Saturday, August 27, 2011

Requests: Lamb Casserole

This one was much easier!  (And hubby says "please thank the internets for the YUM" - he was pretty spoilt this week)

Alphamatrix requested a tomato-based lamb casserole, without herbs.  This is my favourite kind, so I can definitely relate!
Rogan Josh comes immediately to mind - this is one of my favourite ways to casserole lamb, and tomato is key.  The best recipes (or mixes) have you adding tomato very late in the game, so you can still taste the fresh tomato-ness through the spices.

The other thing that comes to mind is honey.  Usually with mint, but I know that's a herb so will put it with tomato instead!


This is quick, too, if you have tender cuts of meat.  I whipped this up in half an hour, on a weeknight.. or you could pop it in the slow-cooker if you had time (and could use a tougher cut of meat).

Slice and brown an onion in a little oil, then stir through a couple of teaspoons of rich, spicy honey (I used stringy bark, but in NZ would use Manuka or Rewarewa).  Let it caramelise, then remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
Dice potato and carrot, and boil in a small saucepan until starting to soften.  Drain and set aside with the onion.
Coat lamb pieces (I used a good quality casserole dice from the butcher, 300g for two of us) in a couple of tablespoons of flour, mixed with a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a dash of chilli powder.  Brown in a couple of tablespoons of oil (preferably in the caramel left in the bottom of the frypan from the onions).
Add a 300g tin of chopped tomatoes, and a tablespoon of tomato paste.  Simmer.
Add the vegetables, and another tablespoon of honey.

Serve as soon as the sauce is thick.  This would be great with mashed potato - but I was in a hurry and just added potato directly to the casserole, and served with steamed broccoli!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Requests! Dessert Burger

When I asked for requests, I never imagined it would be something like this.  Meg, thank you for making my brain hurt - I have never even considered dessert burgers as a food option, so this put me firmly outside my comfort zone!  (I don't even flinch at dessert pizza though - must remember to share that one at a later date!)

One question played on my mind for some time: what defines a burger?  I decided, on my own authority, that it had to be stuff in a bun.  Preferably layers of stuff, and preferably a bread-based bun.
The other thing that leapt to mind was size.  If this burger was going to be dessert, it couldn't be full-size.  I like my desserts small, and of course sweet.

With those important points out of the way, the rest materialised pretty quickly:  this is my S'more Slider.


I made small, soft, sweet bread rolls (a cinnamon tea cake recipe, these are about 20g each - or two mouthfuls) and added a dark chocolate ganache "pattie", toasted marshmallows, and jam (a burger needs sauce!)

..and I have to say, it was delicious!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Requests please!

Just over a year ago, I responded to a series of requests - and really enjoyed the challenge of cooking what other people wanted, rather than what I felt like!  I had to think, and plan, and it was a welcome change of pace.

Bircher muesli for Kerryn
Beef Wellington for Emma
and Non-dairy ravioli fillings, also for Kerryn 

I've had a couple of similar challenges in real life recently, which I will add here, but thought I'd make it official:
Challenge me to make something, ask me for ideas, or tell me what you've always wanted to try.   

I'll see what I can do, but reserve the right to pass if I don't like it, or exercise artistic license and do it "my way"!! 

..and while I wait for you to inspire me, here are some beautiful photos of a blue swimmer crab.  I didn't like the pasta sauce I made with him (and his friends), but the photos are too good not to share! 



Truffle at Home

After a couple of great eating out experiences in mid-July (including the truffle tasting dinner, and a big birthday dinner), we decided to try this ourselves.
I mentioned previously that a pop-up truffle shop (Madame Truffles) opened a few blocks from here, so we called in to see what they had - and were thrilled that they had stock, as the previous weekend had sold out! 

Truffle Options

We took home an affordable 33g NSW - and found this was plenty to share with two friends over risotto, with a little left for breakfast the next day!

I made mushroom risotto - following the basic technique, with beef stock and several large handfuls of shimeji, oyster, and button mushrooms - with both shiitake and porcini adde to the stock - and parmagiano reggiano.  While it was delicious, the truffle could have stood on its own with nothing other than fresh pasta and extra-virgin olive oil. 
The real stars of the show were the eggs.. but I'll come back to that.  

When I got the truffle home, it looked like this:

Paper bag Simple packaging

Great things come in simple packaging.   I love the logo, connecting farm with indulgence.  A simple glass jar and paper towel hide the beautiful, fragrant truffle.


I've been told many times how to truffle eggs, and never tried it.  Quite simply, you pop a couple of eggs - shell intact - into a small airtight container with your truffle.  Store in the fridge overnight, or for at least 12 hours.  Use the truffle as you had intended - on risotto, pasta, or as your heart desires.  Then cook and eat the eggs, and be astounded at how they have taken on the truffle smell and flavour.  (I just poached them, and served on potato roesti - simple.)
We tried a "normal" egg alongside for comparison, and the difference is quite remarkable.  I'm reluctant to ever eat plain eggs again - but will have to of course, or we'll go broke (or miss out on eating eggs).

Shaving truffle

Best poached eggs ever.