Category Archives: Cooking techniques

Infused oils – a fast track to flavour


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We all know that meals can be time intensive, and during the week – we need all the ideas we can to get dinner done quick. So, I have a great trick that’s going to cut down the time you spend with your chopping board.

Infusing oil with different flavours, including garlic, chilli, rosemary and even ginger – is a great way to add flavours to your salads, sauces and marinades without having to chop anything up. Perfect! This is a concept the express cooking queen, Nigella is very fond of.

You can buy infused oils at the supermarket, but why not do it yourself when the process really doesn’t take that long, expect for the need to leave the oil and your flavourings to steep for a week.

You can do different combinations, depending on what food you like.

In the case of garlic oil, place about 500ml of olive oil in a saucepan, over a low heat. While it warms, break up a bulb of garlic and hit the cloves with the flat part of your knife. This will break the cloves and allow them to release their flavour.

Once the oil is warm, but not hot, add the garlic to the oil and switch off the heat. It’s important not to over heat the oil, as it takes away its natural flavour.

Transfer the oil into a sterilised, dry jar and pop it in the fridge for a week. This will make the oil go thick and cloudy.

After a week, remove the jar from the fridge and allow the oil to come to room temperature.

Strain the garlic from the oil and place it in a sterilized jar or bottle with an air-tight lid. Store in a cool, dark place in the pantry and use when desired. Keep for up to two months.

This garlic oil is very basic, but you can add more flavours, like chilli. Just cut 4 whole green or red chillies in half, and add them to the oil at the same time as you add the garlic. You could also do herb infused oil.

Mix and match however you like – and you will be very pleased to not have to peel and finely diced garlic cloves when all you want to do is get a tasty meal on the table, fast!

Have you used infused oils before? What kind of flavour combinations have you found work well for you? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Be Inspired~

Lisa

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The Weekly Cook Up: Marinades


Marinating meat is a great way to not only save time, but to inject lots of awesome flavour into a week-night meal.

This week I’m going to share with you three really awesome marinades, which can be used on chicken, beef and lamb which will have your family raving not only about the great flavours, but also the tenderness of the meat.

Marinading meat is so convenient because you can do your weekly/fortnightly or monthly shop and marinate whatever meats you wish before popping them in the freezer. Once thawed, all that is left to do is cook it, and because it will be bursting with flavour, a simple salad or side of vegies is the only accompaniement required.

Don’t know much about marinating? Well, you’ll see from the below recipes that there are generally three main ingredients in each – acid (like lemon juice), oils and seasonings (herbs, spices, salt and pepper etc). The oils and the acids help tenderise the meat and break down the fibres to allow the seasonings to penetrate their great flavour. Once you get hold of a few good marinating recipes and start to understand what flavours work – then you’ll be making up your own before you know it!

Greek-style marinade

  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • The juice of a whole lemon
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 a tsp of sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbs of dried oregano

This marinade is great for chicken thighs or lamb chops, which can then be grilled on a hot pan or on the barbecue.

You could also spread it over a whole chicken or on maryland pieces (which is the cut with the thigh and leg bone, joined together) before roasting in a medium  oven (about 180 to 200 degrees C – cooking times depend on the size of your whole bird, but marylands should take about 45 minutes).

But this is most ideal on a leg of lamb before roasting, or ask you butcher to butterfly the leg – which means he’ll remove the bone, leaving a nice flat piece of meat. Marinate it, and then cook it on the barbecue. It’s just amazing!

 Spicy Asian Marinade

  • 2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a red chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds to reduce spice)
  • 1/2 a green chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds to reduce spice)
  • 5 tbs of soy sauce
  • 2 tbs of fish sauce
  • 1/4 of a cup of peanut oil
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • The juice of half a lime

This marinade is ideal for chicken and beef. Chicken strips can be marinated and stir-fryed with some Asian greens, or beef steaks will soak up these beautiful flavours before being cooked medium to rare on a barbecue and used in a Asian beef salad. It’s also great for meats you want to skewer and then barbecue. Beware though, it is quite spicy – so not one for the kids.

Moroccan marinade

  • 1/2 a cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs of Moroccan spice blend/seasoning
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1/2 a tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 a tsp of black pepper

This marinade is very versatile and is great for all cuts of chicken, is fabulous on lamb chops or back strap (cooked medium on the barbecue) or on tender cuts of beef.

Method and tips for all marinades

Combine all ingredients and whisk well. All these marinades yield enough for 1 to 1.5 kilograms of meat. The best way to marinade it to place meat in a freezer bag, add marinade and seal the bag, ensuring all the air is out. Toss, turn and massage the meat in the bag (having the bag sealed prior to doing this exercise saves your hands from getting all dirty, but ensures the meat and marinade is well combined). Ensure you use a large enough freezer bag for your quantity of meat.

Freeze for up to three months. To thaw – place the frozen meat in the fridge the night before you need it. This is the most hygienic way of thawing meat.

You can marinate the meat on the same day as you plan to use it, but the flavour won’t be as good. However, as long as the meat has at least 2 hours in the fridge, it will still be delicious.

This really is the simplest and easiest process to inject wonderful flavour. So, no more boring lamb chops or roast chickens. Inject some flavour – your family will thank you!

Any questions about marinating? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.

And before I forget – Uforic Food now has its very own Facebook page. Visit it here and don’t forget to ‘like’ us!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

A skill for life – teach your kids to cook


When I first moved from Darwin to Victoria to go to university – I was stunned by the number of people who couldn’t cook for themselves – at all!

Even though we got to eat in the cafeteria five nights a week as part of living on campus – that still left two meals where we had to fend for ourselves.

Moving away from home hadn’t removed my love for cooking, and so I used to muscle my way into our communal kitchen, around the other students making two-minute noodles, mugs of milo and spaghetti jaffles, to cook up various dishes which I enjoyed.

These weekly cook-ups turned into make-shift cooking classes – with my housemates quizzing me on the most basic of things – like cooking pasta and rice … which I will get to in just a moment.

My housemates thought the fact I knew how to cook a descent meal for myself was really impressive! I mean this wasn’t fine dining food – just a few casseroles and stuff like that. I even cooked everyone a roast one weekend. Everyone loved it, appreciated it and thought I was so skillful.

But really, I wasn’t skillful. My mother, knowingly or not, had taught me how to be self-sufficient.

It boggles my mind that parents are sending their young adults out into the world – with no cooking skills at all!

The parents of many of my housemates had also overlooked other skills too – like teaching their nest-leavers how to use a washing machine. I conducted many lessons in this regard too. This included explaining that jumping in the washing machine and pushing all the clothes down so you can do three week’s washing in one load was a pretty ineffective way of getting clothes clean. But, let’s focus on the cooking skills for now.

This week, if you have teenage kids at home – why not put some time aside to teach them a few basic skills. If you have already done this – then well done! Just remember, unless they are passionate about cooking, they don’t need to be the next Junior Masterchef . However, as much as you may or may not like it, they are going to move out one day and they will need to know how to feed themselves.

Being able to drive to Maccas is not an adequate skill to ensure your young person’s survival in the big wide world.

So, without further ado, let’s start with how to cook rice.

Even for people who do know how to cook – making perfect fluffy rice can be an elusive talent!

So, here are some tips and tricks to think about. This recipe serves four generous portions. If you have leftovers – you can always make my awesome fried rice recipe.

PERFECT FLUFFY RICE

  • 1 mug-sized cups of uncooked basmati rice
  • 1  1/2 mug-sized cups of water.

Method:

Place the rice and the water in a large, microwave-proof bowl, uncovered.

Place in the microwave and cook, on high, for 12 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on your microwave.

Once cooked – all the liquid should have been absorbed into the rice. Use a fork to fluff up the rice and serve with your favourite curry, casserole etc.

Some Variations

Once you have the basic principle down – you can start adding some other flavours and textures.

You can use cold chicken stock, instead of water, and a knob of butter to add flavour.

Or, you can make saffron rice by using the chicken stock, butter and popping in a good pinch of saffron before you place the rice in the microwave. It will make the rice look amazing and the delicate flavours of the saffron really make rice something special.

A good way to educate kids that are big or small about cooking – is to let them help you in the kitchen. Empower them, make it fun. Who cares if they make a mess or don’t do it right the first time. As long as they aren’t getting burnt or chopping their fingers off – the most important thing is you are giving them the gift of a skill for life!

Stay tuned to Uforic Food for even more teen-friendly recipes you can share with the young people in your house. Even if they rebel and leave home only able to reheat baked beans – you will always know you gave it your best shot!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

The Weekly Cook Up – Braised pork chops with apple and cabbage


Apple, cabbage and pork are all best friends and so I thought, why not put them together in a braise?

The result? Clean, beautiful flavours and an all-round comforting meal. It’s easy to eat – therefore making it an ideal dish for a house full of sick people. I’m the only one feeling 100% – everyone else is carrying a head-cold and terrible cough. So, I wanted to cook up something that would sooth their throats and warm their tummies without anything too overwhelming – like the usual punchy spices you normally find in my comfort food.

I worked in my brother’s shop last weekend and the cabbages all looked gorgeously inspiring on display – so much so that I really wanted to make them a feature of a recipe. I had some pork loin chops in the freezer which needed using up – and I had been pondering for a while what to do with them. As I was staking the apples gently on the shelf, I knew the three would be a tasty match. It’s nice for me to have this knowledge of what flavours work – it really makes me confident to experiment and create my own dishes.

The apples give sweetness, mellowed by the cabbage, onions and leek – the chicken stock adds depth and the vinegar and red current jelly add a really nice complexity to the flavours.

The delicate flavours would probably something you could put in front of your children – but because I am without little tackers myself, I haven’t road-tested it on any.

It also freezes well – so I made sure there was enough to make a meal for my dad. My dad doesn’t cook, so I make meals and freeze them for him so he doesn’t have to rely on expensive take-away and horrid pre-made supermarket food. Hopefully this makes me a nice daughter 🙂

BRAISED PORK WITH APPLE AND CABBAGE 

 

  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely shopped
  • 1 leek, cut down the middle, wash and finely slice into half moons
  • 5 tbs of white vinegar
  • 4 tbs of red current jelly
  • 6 large pork loin chops
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 a tsp of dried fennel (or you can use fresh, if you have it)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • Half a chinese cabbage, remove the tough white bits and chop across, from top to bottom, discarding the tough, white bit at the bottom
  • 1 large granny smith apple (or 2 small) peeled, cored and cut into segments
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

In a large, heavy-based casserole dish (which has a lid and is able to be used both in the oven and on a stove) heat the butter and oil gently over a medium flame. Add the onion and a few good pinches of salt and sweat for 2 minutes.

Add the leek, vinegar and red current jelly and cook for a further 4 minutes, until it’s nice and soft – but don’t let it gain any colour.

Lay out your pork chops on a chopping board or plate and season both sides with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

In a frying pan, over a medium to high heat, add some more olive oil and fry the chops in batches to brown them. Make sure the fat layer is on, and turn them on their side to brown up the fat. This is critical as this process enhances the flavour of the pork.

Once done, pop them into the casserole dish with the onion and leek mixture.

Add the stock, cabbage, fennel and potatoes to the casserole and stir. Poke the pork until it’s all mostly covered in the stock (feel free to add a little more, if the tide looks a little bit low).

Bring it to the boil on top of the stove. Once boiling gently, pop on the casserole lid and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the apple segments and check the sauce for seasoning – adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook for a further 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chops are tender and the apple and potatoes are cooked through.

To plate up, I used shallow bowls as the liquid is really soupy. I removed the fat strip from the pork and discarded it, along with the bone, and cut the meat into strips. Ladel the sauce, making sure everyone (this serves 4) get some apple, cabbage and potato. I then topped the soup broth with the pork meat and some sauted brocollini.

The reason I have started writing this column is because I am hoping to inspire busy people like you to set some time aside in the kitchen on the weekend to prepare at least one meal ahead for the week. I hope this recipe has helped you on your way to a much more relaxed weekday meal. Even if you decide not to freeze it for later in the week – it’d make a fabulous Sunday dinner, which is what this was for me.

Be Insired~

Lisa

 

Vanilla bean panacotta with strawberry salad


It may look and taste fancy, but this vanilla bean panacotta is super easy!

I learnt this during the Masterclass I had last month with Oakdene restaurant head chef Marty Chichester where we also made oysters, chilli mud crab and lobsters with garlic butter. It was an amazing experience for me, because I was intimidated by all the ingredients we cooked with that night. But, once I knew what I was doing I discoveed that these types of seafood are quite easy to prepare – and I know it would even be the case for people who aren’t too confident overall in their cooking abilities. In saying that, put these dishes in front of your friends the next time you invite them around for dinner, and they’ll be nothing short of impressed. So, if you missed those great recipes, be sure to check them out and give them a try. If you follow the recipes and tips, you can’t go wrong.

This dessert is the same. It sounds daunting, but it’s not at all – and this is coming from someone who’s terrified of making sweets!

The strawberry salad is also simple, but gorgeously sweet and scrumptious. strawberries are in season at the moment, so now is the best time to give it a try. It’d also work very well with some pancakes, or as a side to a rich chocolate cake.

Vanilla Bean Panacotta

  • 200ml of thickened cream
  • 75ml of full cream milk
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean, split and deseeded
  • 1/2 a sheet of gelatin
  • 50gm of sugar

Method

Dissolve the gelatin in ice-cold water for 10 minutes, until it becomes pliable.

Heat the cream, milk and sugar until just before it boils. Do not let it come to a boil, so it’s best to stay with the pan while it’s heating and remove it as soon as you see the liquid starting to wobble.

Remove from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes is up, remove the gelatin from the water and squeeze out the excess water.

Add it to the panacotta mix and stir it until it dissolves completely .

You can pass the panacotta liquid through a fine sieve at this point, but I actually like the look of the little black dots from the vanilla bean. It’s up to you.

Pour the mixture evenly between four cocktail glasses. and pop them in the fridge straight away. It’ll need to set for about two hours.

The other great thing about this recipe is it’s pretty quick, but can be made the night before. When you are ready to serve, make the strawberry salad, which is so simple it doesn’t need a recipe.

Remove the green tops from a punnett of strawberries. Cut into quarters. Place in a bowl and mix with 2 tsp of icing sugar. Taste one of the strawberry pieces. If you think it needs a little more sweetness, add some more icing sugar until you are happy with the flavour. I think next time I make this I’ll add a touch of masala. I think it would taste gorgeous!

To serve, scoop the strawberry salad on top of the panacotta.

You will enjoy every mouthful of this dessert. Once you have made it once, I’m sure it will become a recipe you’ll make over and over and your friends will be begging you for the recipe!

Masterclass Lesson #3: Chilli mud crab


I have wanted to try chilli mud crab ever since my dad raved about how amazing it is.

I’ve seen it cooked on TV – and apparently it’s normal and quite traditional for the sauce to consist in-part – of tomato sauce.

The recipe we learnt during the masterclass was no different – and my God it tasted incredible. I really like hot food – but not so hot that you can’t taste the flavours. The heat in this recipe is absolutely perfect. In saying that, if you aren’t a fan of a bit of heat – this isn’t one for you.

Our teacher – Executive Chef of Oakdene Vineyard Marty Chichester gave us some great tips on how to prepare the crab – like popping it in the freezer for 20 minutes to ensure it is “asleep” before removing the claws, the top part of the shell and getting rid of the very creepy-looking “dead man’s fingers”. Eewww they look yuck!! You also remove the brown meat – but like the lobster – don’t be tempted to wash it under water. It ruins the flavour. Just clean it up as best as you can, and then go ahead and cook it.

I think the most vital part of the crab is the claws – that’s where most of the yummy white flesh is. Make sure you crack the claws with the back of a heavy knife – but not so much that it cracks into little pieces. Just enough to let the flavours of the sauce in.

So, once you have made all your preparations – you’re ready to cook

Chilli Mud Crab

 

  • 2 mud crabs
  • 3 Tbs of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 banana chillies – chopped into chunky rounds
  • 2 Tbs of ginger chopped julienne
  • 1/2 a cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 of a cup of sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 a cup of water
  • 3 tbs of hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 a cup of spring onion, sliced
  • 1/2 a cup of a mix between Vietnamese mint and coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs of coriander root, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs of fish sauce
  • 3 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Method

Heat the oil in a wok, then add the garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander root. Cook until it’s fragrant.

Add crabs and toss all together.

Add tomato sauce, chilli sauce, water, hoi sin sauce, fish sauce, sugar and salt.

Stir to combine all ingredients and bring it to the boil.

Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the spring onions, cherry tomatoes and herbs and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 At the masterclass we served this with jasmine rice. It was perfect because it soaked up the beautiful, tangy and spicy sauce. We also made an apple salad. It perfectly complimented the crab, and was really fresh and sweet.

See you tomorrow for the apple salad recipe!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Masterclass lesson #2: Lobster with garlic butter


The main course we cooked at the chef masterclass with Marty Chichester meant I got to not only cook, but eat an entire lobster – all to myself!! Talk about a very special treat.

The meat was delicate and perfectly cooked (not thanks to my skills – but to very good instruction) – and the garlic butter complemented the sweetness of the flesh. We also cooked chilli mud crab (which I know is one of my dad’s favourite dishes – I’m sure he’ll be thrilled that I now know how to cook it!)

But, more about the crab tomorrow.

As we all know, lobster is really expensive – so you want to make sure you know what you’re doing. I think you’d be heartbroken if you served it, and it was rubbery and tasted like rubbish.

Marty gave us some great tips about cooking lobster:

– Put your live, uncooked lobster in the freezer for 20 minutes before you cook it. This puts the lobster to “sleep”. Apparently they kick and make a big miss if you pop them in boiling water while they’re still alive. Let’s face it – it’s cruel. Putting them in the freezer is the most humane way of cooking them.

– Cook a medium to large-sized lobster in boiling water for about 7 minutes. At the end of the 7 minutes, plunge it into a sink filled with ice water. This brings the temperature right down, stopping the cooking process. This will not cook the lobster all the way through – just enough for it to hold together when you cut it in half, lengthways. You finish the cooking after adding your flavourings, in an oven or under a griller. This ensures you don’t over cook the lobster and make it rubbery.

– After you have cut your lobster lengthways – you have to clean out the innards (or mustard, as some people call it – I’m guessing because of the colour). You can eat it – but I have no desire to. Now you really do need to get in with your hands and scoop it out – you could use a spoon, but I don’t think it would work that well. Marty said that no matter how tempted you are, don’t wash the lobster. Like with the oysters I wrote about yesterday, it washes away all the great flavours. You also need to remove the waste tract which goes through the tail. It looks much like the vein in a prawn – just bigger.

Now that the yucky stuff is done the fun stuff begins. It was great to learn all the above tips. It was all the things I was so nervous about. But, now I know I can tackle a lobster with confidence – and I’m sure the recipes will flow now. Well, I might have to save up to buy a lobster – but I think now that I have some idea of what I am doing, it’ll be a worthwhile investment.

Grilled Lobster with Garlic and Herb Butter

  • 2 whole live lobsters – about 600 to 800gm each
  • 150gm of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a bunch of parsley
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 tsp of capers, chopped
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

Method

Mix chopped ingredients into the softened butter and then put to one side.

Put the live lobsters in the freezer for 20 mins (as stated above).

Plunge the lobster into boiling water for 7 minutes. Once the time is up, place into ice water.

Once cooled, cut the lobster lengthways through the middle and then clean out the waste from the head as well as the waste tract (as stated above).

The flesh should look rare – so quite white on the outside parts near the shell, but quite translucent towards the middle. This is what you want to ensure the lobster isn’t overcooked under the grill.

Season well with salt and pepper and then smother the flesh liberally with the butter mixture. This will protect the flesh from the heat of the grill and allow the butter, garlic and herbs to seep into the flesh. This can be done in advance, with the rest of the process to be completed when ready to serve.

Place under a grill and cook until lightly browned in colour. This should take only 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a 180-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through and tender.

Serve immediately.

I have to admit, I did eat the whole lobster – so with two lobsters for this recipe, it serves two. But for an entree serve – half per person would be plenty. Tomorrow I’ll share with you a brilliant crispy apple salad – and of course, the delicious chilli crab.

I just can’t wait to get my hands on another lobster and make this again. Soooo yum!!

If you’re feeling inspired to do a masterclass, why not check out the Oakdene Vineyard website and find out about Marty’s masterclasses. You won’t be disapointed 🙂

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Masterclass lesson #1: Decadent oysters


On Tuesday night I was treated to a cooking Master Class with one of Victoria’s best executive chefs – Marty Chichester from the Bellarine Peninsula’s Oakdene Vinyards restaurant – a multi-award winning venue that last year won the National Award for the Best Restaurant in a Winery.

I have to admit that I was so nervous going into the Masterclass. The menu included oysters, lobster, mud crab and pannacotta – all things I had little or no experience with cooking. The last time I did crab – it really wasn’t great and I wasn’t sure how to clean it. I’ve never attempted lobster before, simply because it’s just so expensive and with my inexperience – I didn’t want to risk ruining it.

As for the oysters – well I’m sad to say, I don’t really like them. I WANT to like them – but I just don’t.

However, my apparent dislike for them didn’t stop me from wanting to try serving them in different ways.

Marty gave us a demonstration of all the dishes before we went ahead – and after getting started on the pannacotta and popping it in the fridge – we started on our oysters. Marty showed us three ways to serve them – each very different.

Sadly, I’m still not a huge fan of oysters – but these three recipes are absolutely extraordinary nonetheless and any lover of oysters is going to want to give these ideas a go.

Firstly we had the watermelon and chilli granita. Secondly, Marty showed us how to make a Welsh Rarebit sauce, which is much like a mustardy mornay – and finally (and my favourite) marinated cucumber spaghetti with Avruga caviar. All these toppings wouldn’t only be useful for oysters. I could see the Welsh Rarebit served over prawns and the cooling, tangy cucumber spaghetti would have endless applications – as a side salad with something spicy would be perfect – or on top of a nicely fried piece of fish, like salmon or tuna.

One of the key things I learned about preparing oysters is that you should never rinse them, because it washes away all the great flavours of the sea. Marty said that if you want to get rid of some of the liquid – then just to dab them gently with some paper towel. He also said it was critical to buy them from a reputable fish monger and use them the same day you buy them. Fresh is best, of course.

Oysters with marinated cucumber spaghetti, Welsh rarebit and watermelon and chilli granita

Oysters with marinated cucumber spaghetti and Avruga caviar

  • 1 continental cucumber
  • 4 tbs of chardonnay wine vinegar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp of fresh dill
  • Avruga caviar to serve

Method:

Peel the cucumber and cut julienne, discarding the seeds.

Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the caviar) with the cucumber in a bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate.

To serve, place a teaspoon of the cucumber mix on top of each oyster and top with half a teaspoon of the caviar.

As for the next filling – Marty said this would also be great on some toasted sourdough bread. Once you taste it, you’ll realise it has many applications. I personally think it would be delicious on steak 🙂

Oysters with Welsh Rarebit Sauce

  • 60gm of unsalted butter
  • 75gm of plain flour
  • 375ml of apple cider
  • 375gm of mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs of dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 egg yolks
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste

Method:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook out for 1 minute.

Slowly add the cider and cook for two minutes, making a veloute (the term velouté is from the French adjectival form of velour, meaning velvety).

Remove from the heat and add the mustard, Worcestershire and egg yolks, whisking until smooth.’Add the grated cheese and whisk until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper and cool for 3 hours.

Put a teaspoon of the sauce onto each oyster – then grill under a hot grill until it is browned.

My attempt at this dish, as you can see centered in the image above, wasn’t as grilled as Marty suggests. In my defence – I was terrified of burning it and looking like a goose!

The next option is a granita. Marty said he made this because he always had lots of leftover watermelon offcuts from making another dish. Hating to throw things away, he came up with this lovely dish. I enjoyed this one the most because the granita is frozen, making the oyster beautiful and cold – as it should be.

Watermelon and Chilli Granita

  • 1 litre of watermelon flesh (no peel)
  • 1 tbs of soyabean chilli paste (available at Asian grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp of tabasco sauce

Method:

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Taste and correct seasoning, if required. Transfer into a tray (the liquid should be no more than 1 inch deep – using a larger tray, if required) and freeze for at least four hours or overnight.

Using a fork, scrape the froze granita so it forms a light, fine ice and transfer to a container after each scraping.

Serve a teaspoon of granita on top of each oyster.

I think this dish would be amazing on a hot summers day – so cooling and refreshing – with a hit of warmth from the chilli paste and tabasco to tickle the tastebuds.

Watching chefs cook on TV is great fun for me – but this was one of the best experiences ever. If you live in the Geelong region, jump onto the Oakdene website and find out about Marty’s masterclasses. I promise that no matter your cooking ability – you will love it.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you the great tips I learnt about cooking lobster/crayfish. I couldn’t believe how easy, yet impressive it is!

Hopefully this inspires you to go and have a cooking class – or even just get into your kitchen and have a go at something new.

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Janet’s gorgeous beetroot relish


This recipe was given to me by a reader of Uforic Food, Janet.

With her garden brimming with beetroot at the moment, what better way to use it all up, or give it away, then to make a deliciously sweet relish.

I have also typed this one up to go on recipe cards  in my brother’s shop Angelsea Fruitz as they also seem to have a great supply of this vegetable at the moment.

I’ll admit I haven’t really cooked with beetroot before, although I eat the tinned variety regularly. I suggest you wear gloves when you are peeling it – otherwise your hands will be the same gorgeous colour as the relish you are about to make!

Beetroot relish – By Janet

 

  • 750gm of fresh beetroot
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp of yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 whole cloves or a pinch of ground cloves
  • 5cm piece of orange rind
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Peel and process beetroot and onion in a food processor.

 In a covered frying pan, fry mustard seeds in a little oil. 

Add all ingredients to a large, deep frying pan, or large saucepan. 

Place over a medium heat, cover and bring to the boil.

 Cook for 30 minutes, or until the beetroot is soft and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly.

 Pour into sterilised jars, seal and let cool.

 Refrigerate after opening, keeps for about 2 months .

Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and a big thank you to Janet for sharing it.

If you have an awesome recipe you’d like to share too, drop me a line at lisa.foreman_media@yahoo.com.au .

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Freezing meals – is it the way to go?


Frozen food may not look that appetising in this state - but it's healthier, cheaper and quicker than take-away! Post your feedback below.

I’m still not too sure about the whole idea of cooking food and then freezing it – even though I have been doing it for years now – mostly for my wonderful dad, but earlier back in my uni days.

So, I wanted to call on you all to give me some tips, tricks and recipes that work well for you, which you can post in the “comments” section below.

As a food enthusiast, I always think it’s better to cook and eat everything fresh – but of course, that’s not always possible. People do lead very demanding lives these days with long hours at work, kids (not that I’d know anything about that, but I can imagine it would be hard), commuting, new exercise regimes (I know something about that – really need to get on the treadmill again!!). The list goes on.

One thing that does dismay me is that in order for people to fit everything in – they get take-away rather than cooking. I’m not talking on the odd occasion – I mean once a week is fine – but almost every night!! This just boggles my mind!

Take-away is soooo expensive!! Quite often (depending on your choices) it’s not all that healthy – in fact it can be fat laden and horrible! I also think it’s a bit of a falesy that take-away saves time. I mean unless you get it home-delivered, by the time you ring up, wait a bit, drive down to pick it up – probably wait a bit longer, and then drive home – you could have cooked a delicious, healthy meal at home. Just on this blog alone I can name five recipes I could have whipped up in the time it takes to pick up your take-away (garlic and chilli prawns, marinated lamb, whipped up quickly on the barbecue, Pollo alla Cacciatora, baked fish with tomato and lemon and of course – Matt’s Meatlovers Pasta).

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I know all these dishes would taste better than KFC or pizza (don’t tell Matt I said that! LOL. It is his favourite food)

The reason for my critique on frozen food is that I am really enjoying doing weekly cook-ups for my dad – so that he’s always got food to eat when he gets home from a hard night working at Anglesea Fruitz. However, I’m afraid he’s getting sick of eating the same old things – as in stuff I know freezes well – like casseroles of all kinds, spaghetti bolognese etc. I even freeze risotto – although I know this doesn’t re-heat that well.

I was also hoping that your tips, tricks and recipe ideas might inspire others to cook and freeze, rather than opt for expensive take-away. I mean just imagine how much money you could save if you dedicated a day a week, or even a fortnight, to make a few nice casseroles, soups etc to stockpile in your freezer for busy nights when you just can’t be bothered.

I can imagine that if I’m lucky enough to have some little kiddlywinks running around one day, that taking care of them is going to take up almost all of my time. But I think we owe it to ourselves and to the health of our families to take some time out and cook food – even if it means we stick it in the freezer for later use. I mean simple pasta sauce like my marinara recipe is so versatile that you can make it, freeze it, and then use it to whip up quick pasta dishes where all you have to do is thaw it out, cook some pasta and then add some mince, bacon, or other flavourings like capers, olives, capsicum etc. In no time at all – you have a meal on the table and little washing up.

Tonight mum is coming over and we are taking over Matt’s mum’s kitchen to whip up some yummy stuff for dad to have for dinners for the next weeks or so – which will be served up into meal-sized containers and labelled accordingly. I am planning on making chicken and lemon drumsticks, bolognese sauce, chilli con carne and a lovely chicken risoni dish. Except for the bolognese sauce – they are all new dishes I found on the web. So, I’ll let you know how they go.

In the meantime, I’d really love to hear your stories around freezing meals. What recipes have worked well for you? Are there some important tips people should follow if they are going to head down this path.

Here are five things I always consider when I’m freezing meals:

  • How will the recipe go being reheated? I always avoid freezing meals that contain cream, as I’ve found it doesn’t work well
  • Always use good, air-tight containers that are labelled – so you know what’s in them.
  • Try not to keep frozen meals in the freezer too long – 3 months, tops.
  • I always figure out the meals I would like to make, and then do a comprehensive shopping list – including adding plastic containers to the list. There’s nothing worse then cooking a whole stack of food and then having no containers to put it in.
  • After putting the food in the containers, ensure it has cooler to room temprature before putting the lid on and putting it in the freezer.

Leave your tip in the comments sections below.

Cheers,

Lisa

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