Archive for the ‘d i n n e r’ Category

r o a s t b e e t s & a s p a r a g u s s a l a d

June 9, 2011

This is one of my favourite recipes – adapted from Bill Granger’s ‘Bill’s Sydney Food’ book – and I’ve been making it for years. It’s a great veggie option to impress your friends with at a dinner party in the warmer months. For a vegan alternative, swap the goats cheese for some griddled polenta. Easy to make and fuss free, but looks impressive and tastes amazing. I can’t think of a better combination than beetroot, asparagus, and goats cheese.

 

 

L E N T I L S A L A D

500g dried puy lentils

extra virgin olive oil

lemon juice

6-8 vine tomatoes

1 large red onion

2 cloves garlic

bunch fresh mint leaves

maldon sea salt

cracked black pepper

 

R O A S T E D B E E T R O O T

6-9 raw beetroot

balsamic vinegar

maldon sea salt

extra virgin olive oil

 

A N D

2 bunches asparagus

2 rounds of goats cheese

small handful fresh mint leaves

 

Firstly, get your oven nice and H O T , about 210°C.

Wash your beetroot, and top and tail them to get rid of the stalk and straggly bits. Halve each beetroot. Drizzle a R O A S T I N G tray with plenty of olive oil. Then place the beetroot in the tray and brush with enough oil to make sure they’re covered. Sprinkle with maldon, and drizzle a bit of balsamic over them. Put in the oven for 40-60 minutes, turning them over half way through. If they look like they’re shriveling up a bit, or drying out, just cover the tray in foil for the last 20 minutes and that will prevent them burning and it keeps the moisture in. Once cooked, remove from oven and leave on the side til needed.

M E A N W H I L E , dice your tomatoes, chop your onions finely and chuck both into a large bowl. Chop a handful of mint leaves and add to the bowl.

Wash your lentils in a sieve or colander and them chuck them in a saucepan with cold water, enough to cover them a few inches. Put on a medium/high heat and get to the boil. Then S I M M E R for roughly 20 minutes. You don’t want them to be soft or mashable, they need to be tender enough, but still keeping a firm shape. Once cooked, strain, rinse and add to the large bowl.

In a jug make a dressing with lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil. I generally use 1 parts lemon to 2 or 3 parts oil. Say, 50ml lemon juice and 150ml olive oil. Add finely diced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good W H I S K with a fork and pour enough dressing over the lentils to coat the salad well (pretty much all of it!). Mix well with a big spoon!

Prepare your asparagus, by snapping off the woody ends. Cook your asparagus however you fancy. I prefer to steam mine for about 3-4 minutes over some boiling water. Once cooked, run some cold water over them to prevent them wilting.

You’re almost there! It’s just the A S S E M B L Y part from here.

Line up your plates and put a good couple of S P O O N F U L S of the lentil salad on the center of each plate. Place some asparagus (3-5) on the salad; then arrange about 3 slices of goats cheese across the asparagus in a line. Top with 3 pieces of roasted beetroot (it becomes a balancing exercise at this point!) and decorate with a few fresh mint leaves.

It’s nice when the beetroot is still warm and starts to melt the goats cheese underneath. I always make enough lentil salad and beetroot so there’s some leftover, it’s great for lunch the next day.

Serves 4

 

Advertisements

s a u s a g e r o l l s

April 12, 2011

Sausage rolls are up there with my favourite nostalgic childhood treats. A big bowl of them with heaps of ketchup. There’s nothing better! I was a vegetarian for 14 years (I recently started eating meat again) and OH how I have missed these delightful pastry morsels! I used good quality pork sausage meat from a local organic butchers and they turned out really well. Add your favourite herbs or use different vegetables in the mix; it’s completely up to you.

 

 

S A U S A G E R O L L S

1 tbsp olive oil

600g pork sausage meat

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 packs ready-rolled fresh puff pastry, halved lengthways

1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

small handful each of fresh sage and parsley, chopped

pinch nutmeg

1 egg, lightly beaten

fennel seeds

salt & pepper

 

Preheat oven to 200°C.

L I N E enough baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and  then S W E A T the fennel and onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the fennel is soft and the onion translucent. Set aside to C O O L .

In a large B O W L combine the sausage meat, fennel mixture, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and nutmeg. Season lightly with salt and pepper and get your hands into the bowl and S Q U E L C H it up well.

Spoon the mixture into a P I P I N G bag without a nozzle, and pipe the filling down the centre of each length of pastry. Use your own judgment regarding how thick you want the sausage rolls to be, but make sure there is enough pastry on either side of the filling to fold over and seal the edge. A 10 pence piece in diameter for the filling should be about right. Brush a little egg along one edge, roll it up and gently press to secure.

Using a S H A R P knife, slice each roll into smaller sausage rolls, about 4cm wide. Place them on the baking tray with space between each, and brush with the beaten egg. Make sure the rolls are seam side down to hide the ugly bits and prevent them splitting open when baked. Sprinkle with a few fennel seeds.

C H I L L the trays of rolls in the fridge for about 15 minutes then pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

Makes about 25, but we ate them so quick I couldn’t keep count!

 

 

 

s p a n a k o p i t a

February 20, 2011

 

This is a family recipe and one that I remember from my very early childhood. If you want your kids to eat spinach, this is the way forward. When I was a kid, my mum would ask me and my brother what we wanted for dinner on our respective birthdays, and 9 times out of 10 we’d shout “cheese and spinach pie please!”. It’s probably evolved over the years, but this is the version I have scribbled in my notebook at the moment. A seriously tasty dish, it’s about time I shared it on here.

 

cheese and spinach pie

 

 

S P A N A K O P I T A

500-600g fresh spinach leaves

5 large free range eggs, beaten

2 packs feta cheese, crumbled

2 packs filo pastry (about 8 sheets)

5 spring onions, chopped

450ml sour cream

butter, melted

nutmeg

salt & pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Firstly, W I L T the spinach with a tiny splash of water in a big pot on a medium/high heat. Keep the lid on, and turn the leaves over once or twice to wilt them evenly. As soon as they’re wilted, remove from the heat and leave to cool in a drainer. Once cooled sufficiently, squeeze out the excess liquid as much as you can and then chop roughly.

Prepare the F I L L I N G by combining the beaten eggs, feta, sourcream, chopped wilted spinach,  and spring onions in a large bowl. Using a fine grater, grate a good 1/2 tsp of nutmeg over the mixture. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, but not too much as the feta is quite salty. Mix well.

B R U S H a large square or rectangular overproof dish with some melted butter, just enough to coat the base and sides. Take one sheet of filo, brush it all over with butter, and layer it into the base of the dish, with a good third to half of the pastry hanging over the side of the dish. Repeat with another sheet of pastry, but position it so it hangs over the other side. Use about 5 or 6 sheets for the base, positioning them so every edge has some pastry hanging over. Remember to brush each layer with butter as you go!

F I L L the dish with the mixture. Then, one edge at a time, fold the overhanging layers of pastry over the top of the dish, like a parcel. Get one more sheet of pastry, butter half of it width-ways, and fold in half so the butter sticks it together. Butter it again and lay it on top of the pie to give it a tidy surface. Using the pastry brush, poke the edges into the side of the dish. If one sheet halved is not enough to cover the top of the pie, just repeat. Drizzle a little butter onto the top, and brush it all over. this will give the pie a lovely crackly golden top.

Put in the oven and B A K E for about 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, turn the oven off and leave for a further 10 minutes. This will help the filling to set a bit.

Makes enough for about 4-6 people, depending on how greedy you are…. Serve with a big fresh salad.

 

cheese and spinach pie 2