Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mini Kolokithopitas (Zucchini pies)

Traditional Kolikithhopita ingridients may include filo pastry with lashing of butter. Trying to get away from pastry I choose to omit this ingredient. Also any type of squash can be used instead of zucchini  eg pumpkin.

Zucchinis must be plentiful this time of the year as my local providore of fruit and vegetables was just about giving them away. So I decided to try a few of the ones I puchased to make this recipe. There are a number of ways this can be prepared. Baking as a loaf or in individual serves in a muffin tin or made into individual patties and fried. I choose to try the healthier version baking individual serves in a muffin tin.


2  zucchinis grated
2 eggs
1 brown onion finely diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 bacon rashes diced (optional)
200 grms Feta grated or crumbed
½ cup Panko bread crumbs or fresh bread crumbs
½  cup Italian flat leaf parsley finely chopped
¼  - ½ tsp dried dill or dried oregano
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat  your fan forced oven to 200 C. I also preheat a granite pizza slab at the same time. The pizza slab will provide a good source of heat for the bottom of the muffin tin. I used a large muffin tin for these pies which is sprayed with olive oil and set aside while the oven is heating.
Grate the zucchini and sprinkle it with salt and let it rest it in a colander to drain for 10 minutes. Then rinse with clean water  and squeeze out any remaining liquid.
Lightly sauté the onions, garlic and bacon and allow to cool.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and combine all the ingredients ensuring everything is evenly mixed.
Using a spoon fill the muffin cups to the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, then test to see the mixture has set.
Alternatively you can shape the mixture into patties dust with plain flower and shallow fry in olive oil. Drain on a paper towel before serving.

Serve with Tzatziki  sauce or Greek yoghurt

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

I love my green leafy vegetables and recently have become a fan of using Kale in a few recipes. I have used it in stir frys, steamed and even made kale chips. Kale is member of the Brassica family which includes cabbage and broccoli. There are lots of powerful nutrients contained in this leafy green vegetable which puts it into the super food category. For more information on the benefits of adding this vegetable to your weekly menu check out this web site.

Last weeks hunting and gathering exercise at Fresh Provisions included a large bunch of fresh Kale, celery and an assortment of organic tinned items which formed the basis of the easiest, most nutritious and nourishing soup you will ever make. This recipe will make about 8 - 12 serves and any leftovers always taste better the next day.

1 bunch Kale
2 onions diced
4 cups celery diced
1 cup sweet potato diced
1 potato diced
2 tomatoes diced
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 x 400 grm  tin Organic 4 bean mix
1 x 400 grm tin butter beans
1 x 400 grm tin crushed tomato
1 x Massel stock cube (salt reduced)
1 tbs soy sauce (salt reduced)
1- 2 litres water
Sourdough bread for crouton garnish

Wash the Kale and strip off all leaf from the stalk. Chop the kale to a consistency to your liking.
Empty the contents from the cans of beans and then rinse them thoroughly.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large stock pot and saute the onions,celery, potato, adding the garlic after a few minutes. Then add the Kale and fresh tomato. After a few more minutes the Kale will start to collapse then add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to fully cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer in a covered pot for 30 - 45 minutes.
Toast the sourdough bread and rub the slices with fresh garlic and then dice into croutons.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and season to your liking.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Braised baby goat pithiviers (Posh Pies)

If you are a meat lover you should consider eating more goat meat. Did you know goat has more protein than beef, it’s lean and lower in fat than chicken and contains lower calories than beef chicken and pork. And that’s why it has become of my favourite meats. On my last visit to Princi Butchers in North Perth I was able to buy some marinated baby goat on the bone and could not resist getting some to prepare this recipe which I adapted from Chef Ashley Martin’s recipe for goat pithiviers as seen in SBS TV.

Ingredients – 16 portions
1 kg marinated baby goat meat on the bone
2 diced onions
2 celery sticks diced
1 carrot diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
Sprig of thyme
Bay leaf
800 gms crushed tomato
200 ml dry white wine (Galafrey Sauvignon Blanc)
2 cups chicken stock or water (as needed)
 olive oil salt and pepper
6 sheets Pampas puff pastry
1 egg separated. (White for sealing pastry. Yolk for glazing pastry.)
Nigella seeds - optional

Preparing the ragu
Heat some olive oil in a heavy based casserole. Sear several portions of goat meat at a time without over crowding the pan. Cook each until brown then set aside in another container.

Add another dash of olive oil to the heavy based casserole and then add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cook this till it begins to soften. Then add the dry white wine and cook for 5 minutes allowing the wine to reduce by half.
Return the goat meat to the vegetables and add the crushed tomato ensuring everything is evenly mixed and covered. If necessary add enough stock or water to cover the mixture. Season it to taste. Cover the liquid with baking paper and place a lid on the casserole.
Cook slowly for about 2 hours making sure the mixture is covered in liquid at all times.
Allow to cool and remove all the meat portions from the casserole. Remove the meat from the bone and dice into 1-2 cm pieces and return it to the casserole. There should be sufficient liquid to cover the meat by 1-2 cm. If there is too much liquid it can be skimmed and used later as a reduction to serve as a sauce for the pithiviers.
Cool the casserole and place it in the fridge overnight. The next day the casserole (pie filing) will be set in its own jelly ready for filling the pithiviers.

Making the pithiviers
Using an 11 cm round pastry cutter, cut out 36 rounds in the puff pastry. Spoon 50g of the cool goat and vegetable mix in the center of the pastry circles (use a 9cm ring to center and support the mixture).  For the pastry tops you can make a few 1 cm cuts in the centre of each top to allow for steam to escape. Brush the edge of the circle of each top with the egg white and place this side on top of the goat mix and press around the edges on the pastry with a fork.
Brush the pithiviers with the egg yolk and bake in a hot over for approx 30 minutes. I sprinkled nigella seeds on the tops.

Serve with the sauce made from any leftover liquid or tomato ketchup.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Banana and Walnut Bread

Bananas are in season at the moment and as we had a few over ripe ones in the fruit bowl so I decided to make a healthy version of banana bread. Bananas one of natures best nutritional power-packs, they are a good source of fibre, high in potassium, low in salt which helps keep the blood pressure down. They also contain vitamin B and C and they are  fairly low on the GI index so no high sugar spikes. By adding wholewmeal flour and walnuts to the mix you have the extra benefit of more fibre and omega 3 fatty acid in the recipe which is good for the digestion and a healthy heart. This recipe will provide 10 to 12 slices of banana bread which if not consumed in one sitting  can be frozen to be enjoyed later in the lunch box or afternoon snacks.

2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
100 gms chopped walnuts
2 eggs beated
1 cup low fat or skim milk
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp bi-carb soda
pinch sea salt

Pre heat a fan forced oven to 180 C.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mash the bananas in a separate bowl and combine with the beaten eggs and milk.
Fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ensuring they are evenly mixed. Add the mixture into a prepared loaf tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 45 minutes or until until a skewer is inserted into the middle comes out clean. When baked remove the loaf from the tin and allow it to cool on a rack for several minutes before slicing. Enjoy your healthy bread in moderation with a cuppa with a friend.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thai Chicken Sausage Rolls

This is another twist on an earlier Blogg posted 27th October 2009 "Healthy Sausage Rolls." I served these some time ago at a family gathering and judging by the way they were devoured by the crew I'm sure they enjoyed them. So I'm happy to share the recipe with anyone who may be interested. 

  • 500 grams chicken mince (Try to get Mt Barker Free Range or mince some of their chicken breasts)
  • 2 eggs (1 for mixture and 1 for pastry)
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • 1 red chilli finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 1/2 cup coriander chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 sheets Pampas reduced fat puff pastry
  • Cumin seeds for sprinkling on top of sausage rolls

Preheat a fan forced oven to 200C.
Thaw the puff pastry and cut each sheet diagonally in half.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
In a large bowl add the chicken mince, one egg, onion, chilli, carrot, garlic, coriander and using your clean hands thoroughly mix the ingredients. Add the bread crumbs to bind the mixture.
Using your hands roll a portion of the sausage mixture to a cigar shape about the size of a bbq sausage and place it on the edge of the ½ sheet of pastry. Brush the opposite edge of the pastry with egg wash and roll the pastry into the sausage roll shape.
Cut the sausage roll into portions. I divide a single roll into 6 portions. (1 full sheet yields 12 portions)
Brush all the tops of the sausage rolls with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with cumin seeds.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with a sweet or hot chilli sauce dip.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding (8 serves)
1 ½ cups pitted dried dates chopped
1 ¼ cups water
1 tsp bicarb soda
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ cups self raising flour
2/3 cup brown sugar

Caramel sauce
¾ cup brown sugar
300ml cream
2 tbs Golden syrup
30g butter

In a small saucepan add the dates and water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the butter and bicarb soda stirring the mixture. Set this aside until cool.

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160˚C.

Prepare a 20 cm round spring form cake tin with baking paper on the base and spray the sides with oil or grease with butter.

Pour the cooled date mixture into a food processor; add the eggs and vanilla and pulse for a few seconds.

In a large bowl sift the self raising flour and brown sugar to remove any lumps.
Add the date mixture and using a wooden spoon or large spatula fold the wet and dry ingredients together until evenly mixed. Try not to over mix the ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. After 40 minutes check to see the top of the pudding is not getting to brown - cover the top with baking paper if necessary.

Test the pudding with a wooden skewer – the pudding is cooked when no batter appears on the skewer.

At this stage make your caramel sauce in a small saucepan adding all the ingredients and simmering for about five minutes.

Remove the pudding from the cake tin and allow the pudding to cool on a wire rack. As the pudding cools use the wooden skewer to pierce the pudding making about 10 holes in the pudding. Pour about ½ a cup of the caramel sauce over the top of the pudding. Adding a little bit more will result with a stickier pudding.

Serve hot or cold. I prefer to reheat the pudding and sauce and serve with a dollop of fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.

Braised Lamb Shanks

With the cold of winter setting in I have been hanging out for some good old fashioned comfort food. One of my favourite comfort meals is lamb shanks which are braised slowly in a cast iron baking tray or casserole. For this recipe I used Frenched lamb shanks. (Shanks which have been trimmed to remove excess fat and tendon) Not only do they look nicer on the plate but are a healthier option with reduced fat. Braising meat is an excellent slow cooking method for tougher cuts of meat as it keeps the meat moist. Braising involves dusting the meat in seasoned flour then browning it in a pan in oil and finishing the cooking process by slow cooking with liquid such as stock, in a casserole. This final process can be done in an oven, stovetop or electric slow cooker.

Braised Lamb Shanks
3 tbs olive oil
2 brown onions diced
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 carrots diced
4 celery stalks diced
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
8 lamb shanks
1 can diced tomato
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Toss the lamb shanks into a large bowl containing the seasoned flour ensuring the shanks are evenly coated.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the lamb shanks in small batches and transfer the shanks into a heavy based baking dish or casserole.

Lightly sauté the vegetables in the frying pan adding additional oil if necessary. And add 2 tbs of the seasoned flour to the mixture coating the sautéed vegetables.

Add the diced tomato to the frying pan and heat through then transfer the contents into the baking dish coating the lamb shanks.

Deglaze the frying pan with the stock and bay leaves and pour the stock over the lamb shanks to just cover them. Adjust the stock to suit the size of your casserole and quantity of ingredients.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place it into the preheated oven to bake for 1 hour at 180°C then reduce the heat to 160°C for another 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

Serve with potato mash, steamed green vegetables and remaining sauce from the braised lamb shanks.

Wine: Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 and Parker Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005