Tag Archives: black pepper

Goats Cheese and Onion Tart

I have been watching a television show called The Incredible Spice Men and love their style of cooking with spice. I’ve had a go at their caramelised onion and goats cheese tart with a few exceptions. I was unable to source caraway seeds at my local supermarket so unfortunately had to leave them out. I also didn’t have any balsamic vinegar but used Apple cider vinegar instead and it was more than fine 😄
Get all your ingredients together first. I had some lovely gluten free pastry left over from a madras curry pie from the other night and didn’t want to waste that. The extra lactose free cheese you see here wasn’t used in the end as it had mould in it 😝 I hadn’t noticed before assembling the tart. I was just going to sprinkle it on top for an extra cheesy taste. It certainly wasn’t needed.

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Make your caramelised onion jam first so it can cool down.
I used,
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
85 gm unsalted butter
500gm red onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 heaped tablespoons soft brown sugar
80ml Apple Cider vinegar
I added the oil and butter to the pan till it was foaming then added the onion and a good pinch of salt flakes and ground black pepper and stirred for 5 minutes. Then I added the sugar and the vinegar and mixed in well. I covered the pan and cooked on a medium heat for another 15 minutes. I then uncovered the pan and let the juices evaporate for a further 15-20 minutes till it had reached that lovely jammy consistency.

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Bake your pastry case. This was a lovely gluten free pastry from the wonderful blog GF and Me. Best gluten free pastry I’ve tried yet. Recipe is as follows. It is called Mary’s Magnificent Pastry.
Pastry
2 cups of gluten free flour (I used Bobs Redmill all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 cup/250gm butter , cubed and cold
1/2 cup sour cream
Pulse in a food processor or rub in with fingers the butter and combined flour and xantham gum until dough comes together in pea sized balls. Add sour cream and pulse until dough holds together.
Knead slightly and make into two balls, wrap in cling wrap and chill for an hour or so.
This amount was what I used to make my madras curry pie and I had some left over that I used a couple of days later for this tart. It kept really well in the fridge.
Line your pie tin, preferably one with a removable base for ease of removal. Prick the base with a fork.
Add baking paper and top with pie beads or beans and blind bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius . Remove the beads and bake for another 10 minutes. Now a word of warning here. This pastry is very short and will brown faster than your normal non gluten free pastry. Mine looks well browned but in the final bake with filling I popped foil around the rim of the tart to stop it browning to black! It still tasted lovely but next time I’ll take it out sooner.

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Now we assemble the tart!
For the filling you’ll need,
200 gm of goats cheese, crumbled or sliced
2 large eggs
200ml of pouring cream
The onion jam you’ve made earlier.
Layer your onion mix in the base first. Crumble or layer the goats cheese over the top. Then mix together the eggs and cream and pour over the top.

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I baked the tart for roughly 30 minutes on 160-180 degrees Celsius but I checked it at 20 minutes as well. I thought it turned out rather well, if a little too brown 😄

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The taste was spot on with the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the goats cheese melding together nicely. This would be lovely with a nice watercress or mustard greens salad to go with it. Just nice for a spring lunch.
Bon appetit!
PS apologies for the layout of the pictures. For some reason my iPad puts them out of order to what I choose when I choose multiple photos! I’ll have to work out how to fix that.

Pork Rillettes.

I’ve decided that Mum was right. Christmas IS  about food as much as it is about the Nativity . The baking of it, sharing of it and eating it. I know she is smiling wherever she is in spirit. That was her mission in life, especially at Christmas. Make sure everyone has food and never goes hungry. I’ve been baking up a storm over the last couple of days. Today, for instance, I’ve put 2 smaller Christmas cakes in the oven for my daughters and realised I have to make another one for my brother. Joy! That means I get to bake more cake and we will also have a spare cake for us! 😀 Yesterday, I made something I’ve never made before but must order whenever I go out and see it on the menu. Often seen as part of a Charcuterie plate, Pork Rillettes. I used a recipe by Simon Hopkinson which you can find here;

http://www.simonhopkinson.tv/recipe/33/pork-rillettes.aspx

Here is what I did and how I baked it with lots of pictures to help you out.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. caster sugar

2 bay leaves

6 cloves

About half a nutmeg ( I used about half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg)

1 level tbsp. juniper berries

2 tsp black peppercorns (I used mixed peppercorns)

1.2kg belly pork, bones and rind removed, but both reserved

500g fresh pork back fat

4-5 sprigs of sage, roughly chopped ( I also added some sprigs of thyme as well)

6 large cloves of garlic, crushed and loosely chopped

200mls dry white wine

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Starting bottom left corner of picture: Bay leaves, cloves, caster sugar, peppercorns, nutmeg, juniper berries, sea salt.

Using a small food processor, grind together the first 7 ingredients to a fine powder.

Cut the belly pork and fat into approximately 2 cm cubes. Add this to a large bowl and sprinkle with the powder. Thoroughly mix together with your hands, turning the meat and fat over and over, then add the bones and rind of the belly (left as large pieces making them easier to remove once cooked) into the mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

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The next day, pre heat the oven to 140c/gas mark 1. Put all the meat, pork fat and bones into a solid based pot and add the wine.

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Add the garlic and sage (and thyme if your using).

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Mix everything together with your hands.

Place the pot over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often: this is only to bring the pot up to heat before it goes into the oven. Put on the lid and slide it into the oven. Cook for 3 hours. Remove from oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.

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Take out the pork skin and bones and thyme sprig left overs and discard. Suspend a colander over a large bowl and tip in the contents of the pot. Allow to drain for about 5 minutes, then decant the liquid fat from the bowl below the colander into a jug, reserving the pork juices and residue left behind.

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Tip the long-cooked pork back into the first bowl that has the residue juices in it and, using a hand mixer on a low setting, briefly blend the small pieces of meat and fat into shreds. Add some of the liquid fat from the jug a little at a time whilst blending with the hand mixer until it forms a creamy texture. The mixture should be floppy and glistening with fat.

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( a small warning here from someone who knows 😉 make sure your bowl is deep, otherwise everything in the vicinity gets flecked with pork rillettes)

Now pack the rillettes mixture into small pots or similarly sized Kilner jars (I used mason, it doesn’t matter). Smooth over the surface and then spoon/pour over at least 1/2 cm of the remaining pork fat to seal each one. Attach the lids and refrigerate to mature for at least a week before eating. You can keep these for up to six months as long as they’re packed into clean pots with no air pockets in the mix.

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I use the gratuitous photobombed image for sizing of jar comparison, thank you Jason 😀

After a week, scrape off the fat to reveal the meat. Eat with either split baguettes or crackers and some nice cornichons or even a nice spicy chutney or fruit relish if having as part of a charcuterie plate.

I had such fun making these and Jason and I cannot wait to have a taste. The smell of the Juniper berries reminded me of the Bombay sapphire gin I so like. For anyone worried about the amount of fat in this dish, your only meant to have a small amount of it at a time and it is a vital part of the dish both for taste and for preservation of the meat. Don’t fret, just enjoy!

Bon apetit!

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup.

We went out for dinner one evening a few weeks back. As soon as we walked through the door, we were hit by the most memory evocing smell. I smelt my Grandmothers kitchen from years ago! Lovely smells of sage and thyme and roasted things 🙂 . What we ended up eating that night to start with was the bringer of that memory. It was a beautiful Chestnut soup that just transported our tastebuds to nirvana. Best tasting soup ever.

The nearest recipe I could find is the one following that is so, so close in flavour.

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup.

First assemble all your ingredients.

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You will need,

30gm butter

1 tablespoon of Olive oil

100gm pancetta, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

500gm mixed mushrooms, sliced (use Shitake, oyster, shimeji,cup etc) We used dried shitake and porcini mushrooms as well.

285gm can Chestnuts, drained (we used chestnut puree, unsweetened!)

1 potato, diced

4 cups of good quality vegetable stock

1 tablespoon Sage chopped

1tablespoon thyme

1/2 cup of cream

In a large saucepan, heat butter and olive oil on high and saute the pancetta, onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until onion is golden.

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Add the mushrooms, chestnuts and potato and cook 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

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Stir in the vegetable stock and herbs. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

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Remove from heat and using a hand/stick blender (or food processor), process until smooth. I also rubbed it through a drum sieve for a velvety texture. Season to taste and reheat if necessary. Serve soup with a swirl of cream.

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We sprinkled ours with black pepper and made gluten free goats cheese toasts to have with it!

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This worked as well!

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Wonderful flavour. Just about the same as the restaurant. Next time, I’ll use the whole tin of pureed chestnuts and less dried mushrooms and see how that goes. It was a lovely satisfying Sunday night dinner with the rain pouring down outside and sitting in front of the fire to eat 😀

My Black Pepper Chilli Crab

My Black Pepper Chilli Crab

I was given this recipe by a lovely Asian lady whilst I was standing in line at the local fishermans market here in Albany, Western Australia one day. She was the cook at the local Thai restaurant (Joop Thai) and was also a qualified lawyer. Go figure! She must enjoy making people happy with food rather than legalese 😀
Recipe is very simple.
For two people I used 3 Blue Manna (swimmer) crabs.
1-2 big red chillis (not usually too hot!)
2-3 cloves of garlic(or to taste)
Lots of cracked black pepper
Chives or coriander/cilantro to taste (optional)
I just cleaned and halved the crabs raw(they’d been euthanized humanely already), cracking the claws. I then heated some Rice bran oil in a wok, chucked in the garlic and chilli and loads of ground black pepper and cooked for roughly 15-30 seconds and then added the crab in one go (make sure your wok is big enough!) and stir fried till crab was red and cooked. Sprinkle with chives and/or coriander/cilantro and eat! Best I’ve ever had and so quick to make. Don’t forget the finger bowls or serviettes!
Enjoy 😀