Friday, November 26, 2010

Salad with beetroot and walnuts

This salad is a variation on Zoe's amazing goat's cheese and roast fennel salad.. I didn't have fennel, and instead of fresh goat's cheese I used Dodoni feta.

I love the mixture of nuts, beetroot and cheese, so this is just another addition to the "let's use beetroot in as many ways as possible while they're in season" list :D

Once it gets colder, a simple green salad just doesn't quite cut it, and i like my salads to have substance :)  this is a great example of this!  The flavours of Autumn in the mediterranean simply jump out of this salad :)

This salad doesn't have a dressing in the conventional way of thinking of a dressing.  You dress the beets and along with some of the juices that are released from the slightly charred yet juicy onions, you actually don't need a vinaigrette! 

raw walnuts, roasted beets, fresh tender leaves and tangy goat's cheese.  nom!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Minestrina - or "leftover cauliflower soup"

This soup came out of the necessity of not being able to waste one little edible thing.
This is made out of leftover stock from cooking cauliflower (or in my case, romanesco broccoli) and can also be made using a mixture, or even just broccoli.

The method is to not throw away any water you might have used to boil or steam the veggies, but keep them in the pot and simply remove the veggies using a slotted spoon.  Any leftover cauliflower can be thrown back in to the stock later :)

This soup is incredibly delicious, and definitely one of our family favourites.  Its simplicity makes it ideal for a quick "after work" dinner the day after you've made your average "meat and veggies" meal.  This dish was also often used by the family to be the "starter" soup, preceding a simple meals of steamed/boiled veggies and possibly a small piece of meat, or maybe even just some tuna (out of a tin) or a hard boiled egg.

Minestrina is something my nanna made (although she used cauliflower only, never anything else), and I presume her mum made before her. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Romanesco Broccoli: the best looking vegetable of them all

I love this vegetable.  This is the first time i've found it in Malta, and definitely not something you see in the shops everyday, although i honestly have no idea why because to me,  the flavour is of a superior cauliflower, and its looks... OMG!  :D

The delicious, fractally goodness that is this vegetable made me almost upset when chopping it up.  The whole of it is one beautiful fractal  starting from the tiny little budlets, that form into larger buds, that form into the vegetable itself.  The way the little florets are placed on the stalk are in a fractal pattern also.  Just found out this pattern is called a Logarithmic Spiral.

The colouring of it is great.  The photo doesn't do it justice - the green is much more intense - lighter and more buttery in colour than a broccoli though. 

Couldn't stop staring at it.  simply beautiful!

"Cheat" cheesy quiches

I call them cheaty cos i'm using ready rolled puff pastry.. but essentially quiche are very easy to make :D And soo so tasty.  You can make a variety of fillings, but the favourite one of the tea party was spinach and feta:

the tea party - post 3 - Scones

An essential at any tea party - the humble scone!  I love them so much, their buttery goodness, such a perfect vessel for piles of delicious jams and preserves, and clotted cream!

I have a very strong memory of mum whipping these up in literally 30 minutes, from the time she takes the flour of the cupboard, to the presentation of a basket full of warm steaming scones.  When she had loads of guests, she'd put me on "rubbing butter into flour" duty.. probably to shut me up while she does other party organising..

These are so simple to make, but the important thing is to have everything at hand, and as cold as possible, especially the butter and milk.

This recipe is taken from the 1981 edition of the Hamlyn all colour cookbook, which was all in imperial measurements, so i've converted them to metric.  Most of the recipes are horribly angliscised, i honestly am scandalised by the majority of savoury dishes in this book, but all the sweets I've tried are great, and the scone and rockcake recipes are really great :)

with some delicious fortnum and mason blueberry conserve and whipped cream.  my favit!

baked potato gnocchi with mixed mushrooms

Jamie and I went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago, and rented a little apartment to stay in.  Great idea, as we could use ingredients we don't find so often in cooking :D

Headed off to the stoopermarket and found a variety of mushrooms, so thought we'd make something with them.  I really felt like potato something, and gnocchi sprung to mind <3

And so was the birth of the baked gnocchi mushroom dish :)
The finished product. melty, golden mushroomy potato goodness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lala's lasagne

This recipe is pretty much my mum's recipe.. although we always manage to make it taste completely different.  To be honest mine tastes different every time. but i must say, I do like my own (and my family's) lasagne.  There are a few other people's lasagne dishes I've enjoyed, I can literally count them on 1 hand (my Uncle Kiki's, and my Aunt Isabel's, and my best friend's mum Pat).  I'm sure there are plenty of delicious lasagnas out there but i haven't had the pleasure, and frankly, I don't even really want to try cos there's not much I abhor tasting more than a bad lasagne. 

anyway here goes:

the tea party - post 2 - Gill's Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

This cake recipe was given to my mum from Gill, an australian friend and ex colleague of hers.  When we were leaving australia in 1995, Gill made an incredible little book, full of delicious hand-me-down recipes, things she'd discovered, and little tidbits of australian memorabilia, including photos, and pressed eucalypt leaves.  It is a lovely book, full of love and written with true friendship in mind:)

Gills carrot cake recipe is delicious :D

As you can see, i don't always follow the "loaf" tin suggestion.  i've used round, i've made a giant double one, i've even made em as a sort of cupcake/muffin style and it's always pretty much worked out.  this is an almost failsafe cake recipe! :D

the tea party - post 1 - The lemon cupcake

My birthday is coming up, and to celebrate had a tea party at Sarah's house yesterday!

I was sick on Friday, so spent the day indoors, and the evening baking away :)

The menu (at least the part that i made) was:

Lemon cupcakes
Carrot cake
Mini Quiches

Sandwiches were lovingly made by becky, mc and alison :)  and deliciousness they were too!! :)

Ok so when looking for a lemon cupcake recipe, my demands were simple.  They must be LEMONY.  by lemony i mean lots of fresh lemon flavour bursting out of each cupcake.  2nd demand was nothing too complicated.  Apart from that, thanks to my mother's trusty Kenwood it was all good :)  Oh and they had to look like they would be soft and delicate :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni

Canneloni is a baked pasta dish that i love doing, now that i've found how easy it is piping the filling into the pasta tubes, rather than trying to spoon it in :P  Love my practical mate and old housemate Becky, who walked past the kitchen once when I was making them and just said "why don't you use a bag to pipe it in?".... :D

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've just realised that i've failed to post so many recipes recently! None at all in October!  terrible! Been hugely busy at my day job, but have some tasty "getting colder" weather dishes to post.

Just finished making spinach and ricotta canneloni, made lasagna a couple of weeks ago, and an awesome baked gnocchi dish with mixed mushies! :D

Also have been away, went to greece and amsterdam this month... so not much time for cooking :S

Pumpkins, beetroots, spinach and the entire brassica family will also be featuring in dishes this month :D 

Recipes to follow from tomorrow :D