Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Evolution Potato Salad

With each week of this Jamie Ministry of Food course I am attending, there are some lovely recipes to take away and repeat at home.  Some of these methods I would not necessarily have tried on my own especially when they seemed so simple like this Evolution Potato Salad and I have enjoyed the different choice of ingredients.

Its very welcoming when we arrive at the pop up trailer kitchen. Fresh herbs displayed outside and our aprons folded neatly on the boards ready for us to cook.  We go through some OH&S rules and kitchen etiquette, and then its full steam ahead.

Each week we come away with not only left overs but our folders are becoming stuffed with recipes.
The emphasis of this series of lessons is not to overcook the food especially vegetables and potatoes are no exception. It also concentrates on using less salt, sugar and fats.

This serves 4.

750g new potatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
a small bunch of fresh chives chopped
4 tablespoons natural yogurt
zest of 1 lemon

What to do…..
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil
scrub potatoes (leaving the skins on)
Chop large potatoes in half
Add potatoes to the boiling water and bring back to the boil for about 10-15 mins, depending on size.
Test potatoes with the point of a knife to make sure they are cooked through.
When cooked drain well in a colander and put them into a bowl.
Lightly whisk olive oil and lemon in a separate bowl
Season with salt and pepper and stir well.
Toss the hot potatoes in the dressing
Sprinkle over the chives and mix
Add the yogurt  and zest of lemon and combine so all the potatoes are well coated.

 Try this simple potato salad for yourself, you will love it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

St. Patrick's Day Chocolate Guinness Cake

I meant to make this cake for a chocolate challenge last month over at Belleau Kitchen but I didn't get anywhere near the deadline, then I meant to make it for a couple of  virtual birthdays but no, it didn't happen, so here it is in time for St. Patrick's Day - how appropriate.

This was selected from Books for Cooks No. 8 but is actually a Nigella cake from her book Feast, that  has a nice photo of what this cake should look like a dark black looking cake with a white frothy top of cream cheese icing, just like a pint of Guinness. Its a very easy cake to put together…. and it will serve 12 - a feast indeed.


For the Cake
250ml Guinness
250g butter
400g caster sugar
75g cocoa
140ml sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoons natural vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

For the topping
200g cream cheese
80ml double cream
100g icing sugar

What to do…

Heat the oven to 180C (160 fan forced).
Butter a 24cm (9 1/2in) springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper
Put Guinness with the butter into a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients and warm over a low heat until the butter has melted.
Take the pan from the heat and stir in caster sugar and sift in the cocoa.
Let cool slightly.
In a bowl beat the sour cream, eggs and vanilla together.
Pour this cream mixture into the pot, sift over the flour and soda and beat well until smooth with no trace of flour.
Pour into the buttered and lined cake tin and bake for about 1 hour  - until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and the side of the cake have shrunk slightly away from the tin.
Take from the oven and cool completely in the cake tin before turning out.

To make the topping - do this by hand as electric mixer may curdle the cheese.
Beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy
Gently mix in the cream.
Sift over the icing sugar and fold in until completely smooth.
Spread the frosting onto the completely cooled cake swirling so that it look like the creamy froth of a pint of Guinness.

Oh My this is just sooooooo good! Dark, rich, chocolatey, but not heavy or dry.

This keeps well and can be baked up to two days ahead.
Cool completely before storing at room temperature in an airtight container.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Chicken Breast with Prosciutto

Jamie Oliver calls this Chicken Breast with crispy Posh Ham and you can find it in his book Jamie's Ministry of Food.

I attended my second Friday evening at Jamie's Ministry of Food, five week course, in the Jamie pop up kitchen that popped up close to work. Its an amazing kitchen inside, a converted trailer that houses 4 work bench tops including hotplates and fully stocked with all the cooking pots and utensils you might need, 4 sets of wall ovens and 4 sinks. So 12 participants, 1 instructor with a demonstration bench and 1 volunteer assistant.  Amazingly we all fit and cook quite well.

The first week was all about Kitchen safety and etiquette and eggs. We cooked spinach frittata, poached and boiled eggs. And we ate it all before I even thought to take any photos.

Even though I consider myself a pretty good cook we have so far cooked some different things and I am very happy to pick up some tips along the way e.g. knife techniques, bashing techniques (with a fry pan) and different ways of doing things that I can incorporate into my home cooking.

Last week was this lovely chicken dish accompanied with Evolution Potato Salad and Lemony Green Beans all of which can be found in Jamie's book by the way, which has now come down from my bookshelf!

It seems that most of these recipes at the course are designed for two - we eat one at the Pop-up kitchen with the rest of the participants and bring one home - this saves cooking on a Friday night which I am quite liking!

We started with this Evolution Potato Salad and put the potatoes on to boil (I'll come back to this later) and then set about the chicken.


2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 small  skinless chicken breasts (approx 120g each)
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
4 slices of prosciutto
olive oil

What to do…….

Pick thyme leaves off the stalks.
Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss cross fashion so once it starts to cook will lay flat in the pan.
Season with pepper
Lay out some glad wrap (cling film)
lay two slices of prosciutto on the film
lay on the chicken breast
sprinkle with thyme and zest of the lemon (to your taste)
drizzle with oil
fold the prosciutto ends over the chicken to complete the parcel.
Lay on some more cling film and give the chicken a good bash with the bottom of your fry pan until the breast is even in thickness - about 1cm and quite flat.
Repeat with the other breast.

Heat the fry pan over a medium heat.
Remove cling film and carefully transfer breasts to the pan.
Drizzle with a little oil.
Cook for approx 3 mins on each side turning halfway through, giving the ham time to crisp.

These were delicious and took very little time to prepare and cook.

Looking forward to tomorrow and the next class.

Including this in Lavender and Lovage Cooking with herbs this month which features rosemary that I think would work equally well in this dish. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Labour Day Monday Moussaka

A public holiday renders more time to potter in the kitchen preparing food that takes a little longer to cook, could be fiddly or something you like to take your time with. And so this evening the beautiful shiny aubergines (egg plant) that I had been given in the week from one of my son's vegetable patch was giving me the guilts. I am not a huge fan of the vegetable, having said that when my daughter-in-law (who is Italian) cooks them I always love them even when they are plainly pan fried.  So when I said to the man I was cooking Moussaka with those lovely egg plant there was silence - he is not a fan either. 

I also had some lamb stir fry meat defrosted and decided to use that instead of minced lamb (I did dice it quite small).
In the middle of cooking  this dish my 4 year old granddaughter visited from next door (her 20th visit for the day!) and declared that maybe she should stay for dinner cos it smelt better than her house! (She is half Greek into the bargain).
Anyway here is the recipe I adapted tonight from "cafe food at home" by Rosanna Thomson and this makes 4 ample serves  6 at a push.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g lamb - forequarter, chopped or minced
185g mushrooms chopped
500g fresh chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
150ml beef stock (oxo in water)
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1cm(1/2in) slices
125g plain flour - for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
90g grated parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
What to do……
Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
Heat 1 tablespoon in a large pan/saucepan till hot and fry onion and garlic till soft but not too coloured
Add lamb and fry until lightly browned.
Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 5 mins
Add tomato paste and stock and cook for a further 5 mins
Roll eggplant slices in flour
Heat remaining oil in a frying pan, and fry eggplant slices on both sides in batches and drain of absorbent paper.
Line casserole dish/tin with slices of eggplant.
Spoon over the meat mixture, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley.  Cover with another layer of eggplant and repeat the process until the dish is full finishing with a layer of eggplant.  
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cook in the oven until golden brown - approx 15-20 minutes. 
Serve with a light green salad. 

 Tip:  place the very full loaf tin on a baking tray to stop the drips spilling on the floor of the oven and smoking!

Variation: Before adding the parmesan cheese, pour over a layer of b├ęchamel sauce then the cheese.

As there were only two for dinner tonight there is some leftover for the little girl next door for her tea tomorrow.
Joining with Ren Behan for her March Simple and in Season

Saturday, 8 March 2014

In My Kitchen

My Kitchen is full of gifts this week…….

The man brought me home this lovely book as a gift - for no particular reason

A friend bought me this lovely tea as a gift
A thank you gift from work

A gift to myself!
Can't wait to use this biscuit press
A vase of fresh flowers - a gift from my garden
A gift from my son's vegetable patch
Joining in with Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you want to join in too just link up.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

This Moment

This moment - Friday ritual. A single photo no words, capturing a moment from the week. 
Joining with Amanda atSoulmama