Month: August 2014

Steaming chicken

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As the sun starts to reappear and the temperature in Melbourne rises I start to desire to change the things that I cook from slow braise lamb shanks to barbecues and salads.

I am always struggling to get my girls Zoe and Olivia to cook dinner and encourage them to get into the kitchen. If it’s an easy meal the girls are happy to give it a go.

One of their favourite meals utilises the steamer. We steam chicken breasts for around about 10 minutes, hard/soft boil eggs for around 6 minutes, wash some coz lettuce, fry some bacon with some crusty croutons slice shave some Parmesan and with some delicious dressing we have a delicious tender juicy caesar chicken salad.

I have found that steaming the chicken breast provides a softer juicer chicken meat which is less tougher than its fried version. Remember steaming is at lower temperature than frying,plus it’s fat free !!

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Bread making using a shot of steam

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This week I finally got my sourdough starter going , I wonder why I had thought it would be  so difficult !! It is simply flour and water . I used a great bread flour from Powlett Hlls . It’s grown and then stoneground here in Victoria. Its so nice to support a local business and I  also love  that I have made a bread with no preservatives, no yeast and I actually know what we are eating.

I had to use a strange oven as mine has died and it was a test working the temperature out – in fact it was probably a little bit too hot but the recipe I was using asked for 250c – this will be hotter in some appliances more than others.

Once I brought my starter back to room temperature I fed it again – this is the method of adding 50g of the bread flour to the 20g of starter.

Once the bread dough was mixed it was left to stand to slowly rise for 12 hours. This can be done at room temperature. After knocking back the dough was allowed to rest for a further 3 hours and then baked.

I cooked this dough in a preheated clay pot at 220c for about 50 minutes. The trick to making a great loaf of bread is introducing steam – this helps it rise as well as giving the bread a nice crust.

The final result was a crusty delicious sourdough loaf – just delicious!!

 

Cooking with Steam – Lasagne

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On Saturday night I needed a quick meal so I decided to throw together a lasagne using up some left over veal and pork mince . I then decided to chargrilled some zucchini and eggplant cooking it through very well. I then inter laid it with fresh pasta sheets, béchamel sauce and fresh mozzarella.

Once my lasagne was assembled I decided to use the steamer rather then an oven. Why steam it ? That is because pasta loves being in such a moist environment and it’s so easy to overcook, to dry out in the oven.

After 45 minutes of cooking at 100c full steam the lasagne was hot and succulent. It was delicious with a nice crisp green salad and a glass of red wine.

Steamed Egg Ideas

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In many of our great cafes chefs have been serving up the 62c egg, this is an egg that is either steamed or cooked in a water bath at a lower temperature, that is the egg is cooked at a temperature that pasteurises the egg . This is achieved by using a lower temperature and extending the cooking to 45 minutes as opposed to cooking at a higher temperature for a much shorter time.

The resulting finished egg is very soft and barely set – you will either love it or when spotted by my girlfriend Aileen immediately sent it back for more cooking !!

A clever use for using this very soft egg is mixing it with oil or flavoured butter to make an emulsion.To achieve this it is simply blitzed with a hand blender and oil or butter is slowly dribbled in.

The brown butter emulsion made this way was truly sumptuous and I couldn’t stop eating it !!!

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