Thursday, July 14, 2011

For Ingrid: Soup full of Goodness

So it's taken me a few weeks to put this up for you but as we're just kicking into soup season I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunity to perfect your own version over the next few months!


1/3 cup olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6-10 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 cup white wine (plus one for drinking)
Approx. 1.5 Litres liquid - I used 0.5L homemade chicken stock + 1L water but my stock is quite strong so if using bought stock I'd swap those ratios around.
1 cup orzo
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 large leaves of silverbeet, finely sliced
2 large handfuls fresh chopped herbs (I used flat-leaf parsley, fennel, thyme & oregano)
salt + freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over a low heat, add the carrot, onion and celery, put the lid on the pot and sweat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.  Increase the heat slightly, add the bacon and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, then add the garlic, cooking for just a few minutes before adding the wine.  Turn the heat right up and allow the wine to reduce by half, then add the rest of the liquid.  Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 15 minutes (or until your dinner guests arrive!). 

About 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, add the orzo, and then the beans and silverbeet 5 minutes after that.  Season well, I put quite a lot of salt in as I don't put salt in my stock but, if using bought stock you might not need very much so be sure to taste before dumping lots in.  Just before serving, stir through the herbs.  Top with some shaved Pecorino.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday Night Fish Pie

Sunday night dinner is a time for comfort food.  To console yourself about the weekend being over and work being only a few too-short hours of sleep away.  Soup in winter and a quiet beer with the neighbours in summer.  Fish Pie is the perfect comforting Sunday night fare.

My fish pie is a pretty basic version of this classic dish, with a slight twist of mixing grated courgette into the topping - just to sneak some veg in.  I have used fresh bay leaves to flavour the white sauce and the result is a wonderful delicately flavoured sauce.  Cooking with fresh bay leaves is a revelation if you have only ever used the dried version.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things That Rise: Part One - Focaccia

So, buoyed by my minor Crumpet success I pressed ahead with real BREAD!  I decided to go ahead with a recipe from my trusty Annabel Langbein ‘The Free Range Cook’ book, because a) I've never made an Annabel recipe that didn't work out spectacularly well; b) it's a flat-bread, surely even I can get that right; and c) the food porn is fantastic in this book and I really, really wanted to eat the bread in that picture.

I had faith that Annabel would not let me down, and of course, she didn’t.

FYI - I made this bread.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Passionfruit Curd and Crumpets

After a trickle of one or two passionfruit ripening per day from our vine, they suddenly started coming thick and fast with about a dozen coming off in one day earlier this week.  While we could happily sit on the ground below the vine and eat them as they fall without playing around with this perfection that mother nature has provided us, I wanted to make something with them.  Which provided a bit of a dilemma because I didn't want to use them all up on one ice cream, sorbet or cake.  So I decided on passionfruit curd.  My rationale being that I could then use it in all sorts of ways... however, the most popular use for it so far seems to be eating spoonfuls straight from the jar.