Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Giant Stuffed Potato Cake

When a fellow foodie translator posted a link to this video last week I knew I had to try my own version of a giant pan fried potato cake because the filling wasn't my cup of tea. No veg for starters ;) The video is in Italian but easy to follow (and I've translated the ingredients).

Here's my version with mince and sautéd veggies. Originally, I was going to make a vegetarian dish but I'd just bought fresh mince so I incorporated that.

I made the potato cake as per recipe but didn't add salt as I'd boiled the potatoes in sufficiently salted water. Also, there's salt in the parmesan and I also seasoned all the fillings.

(serves 4-6)

400 g boiled potatoes, mashed
150 g flour
50 g parmesan, freshly grated
1 egg
250 g beef mince
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red chili
1 small aubergine
2 small, thin, pointed green peppers
1 large flat mushroom or button mushrooms
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

1. First make the dough by mixing the potatoes, flour, parmesan and egg by hand until you can shape it into a dough as shown in the video. Set aside.

2. Finely chop the onion, garlic and chili. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add the mince, season with salt and pepper and fry until the mince is cooked. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe out the pan with paper towel. Thinly slice the aubergine. Heat some oil in the pan and fry the aubergines until they are completely soft turning and adding more oil as necessary. Place on paper towel and season with pepper and salt.

4. Slice the pepper and mushrooms. Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the sliced veg until lightly browned. Set aside.
5. Divide the potato dough into two pieces. Lightly brush a small (20 cm) frying pan with oil and spread out one half of the dough, forming a rim.

Place the aubergine slices on top, followed by the mince and the pepper and mushroom mix.

Flatten out the second half of the dough and place on top ensuring pressing the edges of the top and bottom layer of dough firmly together.

6. Fry over a low to medium heat for 15 minutes on each side until golden.

Serve hot with a light leafy salad.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Orange and Coconut Drizzle Muffins

I added some coconut to the drizzle and using a couple of teaspoons spread a little on top. Probably won't do that again.
After eating a delicious orange and coconut muffin in London last week I wanted to try to make them myself. I googled and found this cake recipe, which I liked because it uses the whole orange in the batter. Since I'm not particularly fond of very sweet icing sugar icing I decided to make orange and coconut drizzle muffins converting the measurements to metric and adapting the recipe as detailed below. As I only had blood oranges at hand I used those.

(makes 12 muffins)

3 small blood oranges or 2 medium oranges
200 g butter, chopped, at room temperature
3 eggs
150 g unrefined soft brown sugar (110 g + 40 g)
180 g flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
40 g desiccated coconut

1. Thoroughly wash the oranges removing any wax with a brush. Chop up 1 1/2 blood oranges removing any pips and process to a pulp in a food processor. Meanwhile zest the other oranges. Add to the pulp and set aside.

2. Using a hand blender mix the butter and 110 g of sugar until creamy. Mix in the eggs, then the orange pulp and desiccated coconut.

3. Mix the flour and baking powder and add in batches until you have a smooth batter.

4. Line a muffin tin with paper cases and spoon in the cake mixture.

5. Bake at 200 °C/gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes. Check with a skewer if they're done.

6. Leave to cool in the muffin tray for 10 minutes.

7. In the meantime, squeeze out the remaining oranges, strain and mix with 40 g sugar.

8. Drizzle with the orange and sugar solution then carefully remove from the tin and place on a rack too cool completely.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Spring Day Salad

I nearly didn't remember that yesterday was the first day of spring even though I enjoyed a very late breakfast in the garden for the very first time this year. After the indulgences of our trip to London last week what we really wanted was a large but filling salad. As usual, I had a rough idea of what I might put into it, e. g. buffalo mozzarella, but in the end it turned out entirely differently. And it took me a while to come up with a title for this raw and cooked salad with fruit and veg topped with tahini and roasted chickpeas.

Please note that you need to roast the chickpeas at least one hour ahead.

(serves 4)

lettuce leaves of your choice
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe pear
steamed sugar snaps
2 hard boiled eggs (optional)
3-4 cooked beetroot (no vinegar)

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 part elderflower infused sherry vinegar
2-3 parts elderflower infused extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp agave nectar or runny honey (local if possible)
fresh dill (as an alternative to the flavour of elderflower infused oil and vinegar)

topping 1:
2 tbsp of Greek or Turkish style yoghurt
2 tbsp unsalted tahini
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
touch of lime juice

topping 2:
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1-2 tsp of sweet paprika
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
drizzle of garlic infused extra virgin olive oil

1. First, get your oven on to roast the chickpeas. Place the chickpea into a sandwich tin or similar, season with pepper, salt and paprika, drizzle with olive oil and mix well. Bake in the upper part of the oven (doesn't matter where in a fan assisted oven) at full whack for 10-15 minutes, then turn so the soft side is up. Repeat this until the chickpeas are crunchy. Set aside and leave to cool.

2. Steam the sugar snaps for 3-5 minutes then plunge into ice cold water to stop them from cooking further. Drain and set aside.

3. Prepare your yoghurt dressing next by mixing all the ingredient. Keep refridgerated until neede.

4. Make the salad dressing. If you don't have elderflower infused oil or vinegar use finely chopped dill.

5. Use any lettuce you like, though I'd suggest something a little sturdier and more flavourful than round lettuce, and place into a large serving bowl. Julienne the cooked beetroot, core the pear and cut into chunky slices, spoon out chunks of the avocado with a teaspoon, chop up the boiled eggs (if used) and add to the bowl.

6. Dress the salad, top with a little tahini dip and a tablespoon of roasted chickpeas and serve the remaining tahini dip and chickpeas on the side for everyone to help themselves. Alternatively, serve on individual plates as in the photo at the top.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Rocket, Orange and Avocado Salad

Last week, there weren't any blood oranges at my favourite discounter and I thought that's the season over. Yesterday, however, they were back so I grabbed another bundle. Last night, we had a vegetarian carbonara, which I was going to acccompany with a rocket salad. That's when I discovered two very ripe avocados and decided to try something a bit different. Ordinary oranges will work well with this recipe.

1 bag unwashed wild rocket (approx. 100 g)
1 ripe avocado
2 (blood) oranges
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
1 tsp orange marmalade, optional

1. Make the dressing. Squeeze one of the oranges. Add salt, pepper, balsamic, EVO, orange juice and marmalade, if used, to a bowl and whisk together.

2. Wash and spin the rocket. Place into a salad bowl.

3. Peel the second orange and chop into the segments. Add to the rocket.

4. Cut the avocado in half, twist and separate the two halves. Gently squeeze the half that contains the stone so it drops out. With a teaspon, scoop out the flesh in chunks straight into the salad bowl.

5. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix and serve immediately.