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ROAST ASPARAGUS

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Roasting asparagus adds a wonderful nutty flavour, it is simple and quick cooking and can add an interesting twist to salads, tarts and of course to any meal.

6 spears per person

4 servings

24 spears of firm fresh asparagus, ends removed

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground pepper

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 lemons for serving

Pinch or two of sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C

Place a oven dish in the oven to heat up (I use a swiss-roll tin)

Place the asparagus into a flat dish and drizzle over enough oil to moisten the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper, scatter over the thyme and squeeze half to one lemon over the asparagus. Roll the asparagus around in the flavoured oil then carefully tip onto hot oven tray, making sure you get all the flavoured oil.

Spread evenly over the baking tray and roast for 3 minutes, check and give the asparagus a quick turn. Cook for a further 3 minutes or until lightly golden and still with a little crunch.

Serve immediately with a little sprinkle of sea salt flakes and lemon wedges.

SPRING PIE

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Once again I did a bit of foraging and sourcing and came up with this humble pie. I have used this pastry many times and it’s perfect for a dairy-free option. I have added bacon to this to add a bit more flavor but this is totally up to you.

Serves 4

Olive oil Pastry

200 g Plain Flour

½ teaspoon Salt

1 ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ cup cold Water

¼ tsp sea salt flakes for top of pie

Filling

200g streaky bacon, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

600g mixture of spinach, beetroot leaves, silverbeet, kale etc, washed well and any tough leaves removed.

Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

75g feta cheese crumbled

75g fresh curds (optional)

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salt

2 large eggs, beaten

Method

Begin by making the pastry, whiz flour and salt in a food processor. Drizzle in oil and then water.

Process for about 1 minute until mixture forms a ball.

Transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until supple and smooth.

Put into a bowl, cover with a clean cloth and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the filling; bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and plunge in the greens. Cook for 1 minute then drain and cool. Squeeze out remaining water then roughly chop.

Heat up a large heavy based fry pan with 1 tablespoon oil, add the bacon and cook over moderate heat so that the fat renders down, add the onion and garlic continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, add the greens and toss through bacon fat. Tip all this mixture into a large bowl.

Add all the cheese, plenty of cracked black pepper and taste for salt, adjust if necessary. Blend in the eggs.

Preheat the oven 180C

To Assemble:

Divide the pastry into two and roll one round of pastry about 25cm diameter (size of large dinner plate). Roll second half so that it is a little larger in size about 20cm diameter (this is the top).

Lightly oil a large baking sheet and place the smaller of the two rounds on the tray. Spread the greens mixture generously over the base, leaving 4cm space around the edge of the tray.

Place the second round over the pie and allow the pastry to fall over the mixture.

Seal edges, then fold extra pastry from base to over sealed edges and press together.

Pierce top here and there with a fork and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.

Scatter with the sea salt and bake in preheat oven for 30-40 mins or until golden and pastry is cooked.

Remove from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

 

 

 

SPANISH TORTILLA – POTATO, ONION AND EGG

154

You only need three ingredients to make this delicious Spanish tortilla (omelet). Try to spend the time on softening the onions and potatoes as this will make the end results so much more delightful. Perfect school holiday meal!

Serves 6

Light olive oil for cooking

700g onions, peeled and finely sliced

700g white potatoes

5 good quality medium eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Heat 1-1.5cm of olive oil in a deep, medium sized frying pan.

Add the onions and cook slowly for about 15- 25 minutes until golden and soft. In the meantime peel the potatoes and slice into 1 cm rounds.

Add the potatoes to the onions and turn up the heat a little. Cook until the potatoes are tender, but not crisp. Drain the mixture through a sieve, saving the oil for later use. Set aside and wipe out pan.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the potato and onion mix, season well with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Heat 2-3 tablespoon of previously used oil in pan over medium heat and add mixture, allow to settle briefly (about 1 minute) gently moving the egg mixture from the outside of the pan to the center, this will allow the mixture to cook through. Tidy around the edge of the tortilla with a spatula to create a round edge. Now allow the egg to set so the base forms, tidy up the edge and place a plate over the surface of the tortilla, carefully flip and slide tortilla onto plate. Now return the tortilla back to pan with cooked side up. Return to heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or until just firm.

Can be eaten immediately or as the Spanish like to eat this at room temperature.

 

 

SPRING ONION FRITTERS

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Spring is in the air and spring onions seem perfectly fresh and crisp to work with this season.

Serves 4

4 eggs

½ cup flour or gluten free flour

½ cup chickpea flour (if available or substitute with flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup cold soda water

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

4 bunches spring onions

4 Tbsp good quality oil for cooking

Dressing

¼ cup unsweetened yogurt

2 Tbsp sour cream

1 Tbsp tahini paste

Lemon juice to taste

Lemon wedges to serve

Pinch salt

Method

To begin you need to toast the chickpea flour in a dry fry pan over a moderate to low heat so that the flour lightly toasts, this will remove any bitterness from the flour. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, add the eggs, flour, chickpea flour, baking powder, water, cheese and a pinch each of salt and pepper and whisk well to combine. Add the spring onions and stir to combine.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large fry pan.

Use a dessert spoon and carefully drop spoonful of mixture (holding the spoon so the tip faces into the pan) into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on the first side then flip to brown on the other side (approx. 3 minutes each side).

Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter until finished.

To make the dressing mix all the ingredients together, taste and adjust lemon or seasoning. Chill until needed.

To serve; serve the spring onion fritters with the tahini yoghurt and plenty of lemon wedges.

SPANISH TORTILLA – POTATO, ONION AND EGG

154

You only need three ingredients to make this delicious Spanish tortilla (omelet). Try to spend the time on softening the onions and potatoes as this will make the end results so much more delightful. Perfect school holiday meal!

Serves 6

Light olive oil for cooking

700g onions, peeled and finely sliced

700g white potatoes

5 good quality medium eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Heat 1-1.5cm of olive oil in a deep, medium sized frying pan.

Add the onions and cook slowly for about 15- 25 minutes until golden and soft. In the meantime peel the potatoes and slice into 1 cm rounds.

Add the potatoes to the onions and turn up the heat a little. Cook until the potatoes are tender, but not crisp. Drain the mixture through a sieve, saving the oil for later use. Set aside and wipe out pan.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the potato and onion mix, season well with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Heat 2-3 tablespoon of previously used oil in pan over medium heat and add mixture, allow to settle briefly (about 1 minute) gently moving the egg mixture from the outside of the pan to the center, this will allow the mixture to cook through. Tidy around the edge of the tortilla with a spatula to create a round edge. Now allow the egg to set so the base forms, tidy up the edge and place a plate over the surface of the tortilla, carefully flip and slide tortilla onto plate. Now return the tortilla back to pan with cooked side up. Return to heat and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or until just firm.

Can be eaten immediately or as the Spanish like to eat this at room temperature.