Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

I could never follow a diet or a philosophy of eating if it does not give you the option, to at least every now and then, have a bowl full of pasta.

And I do mean pasta.

I do not mean noodles, in all of their variety – although I am partial to mung bean noodles. I do not mean spiralised vegetables masquerading as pasta; they have their place, but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? They are vegetables, not pasta.

Maybe it’s my metabolism; I can eat a bowl of pasta for dinner and not get hungry again soon after. Maybe it’s the comfort that I seem to associate so strongly to pasta. For me, pasta is my ‘chicken soup’, a bowl full of pasta makes everything better, even for a little while.

Cacio e Pepe

 

This is not a new recipe, but it’s been all over the internet lately, which reminded me of just how yummy, how cheesy and how soothing to the soul this pasta dish is.

I wanted something green to cut through the cheese and provide some crunch and a contrasting lemon flavour, but be a purist if you like, and make this with normal spaghetti and omit the greens. Either way, you will thank yourself for both making and consuming this pasta dish. Unless of course you don’t like pepper…

Come and have a bowlful at this week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons.

 

Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 375g wholegrain spaghetti
  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • sea salt
  • ½ a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (scant) tablespoon ground black pepper (plus a little more to finish)
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino (plus a little more to finish)

Method

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water as per the packet directions until al dente, making sure to save ½ cup of the cooking water.
  2. In the mean time, preheat the oven grill (or broiler or bbq).
  3. Prep the broccolin and asparagus by trimming all woody and stringy parts. Spread them out evenly on a baking paper-covered sheet pan, drizzle with the oil and season with sea salt.
  4. Grill for to 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the heat, squeeze over the lemon juice and keep warm.
  5. While the spaghetti and greens are cooking, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the black pepper. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes, swirling it a few times to allow the pepper to infuse into the butter.
  6. Return the butter to a medium-low heat and add in the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer and then add the spaghetti and the pecorino, using tongs to toss the mixture until the cheese melts into the liquid and coats the spaghetti evenly.
  7. Divide the spaghetti amongst four warmed bowls, top with broccolini and asparagus, sprinkle with extra pecorino and pepper, and serve immediately with a crisp, green salad.

 

 

Mushroom and Seasonal Cauliflower Gratin

I love this current trend that’s going on where we’re making healthy comfort foods. Where we care about the ingredients, the preparation, the nutrition of the meal, but never forgetting about the taste and that special something that can make certain foods just make you feel, well, comforted. And content.

True, lightening up stodgy foods is not necessarily a recent development, but lately, it seems to be happening for the love of cooking, for the love of an ingredient, not because a particular diet is telling us so.

Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

That’s one of the reasons why I so love Rachel Khoo’s recipes. She celebrates each ingredient so exuberantly and you can just tell she has a real passion for creating beautiful new dishes.

There’s a recipe for mushroom and cauliflower gratin in her new book, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook that just screams comfort food; it’s still creamy and luscious, but at the same time herby and full of veggies.

Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

It’s not easy selling a cauliflower dish in my household… But I had found some seasonal purple cauliflower at the market and convinced everyone to give it a go… They may not be cauliflower converts, but I’m pretty sure that they would all willingly eat this gratin again, cauliflower and all!

So that’s why I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #92, this week hosted by all of us, to convert all you cauliflower haters out there.

Mushroom and Seasonal Cauliflower Gratin

  • Servings: serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as a side
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Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients

  • 50g salt
  • 1.25 litres room temperature water
  • 800g fresh shiitake mushrooms or a combination including oyster, shiitake and chestnut mushrooms (brushed clean)
  • 3 brown onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 40g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 400g frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 red chilli (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 80ml crème fraiche
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small cauliflower (purple if you can get it)
  • handful dill sprigs (finely chopped)
  • handful mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • ½ lemon (juiced)
  • 100g mature cheddar (grated)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Place the salt and water in a large deep roasting pan and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the mushrooms to the brine, then place another roasting tray on top so that the mushrooms are fully submerged. Stand for 10 minutes*.
  3. Meanwhile, cut two of the onions into quarters and separate the onion layers into petals. Finely chop the remaining onion and set aside.
  4. Drain the mushrooms well, then pat dry on paper towels. Dry the roasting pan and then return the mushrooms to the pan and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir through the onion petals and roast for another 15 minutes or until the mushrooms and onions are golden.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft. Add the wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the spinach and most of the chilli and stir for 6 to 7 minutes or until the spinach has defrosted and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the crème fraiche, season to taste, then pour into a large baking dish about 27 x 20 cm.
  6. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil over high heat. Remove the outer green leaves of the cauliflower but keep the stalk on the cauliflower. Slice the cauliflower from top to bottom into 5 mm-thick ‘steaks’ – you will be left with a few cauliflower florets that don’t stay intact, but you will use it all. Carefully drop all the cauliflower bits (minus the tiny crumbs) into the boiling water and simmer for 1 minute, then drain into a colander.
  7. Preheat the grill to high.  Reserve a few of the herbs for the garnish, then combine the rest with the lemon juice and stir through the mushrooms. Spread the mushroom mixture over the top of the spinach, then sprinkle over any cauliflower crumbs. Place the blanched cauliflower over the top, then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining chilli and herbs, then serve immediately.

* It’s important not to keep the mushrooms in the brine for longer than 10 minutes as they are like sponges and will absorb too much water if left any longer.

Recipe by Rachel Khoo from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble with a Chewy Oat Topping

There are just too many distractions around me at the moment. Although, I will admit, that it is kind of my own fault…

I’ve just wrapped up a huge project at work and finally got the 84-page monster off to the printer, I’m participating in The Kitchn’s Baking School, I’m still trying to find the optimum layout for my spices in my new pantry, not to mention the boxes that still need to be unpacked, and, unfortunately, I am watching a lot of TV.

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

You see, I had to – yes, had to – sign up for pay TV… How else was I going to watch The Great Australian Bake Off?? But access to the food channel brings along with it a whole host of shows that I have suddenly been suckered into watching.

This has made cooking dinner very difficult and taking twice as long as it should…

I am very grateful that these are the worst of my concerns at the moment.

I will admit that I did enjoy a fun evening prepping fruit for a crumble on the coffee table whilst watching some food show.

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

It that time of year again, that even if you are in a different hemisphere, pumpkin and apple goods are appearing everywhere. Or it could be that they have always been there and I’m just paying more attention to what’s around at the moment.

Whilst at the market hunting for some purple cauliflower, I found some beautiful apple cider-toasted oats, and with strawberries on sale at the next stall, an oat-topped apple and strawberry crumble was a no brainer. It’s seasonal for both my fall-happy friends on the other side of the world and for us here who are experiencing quite a fickle spring.

This worked out quite well seeing as I’m co-hosting Fiesta Friday #90 this week with Angie @The Novice Gardener and Lindy @Love in the Kitchen. Can you believe we’ve had 90 awesome fiestas? Ten to go before what I’m sure will be a huge extravaganza! So join in and share your recipes with us this week and stick around to chat with some lovely people.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

The amount of fruit needed for a crumble all depends on the size of the baking dish you are using. Just keep cutting fruit until the baking dish is three-quarters full, which will allow room for the crumble topping. If you fill it right to the top, bake it with an empty baking sheet underneath to catch any juices that might bubble over. The amount of fruit I used filled a 33cm x 25cm oval baking dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 apples (peeled and chopped into small, even pieces)
  • 1 punnet of strawberries (cleaned, topped and chopped into quarters)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or a bit more depending on taste or the sweetness of your fruit)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • Around 4 grates of a nutmeg seed, or to taste
  • 70g butter (melted)
  • Vanilla ice cream (to serve, optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Toss the chopped apples and strawberries together with the lemon juice and pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and then stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in the melted butter and stir to combine. If the mixture is to dry and not clumping, add a little water to help bring the oats together into a soft clumps.
  4. Top the chopped fruit with oat crumble topping, gently spreading the mixture around as much as possible.
  5. Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until the oat crumble topping is golden brown – it goes from golden to brown very quickly so keep an eye on it in the last few minutes.
  6. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes, 10 minutes is better, before serving, with or without ice cream and a teaspoon of sticky juice from the bottom of the baking dish.

Grilled  Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

I’ve had a bit of a surreal week; it’s been insanely busy at work, but the evenings are dragging a little… there’s still so much to do, so much to put away and organise, still so many boxes to get through from our recent move.

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

Apparently, things don’t magically find a home when you move… you have to wait for other things to happen first, have to wait for things to go up, to be built, to be put in place. And if anything goes wrong, or not to plan, well, the you have to wait even longer.

I’d like for it to all be over and settled now, please. I’d like be able to read a few chapter on the weekend and not feel guilty; I’d like to be able to spend some time on cleaning up this blog without boxes staring at me, judging me; I’d like to be able to bake in the almost warm spring breeze without having to hunt for a kitchen tool.

We’re still so busy, there hasn’t really been time for long and leisurely brunches on the weekends. So when I saw a really fresh bunch of thin asparagus, I knew we were going to have breakfast for dinner, and who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

I’m hoping this week’s Fiesta Friday co-hosts do, so that way we can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, with some drinks thrown in for good measure, with Angie @The Novice Gardener,  Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

  • Servings: serves 2 for breakfast
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Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches thin asparagus (trimmed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 to 4 slices of grain bread (toasted)

Sauce Vierge

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 golden shallot (finely diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
  • 100g cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chervil sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon basil (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat the grill or broiler. Place the trimmed asparagus on an oven tray in a single layer, drizzle with one tablespoon of oil, scatter with lemon rind, season to taste and grill until tender, turning once or twice for about 8 to 10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, for the sauce vierge, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and coriander seeds and stir occasionally until fragrant and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and vinegar, season to taste and keep warm. Just before serving, stir in herbs.
  3. Poach the eggs in just simmering water until cooked to your liking, 3 minutes for soft yolks, drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
  4. Arrange the toast and asparagus on serving plates, top each with a poached egg, spoon the sauce vierge over the top and serve warm

Recipe by Emma Knowles and Alice Storey as found on Gourmet Traveller website.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters and a Tribute to Selma

It seems that every other person has a blog nowadays.

Some start up because they need a creative outlet. Others are looking for notoriety. Still others just want a little piece of space, carved out just for them and their thoughts.

I started my little food blog at a time when they were already a dime a dozen. I had no new idea, not fantastic, paradigm-shifting approach to creating or sharing recipes. I just wanted a little creative outlet and a place to keep track of my efforts, achievements, and which recipes in the mounds and mounds of magazine cutouts, cook books and web links were the ones worth cooking again.

What I never thought I would encounter when I started was a community of like-minded people who were so sweet and nurturing. A group of people that were unbelievably kind and supportive, even to one who mostly just lurked in the shadows and only popped up every now and then to shyly say hi before going into hiding again.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters
Amongst this beautiful community was a lady who I formed a bond with over haloumi, of all things. Selma @Selma’s Table was always there, encouraging all of us with her kind words and sweet nature, and we’re all deeply saddened to hear of her passing. I will miss her wicked sense of humour and her heartfelt advice.

These haloumi fritters are not the ones we first bonded over, but they are the ones I’ve made to honour Selma. A huge thank you (and even bigger hugs) to Angie @Fiesta Friday, Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook, Elaine @Foodbod and Sue @birgerbird for putting together this space for all of us to remember Selma.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters with Avocado Salsa

  • Servings: makes 12 to 16 fritters
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Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters

Ingredients

  • 250g frozen peas
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g cornflour
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 180g haloumi (half finely grated, half cut into 1cm cubes)
  • 3 scallions (finely sliced)
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Vegetable oil (for shallow frying)
  • 1 Avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Boil the peas in salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. Refresh under cold water, then drain again. Roughly mash half of the peas with a fork and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flours and baking powder until combined and smooth. Fold in the peas, haloumi, scallions, lime zest, coriander and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoonfuls of the mixture to the pan, pressing down to flatten slightly, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
  4. Meanwhile, halve, de-pit and roughly chop the avocado flesh. Mix in the chopped fresh coriander, and then add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.
  5. Serve the fritters hot or at room temperature with the avocado and coriander salsa.

Recipe adapted from Delicious magazine.

Paneer Frankie

The trick to street food at home? Make it family style! It’s also fun when there’s some assembly required too… messy, but fun.

A Frankie is essentially the Indian version of a wrap or a Mexican burrito. It was created by Amarjit Tibb, ‘a self-confessed foodie who used to run a salt refinery’. He came across Lebanese pita bread wraps in his travels, altered the type of flatbread, fillings and spices used to suit the Indian palate and opened his first Frankie outlet in Mumbai in 1969.

Nowadays there are many, many different recipes out there for Frankies, stuffed with an assortment of fillings; and what the vegetarian Frankie recipes seem to have in common is paneer.

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I’ve had a list of paneer recipes I’ve been meaning to try out, but it’s taken me a while to finally figure out that the difference between making ricotta from scratch and making paneer from scratch is pressing… but more on this when I actually have time to press it!

So you could say that paneer has been on my mind lately… And then Miss Fromage Homage asked us to pair cheese with fresh herbs for June’s Cheese, Please! challenge. What goes well with paneer? Coriander! So I figured I’d be a little cheeky… did you know that coriander is a herb when its leaves are used and a spice when its seeds are used?

Paneer Frankie

  • Servings: makes 6 frankies
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Frankie Paneer

Ingredients

  • 40g butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 long green chilli (finely chopped)
  • 450g paneer (cut into 2.5 cm cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala spice*
  • 1 lime (zested and juiced)
  • 1 cup coriander leaves (roughly chopped, plus extra to serve)
  • 6 pieces paratha**

To Serve (optional):

  • 1 telegraph cucumber (cut into 12 batons)
  • 2 carrots (cut into 24 batons)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes or until the onion is lightly golden.
  2. Add the paneer and chaat masala and cook, tossing occasionally, for 4 minutes or until the paneer is golden.
  3. Add lime zest, lime juice and the coriander leaves and cook for a further 2 to 3 minute or until combined. Season with salt and pepper, top with extra coriander and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Heat or toast the paratha and serve with the herbed paneer, cucumber and carrot batons and raw red onion slices.

* Chaat masala is a sweet-sour spice from Indian food shops. Substitute equal quantities of garam masala and crushed coriander seeds.

** Paratha is a type of Indian flatbread. It is available from supermarkets in packets or in the frozen section of Indian food shops

Recipe from the SBS Food website.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Have you noticed that there is a negative side to food trends? Where the oh so last year dish that was raved about and declared divine is discarded for the new trend, fad, ingredient or flavour?

I recently overheard someone in a café complaining how smashed avocado is so passé, and yes, they used the word passé. Okay, so you can pretty much get a version of smashed avocado from any café these days, but so what? If it tastes good and you like it, why can’t you order it? Whatever happened to each to their own? Maybe loudly opinionated food snob whingers should become passé…

Smashed Avocados

And just the other day I read an article that argued that sourdough is so overused, and that our obsession with it is a fad that’s going to pass when ‘foodies’ decided it’s time to worship a new type of bread. There was no sense that the author had done any research on sourdough in the midst of the sweeping generalisations, otherwise they may have noticed that sourdough can be traced back to the California gold rush of 1849, if not back even further… 165 years is hardly ‘temporary’…

But how are bloggers different to hoity-toity café goers and reporters who tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating? Isn’t one of the main ‘reasons’ for blogging to get your opinions out there?

Sure.

But as a general rule, food bloggers offer their opinions in quite an unassuming way, and usually by sharing their stories. They very rarely annoyingly parade their opinions about, loudly shoving them in your face and belittling you if you don’t automatically bow down and agree…

So, if there are past food trends that you still eat, even though they seem to have fallen out of favour, then more power to you and your culinary tastes!

Now onto more important things… like smashed avocado… This recipe is the basic starting block. Get the base mix to your liking and you can build the toppings from there, from a simple garnish of fresh herbs, chilli or dukkah, to basil and lemon juice-topped cherry tomatoes, to fried or poached eggs, with or without smoked salmon.

Oh, and in case sourdough just doesn’t do it for you, or you can’t get your hands on some, rye bread is a fantastic substitute for smashed avocado toasties.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Smashed Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe but firm avocados
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 100g Danish fetta
  • 4 slices of sourdough or light rye bread
  • 1 tablespoon of dukkah

Method

  1. Slice and halve the avocados, remove the pits and scoop the avocado flesh out into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, crumble in half of the fetta and mash roughly with a fork until just combined. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bread until golden brown.
  4. When ready, scoop ¼ of the avocado mixture onto each slice of toast. Top with the remaining crumbled fetta and scatter with dukkah. Serve with lemon wedges.

Mushroom, Sage and Chilli Pizza – A Cheat’s Pizza for a Friday Night

Some Fridays, I’m itching to get home from work and cook something a little more extravagant for a weeknight dinner; obviously it’s something I googled during the workday… Other Fridays, I just shrug and order take out, or grab something on my way home from the many cafes and restaurants that I pass.

Growing up, Friday-night takeout with my family was pizza, not fish and chips. So some Fridays, I still crave/want/expect pizza. And it doesn’t matter if it’s pizzeria pizza, homemade pizza, fresh toppings on a store-bought base, pita bread pizza or puff pastry pizza. As long as it can still be labelled as a ‘pizza’ it’s all good. I do draw the line at frozen pizza though…

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But making pizza dough from scratch on a weeknight is a non-starter for me. So if you are looking for a pizza dough recipe, you might like to check this Sweet Potato and Goat’s Cheese Pizza recipe out instead.

This is a versatile topping recipe. You can swap out the sage for thyme, parsley or tarragon, and you can either use more chilli or take it out completely. Best of all, you can mix and match the mushrooms to your heart’s content – I used a mix of Shitake, King Oyster, Oyster, Swiss Brown and Enoki mushrooms.

But the best thing of all about having pizza on a Friday night is sharing it with everyone at Fiesta Friday #19, hosted by Angie over at The Novice Gardener.

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @

Mushroom, Sage and Chilli Pizza

  • Servings: makes 2 pizzas
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Mushroom, Sage and Chilli Pizza

Ingredients

  • 2 pre-prepared pizza bases
  • 1 cup pasta/pizza sauce (divided)
  • 400g mixed mushrooms (roughly chopped, divided)
  • 10 fresh sage leaves (finely sliced, divided)
  • 2 fresh, long red chillies (deseeded, finely sliced, divided)
  • 200g havarti (grated, divided)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Heat two baking trays in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove.
  3. Set one pizza base on each heated baking tray.
  4. Spread half of the pasta/pizza sauce over one of the pizza bases. Top with half of the mushrooms, half of the sage, half of the sliced chillies and half of the grated havarti cheese.
  5. Repeat with the second pizza base and the remaining ingredients.
  6. Bake, swapping the trays halfway through, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the havarti melts and the pizza bases are heated through and crispy.
  7. Slice, serve and munch.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pies

To my knowledge, this month was the first time that I ever had rhubarb.

Is that strange?

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I don’t consider myself a picky eater anymore, but I do admit I am still a cautious eater… if the smell of something make me wrinkle my nose, I’m most likely not going to try it.

So, finicky eating habits and growing up with a Mediterranean mother means that there are still a lot of foods and dishes out there that I haven’t tried yet. And up until a couple of weeks ago, rhubarb was one of them.

I saw the lovely red stalks at the market and grabbed a bunch, knowing that my baking bible would help me out with a recipe or an idea once I was home. My only worry was the taste as I had no idea what to expect.

And it turns out that I love it! Rhubarb is delightfully tart and, as most already know, pairs beautifully with strawberries.

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie2

I may be late to both the rhubarb party and to The Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday #17 party, but at least I arrived with style with these cute little rhubarb and strawberry pies.

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @

 

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pies

  • Servings: makes 4 pies
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Rhubarb Strawberry Pie1

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150g butter (cold, cut into cubes)
  • 1 egg

Rhubarb and Strawberry Filling Ingredients

  • 4 large rhubarb stems (coarsely chopped)
  • 250g fresh strawberries (coarsely chopped)
  • 55g caster sugar + 2 extra teaspoons
  • 2 tablespoons water (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • Butter for greasing
  • 1 egg white (lightly whisked)

Method

  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and butter and process either by hand, in a food processor or with a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly.
  2. Add the egg and mix until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  3. Shape the dough into a disc, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is in the fridge, begin making the filling. Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and half the water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 3 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the corn flour and the remaining tablespoon of water and stir to mix into a smooth paste. Add it to the rhubarb and strawberry mixture and stir gently until the mixture begins to boil and thicken.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, gently stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove form the heat and set aside to cool.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it warm slightly.
  8. Grease 4 loose base mini tartlet pans (12cm) with butter and set aside on a baking tray.
  9. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry between sheets of baking paper to about 4mm thickness. Cut our four rounds to fit the base and sides of the tartlet pans. Gently press dough rounds into each pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C.
  11. Roll out the remaining dough between sheets of baking paper, again to a 4mm thickness and cut out four rounds to fit the top of the tartlet pans, with a bit of dough overhang.
  12. When ready, remove the tartlet pans from the fridge and spoon the fruit mixture evenly across the four pastry cases.
  13. Brush the edges of the top dough rounds with the whisked egg white and place over the filling, pressing the edges together to seal. Brush the tops with the remaining egg white, sprinkle with the additional sugar and cut a small steam hole into the centre of each pie.
  14. Bakes pies for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  15. Stand pies in their pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Bake cookbook.

 

Maggie Beer’s Walnut Bread

Making yeast bread still freaks me out. It’s smelly and so many tiny little things could or could not happen that result in not necessarily a failure, but not exactly a success either…

This time though, following a recipe by the delightfully cute Maggie Beer, I baked beautiful bread that rose perfectly and tasted pretty good.

In fact, it tasted so good, still warm and slathered in butter, that I knew I had a great base for my blue cheese-inspired crostini… But more on that soon…

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Walnut Bread

Recipe by Maggie Beer, as found in her book, Maggie’s Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 250g walnuts
  • 180ml full-cream milk + 2 tablespoons extra
  • 15g fresh yeast (or 1 x 7g sachet or 1½ teaspoon  dried yeast)
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 200g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 100g wholemeal plain flour
  • 50g rye flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil (plus extra for greasing)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional). To make the walnut bread, roast the walnuts on a baking tray for 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden, checking them frequently to make sure that they don’t burn. Wrap the walnuts in a clean tea towel, then rub to remove the skins. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 180ml milk in a small heavy-based saucepan until lukewarm, then set aside.
  3. Mix the yeast, caster sugar and warm water in a small bowl, stirring to form a paste, then leave for 10 minutes or until foamy.
  4. Combine the flours with 2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then stir in the walnut oil. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the centre of the flour mixture, and then add the yeast mixture.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm milk, mixing until it is incorporated and a soft dough forms. Add the walnuts.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead for 5 minutes. Brush the mixing bowl with a little more walnut oil and return the dough, rolling it around the bowl to coat with the oil. Place a piece of plastic film loosely over the surface of the dough, then set aside for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured workbench and knead for a minute or two, then shape into two 23cm x 10cm logs. Leave to rise again on a baking tray dusted with flour for 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).
  9. Whisk together the egg white and 2 tablespoons milk and then brush over the surface of the dough.
  10. Bake the bread for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature at 180C fan-forced (200C conventional) an bake for another 15 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and the bases sound hollow when tapped.
  11. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

 

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