Sunday, May 31, 2009

Real Tomatoes

Real tomatoes. You know, the kind that smell like the garden, that are "red like a painters palette, with variations of deep garnet to almost orange"* with yellow and green edging in at the top, and have natural contortions from the way they grew on the vine and the surges of energy they got from the gardners fertilising and autumn rain falling, and taste like rapture.

I found some at the markets, I couldn't stop smelling them. They smell so nice! Like they have come from my own garden with hints of dirt and water.

I decided to make a Morrocan dish tonight with the tomatoes as the centrepiece and pedestal of the meal.

Red Roast of Morroco


Four fresh truss tomatoes stalks on.
1/2 Butternut pumpkin
1 red capsicum
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
handful of green beans
can of garbanzo beans
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic
brown rice
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Morrocan seasoning spices:
1 Lemons Juice
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
Saffron threads &/or 1/2 tsp Saffron powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Roasted Chilli (I use Kashmiri Chillies dried and roasted from Indian grocery nearby)
1 tsp sweet paprika.

1. Roast four truss tomatoes in 180C oven until skin splits and they start to caramelise
2. Put brown rice on to cook
3. Boil exact amount of water for appropriate amount of couscous (depends on how many people are eating - see packet for details) and add couscous and spices, bring back to boil. Cover and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, slice capsicum, zucchini and eggplant and grill in top of oven (hopefully your oven can grill whilst baking).
5. Slice pumpkin thinly (5mm thick) in largeish pieces
6. Microwave beans with some hot water and pumpkin on top for 3-4mins
7. Cut beans in 5cm lengths and add to couscous pot.
8. Take pumpkin (should be cooked but still firm, not falling apart) and grill or put in sandwich maker to toast/make crispy. (Alternative: BBQ all vegies)
9. Add two roasted tomatoes to couscous and squash and stir into mixture.
10. Add rice and drained garbanzo beans to mixture and salt and pepper. Warm through.
11. Serve in bowls with roasted vegetables layered on top with the Tomato and parsley to garnish.

* Tomato description from an inpiring cooking book by Erica Bauermiester "The Essential Ingredients".

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flaky Frittata

Yesterday I cooked a stir fry with soft tofu. It was really nice – I like its texture, it is like ricotta cheese. I bought some filo pastry to inspire me to invent something new yesterday, so today I invented a recipe to use it with Tofu:

Flaky Frittata

Filo pastry
1/2 cup sliced sweet potato or kumara
1/2 cup sliced white potato
1 cup sliced zucchini
6-8 Large Free range farm Eggs
1 packet Soft organic tofu
1 punnet Cherry tomatoes
½ cup Ricotta cheese
Your choice of herb (sage, oregano, rosemary or thyme work well)
Pecorino pepato
Handful of olives for top

1. Slice potato and sweet potato thinly (2-3mm) with a good sharp knife, and microwave for three mins covered with a little water. Drain and set aside.

2. Place filo pastry in a oiled baking tray or pie dish; two sheets at a time brushing with butter or olive oil in between. Allow the corners to flair out over the edges.

3. Beat eggs and season with pepper and salt

4. Place a layer of mixed sweet & white potato & zucchini slices in bottom, sprinkle selected herbs from your garden, a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, and some ricotta in the gaps. Add extra salt and pepper if desired.

5. Pour some beaten egg mixture over this layer to just cover it

6. Place a layer of thinly sliced tofu.

7. Repeat steps 4-6 once more

8. Finish with a layer of potato and scatter olives over the top with a sprinkling of herbs and pecorino pepato.

9. Bake at 180°C until browned and crispy

I think this recipe would be a great brunch recipie for a lazy weekend at home. I might cook it this Sunday and go for a run and get the paper on the way back while its cooking!

Indian Hot Pot

I got home late from work, so I thought that I would be making a pantry cupboard dinner tonight (soup or pasta and sauce) but I dropped into the indian grocery on the way home in hope of getting some inspiration; and I got some lentils, coriander and tomatoes.

Hot Pot

- Olive Oil
- 1 onion
- Pinch each of Yellow Mustard, Fenugreek, & Fennel seeds
- 4 cloves garlic
- two celery stalks
- 1 tomato
- 1 carrot
- 200g tomato paste
- 3 small potatoes
- Vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- brown rice
- red lentils (washed)
- yellow chana dhal lentils
- Plain natural yoghurt
- 1 bunch of coriander

Sweat in saucepan first set of ingredients in order starting with the Olive Oil

Boil in separate saucepan all the other ingredients until rice and lentils are done (can pre-cook these).

When frying is done add to bigger saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 20mins or so until you want to eat! Serve with crusty bread and yoghurt-coriander garnish.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I decided to cook something special with Dad for Mothers Day on Sunday.

A good bolognese sauce needs a strong bold red wine...
We used very good quality mince as well - Angus beef straight from the farm.
Roast Pumpkin, Rosemary and feta filling

Making the dough


Dad excited

Making the Pumpkin ravioli

Using my new razortooth ravioli tool.

The little floured ravioli pockets all done ready to cook.

Cooking time! They bobbed around and became so plump, and stayed together perfectly! I had no casualties.

Funnily enough, we were all so hungry by the time they were done I didnt get a photo of the finished product!!
Yum they were very nice. I served them with crispy sage fried in butter and deep sharp parmesan cheese and haloumi.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Two Types of Pumpkin Pie

The last two dinners I have cooked I have incorporated the lovely and mouldable mashed pumpkin. I have been experimenting and trying out my new recipies on Daniel, the studious medical student who needs lots of nutritious energy even though he says he would prefer just meat pies for every meal.

I also used sweet potato because they are like pumpkin to me - similar enough to assimilate into dishes where pumpkin is unavailable, and sweet.

First I made chicken Pumpkin pies:
I sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil and a little butter, then seared chicken mince, added stock, dry white wine and lastly after simmering, added fresh oregano from the garden! (a little cornflour or plain flour can be added to thicken this sauce since it is for a pie).
I then added this mixture to two little pre-prepared pie pots that were lined with filo pastry.

I then added seasoned, mashed sweet potato and pumpkin to the top and sprinkled with pepper, salt and feta cheese. Bake!

Big Pumpkin Pie

Recently I bought a whole rump - and proceeded to butcher it in our kitchen - nicely producing some big lovely cuts of steak and some off cuts for stews and curries. I thought, brilliant! I will use some to make a big pumpkin pie. I used mashed pumpkin to create the pastry and stewed the beef in a nice slow sauce for the filling.

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 cloves garlic
500g diced beef
2 cups beef stock
1/2 a bottle of nice dark beer
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tomatoes, diced
fresh and dried herbs
Olive oil

Saute onion in olive oil, add chopped carrot, celery and garlic and cook till transparent. Set aside.

Flour beef chunks and sear in olive oil until browned, add the onion mix with the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and season to taste. Add fresh and dried herbs - thyme and orgeano and rosemary. Add other optional pie vegetables (I added peas because some get mushy in the cooking process and some retain their shape - they are always good in pies). Top up with adequate water to cover ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour while preparing the dough, topping up with water when neccesary.

400g plain flour
250g mashed pumpkin
1 egg

Mix all together and knead well. Divide in 3rds. Roll out 2/3 and put in big greased pie dish. Bake for 10mins to crisp the base.

Pie Construction Method:
Add brown rice to the bottom - to catch the juices.
Add the beef stew.
Cover with remaining 1/3 pastry rolled out.

Bake for a while till brown.

Though Dan thought he was getting the sweet pumpkin pie for dinner....i.e. Dessert for dinner - he was annoyed! Niketh liked it though. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Orange Almond Cake

Orange Almond Cake is lovely with tea.

You need:
1 cup Almond Meal
2 oranges
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup poppy seeds
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup caster sugar

Boil the oranges for 30mins then puree in food processor.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together with the poppy seeds and vanilla essence.
Add almond meal and orange after a lot of whisking (should be fluffy).
Place in greased pan and top with some toasted almonds and sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.

Grill the top at the end to caramelise the sugar.

Urgh. A bit burnt...because I didnt watch it grilling because I went to the garden.