Friday, February 27, 2009

Quick Miso and Vegetables

Felt like something healthy Wednesday night, so threw some dashi and miso paste together with a little tofu, some sliced mushrooms, and spring onions. Very tasty, very simple. My partner cooked for me Thursday, and it would be bad form to take photos of her work without permission, but suffice it to say that she makes a wonderful bolognese with kangaroo mince and freshly made pasta.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Venison Chorizo and Roast Potatoes

Apparently it was Shrove Tuesday last night. My partner tells me that it is an excuse to have delicious food, so we do. We had some venison chorizo from, which we had picked up at the farmers market at the Collingwood Children's Farm. I knew these would be amazing, even just on their own. I also had some duck fat lying around, that I reserved from a Thai red curry I made a while back. Bought some Dutch Creams to roast in it.

Dutch creams are a nice roasting potato, yellow flesh, good even size, and they crisp up nicely. I bought 5 of them, enough for a dinner for two and a great pile left over. Dice them up into 2cm cubes or so, and par cook them by adding them to boiling water, waiting for it to re-boil, then draining them. Toss them through the duck fat and add a half dozen (or more, depending on how much you like garlic, I usually go for a dozen) roughly torn cloves of garlic. Add a sprinkling of sea salt (I am constantly amazed at how much nicer Maldon is than any of its competitors) and some rosemary, and toss them thoroughly again.

They need 30-40 minutes in a hot oven, 220c, with the fan going if you have it. I like mine on the crispy side, so they will be edible well before then. Shake the pan every 10 mins or so during cooking.

We also had some nice fresh sweetcorn and green beans, to round off the meal.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mini Almond Cookies

What meal is complete without a little something sweet to finish it off? I saw this recipe over at, and I thought I would give them a try. She calls them tv snacks, and they are like miniature quickly cooked shortbreads, with almond meal instead of semolina or whatever you normally use. Damn good. I found they needed a little more butter than her recipe said, 120gm or so instead of 100, but that was probably because I used a coarse almond meal instead of smashing the blanched almonds myself. I also used salty butter, and left out the salt she recommends, as I had no unsalted to hand. All this means my recipe is a lot more streamlined, but I fully intend to make them per the original recipe at some stage, so as to do a comparison.

Little Almond Biscuits

100g almond meal
100g sugar
140g plain flour
100g cold butter, diced (a little more if required to get the texture right)

180 degree oven.

Mix the sugar and almonds together, set aside.

Put the flour in a food processor and, with the motor running, drop in the pieces of cold butter. As soon as all the pieces are in, switch to pulse mode and pulse just until the mixture looks sandy. Add the nut-sugar mixture and pulse until the dough begins to clump.

Tear off cherry sized chunks of dough, roll and flatten a little, do not worry about making them perfectly round or even.. Squash them onto baking trays with a cm or so gap between each one.
They need 10 minutes cooking. You will have split them over 2 trays, given the quantity, so switch the trays in the oven halfway through the cooking process. They should be starting to brown, and will still be soft. Cool for a couple minutes on the trays, and then move to a rack to finish cooling.

Feijoa Vodka

Of course, we needed something refreshing to drink with the meal, so i grabbed some mint from the garden just to change up the flavour of that old standby, feijoa vodka and apple juice, a little. Half a lime, a handful of bruised mint, a shot or two of 42 Feijoa, and twice as much cloudy apple juice, all stirred over a generous amount of ice, long cold and delicious.

Black Bean and Chorizo. Yum.

So on Saturday I made a black bean stew with chorizo and a nice little chilli kick to it. Being me, I made far too much of it, and we had it on Sunday evening as well, although the second time around we dropped it into tortillas, which also worked amazingly well. Lots of hot sauce and some nice fresh salad type things, delicious.

Chorizo and Black Beans

2 Chorizo, hot
150gm smoky bacon
6 tomatoes
2 medium brown onions
Bulb of garlic
2 cups dry black beans
6 hot peppers/jalapenos/chipotle
ground cumin
ground coriander
chilli flakes/powder
1 cup rice (wild/brown is especially good)
Beef/chicken stock, 8 cups
Fresh coriander (garnish)
Limes (garnish)

Rinse black beans. Soak in cold water for 6-8 hours, drain, rinse. The beans should have approximately doubled to 4 cups worth. Put these in a large pot, and add 8 cups water/stock (beef or chicken), bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer, and let cook for 2 hours.

As the beans simmer, coarsely chop the onions and garlic, and fry off with some paprika, until soft. Add to the bean/water mix. Add a couple teaspoons each of ground cumin, coriander, and chilli to the water/stock.

Quarter the tomatoes and place in a roasting pan with a little oil, cook in moderate to hot oven until melting, 20 mins or so. Quarter chorizo lengthways, then cut into smallish chunks, 1cm long. Add with diced bacon and the hot peppers to a frying pan and cook for 5-10 minutes.

After the beans have been cooking for an hour and a half, add rice, tomatoes, meat and peppers to the mix, stir well. You will need to stir regularly now, as the water boils off. In about half an hour, the rice should be done, and the dish ready to serve. Garnish with lime and coriander and enjoy. If the mixture gets too dry, add small amounts of boiling water to keep it liquid until the rice is cooked.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hairy Crab

The Japanese do a whole bunch of things right, not least of which is catching and devouring these (not so) little beauties. The wrong comes when you factor in the 60 yen to the dollar exchange rate and realise that you are looking at 240-260 dollars of crab. Of course, you can always get some steamed and shredded over rice for a couple hundred yen, at the market in Sapporo, and I highly recommend that you do, if you ever happen to be in the area.