Friday, March 25, 2016

Quick and Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti

Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti


It's been an almost unforgivably long time since I've posted. Sorry. I don't really have an excuse, just haven't gotten around to it. So for Good Friday I thought I'd post a quick and really simple seafood dish that tastes amazing.

This is the most frequently occurring dish in our house at the moment. And for the last, oh, month or so. It is divine and oh so easy to make. It helps that Lance has been hot-smoking salmon like there’s no tomorrow. And that I wholeheartedly support this habit. But most supermarkets and delis have some good hot-smoked salmon options available for sale these days for if you don’t have yourself a Lance. You only really need 1 fillet for this 4-person dish as the flavour of the smoked fish is quite strong and penetrates the cream so well. Smoke and fat are best friends, (think smoked butter, smoked cheese, smoked brisket) so it makes sense that the cream benefits from the smoke as well. And the whole thing cooks in one pot. Seriously. I’ve heard tell of one-pot-pastas but finally braved it myself and now there’s no going back. Especially with this specific dish. If it’s more than a week since we’ve had it, Lance reminds me that there’s smoked salmon in the house. And it tastes super fancy and complicated. It will impress the socks off people when in reality, you’ve cooked a bit of onion and garlic, then popped everything else in the pan and walked away until it’s cooked.


 Oh, and this works just as well with asparagus!


Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti



Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti

500g dry spaghetti
2 cups fish stock
3 cups water
1 cup cream
4 heaped tsps. prepared horseradish
1 bunch broccolini, sliced into 3cm lengths
1 hot-smoked salmon portion
2 tsp pink peppercorns
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley and red chili flakes to serve (optional)



Heat a large, deep-sided saucepan to medium and add a splash of olive oil. Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the pink peppercorns, the fish stock. water, cream and horseradish and stir to combine. Check the seasoning, but make it a little less salty than you ordinarily would. Otherwise when the liquid reduces, it'll be too salty. 

Add the dry spaghetti and push under the liquid. Raise the heat gently to bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave for 15 minutes. The noodles should be definitely soft enough to stir at this point. 

Add in the broccolini and salmon, stirring through the mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until al dente. The majority of the liquid will be dissolved into a beautiful creamy sauce. Check for seasoning and serve with chili flakes and fresh parsley.
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti
Quick amd Good Friday Seafood - Smoked Salmon and Broccolini One-Pot Spaghetti

Monday, January 25, 2016

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas


Even if the weather is hot and gross and the idea of having the oven on is unbearable, sometimes you feel like some roast lamb. That’s not just me, yeah? Thank goodness for hooded BBQs! We will actually roast in the BBQ all year around, not just in summer because Lance likes to get the smoker going to flavour, well, everything. But a smoked leg of lamb is a beautiful thing, so I do not complain. I encourage! This recipe is flavourful enough to not require the smoke, but 9 times out of 10, if you get served a roast at our house, it will be smoked. You can smoke this or not, either way it is pretty spectacular.
Over the past few years, aperitivos have really come into their own in WA as we embrace the bitterness in summery spritzes. I absolutely love the citrusy fresh flavours in Aperol and Campari and the like. We have spritz weather, and a particularly balmy afternoon with an Aperol and soda inspired this recipe. The basic premise of this dish is to balance a leg of lamb atop some chickpeas, onions, garlic and Aperol so that the chickpeas will soak up the delicious lamb juices as well as the boozey liquid below as they cook. It’s important to only rub salt on the top of the leg of lamb, otherwise the chickpeas develop a hard outer shell and become tough. Season the chickpeas at the end of the cooking process. The best part of this recipe is that you can just pop it in the BBQ and leave it cooking and it’s a side dish and meat in one dish. Add a green salad and you are done for dinner, folks. You can rotate the lamb a few times if you want, to ensure even cooking, but I don’t always bother (don't salt the lamb at all if you want to rotate). Still check on the liquid levels every so often to make sure the chick peas don’t dry out. I’ve also added some diced carrots and capsicum to the chickpeas to boost the vege content and that’s also worked a treat. Any leftover chickpeas can be used in salads to take to work the next day, the Aperol scent reminding you that the weekend is no more than 5 days away!

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

1 leg of lamb
2 brown onions, cut into thin half moons
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight.
3 sprigs thyme
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup Aperol
1 cup water
Salt and pepper
Rinse your soaked chickpeas and place them in a heatproof bowl or pot. Boil the kettle and pour over the chickpeas. Leave for 20 minutes while you preheat your BBQ to 160C using only the burners on the grill side, not the plate side (alternatively, you can use your oven). Drain the chickpeas.
Spread the chickpeas into the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the onion, garlic and thyme. Pour over the wine, Aperol and water, gently stir it all together. Rest the lamb on top of the chickpeas, presentation side up and put on the plate of the BBQ (indirect heat) and put the lid down. After half an hour, turn the lamb upside-down carefully with tongs. After another half hour, turn the lamb back the right side up. Continue roasting for a further 30-45 minutes, depending on how well done you like your roast. All the while, keep an eye on the liquid level of the chickpeas. They will slowly be soaking up the liquid, but you don’t want them to dry and catch on the bottom, add a little extra water if necessary.

When the lamb is done, remove it from the chickpeas and set aside on a warm plate, tented in foil to rest for 20 minutes. Pop the lid back down on the BBQ, keeping the chickpeas cooking in this twenty minutes, the liquid should evaporate, leaving a sticky gravy-like onion mixture and the chickpeas should be soft. Season to taste, and serve a pile of chickpeas with a few slices of roast lamb and a green salad.

An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas
An Australia Day Roast - Roast Lamb with Aperol Chickpeas

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg


Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg


One of my colleagues has a mini farm on her property, with chickens and ducks. I’ve been the lucky recipient of a few dozen fresh chicken eggs and when I mentioned I’d never tried duck eggs before, she brought some in for me to try. Lance stressed me out a little by asking what I was going to do with them, because I had to make something special to match the specialness of the duck eggs. The pressure was on! I didn’t know anything about duck eggs, apart from the fact that they’re bigger than chook eggs. And from ducks. I was told to expect richer, creamier eggs. A large yolk. They are fattier than chook eggs, but also have a higher protein content. They’re apparently great to bake with, and great for egg-heavy things like custards and souffl├ęs.

 

Ok. Well, with this knowledge but still no personal understanding of what to expect, I thought the first try would be best kept simple. A nice poached egg to let the flavours shine. (Yes, I know this is technically a soft-boiled egg, but David Chang calls this version a poached egg in my Treme cookbook and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me). Making a poached egg a meal, I thought I’d make some hummus mash of sorts, flavoured with a capsicum Lance had smoked on the weekend (my house is currently filled with an array of yummy smoked things, like salmon, capsicum, cashews as Lance experiments with a new chamber smoking technique). Just some roast capsicums will suffice if you don’t have a Lance/smoking fiend around you. If you do it yourself, really char the skins so they have a little smokiness, and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to ramp up the smoke flavour more. Instead of tahini, I thought I’d toast and blend some sunflower seeds in the mix, and subbed balsamic vinegar for acid instead of lemon juice to add an extra layer of complexity to the smoke.

 

I beefed up the whole situation with some leftover roast lamb and toasted quinoa adds heft as well as salt and texture. Sub in whatever leftover meat or even chorizo or bacon as you see fit. A bit of a green salad adds some fresh crunch and voila…a lovely meal comes together.

 

So, my verdict on the duck eggs? The taste is basically the same as chicken eggs, but with a creamier mouthfeel. If you are into your #yolkporn like I am, duck eggs will be right up your alley! The yolks blended into the hummus to make it rich, without having added all the olive oil of a normal hummus. Definitely think I’ll be adding duck eggs to the repertoire!


Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck EggExperimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
 Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg

Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg


Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg


¼ cup sunflower seeds

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 smoked capsicum (or roasted capsicum if you can’t access a smoked one, with 1 tsp smoked paprika)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

¼ cup quinoa, rinsed and dried

1 cup diced roast lamb

1 tsp sumac

Salt and pepper to taste

 

2 duck eggs, room temperature

 

Heat a medium saucepan to low and toast the sunflower seeds for 2-3 minutes, tossing the pan here and there to stir until it smells nutty and toasty, but not browned. Pour out onto a cutting board or plate and set aside to cool. In the same saucepan, add the olive oil and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until translucent. Be careful not to burn. Add the stock and chickpeas and bring to a steady simmer.

 

Peel the skin off the smoked capsicum (much like roasting them, it should come off fairly easily), core, de-seed and roughly chop. Stir into the chickpeas and leave to simmer for 10 minutes for the flavours to fuse. Remove from the heat, add the sunflower seeds and blend the whole thing until smooth with a stick blender. Stir through the balsamic vinegar, check for seasoning and set aside with the lid on to keep warm.

 

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Gently lower the duck eggs into the boiling water and set a timer for 4 minutes, 30 seconds.

 

Meanwhile, heat a frypan to medium high and add the quinoa and lamb. If the lamb isn’t very fatty, you might need to add a tablespoon of oil to stop it sticking. Mix around to heat the lamb and toast. The quinoa should go a light golden colour and the edge of the lamb will crispen.

 

Pull the eggs out of the water and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and cool enough to be able to handle. This should only take 30 seconds or so.

 
Plate the hummus, then gently peel an egg and serve on top, you can either split it to have the yolk spill out or leave it whole for the diner to do. Mix the sumac into the quinoa mix and season. Sprinkle over the top. Serve!

Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg
Experimenting with Produce - Smoked Capsicum Hummus with Toasted Lamb, Quinoa and a Poached Duck Egg