food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘cheese’ Category

chèvre omelette

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A simple dish of eggs and cheese might only take 10-15 minutes to prepare but it can still impress. This omelette highlights light and fluffy just-melted goats cheese.

Break up 1 cup of fresh chèvre, mix through 1 tablespoon of finely chopped chives and set aside. In a small frypan heat some butter with a little oil and fry 10 -12 sage leaves until crispy. Drain them on a paper towel and set aside as the garnish. Whisk 4 eggs with a little milk or cream, making sure to season them well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Over medium heat, melt a generous amount of butter and oil in a large frypan. When it’s sizzling, pour the eggs into the pan. Break any bubbles that form in the omelette and allow the egg to run through. When the egg is nearly cooked, place the chèvre onto one half and carefully fold the other half over the top. Continue to cook just long enough for the cheese to melt before sliding the omelette onto a serving plate. Garnish with the crispy sage leaves.

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Written by michelle picker

July 4, 2018 at 12:29 am

mini breakfast frittatas

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Here’s a great breakfast for a crowd that’s easy to prepare ahead. These were simple ham and cheese but there are endless ingredient choices for mini frittatas and they’re excellent party food too. Try mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, chillies, olives and truffle to name just a few. Let your imagination run wild.

Generously butter some muffin trays (silicone works really well) and place some chunks of good quality free-range ham and some shredded tasty cheese into each opening. Whisk all your eggs (1 per frittata) adding some cream, sour cream or just milk and seasoning to taste with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Divide the eggs evenly into the muffin trays then top each frittata with chopped fresh chives and some more grated cheese. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until set.

And while the oven is on, why not roast a tray of tomatoes? Cut the tomatoes into wedges, sprinkle with chopped fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Written by michelle picker

May 23, 2018 at 12:20 am

stuffed mushrooms

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Whoever said life was too short to stuff a mushroom was wrong. I love mushrooms and this recipe uses 3 types of mushrooms to make a most delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal.

For this recipe use portobello mushrooms (these are large, mature button mushrooms) with a good edge to hold the filling. For the filling finely dice some brown shallots, the stems of the portobello mushrooms and some Swiss Brown mushrooms (these are more flavoursome than button mushrooms – they look similar with a darker and slightly mottled cap). Heat some oil in a pan and fry the shallots until just wilting. Add the mushrooms and some fresh thyme leaves as well as some porcini mushroom powder for extra mushroom flavour. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until the mushrooms are softening then remove them to a bowl to cool. Add 1 egg and a generous amount of soft goat’s cheese to the mushrooms. When you’re happy with the flavour spoon the mixture into the mushrooms and place them into an oiled baking dish. Top with some finely grated parmesan or pecorino and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a moderate oven (along with some roasted vegetables for accompaniment) until nicely browned and well cooked.

Written by michelle picker

May 2, 2018 at 12:17 am

zucchini, parmesan and basil soup

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Do you keep those rinds from parmesan?  Here’s a truly delicious way to use them and to eat your greens.

The first step for this soup is to make a stock from the parmesan rinds. A pressure cooker helps to shorten this process. Cut 4 -6 pieces of rind into small pieces and cook them in 1 litre (1 quart) of water until they are almost melted away. This will take 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker and 2-3 hours in a pot and may need more water. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan sauté 1 chopped onion and 4-5 chopped zucchinis in some olive oil. Season to taste. When you’re satisfied that you’ve extracted the most out of the parmesan rinds, strain the stock into the saucepan and continue to cook until the zucchinis are just soft. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until the mixture is emulsified then add fresh basil leaves and process again. Check the seasoning before serving with a drizzle of olive oil.

Written by michelle picker

October 25, 2017 at 12:08 am

mushroom, walnut and lentil loaf

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Not in the mood for meat? Here’s a high protein, gluten free loaf that everyone will enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with baking paper. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add a mirepoix of finely diced onion, celery and carrot in roughly equal portions. Cook until the onion is translucent and soft. Add 240g (8½ oz) of finely chopped mushrooms. I used Swiss brown mushrooms and added a sprinkling of powdered porcini mushroom for added flavour. Cook until the mushrooms are soft then add 2 finely diced or crushed cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Continue to cook for a few minutes more before adding ½ a cup of red lentils and 1¼ cups of vegetable stock. Cook over low heat until the lentils are soft and all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to col a little. Finally add 150g (5 oz) of crushed walnuts, 100g (3½ oz) of finely ground (instant) oats, 100g (3½ oz) of grated sharp cheddar cheese, 3 lightly beaten eggs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and press it down. Bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes until quite firm. Serve with tomato sauce and a fresh green salad.

zucchini, peppers and chèvre

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Here’s an attractive and impressive way to bring a lovely combination of flavours together.

zucchini-peppers-and-chevre

Place 1 or 2 red peppers either directly over a gas flame or on a barbecue and cook until quite blackened and soft. Remove to an airtight container or plastic bag to cool. Meanwhile slice your zucchinis lengthways into very thin slices (preferably with a mandolin) and wash and chop some fresh mint. When the peppers have cooled, peel the skin off and slice into strips similar in size to the zucchini slices. Oil a round oven or pie dish and arrange the slices of zucchini and peppers starting from the outside and place a generous piece of chèvre into the centre. Drizzle everything with olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped mint and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bake in a hot oven until the zucchini is cooked and browning on the edges.

Written by michelle picker

March 30, 2017 at 5:33 am

burrata and honey panna cotta with candied walnuts

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A lovely delicate cheese and honey flavour pair well with crunchy candied walnuts

burrata-and-honey-panna-cotta

To make the panna cotta pour ¼ of a cup of milk into a small bowl and sprinkle over 7g (¼ oz) of powdered gelatine. Allow it to bloom for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat ½ a cup of cream with ½ a cup of honey until the honey is dissolved. Dissolve the gelatine into the cream and honey mixture, mixing until you have no lumps. Allow the mixture to cool. In a blender or food processor combine 200g (7 oz) of burrata cheese (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) with an extra ¾ of a cup of milk and ½ a cup of cream and process until smooth. If you prefer you can substitute crème fraîche, yoghurt or buttermilk for the burrata. Whisk the cooled gelatine mixture into the cheese mixture then strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour into 6 ramekins, moulds or glasses (depending on how you wish to serve them) and allow them to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If you are un-moulding, briefly dip the bottom into hot tap water. To make candied walnuts, heat a fry-pan and add 1 cup of walnut halves, ¼ of a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all the nuts are coated. Immediately transfer them onto baking paper, separating the nuts. Allow them to cool until crunchy.

Written by michelle picker

March 18, 2017 at 5:55 am