This weekend we dog-sat our friends beautiful puppy Olive. She is so ridiculously cute, she’s a long legged dachshund (sausage dog) rescue puppy. You can see some photos on my instagram feed along with all my other dog snaps (including Seb’s ‘step brother’ Bowzer). It’s amazing how friendly people are when you have a dog. Everybody wants to stop you for a chat, it’s nice. Makes me want a dog even more :)
Last week we made a good ol’ Sunday roast. It’s becoming a ritual when ever we have a roast, we’ll boil up a good stock from the bones and follow it up with an amazing pumpkin and bacon risotto within a couple of days. Ahh, good old roast chook… the gift that keeps on giving. This time I thought I’d mix it up and try a new recipe. I came across this one in Gourmet Traveller and had most of the ingredients in the cupboard (which is always a bonus!). It’s really quite simple and tasted green and fresh (a perfect spring recipe for all Northern Hemisphere readers). The pancetta gives it bursts of saltiness, topped off with some quality parmesan cheese and this recipe is a keeper!
What’s your favourite risotto recipe?
Pea & Pancetta Risotto
a good glug of olive oil 40g butter 1 onion finely diced 300g alborio rice 200ml white wine 750ml chicken stock 100g diced pancetta good handful of baby spinach and rocket 1/2 cup each mint and flat leaf parsley 200g peas
1. Place olive oil and butter in a large pot and wait until butter has melted. Add onion, pancetta and cook slowly until the onions are translucent and slightly browned. Place rice in the pot and stir to ensure grain is well coated. This will help ensure the rice cooks evenly.
2. Add wine and stir until the alcohol has cooked off. Once it has been absorbed, add a ladle full of the warmed stock. Stir slowly until absorbed and add another ladle full. Continue until the rice feels al dente.
3. Meanwhile, blanch spinach, rocket, parsley and mint in a saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and squeeze out any excess water in a sieve. Place in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add half the peas and pulse until coarsely chopped.
4. Add herb mixture into the risotto adding the remaining whole peas. Add parmesan cheese and season to taste.
5. Serve with another good sprinking of parmesan cheese on top and a nice glass of wine! Augh. Heaven.
I was extremely lucky to win an absolutely amazing Emily Green scarf at the start of last week! Half of Melbourne have her famous fimo necklaces and now she’s paired up with Lucy Hall to create a range of cool fluro scarves. I chose the ‘Pebbles’ scarf in grey/red which I’ve not taken off since it arrived – I love it! You can check out the rest of her designs and colourways in her online store here.
Callington Mill have a range of different flours from wholegrain, medium sifted & spelt.
On Wednesday I had a bit of a work function at an Argentinian tapas restaurant in Meyers Place called San Telmo. Every single dish that came out was absolutely delicious! After a few nibbles and jugs of white wine sangria (which I never even knew existed) we headed to Circus Oz. I think the circus is greatly underestimated. We were wowed by the talent and strength of every single performer. The smell of the big-top tent, grass, popcorn and doughnuts took me right back to the excitement of seeing the circus as a kid. Recommended for a trip down memory lane!
We had some ‘Hungry’ friends pop around for a mini mid-week dinner party the following night. They had just arrived back from what looked like (according to instagram) the most amazing holiday in France and Spain. Seb cooked us a delicious seafood pie topped with garlic mash that was absolutely divine. Considering our guests had just got back from France I thought I’d make a tart tatin for dessert. This was the first time I’ve made one and let me tell you, top if off with a big scoop of ice cream and it’s one of the easiest and tastiest desserts of all time.
Details from the amazing antique store on main road Oatlands.
On Friday night we popped up to an exhibition at the Abbotsford Convent called ‘Paintings of Steve’s Paintings‘. A friend of ours was showing some work so we thought we’d go along to check it out. After a few glasses of wine we were all pretty hungry so we popped over to a fantastic new pizza place nearby called Rita’s. I can highly recommend this pizzeria, really interesting and authentic pizzas (and all very well priced).
After a spot of gardening in the glorious Saturday sunshine, we rode up to a pop-up bar in Thornbury called Domestique to watch stage 7 of Le Tour de France. I’d never watched it before, but it was really entertaining (and very handy having someone there to answer all my questions). If you’re in the area, try to get up there to watch one of the stages. It’s a really good vibe with an enthusiastic crowd of bike lovers, good ol’ fashioned fun.
Anyway, lets get down to business! This weeks tasty treat is caramelized onion, bacon and oregano pull apart bread. As I mentioned in my last post, whilst we were down in Tassie Seb and I took a little day trip up to Oatlands. We took ourselves to the Callington flour mill which was restored and reopened in 2010. It’s such a beautiful building (the only working one of its kind in the southern hemisphere) and looks fantastic amongst the beautiful gardens and the other classically Georgian architecture in the area. Whilst at the mill we bought some wholemeal flour which I thought I’d use to make something for the blog, and here it is (along with a few photos from our little trip).
1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix using the dough hook on the lowest setting and let it knead the dough for a further 10 minutes.If making by hand, use a spoon to bring everything together then knead on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
4. Meanwhile, add a good glug of olive oil to a frypan on low-med heat. Add the finely chopped bacon, a pinch of salt and onion and let cook slowly until the onion softens and browns. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a loaf pan with oil to grease.
5. After the dough has risen, punch down the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough and has returned to original size. Add the caramelized onion bacon and add half the oregano to the dough.
6. Divide into 18 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6cm-diameter balls. Combine oil and garlic in a bowl. Place enough dough balls to the bottom of the tin to cover. Brush with oil and garlic and continue layering with remaining dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 30 minutes or almost doubled in size and sprinkle a little extra oregano over the top.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature.
As I’ve said previously, my mum is a wonderful cook. I’ve tried to recreate some of her recipes on the blog (such as her Silverbeet & Feta Lasagne) but recently I’ve created some of my own ‘family favourites’. From what I’ve been told they are ‘phenomenally tasty’… and yes, that’s quoted! I guess this is what you could call one of my signature dishes. This recipe has been tweaked and perfected every time I make it, and it just seems to get better and better.
For me, risotto has been one of those dishes that I wanted to perfect. The best risotto I’ve ever made was with a good friend of mine in the UK. The recipe was completely made up, but it was as though all the stars had aligned. We just happened to have the most amazing ingredients in the fridge. I’d say the most important thing for successful risotto is the stock (homemade preferably). On this particular night we just happened to have a duck stock (made a few nights before). My friend had just returned from holiday in Croatia and had bought some wild boar salami at a Croatian market. That salami, added with lots of grated parmesan, white wine, plus zucchini and asparagus spears… let me tell you… IT. WAS. MINDBLOWING. It’s now commonly referred to as ‘duckzotto’ and has reached cult status to everyone that was there that night. ; )
After duckzotto there’s been no turning back. To add to my basic risotto, I roast pumpkin with lots of herbs and spices. Originally this was a vegetarian number but I felt like it needed a little something else. I have an amazing book called the Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit that my sister gave me. It’s not so much a cookbook as a reference book that lists all the different flavour types and their pairings. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re one who likes to make up recipes and get experimental in the kitchen. The book suggests bacon pairs well with pumpkin… and indeed it does. Like I said – phenomenally tasty.
Ps. Hooray! I’ve finally fixed my silly RSS problem. Doh! *_* All subscribers’ emails should look pretty again!?!
Pumpkin & Bacon Risotto
900g pumpkin 1 tsp sweet paprika 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp fresh nutmeg 2 tsp savoury herb 4 rashers of bacon Salt and pepper 4 tbsp olive oil 2 onions finely chopped 2 garlic cloves finely chopped 1 tbsp butter 400g alborio rice 1 cup of white wine 3 ½ cups of warm chicken stock 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1. Peel the pumpkin skin off and chop into cubes. Cut the bacon rashers into small squares and add everything to an oiled tray. Sprinkle the paprika, nutmeg, coriander and savoury over the top. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle a little extra olive oil over the vegetables. Place into a moderate oven for 30 mins or until well cooked. After 15 minutes, turn the pumpkin over to ensure it’s roasted evenly.
2. Meanwhile in a large pot, add a good glug of olive oil and add your chopped onion. Let it brown well before adding the butter, garlic and rice. Cook the rice for a minute or so until it’s well coated in the melted butter.
3. Add a cup of warm stock to the rice and stir continuously. Once all the rice has absorbed the stock, stir in the wine. Add the rest of the stock a cup at a time until it is fully incorporated ensuring you’re stirring continuously to prevent the bottom from sticking. Taste the rice and add some water if it still needs cooking further.
4. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and add half the parmesan cheese. Cover the rice and let stand for 5 minutes. By now the pumpkin and bacon should be cooked. Removed from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
5. Serve the rice onto the plate, top it with roasted pumpkin and bacon and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
A couple of weeks ago Mum came up to Melbourne for a visit. We went to the famous ‘Deli’ on Brunswick street for a late lunch and I ordered something similar to this. To sum it up briefly, it… was… awesome! So awesome in fact, that I immediately knew I had to re-create it for the blog. I invited some friends over for Saturday breakfast (the best meal of the week in my opinion) and cooked this little number for them. This brekky still has the yummy bacon & eggs, but also feels fresh and healthy (whilst almost being gluten free!). That’s what this should really be called – ‘Almost Gluten Free Bacon & Eggs’… nom nom.
I really should have cooked this again for my interstate friends that flew over to visit this weekend, but to be honest I’m not sure where it would have fit into the schedule! Lots of food & drink; bbqs, yum-cha, pub meals and ridiculously awesome cocktails at the Luwow (the amazing tiki bar we’ve just discovered). It’s a little piece of Hawaii right here in Fitzroy with a rockabilly twist. Super fun!
Better than Full English Breakfast
Fritters 420g can corn kernels, drained, rinsed 1/2 cup plain flour 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions 2 green onions, finely sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 avocado, chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped 1/4 cucumber 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1. Combine corn, flour, eggs, spring onion in a bowl.
2. In a hot frypan place 1 tbsp worth of mixture per fritter and cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Place on a try and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
3. Meanwhile, add all salsa ingredients together and mix thoroughly.
4. Poach or fry the eggs and place the bacon under the grill.