Monday, June 29, 2015

Pizza Party - Nectarine, Prosciutto and Radish Pizza

Pizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish PizzaPizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish Pizza

The pizza obsession I spoke of in my last post has created one of my favourite pizza flavour combinations so far - nectarine, prosciutto and radish. Sweet, salty and with a bite. Could there be a more perfect flavour combination? The nectarines go a little jammy on the bottom forming a lovely 'sauce'. For those of us who are in Perth, where nectarines (and stone fruit in general) aren't in season, this is also delicious with thinly sliced Beurre Bosc Pears, or Pink Lady or Fuji Apples. For those of you currently enjoying a Northern Summer - stone fruit away! As the prosciutto and capers are salty side, make sure your cheese is a less salty variety.


As with my last pizza post, this uses my chick-pea pizza dough, but use a pre-made base if you can't be bothered. The nuttiness of the chick-pea dough really does add a little something here.


Pizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish Pizza
Pizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish Pizza


Nectarine, Prosciutto and Radish Pizza

1 nectarine, sliced
6 thin slices Prosciutto, roughly torn
1 tsp capers
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
50g brie, sliced as best you can
half of this pizza dough (or your own bases)
1 tsp cornmeal
Basil leaves to serve

Preheat your oven to 170C and prepare your dough, leave to rest while you slice all the ingredients.

Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking tray to stop your pizza sticking.

Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle, to fit your baking tray. Spread the nectarine slices across the bottom of the dough, then layer the prosciutto, capers, radishes and brie over the top in a vaguely even kinda way.

Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the base are golden and the cheese melted.

Scatter basil leaves to serve.


Pizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish Pizza
Pizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish PizzaPizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish PizzaPizza Party - Nectarine, Proscuitto and Radish Pizza

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza

Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza


I have been crazy for pizza lately. For the last few months, we’ve had homemade pizza at least once a week. It’s often on a Sunday, sitting out in the now cooling sunshine with a beer, or a glass of wine. Or, in this case, a glass or bubbles. I love building different flavour profiles in pizza and coming up with something a little fun and novel. The bases have all been the lentil/chickpea flour bases I made in this post here. I love the extra oomph of flavour that the chickpeas give the dough. Feel free to use whatever bases you want, but there really is only a little extra effort in making your own. Mix the dough, leave it to rise for half an hour while you prep the ingredients, then roll and assemble the pizzas.

This pizza was created after a trip to Kakulas without Lance. We have a rule in our house that Lance is not to be in charge of portion control. He instigated that rule himself after he assured me that he could eat a whole mess of herring that we caught on honeymoon. I was sceptical, but cooked it all and nothing else. Just the herring. Luckily. It was a crazy amount of fish. He understood this, and now it’s up to me to decide on portion control. So I think I might have to instigate a rule that I shouldn’t go to Kakulas without Lance. He talks me down and makes me be more sensible with my cheese and cured meats purchases. Without him asking me, repeatedly, if we *really* need that AS WELL, and when will we get to eat all of this cheese, especially when we’re out for meals all weekend and the first few days of the week, well…I get a little bit ridiculous. And my basket gets piled high with various gourmet cheeses and salamis and serrano and…well, you get the idea. And I only went in to get one or two things.

But, I knew I was going to make pizza. And I knew I was going to use roast eggplant and beetroot on the pizza. So I knew that I wanted a gorgeous fennel salami. And some fetta. Do try and get a fennel salami for this, the aniseedy fennel brings out the absolute best of the earthy sweet roast beetroot. And the saltiness of the fetta makes the silky roast eggplant “sauce” come to life, so try make that a good quality one, too. I like sheep/goat’s fetta, as it has a nice creamy texture, rather than a drier, crumblier one.

This was all topped off with some of the orange hollandaise sauce I made for the enoki tacos. It’s seriously next level stuff to drizzle over this pizza. A decadent flavour boost. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make it, serving this with a lemon wedge is a nice idea.

Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza


Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza

2 roasted baby beetroot
1 small roasted eggplant
5-6 slices fennel salami, cut into pieces
50g Greek fetta, sliced and ready to crumble
tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
sprig thyme, leaves removed
1 portion pizza dough (my go-to is this one - halve for this pizza, or double the toppings)

to serve

orange hollandaise
lemon wedge

If you don't have any roasted eggplant and beetroot, start by doing that. Heat your oven to 175 and baked whole, scrubbed beetroot wrapped tightly in foil for 45-50 minutes until tender. Roast the eggplant for 30-40 minutes, turning over halfway, until soft. Allow to cool enough to handle, then peel the beetroot and slice.


Make your dough, if you are. Or gather your pizza bases.

Preheat your oven to 175C. Sprinkle a teaspoon of coarse cornmeal on a baking tray to stop it sticking.


Roll your pizza dough out to your desired shape. I tend to go for a rustic rectangle to fit on my baking tray. Slice your beetroot, salami and fetta ready.


Cut the roast eggplant in half and use a fork to shred out the flesh. Spread this over the base of the pizza, top with the other ingredients, adding the fetta last.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden.


Serve with a drizzle of orange hollandaise, normal hollandaise or a wedge of lemon.



Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza
Pizza Party - Beetroot, Eggplant and Salami Pizza


Monday, June 22, 2015

Dining (and mini-golfing) with the Skamp - Tipo 00, Melbourne

Melbourne Mini-Golf
Melbourne Mini-Golf

Lance and I both love mini-golf. And it was telling a casual co-worker about this love that initially spawned Lance’s anniversary surprise holiday to Melbourne. He was told there was one about an hour out of Melbourne that we *had* to do. Before he could get the specifics about the course, this colleague left and Lance was left to investigate himself. And there seemed to be multiple options. No matter! He formed a for us a mini-golf tour of Melbourne. It was perfectly planned and more than a little crazy – which tends to be how most of our tours and tournaments end up. Crazy, pushing our physical limits and just So. Much. Fun. We’d fly out at midnight, getting in to Melbourne at 6am. We’d grab a rental car and then drive course to course until a winner was determined. All up, there was about 4 hours of driving between the venues, with 8 courses to play across 5 venues. We’d then drop the car off in the city, just around the corner from our hotel, check in then get a bite to eat. Dinner that first night was always supposed to be a simple affair. Just a quick meal to fill us up and get us to bed early to get over the midnight horror and full-on day. Instead, we walked a few hundred meters to a little Italian place I’d stumbled across in my research called Tipo 00 and got an early start to the best restaurants tour of Melbourne.


Melbourne Mini-Golf
Melbourne Mini-Golf
Melbourne Mini-Golf

When I say the tournament was perfectly planned – we didn’t factor in one thing – Melbourne weather. It was sunny and warm in Perth when we booked the car and finalised the tour schedule. It was not when we arrived in Melbourne at 5:30am. Sleepless and cold, the lovely Thrifty folk let us sit in their office for half an hour before they opened and could serve us, and we headed out to the first course. And it rained the whole drive. And it rained off and on the whole course. And it was freezing. The guys in the golf pro course thought we were insane. Yes, we had turned into crazy golfers who played rain or shine. They have two 18 whole courses at Yarra Bend, so we had a coffee in between the two to warm our fingers enough to hold the clubs. At the next course, it appeared to have gotten colder. And it started hailing. Yes, now we were crazy golfers who played rain, HAIL, or shine. Luckily, the second of these two courses was mainly undercover. They informed us that our next stop was actually closed that day. So, freezing, tired (we’d now gone around 30 hours without sleep) and wet…we decided to call the tournament early. Four courses completed, Lance was the overall winner. But deciding it was too cold to continue was the best decision we made. The second best decision was eating at Tipo.


Tipo 00 - bread and wine
Tipo 00 - Lingua – grilled ox tongue, balsamic vinegar & pink peppercorns
Tipo 00 - Entree Special - Wild mushrooms with smoked wagyu

It’s a fairly unassuming little spot, but hugely popular. It’s interior is rustic and welcoming, dimly lit and warm. We were told there would be a half-hour wait, but that there’s a lovely wine bar up the road, they’ll call us when we can eat. Perfect. Just as I finished the last sip of my vermouth, the phone rang. I’d recently introduced Lance to Lalla Rookh in Perth, where we ate the il Capo menu and it was hugely tempting to go for that option here. There was so much on the menu we wanted to try, that it seemed a good way to do it. But our curiosity to try a few specific dishes won out and we ordered ala carte instead.


Tipo 00 - Riso vialone nano – stinging nettles & saltbush risotto

We decided on two entrees and two mains to share, and the sommelier and wait staff then helped us pick two wines available in the half bottle that would go with our options. I love half-bottle options, especially at places where the half-price is exactly half the bottle price. More flavours, same price! The wine list was mainly Italian, not a lot I was familiar with, so the staff knowing the wine inside out was a huge help. Our dishes were the entrĂ©e special of the day – wild mushrooms, with smoked wagyu and housemade rosemary crisps and the grilled tongue. The tongue is thinly sliced and concertina’d onto a skewer before being grilled, so it’s both aesthetically interesting and has lots of crispy exterior bits as you bite into it. For mains we had clam and smoked tomato spaghetti – as I’ve mentioned many a time, Lance is currently obsessed with smoking things, so this was one of the dishes that made us lean away from the set menu. The little smoked cherry tomatoes were fabulous – but there weren’t enough of them. I think the dish totalled 10 clams and only 4 tomatoes. The flavours combined so well, but needed more of the sweet smoky bursts of flavour. The stinging nettle and saltbush risotto was vibrantly green in colour and flavour. It was decidedly different, and one of the best risottos I've eaten.

Tipo 00 - Riso vialone nano – stinging nettles & saltbush risotto

Given how much we’d enjoyed the food thus far, skipping dessert was simply not an option, which set a decadent precedent for the remainder of our Melbourne Food Odyssey. Lance ordered the torta del giorno, which was a light and airy white chocolate mousse dish which I remember as being a little lacking in textural variation. My dessert is their signature – the Tipomisu – or their take on the classic tiramisu. It was Oh. My. Gosh. Fabulous. A dense chocolate brownie round filled with sweetened rum mascarpone, topped with chocolate and then smothered in the richest coffee caramel sauce you could imagine. I still have dreams about that sauce. Such an intense coffee flavour, tempered by the caramel, without sweetening it too much and a hint of salt to further round out the coffee bitterness.

Tipo 00 - Torta del GiornoTipo 00 - Tipomisu

 As we do with Lalla Rookh, we left proclaiming that we would try and head back there to try a few more dishes. And we had the best of intentions of doing just that – especially considering the restaurant was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel. But other restaurants beckoned and we didn’t end up back there. Sadly. Maybe next trip we’ll do the rest of the tournament and go back for the chef’s menu. In summer.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Using your Noodle - Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef



Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
 
Something that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine is when you see something presenting as a ‘healthy version’ of a dish by replacing the main ingredient that makes it the original dish – but still calls it the original. Like a “burger”  or ‘taco’ which uses lettuce leaves instead of a bun or tortillas. Those are lettuce leaf wraps, or even a fusion version of san choy bau. I am happy to eat them, happy for them to be a dish but don’t try and trick me by calling it a burger or a taco. Or anything called a cheesecake that doesn’t contain cheese. I love cashew cream, and the various versions of nut cake that try to simulate the cheesecake texture…but they are an entirely different category of cake!

The other main one is spaghetti using zucchini. I love zucchini ‘noodles’ as a side dish. I’ve had a huge variety of dishes with the zucchini prepared this way that have been tasty ways of eating the vegetable…but no matter how hard you try convince me otherwise, they are not a replacement for flour and egg noodles. It is not spaghetti. Call it something else. Please!

Given my mini-rant, this dish might be confusing at first because it is buttered spaghetti squash. But I am not trying to trick you into thinking it is a low-carb or gluten-free version of buttered noodles. That’s just the variety of squash that I used. Spaghetti squash aren’t hugely common in Perth although the ones I buy are grown in the Southern Forests Region (I get mine from the Nanna Shop), and they are named for the flesh that when roasted, you can pull it into strands that look, well, spaghetti-like. But, make no mistake. This is a delicious vegetable dish, it is not pasta. Although, you could make this a pasta dish by subbing in noodles for the squash.

If you can’t find a spaghetti squash, you can use Kent or butternut pumpkin diced into 1-2cm cubes and roasted until tender but not falling apart. This dish uses half a spaghetti squash, but I tend to roast a whole one each time, then use the leftover shredded flesh in another dish. Bresaola is a smoked meat you can find in good delis amongst the other cold meats. If you can’t get hold of any, prosciutto or bacon diced up and fried would work well.

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

1 spaghetti squash
6 slices bresaola, cut into strips (if you can’t find, sub prosciutto or bacon)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 brown onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 olives stuffed with pimento, sliced into rounds
5 prunes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve
Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 175C. Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Drizzle a little olive oil on the cut flesh of the squash and rub it over to distribute and coat thinly. Place, cut side down onto the baking tray and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Slice the bresaola into strips, and place into a frypan over medium heat. Cook, stirring here and there for around 2 minutes, or until some of the fat renders out, and it crisps and curls up in parts. Remove to a paper towel lined tray and set aside.

In the same pan, add the olive oil and butter, allow the butter to melt. Add the onion moons and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until translucent, 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking until the onions become a nice golden colour, around 20 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, pull the spaghetti squash flesh into strands with a fork. Put half away in a container in the fridge for another use. The other half, stir through the buttery onions, ensuring it is all well coated. Then add the olives, prunes and bresaola and stir to evenly distribute. Check for seasoning, then serve with chopped pistachios.
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots

Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots

I don’t have much to say about this recipe, other than I had a bag of lovely baby carrots from the Nanna Shop. And I had a one lone mango left from my tree. And I was reading a book on Moroccan and North African cuisine. It all sort of just happened, from there. Cumin, fruit and vegetables. Simple, but tasty. Like a mango-ey version of honey roasted carrots. If you can, toast some cumin seeds in a pan and grind to a powder yourself.

This is a sweet vegetable dish, so it’s a perfect accompaniment to richer, fattier meats like lamb. And drier style wines. We ate it with toasted tortillas, Greek yoghurt and lamb sausages. All in all, a very nice enjoyable meal.

I had leftovers with a poached egg the next day for lunch.
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast CarrotsSimply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots

 

Cumin Mango Roast Carrots

500g baby carrots, scrubbed
1tbsp olive oil
1 mango, peeled, sliced
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 jalapeno, finely sliced
Generous sprinkling sea salt and fresh black pepper

To serve:
Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Sesame seeds (I used black, but white are fine too)
Sprig of coriander, leaves removed and finely chopped
Drizzle balsamic glaze

Preheat the oven to 170C

Make sure the baby carrots are approximately the same thickness, so cut in half lengthwise if necessary. Drizzle with olive oil, the cumin, cinnamon and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Add the mango and jalapeno and toss gently. You don’t want to break the mango up too much.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until mostly tender, turning at around the half-way mark and coating the carrots in the mango that’s broken down.

Turn up the oven to 200C and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, so the sugars caramelize a little.

Remove from the oven, drizzle with balsamic glaze, sprinkle with the nuts, seeds and coriander.

Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots
Simply Delicious - Cumin Mango Roast Carrots