Thursday, December 29, 2011

Creme Brulee a la Maple

This creme brulee has a voice.

Mum got me a blowtorch and after making a huge Pavlova I took the opportunity to make this with the leftover egg yolks to serve on the side. It was liked. The bowls were scraped clean because I added a bit of extra maple syrup at the bottom....

I used the recipe from "O Pistachio"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


1.4kg beef mince
1.4kg pork mince
500g bacon diced

½ cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic crushed
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground dried thyme
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves

Grind the meat using a medium-coarse grinding plate, or ask your butcher.
Mix all ingredients together.
Fill the sausage casings firmly, but not too tightly with the meat mixture.
Roll into two separate sausages as in the picture and secure with steel skewers.
Refrigerate for 24 hours before using. Boerewors can be kept for a week or for 3 months if frozen

It was and still is, a point of honor with South African butchers not to add breadcrumbs or soya to bulk up the meat filling.

I got these done by the guys down at Farmers Choice Butcher in Dubbo on Darling street, they were really great.
To Cook
Boerewors can be pan fried, grilled or barbecued over coals.
Before cooking prick the skin with a fork in a number of places to let the fat escape as the wors (sausage) cooks.
Some purists would be horrified by this as they like the sausage to retain it's fat, enabling it to burst into the mouth when eating.
This makes it difficult to ensure that the boerewors casing does not split, which can often occur.
Pricked or not, how you cook your "Wors" is entirely up to you.
We enjoyed ours BBQ'ed with an array of salads to accompany it. It was a different, and delicious flavoured sausage to those we normally cook, so many people were delightfully surprised.

Ratatouille with Meatballs and Gremolata

200g beef mince
half an onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic chopped finely
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 egg
- Mix and roll!

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
4 anchovies chopped finely
2 tbsp lemon myrtle olive oil
salt and pepper
- Mix!

A box of Paradise fresh vegies!
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 6 ripe tomatoes, diced

- 1 eggplant, sliced thickly
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, diced
- handful green beans, chopped 3cm
- handful mushrooms, halved
4 tbsp Tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup basil leaves


Spray eggplant slices with olive oil and grill on both sides till golden. Then chop.
Meanwhile, Saute onion and garlic in a large frypan with some olive oil.
Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Add capsicum, eggplant, sugar and tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes.
Place meatballs into the sauce and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
Then add beans, zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes.
Finally, add the mushrooms and half the torn basil.

Serve with feta and basil, yoghurt with nigella seeds, and Gremolata

Great Vegetarian dish without the meatballs.

6 hour Sticky Tamarind, Soy & Honey Glazed Pork Belly

This sticky tangy pork belly was delicious with moreish salads. It was cooked so long that most of the fat was rendered away to leave the flavoursome layers of meat. Cooking the skin in the BBQ gives the meat a smokey edge, however you can also do that in your oven.

1 slab pork belly the size of your roasting tin (I used half a normal butchers 'slab') approx 1.5 kg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt

2 thumbs ginger sliced thickly (3mm)
4 cloves garlic sliced thickly (3mm)
4 star anise
1 tsp Szechwan pepper - whole
2 tbsp Tamarind paste
2 tbsp Honey
150ml Kecap Manis – Indonesian sweet thick soy

1 tsp chinese five spice
300ml shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
Chicken stock to cover the slab - approx 6-8 cups.

Rub pork with salt and sugar cure and leave overnight in fridge.
The next day wipe with kitchen paper, you dont need to remove all the cure. Drain liquid.

Place Garlic, Ginger, Star Anise and Szechwan in roasting tray and place pork belly on top.
Mix all other ingredients in a bowl (apart from the honey and stock) till combined then pour over the belly. Top up with chicken stock to cover.

Place in the oven covered in foil at 110 degrees C for 6 hours. When you can pass a skewer through the belly with ease, it is ready. Let cool in liquid then strain liquid into a saucepan and add honey. Reduce it until a nice coating consistency is achieved. (This may take up to 30 minutes to reduce). The sauce is ready, place it in a jar in the fridge.

Place Pork in fridge overnight with a chopping board on top, weighted down with cans.
The next day, score the skin of the pork belly into small squares - but dont cut all the way through to the meat otherwise it will dry out. Bake the pork belly in the oven or BBQ (lid closed) at 230-250 degrees C to crisp the skin and render the last bits of fat while producing a smoky flavoursome meat.
Finally, slice through the already scored meat to produce individual square portions of belly.
You can slice these even thinner in 1cm width slices for a more delicate platter or addition to a salad.

NB: when we had our end of year BBQ and I made this recipe Dan seared the pork skin side down and it got quite burnt. The flavour was great in the meat but the skin was inedible. It was a good lesson to see what would happen, and was my choice. I think the marinade caused the skin to burn because dry pork skin is fatty enough to be cooked directly on a BBQ plate. In any case, I have done some research since and the oven bake or BBQ-bake method here seems to work best, as it also warms the meat up without it drying out.

Serve with the warmed honey sauce. Sweetness offsets this salty meat.
Salads go well too.

End with a cider. Pear.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December in the Garden

The Garden in December 2011. Note the Large green shaded area at the back : the tomato jungle.
Garden bed 2 with Beets ready to harvest, red cabbage and brussells sprouts.

Garden Bed 1 cleared of winter veg, with the seeds from Kale, Broccoli, Romanesco and purple Kale are hanging to dry under the carport. The Golden Oregano (front right) now has some sun so is happy. New plantings here include (from front) Fennel, Lemongrass, Rocket, Purple Lettuce, lots of tomatoes (many in pots to give away) second batch of yellow and red Beetroot, rocket seedlings, Basil (lots) and carrots.

The tomato jungle up close.

Up to four corn cobs on each stalk.