Month: July 2013

Roasting Meat

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Gabi one of my work colleagues reminded me how challenging it is to have at hand the ready information when we need to cook. For example how long do we cook a piece of meat in an oven – what internal temperature do I use if I am using a roast probe?

How long do we rest meat that is cooked ? Why is that we consider leaving meat to cool down after taking it of the heat or out of the oven? What is the advantage of this?

My favourite food scientist Harold Mcgee writes extensively about these issues. Check his site out

http://www.curiouscook.com/site/about-harold-mcgee.html

My tips will hopefully help 

1. Protein sets at 60c but usually we like to cook beef to approximately 62c, lamb 74c, chicken 65c, turkey 74c, pork 74c. Meat will continue to cook for at least 5 to 10 minutes and the internal temperature will climb by at least 2 c.

2. I like to rest meat after it has finished cooking for at least one quarter of the time . For example if I cook a chicken filet for 12 minutes I would then like to rest if for 4 minutes .(If you can wait !!!)

3. A quick rule of thumb is to roast most meat for approximately 30 minutes per 500g of meat. 

4. Take meat out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for at least one hour before roasting. 

5. Meat taken out of the oven is best left in a warm place – cover with foil and allow the meat to relax – this will give you a more moist juicy piece of meat.

6. For best roasting results brown the meat first – simply pan fry (to colour only), try to just turn the meat. Colouring meat gives better colour and flavour. Likewise if I am busy don’t worry about browning – simply roast and enjoy !

Here is a great recipe for roast beef filet.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2592/mustardroasted-beef-fillet-

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Soup

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I have been sick this week – a nasty virus took hold. All I wanted to eat is soup – I guess it is my body saying please give me vegetables – such a nutritious way to eat and the fastest most effective vitamin pill .

I started with a pumpkin soup flavoured with ginger, tomorrow i will make a minestrone -something a little more filling, but most soups can be easily made with one or two vegetables to provide the flavour.

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My tips for making a great tasting pumpkin soup.

1. Buy a pumpkin with great colour – the darker the colour usually the better the flavour.

2. Try roasting the pumpkin first – this saves cutting it up,which can be difficult ! Also roasting the pumpkin will  intensify the flavour.You can simply scrape the flesh out when finished cooking

3. Why not try cooking a mixture of pumpkins – i.e. butternut and jap – this will help intensify the flavour.

4. The stock is always the second most important ingredient. making your own is best.

5. Pumpkin works well with many flavours – fresh ginger, some thai curry paste,or at the end serve with a sprinkling of cooked bacon, sour cream, etc

6. Puree until smooth, or simply mash for a more textural result.

Try this recipe from Gourmet Traveller

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/recipes/recipe-search/video/2013/4/spiced-pumpkin-soup/

Pasta with Seafood

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A girlfriend Belinda inspired me to make this pasta dish ,which is simply a handful of uncooked seafood – a mixture of fish, prawns, squid and mussels, sitting on a bed of cooked fresh pasta. This is then flavoured with garlic, butter,fresh herbs and chilli with a splash of white wine. The secret to getting this right is wrapping this meal in a “baking paper” bag and placing in a medium hot oven for 10 to 20 minutes. Delicious!!

I sat the baking paper in a bowl – the french call the parcel  a “cartouche ” or you could make the parcel and place it into a baking dish.

This method of cooking works so well because it keeps the heat and steam within allowing the seafood to be cooked in a moist environment.

Reasons for covering food

1. To keep the steam close to the food – this allows for moist cooking

2. This is important when cooking dishes such as lasagne, casseroles etc

3. To help prevent food from drying out or over colouring.

4. The cartouche or parcel keeps all the flavours together – one pot cooking

5. A cartouche will keep a skin forming on a sauce or keep fruit sitting in a syrup when poaching.

Heres is a recipe for seafood cooked in a bag – give it a go.

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/recipes/recipe-search/food-wine-match/2007/9/seafood-linguine-baked-in-paper/

Sponge Cake

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We celebrated Olivia’s 18th birthday at Falls Creek with a sponge cake decorated with fresh berries. As we were in a rental apartment it meant I had to take all the ingredients,the cake tins and hoped the oven worked !! I managed to produce two nice even cakes wedged together with cream and loads of berries.

My tips for making a sponge.

1.Use cake flour – this has less gluten and will make a lighter sponge

2.Always bring the eggs to room temperature – this will help the mixture rise

3. Use a metal or ceramic mixing bowl.

4. Weigh the flour and mix carefully into the eggs – a whisk will help with this process.

5. Fold the flour in carefully – good cake makers have light hands. Beating too much will produce a tougher cake mixture.

 

6.Pre heat the oven and place the cake tin on a rack.

 

7. Beat the egg mixture for at least 15 minutes

Here is a good recipe for sponge cake.

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/homestyle/blogs/tried-and-tasted/how-to-make-a-perfect-sponge-cake-20111011-1li3i.html