Category Archives: Savoury

Rum

I’m freshly back from a wonderful trip to Cuba. While I didn’t discover many amazing foodie delights to share with you, the food I experienced in Cuba was fresh and plentiful, but a bit on the plain side. I did however get a chance to cement my love of mojitos, which I’m fairly sure will be my drink of choice this summer. I also discovered a Cuban cocktail new to me, the Canchánchara at a beach party just outside of Trinidad. The beach party was fabulous complete with bonfire, Cuban band, sun setting into the ocean and the cocktails flowing.

My highlights from Cuba include the proud and passionate people, the amazing architecture – either crumbling or painstakingly restored, the music and salsa dancing.

Beach Bonfire

Rum is cheap and plentiful in Cuba, and forms the basis for most Cuban cocktails. It is made with sugar cane or small guavas, ranging from white rums through to darker aged rums. Havana Club is the brand most easily obtained outside of Cuba, but Barcardi also originated in Cuba. This cocktail relies on a balance between sweet from the honey, sour from the lemon and a healthy kick from the rum. Lime and lemongrass can also be used instead of or as well as the lemon. Feel free to play with the ratios until you get a balance that is right for you. In the spirit of the margarita, and because of the heat in Cuba, you could also add a pinch of salt to replace some of the salts lost through sweating.

Havana Club Rum

What I was cooking this time last year: Seasame Shortbread

Canchánchara

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 shots of white rum
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Soda water or sparkling mineral water

Method

  • Add the honey, rum and lemon juice to a glass. Stir to combine.

Havana Cub Cocktail Rum Honey Lemon

  • Add ice and fill the glass with sparkling water. Stir. Enjoy.

Canchanchara Cocktail Havana Club

What is your favourite summer cocktail recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Cocktail, Drink, Honey, Lemon, Recipes, Savoury, Sweet, Vegetarian

Spring Socialising

It’s hard to believe it’s November already. For me, November heralds the start of the party season and the count-down to Christmas. As your calendar starts to fill up, it’s handy to have some tasty recipes for entertaining.

I actually “borrowed” this recipe from a friend who recently purchased a thermomix. Now I love my kitchen gadgets, but haven’t been able to make the commitment to purchase one, but I’ve heard they are fantastic and she was excited to be experimenting with new recipes. I’ve added my own twist to the ingredients and come up with the below version (no thermomix required). I used a store-cupboard standby with the roasted peppers, but you could roast your own fresh red capsicum if you desire. If you would like a chunkier version of this dip, process the ingredients without the cashews first, then add the cashews and pulse the food processor until you achieve your desired texture. If your dip is a little to thick, you could add a bit of the drained oil that the tomatoes came in to help in getting the desired texture.

Serve your dip with your favourite accompaniments – crackers or vegetable crudités.

What I was cooking this time last year: Passionfruit and Strawberry Gum Bavarian

Cashew and Tomato Dip

Ingredients:

  • 100g semi-sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 birds eye chilli
  • 50g roasted red peppers or roasted red capsicum, drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 120g raw unsalted cashews
  • 30g parmesan cheese

Method

  • Add the tomatoes, peppers, cashews, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and parmesan cheese to your food processor or thermomix bowl.

Cashews, tomato, pepper, chilli, garlic, cheese, ingredients

  • Blend until you have achieved your desired texture.
  • Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.

Cashew and tomato dip

What is your favourite stand-by recipe when friends drop by? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Capsicum, Cashews, Cheese, Dip, Lemon, Nuts, Recipes, Savoury, Tomato, Vegetarian

Picnic in the park

I was meeting friends in Centennial Park today for a baby shower picnic, and was responsible for bringing dips. I wanted to bring one of my favourite dips, tzatziki. After researching different recipes, it seems the secret with this dip is to keep things simple. I was thinking of experimenting with the addition of spices, but the only things that seem to be added are a generous amount of salt and pepper, and either mint or dill. I went with adding both herbs, and some lemon zest and lemon infused olive oil for an extra citrus kick.

The raw garlic actually adds a bit of heat to the dip, so taste as you go when adding the garlic and pepper. Some recipes ask you to peel the cucumber and / or scoop out the seeds, I didn’t but instead allowed the yoghurt and grated cucumber to drain to remove some of the excess liquid. Suspend your strainer over a bowl to allow the liquid to drip through.

Serve this dip with your favourite crackers, or vegetable crudités (I used celery and carrot sticks) or as part of a Middle-Eastern inspired feast.

What I was cooking this time last year: Asian Marinated Salmon

Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used lemon infused)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Grate the cucumber and add to a suspended strainer.
  • Add the yoghurt to the grated cucumber in the strainer and set aside for the excess liquid to drip through.

Yoghurt and cucumber straining

  • Set aside the draining yoghurt and grated cucumber for half-an-hour while you prepare your vegetable crudités.
  • Discard the liquid and add the yoghurt and grated cucumber to the blow.
  • Grate the lemon zest and finely mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
  • Add the finely chopped mint, dill, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Tzatziki ingredients

  • Mix with a spoon until everything is combined.
  • Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.

Tzatziki dip celery carrot crudité

What is your favourite dip? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Dip, Herbs, Lemon, Recipes, Savoury, Vegetarian

Nutty

It is a long weekend in Sydney. The October long weekend is when daylight savings time kicks in, and the weekend that heralds the start of summertime.  A lot of Sydneysiders use the opportunity to make a pilgrimage out of the city and head up the coast. Staying at a friend’s place for the weekend, and the start of BBQ season is the inspiration for this recipe, Marinated Fish skewers with Satay Sauce.

I used Monkfish for my skewers, as recommended by my fish monger. You could use chicken, tofu or prawns instead of fish if you prefer. Kecap manis is a thick, Indonesian soy sauce, normally found in the Asian section of your supermarket. Kaffir lime leaves add a citrus tang. You can add chilli to taste to the sauce – I like things spicy so added more to make sure there was a bit of heat to the sauce. This is not an authentic Indonesian or Balinese recipe, because I have added ginger to the marinade and sauce, but I think the flavours work well together.

It was hard to get an appetising photograph of the satay sauce, but I assure you it tastes delicious and quite different to anything you buy from the supermarket out of a jar or bottle.

Serve your skewers with the satay sauce as a snack on their own, or with rice, salad or vegetables for a more substantial meal.

What I was cooking this time last year: Guacamole

Marinated Fish Skewers with Satay Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Fish Skewers

  • 1kg monkfish fillets
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • wooden skewers

Satay Sauce

  • 150g raw unsalted peanuts
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 red chillies, or to taste
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water

Method

  • Soak the wooden skewers in water. This prevents them burning when they are being cooked.
  • Add the shredded kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger, oil and kecap manis to a bowl.

Kaffir lime leaves

  • Chop the fish into cubes and add to the bowl.
  • Toss to coat the fish in the marinade, set aside to soak up the flavours while you prepare the satay sauce.

Fish skewers

  • Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and add the raw peanuts.

Raw peanuts

  • Cook the peanuts, stirring regularly, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. (The peanuts will continue to cook once they are removed from the heat so don’t allow them to get too golden brown when they are on the heat.)

cooked peanuts

  • Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, tomato, kecap manis kaffir lime leaves and peanuts to a blender jug. Add 1/4 cup of warm water.

blender kaffir lime tomato

  • Blend the sauce until smooth and combined. Taste, if required add more chilli or water until you are happy with the heat and thickness of the sauce.
  • Transfer your satay sauce to a bowl and set aside.

Satay sauce

  • Thread the cubes of marinated fish onto the soaked skewers.

Raw fish skewers

  • On the BBQ or a medium-hot frying pan, cook your fish skewers for a couple of minutes on one side.
  • Turn and cook for a minute or two on the other side, or until cooked through.
  • Serve the cooked fish skewers alongside the satay sauce. Enjoy.

DSC07529

What is your favourite BBQ recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Peanuts, Recipes, Savoury, Seafood

Beetroot blast

Beetroot are in abundance at the moment, and are the inspiration for this recipe. Ingredients that compliment beetroot include cumin, walnuts and feta, which produce a vibrantly coloured purple dip – what’s not to love. This recipe makes quite a large batch, so feel free to halve if you aren’t cooking for a crowd or don’t want to be eating it for the next week.

To toast and grind your cumin seeds, cook them without any oil in a fry pan over a low to medium heat – be careful to keep the spices moving so they toast evenly and only cook until lightly toasted and the aroma is released, don’t let the spices burn, then grind to get maximum flavour into your dip. The cumin seeds can be ground in a blender, coffee grinder or a with a pestle and mortar.

Serve your dip with your favourite biscuits or rice crackers, and / or vegetable crudités.

What I was cooking this time last year: Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Beetroot dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of beetroot, approximately 1 kg
  • 200g feta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50g toasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C.
  • Peel the beetroot and chop into pieces.

Beetroot

  • Lay beetroot pieces on a baking tray, add the garlic cloves (with skins intact).

Beetroot pieces garlic

  • Put the beetroot into the oven to start roasting while you prepare the walnuts.
  • Put the walnuts in a heat proof dish and put in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant.
  • Set aside the walnuts to cool.
  • Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly.

Toasting cumin seeds

  • Grind the cumin seeds.
  • Roast the beetroot until it is tender, then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Add the roast beetroot, feta, ground cumin, peeled garlic cloves, walnuts, lemon zest and juice and olive oil to your food processor bowl or blender.

Beetroot feta

  • Blend until smooth and everything is combined.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and blend to combine.
  • Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.

Beetroot dip

What is your favourite dip? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Beetroot, Cheese, Dip, Recipes, Savoury, Spices, Vegetarian

Such a tart

Many varieties of tomatoes are available at the moment in abundance, so I’ve used them as the basis for my recipe this week. Flavours that match well with tomatoes include oregano and garlic, but you could of course experiment with whatever flavours inspire you. The tomatoes have been roasted before adding to the tart to intensify their flavours. I used roma or egg tomatoes, but feel free to use whatever looks good when you are shopping. This tart can be served hot from the oven, warm or cold.

I’m lazy with my pastry making these days, and don’t roll out my pastry. I prefer to push it into shape in the tin then let it rest in the freezer before baking. This gives it a rustic, un-uniform edge but I quite like that. You can of course rest the pastry, roll it out and fit to your tin if you prefer. How many tarts you get out of this recipe depends on how big your tart tin(s) are and how thick you want your pastry, or you could use a muffin or cupcake pan to create mini tarts. Any leftover uncooked pastry can be frozen for use at a later date.

Tomato Tart

Ingredients

For the pastry case

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 x generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 egg

For the tart filling

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 100mls cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Turn your oven on to 180°C to pre-heat.
  • Chop the tomatoes into thick slices, for my roma tomatoes I chopped each into 3 long ways.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion.
  • Lay your tomato slices on a baking tray and sprinkle with the garlic, onion, cayenne pepper and sumac.
  • Drizzle over the oil.
  • Put your tray of tomatoes in the oven to roast for 40 minutes while you make your pastry.

Tomatoes and garlic

  • In a food processor mix the butter, flour, a pinch of salt, oregano leaves, parmesan and mustard until it resembles fine breadcrumbs [or you could do this by hand by rubbing small cubes of cold butter into the dry ingredients].

Savoury pastry ingredients

  • Add the egg and combine until the mixture just comes together as soft dough. If the mixture is still a little dry after adding the egg, add a little cold water until the mixture just comes together into a ball.

Pastry egg

  • Tip the pastry into your tin and press into shape, and place in the freezer to rest and chill.

Pastry case savoury

  • After your tomatoes have been baking for 40 minutes, transfer them to a lower shelf in the oven and bake your pastry case until cooked and light brown. The time will vary depending on what sort of tart tin you are using, but as a guide allow approximately 20 minutes.
  • Separate an egg, reserving the egg white and mix the egg yolk with a pastry brush. Brush egg yolk to glaze the inside of your pastry case, then cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Remove your tomatoes and pastry case from the oven.
  • Scatter the oregano leaves over the base of the pastry case.
  • Assemble your cooked tomatoes in the pastry case.
  • Add another egg to your separated egg white, then add cream and salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Egg cream pepper

  • Pour the egg mixture over the tomatoes in the pastry case.

Tomato tart ready for baking

  • Return your tart to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or so or until the egg mixture is set (doesn’t wobble when you give the tart a shake).
  • Your tart is ready to serve. Enjoy!

Tomato tart

What is your favourite pastry tip? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cheese, Herbs, Pastry, Recipes, Savoury, Vegetarian

Mushrooming

Mushrooms were proudly on display at my local farmers markets this weekend, so I used this as the basis for my recipe. Most mushroom soup recipes use cream, but this one relies on tangy citrus flavours to compliment the earthy mushrooms.

Mushrooms

I used a mixture of button mushrooms and portobello. Sumac is a middle eastern spice with a tangy citrus flavour. If you don’t like things spicy, you could substitute the cayenne pepper with paprika. If you have some home-made or bought vegetable stock, feel free to use that instead of the stock powder and hot water. Strict vegetarians can of course skip the anchovy filets. Given that everything will be blended at the end, don’t worry too much about your chopping. The recipe below produces quite a big batch, enough for 6 portions, but it’s always handy to have leftovers for lunch or freezing for later.

What I was cooking this time last year: Passionfruit Pudding

Mushroom Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1kg button mushrooms
  • 500g portobello mushrooms
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon thyme, plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 x 400g tins of butter beans
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Chop the onion and garlic.

Onion and garlic

  • Heat the oil in a large pot, add the chopped onion and garlic and anchovy filets and fry over a medium heat while you chop the celery.
  • Chop the celery and add to the pot.
  • Add the sumac and cayenne pepper to the pot and stir to combine. You may need to turn the heat down slightly.
  • Dust any dirt off the mushrooms.
  • Chop the mushrooms and add them to the pot.
  • Cook until the mushrooms wilt down, stirring occasionally.

Butter beans and mushrooms

  • Add the butter beans, and fill up each empty can with water and add that to the pot too.
  • Add the zest and juice of the lemon, stock powder, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom soup thyme

  • Cook the soup over medium heat for 15 minutes or so.
  • Blend the soup until smooth.
  • Your soup is ready to serve. Garnish with extra thyme if desired. Enjoy.

Mushroom soup

What is your favourite mushroom recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Herbs, Lemon, Mushroom, Recipes, Savoury, Soup, Spices