herb salad with Tomatoes and grilled Haloumi

Wow, time has just flown by. It is almost half way through the year and I am racing towards half way through my collection of delicious. magazines. I have decided that this month I am going to try and choose mostly vegetarian meals. I cannot guarantee they will all be as when I went through the magazines there were a couple of meals that really grabbed my attention that were definitely not vegetarian. I do try to eat vegetarian meals regularly. While I do love most meat I also need a break at times.

The Spaghetti alla Genovese on the cover of issue #6 looked really nice however after just completing a month of Italian meals which included a number of pasta dishes it was time for something different. Plus being a pasta with potato it is a bit carb heavy and I wanted something nice and light.

There was also Seared green beans with potatoes, mushrooms and six-minute eggs that would have made a wonderful lunch time meal but I was without beans and wasn't going to venture out of the house on a wet and rainy day to get any.

My first trip through this issue I had marked the (non-vegetarian) Little Lancashire Hotpots which sounded really nice but I was really looking for something that would be easy to make for lunch. Something quick, light and simple yet filling. Nadine Abensur's Chickpea Lemon & Herb salad with Tomatoes and grilled Haloumi fit the bill perfectly. It was incredibly tasty. I replaced the coriander in the recipe with mint which I think worked really well. It would probably also be really nice with basil. However I have mint growing in a pot and the basil is finished for the year. My flat-leaf parsley has finished too so I used curly parsley. I had a few roma tomatoes that needed to be used up so I cut one into eighths and put them in the fry pan with the haloumi slices and lightly coloured each cut side. I just love haloumi. Unfortunately this one wasn't one of the best. It was a bit hard and didn't "squeak" like some of the better ones do, that will teach me for buying the cheap one. The recipe was so easy to reduce down for one, although I do have enough ingredients for a second one, which is going to be my lunch tomorrow.

Chickpea Lemon & Herb salad with Tomatoes and grilled Haloumi

Serves 4

  • 2 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp each chopped parsley and coriander (I used parsley & mint)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for basting the cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • a dash of tamari (I used light soy sauce)
  • a dash of Tabasco
  • 1 small red onion or shallot, very finely chopped (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g haloumi cheese
  • 100g wild rocket (I used a salad mix)
  • 100g oily, herbed black olives
  • 24 pieces of slow-roasted tomato quarters or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Combine chickpeas with the lemon juice, parsley, coriander, olive oil, garlic, tamari and Tabasco, onion and salt and pepper. Set aside to allow flavours to combine.
  • Cut the haloumi into batons 5mm thick. Baste with a little olive oil (I used garlic olive oil) and fry in a pan over a medium heat until golden and warmed through.
  • Divide rocket leaves between plates top with chickpea salad, tomato pieces and olives. Top with haloumi slices and serve immediately.

Chickpea Lemon & Herb salad with Tomatoes and grilled Haloumi