Sunday, July 31, 2011

Caramelised lamb chops with puttanesca linguine

Went with a couple of my son Michael's recipes for dinner tonight and it turned out not too bad, not too bad at all.  I Frenched the chops, something I had done done before and found it quite an easy thing to do, once they were done and coated in a little mustard and brown sugar they were ready for the pan.  The puttanesca was a little more involved and I think I actually added a little too much balsamic vinegar, so the sauce was quite dark, but it still tasted fantastic.  The entire meal was cooked and on the table in around 35 minutes, finished off with some grated parmensan cheese, Bumbak's Pickled Chillies and some chopped basil, there you have it, buon appetito !

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Turkey breast rolled with chilli jam, sun dried tomato and feta

As we had not shopped for the house for quite a while, Jo and I stopped off in North Perth to pick up a few things on our way home last night.  It made for a late night and I not only wanted to cook dinner for the night, but also to make something which will see Jo through a couple of days whilst I am away.  Whilst perusing the meat fridge I found a tray of turkey breast fillets and decided immediately what we were having for dinner, something simple but sure to be big on flavour.

We were not disappointed, as I combined the breast with some of the Bumbak's Chilli Jam I brought in Carnarvon a couple of weeks back and some crumbled feta and sun dried tomato strips, all of which was rolled up in my fav ingredient, prosciutto.

When I first tried the chilli jam I was a little concerned that the dish would be too spicy for Jo, and against her advise, I spread heaps onto each breast, which I had beaten out a little first, but it turned out fantastic, the jam is very tasty and had mellowed in the cooking process, or perhaps by the cheese.

To accompany the rolled breast, I simply stir fried some Savoy cabbage in a little butter and baked a few Swiss brown mushies, like I said earlier very simple food, but huge on flavour.
We had the left over half roll tonight for an entrée, and sliced cold as it was, was still enough for Jo to make ooh's and ahh's!
Bumbak's Chilli Jam not only looks great but tastes great too, looks like I'll be faxing an order off to them soon!

Bumbak & Sons

449 North River Rd, Carnarvon, WA 6701
Central WA, Coral Coast, Far North WA
(08) 9941 8006. Fax. (08) 9941 9006

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Jo finally got her beef steak!  After a day out in and around the city and surrounds we headed to Drovers to pick up something easy for dinner.
Jo as usual wanted steak and tonight she got it, but I had my way with the salad by roasting most of the ingredients one by one and then bringing them all together in the salad bowl, made for an awesome salad, so full on for flavour and it looked amazing with all the beautiful colours of the vegetables.

I dry roasted sweet potato which I had in thin slices thanks to the potato peeler, then there was a punnet of the mini Roma tomatoes, some Spanish onion and thinly sliced red globe potatoes, all of which were added to a salad leaf mix and a few sliced radishes.
For the dressing I combined 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper.  Using one of the bigger lettuce leaves as a brush I brushed the oil onto the mixed leaves so as to keep it as thin as possible, then added the tomatoes and onion to what was left and let them soak it all up.  Then it was as easy as throwing all together and tossing in a bowl, the combination of sweet, sour, crunchy and soft textures were fantastic.  To finish of I made a red wine jus to pour over the steak, very yummy, very yummy indeed!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Creamy garlic prawns with saffron rice

Went out to buy some seafood today, had in mind to pick up some blue swimmer crabs, a crayfish and some fish fillets, I came home with some King Prawns and some beaut Tasmanian Salmon fillets.  Unfortunately I was unable to find crabs anywhere and fresh (live) crays weighed in at Seventy bucks a kilo, I only needed one, but without the crabs I could not do the dish I wanted so I had to compromise.  I had a fair idea what I’d do with the salmon but none at all for the prawns, even after looking in my usual places, so I ended up turning to some forum or other and took a punt on a creamy garlic prawn recipe.  Very glad I did too, it was an absolute winner and teamed up with the saffron rice I made to go with it, made it very very yummy!

The salmon I cooked following a Manu Feidel recipe have done a bit of his stuff of late and the more I do the more I am enjoying doing them, a lot of his recipes have lots of elements to them, which makes them interesting to cook and they taste fantastic.  Tonight’s main course consisted of Crispy Skinned Tasmanian Salmon with a Tarragon Cream Sauce, Crispy Potato, Beans and a yummy baked Zucchini Flan, the flan was outstanding, as was the sauce and the crispy skinned salmon, the only disappointment for me was the plating and photographing of the main course, not sure if that was because I was hungry, therefore rushing or maybe I had too much wine with the entrée!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roasted duck breast with vegetables and port wine reduction

Well in a bit of a quandary tonight as to what to blog first my food or my photo’s, I have been so pleased with both results, but as always my stomach comes first so here is my food blog!

As I left work a little earlier than usual I had Jo pick me up in Lord Street, East Perth, as I had had a bit of a wander around with my camera, as soon as I was in the car I asked what she’d like for dinner, unbeknown to her I had a yearning for fish, she replied instantly with “how about a nice steak, haven’t had steak for a while”, so I relented and headed for Fresh Provisions in Mount Lawley.

Jo hadn’t been to Fresh Provisions before and was a little gob smacked at the range of fresh food available.
Whilst I was looking for the perfect piece of beef to cook for her dinner, I came across a couple of duck breasts and to my surprise when I said to Jo we could have something a little different, she was like "yeah great idea, let's do it".
So duck it was, now for something to go with it, and whilst perusing the veggie section, Jo turns and asks if I could do potatoes thinly sliced, too easy, I then found the cutest bunch of baby asparagus I have ever seen, a must have and so the only thing to get thereafter was a bunch of baby carrots to keep them company.
Now Jo, doesn’t as a rule have a lot of input into my cooking, but tonight she come up trumps a couple of times, and none more so than when I mentioned I need a sauce to tie everything together and within a couple of minutes she has suggested a port wine sauce, even produced a recipe, for which I did not have the ingredients, but it did give me the inspiration for the sauce we enjoyed with our meal, and it was kick arse!  I must admit, tonight I was the dish licker!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bumbak’s Carnarvon

Whilst on a work trip to Carnarvon last week I stumbled upon this fantastic home store called Bumbak’s, which was packed full of homemade products, more then you could poke a stick at, the shop looked amazing so vibrant and full of colour and having tried some of the wares at the tasting table I know they are extremely tasty too.

Obviously many of the products contained tropical fruits such as Mangoes and Passionfruit, but there were chilli, tomato and strawberry jams too, not to mention the many different chutneys, relishes and dips, the beetroot relish was so so yummy, I could have polished off the whole jar at the tasting table, had I had a Corona to wash it down!

The owners proudly display the fact that they have won the Best Home Based Small Business of the Year Award for the years 2007 to 2010 inclusive, and it was easy to see why, the products look great, taste fantastic and are a very professional looking product.

I brought home a jar of Capsicum Relish (500 ml), some Chilli Jam (250 ml) and a large jar of Pickled Chillies (500 ml) and I would have liked to bring a lot more, but was restricted by the amount I could carry onto the plane, having had problems out of Perth I did not want to risk going too far and as it turned out I had to argue a point with the check in chick with what I had.
The good thing is you can email an order through to them and they will package up your goods and send via Australia post,

If you are ever in Carnarvon check them out, they are in North Road, pretty well signed and I believe they also offer plantation tours, you'll find it is a well and truly worthwhile place to visit, the young lady running the store was lovely too.

I will be cooking with the products I brought soon and will bring you the results here when I do, ciao Jack

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Roast Pork with Roasted Vegetables and Black Bean Gravy

This morning I handed my wife a food magazine we received as we walked into the Good Food and Wine Show yesterday and asked her to pick something out for her dinner tonight.  I had seen a beautiful beef casserole with seasonal vegetables in the book and was sure that was what she would pick, alas I was wrong, she got no further than the cover and she said she wanted that!  Not that I had anything against roast pork, I love it in fact, it was just I wanted to try something different.  It was not until I went shopping for the ingredients that I actually decided that yes she could have her roast pork, however not quite like the pistachio stuffed pork loin on the cover of that magazine, though that would have been a little different, instead I opted to try and create a different array of accompaniments, this is where this roast was very different to any I have had before.
Firstly I made a potato gratin with a difference, one that had me crossing my fingers that it may work and I was so pleased when it came out of the oven and I tasted it, burning my mouth as I did, and I it tasted great, this is how I made it. Peel and slice thinly 2 nashi pears, 1 large Granny Smith apple, 1 golden shallot and 4 medium potatoes, layering them in a casserole dish starting with a layer of potato, followed by the shallot and pear, then the apple and finally another layer of potato.  In a small jug mix together a clove of crushed garlic, a tablespoon of red currant jelly and a stubby of Dry Apple Cider, mix well with whisk and then pour over the top, pop it in the oven for an hour at 180C.
I was a little bit of a chicken so opted to dice up a few potatoes and roasted them in a little oil just in case, along with a couple of carrots and a quarter of a pumpkin which I diced and coated with oil and freshly ground fennel seeds, I learnt tonight that pumpkin cooked like this is amazing!
Whilst I was at the spud shed I noticed some lovely fresh beetroots, and after roasting some baby beetroot for Friday night’s salad, I thought I may as well try them out with roast pork, I roasted them whole for a little over an hour, then peeled, cut and doused them in a couple of tablespoons of Maille Dijonnasie.
The final touch, which lifted this from a great roast to an outstanding roast, was the gravy I prepared, using the baking tray I roasted the meat and veg on, I sprinkled over a tablespoon of plain flour and cooked it for about 30 seconds then added a half cup of Chardonnay to help de-glaze the tray, mixing it in well and then added a cup of hot water from the pot I cooked the beans in, once it was at a nice consistency I added a knob of butter, some cracked pepper and a teaspoon of Black Bean Sauce.
This really was the roast with a difference I had aimed for, all the flavours worked exceedingly well together, but none more so than that black bean gravy with a chunk of the crunchy crackling, I am so glad I cooked extra veggies so as to make up four plates, now I am hanging out to get home from work tomorrow night so I can enjoy the wonderful flavours all over again!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Seafood delight

On the menu tonight we had Oysters Kilpatrick and Estuary Cod Fillets with a Baked Beetroot, Asparagus and Feta salad.

It has been a bit hard this week getting time to cook let alone blog having been travelling around various parts of the state for work and with so much to do, so it was great to have the time to cook tonight.
As luck would have it, returning from our last destination saw me in the vicinity of Drovers in Joondalup, where I was able to pick up some beautiful fish and a tray of fresh Smoky Bay Oysters.

Jo set the table beautifully and I opened a bottle of Windy Creek Chardonnay which I was given on one of my recent visits to the winery, as a rule we don’t often drink white wine, that may have to change however as this wine was so good, as was the Windy Creek Chenin Blanc we enjoyed as I prepared he meal.

I seemed to take a bit of time to get this meal together, even though it was a reasonably easy meal to prepare, so I made an appetiser of Costello Blue and Olives to tie Jo Girl over whilst she waited patiently.

The oysters were so very easy to prepare, six drops of tobacco sauce added couple of tablespoons of Worchester sauce, a teaspoonful of which was spooned over each oyster, then 3 three rashers of bacon finely diced and cooked in a hot pan for a few minutes, I then added a quarter cup of Panko breadcrumbs, the bacon mix was then spooned over the oysters, pop them under the grill for 4 and a half minutes and they are done.
I was busy drooling over and taking photos of the table setting whilst they were cooking and they were left there a little too long so they caught on top, almost ruined them, thankfully I got them before it they were past saving and they tasted great, nice and crunchy topping with a slightly spicy finish to the sauce, perfect for me!

Cooking the fish was easy too, pan fried for two minutes either side in a hot non stick pan with a knob of butter, some dill, a tablespoon of capers and a clove of garlic, cook these ingredients for a minute or so to infused the flavours before adding the fish, once both sides of the fish are done, transfer to a baking tray and into a preheated oven to 180C for 8 minutes.

When I was at the fruit and veg at Drovers, I found a bunch of baby beetroot, after picking a bunch a looked around to see what else might go with them, settled on some asparagus, whilst I had no idea what I was going to do with these ingredients I was sure I could come up with something and after a little research I took inspiration from a couple of ideas and settled on a baked beetroot and asparagus salad with feta and Boccioni and a Dijon mustard sauce, these went so well together and complimented the beautiful fish nicely. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dinner for three and a day in the bush

Last night Jo invited a work colleague to dinner, for which I prepared a three course meal, photographing each course in readiness for my blog, so I was most disappointed when I got to the bit where I take the card out of the camera as there was no card, therefore no photo’s for the blog, bugger!  I did manage to get a shot of dessert which was panettone custard pudding with cream.
For the entrée I flattened out pork medallions with a mallet then spread my roasted apple sauce over the top, roll them up and coated with egg and panko breadcrumbs.  It was a different entrée, strange probably in fact, the idea for it came as I ventured around IGA Cedric St and once I thought of it I had to try it out, it was very nice but think it would have been better as part of a main course than an entrée. For the main course I made chicken involtiini with the Wicked Step Mother’s Egg plant and Capsicum relish and feta cheese, wrapped in prosciutto.
This dish is quickly becoming my signature dish, Jo finds it orgasmic and I think our dinner guest felt much the same, the girls from Windy Creek Winery gave me the idea for the dish when I brought the relish, I took their idea and added my own touches and it is by far the tastiest meal this household has experienced, I am just so annoyed not to have photo’s as it looked amazing on the plate.

I went for a drive in the country today, all the way to Narrogin for a meeting, it took me a little over three hours to make the journey, this included stopping along the way to walk in the Glen Eagle Forrest as I took a few photo’s, so by the time I arrived in Narrogin I was well and truly ready for a nice cup of coffee and a quick bite before my meeting.
I happened across a small café, that did not look anything fantastic from the outside, but they had a sign out the front advertising a dinner service for Friday evening.  I ventured inside and ordered coffee, then notice an interesting Passionfruit and Butter cake, I placed my order and took a seat on a very comfortable leather couch, the coffee arrived about five minutes later and it was good coffee, it didn’t matter about the cake that much now as the coffee was so good.  A few minutes later the waitress arrived with my cake, and I was blown away with the presentation, it looked awesome, as it so happened I had my camera as I was reviewing the photo’s I had taken on my way down, so I could not resist but to take a shot of my cake.
I learnt later that the coffee shop is owned and run by a young married couple, whom had met on a walk trail somewhere in the USA, apparently they kept crossing paths along this walk and a relationship blossomed.  He is American, she is a Narrogin local, the chap has a passion for food and cooking and it was he who plated the cake, I was so impressed, I think I may have to arrange a weekend to Narrogin now so I can attend one of his dinner services, now that could be fun!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicken Soup on a cold winter’s day

Jo decided she was going to make her chicken soup today to ward off the winter cold, unfortunately I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer for her and as she cooks her chicken soup in a slow cooker, there was not going to be time to both defrost the bird and cook the soup in the manner she normally does.  It was a pity as Jo’s chicken soup in the slow cooker is awesome, it is the only thing that has come out of the slow cooker that has met with my approval, as in my humble opinion everything else cooked in such away tastes the same regardless of what type of meat has been slow stewed.

With an awfully cold day ahead, there was only one solution and that was for me to cook my version of chicken soup, which basically changes every time I cook it, depending as to what I have on hand or what looks good at the fruit and veg store.  Today’s effort included an enormous leek, 2 large carrots, parsnip, turnip, 2 potatoes, 2 sticks of celery, a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, zucchini,  a seeded tomato, a can of white beans, salt and pepper, 2 cups of my homemade chicken stock and a chook of course which I baked for 20 minutes to brown up a bit.   
I was really happy with the end result, and there is nothing better on a cold winters night than a hot bowl of soup and half a loaf of crusty bread, Jo on the other hand, whilst she enjoyed it was a little disappointed as it didn’t come up to scratch against hers, but I can live with that, just as she will live with baked beans on toast for the rest of the week!  Now by the time I had the soup ready, I was very cold, very tired, very hungry and my back was killing me again, so when it came to capturing a photo for this blog, everything I learnt yesterday went out the window, the dial was cranked around to Auto setting, then snap, snap, slurp, slurp, so don’t be too harsh on the quality of the said photo’s attached.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Braised Rabbit with Speck and Mushrooms

Having been out of the kitchen for a few days I was keen to get in and do something today, sitting around doing nothing has been so boring, and I was feeling pretty good today, still a little stiff but the pain was bearable.  Now 4 hours later I am wondering if maybe I went a little too hard, the back has gone into a bit of a spasm and is very uncomfortable, hopefully a good night’s sleep will fix that and I will be right in the morning.

I started out slowly really, knocking together some individual servings of Panettone Pudding, very easy dessert to put together that always goes down well here, these little beauties are basically a classier version of bread and butter pudding, and they’re very tasty and very more-ish!

For the main course tonight I went with a Manu Feidel’s recipe for Braised Rabbit with Speck and Mushrooms, from his cook book “Manu’s French Kitchen”.  I love cooking and eating rabbit and this recipe had lots of interest in that there are several steps to go through, where you are building flavours all the way to the table and the flavours on the plate were fantastic.  My son Michael, has told me a couple of times of a rabbit stew he likes to cook, that actually fulfils two course’s of a meal, firstly a soup from the juices the rabbit is stewed in and then the main course being the rabbit and vegetables.  On tasting the sauce in this dish, I thought that had there been a little more of the juices you could do the same with this dish, the juice or sauce was so full of flavour, I will confess, I had to lift the plate to my lips after I had finished the meat and veg tonight the sauce was that good.

Manu’s serving suggestion for the meal was to do a creamy mash potato or polenta and whilst I was tempted to go with his suggestion, I decided to use up some of the vegetables that may have otherwise been wasted if they were not used soon, so we enjoyed out rabbit with roasted Kipfler potatoes, sweet potatoes and baby carrots and some steamed Brussels sprouts, the perfect meal for a cold winter’s night!

One aspect of tonight's dish I loved was when I had too add brandy to the pot and then ignite it, I think seeing a brandy flame in a pot fills any cooks heart with joy, I know it did mine!

And how's this for a gourmet lunch tomorrow?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Parmesan crusted chicken with tomato salad

Had a bit of a fall down some stairs this morning, thanks to lovely painted steps, so not feeling fantastic and a couple of cut up finger tips to boot, seen me sit on the other side of the bench to night, whilst my apprentice was put through her paces.
I must have known something before leaving for work, as I decided on the easiest of recipes, perfect for a Friday night with a glass of vino, and ready in 35 minutes.
As it turned out though, I could not have a drink, but it was great to have such an easy dish to work with, easy but very satisfying on the taste buds.  I did manage to get in and do the salad, whilst Joey prepared the chicken and the cooking of same, so a great team effort, you might say.

As I said, a very simple meal, simple ingredients, some chicken breast, a couple of tomatoes, some basil, an egg or two, a cup of freshly grated parmesan and a balsamic vinaigrette, 35 minutes from start to finish, but so enjoyable, only thing that could have been better would be that nice glass of wine to wash it down, never mind we’ll do this one again!
My bit

Jo's bit
Great team effort!

Thanks for the all the messages and well wishes, I am fine, bit sore but you have to expect that, tomorrow is another day and I will be here to enjoy it, so have a great weekend, just as I intend to!