Updates Pending…

I actually have plenty to blog about. I have a few posts to put up when I actually stop feeling lazy and get to writing up the words to accompany the pictures. So here’s a sneak preview…

Rolled sugar cookies & steamed fruit cake for Christmas

Macarons

Semolina pasta

Rabbit Ragu on penne

Yellow Nectarine Shortbread

All in due time! I promise!


A Mash-y A-Fare

I type this as I’m splayed out on the couch completely paralysed from overindulging in food and guzzling my wine. In my current state, I’d probably give Homer Simpson a run for his money although I’ve just indulged in some seafood pasta (made from scratch), macarons and some sweet Lexia wine; not pizza, donuts and beer. Ahh, to be young and free.

Bangers & Mash

Bangers & Mash

I made this for dinner last week when the weather was chilly and it didn’t feel entirely wrong to indulge in something so heavy and sinful. Another recipe nicked off the Gourmet Traveller Cookbook; oner of my favourite cookbooks this year. Seriously, it’s an endless source of recipes!

Onion-braised Sausages with Paris Mash
Serves 2
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller Cookbook

Paris Mash
300gm potatoes, preferably Pontiac, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
70ml pouring cream
40ml milk
55g butter, coarsely chopped

1. Combine potato and plenty of cold salted water in a lage saucepan, cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Uncover, cook until tender for 10-15 minutes. Drain well, return to hot pan and mash well (I recommend the OXO Good Grips masher).

2. Meanwhile, bring cream, milk and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, Gradually add to potato, mixing until smooth. Season to taste and keep warm.

Onion-braised Sausages
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 pork sausages (mine were from the Polish deli… a little too salty for my liking tbh)
3 thyme sprigs
100ml red wine
125ml chicken stock
Boiled peas, to serve

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to caramelise, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a separate frying pan over high heat, add sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until browned; 3-4 minutes. Transfer to onion pan. Deglaze sausage pan with wine, then add stock.

3. Add to onion pan with thyme and cook, turning sausages occasionally, until cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Serve onion-brased sausages hot with Paris mash and boiled peas.

Dinner for two

Needless to say, we were very satisfied and stuffed that night. And Paris mash? Best type of mash there is. Of course, I’m still dying to try the famous Joel Robuchon mash to challenge this statement!

I do love a good bangers and mash. This was particularly good as I rooted around our alcohol loot and discovered a forgotten bottle of Montalto pinot. Not really being a red wine drinker, all red wine is only used for cooking in my household; as horrifying as that may sound to wine aficionados. Oh well, at least this one came to some good use, right? Fret not, the more treasured wine bottles (gifted by more worthy people) are safely ensconced in my little alcohol nook and will not be relegated to the dishonour of being used as a base for my onion braise.


Sumac-down

As the days heat up and the sun stays out for longer, I find myself craving lighter food. Gone are the cravings for stews and soups and I am suddenly bludgeoned by my desire for seafood, salads and anything citrusy. I still wouldn’t say no to pork but I have been having less and less of that these days.

Actually, I’ve been eating lots of greasy pizzas and junk food because I’ve been lazy and I’ve been out a lot. I actually attended Stereosonic this year and rocked out with my c**k out, so to speak! So on Saturday I think I had a chocolate croissant (so good!), half a gourmet sausage, a Nando’s burger with oversalted fries and had dinner at 11 p.m. of… pizza. Healthy as ever! I’m convinced that with the amount of sweat I produced that day and the amount of energy I burned just by standing in the sun all day, those calories don’t count. Cough.

Thankfully, I did hit up the market on Friday (officially my favourite day to go marketing) and I went a little bit berserk. I forgot how awesome summer produce is. So many types of fruits! Vegetables! All the vibrant colours and lush greens! I was picking fruits up and sniffing them! I was grinning at all the vendors! I bought so many things, I blew my budget hard out of the water that now I don’t even want to look at my bank balance. Summer is a cook’s dream. Amazing produce that I used to fantasize about.

To satisfy my craving for fish, I made this awesome dish and it introduced me to two amazing ingredients that I had yet to touch: sumac and quinoa. Verdict on both of those: Lovelovelove!

Sumac-Spiced Barramundi

Sumac-Spiced Barramundi on Avocado Puree with Quinoa Salad

I nabbed this particular recipe off the latest issue of Delicious, their 100th issue. It’s a really good one so buy it if you haven’t yet.

Sumac-Spiced Barramundi with Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Delicious December 2010/January 2011 issue
Serves 2

Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, cut into matchsticks
60g pitted green olives, sliced
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Seeds of 1/2 a pomegranate

1. Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions – mine said cook with 200ml of water but I ended up needing a little more than that. Drain and cool completely.

2. Whisk together lemon juice and oil, then season, Toss cooled quinoa in a bowl with dressing and remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Sumac-Spiced Barramundi and Avocado Puree
1/2 avocado, chopped
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp sumac
2x180g barramundi fillets, skin on but deboned
2 Tbsp olive oil
15g unsalted butter

1. Place avocado, emon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, tahini, cumin and 1 tsp sumac in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Set aside.

2. Season barraundi with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with remaining sumac. Heat olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Cook fish, skin side down, for 2 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Carefully turn the fish, then add the butter. Cook the fish, basting with melted butter for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked through.

3. Serve by spreading a dollop of avocado puree on a plate, then topping with barramundi fillet and the quinoa salad.

One of my favourite parts of the dish was the quinoa salad. I love pomegranates in salads but this was just awesome. The balance of flavours was impressive and I made more than enough salad for four but between two of us, we ate it all.

I still have leftover avocado puree which I am uncertain what to do with but I wouldn’t mind making an encore performance of this dish at all!

Sumac can’t be found in supermarkets so hit up a deli if you want some. I highly recommend it too because it tastes just like the visible flavours on Arnott’s Shapes! Mmm, sumac!