Saturday, July 31, 2010

The return of the Italians

As you know the Italians came a few weeks back and it seems they liked us, as they are coming back and they have rounded up some more to join them, people have come from the Northern Hemisphere for this event, amazing! We are to gather at Dot and Sean’s place in the South Geraldton suburb of Hocking, Sean has fired up his pizza oven for the occasion, so there will be much eating and much drinking and merriment. Dot has phoned 15 times this morning to see what we think about this pizza topping or that one, I tell her, Dot, less is better, and No, pineapple does not go on pizza!

Princess Jo hasn’t been much better, cracking the whip on me and having me cook my little heart out on a Friday night in readiness. I can still remember well Friday nights where I would knock from work, walk to the Royal Hotel for a belly full of beer, then stagger to Vivace in Bennett St to pick up a pizza, which was promptly taken home and devoured in front of the TV whilst watching the footy, washed down with the best red of course! Seems a long time ago now! Now my Friday night is spent cooking risotto and cheesecake, preparing arancini and preparing an evening meal, seems I have gone from looking for love to cooking for love, but that is OK because I in fact love every minute of it.

Preparations have continued today, making a delicious tomato and capsicum sauce which will go with some very yummy crumbed beef girello and then of course there is the dressing of the baked cheesecake and the arancini needs to be deep fried, and this is only the food Jo and I have prepared, but then it is an Italian gathering, what more would you expect?

viva Italia

Well what a night, there was so much going on, so much food, so much laughter, so much fun, Dot and Sean know how to party and their beautiful home is setup so well, having a good time comes easy. Then when Sean rolls out a few of his toys there is more fun, more laughter irrespective of your age, this is always going to be fun. The Italians were especially impressed with the armoured scout tank, even though it only has one reverse gear, and it took a while for Sean to back it up with Uncle Lou giving him the directions where to go, we had to explain to uncle Lou he could not speak with his hands at this task, things go better after that!

Click on photo's to see a bigger version!

Thanks for the roaring fire going in the pizza oven the outdoor kitchen was a great place to be, toasty warm on an otherwise chilly night. Sean kept the tasty treats coming from the oven throughout the night, baked chilli potato and pumpkin, just little bite sized morsels, but boy they packed a punch when it came to flavour, the spicy Italian sausages were to die for as usual.
When it came time to make pizza and all the toppings come out, you could have sworn you were at Uncle Gino’s pizza joint! Everyone got in the act preparing their own specialised creations just the way they like them, unless of course they wanted pineapple because there was none of that in sight, just as it should be in any self respecting pizzeria!
Sean's pizzeria
When's my turn?
I was quite chuffed too to have some feedback for some of the food I prepared, cousin Janine remarked how she loved the shape of my balls, whilst her hubby Ardy injected that they appeared to be nice and full, then passed a questioning glance toward my gorgeous wife, who just smiled sweetly and said they were nice and crunchy on the outside too, as, they as a couple make sensational arancini themselves it was great to hear their critique!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chicken rolled with prosciutto, roasted capsicum and fontina cheese

WOW, really WOW!

I have had a hankering to cook a certain recipe for a while now but have not been able to find a very important ingredient, Fontina Cheese, I tried all my usual sources but to no avail, then today whilst waiting for my lunch to be prepared, I looked into the cheese fridge and there on top was a beautiful big wheel of Danish Fontina, as red as red could be! The fact it had Danish written all over it threw me a bit, as I was under the impression that it was an Italian cheese, and I have had a few Italians look at my with a funny look on their faces when I have asked for it, now I know why!

I was at Cafe 868 in Vic Park, which by the way is the absolute best Italian Cafe this side of Bourke St, best food, best coffee and lovely people! The lovely lady that served me was taken aback when I asked for 200g of Fontina cheese, she stopped, looked at me and asked would I like that sliced, which was funny because when I said yes please, she turned around and said she would try to slice it but it might stick to the blade! Not sure what that was all about, but then when I told her what I wanted to do and what I had done as an alternative a few weeks back, she turned to me and said in beautiful Italian accent, “Mate there is no comparison!” and with a flip of her fringe she spun around on the ball of her foot and proceeded to slice me 12 slices of Fontina Cheese. And she was spot on! This is where the WOW, really WOW! comes into the story, it is unbelievable the difference in flavour and texture.

As it turned out I did not have all the ingredients I required for the recipe, and anyway the recipe called for skinless chicken breast and I had decided that I wanted the skin on, just was unsure how to go about doing it, then I called into Torre’s butcher shop on my way home and he had double breasted chicken breast on special and with the skin on, the chap actually offered to divide the breasts and remove the skin if I wanted, I said no, but so glad he asked because it worked out just the way I had hoped for, just as it was.
To achieve the result I wanted I merely cut half the breast off, leaving the skin intact, then filleted the remaining breast which enabled me to butterfly it out, leaving both sides with skin.  I then sprinkled a little salt and dried herbs, placed a couple of slices of prosciutto, then the fontina cheese on top of that, and finished off with some roasted capsicum I had prepared earlier this evening. Then it was just a matter of rolling it all up, tying off with a little twine and into the oven tray I did the capsicum in, and quick coat with oil and into the oven which was preheated to 200C. Let the chicken cook for 10 minutes, then turn and add 1 cup of chicken stock with 1 cup dry white wine, cook for a further 10 minutes. Then the chicken comes out, is covered and set aside to rest, then transfer the cooking juices to a saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes on a medium to high heat until it is nicely reduced, this is wonderful and smells fantastic, our mouths where watering at the aromas, the wine and stock mixed in with the juices from the chicken and some of the melted cheese, truly unbelievable. Served up with steamed carrot and Broccoli and heaps of that to die for sauce, magnificent!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thai green curry chicken

Cooking dinner tonight was like a trip down memory lane for me, and an absolute pleasurable trip at that! Such is the effect that Thai food has on me. I still remember the first time I ever ate Thai, it was at Top End Thai, a very authentic restaurant in Hannan St, Kalgoorlie. The owner/chef Artchariya Ward, is a beautiful woman of around 70 years of age now, and as far as I can tell still preparing meals for her very fortunate clientele. I was amazed and hooked on Thai at my first mouthful, it was like a flavour explosion in my mouth. That night we had a mixed appetiser plate, Green Curry Chicken, Seafood Jungle curry and Coconut rice, I liked it that much I went back the next night, this was back in 1996 and I still remember it like it was this afternoon. On my return to Perth, I started looking for a good Thai restaurant and was amazed to find Artchariya had a sister restaurant in Edward St, East Perth. I introduced many work and social friends to Thai food at that establishment, unfortunately Artchariya had to close it to concentrate on Hannan St when her head chef left for greener pastures. That was a sad day for me, and I cannot remember how many times I have said to Jo how I would like to take her to Kalgoorlie just to visit Top End Thai, it still rates as the best ever on my list.

A couple of years after that work trip to Kalgoorlie, I found myself in a position where I had to cook for myself or go hungry! Green Curry Chicken was amongst the first things I set about to perfect, I never cook to a recipe, so it changes every time I cook it, but tonight’s version is pretty close to the norm now. I actually went to the Dusit Thai restaurant in Northbridge for the only cooking lesson I have ever had, that night I was given a recipe and instructions to cook their dish, starting with grinding herbs and chilli’s into a paste, I have lost that recipe now, but I still follow some of what I learnt from them. One thing that I learnt was the brand of Coconut Cream they use and swear by, and it is the best!

In February 2000 my eldest sister went away somewhere and left my BIL at home to fend for himself, we decided to go out to some dance, and he was to pick me up, so I said come early and I’ll make dinner for you. Well he walked in and saw I had Green Chicken Curry on the stove and his face lit up, ten years later he still talks about that night and in particular that meal, something he does not and will never get at home.

In July 2004, I had my gorgeous girlfriend over for dinner, the first dinner I cooked for her, I had only known her a few days but she was impressed, so much so that I am still cooking for her today!

To say I love Green Chicken Curry would be an understatement, and to hear me utter those words you might think, mm that’s nice, the words really don’t convey the message that well do they, but my memories ah now that’s different and I have shared but a few!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Left over Wednesday

I can’t believe how boring life has become, home about 20 minutes earlier than normal with no dinner to cook thanks to LEFT OVERS WEDNESDAY, what does a bloke do with himself?
Open a bottle of red of course, then cut some bread and slice up an Italian Cacciatore sausage, fry that up with some left over roasted capsicum salad, sit back and enjoy!

Had lunch with my nephew Luke today, at what is becoming a regular haunt! Regal on Roe is a Chinese restaurant in Roe St, Northbridge, and every day of the week they serve up beautiful Yum Cha (Dim Sum).
The food is fantastic, the service is swift but friendly, I love their green tea and the Chilli Squid is the best I have found in Northbridge, to top it all off it @ around $15/head it is so much cheaper than a lot of the others around it, so I highly recommend the place, Luke loved his first Yum Cha experience and I'll bet he is back there real soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jacks second best lasagne

Well I came home tonight with no real plans for dinner, I had actually pencilled something in on Sunday, but with a busy day at work and running a little later than usual I did not get to speak with Princess, so I went with what we had on hand. I have never made a meat and béchamel sauce lasagne before, that is something I have always left to my gorgeous wife as she makes the best lasagne ever, though she has not made it for me since I broke a golden rule in her book when I made my 3 cheese lasagne.

My argument has always been that it is a different type of lasagne therefore no rules had been broken, well that was until tonight, and hopefully she will now realise she still makes the best ever lasagne and will make one for me soon!

I received a box of wine today, I had ordered on-line as I was given a $50 gift voucher for filling in some survey. To retrieve the offer, I had to order some wine on-line, the box I chose was already on special and with the voucher it was so cheap, so the wine rack is nice and full for a change and at a great price!

In fact the wine rack was so full that there was no room for an Adelaide Hills wine I had not had, nor heard of before, it is a Nova Vita “Mad Russian” Cabernet Merlot, it says on the label it is a hand crafted wine, not sure what that means but it went beautifully with the pasta, in fact there is half a chance the second bottle will be cracked very soon!

The lasagne was made to my own recipe, ha ha that’s funny because there is no recipe yet!! In case there is some poor soul out there left to defend for himself I will scribble it down and post it to my recipes pages, in the meantime Sláinte Gaelach

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pan fried salmon with cabbage remoulade

Tonight’s dinner if nothing else was very bright and colourful on the plate, the ingredients that made the bright colours also brought fantastic flavours and textures to the dish. The dish is basically fried salmon with coleslaw, the colourful parts where made up of egg, salmon roe, fried capers and a vinaigrette sauce, the capers provided a tasty little crunch. I found the recipe on The Gourmet Traveller, it was an interesting dish to prepare and very easy to do so, the longest process being the boiling and then cooling of 2 eggs, I had the salad components plated up and ready to serve before I cooked the fish, all in all a great dish for a Monday night, quick, easy and very tasty.

Find the recipe here,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lazy Sunday

First time in a few weeks where I haven't actually had to cook an evening meal, good to have leftovers sometimes!  Well that was the weekend and it has been a good one, nice day yesterday and a lazy one today.  Had a surprise visit from my mother and eldest sister which was nice and I managed to prepare some chicken stock for the next week's cooking, so it wasn't a total waste of a day after all!!

Footy snax, Go Dockers

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mustard beef stew

Hands up who doesn’t love Saturday morning lay ins, a lunch date with friends and a warm beef stew to come home to, followed up by the best bread and butter pudding you have ever laid eyes on, not to mention tasted? Well that is what is store for Jo girl and I today, we’ve had the lay in, the bread and butter pudding has just come out of the oven, so the house smells amazing right now, and the beef stew is cooked and will just require reheating on our return this evening, loving every minute of the day thus far! We are off to Burswood’s Victoria Station Steakhouse for lunch, a work social club event, haven’t eaten there before but have heard good reports so we are looking forward to it and at a cost of $10.00 per head for a three course meal, I don’t think there will be too many complaints from this quarter! With a choice of three entrees, then three cuts of meat, a chicken, fish and pasta options for main course and two deserts to choose from, which includes a Sticky Date Pudding with walnut ice cream and toffee sauce, it sounds like great value to me, even if you were to pay the full price @ $29.90, mmm can’t wait to try that sticky date!

Well I never got to try that Sticky Date pudding as the menu had changed from the one stated on the web, the menu now boasts a choice of 5 entrees, 5 mains (still including 3 steak cuts) and 1 desert which is done as a daily special, yesterday the special was Pavolva which was quite good.  For the entree I chose Prawn Skewers which came with a salad and a seafood thousand island sauce which was very good and for the main I chose Scotch Fillet with pepper sauce, this was served with baby potatoes, brocoli and carrot.  The food was very good as was the service, the wine list is fairly extensive and expensive, but there are some options around the 35-40 mark which were not too bad, we chose a Goundrey G Shiraz Viognier which went beautifully with the steak, all in all a good day out.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Spanish styled prawns with tomato, chilli and risoni

It has been a long week, thank God for Friday, the weekend is here you little beauty!

I had Princess pick up some fresh prawns for dinner tonight, which I cooked sort of to a recipe titled “Spanish Styled Prawns with Tomato, Chilli & Risoni”. It is done in a tomato based sauce and yes there is a little chilli in it, but after that, the Spanish part was lost on me a little bit, might have had something to do with trying to dress pasta up to look like rice. The important thing though at the end of the day, was that it did taste good, very good actually and very easy to make, which is even better.
Funny thing was it is one of those recipes like you get on the side of a packet, this one for a brand of Chicken Stock powder, funny because when you are cooking seafood I could not imagine why you’d want to do it in chicken stock! I didn’t, I made good use of the prawn heads and shells which were to be discarded, and instead boiled them up in a litre of water and made my own stock, and it worked perfectly.
A nice easy dinner what better way to start what we hope will be a relaxing weekend!  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lamb shanks navarin

Tonight I cooked from a recipe that was in the June issue of Good Taste, it is the second time I have cooked this recipe, the first time I did, my soon to be 30 year old son, drove 50 km's to sit down to a plate full, after I sent him an SMS to say "Hey Ry, I am cooking shanks tonight, you'd be more than welcome to join us!"
Well he didn't get the message till about 8PM and Jo and I had well and truly finished by that time, but it did not stop him, he walked in the door an hour later and sat down to what is his favorite meal!
Shanks are like that if cooked properly, I have had a few versions which haven't been quite right, but when they are, they are to die for, this recipe produces a beautiful dish, a very tasty sauce which is awesome soaked up in a slice of crunchy bread and succulent meat which comes away from the bone, just the way I like it, still with a bit of bite and not to stringy, well and truly worth a 50km drive for!

See recipes page for my version of the recipe or get a copy of GOOD TASTE June 2010 issue.

That was soooo gooood!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicken ricotta pasties

I had fun cooking dinner tonight, it brought back some wonderful memories from my Mother’s kitchen when I was still a young child.  Mum would often make pasties for Saturday lunch and they were to die for, but then most of my Mum’s food was to die for, she would make traditional meat and veg pasties that Rosella tomato sauce went so well with.  I, on the other hand have made Chicken Ricotta pasties, they were tasty and went beautifully with roasted sweet potato, baked polenta and steamed carrots and asparagus

For the filling I sautéed some finely diced onion, with a half capsicum, a few slices of prosciutto, a sliced mushroom and a clove of crushed garlic, then added the diced chicken and cooked just enough to brown the chicken all over. The filling mixture was then transferred to a mixing bowl where I added a cup of ricotta, two tablespoons of roughly chopped fresh parsley and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. The filling was then encased in puff pastry and baked for 20 minutes in an oven set to 190C.

A big thank you to my gorgeous wife for buying me my fantastic new apron! Go Dockers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chicken cannelloni

In 1995 travelling through Northern Territory, I came across a little Italian restaurant in what was no more than a back alley of Darwin. There I met this little Old Italian woman, she was 88 years of age, very frail, but still fronting up each day to cook in the family restaurant, after speaking with her I decided to try Cannelloni for the first time in my life, and I can still remember every mouthful such was the flavour. It was so delicious, and fortunately for me the trip I was on saw me visit Darwin on four separate occasions that year, and on four separate occasions I dined on Cannelloni cooked by that little old lady, at that little Italian restaurant, it really was sensational.

The following year I returned to Darwin for what was to be my last time and very eagerly headed for the same restaurant, only to find that lovely old lady had made her last Cannelloni and had departed this world for a better place. I have never been able to find Cannelloni that came close to hers and I have tried a few, so a while back (6 months or so) I brought some Cannelloni tubes with the intention of making my own, the memory of the Italian Lady’s Cannelloni has to date kept me from taking up the challenge, until today when I had a yearning to make Cannelloni.

Whilst the dish I enjoyed so much was made from minced beef, I made mine from a couple of chicken fillets I had left over from last night’s meal and as I do not have a meat grinder, I merely minced the breast meat by dicing as finely as I could. Not having a recipe for chicken cannelloni, I basically followed the techniques describe to make Spinach and Ricotta and winged it from there. Starting out with frying a finely diced onion with a little capsicum, a clove of garlic and half a carrot, which was finely grated, I wasn’t sure about putting carrot in this but it went in all the same. I then added the finely diced chicken breast and cooked for a few minutes till well browned. I then transferred to a bowl and added a handful of roughly chopped basil, a tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and seasoned with salt and cracked pepper. The flavours were still not quite right so I added a teaspoon of Italian dried herbs, this gave it a rounded flavour with a bit of punch. I then added a cup of ricotta cheese and mixed well, happy with the flavours I set the bowl aside and started making the tomato sauce.

For the sauce, I fried a diced onion gently for a few minutes, then added a finely diced capsicum, 1 crushed clove of garlic and about a cup of finely sliced mushroom, cook this stirring until the capsicum has softened and the mushrooms are well coated in the juices, then add a 440 gram can of crushed tomatoes with 1 cup of chicken stock, bring to the boil and cook a couple of minutes stirring, then cover and continue to cook in oven set to 180C.

With the tomato sauce underway in the oven I turn my attention to piping the meat mixture into the cannelloni tubes, I generally use Barilla pasta (in the blue box) but have used Granoro this time and it was very nice pasta.

With the tubes ready to go, I quickly made a simple béchamel sauce, by adding 1 tablespoon of plain flour to 25 grams of melted butter, I take the pot off the heat to stir in flour, stirring until I have a nice creamy paste, then return to the hotplate and slowly start adding 1 cup of half milk half cream that has been brought to boiling point in the microwave, continue stirring as you slowly add the milk/cream until you have a nice smooth sauce. Now bring back to the boil, but as soon as it does boil turn heat down to simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. During this time transfer the tomato sauce from the pan in the oven to a bowl and quickly puree, then pour enough tomato sauce into a casserole dish to cover the bottom. Arrange the meat filled Cannelloni in the dish in one even layer, then pour over the remainder of the tomato sauce. Take the béchamel sauce of the stove and add ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese and a knob of butter mix in well and then pour that over the top of the tomato sauce as evenly as possible. As I love my cheese, I grate a tasty cheese finely over the top and then put the casserole in the oven @ 180C for 35- 40 minutes.

Serve up with a small side salad, a glass of red and you are ready to experience one heavenly dinner!

Bon appétit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicken with prosciutto, mozzarella, and spiced pear paste

I especially enjoyed cooking this dish tonight as it was developed in my mind as I shopped for ingredients at my local IGA store. It started out when I found a jar of Maggie Beer’s Spiced Pear Paste whilst checking out the cold meats in the deli section, I had not tried it before but I have a liking for a couple of her products and they seem to always be good.

Having selected the paste I then ordered a few slices of prosciutto, selected chicken breast from the meat section, picked up a bunch of baby carrots and one of asparagus and I was on my way.

By the time I arrived home I had decided to include a few slices of mozzarella and to finish the dish off with a simple white wine sauce.

• Start by filleting the chicken breast lengthwise
• With cut size up pound the fillet with a meat mallet to make a nice even thickness, don’t make too thin
• Seasoning the breast with a little salt and pepper
• Lay a couple of slices of prosciutto lengthwise
• Top with slices of cheese
• Spread a little Spiced Pear Paste over the cheese
• Roll the breast starting from the narrow end, tucking the contents in nice and firm
• Tie the bundle with some cooking twine

Preheat oven to 200C, place chicken parcels in an oiled oven dish, and turn to coat with oil, then bake for 10 minutes.
Turn chicken parcels over and add ½ cup white wine and a ½ cup of chicken stock to the pan and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove chicken from the pan, cover and keep warm, then pour juices into a saucepan and simmer over high heat for 2 -3 minutes, season to taste.
Transfer chicken to plates and remove the string, spoon cooking juices over and serve with steamed asparagus and baby carrots.

We enjoyed a Fifth Leg, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Chenin Blanc, which matched this meal perfectly.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bruschetta with bocconcini

Well this is truly a bonus blog as I had no intention of cooking today as there is still plenty to eat in the house, then half time came in what turned out to be a fantastic game of footy and I got the urge to eat something intensely Italian, think it had something to do with each and every Dockers Star proudly displaying the Italian flag on their chest, could of also had something to do with the half flagon of Pinelli Cav Sav that we have enjoyed so much this afternoon, and for that I say thanks Uncle Lou.

This didn’t quite make it to the table last night, because,

1. my gorgeous girl thought we might have enough food already
2. I had never had a crack at making it before, and you see so many bad examples of it in restaurant land!

Just hope I have done it justice!

Buon Appetito, salute

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Italians are coming ...

The table is set ...

Reflecting back on life every now and then can bring back such wonderful memories, memories that bring back the warm happy feelings that reek through your body they are so strong, you cannot help but smile, cannot help but feel content, that at that point in your life you knew what it was to be truly happy.

The past few days Jo and I have worked hard towards creating some of those memories, memories that are now so close to us, both to our hearts and in that they are recent, but these memories will stay with us, and we hope for our dinner guests for a long, long time to come, this episode is dedicated to my beautiful wife and the beautiful people she has brought into my life, my only regret in the past few days is that my dining table is not a little bigger, for there are so many more that we would have loved to have been with us to share in such a wonderful evening of good company, good food and good wine.

I love to cook, when I cook day to day life problems and tribulations dissolve and are replaced with a joy I can’t describe, then to cook for someone you love those feelings multiply and overflow into the pot cooking on the stove. I don’t know how it happens all I know is as I am cooking I am thinking of not only what is to go on the plate, but to whom the plate will be presented, and of a hope of how they may enjoy the end product, and should they enjoy so much I get a little feedback of that enjoyment, all the hard work, the worry, the anxiousness is well and truly worth it.

The Italians came for dinner, we ate, we drank, we laughed and laughed some more, we created some wonderful memories.


Three Chesse Lasagna

So many things to prepare

Roasted Capsicum with Capers, Black Olives and Cerry Tomatoes


Antipasto Platter

The Table

Setting the mood

Our guests

Serving main

Bread and Butter Pudding, with a difference!

Scillian Canneloni

Uncle Louie, Aunty Mary, Aunty Nancy, Aunty Val, Uncle Rocky, Dot and Sean, thank you all so much for your stories, your humour and your wonderful company, we love you all.'

Jack and Jo x

Friday, July 16, 2010

Murgh baadami – Spiced chicken with almonds

Tried a new curry out tonight, the kitchen was very busy in preparation for the Italian Invasion which will be well and truly under way this time tomorrow night, I am not allowed to say too much, but I think it is going to be big, bigger than Ben Hur.

Princess Joanne has been hard at it too, making the dining room look so welcoming, she puts a great touch on it and it helps set the mood for the night, promise to post some photo’s Sunday and you’ll see what I mean, she really has done an outstanding job.

I really am knackered right now so I am just going to show you a few photo’s if you’d like the recipe send me an email and I will be very happy to send it on, by the way, it really was delicious!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red curry chicken with rice, and a pot of gold!

A bit of a rush getting home tonight as we are off shopping but needed to kick of a chicken master stock a la Maggie Beers, so whilst doing that I quickly knocked up red curry chicken with rice, very simple but oh so yummy, did not have a lot of ingredients, half a carrot, a few green beans 2 chicken thighs boned out and diced, teaspoon each of ginger and garlic, table spoon of red curry paste (Valcom brand the only one to buy), a little olive oil and a can of coconut cream, cream scooped off the top and fried with the ginger garlic and curry paste until it separates, then added the chicken, carrot and beans, cooked stirring until the chicken is nicely browned, then add the remaining coconut juice, cook on a simmer about 20 minutes, serve with steamed rice.

The stock is whole chicken cut into pieces, 2 onions, 1 leek, a stick celery, head of garlic, a carrot, 2 ripe tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, teaspoon thyme, handful fresh parsley, 2.5 litres water. Drizzle olive oil over chicken, onions and carrot and roast for 20 minutes @ 200C.  Chop up all other ingredients and put in pot with water, add roasted ingredients, place on cooker and cook slowly to a simmer, don’t boil at anytime, then simmer for 3 – 4 hours. Sieve into a large bowl as soon as you take off the cooker, then place bowl in sink of cold water to cool down, don’t skim the scum or fat off, you’ll take away flavour. Once cooled cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge, in the morning take the fat off the top and you are ready to go, freeze what you don’t need straight away in 1 litre portions for later use.

Why bother? because it is the best stock ever and brings so much flavor to your dishes, makes em delicious!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New York fillet on garlic bruschetta with caramelised chilli onions and red wine sauce

I was so glad to get home and started in on dinner tonight, for the past two weeks it has been going round and around in my head. It started out when I ruined a couple of beautiful New York cut steaks I brought from Drovers in Joondalup. I love Drovers, awesome place to shop, the thing I love most about it is I can sit at home on a Sunday watch the Dockers win yet another away game on TV, decide I want to have a roast for dinner, drive the 30 km to buy any type of meat I long for and be home and have it cooked for Sunday night dinner! Anyway enough of a plug for Drovers, I don’t cook that much steak, even though it is probably Gorgeous Jo’s favourite food, and to ruin two lovely steaks has bothered me, so I sent Jo back to Drovers today and she come home with some beautiful ingredients.

I started by slicing an onion, red chilli and a 1 clove of garlic, which I cooked gently in a little olive oil for about 7 minutes, then added a couple of table spoons of reduced balsamic vinegar, transfered to a bowl and placed in a warm oven.

Whilst the onion was cooking I prepared some veg, grating 1 potato, 1 turnip and a chunk of sweet potato to which I added 25 grams melted butter , a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, mix it all together and then pressed firmly into egg rings, squeezing out as much starch as I could. I cooked these in some oil for a few minutes both sides, and frankly they were a flop, didn’t hold together at all, but they tasted great so I piled them onto a plate and put them in the oven, I got a little bonus when they went a little crunchy on top, a nice ripe tomato cut in half went into the oven at this time, along with 2 slices of Sour Dough Rye bread I had drizzled with a little oil and rubbed with garlic. A couple of minutes before the tomatoes come out of the oven I sprinkle with a spoon of Romano cheese.

To cook the steak I first patted the meat dry with some paper towel, massaged in some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I spray the griddle plate with olive oil and put on a high heat, wait for the oil to smoke a little and place the steaks on at a 45 degree angle to the griddle.  Let them cook for a full 3 minutes and then move them through 90 degrees, but still on the same side for another 3 minutes, this does two things, firstly it stops the griddle marks from being too black, and secondly it makes a nice diamond shape on the steak. After 3 minutes, I flip and turn the steaks again, taking them off after 2 more minutes of cooking as now they look and feel just right, total cooking time 11 minutes. I placed the steak on a plate and loosely cover with alfoil to let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

I have also prepared a red wine sauce, by reducing 1 tablespoon of red wine, to which I added a half teaspoon of cracked pepper and a half cup of chicken stock, then simmered for 3 – 4 minutes.

Whilst the meat rests, I plate up, beginning with the garlic bruschetta, then a couple of spoonfuls’ of the caramelised chilli onions, place a half tomato and a potion of the shredded potato on the plate, add a few beans around the edges, the steak is then placed on the bruschetta and finally I spoon on a little red wine sauce, and with that dinner is served, hope Jo has cracked that bottle of red!

ps. Jo darling thank you for baking me such a lovely loaf of bread xx