Friday, December 28, 2018

Warrigal Greens pappardelle

I have been fascinated by bush foods since our trek to Uluru a few years ago, having attended a bush foods masterclass with a couple of the locals. My lovely husband remembered this and bought me a huge pile of ingredients from Taste Australia Bush Food Shop for Christmas. 

Tonight was my first foray into bush food wonderland. 

It would have been difficult to decide what to cook first except that the Warrigal greens arrived fresh and so the choice was fairly obvious. It is always confronting when you realise that an ingredient you are about to use is quite toxic in its raw form. Some websites recommended blanching it for three minutes and The Cook's Companion recommended five. Given the possibility I could poison my family if I didn't cook it well enough, I opted for five and then rinsed it very, very well. The smell as it was cooking reminded me very much of silverbeet which was lovely and familiar. 

After having the life squeezed out of it to remove all moisture, I threw it in the thermomix and blended it well. The recipe in the Cook's Companion required only a half cup of fresh Warrigal greens but I decided I was not in the mood to cook two different things so I blended the entire bunch. I think I started with around 500 grams before the stems were removed. At this point I realised that I would be going "off-recipe" and threw in about four cups of flour. When blitzed, I was thrilled to realise that I had created my very own green flour. I am kicking myself now for not taking a picture! 

Having made pasta many, many times I added the eggs by eye; ending up with four or five eggs and another four yolks in the mixture before I was happy with the consistency. 

Running out of energy, the pasta ended up resting overnight instead of for the required hour. Honestly the best pasta making tip I think I could ever give is to rest the pasta in the fridge (sealed in cling film) for at least thirty minutes and if flavoured, at least an hour. It makes rolling it out a breeze. 

I hand cut the pappardelle which kept things nice and rustic. We were thrilled with the taste which was beautiful and fresh and the texture of the pasta was absolutely spot on which I did not expect given the amount of greens in there. 

Look out for some more bush food action over the coming weeks and months. 

Hanging out to dry

Sunday, December 23, 2018

627/1038 - Rouille

Well look at that, I slipped in another one before Christmas! 

Beautiful fish in the fridge plus needing to roast some peppers anyway equals an easy and tasty fish dinner. When I first tasted the rouille I was a bit worried as the taste of the potato was quite strong. I needn't have worried. Once it was paired with the fish (and the vegetables!) the flavour was absolutely perfect.

I absolutely love Stephanie's instruction to wrap the grilled peppers in a tea towels before they are peeled. They sweat perfectly and the peel comes straight off every time. There is nothing difficult about this recipe and even though rouille is actually supposed to be eaten in fish soup, it goes beautifully with just about everything else, too.

As well as having a lovely dinner to enjoy, tonight is a very special night for us. As I mentioned in my previous post, what is Christmas eve eve for everybody else is actually the night before Christmas for my little family. I am so very excited this year as I am completely organised present-wise and I even managed to hand in two law assignments in the midst of the madness. On top of that I am REALLY happy with the presents I have organised for everybody and even better than that I have had each of my family members tell me that I will love what they bought for me. 

How am I ever going to sleep tonight?

Ready for Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

626/1038 - Aunt Peggy's powder puffs

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! 

If I am honest, Christmas used to feel like a bit of a chore. It used to start with a ridiculously early start and opening presents with the kids (I loved that bit!) but then we undertook what felt like the never-ending trek from one house to another to satisfy all of our family commitments. It was simply exhausting. And on top of that, we had to disappoint our kids who just wanted to sit in their pyjamas and play with their new things. I was always a HUGE advocate for creating our own Christmas day but my husband would have none of it. Christmas was the 25th of December and that was that. 

Until it wasn't. 

I have no idea how I convinced him, but one year he agreed to try my idea and have our own Christmas day on the 24th. I have LOVED Christmas ever since! We play carols, drink egg nog, open our presents and sit around in our pyjamas all day playing with our new things. It is simply fabulous. And even better, there is one less day to wait to open our presents. Win, win!  

So with the house looking absolutely gorgeous, I am ready for this Christmas 2018 to come! Last night I thought I would do a bit of pre-festive cooking and had my first go at these powder puffs. I have always wondered what a powder puff would taste like and now I know it is kind of like a yoyo but much, much softer. Like having your own personal mini filled sponge.

One thing I DID learn the hard way was not to stack them away on top of one another because they have a tendency to stick to one another. A smarter way would have been to stack them away already sandwiched in pairs and with a small piece of baking paper in between each pair. Mine tasted fantastic but they didn't all look pretty like this one. As they say, looks are not everything.  

With an assignment due next Friday and plenty of Christmas shopping yet to do, I am wondering if this might be my final post for 2018. Just in case it is, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! 

May the rest of your year (and all of 2019) be wonderful x

Sunday, December 9, 2018

625/1038 - Persian sugar-pickled garlic

OK, so this picture is from BEFORE the garlic was pickled...but it looked much prettier this way! 

My mum buys her garlic from Patrice Newell's garlic farm and then very generously shares it with me. It is delicious and of course much, much better for you than garlic which is imported and sprayed. I decided to pickle some as it is so beautiful that I just hate the thought of not getting through it before it is no longer fresh. 

The smell of the garlic pickling has permeated my house (which I am completely OK with) but my husband thinks it smells as if I have cooked up a batch of pepper spray. While I don't agree with his assessment, I can confirm that catching an eyeful of the steam as it boiled caused a small amount of pain. Even so, I think the smell is quite lovely.

Apparently the pickled garlic will last as long as fifteen years so I am very pleased to report that this, unlike some other things I have made, will not go off in my fridge. I am not sure of the stats in Australia, but apparently American families throw out between 14 and 25 percent of the food they buy, which is nothing short of astonishing. While I am nowhere near that bad, I do feel a pang of guilt whenever I have to toss something that is past its date or has simply festered in my fridge or pantry for too long. 

Unfortunately for impatient me, these sweet and smelly little cloves need to sit for a whole month before we can eat them. Once this wait time has elapsed, we will enjoy them as we do our pickled ginger; randomly scattered on meat and vegetables alike. 

Can. not. wait.