at the table

Recipes, that's it.

lemony butter cookies — 25/03/2018

lemony butter cookies

lemon butter cookies
Photo and recipe by Kristen Stevens

This recipe comes from Kristen Stevens at Food & Wine . I served the cookies in a bowl with a fat dollop of thick, creamy yoghurt, the kind that comes in a container with fruit on the bottom (in this case, black cherry) and plain yoghurt on top. It worked really well together. Also, I found that the quantity of confectioners’ (icing) sugar for the glaze was barely enough to cover all the cookies, so I think ¾ cup would be better. It’s such a yummy glaze, you’ll be glad you made a bit more.

Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350° and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and juice, then beat in the flour and salt until just incorporated; scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary.

Roll half of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets and, using your fingers, gently flatten each cookie. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom and just firm; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool slightly, then repeat with the remaining dough.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice and butter until smooth. Spread the lemon glaze on the cooled cookies and garnish with finely grated lemon zest. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 15 minutes.

Makes about 36 cookies.

 

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crispy zucchini — 18/03/2018

crispy zucchini

This scrummy, easy recipe comes from Giorgio Locatelli’s ‘Made in Sicily’ cookbook. He suggests serving it as an antipasto or to have alongside some pasta or meat.

  • 4 zucchinis
  • sea salt
  • oo flour for dusting
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Cut the zucchinis into fine strips. Put them into a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave in the fridge for 1 hour. Drain excess liquid but don’t rinse.

Have the flour ready in a shallow dish. Take the zucchini strips from the bowl – don’t squeeze them, as you want them to be a little moist so that the flour clings to them -and dust them with flour.

Heat some oil on a large pan (no more than a third full). It shouldn’t be too hot as you don’t want the zucchini to brown too quickly (if you drop in some flour it should start to sizzle very gently).

Lower the zucchini into the oil and fry until golden and crispy. Lift out and drain on paper towels.

Serves 4

 

chicken on warm lentils with baby spinach — 17/03/2018

chicken on warm lentils with baby spinach

A hearty meal chicken on lentilsgreat for a wintery night. For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken & bacon (obviously) use vegetable broth, and add some toasted pecans and/or fried shallots. It’s still really tasty. 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, split, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 red capsicum (sweet red pepper), seeded, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups lentils such as Le Puy, brown or green
  • 2½ to 3 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 large sprig of fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 6 thickly sliced bacon rashers (or turkey bacon for non-pork people)
  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breasts or 12 skinless boneless thighs or mixture of both
  • 6 cups lightly packed baby spinach or arugula or mixture of both
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add leek, carrot, celery, capsicum and garlic; cook 5 minutes, uncovered and stirring often.

Meanwhile, inspect lentils for any small rocks; rinse in a sieve under cold running water. Set aside while vegetables are continuing to cook.

Then add the drained lentils, 2½ cups broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Stir, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 15 minutes if there is still a lot of liquid, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Cooking times vary depending on type and age of lentils. Then stir in parsley and lemon zest; keep warm while cooking the chicken. (If making ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate lentils for up to a day. Reheat until hot.)

When lentils are almost done, cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium-low to medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Leave about 1 tbsp of grease in pan, discarding remainder.

Meanwhile, give chicken a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. When bacon comes out of pan, adjust heat to medium. Add chicken, skin-side/smooth-side down. Sauté 8 – 10 minutes, depending on thickness, per side or until golden and cooked through; remove from pan. Deglaze pan with remaining ½ cup broth.

Line warmed plates with spinach; top with some of the lentil mixture and some lemon juice. Place chicken on lentils; deglazed liquid; crumble bacon overtop. Garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4 – 6

Adapted (slightly) from Food & Drink, Holiday 2012

affogato — 10/08/2017

affogato

“Affogato” means “drowned” in Italian; it’s also the name of the simplest dessert ever. You drown a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream (other flavours, such as hazelnut, can work too) with a cup or more of espresso coffee. Add a dash of liquor if you like and/or top with grated chocolate. 

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grilled corn Mexican style — 04/08/2017

grilled corn Mexican style

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I first tried this style of corn at Cafe Habana in New York. That was in 1997 and I still savour the moment. The cheese used at the restaurant is Cotija but if you can’t find it, Manouri or Feta will do as a substitute.

  • 6 ears of corn, silk and husks removed
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Cotija cheese
  • ground chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime cut into 6 wedges

Fire up the grill and get all the ingredients ready. Steam or boil corn for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir mayonnaise, sour cream, cumin and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Place grated cheese on a large plate and set aside. Place steamed corn on grill, turning frequently, until browned in spots, about 10-12 minutes. When corn is done on the grill, attach corn holders to each ear, and working quickly, smear each ear with the mayonnaise mixture (a basting brush works well) and then roll in the grated cheese, sprinkle chili powder and then place on a plate. You are working quickly so that the heat of the corn will soften the cheese. Serve immediately with lime wedges alongside. Squeeze lime over corn before eating.

Recipe and photo from http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/

chocolate salami — 24/07/2017

chocolate salami

There’s no meat in this. It’s basically chocolate, butter, broken up biscuits and whatever else you want to throw in such as, nuts, raisins, coconut etc. It’s great for summer because there’s no baking required and it’s so easy I get my 12 year old to make it.

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  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plain biscuits (cookies) broken into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons of espresso coffee or coffee-type liquor such as Kahlua
  • ¼ cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water. When it is completely smooth and melted, mix in biscuit pieces, vanilla essence and coffee or liquor. This is also the time to add any nuts or whatever else you might like to add. My son and I prefer to make it plain except for the addition of white chocolate but don’t make the mistake we made. Wait until the mixture has cooled down before adding the white chocolate, otherwise it will melt and then no one will know it’s there and then what’s the point?

Sprinkle the unsweetened cocoa on a sheet of wax paper. Scrape the mixture onto the wax paper and create a log by rolling the mixture (within the wax paper so you don’t get your hands dirty at all) back and forth. Twist the ends to seal. Place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. When you’re ready to serve, roll the log in confectioners sugar. If it’s too firm to cut, leave it at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then slice.

Makes about 8 servings.

 

grilled prawns on arugula with lemon vinaigrette — 20/07/2017

grilled prawns on arugula with lemon vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 24 large prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails on
  • handful of green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 unhusked corn
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, preferably white balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 cups arugula leaves
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, torn

To marinate the prawns, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, and cayenne in a glass or other non-reactive bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently toss the prawns through the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.

Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil just over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Build a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill or pre-heat a gas grill. Grill the corn, covered, turning often, until the husks are charred, about 20 minutes. Husk the corn and remove the silks. Cut the corn off the cobs and set aside.

If using a charcoal grill, the coals should have burned down to medium-hot. If using a gas grill, adjust the heat to medium. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the prawns, turning once, until firm and pink, 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the arugula, green beans, tomatoes, corn and basil in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Divide the salad evenly among 4 large plates with some grilled prawns on top. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Recipe from Art Smith, Back to the Table

 

Algerian eggplant — 07/07/2017

Algerian eggplant

Algerian eggplant

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
  • salt
  • olive oil for frying
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 pinches of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or more to taste

Remove three vertical strips of skin from each eggplant, leaving it striped, then cut eggplants into ½-inch slices. Salt the slices and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse well, squeeze gently, and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat about ¼ inch of oil in a skillet and fry the slices, a few at a time, over high heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain. Using the back of a fork, roughly mash the eggplant with the garlic and spices. Fry this mixture in the oil in skillet until all liquid evaporates, stirring often.  Don’t worry about the oiliness because when it’s done you drain the eggplant mixture in a colander. Stir lemon juice through and check for salt. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from Paula Wolfert, Mediterranean Cooking

 

pavlova — 05/07/2017

pavlova

I am originally from Australia and I thought pavlova was too until I learnt that New Zealanders claim it as their invention. I don’t really care where the recipe comes from, I just know it’s one of my absolute favourite summer desserts.

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  • 8 large egg whites*
  •  salt
  • 1¾ cups superfine sugar
  • 1lb seasonal berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, etc)
  • 500ml whipping cream

Preheat oven 225F. Line two oven trays with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt in a mixer until they form stiff peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add sugar and then turn to the highest setting. Continue to mix until mixture is stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes. Divide the mixture between the two trays and spread each one out into a circle, about 9-inches in diameter. Use the back of a spoon to spread and shape into whatever form you like. Keep in mind, pavlova will hold that shape even after it is baked. Bake for 1¼  hours, or until firm, then turn oven off and leave the pavlovas in until oven has cooled.

While the pavlovas are baking you can whip the cream and prepare the fruit. When ready to assemble, place one pavlova on a serving dish and cover with berries. Then sandwich the berries with the other pavlova and top with whipped cream and more berries.

Serves 12

*Be careful not to get any yolk in the egg whites. If you do, the whites won’t stiffen.

 

 

 

 

 

Tahitian vanilla ice cream (no eggs) — 30/06/2017

Tahitian vanilla ice cream (no eggs)

vanilla icecream

I used to think all vanilla was the same until I tried Tahitian vanilla. It makes particularly good ice cream flavouring. This recipe is for designed for an ice cream maker with the freezer bowl completely frozen before use.

  • 1 cup whole milk, well chilled
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons pure Tahitian vanilla extract (or standard vanilla if you can’t get Tahitian)

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn ice cream machine on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Makes about 10 servings