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Cannelloni with spinach and ricotta

One of my favorite pasta dishes, easy to do and always tastes sublime.

cannelloni

I tend to make spinach and ricotta filling and use it for  lasagne with roasted pumpkin, or filled ravioli with browned sage butter ….and occasionally cannelloni with a tomato passatta.

Basically I just combined a large amount of fresh ricotta with wilted English spinach leaves, crushed garlic and Parmesan cheese and then I’m ready to fill whatever pasta sheets that I have handy…. in this case I had some store bought fresh lasagna sheets that I just rolled up with the creamy filling.

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I then liberally added a tomato concasse to the filled pan of cannelloni and scattered a handful of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top, before popping into a hot oven to cook away until golden and bubbling.

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Served with a simple leafy salad, this was an easy and delicious meal shared with friends.

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Indonesian thousand layer spice cake

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In the past I have made this cake as a treat, for my ex-partner and his father …as they are of Dutch origin they grew up with this cake, and as a child he enjoyed savouring this multi layered spice cake by peeling off a layer at a time and savouring each thin spiced section of the cake.

It’s a lovely cake and keeps very well, it’s best to only serve a very small slice as it is quite rich.

It’s well worth all the effort of cooking each layer under the grill, even though it may seem tedious at the time …..Patience is a virtue after all!
1000 layered cake

Thousand-Layer Spice Cake

Spekkoek Lapis Legit

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground mace

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground star anise

3oog unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 large eggs, separated

1 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the grill. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or spring-form pan. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom, ginger and anise. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the flour into the batter with a rubber spatula.

In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until stiff.

Fold into egg yolk mixture, being careful not to overmix. Add combined spices  and stir well.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the spiced batter into the prepared pan, spreading to form a thin layer. Place the pan under the preheated broiler for 2 minutes, or until the layer is firm and very lightly browned. Repeat layering spiced batter in the pan and cooking until all the batter is used. Note that the cake typically has between 12-15 layers)

Let the cake cool on a wire rack then turn out from the pan. Place on a cake plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Thinly slice and serve warm or at room temperature.


Snowy Mountains rainbow trout

Snowy Mts rainbow trout

A simple dinner with fabulous ingredients, from the Marrickville markets. The star of the dish was the very fresh Snowy Mountains Trout and the inspiration for my meal.

All the fish needed was a simple sauté of leeks and fennel with thyme cooked over a low heat until soft and amalgamated, then a dash of cream to add richness, such a perfect match to the moist fish!

Whilst the vegetables were cooking away on the stove top I popped the lovely fresh trout  into a pouch of greaseproof paper with some dill and lemon slices and a knob of butter, I also put some soba noodles into a pot of boiling water.

Only minutes later all the elements are ready and I plate up a delicious dinner of rainbow trout with creamed leek and fennel served with soba noodles.

rainbow trout

I’ll definitely be heading back to visit their stall at the Marrickville Markets and hopefully some day I’d like visit the farm and see their production inperson.

Here’s the link to the provider of the fabulous trout

http://www.freshtrout.com.au

 

Read the rest of this entry

Sri Lankan fish curry

My first attempt at cooking a Sri Lankan curry, and my no means my last….. so simple and flavorsome, why have I not experimented with this cuisine before now!?

The star of this dish was the awesome freshly caught fish that a work colleague gave to me …she competes in  fishing tournaments most week-ends and luckily she and I both share a passion for cooking. Also lucky for me is that her partner fillets the fish and I get to eat the ‘winnings’ …..fresh fish on a  Monday after their expedition, a win-win I say!!

Sri Lankan fish curry

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I’ve been very inspired to cook something with curry leaves after watching many of the Peter Kuruvita cooking programmes on SBS television.

True to Peter’s Sri Lankan heritage, the Sydney chef and co-owner of the Flying Fish restaurant has made Sri Lankan food his “life and being”. He regularly travels back to the country to gather inspiration for his Pyrmont restaurant.

I hope that you enjoy this light and fresh curry which highlights the aromatics of ginger, the spicy crackle of mustard seeds and the unique smoky, citrus character of curry leaves.

4 x 200g fish fillets

100ml extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

1 brown onion, sliced in rounds

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp minced ginger

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into discs

6 large ripe tomatoes, in chunky dice

5 stems curry leaves

1 lemon

Place a large wide-based frypan over high heat. Add half the oil and heat for one minute.

Season the fish with the salt and fry, skin side down, for a minute or two to crisp the skin. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan and heat through.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until the onion starts to soften (about one minute).

Add the potato slices and cook for a few more minutes, stirring until they begin to soften.

Add the chopped tomatoes, stir, season and cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes break down and start to form a sauce.

Add 200 millilitres of water and the curry leaves (still attached to their stems) and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. The potatoes should be just cooked and the sauce will have thickened.

Check and adjust the seasoning. Make sure the sauce is on the drier side as the fish will release water and moisten it.

Add the fish, skin side up and cook for four to six minutes, or until cooked, with the lid on.

Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve with steamed brown rice.

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vegetable gardening on a balcony

I bought some lovely homegrown plants the other day from the Farmers Markets, and I am looking forward to harvesting more seasonal produce from my urban, balcony garden.

It’s amazing just how many plants that you can fit into such a small space, but these seedlings will be very welcome in to my ever increasing potager – Kitchen Garden.

vege gardening

Lettuces,  red sorrel, fennel, English spinach, broccoli, cavolo nero and rainbow chard have now been added to my Kitchen Garden.

Make-ahead option….twice baked cheese soufflé

I love any dish that I can prepare so that I can actually enjoy my dinner guest’s company.

These fabulous soufflés are a perfect entree or luncheon option, they certainly have the wow factor and are so easy to make ahead of time and just heat and serve with various accompniments.

My favourites side dishes for the goat’s cheese soufflé are; grilled figs wrapped with prosciutto and served with balsamic glazed rocket leaves …or the below option of grilled asparagus with parmesan shavings.

souffle

Twice baked goat’s cheese soufflé

450ml milk
2 fresh bay leaves
80g butter
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
100g goat’s cheese
2/3 cup (70g) finely grated parmesan
6 egg yolks
5 eggwhites
1 cup (250ml)  cream

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease eight 200ml-capacity ovenproof ramekins. Combine the milk and bay leaves in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Gradually add hot milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring constantly until well combined. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Add goat’s cheese and 2 tbs of parmesan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Add the egg yolks to the cheese mixture, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Use an electric mixer to whisk eggwhites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Use a metal spoon to add half the eggwhites to the cheese mixture and gently fold until just combined. Add remaining eggwhites and fold to combine.

Spoon mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and roasting pan and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside edge of each mould to loosen souffles, then turn out on to the tray. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill.

Set oven temperature to 200°C.. Place souffles on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Pour cream over and around each souffle and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.Bake in oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

Arrange the souffles and side salad on individual plates and serve.

* recipe modified from Taste.com.au

Cooking with family…poached peaches with rosemary and honey cake

poached peaches with rosemary

I recently had my nephew to stay and on our journey from his home near Bathurst to my residence in Sydney we stopped by at various markets and pick-your-own orchards along the way.

We came away with a large bag of ripe peaches from a small run farm at Bilpin in the Blue Mts, it was wonderful to see that he was just as excited as I was to be picking our own fruit fresh from the farm.

A couple of days later once the fruit had ripened, we made a lovely afternoon treat with the homegrown rosemary from his mother’s garden, honey sourced from a local bee-keeper near my home on the North shore and the delicious peaches.

the benefits of cooking...licking the bowl!

We poached quite a few peaches so had some lovely options for dessert over the next few days, including a simple coconut and vanilla pannacotta which was sublime with the peaches!

coconut pannacotta with vanilla bean and poached peaches