Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Panchetta Potato Bake

Potato bake is quite possibly the best comfort food on the face of the earth, and everybody does it differently. My hubby likes his with bacon, but I can't stand bacon, so we reached an agreeable compromise!

Prep Time: 20min
Cook Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4-6

  • 3-4 Large potatoes
  • 300mL of thickened cream
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Nutmeg
  • Cracked pepper
  • Oregano
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 small brown onion, sliced
  • Glass/oven proof pottery dish
  • Sharp knife/ vegetable slicer
  • Cheese grater

Potato Bake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150C
  2. Grease the dish with butter and crushed garlic
  3. Slice the potato and if you wish onion thinly, and begin to layer in the dish
  4. Every 2-3 layers, add a layer of Panchetta
  5. Once this is done, pour the cream over the layers and sprinkle with oregano, nutmeg, and cracked pepper
  6. Top with grated cheese
  7. Bake for 1.5-2 hours, until cheese is golden

Everyone loves potato bake, from the kids to the grandparents, you just cant go wrong with this classic. Goes just as great with a roast as it does a barbecue lunch, and the great thing is you can twist it any way you like. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Keep Smiling,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No-Baste Basil and Rosemary Roast Turkey

Turkeys are the sacred bird of the holidays. For Christmas, and for Thanksgiving in the US, the roast turkey is often reserved for rare and special occasions. It is due to this, that people stress so much that this particular dish must be perfect, be it to impress the in-laws, live up to a family reputation, or for a simply memorable evening! This recipe for roast turkey is so full of flavour that whoever your guests, they are sure to rave!

Prep: 15min
Cook: Under 4kgs = 20min/kg + 70min, Over 4kgs = 20min/kg + 90min

  • 1 Whole Turkey, giblets and neck removed
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Bulb Garlic, 1 minced, 1 whole
  • Handful fresh Rosemary, chopped, and 3-4 sprigs for decoration
  • Handful fresh Basil, chopped
  • Italian Herb Seasoning to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 5-6 slices of Proscuitto or Panchetta
  • White wine
  • Large Roasting Pan
  • Garlic crusher
  • Mezalune/cooks knife
  • Pastry Brush
  • Small bowl
  • Syringe

The Turkey

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170˚C
  2. Wash the bird inside and out, taking care not to tear the skin, and pat dry with a clean tea towel
  3. Losen the skin from the breast by slowly working the fingers between the breast and the skin from the neck to the ends of the legs. Try not to break the skin as this will compromise the moisture of the bird.
  4. In the small bowl, combine oil, herbs, and garlic
  5. Work the oil and herb mixture between the skin and the breast, once again being careful not to tear the skin. If using proscuitto or panchetta, place the meat on top of the breast and mixture, but under the skin. Using fatty meats will help keep the breast meat moist while the legs finish cooking.
  6. Using roasting skewers, or if you like, springs of rosemary, secure the skin over any areas of exposed breast meat.
  7. Insert the whole bulb of garlic into the cavity, along with any of the remaining mixture, and a little wine if you choose to use it
  8. Fill the bottom of the roasting tray with water or water and white wine
  9. Roast according to the weight of your bird, checking the water level every 30min. If you have a fan forced oven, try as best you can to put the bird in legs first, as this will cook the legs faster than the breast, and ensure that the breast meat is not dry.
  10. Serve with roast vegetables, and cranberry sauce, and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs
The trick with turkey is that the leg meat cooks much slower than the breast meat, meaning that the breast meat often comes out dry. This recipe negates the need for basting, particularly if you choose to go with the addition of the deli meats, as the extra fat from the proscuitto or panchetta will help give added moisture to the breast. You can of course choose to baste the turkey every so often if you desire. Either way, you and your guests are in for one flavour packed meal that will surely set the benchmark for the turkeys of years yet to come!

Keep Smiling,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cocktail of the Week: Fruit Tingle

While on holidays in the Caribbean, it became apparent to me that the Fruit Tingle isn't as well known around the world as it is in Australia. I couldn't believe that not everyone had tasted its delicious fruitiness! It gets its name from the fruit tingle candy that its meant to taste like though I have met few people who believe that to be true - doesn't make it any less delicious though!

Glass: Hurricane

Alcoholic Content:
  • 1 Part Vodka
  • 1 Part Blue Curacao
Non-Alcoholic Content:
  • Lemonade (Sprite for the North Americans)
  • Raspberry Cordial
  • Spoonful of ice
Mix It:

Pour the vodka and the blue curacao over the ice and top up with lemonade. Pour a dash of raspberry cordial into the glass down the side so that it sits at the bottom.

Garnish: Serve with a swizzle stick, strawberry, and umbrella.

You can also use grenadine in place of the cordial though it will alter the taste. Also be careful not to be too heavy handed with the cordial or grenadine as too much will overpower the drink.

Keep Smiling,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Orange BBQ Bourbon Ribs

Ribs are always a favourite amongst the boys, as is bourbon. Couple this with the rumour that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and you've got a surefire way to remind the boys why they love you - or why they love ribs and bourbon!

Prep: 5min
Cook: 2.5 - 3hrs

  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Cup BBQ Sauce (I use Masterfoods, smoky BBQ if you can get it is even better)
  • 1/2 Cup Bourbon (I use Jack Daniels)
  • 1/2 Rack Beef Ribs
  • Roasting Pan
  • Pastry Brush
  • Hand Juicer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk

The Ribs

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C
  2. Juice one half of the orange
  3. Whisk together the bourbon, BBQ sauce, and the orange juice until it forms a thick sauce
  4. Using the pastry brush, brush the sauce over the ribs
  5. Using the remaining half of the orange, cut into slices and place over the ribs
  6. Place ribs on the roasting tray if you haven't already, and fill the bottom with water
  7. Bake for 2.5-3hrs
  8. Serve as desired.
My husband absolutely loves these ribs, they're always his request for a last meal before he goes out bush and he manages to devour them in seconds! For a full rack, double the ingredients, and for an even sweeter taste add honey, or try using Wild Turkey: American Honey bourbon. The glaze also works well on salmon fillets and pork ribs, though you will not need as much, about 1/2 the amount for pork ribs, and 1/4 for 2 salmon fillets.

Keep Smiling,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lovely French Tart Shell

A good tart shell can be a daunting task to attempt, but this classic French style recipe from David Lebovitz and Paule Callait, is so simple, and tastes so amazing!

Prep: 25min
Cook: 15min

  • 90g Unsalted Butter, cubed
  • 1Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 23cm tart mold
  • Medium sized, oven proof bowl (pyrex is best)
  • Good oven mits
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fork
The Pastry

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 210˚C
  2. In the pyrex bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, water, and oil
  3. Cook in the oven for 15min, until the butter is starting to brown around the edges. Be extremely careful when removing the bowl from the oven, and when using the bowl on the bench as it is very easy to grab it with your bare hands!
  4. Dump in the flour and stir it in quickly until the dough forms a ball, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Be careful when adding the flour, it is likely that it will spit and sputter a bit
  5. Transfer the dough into the tart mold, and spread out a little with a spatula
  6. Once the dough has cooled enough to handle, pat it into the mold using the heel of your hand, and work it up the sides with your fingers. Keep a small amount of (almond sized) for patching up cracks later.
  7. Reinforce the dough to the sides with a fork
  8. Prick the dough all over with a fork
  9. Bake for 15min
  10. Patch up any cracks with spare dough, but rolling it between your fingers, and wedging it into the crack and smooth with your pinky
  11. Allow the shell to cool before filling.
This crust is ideal for fillings such as ganaches, and will definitely cure you of any pastry baking fears! Avoid using custard like fillings, as this crust is much too light and flaky for such a dense filling.

Keep Smiling,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Greek Roast Lamb

Nothing roasts like a leg of lamb, and nobody does lamb like the Greeks! With signature Greek trademarks of lemon and oregano, this roast is extremely easy, and a sure winner on the dinner table.

Prep: 5min
Cook: 2-2.5hrs

  • 2kg Leg of Lamb
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • Fresh/Dried Oregano
  • Fresh/Dried Rosemary
  • Fresh/Dried Thyme
  • Bay Leaves
  • 3 tsp Cooking Butter
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic
  • Cracked Pepper to taste
  • Feta Cheese
  • Kalamata Olives, pitted
  • Dry White Wine
  • Roasting Pan
  • Small bowl
  • Pastry Brush
The Lamb

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150˚C
  2. Wash the meat and pat dry with a clean tea towel
  3. In the small bowl, combine the oil and juice of the lemon until it has emulsified
  4. Add the herbs with the exception of the bay leaves (as much or as little as you like)
  5. Score the meat about 2cm deep, in 3-4 places.
  6. Slice the garlic, and insert into the cuts, along with a slice of butter and a bay leaf (also do the same with the feta, and olives if you choose to use them)
  7. Place the meat on the roasting tray if you have not done so already
  8. Brush the lemon mixture over the meat
  9. Fill the bottom of the tray with water (half water, half wine if you are using wine)
  10. Roast for 2 - 2.5 hrs, checking the water level every half hour. Do not let the pan become dry, as this may result in the end product also being dry.
  11. Serve as desired, with roast potatoes and vegetables, or for something different a Greek Salad.

The Sunday roast is a time honoured British and Australian tradition, no matter what the season, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring! The lemon gives the meat a sweet taste making this a hit with the kids as well as the adults, though do exercise caution if you intend to use wine and serve the roast to children.

Keep Smiling,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Scones

Scones are a brunch favourite all around the world, but sometimes the perfect scone can seem impossible to make! It's really not as hard as it seems, all you need is to know the right technique.

  • 3 Cups Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 Tbs Caster Sugar
  • 80g Butter, cubed, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Baking Tray
  • Baking Paper
  • Round-bladed knife or wooden spoon
  • Rolling Pin
  • 5cm Round cookie cutter (you can use any shape you like, but the round is the traditional shape)
The Scones

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220
  2. Measure out ingredients
  3. Combine the flour and sugar in the bowl
  4. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. It is best to rub the butter one cube at a time, with your palms facing up. This ensures that plenty of air gets into the mixture, and ensures your scones will be nice and light
  5. Add the milk all at once, and combine using the knife/wooden spoon. Use a cutting motion until the mixture holds together, and the milk is incorporated. Do not over mix as this will make you lose all your lightness from step 4. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  6. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4-5 times. Do not over work the dough, as once again this will effect the lightness of the scones, and cause the texture to become tough
  7. Roll out the dough to about a 2cm thickness
  8. Using a straight up and down motion, cut out the scones with a lightly floured cookie cutter. Twisting will effect the rise.
  9. Place scones 1cm apart on the baking tray. It is very important that the distance is kept even, as this will ensure the scones rise evenly.
  10. Bake for 10-12min. Scones are done if when you tap them, they sound hollow.
  11. When you remove the scones from the oven, wrap them in a tea towel immediately to ensure a soft crust.
  12. Serve as desired.

With Australia Day looming, scones are a popular treat. Hopefully this recipe will mean your friends actually eat your scones instead of using them in some peculiar drinking game!

Keep Smiling