Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prawn risotto with green peas and red cabbage

I have cooked and blogged risotto here a few times now and I am about to do it again, after finding this recipe on Gourmet Traveller, and I do not hesitate to say it is the yummiest, creamiest risotto I have ever eaten.

Funnily enough though it came close to not making it onto tonight’s menu, as when I walked into the fish mongers to buy the prawns and found them at $50.00 per kilo, I was ready to walk away and find a good piece of steak to cook.  It was about then that Jo piped up alongside me to say that she was worth it, with a cheeky smile on her dial, so I relented, and I am so glad I did as they were the freshest, plumpest, yummiest prawns I have ever had the pleasure of eating!

The recipe as written, called for a kilo of the little tackers, but then it did state to serve 6, still at fifty bucks a kg a shiver went up my spine!  I did some quick arithmetic and figured a half kilo would be plenty, then on seeing what a half kilo of Exmouth King Prawns looks like, quickly took another 100 grams out of the bag and adjusted the rest of the recipe accordingly.

Having a parcel of prawns in the bag we went to shop for a few other ingredients and as it is in Perth, it is often the case you have to substitute an ingredient, tonight it was red cabbage substituted for Radicchio.  I did find a prepacked bag labelled radicchio salad, it had 3 pieces of radicchio in it, good one!  It is still on the shelf, unless someone that likes the sound of radicchio, but hasn’t a clue what radicchio is found it, I truly hope he enjoys his mixed leaf salad!

This method for cooking this risotto is very similar to the way I cook risotto, with the exception that the wine goes in and is reduced before the rice goes in.  I tried it this way and was good, but then I had also sealed the prawns in the oil and butter for 2 minutes, before the onion and garlic went in, and I think this helped flavour the dish beautifully.  I was advised by an Italian chap a few weeks ago, to always seal fish and seafood as you would meat, before adding to dishes such as this, I think this is a winner of an idea too, made sense when he told me, made sense when we ate the finished product, never had prawns quite like them before.
One other thing I do not do when cooking risotto, is to stir it, once the first ladle of stock goes in I put the spoon away and just shake the pan, vigorously and often, the result is lovely plump grains of rice packed full of flavour, stirring the rice knocks all of that out of the grains!

The link for the recipe to serve 6 is above, to serve 2 with enough left over for 1 lunch, I used
1 lt stock
70 g butter
50 ml oil
100 ml wine
250 g arioba rice
450 g gren prawns
120 g peas (used frozen)
¼ red cabbage, if you cannot find radicchio
Follow the method as per recipe, but do as Bond would, shake don’t stir!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hare Stew & Fettuccine

I had a day off today so as to get a little treatment on my back in the way of a little Remedial Massage Therapy, it was suggested I should go home and veg for the weekend, which I started out doing pretty well.
But then the boredom kicks in and I wander into the kitchen to see what I can cook for Princess when she gets home from a hard day. 
Since having a go at making my own ravioli I have had the yearning to make more pasta, and I find making pasta is therapeutic in itself, though now the jobs done my back is niggling!
Not to matter I have a beautiful dish of freshly made fettuccine to go with the Hare Stew I have prepared.  I can hardly wait for Jo to walk in the door to be greeted by the wonderful aromas wafting through the house, the stew smells amazing.
The recipe for the stew I obtained from John Maiorana, it was one of the dishes he did for the pasta class Michael and I attended, the crafty bugger though did not include the recipe for his stock in which he cooks the bones from the freshly boned out rabbit that goes into the stew.  Thankfully on the day I did listen to his comments as to how he went about making the stock, gleaning important information such as the use of star anise and fennel, along with onion, carrot and celery, the basics of any good stock.

The results are sitting on my stove top, and the stew is packed full of flavour, the meat is so tender it dissolves in your mouth, there is no need to chew, I am so pleased with it, it is so much so how I remember John’s dish a few weeks back, really looking forward to boiling a pot of water to throw the fettuccine into for a couple of minutes, then it is time to tuck in!

Come on Jo I am only waiting for you!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Egg Pasta - Ravioli with a Tomato and Basil sauce

I had a lot of fun in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon trying out my new pasta machine for the first time, and I was quite happy with my first time effort too, I made Ravioli with a Tomato and Basil sauce.

My first effort was aided by a pasta class I attended last week with my son Michael, neither of us had made fresh pasta before and I think we both come away thinking that was a lot easier than initially thought.  The class itself was promoted as being a 2 and a half hour class, Mike had to leave early as he was going to the footy, he left an hour later than he expected, I left another hour and a half later.  The class was fun, but the food was amazingly good, all made with the freshest ingredients and oh so tasty, I just about rolled out the door!
Anyway back to my first home grown effort, I made the dough just as I had been shown how to, but found the mix a little dry and put it down to using eggs out of the fridge instead of at room temperature, no matter a tablespoon of water was enough to get the dough to the desired texture before bagging it and leaving to rest.
Once I started kneading the dough with the rollers a little latter in the day, I was thinking this is rubbish, it was all out of shape and broke up a little, but I persisted and before I knew it I had this beautiful sheet of consistent dough, and I knew I was going to get a result.  I then started decreasing the width f the rollers and vol-la I had made my first usable sheet of pasta, what a great feeling that was!
I had decided to make Ravioli whilst the dough was resting, which meant a quick drive to Ossie Park was in order to pick up a mould and a few ingredients for both the stuffing and the sauce, this was where I found the next hurdle, the guy at the shop thought he had the last kilo of beef mince in the country and wanted a Kings Ransom for it, I went around the hurdle and bought a couple of Italian sausages instead, they worked out even better than I had hoped for, Delish!
The sauce was simply made from onion, garlic, basil and tomatoes cooked slowly over a low heat until completely broken down, so easy yet very tasty.

I absolutely loved this afternoon of cooking, and look forward to making my next home made pasta dish, ciao  Jack

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicken Paella

I received the September edition of the Good Food magazine in the post yesterday and on reading it found a recipe for Chicken Paella, that look so easy and sounded fantastic so I had to try it, I have been thinking about it all day so was glad to get home and start cooking.

It really wasn't until I started preparing the ingredients that I realised the name Chicken Paella was a little bit odd for the dish, as there is so much pig in it, with the combined quantities of bacon,  pork sauage and chorizo sauage far out weighing the chicken.

But that aside, this was a great meal, very flavoursome and on the table in less than 45 minutes from start to finish, served up with a fresh garden salad, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red, it was extremely hard not to keep going back for more!

I love paella, and have been guilty on many occasions for over eating when I get stuck into one, never more so though than when on honeymoon with Jo Girl, we where at the Petronas Towers at one of the many restaurants on the outer ring, Jo videoed me whilst I was stuffing my face, it was a great day and we often have a laugh over that video, great memories!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creamy chicken and herb fettuccine

Driving home from work tonight when I asked Jo what she would like for dinner, she replied she wasn’t sure, but then after I said I was thinking something with chicken, she muttered something about a dish I had not cooked for a long time, I knew immediately what she wanted even though she had no idea what to call it, nor had time to describe it.
The dish she was thinking about is a long time favourite for both of us, one I first saw being cooked on a television daytime show by Colette Mann, the blond girl that used to be on Prisoner, ye God’s how long ago was that? Prisoner I mean, not the daytime show!

I remember I was taken by the dish for what was in it as much as the way it looked on the plate and it looked awesome.  I had tried to write the recipe down as Colette cooked the meal on the show, but was not so successful, however I was lucky enough to find it in a woman’s magazine a little time latter in a doctors surgery and I ripped the page from the book and shoved it in my pocket.  

I still have the page, not that I need it anymore, I shopped on my way home for the ingredients and it is over two years since I cooked it last, I had everything I needed when I got home, including mushrooms which I had picked up thinking I was going to add something new to the dish, only to find on checking the ingredients list that mushrooms have always been on the list!

The hardest part of cooking this dish is the drive home from the shopping centre as the core ingredient is a BBQ'd chook, where the hard part comes, is smelling the lovely aroma of it all the way home whilst you are hanging out to rip a drumstick off and to get stuck in, Jo suffered tonight more than I though, such was her hunger!
 Creamy Chicken and herb fettuccini
Ingredients to serve 4

400g fettuccini
1 tbl spn Dijon mustard
2 tb spn EVOO
1/3 cup semi dried tomatoes, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
½ BBQ chicken, boned and shredded
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbl spns oregano, chopped
300g button mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
120g English spinach
1 cup thickened cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to instructions
Heat oil in large pan, add leeks and garlic, sauté until softened. Add mushrooms, stock, cream, mustard, tomatoes, chicken, oregano and parsley, cook uncovered for ten minutes or until reduced by half, then add pasta to the pan and stir through sauce
Serve on a bed of spinach, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and hot garlic bread.

A truly yummy dish and one we have and will enjoy again from time to time, there are so many great flavours as you eat this meal, though I think the best is when you get some of the BBQ'd skin, YUM YUM!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meat and five veg!

Jo loves it when I cook her meat and five veg and never more so than when it is some quality Black Angus Fillet Beef, roasted potato and carrot, tangy roasted honey-Dijon beetroot, asparagus and mushroom finished with my port wine and shallot sauce!

The inspiration for the vegetables came to me when Jo insist I include potatoes, I had planed on just the asparagus, beetroot and mushroom, I was glad of her input though especially when I knocked over the left over serving for lunch today

Everything here is pretty straight forward excepting the beetroot, if you were wanting to try some done this way, begin by roasting your beets in oven @ 180C for 30-40 minutes depending on how big they are, then remove from oven and peel them once they cool a bit, then chop them into quarters.  Cook the chopped beetroot in a pan with 25 grams of melted butter for 4 -5 minutes, then add a squeeze of lemon juice, cook another minute before adding a table spoon each of honey and Dijon mustard, toss for a couple of minutes and serve.  I had the beets ready a few minutes early so I bung them back in the oven with the other veg until the meat was well rested, bloody boodiful!