Monday, August 29, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Roast/BBQed vegetable, pesto & goats cheese salad

Roasted or barbequed seasonal vegetables are delicious and appear in a number of my Meatless Monday dishes.   I normally roast or barbeque much more than I need so that I can throw them in salads through the week to ramp up the flavour factor (for I am the unofficial salad queen).

Tonight we're having barbequed veggie, pesto & goats cheese salad.  Frankly, I couldn't be bothered listing quantities here (it is Monday, after all), so just use your judgment for how many people you'll be cooking for and whether you want leftovers. I assure you all will be good!


Big salad bowl of washed and cut seasonal vegetables: my faves include corn on the cob, zucchini, red capsicum, fennel, kumera, beetroot.  Get creative!
1/2 to 1 whole jar of good quality pesto, although I prefer to make it myself (whole bunch of basil, 2 cloves garlic, 125g parmesan cheese, good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, blended)
100g goats cheese
Few handfuls of wild baby rocket and grated raw vegetables (or rainbow salad mix: julienned carrots, beetroot & broccoli stalks)
2 handfuls roasted pine nuts


Roast or barbeque the veggies and let them cool.  Stir pesto in with the roasted veggies. Assemble with rocket, rainbow salad, crumbled goats cheese & top with roasted pine nuts. Voile!  Excuse the photo below: my food stylist was on holidays ;-)

Serves 4.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, caperberries & rocket

Want a quick pasta recipe that takes about 15 minutes to prepare and cook?  Well you've come to the right place.  And if you're anti-anchovy, I beg you to give these little guys another go in your pasta dishes.  Most of the time you can't taste them and they add a body and depth to tomato sauces that you can't get just by using salt.  If you're not sure, just use one anchovy and see how you go.  I tend to lean heavily on the anchovy side of things, so adjust as necessary.

Serves 2

250g spaghetti
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
2 cups wild rocket
2 anchovies, chopped
2 tablespoons caperberries, halved
zest of 1 lemon (alter to taste but I lerrrrve lemon zest)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Boil pasta according to the instructions on the packet.  While it is boiling, sautee anchovies, garlic and caperberries using some of the oil from the anchovy jar.

Drain pasta when cooked.  Mix through sauteed ingredients and rocket. Top with lemon zest and parmesan cheese.  If you wish you could also add olives.  Dead easy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe: Osso Bucco

This recipe is such a comfort-food classic and its richness just can't be beaten on a cold winter's night.  As I was searching online for the right recipe to cook, this one really jumped out due to its inclusion of a garlic, anchovy & parsley puree at the end.  And let me tell you, it absolutely makes the dish. So thank you to SBS food for its inspired Osso Bucco recipe.
4 x 350-400g, centre bone cut pieces of veal osso buco
100mL extra virgin olive oil  
2 medium to large onions, finely diced  
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced 
2 anchovy fillets  
1 cup dry white wine 
1kg fresh tomato, crushed with skins and seeds removed (you can use tins of tomatoes)
1 cup veal stock (or just use beef if you can't find veal)
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme 
2 large sprigs of fresh sage 
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary  
1 fresh bay leaf  (I used dried)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper  

 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped good quality anchovy 

Preheat oven to 170°C.  Season the veal with the sea salt and pepper. Heat half the olive oil in a large pot and brown the veal osso buco pieces evenly on all sides. The veal should be well coloured but be careful not to burn the meat. This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the browned veal shanks from the pot and set aside. Add remaining olive oil to the same pot and then add the onion, garlic, anchovy and herbs and sauté slowly for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Turn up the heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced before adding the tomato and stock.
Bring to the boil before lowering heat slightly and placing the veal pieces back into the pot. Slowly bring to the boil again before allowing to simmer slowly. Check for seasoning and adjust, and add a little sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic.  
And this was the tricky part of the recipe: it didn't actually say when to put the pot in the oven, but I guessed at around 15 minutes after simmering the veal on the stove, but who knows..... Cooking time in the oven will vary depending on the thickness of the cut of veal but will take somewhere between 2.5 and 4 hours.
The veal should just start to separate from the bone when you move them from the oven. Do not remove until meat is falling off the bone, otherwise it will taste like dog meat - and you don't want that!

To make the purée, combine the garlic, anchovy and parsley.
  Easy peasy.
After you have removed the veal from the sauce, stir in the puree.  Serve veal pieces with mashed potato, parmesan polenta or something similar to soak up the sauce. And don't forget some green veggies too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Roast vegetable & Persian fetta frittatas

I especially enjoy the challenge of Meatless Monday and although I often feel I don't have time searching for inspiration, there are plenty of recipes around of the meat-free variety that it's really not that hard to do.  I'm constantly amazed by all the new recipes I'm pulling out of my hat and how much my partner enjoys them.  So much so I need to revisit them often. This is one of the ones he asks for again and again.  Which is awesome because it's dead easy and impressive.

My version was adapted from a recipe in a Grazia Magazine, which is even better because I can now indulge my passion of reading trashy mags ;-)


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic, skin on
Half a kumera or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
15g butter
6 large eggs
1 capsicum, roasted and skin removed
2 zucchini
60g Persian Fetta (or more if you wish)
100ml single cream
Fresh dill for garnish
Baking paper


Heat oven to 200 degrees C and spray muffin tins with olive oil.  Pop red capsicum, kumera pieces and garlic clove on baking paper on tray. Spray with olive oil, season with salt and bake until cooked, around 1 hour.  While the veggies are baking, peel zucchini into ribbons with a potato peeler.

Remove roasting veggies from oven and place capsicum in a plastic bag with some air and seal it, so that the steam helps to lift the skin from the capsicum.  Once capsicum has cooled, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the skin, this should fall off quite easily.

Squeeze the garlic from the clove, it should be like a paste and add one egg to it and mix it up.  Add the rest of the eggs, cream and dill together, whisk together and season well.   Cut baking paper into squares that will fit into your muffin pan but leave enough for the paper to stick out.  Insert paper, one at a time, followed by some roasted veggies.

Add the egg mixture and top with a couple of scoops of Persian fetta and a sprig of dill.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden. Leave to stand a few minutes before removing from tray.

You can do what I did and substitute vegetables in season, like zucchini flowers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant or potato and play around with herbs like basil, thyme or oregano.  Trust me, most variations are delicious. Happy Meatless Monday!!