Saturday, June 30, 2007

GNT Sorbet

My all time favourite summer "slurp" would be a cool, refreshing gin and tonic, with a dash of lemon. It is a pique to the tastebuds.

So, what better way to have your sweets and drink it too, than a GNT sorbet? This is my entry into Hay Hay it's Donna Day for this month, hosted by Laura at Eat Drink Live. I've never made sorbet before, so this event was a great excuse for me to run out and buy an ice cream machine, that I had been secretly yearning for ;) As well as some new sundae bowls..oh, and a new ice cream scoop..ssshhh, don't tell my husband!

400ml cold water
300g caster sugar
300ml tonic water
50-60 ml gin
juice of 2 lemons
1tbsp glucose (this stops it from forming icy granules)

1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute.
2. Add glucose and tonic water, chill in fridge until cold.
3. When cold add the gin and lemon juice to taste. NB: don't be tempted to add too much gin because when it is frozen the flavour intensifies.
4. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until set. Freeze for at least 2 hours after churning, then it is ready to slurp, I mean serve.

WBH #89 - Brie and Coriander Pull-apart Bread

Reading all of the amazing food blogs that are about, I envy those of you who are heading into the warmer months, with fresh salads, home grown tomatoes and herbs. Because we are in the depths of winter at present, whilst I miss the days and tastes of summer, I do enjoy soups and casseroles, but especially yearn for home baked bread to have as an accompaniment.

This is a pull-apart bread, which is self explanatory in the way it's if you snooze, you lose. One loaf is never enough, and it's great to take to a BBQ in lieu of a salad.

Kalyn, from the infamous Kalyn's Kitchen is hosting this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging event, and I know that her fondness for cilantro matches my own. I make a special trip to the Grower's Market each Sunday morning for my bunch (or two) of coriander, and always find that I have run out by the time the next Sunday comes around.

This loaf isn't the prettiest girl at the party, because I had some left-over mozzarella which needed to be used, and threw that on top for the last 10 minutes of baking, obviously 5 minutes too long. Messy loaf. Messy oven.

Brie, coriander (and mozarella) pull-apart

Adapted from this recipe

7 g dried yeast (1 sachet)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
1/2 large wheel of brie, chopped
100 gms of shredded tasty cheese
Grated mozarella (optional). If not using the mozarella, glaze loaf with milk.

Combine the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water in a small jug or bowl.
Leave in a warm place until frothy (about ten minutes).
Put the flour, salt, milk powder and oil in a large bowl or bench mixer. Alternately you could make the dough in a breadmaker.
Stir to combine and then add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of warm water.
Mix to a soft dough and then knead for about ten minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
Leave the dough in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and knead for 1 minute.
Divide in half and out of each half make 10 x 6 cm (2 1/2 inch) flat discs (they need not be perfectly shaped).
Mix the herbs with the cheeses and place approximately 3 teaspoons of the mixture onto ten of the discs.
Press the remaining 10 discs on top of the cheesey ones.
Grease a loaf tin (21 x 10. 5 x 6. 5 cm) and stand the discs upright in the prepared tin.
You will have to gently squash them together to fit them all in.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C - 400°F.
Glaze the loaf with a little milk (or add the mozarella topping in the last 5 minutes of baking) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until brown and crusty and cooked through.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

One with the lot

During my frivolous teenage years, a regular occurence after a Saturday night at the "pub" would be for a group of us to drive for 20 minutes down the highway to an "open all night" truck stop, or service station, to grab a hamburger "with the lot". This towering monstrosity was about 6 inches high when complete, combining home made beef rissoles with lettuce, fried onions, tomato, sometimes grilled pineapple rings, beetroot and a fried egg on top, either enclosed in a hamburger bun, or just plain toasted bread on the top and bottom. Inevitably, most of the fillings would fall into the paper bag after the first bite, egg would ooze down the sides of your mouth, and very little conversation was had on the way home.

The humble burger is still one of my all time favourite meals, offering a wide range of fillings to suit all types of fussy eaters. It can either be blatantly wholesome or wickedly evil, depending on your mood or ingredients you have on hand.

I opted for a healthy version as a midweek dinner after a hectic day at work, and would like to submit this as an entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging event, hosted this week by Astrid at Paulchen's Food Blog

Chilli Burger

500 g lean beef mince
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tblsp tomato paste
2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce to taste
1 large onion sliced into rings
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tsps soft brown sugar

Combine mince, spring onions, chilli sauce, garlic, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, coriander, salt, pepper and tabasco in a large bowl. Mix with hands until well combined. Divide mixture into 4 patties.

Heat a large frying pan or grill plate, brush liberally with oil,. Cook patties 3-4 minutes each side or until brown and cooked through.

While patties are cooking, cook onion rings, brushing with combined soy sauce and brown sugar until onion is tender and caramelized.

Toast hamburger buns or Turkish bread. Spread with mayo, or sauce, or pesto...whatever takes your fancy, lettuce, tomato, cheddar etc. Top with meat pattie and onions..enjoy.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cauliflower Au Gratin - Au so good

The humble cauliflower is either a love or hate vegetable. Whilst growing up, she wasn't my friend at all. She was dull, plain and boring, with no taste whatsoever. Over the years, however, she has learnt to accessorize, and bloomed into one of the prettiest flowers of all. My all time favourite is cauliflower au gratin, which is my entry in this Weekend's Herb Blogging event, hosted by Kalyn's Kitchen, the founder of this wonderful event.

Up until I tried this version last night, I always boiled the florets with sliced celery, placed them in a baking dish, covered it with a bechamel sauce, breadcrumbs and cheese and baked until the topping was golden. Nothing wrong with that version, simple, creamy comfort food. However, this version is the tarted up cauliflower that I always knew she could be....seductive and raunchy in fact.

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 ounces chopped, fully cooked ham (I used ham steaks)
1-2 cloves garlic minced
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
2 tablespoons plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded tasty cheese (I used fresh parmesan)
2-3 tablespoons shredded parsley

Melt butter in a large skillet.
Saute ham and garlic for 2 minutes.
Add cauliflower and cook just until crisp tender, about 10 minutes.
Combine flour and cream until smooth; stir into skillet and blend well.
Add salt, pepper and cayenne.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Transfer to an ungreased baking dish.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Place under preheated broiler until lightly browned, about 2-4 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve immediately.