Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mango Tartlets

This would have to be one of the easiest and most delectable little sweet treats I've ever made...and did I say they were easy?

I saw the idea for these in the Herald Sun a few weeks back and thought I'd try them out. I'm really glad I did because they all got devoured.
As usual, I tweaked the original recipe which called for ginger nut biscuits and shredded coconut as well as rum. I'm not a fan of ginger or coconut...and the kids were coming over, so the rum was also omitted.

You'll need:

Pack of butternut snap biscuits
2 mangoes
250g mascarpone cheese

Here's what I did....

I took the biscuits and, three at a time, heated them in the microwave for 20 seconds on high. It makes them nice and pliable so you can press them into small foil tart trays. As you can see I used the handle of a lemon juicer to gently press them down. I used the foil trays because that's all I had, but a small tartlet tray would work just as well.

This is what you end up with...little butternut tarts that you fill with this delectable concoction.

Blend the mascarpone and the chopped flesh of 1 mango together, then spoon it into the cooled tarts

Slice some more mango and place the slices on top.

Then eat!

That's it!

All gone.....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Menu #2 - Potato Pancakes

I've had a lot on my mind lately, what with getting Number 3 renovated and cleaning up Number 10. Now, my thoughts have well and truly turned to food. Specifically, Christmas food!

On the Saturday before Christmas, MONT's daughters and their husbands and little ones descend on Number 10 for dinner. It's a night I always look forward to and I like to go all out and do something special.

Back in December 2006, I saw this Stephanie Alexander recipe in in the Age food supplement, Epicure, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was not disappointed and have been making them ever since.

There's only one thing with these though: don't let the mixture sit around for too long because the potato discolours.

Potato Pancakes:

500 grams waxy potatoes
1 egg
2 tablespoons potato flour
pinch salt
oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and roughly chop (do them in a few batches to avoid discolouration), then put in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to shake the blender around a bit if lumps of spud get stuck in the bottom beneath the blades. Then add the egg, flour and salt and blend again.

Heat a non stick pan, add the oil and drop spoonfuls of the mix in and fry for a couple of minutes on each side. The little pancakes should be nicely browned and quite crisp on the edges.

Drain on kitchen paper, cool and then add whatever topping you like. I usually use cream cheese, smoked salmon, prawns, avocado...or whatever takes your fancy

You can make these pancakes the day before and refrigerate them, then reheat in a moderate oven for a few minutes before allowing them to cool a little and adding the topping.

Thanks Stephanie, I love these and so does everyone else.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Menu - Glazed Ham

Last Christmas I thought I'd be adventurous and serve a glazed, baked ham....and I'm so glad I did because it not only looks good, it tasted fantastic! ...and this year, I'm doing it again

This recipe is thanks to Donna Hay, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander, and

First off, you need a ham with a good layer of fat beneath the skin.

Image -

Make a slit in the skin with a sharp knife and peel it off gently, easing your hand under it to lift it off without removing any of the fat. The fat's important. Trust me. Leave a little skin around the knuckle though

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC

In a small saucepan, combine:

A large dollop mustard
100 ml port
50 ml brandy
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup orange juice

Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes until the glaze thickens a little.

You'll also need about 1/4 cup whole cloves.

Now, make a criss-cross pattern through the fat and place a clove in each diamond. Place the ham into a baking dish lined with baking paper. Cover the knuckle with a piece of baking paper and tie it with string (so it won't burn)

Brush some of the glaze over the ham and let sit for a minute, then repeat the process. Place the ham in the oven and bake for 1 hour, removing every 15 minutes or so to brush more glaze over the ham

That's it. It's done!

All there's left to do now is place it in the middle of the table, and let everyone ooh and ahhh over it, because it does look fantastic. What's the saying? Something about return on investment? Well, this is certainly worth investing some time on.

This year I'm going to buy an organic/free range leg of ham. I was reading today that you can even order them online. I'll be heading to one of the markets here in Melbourne to select mine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday Night Spare Ribs

Friday nights are easy meal nights at Number 10, which usually means marinated chicken wings and some oven baked chips in front of the TV.

A variation on the theme though is pork spare ribs, which I made last night

The Winter 2009 edition of Donna Hay Magazine had a couple of marinades, but as usual, I play around with what I've got in the fridge and cupboard.

You'll need about 1 kilogram of ribs, depending on how many people you're feeding.

Prepare your marinade about 2 hours before you plan to cook your ribs
In a saucepan place:
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup rum or brandy
1/3 cup soy sauce
good slurp of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 desert spoons honey

Bring the marinade to the boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes to allow it to thicken a little.

Some recipes advise you pre-boil the ribs first. That's a good idea if you plan to do them on the BBQ. You don't want to end up with charcoal on the outside raw ribs on the inside.

Place the ribs in a container and pour the cooled marinade over the top, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Keep an eye on them on the BBQ and brush marinade over them every few minutes as they cook.

If you plan to do them in the oven.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, place the ribs on a baking rack in a tray lined with foil or non-stick baking paper...cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, brushing with the marinade every 5 minutes or so. That's it.

I served these with oven baked chips...but then, I serve just about everything with oven baked chips