Sunday, March 29, 2020

672/1038 - Rabbit stock

A friend of my Mum's is doing his bit to reduce the rabbit population in Australia. He presented her with two pre-prepared little bunnies a little while ago and we were lucky enough to be gifted one of them. 

I decided to turn my rabbit into stock so as to use as much of it as possible. The first thing I did was to strip the meat from the carcass which I cooked separately and added to this incredibly flavourful risotto. Good stock, quite simply, makes good risotto. Rabbit stock is rich and full of flavour and so this one was a cracker.

Making different flavoured risotto is all about using a base recipe and then changing the ingredients that make it unique. This is the one I use.
  1. Melt 45g butter in a large frypan
  2. Add a large, finely chopped onion and fry gently until soft
  3. Add 1.5 cups arborio rice and stir through until the grains are coated
  4. With 6 cups of stock on hand, add a cup at a time and stir until mostly absorbed
  5. After 3 cups have been added, season to taste with salt and pepper and throw in your chosen flavours such as chopped vegetables or meat
  6. Continue to add the stock until all 6 cups have been added. 
  7. Stir through 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 30g butter.
  8. Enjoy!
If you don't have Parmesan, any other cheese will do in a pinch. I am unable to eat Parmesan right now and so we used mozzarella which worked surprisingly well. If you are watching your weight, you can skip step 7 if you like. The risotto will still be lovely, just not quite as rich.

I would love to hear of other flavour combinations! If you try this at home, please tell me via a comment here or post a pic on our Facebook page.

Stay well, everybody x

Sunday, March 22, 2020

671/1038 - Spanish ham and eggs

A little while ago I got VERY industrious in the kitchen and knocked out a number of challenge recipes. Conscious that this would not always be the case, I decided to hold off posting to the blog and instead have been adding one post per Sunday instead. My foresight appears to have been inspired given that we are now on the verge of a possible lock down and ingredients are no longer in abundant supply.

This recipe was packed full of flavour and probably also about a week's worth of calories. The inspiration came from a leg of ham that we were eating our way through and the realisation that I could easily carve out four quite generous slices. I didn't have a terracotta flame-proof dish to cook this in and so used my copper rondeau to cook two at a time and then transferred each portion to a plate.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the health challenges I have been dealing with, I am currently on a very restricted diet which absolutely does not include most of the ingredients in this recipe. Unfortunately for my adventurous palate the diet does seem to be working, with a noticeable reduction in symptoms when I am disciplined and significant flare ups when I deviate. Whilst this is wonderful news for my health, it does not bode well for the love affair I used to have with food. The fact that people around the world are getting sick and dying of course puts this very much into perspective so I am instead focussing on the positive, including the fact that there are still two types of cheese I am allowed to eat. When they finally reappear on the shelves I will be even more thrilled.

For now, I will simply revel in the fact that a little while ago I actually ate this little plate of flavours.

Stay well, everybody x

Sunday, March 15, 2020

670/1038 - Rhubarb and cinnamon cake

Rhubarb and cinnamon cake; a revelation in flavour!

Honestly, the texture and taste of this cake was nothing short of fabulous and everybody who ate it had the same look of rapture on their face. The inside was pillowy and soft and the outside fabulously crunchy, helped along by some oh so pretty gold sugar that I couldn't help sprinkling across the top. The fact that I still have four rhubarb recipes to make is the only thing stopping me from banging out this cake again and again every time our rhubarb plant replenishes itself.

I am in a self-imposed semi-lock down at the moment and so there is sure to be plenty more cooking on the horizon. I am not one who is prone to panic, but my choice of confinement is based on two things. Firstly, I fully support the slowing of the coronavirus in Australia to ensure our health system remains able to cope. I have been watching the spread of this virus play out around the world for some time now and was quite shocked in particular to see Italy's infected number increase by a further 3,500 overnight even though they have been in lock down for some time.

The other reason for my self-quarantine is self-preservation. Whilst I don't think the virus is likely to kill me, there are some medical issues I have been dealing for many months now which for a number of reasons have affected my breathing. The thought of contracting an illness which will further exacerbate my ability to obtain oxygen doesn't fill me with joy.

Time to give our little edible garden some extra love! Stay well everybody x

Sunday, March 8, 2020

669/1038 - Japanese-style steamed crab custards

Given the drop off in our visits to the Queen Vic market of late, procuring crabs is not a task that is easily achieved. It is therefore with minimal embarrassment that I disclose that this recipe was made with picked crab meat from a tin. 

With the choice of hauling out the wok and bamboo steamer or simply throwing the custards in the oven, I opted for the latter. If I am honest, I spent very little time on this lovely simple recipe, instead throwing my energy into the accompanying Thai crab fried rice which was bloody sensational. 

I remember years ago being berated by a friend regarding the mixing of cuisines from two cultures and also my terribly low care factor for having committed this apparent culinary faux pas. Nowadays this is called fusion which I am fairly sure means (a) I committed no crime, and (b) I was ahead of my time!  

So this Thai/Japanese fusion meal was quite lovely, with the custards serving as a lovely light entrĂ©e and the fried rice filling the bellies of our teenagers nicely. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

668/1038 - Fennel braised with balsamic vinegar and honey

Fennel is one of my favourite things. If not for the pain that this lovely herb evoked in my crazy gut, I would surely serve it up more often.

I cooked this dish completely on the stove top, which is generally my preference when I have the choice between that and the oven. I have enough self awareness to realise that this is a control issue, but I am a very hands on cook and experience perhaps more pleasure through the cooking process than I do with the eating.

This particular recipe was decadent and sweet and very much appreciated around the table. And did I mention the pork and fabulous crackling?

Fennel chapter - officially done and dusted.