Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

I am lucky enough to have just over a week off for my company's Christmas shut-down and I had grand plans to make up for the current decline in my blog posts and prep a whole bunch for the new year. Then I would catch up on reading other blogs and spring clean my desk area and re-arrange the spare room and do some gardening. And. And. And I have done none of it. Today is the first day I've even been willing to turn my computer on. This has been officially my laziest Christmas break. I've actually used it as a break! Lots of book reading and beach going and lazy shopping.

Hopefully everyone has had a fabulous holiday period. I certainly did, celebrating with both families, eating up a storm. In lieu of a big night tonight (with Lance not getting January 1st off), we also had our now traditional New Year's Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve BBQ. But tonight we will have a quiet BBQ at home with the best of intentions to stay awake until midnight. And we will be eating this salad. 

This is currently one of my favourite salads. It is super easy to make, and can be made a day or two in advance if necessary. It is the perfect salad to take to a BBQ. It is a vinegar-based slaw, rather than the mayonnaise based coleslaw that most Australian's are more familiar with, which makes it a much lighter dish. Instead of carrot, I use pumpkin with red onion and silverbeet (chard) for colour. The salt comes from the delightfully savoury taste of miso paste, whilst maple adds a sweet touch against the vinegar. A touch of sriracha adds a faint spice, without too much heat. Toasted pumpkin seeds round out the texture perfectly.

I am not the hugest fan of raw onion in salads, which is why I added the step to sit the onion in vinegar first. It takes a little of the onion's punch out. Feel free to skip this step if you are an onion lover.

This makes a large amount of salad, but as I said, it keeps a few days in the fridge so you can have it as leftovers if you aren't serving it to a crowd.

Happy New Year my lovely readers, and I promise my posts will get a little more on-track in 2015!

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

Pumpkin Miso Slaw

1 small butternut pumpkin
¼ head cabbage
3 leaves silverbeet
¼ cup toasted pepitas
½ white onion
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, divided
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp sriracha (or to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste

Thinly slice the onion into half moons, cover with the 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and set aside whilst you prepare everything else.

Grate (by hand, or in a food processor) the pumpkin, finely shred the cabbage and silverbeet. Mix together in a large bowl.

Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake until well combined. Taste for seasoning, adjust as required. Pour over the salad and mix well to coat everything. Mix the onion into the salad. Set aside for half an hour for the acid in the vinegar to soften the pumpkin.

Just before serving, toss through the pumpkin seeds

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger

Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger

I watched all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes come and go on pinterest and then Instagram as people in the Northern Hemisphere started their holiday period. Obviously, it's not a holiday we have down under, and it's Spring/Summer here, not Autumn/Winter, so the flavours and style of food aren't necessarily seasonal at the moment. But it doesn't stop me drooling! Luckily the Perth climate means a lot of things do grow year round, like butternut pumpkins. 

So, in the spirit of the holiday we don't have, I created these burgers which is like a whole Thanksgiving dinner in a bun. The patties have turkey and cranberry and I've paired it with a roast pumpkin slice. The patties are also gluten free, using the nutty flavour of chick pea flour sees to that.

Easy to make, easy to eat, and great in warmer weather. As with most of our meals, I didn't have any buns when I made these, so I served in bread rather than buns. But buns would be better. Use buns. 

Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger
Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger
Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger

Turkey and Cranberry Burgers

1 red onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
generous twisting of pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 butternut pumpkin, sliced in to rings

to serve
red cabbage
bread or buns

Shred the cabbage and pickle and mix together. Cover with a few tablespoons of the pickle juice and set aside to soften the cabbage a little.

In a frypan on medium heat, heat a little oil and add the red onion, salt and pepper. Sweat the onion until it's translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further 5 minutes. The onions should be golden at this point. Add the dried cranberries and 2 tbsp water, stir it all together and cook until the liquid has cooked off. Set aside in a bowl to cool.

Mix the turkey mince into the onion mix. Add the chick pea flour, starting with half a cup and adding more as required to create the correct consistency.  Form the mixture into patties and set aside in the fridge to cool and 'set' for half an hour.

Brush the butternut pumpkin rings with oil and cook for 10 minutes on each side in the same pan, or until soft. Set aside, and cover to keep warm.

Add a little oil to the frypan and, without crowding the pan, cook the burgers. 5-10 minutes on the first side, then flip when golden. Cook for a further 8 minutes or so until cooked through.

Assemble the burgers, adding your favourite sauce if desired and enjoy.

Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger
Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger
Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger
Thanksgiving in a Bun - Turkey and Cranberry Burger

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Easy Entertaining - Bone Marrow Pesto Spread

One of the recipes I was given to test for the Recipes and Ramblings Cookbook was called “Lovely Bones”. It’s a dish of roasted bone marrow with a radish salad, served with some warm sourdough bread. And it was pretty remarkable. The flavours and textures all worked really well together. Lance and I devoured the dish eagerly! However, on the recommendation of a butcher, I bought whole bone marrow shaft pieces instead of cut in half lengthwise to make flat, open pieces. And it was really, really messy to eat. And I’m a grub to start with. It wasn’t really the type of meal you could eat in polite company, but it was designed to be a shared entrĂ©e. It's so dramatic being served marrow in the bone like that! So, I recommend trying that recipe by getting the cookbook. (It's available at Fresh Provisions, Beaufort St Books and Planet Books)

I had 6 pieces of marrow bone leftover after making that dish and knowing that Lance probably didn’t want to be up to his elbows in marrow juices again, I thought I would change things up a bit. I’ve still kept some of the original flavours of lemon, parsley, smoked paprika and garlic, but I’ve changed it into a pesto-style spread. Much more polite to eat in mixed company and so delicious. The rich oiliness of the bone marrow means you don’t need to add the traditional olive oil or nuts to the pesto. And you can remove the marrow much more cleanly in your kitchen than at a dinner table. I used a fondue fork to poke in and around the hole to remove the marrow as I don’t have a marrow spoon (and, in fact, didn’t know that such a thing even existed until very recently!)

It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and is quite the fancypants dinner party appetiser!

Bone Marrow Pesto Spread
(adapted from Lovely Bones in Recipes and Ramblings Volume 3)
6x 5cm marrow bone shafts
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste ( a good pinch of each)
2 bunches parsley, with the big part of the stalk removed
Juice of one lemon
¼ tsp hot English mustard
½ tbsp. capers
Sourdough to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C

In a small casserole dish, place the bone marrow shafts with the holes facing up. Mix the minced garlic, smoked paprika, a good pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the bone pieces. Pop in the oven.

In a food processor, blitz the parsley, lemon juice, mustard and capers until quite finely chopped but still some texture to it. You might need to scrape down the sides of your processor a few times.

When the bone marrow starts to pull away from the sides of the bone, after around 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place the sourdough loaf in to warm up.

Using a fondue fork or other long thing implement, poke out all of the marrow into the casserole dish, getting all of the flavoured garlic too. Discard the bones.

Add all of the parsley mixture into the casserole dish with the marrow, and mix well with a fork, breaking the marrow up. This should be enough to warm through the whole spread. 

Check for seasoning.

Cut the sourdough into slices, put the marrow pesto spread into a nice serving bowl and serve!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Cape Naturaliste
This past weekend was the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. An annual food festival that consists of two days of "Village" Life - hundreds of stalls, exhibitors and presentations at the Leeuwin Estate Winery, as well as a host of "Satellite Events" over 3 days. These satellite events are mainly meals hosted by various locations in the Southwest. Chefs from all over the world come to take part in this Food and Wine Extravaganza.

The Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate Winery

There were so many events I wanted to go to, and so many events that having seen photos, I am disappointed that I didn't get to. But given logistics and funds, I limited myself to one satellite event, and a day at the Gourmet Village. The choice of Satellite Event was a no-brainer for me - From Catch to Cape, a seafood feast at Cape Naturaliste Winery, with chefs from Stokehouse. If you have read this blog often, you'll know how much I love Cape Naturaliste wines. This was a meal I had to attend.

A girlfriend and I headed down to Molloy Island on Thursday night, spent Friday wine shopping and eating our way around the South West. I picked up some Venison Chorizo, some Margaret River Dairy cheeses and wines for both the weekend, and to stock the fridge back home. And stopped off at Boranup Gallery for coffee and cake!

Friday my husband came down straight from work, then he played taxi for our lunch on Saturday. Dropping us off at Quindalup Boat Ramp early in the morning, then picking us up from the winery after we'd eaten and drunk to our hearts content. Our day consisted of a Whale Watching Cruise, followed by a Seafood Meal cooked by Chef Oliver Gould and a team from Stokehouse paired with Cape Naturaliste wines. I thought he got the raw end of the deal, just being taxi. But he in the meantime had himself the degustation at the recent WA Good Food Guide Regional Restaurant of the Year Award winner - Wills Domain!

Me and my partner in food on the boat!
Blue Swimmer Crab Tart, Eggplant Puree, Salmon Roe, Baby Chervil
Kingfish Crudo, cucumber, mussel vinaigrette
Baked Scallops, citrus sabayon, pistachios, fennel cream
BBQ Gummy Shark, green chili and ginger salsa verde 
Baked Dhufish Fillets, tomato, red onion and caper sauce, green beans, kipfler potatoes in anchovy butter
Chef Oliver Gould and Owner Craig Brent-White

Sunday we ate our way around the Gourmet Village, and watched several of the presentations. A highlight for me was watching Rick Stein show us how to prepare and squid, and take the meat out of a lobster. Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey was one of the first cooking shows I ever watched and he is such a charming man in real life.

Crispy soft shell crab tortilla with smokey corn salsa, chipotle mayonnaise - Pork shoulder cooked in aBahen & Co. Chocolate sauce with adobo and jalapeno chilis with avocado salsa
Smoked Ocean Trout with green mango salad, nim jam 
Rick Stein
Chef Sam Ward from El Publico teaching us tortilla skills

For all of my photos from my time away, check out my Facebook Album