Wednesday, April 30, 2008

soup season

its winter here and i am so pleased, as it means soup season! 

i have re-discovered adzuki beans. they are usually used in cakes and sweets as a red bean paste in asian cooking but they are also great in savoury dishes.... especially for vegos as they contain 25% protein.
my naturopath has put me on a high protien diet - i have sadly said good bye to my high in refined carbohydrates diet. oh how i miss my weekly pasta night and pizza has now become a guilty pleasure.
i used to be proud about eating carbs as every mo fo is on a protien diet -the NW / jennifer aniston loose a million kilos, carbs are evil blah blah blah. 
but i am not on that type of diet.....oooh no! it's to make me big and strong not a nicole ritchie lollypop head!

shannon gave me a wonderful cookbook for my birthday wholefood for the family by jude blereu. she has some amazing recipes, especially soups!

i roasted the garlic with the pumpkin instead of adding it to the pan along with the onion. i used approx 4-5 cloves as roasting the garlic takes away its pungent flavour and gives it a creamy taste. it takes about half of the pumpkin's roasting time. their skins will be brown and crispy and inside will be soft. remove the skin and husk and mash to a paste. add it to the soup with the pumpkin.
otherwise use 3 cloves to saute in pan.

spiced pumpkin and adzuki bean soup

220gms adzuki beans, soaked over night in plenty of water
1.3 kg pumpkin, butternut squash, kent or jap
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion
4-5 garlic gloves, whole with skins left on
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoonn ground coriander
a handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1.75 litres vegetable stock
2 teaspoon of tamari or light soy sauce
natural yogurt to serve [optional]

pre heat oven to 200 deg C
for butternut pumpkin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
for the kent and jap fans cut into very large sections and remove seeds.
rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil
place on a baking tray and bake for 40-60 minutes or until soft.
remove from oven and set aside
or start the soup when your pumpkin is just about cooked.

put remaining olive oil into a large saucepan [24 cm] 
add onion [ 3 cloves of chopped garlic -if you have not roasted] and ginger and saute over a low heat for approximately 5 minutes till onion is soft and lightly coloured.
add the nutmeg and ground spices plus half of the coriander, stir through for 1 minute.

scoop the flesh from the pumpkin plus the roasted garlic paste and add to the pan
add to the pot the drained beans
pour in stock, partly cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.

check that the beans are tender by squishing one onto a bread board. the bean should easily smoosh.
if cooked you can blend the soup. if it is too thin cook over medium heat at a high simmer until you have your desired consistency. 
check for taste and add the tamari or soy if needed.

spoon into warmed bowls, top with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.


sorry pics will be added soon..i forgot and ate the soup !!

Friday, April 25, 2008

caramel craving

i must apologise for the no show in march.. my excuse..too many parties.
birthday parties that is. So i have decided to post adam's absolute favourite dessert -which i made for his birthday of course! Again it is based on stephanie alexander's
a cooks companion recipe.. this is the second time i have made this ..and it is pretty fool proof.

not only did i double the quantity which allowed me to have three servings of it...yum!!! i also doubled the infusion of both syrup and custard. i remember eating the seville orange creme caramel at neil perry's rockpool and their orangey caramel sauce was soooo good i wanted to lick the plate..actually i think i did!?

orange infused creme caramel

serves 4

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons castor sugar
350ml milk
zest of 1/2 orange

1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup water
zest of 1/2 orange

500 ml ramekin / souffle dish

warm milk in a small saucepan and add zest 1hr prior.

pre heat oven 160 deg.

to make the caramel sauce dissolve sugar in water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
bring to boil DO NOT STIR brush sides of pan with a wet pastry brush too avoid crystals forming on the sides of pan.
add the zest and increase heat, boiling till till you have a deep golden carmel.

remove from heat and allow to rest till all bubbles have gone then pour into dish and CAREFULLY as the caramel is extremely hot! turn dish to coat sides evenly.

lightly whisk eggs, yolks and sugar together -no need for an electric mixer here.
then pour in milk.
strain [or if you're like me and couldn't be bothered -don't!] into caramel lined dish.

place into a large baking dish and pour in hot water to come halfway up sides.

bake for 45mins or until just set. remove from baking dish and place in the fridge overnight.

to serve, place a large plate over dish and invert... the caramel will pour over and down the sides of the custard and you'll not want to share any of it!

i wish it was still in the fridge!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In the cal-zone

After a busy months end (hmmmm too many holidays), I am cheating a little here and using some of an old post for ingredients and method. You may remember the very first entry for pizza,
and that the amount of dough is quite substantial. Well the great news is the dough freezes well and can be used for other tasty treats such as this calzone. You can also use some of the sauce in the filling too. Love a meal with pre-prepared yet homemade ingredients......

See method for pizza entry

This is the fun and creative part! This can be totally up to your taste, or even what you may have in the house! Here are just two of the standard combos we use in our place/

Veg- Mix spinach, fetta, parmesan, mushrooms, black olives and a splash of tommy sauce also on pizza page

Meaty- Any ham, prosciutto, (ground or thinly sliced)lamb or beef, mixed with spinach, cheeses, mushrooms, olives and of course the splash of tommy sauce

Putting it all together

* So you roll out your dough on a large floured surface.
* Then get a small(ish) dinner plate and cut out as many dough circles as you need.
* Once the rounds are made, you spoon about two tablespoons of the filling mixture into the middle of each round.
* Fold the rounds in half and pinch and fold round edges together.
* Brush top with egg or even just a little olive oil

* Place onto baking tray and put in 180- 200 degree oven for about 15-20 mins until each calzone in a lovely golden colour.
* When you take them out drizzle with a bit of yum e.v.o.o especially in the crease, and enjoy as a snack on its own or with a crispy rocket based salad for a main meal.