The never ending cookbook

Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse

This is definitely the best salmon mousse recipe ever. It is from Beverley Sutherland Smith’s wonderful old (1975) book, ‘A Taste for All Seasons’.

2 x 220g tins of best quality red or pink salmon
1 tablespoon gelatine
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
1 tablespoon home-made mayonnaise
1 cup finely diced celery
2 teaspoons chopped capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped bread and butter cucumbers
½ cup cream, lightly whipped
Drain the salmon and reserve liquid. Remove any bones and dark skin.

Mash, or put the salmon into a food processor for a few seconds and process until it is well broken up. If a food processor is used, a little of the reserved liquid may be added so that the salmon is not too dry.

Add gelatine to water, (not the other way around) and stir to dissolve the gelatine over hot water. Mix the dissolved gelatine with sugar, mustard powder, salt, horseradish cream and mayonnaise and stir this into the salmon. Add the celery, capers, green onions and bread and butter cucumbers. Lastly fold in the whipped cream. Put into a lightly oiled mould to set.

Cover and refrigerate. Mousse will keep well for several days.

Serve with cucumber salad.

 Photo by: http://lindaraxa.blogspot.com.au

Peach and Mango Chutney

Peach and Mango Chutney

This experimental recipe was inspired by the fact that Margie was hanging out for another batch of Spiced Peach Chutney and that Brisbane has had a bumper crop of mangoes due to the dry season in 2000. I simply could not bear to see all those mangoes at the top of Dublin Street rotting in the gutter.

Peaches, peeled, stoned and chopped
Green mangoes, peeled, stoned and chopped

For every 500g of combined peaches and mangoes, add:

125g brown sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground allspice (pimento)
1 onion, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Chopped flesh of 1 lime, all skin, seeds and pith removed
2 fresh long red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
100g ginger, peeled and either grated or finely sliced
½ – 1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat olive oil in a heavy based saucepan over moderate heat. Add chillies, ginger and garlic and sweat until soft. Add onion and cook until onion is soft.
Grate the zest from limes. Remove all peel, pith and seeds, then roughly dice the flesh.
Add to the pan with the peeled, stoned and chopped peaches and mangoes
In a separate saucepan, combine brown sugar and white wine vinegar and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Add sugar and vinegar to the other ingredients, add allspice (if using) and sea salt. Simmer for 1 hour or until mixture becomes quite tacky and has a chutney consistency.
Spoon hot mixture into sterilized jars and seal whilst hot. Store in a cool dark place until opened and then store in the refrigerator after jars are opened.

Photo by: Feast Photography

 

 

Shortbread

Shortbread

Everybody loves shortbread, especially at Christmas, and each cook swears by her own recipe. (I’m sorry if that is sexist!) I find shortbread made only with plain flour rather cloying and much prefer it made with the addition of some ground rice or semolina to give it some crunch. Don’t confuse ground rice with rice flour, although you can use rice flour too. Rice flour is quite fine whilst ground rice is more gritty.

250g butter
2 cups plain flour
½ cup semolina or ground rice
1/3 cup caster sugar

Sift the plain flour and add the other dry ingredients. Rub butter into the mixture and knead lightly until they can be transferred onto a floured board and kneaded until smooth.

Alternatively, put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, chop the cold butter roughly and add to the bowl. Process until the mixture forms a ball around the blade.

Press the mixture evenly into a greased lamington tin (28cm x 18cm), mark with a knife into squares or rectangles for cutting later. Prick the surface of the shortbread with a fork.

Preheat the oven to moderately slow (160C) and bake for 35 –40 minutes. Remove from oven and using a very sharp thin knife, cut right through along the pre-marked lines. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

The shortbread can also be made in an 18cm diameter flan tin with a removable base. Mark into wedges of the desired size and prick with a fork. Alternatively use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes as above!

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Cakes

Chickpea and sweet potato cakes

Sarah and I recently took Milly for a bite to eat at the Lido in Racecourse Road. I was absolutely starving so I ordered their tapas plate. (Ever hopeful!) Sarah followed suit and we both ended up with enormous platters of food which we couldn’t possibly hope to finish. The best were the chick pea and sweet potato (kumera) cakes that were absolutely delicious. Needless to say I bought sweet potatoes and chick peas to experiment the next day and while my experiments were cooking I began leafing through the current edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller. There, on page 54 was a recipe for Chickpea and Sweet Potato Cakes with Green Bean and Mint Salad. Coincidences I believe in, but that was just ridiculous!

Mine was nearly right.

800g orange sweet potato (kumera), cut into boiling size chunks
400g canned chickpeas, well drained
35g (¼ cup) plain flour
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive or grapeseed oil for frying

Cook the sweet potato in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Using a potato masher or ricer, mash until smooth. Add the chickpeas, flour and spices and mix together well. Mould dessertspoons of the potato mixture into rounds and place on a tray.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy based frying pan over medium heat and cook the cakes (flattening them a little with a spatula) for 3 minutes on either side or until golden. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve with natural Greek yoghurt or tzatziki or raita to dip.

Serves 4.

 Photo by: self.com

Christmas Glazed Duck Breasts in Orange Jus

Glazed Duck Breasts in Orange Jus

The duck breasts we have had for Christmas dinner for the last few years require quite a bit of organisation beforehand if Christmas day is to be hassle free. The breasts themselves are not difficult to cook, even if this method, (which I have borrowed from Tetsuya Wakuda) involves moving them from a frying pan to the oven to the griller. It is the sauce (or gravy, or jus) that presents the problem.

The breasts release a good deal of fat (which should be kept), but very little else that will help you to begin making a good sauce. They do release some juices when they are resting and these are, of course added to the sauce. It is a little late to begin, though, when the breasts are about to be served.

If you already have some homemade chicken gravy as a starting point, things become much easier. It really is worthwhile cooking a chicken during the week before Christmas for this express purpose. Have demi-glace on hand, bought or homemade, homemade chicken stock, a bottle of Grand Marnier and a made-up quantity of orange sauce base. The orange sauce base gives the sauce depth. Zested orange peel is an optional extra.

You can also make up the glaze beforehand.

If you have done all this and then find at the last minute that the shop from which you have ordered your duck breasts has itself forgotten to order duck breasts, (which has happened to me two years in a row), you can be forgiven for having a nervy turn! Last year, the only place that could help me at short notice was Black Pearl Caviar, really desperation stuff! The bonus was that the breasts (magrets) were from ducks with the most obscenely large breasts. They were expensive but absolutely delicious.

I think the moral of the story is to buy your breasts a couple of weeks before Christmas. Chances are they will be frozen anyway and they might as well sit in your freezer as in somebody else’s.

6 duck breasts (large if possible)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 – 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Plain flour
Good chicken gravy, prepared beforehand
Good chicken stock (or duck stock if you have it)
Demi-glace
Orange sauce base (see below)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Zested rind of 1 orange
Glaze (See below)

Orange sauce base:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons malt vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice, strained

Caramelise the brown sugar and malt vinegar together in a saucepan, then carefully add the strained orange juice. Simmer, then cool.

Duck glaze:
150ml soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50ml mirin

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin in a saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Line griller tray with foil and preheat oven.

Trim the duck breasts and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Brown breasts, in batches, skin side down, in the grapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan. When the skin is dark brown and crisp, turn to cook the flesh very briefly. Reserve the fat for another use.

Transfer the breasts to a baking dish and place in the oven to cook for another 5 – 6 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Remove from oven, place on a warm plate, cover with foil and allow to rest.

Strain off all but a little fat from the baking dish, add a little plain flour if there is sufficient duck juice to warrant it. Add chicken stock and make a light gravy. If insufficient duck juice, omit this step.

Place duck gravy (if any), prepared chicken gravy and orange sauce base in a saucepan with a little chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add Grand Marnier and 1 tablespoon demi-glace, reduce heat and simmer gently. Check seasonings.

Remove duck breasts from foil, carefully pouring any accumulated juices into the sauce.

Place breasts, skin side down, on foil covered grill tray and paint each breast with glaze. Brown lightly. Remove from grill, re-paint with glaze and replace under grill. Repeat one more time, each time being careful to remove the duck before it burns.

Cover breasts again with foil. Check the sauce and add zested orange rind, if using.

Spoon jus onto serving plates and top with duck breasts, skin side up.

Serve with roasted potatoes and red cabbage.

Serves 6.

Crab in Black Bean Sauce

crab-in-black-bean-sauce

The ingredients in this crab recipe are quite similar to the ingredients in Steamed Crab Cantonese, but the cooking method is different – in this one the crabs are fried in a wok. You have all had this cooked with black bean sauce, but I have done it without too, when it is almost unrecognisable as the same recipe. You must have a lid for your wok for this recipe. (You should have one anyway.) The quantities given here are for one mud crab or approximately two sand crabs.

1 mud crab or 2 sand crabs, uncooked, but well cleaned
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Sauce:
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, well rinsed and chopped, or 1 tablespoon black bean sauce (both optional)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or mirin
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
¾ cup stock or water
2 teaspoons cornflour dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Shallots to serve
Freshly ground black pepper

Have all ingredients ready and at hand before you begin. Heat wok over high heat until hot, add oil, swirl; add ginger, garlic, then fermented black beans or black bean sauce if using either. Stir quickly for 30 seconds. Add crab pieces, splash in the rice vinegar or mirin and stir a few times as it steams up, turning the crab pieces to ensure they are well coated with the hot oil. Add soy sauce, stock or water and the pepper. Even out the crabs in the wok, cover and steam for 4 minutes for sand crabs, longer for mud crabs, the time depending on the size of the claws.

When you think the crabs are almost cooked, uncover and stir well. Lower the heat, give the cornflour and water a good stir and pour it into the sauce. Add sesame oil and stir until the sauce thickens.

Then pour the beaten egg over the crab in a circular motion, remove from heat and let the egg flow into the sauce.

Remove to serving platter and serve immediately with shallots.

Warm Thai Beef Salad

Warm Thai Beef Salad

Annie Douglass made this for Opening Day on ‘Nerang’ one year, beautifully presented on a huge serving dish, right down to the chilli flowers, one of which Dad actually ate! Or it can be simply tossed.

The salad ingredients vary enormously from the mundane to the exciting. Warm roast fillet of beef tastes wonderful at any time with a Thai dressing, but the dish should contain some more exciting ingredients than tomato, capsicum, onion and chilli. Snake beans, if in season, are perfect, chopped peanuts almost a must. Snow peas are good too. Think about adding some grated green papaw, some ruby red grapefruit segments with their membranes removed so that you get little droplets of red grapefruit through the salad. Coriander and mint are, of course obligatory. Without them you might as well leave out the beef. Above all it should taste fresh.

Essentials:
750g piece of eye fillet of beef, well trimmed
1 clove garlic, crushed
Peanut (preferably), or canola oil
1 cup fresh coriander leaves, shredded
½ cup fresh mint, shredded
½ – ¾ cup chopped peanuts
2 baby red chillies, seeded and very finely sliced
6 shallots, finely sliced

Dressing:
¾ cup fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 dessertspoon oyster sauce
Sugar to taste

Salad Ingredients:
Choose from the following, trying to make the selection as interesting as possible:
Snake beans
Snow peas
Water chestnuts
Cherry tomatoes
Salad onion, sliced
Cucumber
Bean sprouts
Red capsicum, sliced
Garlic chives
Grated green papaw
Segmented ruby red grapefruit, membranes and seeds removed

Rub the beef with oil and garlic and roast in a pre-heated oven to rare or medium rare (about 20 minutes, depending on thickness). This should be done as close as possible to serving time so that the beef is still warm when served.

Blanch the snake beans in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking further. Strain and cut if desired. Top and tail the snow peas and remove strings. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking further. Strain and combine with the snake beans. Slice the water chestnuts and the capsicum. Chop the garlic chives as coarsely as you like. Grate the green papaw if using, outer part of the fruit only. Peel the grapefruit, divide into segments and carefully remove seeds. Ease out the little ‘capsules’ of grapefruit, trying not to squash them as you do so.

Slice the beef as thinly as possible. Either arrange on plates or place in a bowl with other salad ingredients. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, coriander, mint, chilli and shallots. Pour dressing over the whole salad.

Photo by: http://soojerky.blogspot.com.au