Sunday, 30 November 2014

Grilled Fig Salad with Vintage Cheddar, Red Wine Vinegar and Black Pepper

Grilled fig salad with vintage cheddar, black pepper and red wine vinegar

 There is fruit galore this time of year, and its hard to walk out of the fruit mart without an overflowing basket, so therefore fruit finds its way into many of the main meals of the day.  I find figs a little sweet so pairing with salty cheese, sharp vinegar and the heat of black pepper works perfectly.



4 figs quartered
3 cups of mixed salad leaves
40g cheddar
1 tbl EVOO
2 tbl red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper 

What to do:
Put olive oil, vinegar, large pinch of salt and ground pepper in a jar and shake till combined. 
Mix half the dressing over the figs and then place the figs under a hot grill for 10 minutes or until they go slightly brown at the edges. 
Mix the salad leaves with the remainder of the dressing and spread over a large plate.  Top leaves with figs, then the crumbled cheese and extra pepper.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Tumeric Pork Rice Paper Rolls

Tumeric rice paper rolls  

As summertime gets closer and closer it's time to cook up quick and refreshing meals.  Away with the stews and soup and in with the rice paper rolls and salads.  These are really quick to make and are still full of flavour and goodness.

600g pork mince
2 tsp ghee (or a high smoke point oil)
1 tbl fennel seeds- ground in mortar and pestle
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbl tumeric
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp corn flour

1/4 lemon
Iceberg lettuce
Spring onion

Dried rice paper (approx 8)

What to do
Heat the ghee in a frypan and when very hot add the pork.  Make sure the pork get nice and brown with lots of carmalised bits (therefore don't overcrowd!). 
Add the spices and fry for a minute more. 
Add the chicken stock and wait until its 3/4 evaporated.  Make a slurry with the cornflour and a little water - and add it to the pork.  Squeeze in the lemon.  Check whether you need any salt  (I didn't as there was enough in my chicken stock). The pork is now done.  

Wet the rice paper and add shredded lettuce, coriander, and sliced spring onions.  Top with the pork - which can either by hot or cold. 

Roll up! Done! easy :) 

16Nov-11 16Nov-12

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pork Belly Steamed Buns with Chilli Salted Cabbage

Pork Belly Steamed Buns  

Every since I tried the pork belly steamed buns on a sunny afternoon from the food truck Tsuru at Batch brewery, they have been held high on the "must eat again" list. So I figured I needed to master the recipe so they can be at my disposal anytime! After speaking with my mum, who of course had already defeated the task, she informed me "that it's really not hard", I figured I would give it a go.  I've combined, amended and completely changed recipes, because of course what would Momofuku know about steamed buns.  These will now be on high rotation in this household - sorry scales. 

Pork Belly
Approx 1kg slab of pork belly
1 cup of soy sauce
1/2 shaoxing wine
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp 5 spice powder 
2cm cube of ginger - sliced thinly

Score the skin of the pork belly horizontally into 1cms strips.  Rub with a little oil and run liberally with salt.
Shake together all other ingredients. 
Place pork belly in a snugly fitting dish and tip the marinade around the pork belly till it comes up to but does not cover the skin. 

Place uncovered in the fridge overnight. This will slightly dry out the skin.

Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature while you heat the oven to 220c.  Put in over for 20 mins then reduce to 150c and cook for another 2 1/2 hours.  Keep an eye on the liquid level and top up with water if it falls below the skin, otherwise the pork will dry out. 

Remove from the oven and carve into slices along the scored skin.

1/4 head of white cabbage (Chinese cabbage would also be good) 
1 tbl salt 
1 tbl of chilli paste (vary with the heat of the paste)
1 tbl mirin
1 tbl rice wine vinegar

Finely slice the cabbage, place in a colander and cover liberally with salt.  Leave for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water to remove the salt and squeeze the cabbage to remove any liquid. Mix cabbage with all other ingredients. 
Chilli salted cabbage Chilli salted cabbage

2 cups plain white flour 
1 7g sachet of dried  yeast or equivalent
3/4 warm water 
2 tbl skim milk powder 
1 tsp bi carb 
Pinch of sugar 

Place yeast with 1/4 warm cup of warm water and a pinch of sugar until it starts to bubble.  Mix together dry ingredients and slowly add the yeast and extra water until all the flour has combined. Kneed for 5 mins then place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, roll the dough into a log and cut into balls a little smaller than a golf ball.   Flatten each ball of dough and lightly roll into an oval shape. Folded the dough in half and place on a small square of baking paper leave to rise for another 30 minutes. 

Place a bamboo steamer over boiling water and steam the buns for 3 minutes.  
Steamed buns

Once the buns are cooked, slice across the fold and fill with a piece of pork belly and some of the chilli cabbage. YUMMMM

Pork belly Pork belly steamed buns

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Smoked Lamb Tacos


First post in a long time!
So for this recipe - what to do?! We have recently received the best of hand-me-downs. A weber. I've been wanting to buy the charcoal-flavour inducing oven for a long time and when my friends said they didn't want theirs - I said "if I must, I'll take your weber off your hands".

The flavour from cooking on charcoal just can't be replicated from a gas barbeque. And webers are also great for smoking.  So seeing its spring, I decided to make the inaugural event a lamb shoulder.  I've also been wanting to make some corn tortillas, instead of wheat ones. Voila - Smoked Lamb Tacos!  

Making the tortillas from cornmeal was completely different than from flour.  It is extremely crumbly and I found the best way to roll them out was to flour the board with extra cornmeal and roll out without moving the tortilla.  Then using a sharp knife, scrape under the tortilla to remove it from the board.  It took me a few goes to get it right, but I was really happy with the result at the end and they are much more flavoursome than their wheat counterparts. 

I see now why people use a tortilla press!

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Smoked Lamb & Avocado Feta Salsa Tacos


2 cups ground yellow cornmeal
2 cups water
pinch of salt

Lamb shoulder
Sprigs of rosemary
1 tbl dried mint
Olive oil

1 cup of woodchips - I used a mix of hickory and applewood

Avocado Feta Salsa
1 avocado
50g crumbled feta
2 tsp chilli sauce
1/2 lemon
Large handful of coriander


Light the weber and set up for indirect cooking. 
Soak woodchips in water (I actually used beer!).
Prepare the lamb by making incisions in the flesh and pushing down the rosemary and mint into the cuts.
Grind over salt and pepper and rub all over with olive oil.

Make sure the lamb is at room temperature before adding to the weber.
Place the lamb on a rack in the weber and make sure there is a tray under the lamb to catch any fat that renders from the lamb.  Add a cup of water or beer to the tray.
Cook on the covered weber for an hour.   
Add the wood chips to the charcoal and continue to cook for another 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Diced avocado into small cubes. Mix together with the crumbled feta, chilli sauce, coriander and lemon juice.


Mix all the ingredients together until a sticky dough is formed.
Grab a golf ball size of dough and roll out on a floured board.
Remove from the board by using a knife scrap underneath the tortilla.  Cook for a few minutes each side in a dry frying pan.

Pull all the lamb off the bone and add a handful to a tortilla, top with salsa and extra chilli sauce.

A spring sunny Sunday roast.
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