Monday, September 28, 2009

Baked Cauliflower

A couple of weeks ago we said goodbye to Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant and their terrific ABC show, The Cook and the Chef.

Each Wednesday night, MONT and I would eat our dinner watching them produce some beautiful dishes. I've tried a few and, quite a few of them also inspired me....One of them was a baked cauliflower salad that Simon put together.

It got me thinking that it wouldn't be a bad idea to bake the cauliflower rather than steam or boil that's what I did.

Take your cauliflower and break it up as you normally would...drizzle some olive oil over the top, then squeeze a lemon over it all.

Bake for about 20 minutes in a 180 degree oven...I'm afraid my photos don't do it justice, but it really is quite delish!

Stacey over here also has a delicious take on baked cauliflower, adding cheese and capers...and over here, they have a great recipe for cheesy cauliflower pancakes. I have to say they all look absolutely fabulous!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tonight I'm making Cannelloni. A simple dish that's quick and tasty.

I make it with chicken mince, ricotta cheese, spinach, an egg and salt and pepper.

Mix about 300 grams chicken mince, a 375 gram tub of ricotta cheese, two large handfuls of chopped spinach, an egg and salt and pepper together until it looks rather pale and unattractive.

You can use conventional cannelloni tubes, or if you find it too fiddly to stuff them, you can use some softened lasagne sheets and just roll them up.

OK, stuff the tubes, pour some tomato sauce (I used a 700ml bottle of tomato passata cooking sauce) into the bottom of a casserole dish, place the stuffed tubes in and layer them if necessary, then pour the rest of the sauce over the top as well as a cup of water.

Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake in a 180 degree oven for between 45 minutes and an hour.

I usually serve this with some garlic bread and a salad of some sort....whatever you like really.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Cauliflower Soup

I first made cauliflower soup back in the mid 1980's when I was living in Hobart. I'd not long moved there for work and was looking through the local newspaper - The Hobart Mercury - and there it was in it's Easter recipe section.

Since then I've made it quite a few times because, well because it's delicious. And easy.

It's on the same principal as pumpkin soup...but paler.

OK...Firstly, take your cauliflower and chop it up

Chop an onion and sweat it off in a large pot with a little olive oil and a knob of butter.

Add the cauliflower, swirl it around, add a litre of water and a stock cube. I use Massel cubes because I like them.

Bring it to the simmer and then when the cauliflower's cooked, give it a wizz with a stick mixer or you can use your blender. But be careful. If your blender has a glass container/jug, make sure you allow the soup to cool a little before putting it in there otherwise you may crack it. I speak from experience here. Depending on the thickness of the soup you may want to add a little milk or extra water, entirely up to you and your taste.

Now you can either put a handful of tasty cheese in each bowl before ladling the soup over the top, or you can add the cheese to the pot of soup and then dish it up in all it's stringiness...your call.

I also add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl, for a little added something.

Sorry, but I don't have a photo of the finished product. It got eaten before I could get the camera out


Friday, September 4, 2009

Ice Cream

I've never been a real sweet taste leans more towards fat and could say I have a "fat tooth". But last Christmas, we were having the whole family over for dinner so I decided to make some ice-cream from scratch....and it turned out rather well.
The first ice cream flavour I made was a coconut and vanilla ...and since that first attempt, I've made it several times more with varying amounts of coconut.

The process looks complicated and lengthy....but it isn't really. Ice cream is just frozen custard, so just think of it as making custard and you'll be right.

Here's what I did for the latest version I made.

You'll need
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
600ml cream
600ml full cream milk
200ml coconut cream
vanilla bean
2 tsp vanilla extract
extra 300ml cream

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the tiny black seeds. Place the milk, cream, coconut cream and the vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then let simmer for a minute. Take off the heat

Place egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until it's thick and creamy and the sugar has dissolved.

Gradually, very gradually, add the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix until well combined, then place it all back in the saucepan and stir constantly over a low heat for about 7 minutes until it's thickened slightly.....Please do not overcook this as it will end up looking a little like fine scrambled eggs and that's definitely not what you want. Be patient with this step. It'll be worth it.

Once it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, transfer it back to the mixing bowl and add the extra cream and mix until combined.

Then put it all in the fridge to let it cool down completely.

The next step....if you have an ice-cream maker, just follow the instructions. If you don't, place the mixture in a wide bowl and put it in the freezer until the edges start to freeze. Then beat for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth and return it to the freezer. Repeat this step a few more times until the mix is aerated and thick and then leave it in the fridge until frozen

That's it.

Just a note: If you taste the custard at the start and think it's too sweet, don't worry, the freezing process diminishes the sweetness.

... and don't worry about what to do with all the left over egg whites. I have a great recipe to use them up and it isn't a PAV ! !

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stuffed Capsicum

There are a lot of versions of "Stuffed Capsicum" out there. This is mine...and it's pretty darn easy!
Quantities will vary depending on how many of these little beauties you make. It'll also depend on the size of the capsicum, or bell peppers, you use.
OK.....Preheat oven to about 180 degrees

First of all, partly cook some rice in the microwave. I used about half a cup and put it in for 6 minutes. It was almost cooked but not quite.

Chop an onion and whatever other veggies you want to put in it...I used a couple of chopped up mushrooms and some zucchini

Fry them off in a pan for a minute until almost done, then let it all cool before mixing with some minced lamb/beef/chicken - whatever you like. Throw in the partly cooked rice, a heaped teaspoon of flour, a large egg and whatever other herbs and spices that take your fancy....then mix it all around with your hands. I usually put on a pair of soft rubber gloves when I'm mixing stuff like this...(like the ones you get in a pack of Castings hair colour) They always come in handy

Now, it doesn't matter which way you cut the capsicum...down the middle or just cut the top off and scoop out the seeds, then stuff the meaty mix into them and place them in a baking dish.
Sprinkle over some grated cheese, pour a can of tomato soup over the top (you can also use a jar of tomato sugo) Add a cup of water, swish it around and then bake for about 40 minutes...

VOILA! Dinner is served.