Month: September 2014

Veg serving ideas !

I love the taste of freshly steamed vegetables .The true taste is often preserved and I like my veggies crunchy with no oily taste.

However sometimes vegetables on their own are just plain boring and need a little flavour to make them go from boring to inspiring !

My tips for dressing up simple steamed vegetables are

1 simple balsamic glaze is great with green veg like beans

2 likewise a splash of fresh fruity extra virgin oil gives those same green beans flavour and a glossy coat

3 For an Asian twist fry some shallots with chili add a dash of ke cep manis and you suddenly have a dish worthy of eating on it’s own

4 Greens also marry well with a passata and olives along with a hint of chili

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Simply Eggs

eggs

 

The egg is the simplest and most complete food, highly nutritious and yet versatile enough for the quickest of meals but could equally star at the smartest of dinner parties

Today I started the day in a great little cafe called la Chien in Seddon, with glorious poached eggs and avocado with smoked salmon – so delicious and very satisfying

Why then do we find it so hard to cook them ? Don’t be frightened of making a great poached egg.

All you need is a fresh free range egg – remember chickens with a varied diet will always produce a better tasting product – the flavour of the egg is concentrated in the yolk.

Half fill a wide saucepan with UNSALTED water(the salt interferes with the whites setting). Add 3 tabs of white vinegar (this helps to set the whites) and bring to the boil.
Break an egg into a small bowl; if you slightly shake the egg before breaking, it will separate from the shell easily – tip gently into the pan at the point where the water is bubbling – keep the temp low as we want to cook the egg gently. Leave for a couple of minutes until the white is set – remove with a slotted spoon – trim if necessary and serve.

Eggs served in the middle eastern style are hugely popular and I include a link for a recipe.

Also check out Michel Roux “Eggs ” a fabulous little cookbook and a charming chef I had the privilege to meet at Melbourne Master class some years ago.

shakshuka eggs

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Flour less Orange Cake

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Asked by a new friend for an easy cake recipe and my immediate reply was did she have a food processor ?

The Classic Claudia Roden flour less cake came to mind simply because it is so easy to make and yet delicious to eat.

There are a few variations about, namely instead of always cooking oranges you could substitute mandarin or even a lime.

If you don’t own a steamer simply boil 2 oranges for 2 hours ( covered in water) when cool cut whole fruit roughly removing the pips. ( the pips make it bitter)

Place chopped oranges along with 250 g castor sugar,250g almond meal , 1 tsp baking powder. Blend until smooth.

Place in a greased lined 24 cm tin at 170c fan forced oven for about 40 mins to 60 minutes.

Steamers versus a saucepan

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I am often asked why someone would buy a steamer – that is an appliance that steams food. I really do believe they will be the next “microwave” in the kitchen, that is we will all have one sooner or later.

The advantage of using a steamer is being hands free ! Watching a pot come to the boil seems to take forever but a boiled over pot happens in a microsecond, don’t you think ?

With no boil over, it is much simpler to steam rice or cook any of those ancient grains that are so delicious to eat such as quinoa, pearl barley, and couscous. Steam with stock rather than water and these grains will have much greater flavour.

Check my older post for hints on making a grain salad.

The true benefit of steaming rather than boiling is preserving the vitamins and maintaining the shape of the food, there is no more soggy potatoes at my house !!