Sunday, March 31, 2013

And the nominees are......Me!

In exciting news Don't Boil The Sauce has been nominated for Best Australian Blogs 2013,  ripper Rita!
If you've enjoyed reading about my tasty culinary journey then please vote for me in the people's choice round.
If you've hated what you've read, that is even more reason to vote as the prize is a writing course.
Please feel free to share this with all your friends, neighbours, alter egos, pets with Wi-Fi, really could I make this any clearer.
Thanks in advance for all your votes.

Don't forget Chow Down to Eurovision 2013 start April 2, 39 dishes from 39 countries.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Don't be livered it's only mushroom

Many years ago when I was at uni, (just turned 18) I had a vegetarian coming for dinner. It was my very first vegetarian ever, what would they eat? What would we talk about? What would I wear? And would I need to give them a bath before dinner just so the other guests wouldn't be sick from the smell? OK the last point may be been a little dramatic but a meal without meat that was unheard of, what was I going to do?  
I thought OK a salad, that's vegetables, but every salad I knew was coated in a fairly decent amount of crispy bacon. There was a split second where I thought of using a can of meat substitute, but that looked remarkably like a can of Pal dog food.
In the end I found a recipe for a Chinese vegetable soup, that had fried rice squares that when added to the serving bowl hissed and sizzled for theatrical effect. That was our winner, perfect!
I spent the good part of the day in the kitchen preparing the soup. The rice needed to be cooked and shaped in a tray and then cut to size. There were also some ultra exotic vegetables involved that were a bit pricey but this was a special occasion, bok choy, oh how times have changed.
After the, what seemed like hours of finely julienning vegetables, making sure the flavours were right, and even testing the rice for appropriate sizzle, my friend arrived. (no bath was required in the enjoyment of this meal)

My friend loved the soup, the rice block spectacle was a hit and she was really appreciative for all the effort I had made.
Then things took a turn for the worse.
She said "this is so delicious, what stock did you use?" I replied "oh just a chicken stock powder, it's only a powder so doesn't have meat in it"
She requested to see the packet and low and behold 8% chicken meat and fat.
I thought I had done so well but one little naive error scored me a lecture about the poor bloody little chickens. The fact she loved the other 92% should have counted for something, normally that is a great pass mark. Well that was dinner over, and I can't remember if I had a dessert or pretended there was none just to end the evening.
So naturally I am a little more skilled when it comes to vegetarian cooking now, let me tell you about that time I cooked for a vegan........!

After the recent accusation of my "hoity toityness", I have developed a strong allergy to the highfalutin so I can guarantee this recipe is 100% Falutin free. 

Mushroom Pate on Witlof
Ingredients
  • 500g mixed mushrooms, (Portobello, Swiss Brown, button, the mix is up to you)
  • 5 french shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar or verjuice
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 100g walnut crumbs
  • 3-4 witlof
  • 150g feta crumbled
  • Olive oil
Method
  • Chop mushrooms into 1/2 cm pieces
  • Finely chop the shallots and garlic
  • Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a hot fry pan
  • Add the shallots and garlic and cook to soften
  • Add the mushrooms and stir to ensure they are coated in the oil
  • Add the vinegar or verjuice.
  • Lower the temperature and let the mushrooms cook down
  • Add the thyme leaves and season to taste (remembering the feta will also add some salt)
  • When the mushrooms have cooked down, take off the heat and stir through the walnuts
  • Let cool in the fridge
  • Separate the witlof into individual leaves
  • Fill the witlof leaves with the mushroom mix and sprinkle with some feta.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chow Down to Eurovision

As you can see from the countdown there are only 11 days left till the Chow Down to Eurovision begins, 39 dishes from the 39 countries participating in The Eurovision Song Contest 2013.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs, get your tickets, pack your faux fur and sequin hot pants, we will be boarding shor........actually I'll let Scooch take care of the announcements.
 
 Even with exceeding the carry on limit for Benny Hill innuendo they only came 22nd out of 24.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The mother nugget of invention

  
With my self imposed exclusion zone for all food that is served from a window to a passing motorist, discussions have been held about what I miss most. Short answer, nothing. Over halfway through 3rd month and still going strong. (might be all the cake baking making up for it)
One of my friend is very focused on healthy eating atm but also has a love for fast food, and our discussion mostly focused around nuggets. Oh how I used to love nuggets, I have even been known to judge a country by the quality of their nuggets. Italy your nugget cuisine still reigns supreme. We chatted about a particular nugget that is filled with cheese, and how even for these I will not cross the pickle line.
Given her health concerns and her love of this cheese(y) nugget and my general coolness for being the most kind, caring, selfless and wonderful friend I set to work (OK I just wanted a nugget)
The result from the don't boil the sauce test kitchen is my naked nuggets, baked not fried, just chicken, cheese and crumbs. They hit the spot without going over the top. Depending on how much room you have left in your "behind budget" you can use chicken breast or use egg whites in the wash to reduce the fat or just deep fry to bring it on!

My Naked Nuggets
Ingredients
  • 700g chicken thigh fillet
  • 100g mozzarella
  • 5g sea salt flakes
  • Cornflour to coat
  • 2 eggs + a splash of water
  • breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Method
  • Cut chicken into chunks and pass through a mincer.
  • Pass the chicken through the mincer again, this time with the grated mozzarella.
  • Mix the salt through the meat.
  • Take 1 tablespoon of mixture and roll it in cornflour.
  • Dip into egg wash
  • Coat with crumbs/ sesame seeds and shape into nuggets.
  • Place on a tray with baking paper
  • Bake at 210°C for 12-15mins till cooked through.
  • You can choose to mince the cheese with the chicken or mix through grated cheese. I preferred the minced version as it was closest to the nugget I was aiming for.
  • There are also lots of additions like garlic and basil to make them really sing but I didn't want to dress them up too much, they are naked after all.




Monday, March 11, 2013

Summer is cordially invited....

Summer, it is now officially autumn and you are cordially invited to go home now. It is 37 degrees Celsius (98 Fahrenheit) as I write this. I wish I could be one of those people that thrive in the heat, mostly due to the fact their well tanned athletic bodies are suitably attired in summer skimpies but I'm not.  The closest image I can conjure up, being a food blog, for me in Summer is pork crackling, yes oh so tasty but not very happy. I think it is just because it is so horribly uncomfortable, you dry off from the shower, get your clothes and you're wet again. Plus I burn, you think you need to watch toffee because it burns in a second, I can go to the cloths line and back and get burnt.
The happiest summer I every spent was in Rome, well their winter,our summer. AB would tell me about the 40 degree days and I would simply put another log on the fire,and think about the snow, bliss.
Casa mia in a Roma, It looks like I was actually doing home work (i compiti) Bravo!
 

I'm sorry to all the summer lovers, I promise to patiently listen to all your whinging about  how freezing you are, while just pass you some warm soup and bread. 
Try this cordial to keep you cool during this trying time

Don't just use them as decoration


Lime Cordial

Ingredients
  • 4 litres of water
  • 1.5 cup of sugar
  • 12 limes
  • 1 tablespoon of citric acid (optional)
Method
  • Add water and sugar and citric acid to a saucepan
  • Zest all the limes and add to the pan
  • Stir to dissolve sugar and simmer just below boiling for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the juice of all the fruit, strained to avoid pips.
  • Leave to cool
  • Store cordial in bottles, mine is usually go in an week.
  • I used some lemonade instead of water to dilute it with some fizz. 
 Lighting changes the colour


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The one that I want

Despite my previous post about not liking the taste of alcohol, Oh Negroni, how I love you. 
 
This discovery was made over a very long lunch which required test driving the cocktail menu for quality control. Thankfully it was a reasonably responsible afternoon mostly due to the menu not being too long, and my pockets not being that deep.
Of all the cocktails the one that I remember most is the Negroni, not due to the quantity, I promise. The Tuscan martini also went down a treat but the Negroni has become my one true friend in these summer months.
The charm of the negroni is the bitter campari, it ticks my box for not being overly sweet. With all that ice it is practically a drink of water, right?
There is the basic recipe which you could follow, but you know I'm not going to stick to it.
 
 
 
My Negroni
Ingredients
  • 30ml gin
  • 30ml sweet red Vermouth
  • 30ml Campari
  • 30ml Rosso Antico
  • juice of a lemon wedge
     
Method
  • Combine all in a glass with LOTS of ice
Variations
 
Negroni slushy: Blend all ingredients with ice till slushy consistancy.
 
Frutti Negroni: Add some frozen berries and the juice of 1 lime, this one is my favourite. Garnish with mint (if you're taking a photo)
 

 




Monday, March 4, 2013

Pimp my potato salad

Sometimes you need simple and light but sometimes you need the full glamour of the "gourmet".
And remember it is always pronounced with a hard T at the end, Gour-MeT, which goes very well with a focaccia better known as a Fok-a-Chia.
I remembered a Potato salad I gave the Pimp-My-Salad treatment too, it’s the same salad as always just with better shoes, I mean ingredients. There is also a hint of the Caesar with the addition of the anchovies. I prefer to serve it warm but have been known to happily tuck into any left overs the next day.

Pimped Potato Salad




Ingredients

  •  1kg Potatoes
  •  Seasoned flour (salt and pepper added to flour)
  •  Olive oil (about 1 cup)
  •  6 slices prosciutto in 1cm pieces
  •  4 boiled eggs quartered
  •  4 spring onions chopped
  •  200grams shaved Parmesan
  •  Kewpie mayonnaise
  •  1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
  •  1 small tin/jar of anchovies

Method
  • Roughly chopped the potato into even pieces, just a bit bigger than bite size.
  • Toss potatoes in the seasoned flour
  • Add to a baking dish with a good amount of olive oil, not drowning but enough to paddle.
  • Bake in the oven till crisp and golden on 200 degrees C, about 45mins.When the potatoes are ready drain off the oil, a metal colander will drain them and keep them crispy.
  • In a large bowl add the potatoes, prosciutto, eggs, spring onions, parmesan and mix gently to combine.
  • Dress with a squeeze of the mayonnaise (you can set the amount)
  • Top with anchovies and the toasted almond flakes (that I forgot to buy and are not pictured)