Friday, May 30, 2008

Marinated Mushroom and tomato salad

Marinated Mushroom and tomato Salad

2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Mazzetti balsamic vinegar of Modena (4 leaf class)
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
300 grams button mushrooms, quartered
250grams cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 spring onions, very thinly sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 Combine oil, balsamic vinegar, sweet chilli sauce in a screw top jar. Shake well. Place mushrooms in large bowl. Pour 2/3 marinade over mushrooms and stir well. Cover and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Add cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and remaining marinade to mushroom mixture. Toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves four.

The most unusual salad we have made. Salads are mostly leafy, light and delicate, as a contrast to the main course. This is the opposite: dark, heavy, intense….meaning smaller helpings, and an interesting decision about what to serve with it. Generally there will be another more conventional salad unless the main is very light. Very simple to make. One of the few salads which are still good the next day as leftovers.

The original of this recipe as we found it ( years ago..where?) specified red wine vinegar, but we liked it much more with the intense taste of the balsamic vinegar. The original also added one bunch of chopped rocket leaves, and 1/3 cup chopped parsley. We now leave these out as they obscure the simple shapes of the small tomatoes and mushrooms and don’t do much for the taste.

The Mazzetti Balsamic vinegar of Modena (250ml) is from Woolworths and is an absolute bargain at $5.85. Make sure you get the one with four vine leaves (ie four stars) on the top left hand corner of the label. Choice magazine did some taste tests a year or two ago on balsamic vinegars and Mazetti four leaf was better than others five times the price!

The mushrooms must be small button mushrooms, so they are similar in size to the cherry tomatoes, making the salad attractive in regard to the uniform shape and size of its ingredients.

this awesome recipe is from a very generous colleague at work..thank you Martin!!!! (he's right about the vinegar by the way!! it's incredible!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chili Con Carne Con Chocolate

2 large onions, cut into thick rings
1 tbs olive oil
500g lean beef mince
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 fresh chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 x 425g red kidney beans
1 x 425g canned tomato
1 tb tomato paste
4 squares chocolate
2 tbs chopped parsley
2 tbs chopped basil
black pepper

In a large heavy pan over low heat, soften the onion rings in olive oil. When it has become transparent (after 3 or 4 minutes), increase heat, stir in minced beef and keep stirring while it cooks for three or four minutes. When meat loses its red colour, add cinnamon, cumin, chilis, chipped tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste and the chocolate.
Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring form time to time, until the meat sauce has a thick consistency.

From Ian Parmenter's Consuming Passions Season 3 Cookbook

comments: would have like it with more of a bite....thinking of adding garlic and more chili the next time. As with stews and tomato based dishes, this dish improves with keeping. The addition of chocolate imparts a deeper flavour?? But no one could tell though it had chocolate though... :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Farewell Strawberry Sorbet!!

The night before I let for Hobart, Qin invited me over to her place. I thought it was going to be a quiet dinner and didn’t even bother brushing my hair before leaving the house. In fact, when she called, I was actually having a nap and I literally rolled out of bed, took the strawberry sorbet i had made earlier out of the freezer and sleep-walked the 100 metres to her to place.
When the door was opened, I realised that the entire hallway was filled with friends who had gathered for my farewell party!!??!!(not exactly farewelll..just in tassie for a 7 week placement!! hee!)

The party was truly fantastic!! Everyone whom I wanted to see was there and I was really amazed at how well they had kept the secret!! I had met some of these people earlier and they have all sincerely said goodbyes to me..or so I thought!!

Thank you - Rachel, Mao, Lydea, Sara jean, Simon, Alsen, Jasmine, Emi, Soxi, Kaoru, Jilian, Max, Sik Yin, Louisa, Michelle, Aira, Ayaka Jean, Adelia, George, for coming, for taking the time to make the delicious food (it was a massive spread!!!) and thank you Weiqin and Jasmine for coordinating the event~~~Weiqin, you are such a lovely little sister!!!!

And after the party, Adelia, Sik Yin and Jean even came over to help me pack my luggage.

I am grateful beyond words.

Thank you all. :)

And the strawberry sorbet?? Fortunately it was a huge batch so there was plenty to go around!

Strawberry Sorbet
3X 375g punnets frozen strawberries
dash of rice milk (optional)
3/4 cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 cup (240ml) water

place the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat and stir without boiling until sugar is dissolved.
Increase the heat and bring to the boil for one minute. Set aside to cool.
blend strawberries in a food processor, add sugar syrup and lemon juice, blend again. Put in freezer and blend 2 times more at hourly intervals.
Note: you don’t really have to freeze the strawberries first but it would decrease freezing time.
I think it would work too if some frozen bananas were used in lieu of the sugar syrup. Oh and to freeze strawberries, just wash, pluck off the green tops, pat dry and put it in the freezer. They can last up to a year and are great for smoothies and jellies.