chocolate tarte

the (mis)adventures of an aussie girl in a kitchen somewhere in europe

14 Februar 2007

apples and oranges

I'm ignoring Valentine's Day (because Mr. Big reckons it's always Valentine's Day, awwwwww!), instead bringing some really fruity stuff from the UK weekend papers that we have eaten recently. And this first dish, a pork fillet with a wonderful gingery apple sauce from Nigel Slater is so good we've had it twice already. It has been really fun learning about all the different kinds of apples, last night we used Topaz. The recipe, from an article in the Guardian charts this brilliant writer's search to find the perfect apple tree for his garden after the scaffolder's uprooted his Blenheim Orange.

The orange cake is from The Telegraph and I made it because I can't bear to see my half-consumed polenta packet sitting unloved and ignored in the pantry any longer. And although I know Mr. Big can't bear polenta I felt confident I could hide it in a cake amidst thin, soft, sweet slices of organic orange, served with a big dollop of thick Greek yoghurt. And there were no complaints!

Roast fillet of Pork with Apples and Cider
(from Nigel Slater)
serves 2
400g fillet of pork
olive oil
2 onions
50g ginger, peeled and chopped finely
3 large apples
350ml cider
thyme (a small bunch of fresh is best but I used dried)
salt and pepper

Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Season the pork fillet with salt and pepper then place in a hot frying pan with a little olive oil and sear until browned all over. Set aside.
Dice the onions, roughly chop the apples and combine in a bowl with the ginger, thyme, salt, pepper and some olive oil. Put into a casserole and gently cook on the stove, when the onions become translucent, put back in the fillet of pork, place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
Remove the pork and wrap lightly in al-foil and let rest. Pour the cider into the roasting tin and bring to the boil on the stovetop, then simmer, reducing the liquid by half, stirring occasionally.
Carve the pork into thick slices and serve with the apple sauce. Mashed potato (if you can bring yourself to give it a go) works well as a side.

Sweet Orange Polenta Cake (from The Telegraph)
3 organic oranges
110g butter
3 Tbs+ 110g+ 2Tbs caster sugar
140g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
60g polenta
pinch of salt

Slice one orange really thinly, bring a wide pan of water to the boil and simmer the orange slices (minus the top and bottom ones) for about 2 minutes, remove and dry on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C . Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper and place however many orange slices you need over the base, filling the gaps (hopefully better than I did). Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Cream together the butter, 110g sugar and the pinch of salt. Grate the rind of 2 of the oranges and fold in together with 2 tablespoons of flour. Beat in the eggs one at a time and pour in the juice of one orange half. Fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and polenta.

Pour the mixture over the slices of orange and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (I needed only 30 minutes!). Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin, peel off the baking paper and invert. Combine the juice of 1 and a half oranges with 2 tablespoons of sugar, make lots of little holes in the cake with a skewer, then slowly pour the sugary juice over the cake.

05 Februar 2007

seven letters, starts with "L"

Mr Big and I were lucky enough to get hold of 1 cent flights to Ireland last weekend. We love Ryanair. We love Ireland. And I love the weekend papers and the Observer Food Monthly.

Since getting back from our break in this beautiful country I have slowly been working my way through copious recipes included in an article from this excellent monthly liftout entitled "Brain Food - are you getting enough?". We've had Best Fruit Nut Mix for breakfast, Best Fish Patties, and now this Best Herby Veggie Bake. Accordingly, we are expecting our registration forms from Mensa any day now.

Here is the recipe for the Herby Veggie Bake, a vegetarian lasagne. Jamie Oliver has an amazing recipe for meatballs with cumin and parmesan which really livens things up so I was intrigued to try this spice out again in a surprising way. The white sauce is made from soya milk, full of essential fatty acids and isoflavones to help protect against osteoporosis, menstrual problems and crossword trouble.

Best Herby Veggie Bake (from the Observer Food Monthly)
serves 6
for the white sauce:
50g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
500 ml soya milk

for the lasagne:
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 tbs flaxseed oil
3 zucchinis, diced
1 aubergine, diced
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tbs tomato puree
3 tbs fresh oregano
400g dried lasagne (I used much less)
3 tbs Parmesan, grated
6 fronds fresh dill
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 220C (gas mark 7). Melt the butter in a saucepan, then remove from the heat, stir in the flour and cumin and put back on a gentle heat and stir continuously for 2 minutes, slowly adding the soy milk until quite thick.
Sweat the onion and garlic in a frying pan, then add the chopped veggies, oregano and tomato puree, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Put a layer of veggie sauce into a lightly greased baking dish, then the lasagne sheets, alternating and finishing up with the veggies. The pour over the white sauce and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter the parmesan and fresh dill and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.