Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #190 Hosting



Many thanks to Astrid for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging - there's a stunning display of dishes to enjoy in the recap.


This week we welcome as host Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska

As always entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time

To participate:


Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the complete rules can be found here.

Send an email to tasteslikehome AT hotmail DOT com with WHB#190 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 400px wide


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your blog name/url, preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Buttered Red Cabbage

Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've been unable to resist the lure of the tiny vegetable - my weakness takes the form of this baby red cabbage

red cabbage© by Haalo

This particular specimen was a little larger than a tennis ball in size and at this young age the outer leaves are a deep purple-black and inside a much more vibrant purple.

red cabbage© by Haalo

The colour is driven by a pigment called anthocyanin within the cabbage that reacts to the soil's pH - acidic soils give you these red colourings. If you don't like to eat red cabbage you could always use it to make your own pH indicator, something the home gardener might find handy.

I won't be conducting chemistry experiments with this one though, I'll be making a really quick and colourful side dish of buttered red cabbage with a dash of aged Balsamic to help maintain the colour and add a tinge of acidic sweetness to the dish.


Buttered Red Cabbage© by Haalo


Buttered Red Cabbage

1 Baby Red Cabbage
1 red onion, finely sliced
butter
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar


Cook the onions:
Place a little olive oil and a small knob of butter into a pan over a low heat, when the butter has melted, toss in the finely sliced onions and allow them to slowly soften and just start to colour.

Prepare the Cabbage:
Remove the outer leaves and discard. Cut the cabbage in half, remove the core and then slice as finely as possible. Wash the sliced cabbage and drain very well.

sliced red cabbage© by Haalo

Add some more butter to the onions and toss in the cabbage - stirring constantly to ensure it's mixed well. This will only take a few minutes to cook, you just want the cabbage to wilt but not loose all its crunch. When it's almost ready, drizzle over with Aged Balsamic, taste and season with freshly ground sea salt and white pepper. Continue cooking until the cabbage has a glossy sheen. Remove from the heat and serve at once.

buttered red cabbage© by Haalo

This is a great accompaniment to all grilled meats, it goes especially well with beef, duck and venison.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cake Moulds

I've had a few questions of late in regard to certain cake moulds I've used and the best way to answer is with photographs.

First up are the dahlia moulds:

dahlia molds© by Haalo

which were used to make these Beetroot Chocolate Cakes

and the second are sunflower moulds

sunflower molds© by Haalo

which were used for these Cherry and White Chocolate Butter Cakes

Cherry and White Chocolate Butter Cakes© by Haalo


Both these moulds were purchased in Florence so I have idea of where I could find them locally.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #189 Hosting



Thanks go to Graziana for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging - there's a delightful array of treats in store for you at the recap.


This week we welcome back as host, Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog

As always entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time

To participate:


Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the complete rules can be found here.

Send an email to foodblog AT paulchens DOT org with WHB#189 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 400px wide


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your blog name/url, preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pear and Walnut Sponge

Graziana from Erbe in Cucina/Cooking with Herbs is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have pears.

pear© by haalo

This is a Packham Pear which was developed here in Australia in 1896 by Charles Packham. It's a cross between William and Bell Pears which produces these largish, bumpy, green-skinned pears. As they ripen the skin turns to yellow.

While I've made many crumbles with pears and other fruits, for this recipe I've taken a different approach. Instead of crumble I'm topping the fruit with a sponge batter. The sponge itself is slightly different in that potato flour is used - which makes it gluten free.


pear and walnut sponge© by Haalo


Pear and Walnut Sponge

1 egg
30 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
40 grams potato flour
2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered, cut into pieces
40 grams walnuts, sliced
pearl sugar, optional
icing sugar, to dust, optional


Prepare the filling:
Toss the pear pieces and walnuts together and then tumble out onto a baking dish.

Make the sponge:
Place the egg, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Double sift the potato flour and then sift once more onto the creamed eggs. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the flour into the mix, using a figure eight motion.

When just mixed through, spoon this evenly over the fruit - level the mixture and then sprinkle over with the pearl sugar.

Place the dish into a preheated 160ºC/320ºF oven and bake until puffed and golden - about 20 to 30 minutes.


pear and walnut sponge© by Haalo

Dust with a little icing sugar - it can be enjoyed straight from the oven or cold.

pear and walnut sponge© by Haalo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #188 Hosting



Big thanks to Katie for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging - there are many great ideas and new ingredients to be found in the recap


This week we welcome as host, Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs)

As always entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time

To participate:


Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the complete rules can be found here.

Send an email to scrivi AT ilmeglioincucina DOT it with WHB#188 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 300px wide


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your blog name/url, preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Porcini Frittata

Katie from Eat This is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've got that fragrant fungus, Porcini

porcini© by Haalo

Unfortunately there's been no success in the cultivation of Porcini here in Australia but restrictions have been lifted allowing the importation of these frozen specimens.

porcini© by Haalo

I've been absolutely besotted by the look of these - they are just shaped so perfectly, it feels a bit sad to use them.

For today's dish I'll be making a Frittata, using both field and Porcini mushrooms.


porcini frittata© by Haalo,


Porcini Frittata
[Serves 2]

1 small onion, finely sliced
2 flat field mushrooms, sliced
1-2 porcini, depending on size
4 eggs
salt
freshly ground white pepper

Prepare the Porcini:

Place the porcini in a bowl and let them sit in the fridge overnight. Slice them just before you are ready to use them.

sliced porcini© by Haalo


Sauté the onions slowly in a little olive oil and butter until softened and just starting to colour. Remove the onions from the pan and set to one side.

Turn up the heat and in the same pan, quickly brown the sliced field mushrooms in batches. Add the cooked mushrooms to the onions.

Finally, carefully sear the porcini slices in the same pan - set aside some of the full slices to decorate the top of the frittata, add the rest to the onion/mushroom mix.

Break the eggs into a bowl, add a little white pepper and sea salt and whisk until just combined.

I like to cook my frittata in a cast iron pan - it holds the heat much better but any non-stick heavy based pan will do.

Heat the pan over a medium heat, drizzle lightly with a little oil and add in the onion/mushroom mixture. Toss briefly to reheat and then pour over the beaten eggs. Lay the reserved slices of porcini over the top and turn down the heat.

When you see the edge of the frittata has sealed, use a palette knife to lift the edge and tilt the pan to re-disperse the uncooked egg - this will give you lovely puffed edges to your frittata.

Lower the heat and cover the pan to give it a chance to cook through - if you think the underside is getting too brown, then place the pan under an grill to set the top.

When the frittata has just set - remove from the heat and serve at once.


porcini frittata© by Haalo


Serve with a simple green salad for a luxurious lunch.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Baked Eggs with Stewed Tomatoes and Polpette

Flicking through the weekend papers I came across an article on Andrew Blake - and while the story of what happened to this high flying chef and restaurateur was interesting, what really caught my attention was one of his recipes for Baked Eggs with Stewed tomatoes and Salsiccia.

The idea is very simple - a slow stew of onion, garlic and tomatoes to which roughly broken pieces of cooked Italian sausage are added. This mix is then placed in an oven proof dish and then topped with eggs - it goes into the oven until the eggs just set.

It's the type of dish that you just know will taste great and I so I set about creating my own version for the long weekend.

baked eggs with tomato and polpette© by Haalo


I've replaced the sausage with meatballs and the base of stewed tomatoes include carrots, celery, capsicum (bell pepper), rosemary and parsley. Once the stew has cooked for about 30 minutes I add the cooked meatballs. I then placed this mixture into individual sized oven-proof dishes and bake at 160°C/320°F for another 30-45 minutes or until the mixture has reduced.

Form indentations in the mixture and crack an egg into each dish. Put them back in the oven until the whites have just set - one of the aspects of this dish I especially love are those runny eggs.

Crusty bread is mandatory!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #186 Recap


This week's dishes are a celebration of the season - things to warm you up, things to cool you down - things to share and things to spoil yourself with.

Before I move onto the recap, next week our host will be Katie from Eat This.

Please send your email to knorthc AT gmail DOT com with WHB#187 in the subject line and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Attach a photo: 300px wide
You can find more WHB information here along with the rules and who's hosting in the future.


Now, onto the recap....


Bagna Cauda (Garlic Dip)
by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking With Herbs)


A classic dish from Piedmont - a heady of mix of garlic, milk, anchovies, olive oil and butter it makes a perfect partner to raw vegetables.


Squash Gratin
by Katie from Eat This


I think we would all very happily "Eat This" - a celebration of seasonal produce - yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, baked with garlic, Tabasco, basil and Parmesan.


Pea and Broad Bean Soup
Juliette from A Little Foodie


Juliette may well be asking "Where did summer go?" but I for one will gladly forsake the heat and welcome this delightful bowl of pea and broad bean soup. In fact with the drizzly conditions I could do with a bowl or two of this.


Roast Pork Fillet with Cider and Pistachios

Anna from Morsels and Musings


The prevailing weather conditions has also inspired Anna to make this dish of roasted pork fillet flavoured with cider, pistachios and lemon thyme.


Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic, Thyme and Balsamic Vinegar
by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen


Kalyn has much to celebrate - the house renovations are almost finished and she has just retired from teaching. This dish of roasted mushrooms flavoured with thyme, garlic and balsamic vinegar are also a celebration in themselves.


Elderflower and Lemon Jam with Gin
by Brii from Briiblog


Brii offers us very useful tips on the collection and use of elderberries but also makes this fabulous Jam. Brii also shares with us views from beautiful Lake Garda where she lives - I know I could happily gaze at those views forever.


Fruit Basil Cocktail
by Cinzia from Cindystar


Cinzia celebrates her son's eleventh birthday with a lovely cocktail, full of fresh fruit like peaches, cherries and berries - it's made more special with the addition of fresh basil. For those wanting a more adult taste, Cinzia recommends adding a little Prosecco. Let's all raise a glass and toast Mamo's birthday.


Almond and Nashi Cakes

Almond and Nashi Cakes© by Haalo

My offering for this week are these simple Almond and Nashi Cakes.

As always, thanks to all that take part.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Almond and Nashi Cakes

This week I'm hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and I'll be looking at Nashi

nashi© by Haalo

Nashi is a species of Pear that originated in Asia, in fact, Nashi in Japanese means pear. This particular variety pictured above is called Nijisseki, which has been commercial grown here in Australia since the 1980's.

When compared to traditional European Pears, you'll find that nashi have a crisp flesh yet are juicy and refreshing.

The recipe I'm making is one of those wonderful one bowl delights that I discovered while flicking through the current edition of Dish Magazine. The original is for a lovely vanilla scented, walnut and pear combination but to be different, I've opted for cinnamon and almond to complement the Nashi.


almond and nashi cakes© by Haalo


Almond and Nashi Cakes
[Makes 4-6, depending on size]

100 grams Almond Meal
50 grams Plain Flour
50 grams Caster Sugar
40 grams Soft Brown Sugar
100 grams melted butter, cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Nashi, cored, peeled and quartered, then sliced


Place the almond meal, plain flour, caster sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and eggs into the bowl of a mixer and beat for about 10 seconds before drizzling in the cooled, melted butter. Continue beating until a smooth batter forms.

Line your muffin tin with cases - depending on the size you'll get between 4 and 6 cakes. Pour the batter evenly into the cases - no more than 3/4's full.

Take the slices of nashi and press them vertically into the batter. Don't force them in too far as the batter will rise and swap them.

almond and nashi cakes© by Haalo

Place in a preheated 170°C/340°F oven and bake until golden and firm - this should take about 20 minutes, but once again this will depend on the cake size.


almond and nashi cakes© by Haalo

Dust with icing sugar if you like but the are just as nice served as is.



A quick reminder that you still have time to take part in Weekend Herb Blogging - just post about any herb, vegetable, fruit or plant and email me at whb AT cookalmostanything DOT com

Entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
but as it's a holiday here on Monday there's a bit of give in the deadline.

Full details on how to take part can be found here.



Monday, June 01, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #186 Hosting


A big thank you to Susan for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging - there's a delightful array on display this week, be sure to savour the recap.

This week I have the great pleasure of hosting Weekend Herb Blogging.

As always entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 7am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
To participate:

Post about any herb, plant, fruit, vegetable or flower - the complete rules can be found here.

Send an email to whb AT cookalmostanything DOT com with WHB#186 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 300px wide


Call for hosts:
There's no better time to get yourself on the hosting schedule.

If you'd like to host then send an email to:
weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail DOT com

and include your blog name/url, preferred email address and photo requirements.

Participants are most welcome to host more than once if desired.
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