Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Recipes - Margherita Pizza

The Margherita pizza is one of the most common and widely recognised traditional pizza varieties. It is, quite simply, cheese, tomato and herbs on a tomato sauced pizza base.  It's great to serve to kids as it is simple and tasty with uncomplicated flavours. Because it is so simple and very traditional there are a hundred different recipes with slight variations in ingredients used.  My recipe will just add to that list.

Ingredients
1-2 tbs pizza sauce
8-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated
basil leaves, to serve

I forgot the basil leaves!
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 230°C.
Step 2 - Place pizza base on a lightly greased pizza tray. Spread pizza sauce over base and sprinkle with dried herbs.  Evenly distribute mozzarella and half of the tasty cheese over sauce.  Top with cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  
Step 3 - Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until base is crisp. Top with basil leaves and serve with a simple, lightly dressed green salad.

Notes:

Amounts of pizza sauce and cheese can be increased or reduced, depending on how saucy or cheesy you like your pizza.



Did you know?


Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E which is great for maintaining a healthy complexion. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Pleased to meet you



Hi to all my American friends. People in America are among the largest group of people checking out my blog! I'd love to know where you're all from so post your location in a comment below...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Facebook

It's time to get your voting boots on and head over to my facebook page!  This weeks options are:
  • Prawn and Chorizo Pilaf
  • Caramel Scrolls
  • Mushroom Bruschetta
  • Hot Fudge Sauce

Vote for as many as you like or add your own and the two with the most votes will be featured on this blog, recipes and photos!  Happy voting.

Recipes - Mango and Lime Syrup Cakes

This recipe as been stolen straight from taste.com.au.  I first made these about 18 months ago and was so happy with the result I made them three times in one week!  Since then, I have made different variations: blueberry with lemon syrup, raspberry with orange syrup, strawberry with lime syrup.  Other fruits that can be used include peach, nectrine, apricot, plum, pear, pineapple and orange, to name a few.  Even after all of my experimenting, mango is still my favourite.

Ingredients - makes 6
2 large mango, sliced thinly
135g unsalted butter, softened
245g caster sugar
3 eggs
90g plain flour
3 tbs desiccated coconut
1 lime, rind and juice
3 tbs coconut milk
1/2 cup water
double cream, to serve

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 190°C.  Grease a 6 hole Texas muffin tray.
Step 2 - Lay mango slices over the base of each hole. Set aside.
Step 3 - Cream butter and 180g sugar until pale, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold flour into mixture then stir in coconut and lime rind.  Add coconut milk and stir until combined.  Spoon mixture over mango and bake for 25 minutes.
Step 4 - Combine lime juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to high and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Step 5 - Drizzle syrup over cakes while they're in the pan and leave for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack over a tray, to catch the syrup.  Serve warm with double cream.




Saturday, 28 January 2012

Quotes

"If God had intended us to follow recipes he wouldn't have given us Grandmothers."
- Linda Henley

Recipes - Watermelon Granita

So granita has become my new favourite thing, it is like eating fruit flavoured snow, and I've already considered about 50 different flavour combinations!  It's easy to make, just requires a couple of hours at home as it needs your attention for about 1 minute an hour for 6 hours.  The great thing is that it can be made the day before and left in the freezer until required.



Ingredients
1/4 watermelon, about 2kg, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water


Step 1 - Place a baking dish in the freezer.
Step 2 - Place sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to high and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until syrup thickens.
Step 3 - Place watermelon and sugar syrup into food processor and process until smooth.  Pass through a fine sieve and pour into baking dish.  Return to freezer.
Step 4 - After two hours, remove dish from freezer and run a fork over the surface. Granita should be half frozen so push the edges to the centre, smooth over and return to freezer.  Leave for 1 hour then remove and run and fork over the surface.  Repeat 2-3 times until granita is frozen into small crystals and there are no lumps.  Leave in freezer until required.



Friday, 27 January 2012

Recipes - Tomato Tarte Tatin

I recently served these at a dinner party and recieved the most amazing feedback, the best of all being that they were devoured in seconds.  I got the idea after seeing a similar canape from a UK fashion magazines webpage.  Unfortunately I can't remember the magazine but I'm glad I stumbled across it as it enabled me to create this.  


The pan I used is like a mini dutch pancake pan.  It's not a whoopie pie pan or a muffin top pan as they are a bit more square through the base, although these could be used.  I've posted a photo so check it out to see the style of pan I used.



Ingredients
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
50g goats cheese
18 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
12 small basil leaves
20g soft butter, to grease pan
1 tsp brown sugar
balsamic glaze, to serve (optional)

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 230°C.  Brush pan well with butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Set pastry on bench to thaw.
Step 2 - Place three tomato halves, cut side down, in each hole.  Top each with a piece of goats cheese.
Step 3 - Using a 6cm round cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds from pastry sheet.  Place a round over each lot of tomato and cheese, tucking it around the sides.  Transfer to oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
Step 4 - Remove pan from oven and gently press each pastry round down into the cheese and tomato (be careful, it's hot!).  Set aside for 10 minutes to cool and set.
Step 5 - Using finger tips, gently turn each tarte to loosen it, then slide each tarte from the pan, turning it right way up as you slide it out.  If any tomatoes fall out, just pop them back on top.  Place on a serving dish and place a basil leaf on each.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze, if using, and serve immediately.





Dinner with Family

I have some extended family coming for dinner tonight.  Being Maltese, we don't count 2nd or 3rd or how far removed the family member is, everyone is just a cousin. So while I don't know exactly how I am related to these family members, they're cousins and that is all that matters.  Okay, so I'm exaggerating but you get the point.  Anyway, dinner is going to be a Mexican fiesta of sorts. 

We're having:
  • Cajun Chicken Skewers
  • Minted Yoghurt
  • Mexican Salsa
  • Mexican Rice

Recipes for these will be coming in the following weeks.  I'm also whipping up some tomato tarte tatins, watermelon granita and little mango cakes for our appetizers and desserts (yes, desserts is plural!) and these recipes will be posted this week.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Facebook

Thanks to everyone who voted in this weeks facebook poll.  The desserts won out this week so check back in a couple of days for recipes and photos for:

If you didn't get a chance to vote this week, head over to my facebook page and like it so you don't miss out next week.

Recipes - Roast Capsicum Dip

I love dips as there are a million different recipes, using thousands of ingredients and hundreds of ways to use them. This Roast Capsicum Dip is spicy and flavoursome, simple and quick to whip up (once the capsicums are roasted).  I am yet to serve it as a dip, but I have used it as an element of a canape, the base of a pasta sauce and a flavouring for rice.  So it's highly versatile as well as delicious. 



Ingredients
3 capsicums, roasted (about 300g once roasted)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs olive oil
salt, to season





Step 1 - Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
Step 2 - Use 3 or 4 short pulses to combine. Serve warm or cold.





Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Facebook

It's already time to go vote on what I should cook this week.

Options are:

  • Little Mango Cakes
  • Roast Capsicum and Ricotta Bruschetta
  • Watermelon Granita
  • Big Brekkie Burger
  • Cajun Chicken Skewers

Head over to my facebook page to vote now.

Quotes

"The colours of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painters pallet can duplicate nature's artistry."
- Dr SunWolf

Monday, 23 January 2012

Recipes - Baked Polenta Rounds w Chorizo and Capsicum Dip

I made these recently for a dinner party and they were devoured within seconds.  I only had time to take a photo of the last one, but never fear, they were so popular I will surely make them again.  They're still being talked about days later.

Ingredients
1/2 cup dry polenta
1 cup water
1 cup milk
20g parmesan cheese, grated
10g butter
1 chorizo, cut into 12 pieces
1/4 cup capsicum dip
6 baby bocconcini, halved

Step 1 - Bring water and milk to boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce heat and add polenta in a slow steady steam, whisking constantly.  Whisk for 4-5 minutes, until thick, remove from heat, add parmesan and butter and stir until combined.  Pour into a greased 26cmx16cm slice tin.  Set aside for 3-4 hours to firm.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 230. Spray a flat baking tray with olive oil.  Using a 3cm round cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds from the polenta.  Place rounds on the tray, spray with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until crisp and starting to colour slightly,
Step 3 - Heat a grill or frying pan over high heat and cook chorizo for 1-2 minutes each side until charred. Set aside.
Step 4 - To assemble, place polenta rounds on a serving plate with a slice of chorizo on top.  Dollop with capsicum dip and top with a bocconcini half. Serve warm.


Holiday

I had planned to bring you a review of a local cafe I visited today, however, it was somewhat underwhelming so I had to can it.

Luckily I am off to Coffs Harbour tomorrow for a mini-holiday and will be dining out, therefore, I'll post my awesome food finds and reviews as I go.

Coffs Harbour


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Summer. Food. Drinks. Friends.

I have a lot of foodie friends, and some friends who aren't so foodie but love to eat, and we love to get together for lengthy dinners.  Last time we all got together was for my 25th birthday dinner party back in July - which was kind of the catalyst for me starting this blog.  For that dinner, I prepared a five course meal and it was spectacular but I thought I would change things up this time.  For this dinner I asked my guests to bring one course each (well, each couple).  It made for a very interesting and fun evening full of lots of laughs and delicious food.  And when I say lengthy, the appetizers went out at 7:15pm and dessert was served at 11:30pm!  Check out some photos from the night.


Left: A few cocktails to start the night.







Above Left: Alex making his amazing bruschetta, also seen in "In Someone Else's Kitchen" November 16th 2011.

Above Right: Tomato Tarte Tatin

Right:  Tessa after plating her Beetroot and Fetta salad. 

My guests.






Left: Ben and Sam's Pizzas have also featured on my blog  ("In Someone Else's Kitchen" December 21st 2011).  Varieties were: Antipasto, Spicy Chorizo and The Famous Prosciutto and Bocconcini.

Below: Laura's Moroccan Beef and Couscous Salad (beef not pictured).








Right: A delicious dessert to finish the night - Sticky Date Pudding w Caramel Sauce, Praline and Vanilla Ice-cream - thanks to the lovely ladies, Naomi and Lea (pictured above left).


An amazing night and I already cannot wait for the next one.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Recipes - Watermelon and Fetta Salad

This is an interesting combination of flavours that takes a bit of getting used to.  A friend asked me to make her a watermelon and fetta salad and after some brainstorming and research this is what I came up with.



Ingredients
1/4 watermelon, cubed
50g fetta
a few sprigs of mint, leaves torn
15g pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
extra virgin olive oil




Step 1 - Place watermelon in a large bowl with pistachio nuts and mint leaves.
Step 2 - Crumble fetta over the top, squeeze lime juice and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.





Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pleased to meet you



I get more people viewing my blog in Australia than anywhere else in the world.  Comment below and let me know where in Australia you are.  Aussie Pride!!

Did you know?


Did you know that scallops can swim?  They rapidly open and close their shell, creating air bubbles that propel them forwards. 

I love scallops but have NEVER cooked them.  I should change that fact soon. 

Recipes - Antipasto Skewers


I love antipasto and almost always serve it at my own events.  I've found, however, that it's not the easiest thing to serve when catering or when going for a picnic.  So my quick fix is to skewer it.

Ingredients
Antipasto, for example:
salami, prociutto, ham
olives, sundried tomatoes
cherry tomtoes, artichoke
fetta, bocconcini, 
roast capsicum, chargrilled eggplant
chargrilled zucchini, stuffed bell peppers
marinted button mushrooms
toothpicks

Step 1 - If required, cube fetta, tear meats into smaller pieces, halve button mushrooms and bell peppers, or cut larger vegetables into small pieces. 
Step 2 - Thread 3 things onto each toothpick, making sure to create as many combinations as possible.

Notes:

Skewers can be prepped in advance and refrigerated for several hours before serving.



Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Recipes - Haloumi and Chargrilled Zucchini Bruschetta

Haloumi and zucchini are a match made in foodie heaven.  So I put them together on some bruschetta.  This is quick to throw together, tastes amazing and will make you super popular when you serve it to your friends...if you can bear to let other people eat them.

Ingredients
250g haloumi, sliced thinly
2 zucchini, cut into thin slices lengthwise
1 tbs oregano, finely chopped
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 baguette, sliced on a diagonal
1-2 cloves garlic
olive oil, to drizzle
salt and pepper, to season

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 230°C.  Place baguette slices on a tray and bake for 7-8 minutes, turning once.  Remove from oven and rub each slice with garlic clove. Set aside.
Step 2 - Heat a grill pan over high heat.  Season zucchini slices with salt and cook for 1-2 minutes each side until cooked through and charred.  Remove from pan and cook haloumi for 1-2 minutes each side until golden.
Step 3 - To assemble, place bread on a serving plate and layer zucchini and haloumi.  Sprinkle with oregano, squeeze lemon juice, drizzle olive oil and season with pepper.  Serve warm.





Coming Soon

Thanks to everyone who vote in  my facebook page's poll this week.  It was a close call for second but the winner was a run away.  And the results were:
  • Baked Polenta Rounds w Chorizo and Capsicum Dip
  • Tomato Tarte Tatin  

Check back later this week for recipes and photos.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

What to do?

So, slightly un-food related, however, my best friend recently became and nail tech and did my nails today so he can practice on different shapes or nails beds or techniques or something like that.  I think they're beautiful but how am I going to cook in them???  Also, I'm finding typing difficult and considering I was going to post four recipes this week there will be a lot of typing.  Check them out...