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Wednesday
Apr242013

The Ultimate Mediterranean Steak Roll

    

With a busy few days this past week, I was keen for something that I could eat fairly on-the-go – without the hassle of too many pots and pans, knives and forks – but still substantial enough to count as a decent lunch. I decided to adapt the classic Steak Roll into something a little more special…and definitely worthy of the title of “meal” –instead of a snack.


You’ll notice that two of the aspects – the steak and the aubergine – are marinated after they are cooked. It may sound a little strange, but it results in a juicy, tender steak – and delicious, flavourful aubergines. These aubergines were really a revelation for me - normally when cooking them you're careful that they don't absorb too much oil - but here, they are sweet, tender and juicy - absolutely perfect.  You’ll notice I don’t really advise much in terms of quantities – feel free to add as much of each “layer” to the roll as you enjoy.

The Ultimate Mediterranean Steak Roll

Serves 1

Ingredients:


12cm portion of baguette, sliced horizontally 
smear of butter
Mediterranean Delicacies Olive Tapenade
Mediterranean Delicacies Tzatziki
baby tomatoes
rocket
For the steak:
200g rump or fillet steak
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ crushed garlic clove
dash of olive oil
thyme leaves, removed from the stalk
salt and pepper to taste 
 For the aubergine:
baby aubergines, sliced thinly horizontally
1 tbsp olive oil
½ crushed garlic clove

   

Method: 
Heat a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Coat your steak in a little olive oil, season and  fry until done to your liking. Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a board. In a small rectangular dish, add the balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil and thyme, stir until mixed. Slice the steak into thin (ish) slices, and add to the vinegar mixture, stirring until each slice is well coated. Allow to rest.

In the same frying pan, add a little olive oil, and your aubergine slices over a medium high heat. Fry on each side until slightly charred and mostly tender. 
 Remove from the heat and place in a bowl, with the remaining olive oil and garlic – stir until well combined. 
 To assemble – butter each side of your baguette, spreading olive tapenade on one side, and tzatziki on the other. Top with the rocket, halved cherry tomatoes, aubergine and finally the steak slices. Close the sandwich and enjoy.

 

Recipe by the Gorgeous Gourmet - http://www.thegorgeousgourmet.co.za/2013/04/recipe-ultimate-mediterranean-steak-roll.html

Wednesday
Apr172013

Chicken and Olive Oven Bake

     

I hosted my first official ‘guests’ for lunch at our new flat this past weekend – as we are still busy unpacking, putting up curtains and sorting out light fittings, I needed something low-maintenance, but still a little special for the parents. 
   

   

This baked chicken ticks all the boxes – unbelievably moist (as it’s cooked in stock) with a special appearance by roasted lemon andMediterranean Delicacies’ Green Olives, ended off with a dash of cream – it’s a special dish which your guests will think you spent hours preparing : when, in truth, you arranged it in a dish, placed it in the oven – and brought it to the table. It’s so easy, in fact, you’ll see that most of the ingredients are measured in handfuls. If that isn’t a sign of a throw-together-dish, I’m not quite sure what is. 

   

Ideally I wanted to serve this with preserved lemons – but didn’t plan far enough in advance to make these sweet, tart beauties – so I roasted them instead. Something I definitely think I’ll do again in future. Another trick I learned was roasting the chicken pieces half in stock – the meat stays deliciously moist, while the skin crisps as normal. Also, you’re left with an instant sauce when it’s finished roasting. Genius.

Ingredients:
1 large chicken, jointed (or 8 chicken pieces, if you prefer)
400ml chicken stock
1 lemon, cut into wedges
small handful of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stalk
lemon salt (or normal salt) to taste
small handful cherry tomatoes
small handful Mediterranean Delicacies Green Olives (from the 700g tub)
100ml cream to serve

Method:
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, in an even layer in an ovenproof dish (I’m obsessed with my Le Creuset Buffet Casserole). Place the lemon wedges around the chicken pieces, along with the cherry tomatoes and green olives. Pour the chicken stock in between the chicken pieces – avoiding getting the skin wet. Add stock until it just covers most of the chicken meat – you may need to add more stock, or not use all 400ml, depending on the size of your chicken pieces and oven dish. Top with the thyme and lemon salt, and place in the oven.
Roast for approximately 25 -35 minutes – until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crisped. Pour the cream in between the chicken pieces, shake the pan gently, and serve.

 

Friday
Apr122013

Pissaladiere Inspired Bread

  
There are some things I’m willing to spend time on. Homemade short crust pastry, slow cooked lamb shanks, or making koeksusters or salted caramel from scratch. However, making bread is not one of those things. A combination of my fear of yeast and the kneading-resting-kneading-resting pattern, still has it safely in my no-go zone. Perhaps contributing to this, is the fact that I’ve discovered my local grocery store sells bread dough by the kilo – fresh, yeasty goodness ready to be made into whatever loaf you choose.   

 

Keeping with my bread-laziness, but still wanting a quick, tasty lunch time snack, I transformed my kilogram of bread dough into a pissaladière inspired loaf. Traditionally a pizza like dish made in southern France, it is topped with caramelised onions, olives and anchovies – my version has a little added thyme for good measure. 

   

I used plump juicy Calamata Olives from Mediterranean Delicacies – now available in a generous 700g tub, it’s the perfect size to cook with…leaving just enough to snack on every time you pass the fridge. This make an impressive dome of a loaf – made to be cut into door-stop size wedges, and enjoyed with lashings of salted butter.

   

Ingredients:
1kg bread dough
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp butter
300g Mediterranean Delicacies Calamata Olives, stones removed (from the 700g tub)
leaves from 5 stalks of fresh thyme
2 tbsp anchovies

 
Method:
Melt the butter in a medium sized frying pan, add the sliced onions and cook over a medium high heat, until softened. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until evaporated. Add 100ml water to the onions, along with the thyme leaves. Allow to simmer until all the water has evaporated – about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, and cook the onions (while stirring) until the darken in colour and become sticky. Remove from the heat. 

Heat your oven to 180 degrees C. Place the bread dough in your oven dish of choice – I used my 26cm Le Creuset Buffet Casserole – and stretch it until it is in an even layer. Spoon over the caramelised onions, sprinkle over the olives and lay over the anchovies.  Bake for 30 – 45 minutes (depending on the dish used) – it is ready when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Enjoy at room temperature – this keeps very well and can last at least 2 days if covered.

This post was done by The Gorgeous Gourmet. Original post - http://www.thegorgeousgourmet.co.za/2013/04/recipe-pissaladiere-inspired-bread.html

Tuesday
Apr092013

Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Bake and Croutons

   

This past weekend saw us move the majority of our possessions into our new flat. With moving and getting married being two of the most stressful life events (apparently) I now doubt my wisdom at deciding to do them in the same month!
 
Combined with the chilly autumn – or cold winter – weather we’re experiencing in Cape Town at the moment, every cell in my body cries out for comfort food. As most of my pots, pans and utensils need to be unpacked, this is no stress, no fuss – on pan, then into the oven – and to your table in under 30 minutes.

Seen here with a wedge of olive, caramelised onion and thyme bread - recipe to follow soon   

The asparagus from Mediterranean Delicacies adds a hint of sweetness, and helps pack a little undercover vegetables into the dish. If you’d like to make this a truly one-pot-wonder, you can add chickpea, cooked pasta or even any type of precooked beans to the sauce before grilling. Whatever you do, please don’t ignore the lemon. It’s only a tablespoon of zest, but it really does wonders to lift the dish, add flavor and cut through the richness of the cream. Make this dish at least once this winter –everyone will thank you.
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 tsp butter
350ml fresh cream
small handful of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
salt to season
1 bottle Mediterranean Delicacies White Asparagus 330g Jar
1 tbsp lemon zest (freshly grated)
handful of roughly chopped croutons / breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated pecorino or Parmesan


Method:
In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium high heat. Once melted add the chicken breast strips and fry until golden on all sides. Add the cream, and most of the tarragon to the chicken, with some salt to season.

Allow to simmer on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the cream has reduced and thickened slightly. Set your oven to “grill” – drain the asparagus and lay it evenly at the bottom of a rectangular oven-proof dish – ideally one you’d like to take to the table too. Spoon over the creamy chicken mixture, then sprinkle over the lemon zest, croutons and pecorino / Parmesan. Place under the grill for a minute – just until the cheese and croutons and crisped. Serve with chunks of glorious fresh, white bread, or over your choice of cooked pasta.


This article was done by The Gorgeous Gourmet. Original Post - http://www.thegorgeousgourmet.co.za/2013/04/recipe-creamy-chicken-and-asparagus.html
Tuesday
Mar122013

Beef Florentine Phyllo Pie

beef florentine phyllo pie

beef florentine phyllo pie

I’ve had this recipe on the back burner to do for ages. The one you get excited about when you first see it, put it away in storage and keep dreaming about making, but never get around to. That one.

What a relief that I have finally created my version of this delectable dish.

A friend from Twitter raved about a beef florentine recipe that her mom made. I was taken with ever aspect of the sound of it. Saucey beef covered in a layer of cheesey spinach and finished off with a crunchy phyllo pastry top, what is not to love.

Thanks @Bubbalubs, its a winner.

Now the beauty about this recipe is you can really adapt it to your taste anyway you like. I added a few bits and pieces to the original one and changed the proportions. I like a lot of spinach. This is a firmish dish which I think works really as a pie, and you can get stuck in and take out a good solid slice out of it. You could add more sauce if you like it like that, or simply top your favourite bolognese with spinach and phyllo and bake.

You could also turn it vegetarian by roasting cubes of butternut in olive oil. Perhaps adding a few sprigs of thyme and a sprinkle of dried chilli and then top it as per the recipe. I think lamb would work wonderfully too.

* A few notes on the recipe. Use any cheese you like with your cream cheese. I used a mature Cheddar and Parmesan combo, but choose whatever you prefer. I think a stronger cheese works well and adds depth of flavour to this dish. I used a liquid stock concentrate and added a bit extra as I wanted the meatiness (hence my description of ‘concentrated’ beef stock). If you use a cube, crumble in a bit extra. If you want your spinach layer to be more saucey, add 1/4 cup of cream or milk.

Recipe | serves 4 | 45 mins

For the beef layer:

  •  1 T oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 can of tomatoes (400g)
  • 1/2 cup fairly concentrated beef stock
  • 1 t sugar
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)

For the spinach layer:

  • 300g – 400g spinach (removed fom stalks)
  • 100g mature Cheddar (Gruyere)
  • 30g Parmesan (grated)
  • 100g cream cheese (I used low fat)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • butter to coat the phyllo layers (aprox 80g)

For the phyllo layer:

  • 6 – 8 sheets of Medi Deli phyllo depending on the sizer of your dish

To make the meat layer heat the oil in a wide non stick frying pan and fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook  (breaking up any clumps) until the liquid has cooked off and the meat starts to caramlise (go brown). Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the tin of peeled tomatoes, sugar, chilli and stock and allow this to cook over a medium heat until most of liquid has cooked off and the sauce has thickened.

To make the spinach layer: While you meat is cooking away, heat a pot filled with water and bring it to the boil. Add the spinach and allow this to cook until it has wiled (about 5 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. When its cool enough to handle, squeeze the spinach with your hands, making sure you get most of the water out.

In a separate bowl, add all the cheeses to the beaten egg. Roughly chop the drained and wrung out spinach and stir this through the cheese / egg  mixture.

In an appropriately sized baking dish spread the meat over the bottom layer and then cover with the spinach mixture.

To make the phyllo topping. Melt the butter in the microwave. Cut 3 pieces of phyllo to roughly the size of the dish. Bush each sheet lightly with butter (covering the surface area) and place over the pie filling buttered side up. Repeat until you have 3 flat layers on the pie. Now using about 6 – 8 pieces (the same size as before), brush with butter and then fold these (buttered side down now) – scrunching it up as you go to create a ruffled effect. Carry on on until you have covered the surface area of your pie with phyllo. Lightly brush over bits of the top phyllo, its not important to brush it all.

Bake in a pre heated over of 200C for 20 – 25 minutes until the phyllo has turned golden.

PS. you will see in the last picture that I have folded the phyllo a different way like a concertina, you can choose whatever you prefer.

A few of my other phyllo recipes can be found here:

apple phyllo pie with pecans and maple

zesty spinach and feta pies

mushroom and parmesan phyllo pies

roasted vegetable strudel

christmas pudding strudel with chocolate

beef florentine phyllo pie

beef florentine phyllo pie

beef florentine phyllo pie

beef florentine phyllo pie

Recipe by Drizzle and Dip - http://drizzleanddip.com/2013/03/11/beef-florentine-phyllo-pie