Kalamata Olive and Roast Almond Tapenade

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Every year I say, I’m not doing anything for Christmas, I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, blah blah blah. But then, every year, next minute, I’m elbows deep in royal icing, fighting off the flies on a 35 degree summer’s day, making gingerbread houses that no-one is going to eat. And I secretly love it.

However, I’m guessing most people aren’t like me, so here is a recipe for an impressive but very easy appetiser for these entertaining times. Will post another one tomorrow for an even easier one!dsc_1371 dsc_1396dsc_1415 dsc_1434

Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
500g kalamata olives
4 anchovies plus 1 tbs of their oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs capers
4 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup roasted almonds plus a quarter of a cup of sliced to serve
To Serve
4 garlic bulbs, cut and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper at 180 degrees for about 30mins
Cherry tomatoes on the vine, roasted at 180 degrees for about 15mins
Danish Feta
Fresh baguette (or a gluten free alterna
Fresh basil leaves
Method
To make the tapenade, first roughly chop the almonds in a food processor by using the pulse button so as not to over-chop. Empty them into a bowl.
Place the olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper in the processor and process until combined and relatively smooth. Empty into the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine.
To serve, place in a bowl and top with the extra sliced almonds. Place bowl on a platter with the garlic, tomatoes, feta, baguette and basil leaves.
Enjoy!

Moroccan Seafood Stew with Pearl Cous Cous and Harissa Cream

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When Lisa contacted me and said she was in Aus and would love to do a collaboration shoot with me, I knew it would be a fun day. Having not seen Lisa for five years, we had a lot to catch up on, but, after only a couple of minutes it was like those five years had been just five days. When you have friends like that, time and space don’t seem to matter.

We initially planned to do an outdoor, bush tucker cook-up, to help showcase the Primus gear that Lisa needed to shoot. But, due to one of the biggest storms to hit the East coast in years, flooding, wind and rain found us doing a cute little set-up in my backyard. It was really great working with another passionate foodie and photographer, and not to mention Daniel’s amazing fire-starter skills to keep us warm and set the scene.

The stew was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, everyone was really impressed by it yet it was so easy to make. You could use whatever seafood you like, or even change it to meat and vegetables. The flavours were amazing, especially the sauce soaked up with some nice thick sourdough. It also matched really well with the pearl cous cous salad, I love the texture of those little beads.

I also roasted some whole cauliflower in the fire. I haven’t included a recipe here as it is very straightforward. Just rub the whole cauliflower with some olive oil, salt and your favourite spices (I used cumin and sumac). Wrap in foil and cook in the fire or a hot oven for about 20mins, or until tender. It’s delicious dipped in the harissa cream…

Good company, cute set-up, delicious food, a few drinks and a little bit of work. It was a fun day!

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Recipe (adapted from Valli Little)

Serves 8

Moroccan Seafood Stew

Ingredients

Olive oil

2 brown onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbs fresh ginger, grated

2 tbs ras el hanout (spice blend, available in good spice stores)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp harissa paste

2 x 400g can crushed tomatoes

1L chicken or veg stock

1 kg seafood marinara mix

1 kg mussels

2 salmon steaks, cubed

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained

2 tsp honey

Fresh coriander and toasted almonds to serve

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1min. Add as el hanout, cinnamon, harissa, tomato, chickpeas, honey and stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cook for 10 mins, or until slightly reduced. Add marinara mix, salmon and mussels. Cook for about 10mins, without stirring too much to avoid breaking up the fish. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh coriander and flaked almonds.

Serve with cous cous and harissa cream.

Pearl Cous Cous (a rough idea, amounts were not measured on the day)

Ingredients

Pearl cous cous (cooked to packet instructions in chicken or vegetable stock)

Olive oil

Lemon juice

White wine vinegar

Honey

Dried parsley

Fresh coriander

Sultanas

Kalamata olives, sliced

Salt and pepper

Flaked almonds, toasted

Method

Combine all ingredients except for the almonds. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Place in serving bowl and top with almonds just before serving.

Harissa Cream

Ingredients

2 red capsicums, roasted, skin removed

200ml sour cream

2 tbs harissa paste

1 tsp lemon juice

salt

Method

Using a stick blender or in a small processor, blend the capsicum, Harissa paste and lemon juice together until smooth. In a bowl, combine the capsicum mixture with the sour cream. Add a little salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Turkish Lahmacun. Spiced Lentil Flatbreads with Garlic Yoghurt and Pickles.

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I made this dish whilst we were back in Germany, staying with a friend who loves food and loves to eat. It was perfect for me! I had access to her awesome little kitchen the whole time we were there and I had the best time preparing breakfasts, snacks, afternoon teas and dinners for all of us, which, in turn, resulted in lots of lovely hours, sitting around, chatting, eating and drinking. Bliss!

Germany is renowned for it’s Doner Kebabs and there are many (MANY) turkish restaurants. It got me thinking about a dish I had seen, a kind of turkish pizza. I mentioned it to our friend and she said, yes, it’s called Lahmucan, but, she had never been able to try it because it is only ever made with lamb mince and she is a vegetarian. So, I decided to try and make a meatless version of Lahmucan. And, boy did I nail it! The dough was amazingly soft and beautiful to work with, and turned out perfect when baked. The topping was spicy and tasty, especially with a drizzle of lemon and the garlic yoghurt, and the freshness of the parsley and pickles. You have to give this a try!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Dough
7g sachet of yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Olive oil
Spiced Lentil Sauce
Olive oil
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
250g swiss brown or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sumac
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Yoghurt Sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Pickled Radishes
Bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
To Serve
20g walnuts, roughly chopped
Bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Lemon wedges
Pickled peppers

Method

For the dough, combine the yeast with 1/3 cup warm water and allow to stand for 10mins, until bubbles have formed on top.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the egg mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Stir briefly, until just combined. Cover with a towel and rest for 10mins.
Use olive oil to lightly oil a clean work surface and your hands. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for 10secs, gently pushing it away form yourself and folding it back over. Return to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave to rest for 15mins. Repeat this process twice more at 15min intervals. After the last kneading, cover again and leave to rise for an hour.
After an hour, divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust a clean work surface with flour and line two large baking trays with baking paper. With a rolling pin, roll the portions out into 30cm by 20cm rectangles (or whatever shape you manage). Place on the trays and cover with tea towels. Leave to rise for another 45mins.
Meanwhile, make the spiced lentil sauce.
Add the walnuts, the lentils, the mushrooms and some salt to a large food processor. Using the pulse action, process until just finely chopped, try not to turn it into a paste. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, add a tbs of olive oil and add the lentil mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 10mins. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another tbs of olive oil. Cook the onion, stirring, over medium heat, for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, sugar, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the simmer, turn heat to low, and cook, stirring often, for about 10mins, or until thick and fragrant. Add the lentil mixture and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt with the garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir well to combine. Leave in the fridge until needed.
In a medium bowl, combine the radishes with the vinegar, sugar and some salt. Using your hands, massage the radishes with the vinegar. Allow to sit, stirring every so often, for at least 30mins before serving (you can also make these up to 1 day ahead, stored in the fridge).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Drizzle the 4 dough rectangles with a little olive oil. Spread with the lentil sauce, leaving about 2cm around the edges. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45mins, or until lentil sauce is dry on top and the edges of the dough are nice and golden brown.
To serve, top with the pickled radishes, sliced onion, parsley, walnuts, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the yoghurt and the pickled peppers on the side. (I like to just put everything in the middle of the table and let people top their own)
Enjoy!









Strawberry, White Asparagus and Chèvre Bruschetta with Balsamic, Black Pepper and Basil

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After spending a week at our friend’s house here, in Germany, with a big comfy bed to sleep in, a kitchen to cook in, beautiful forest trails to explore, access to fresh, local produce and, of course, the amazing company, I’m not sure how I’m going to feel when we hit the road with our backpacks again. I could really get used to this life. Seriously, I’m typing this as I lay in the best bed I’ve slept in in nine months, sipping a coffee and waiting for the others to wake up so that we can jump in the car and head over to France…for lunch….

The bakeries here are amazing too. They don’t even sell white bread. Just brown, or dark brown, or dark brown with seeds, etc. The spelt and linseed bread I used for this bruschetta worked perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberries. Beautiful strawberries and asparagus from a farm down the road, and basil from the garden. JOY!

We ate this bruschetta for brunch, but you could also serve it as an appetiser on smaller pieces of bread. If you can’t find white asparagus, I wouldn’t recommend using green, just omit it and use more strawberries. Some walnuts sprinkled on top would also be nice.

Also, sorry for the ridiculous amount of photos, too hard too choose.

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Recipe

Ingredients

200ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbs caster sugar
8 slices dark spelt and linseed bread (or other dark bread such as rye), halved
3 tbs olive oil
200g chèvre (goats cheese)
1 clove garlic, halved
2 cups fresh strawberries, tops trimmed off and quartered
1 cup peeled and cooked white asparagus, cut into 3cm lengths
1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
Pinch salt

Method

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar and the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, bring to the simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10mins, or until reduced by half and is thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10mins.
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray and spread with the slices of bread. Place in the oven and toast, for 5mins. Turn the slices and drizzle with 2 tbs of the olive oil. Return to the oven and toast for a further 5mins or until lightly browned. Remove form oven and rub the toast with the halved garlic. Divide the chèvre among the slices of toast and return to the oven for 3 mins, or until cheese is starting to melt. Remove from the oven.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, asparagus, 2 tbs of the balsamic reduction, pepper and salt. Gently stir to combine.
Top the slices of toast with the strawberry mixture, top with the basil and sprinkle with a little extra pepper and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction.
Enjoy!

 

Sardine and Olive Scrolls with Herbed Cream Cheese

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IMG_2407 IMG_2391 IMG_2395Since winning a hamper at Christmas time, filled with marinated goodies and antipasto ingredients, I’ve had a jar of marinated sardine fillets, sitting at the back of the fridge, looking lonely and waiting to be used in something delicious. However, having only just learnt to appreciate tinned sardines and anchovies in the last two years (I learnt to like them after trying some delicious real deal ones in Portugal), apart from putting them on a pizza, I haven’t done much else with them. Until now!

I’d spent the afternoon with a friend, hanging out at the local pool (it’s next to the beach, the best we can do in the wet season here in Darwin), and we had organised for Saturday afternoon drinks at her new house. Perfect opportunity for me to make something delicious to share!
I love making dough, we’ve been making all our own bread for the last couple of months now so I felt pretty confident to try this idea. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked out. The perfect mix of soft chewy bread with the salty, flavoursome filling, along with the herby cream cheese and sweet fresh tomato. Delicious! I also had some tomato soup leftover from dinner a few nights ago, they went perfectly with this also.
These would also work just as well without the anchovies for a vegetarian option.

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Recipe

Makes 16 scrolls

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
300ml luke warm water
1 heaped tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
olive oil

400g pitted kalamata olives, drained and pureed
300g marinated sardine fillets, drained, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
cracked pepper
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 large tomato, de-seeded, flesh finely chopped

250g cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon

Fresh tomatoes or tomato soup, to serve

Method

In a large bowl combine the flour and the yeast. Add the salt and stir to combine. (Adding the yeast and the salt separately is important as the salt can start to kill the yeast with direct contact).
Make a well in the centre and add the water. Stir with a metal spoon until mixture only just starts to come together, no more than 30secs. Cover with a clean towel and leave for 10mins.
Using olive oil, put a little in your hands and on a clean work surface. Turn out the dough and gently knead for about 10secs by pushing the dough away from you and folding it back towards yourself, then turning, horizontally, 90 degrees, and repeating, four times.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave for 15mins and repeat the same process twice more.
After the third knead, cover and leave in a warm place for 45-60mins or until almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, heat a tbs of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and cook, stirring, for about 5mins. Add the thyme and the chilli flakes and cook for a further 1min. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
When cool, add the chopped sardine fillets, pepper, parsley and tomato. Stir to combine.
In another bowl, combine the cream cheese with the dill, parsley and lemon zest. Stir well to combine and keep in the fridge until needed.
Prepare two baking trays with baking paper and a sprinkle of flour. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celcius.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a well floured surface. Cut in half evenly. Roll each piece out into a 20cm by 40cm rectangle, about 1cm thick.
Divide the pureed olives onto each piece of dough and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon, then sprinkle with the sardine mixture.
From the long side, gently roll each rectangle into a log.
Cut each log into 8 pieces. Place the pieces on the prepared trays, cut side up/down, about 5cm apart. Use your fingers to gently squash/mould into rounds (as cutting them has probably squashed the circle shape a little).
Cover each tray with a clean towel and leave in a warm place for about 45-60mins or until nearly doubled in size. (Be gentle when moving the trays during his time, so as not to knock the air out of the rising dough)
When ready, place the trays (gently), into the oven, and bake for 30-40mins, or until golden and feel hard when tapped with your finger.
Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins.
Serve warm with the cream cheese and some fresh sliced tomato. They are also really beautiful with tomato soup.
Enjoy!

Kalamata, Sundried Tomato and Oregano Bread

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This is the perfect weather to make bread, I sat the dough out on the verandah to rise and after the designated 45mins, it has risen beautifully to a big puffy ball. Finding a warm, draught free place is essential when making good soft bread. I’ve tried many bread recipes over the last few years and I’ve never found a better method than Dan Lepards’. His kneading method is very different to any I’ve come across before, most methods encourage a lot of kneading and being quite rough with the dough where Dans’ method encourages gentleness and more of an emphasis on resting times. If you want to know more about his bread making and other baking techniques I strongly encourage you to buy his book Short and Sweet, it’s very informative and interesting and everything I’ve made from it has turned out perfect.
This recipe isn’t from his book, it’s a mixture of a few different bread recipes I’ve used before as I just wanted to use up the small amount of olives and sun-dried tomatoes I had left over from an antipasto platter we’d had the day before. This then started my brain ticking and inspired some veggie burgers; Honey Roasted Eggplant and Haloumi with Roast Capsicum Sauce (click for the recipe).
Happy baking!

DSC_0193Recipe

Makes 4 large rolls

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups bread flour (regular plain flour is fine though)
7g sachet dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
2 tbs sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup luke warm water
olive oil
milk

Method

In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and dried oregano. Toss through the olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the water and with a wooden spoon, roughly incorporate into a ‘scraggly’ dough. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel and leave for 10 mins.
Lightly oil a clean work surface and hands. Bring the dough together in the bowl and turn out onto the work surface. Gently knead for 1 min. Return to the bowl and cover with tea towel again. Leave for 15 mins. Repeat this process twice more and then leave to rise for 45mins in a warm place. The dough should grow by at least another half.
Turn out onto work surface, oiled again if necessary, and knead briefly. Cut the dough into four even pieces and shape each into a round roll shape. Place on a lined baking tray, cover with the tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45mins.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Once the rolls have risen, carefully cut a slit in the top of each roll and brush lightly with milk.
Bake for about 30mins, or until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sweet Potato, Ginger and Kaffir Lime Loaf (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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Now that we have a house to live in, temporarily that is, we decided to clean out the car that we’ve been living in for the last two months. Including all the tinned food that we didn’t get through, I had one sweet potato left, a bit wrinkly on the outside but perfect for a good roasting. So, roast it I did, even though I didn’t have a plan for it yet. I love roasting sweet potatoes whole, in their skin, it’s a really nice way to make mash too, prevents watery mash, nobody likes watery mash.

At first I was thinking of making some sweet potato muffins, I got all excited about it, bought the ingredients I needed, only to discover that although we are living in a real house now, the kitchen is still a share house kitchen and is mainly full of random schooner glasses from different pubs around town. Definitely no muffin tin to be seen. Luckily, amongst the many baking trays (essential for frozen chips, one of my pommy housemates favourites) I found a loaf tin. Ok, I’ll make a loaf instead.

Due to the amazing asian markets in Darwin, I now get to have delicious things like ginger and kaffir lime leaves at my fingertips, whenever I like. So stoked. Stay tuned for some more asian inspired recipes to come over the next few weeks.

Considering this loaf is vegan and gluten free, I am really happy with how well it rose, whist still staying beautifully moist and spongey. When it was warm from the oven, it was delicious with some marmalade and fresh berries. If you don’t finish it all in the first day though, slice it up and keep it in the fridge, or the freezer, and toast it under the grill to serve. I’ve been enjoying it with some other toppings such as olive oil spread and strawberry jam, or ricotta and honey, or yoghurt and tahini. So delicious!

 

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 tbs chia bran

1/4 cup rice malt syrup

1 tbs fresh ginger grated

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups plain gluten free flour

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar, plus 2 tbs

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbs sesame seeds

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a loaf tin with oil and baking paper.

Using a fork or metal skewer, pierce the sweet potato all over. Place on lined oven tray and roast for about an hour or until very soft. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork.

In a small bowl, place the coconut milk and lemon juice, stir to combine and leave for about 5mins.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, chia bran, rice malt syrup, fresh ginger, kaffir lime leaves and sweet potato (make sure the sweet potato is still a little warm to prevent the coconut oil from solidifying). Let sit for about 10 mins. Stir in the milk mixture.

In another bowl sift the flours, ground ginger, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the wet mixture and stir well to combine, but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth the surface and sprinkle with the extra coconut sugar and the sesame seeds.

Bake for 45-60 mins or until springs back when pressed or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for about 20 mins before removing.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Balsamic or Marinated Zucchini, Goats Cheese and Mint.

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We just spent nearly a week in Cairns, I didn’t really want to leave! Life there is so focused on being outdoors, there is a fantastic energy in the city centre, as well as a beautiful relaxed vibe just a few minutes down the road in the smaller, beach side suburbs. We spent days lying in the sun, reading, fishing and putting some final touches on the 4WD.
We have four storage drawers under the bed; one entirely dedicated to spices, as well as a set of shelves on one side, holding all my oils and sauces. A bit ridiculous I know but I’m so inspired by all the beautiful ingredients I’ve been getting that I just have to keep cooking! And considering I had to say goodbye to eighty percent of my cooking equipment and ingredients when we decided to live out of our car, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve still been managing to come up with.
We stopped in beautiful Port Douglas yesterday to meet up with some friends for a picnic. I had been to the farmers’ markets in Cairns the day before and had bought some beautiful produce, including these unbelievably sweet heirloom tomatoes, huge zucchinis and big bunches of fresh herbs.
These bruschettas are so simple, and could easily be jazzed up with some extras like bocconcini or anchovies on the tomato ones and some pine nuts on the zucchini ones. I love the freshness of the quickly marinated vegetables though, i find them so much more delicious than the oily marinated ones you find in delis and from the jar. The key here is good, fresh ingredients, nice bread, well toasted and definitely don’t forget to rub it with the cut garlic clove while it’s still hot; the taste is superb and not to mention the smell!

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Recipe

Serves 6 as a starter

Ingredients
1 long baguette
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

Tomato Bruschetta
A few handfuls of heirloom tomatoes, sliced into bite size pieces
1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn, small leaves reserved for presentation
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Zucchini and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup goats cheese
1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the zucchini, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl or jar and toss well to combine. Leave for at least 30 mins to marinate.
Combine the tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to combine. Leave for about 10 mins.
For he baguette, slice into pieces as big as you would like. Toast under a grill, on a bbq, in a toaster, etc. Once golden brown, rub well with the cut side of the garlic clove, you will be able to smell the aroma of the garlic as long as the bread is still hot.
For the tomato bruschettas, top half of the toasts with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves.
For the zucchini bruschettas, spread the toasts with the goats cheese. Top with the zucchini, layered with the mint leaves. Sprinkle with the chilli and drizzle with lemon when ready to serve.

Pork Vindaloo with Pineapple Salsa, Coriander Yoghurt, Mini Paratha and the Perfect Rice



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Every time I make a curry or curry paste, I feel privileged to be a part of centuries old knowledge of flavour combinations and balances. How many years, experiments, failures, and triumphs must have gone into the classic curries that we know and take for granted today. It is so fascinating to me the processes that have been mastered over time to create these beautiful, colourful and aromatic spices and spice blends that we are so lucky to have at hand almost whenever we like. I get so much pleasure out of combining the spices and smelling the aromas as they all come together in the mortar and pestle, and then when they ht the heat of the pan…heaven!

 

I will often make up my own curry pastes with what I have at hand but when it comes down to it, following a good recipe like this one for Vindaloo, can’t be beaten. The balance is just right and the flavours are so beautiful. I found this one in a Women’s Weekly cook book when I was 21 and cooked it for one of my best friends’ 21st birthday dinner. Since then I have only used this recipe for Vindaloo and I always seem to use it as my go to crowd pleaser when cooking for someone special. I recently cooked it for my beautiful sister in laws’ birthday dinner and it went down a treat. Unlike Vindaloos that you find in your local Indian takeaway, there is not a lot of heat, just a whole lot of flavour.

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As always, i can’t help myself but to make a myriad of accompaniments to meals like this, and depending on the time of year, a fruit salsa goes perfectly. If it were summer I would use mango, here I’ve used pineapple, I once even used kiwi fruit. Come to think of it, banana would also be lovely.

 

Having a yummy flat bread is also important when eating curry, it’s essential for scooping up those last bits of goodness left on your plate at the end. If you don’t want to bother with making your own bread, store bought flatbreads or pappadums would also work.

 

Now, about the rice. Until a couple of years ago I was never a big fan of rice and only saw it as a filler for stretching out a curry/stirfry, etc, between a lot of people. Man, was I wrong. After some Goan people taught me the proper way to cook Basmati for curries, I enjoyed it immensely and started playing with different types of rice and how to use the right ones for the right purposes. Fluffy basmati is so beautiful with a thick curry like this, as the curry is quite a heavy texture, the rice is lovely and light. Make sure you buy good quality basmati and follow the cooking instructions in this recipe if you want to achieve the optimum result. The best thing is it’s one of the easiest ways to cook rice too!

 

I hope you give this curry a go and enjoy it as much as I did, do it when you have a day off and appreciate every moment.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Canola oil, for sautéing

1kg pork neck, cut into 3cm cubes

2 brown onions, sliced

2 cups beef stock

300ml coconut cream (this isn’t necessary but adds a nice creaminess and takes away a bit of the heat)

about 8 small, washed potatoes, halved

2 cups basmati rice

Curry paste

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground chilli

2 ttsp black mustard seeds

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cracked pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Pineapple Salsa

1/2 pineapple, finely chopped

1 long red chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp sugar

pinch salt

Coriander Yoghurt

1 cup plain yoghurt

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped coriander

1 small cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, finely diced

salt and pepper

Mini Paratha

1 cup wholemeal flour

1 cup chickpea flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

150mls lukewarm water

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

salt and pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients for the curry paste in a bowl and set aside for half an hour.
Meanwhile, heat some of the canola oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over medium high heat and, in batches, fry the pork until browned, about 2 mins. Remove from pan and set aside. Add more oil if necessary and sauté the onions until soft. Add the curry paste and fry, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 mins. Return the pork and add the stock. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low, simmer, covered for about 2 hours or until pork is becoming tender. Add the potatoes and coconut cream and continue to cook, uncovered for another 45mins to an hour or until potatoes are soft and pork is very tender.

Meanwhile, to make the pineapple salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least an hour, stirring every now and then.

To make the coriander yoghurt, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside, in the fridge, for at least an hour, stirring every now and then.

To make the paratha, combine the flours, cumin and seasoning in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the water an olive oil. Mix to combine and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and rest for an hour. Roll into 10-12 balls and roll out with a rolling pin to 1/2cm thickness. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat and fry paratha for about 30secs a side or until golden brown. Once cooked keep them wrapped in a damp tea towel so that they remain warm and moist, you can also re-heat them in the oven in the damp tea towel or some foil.

Once the curry is cooked, turn off the heat and cover.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold water until water runs clear. Add to the boiling water and stir immediately to prevent any clumps. Boil for about 10 mins or until just cooked. Pour into a strainer and sit the strainer back onto the empty saucepan (not on the heat). Allow to sit, without stirring, for about 5 mins, during which time you can put the curry, bread, salsa, and yoghurt on the table. Pour the rice into a serving bowl and add to the table.

Get everyone to the table and enjoy!!