food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘eggs’ Category

crab omelette

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Although fresh crab is always the best, it can be expensive and time-consuming to cook and pick. Here’s an Asian-style omelette to make with ready-picked blue swimmer crab meat from the store.

For the filling, remove the crab meat from its container and add finely sliced spring onions, 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce and ground white pepper to taste. Mix and set aside. For the omelette, whisk 3 – 4 eggs and season with 1 – 2 teaspoons of fish sauce and more ground white pepper. Heat a large frypan and when hot add vegetable oil. Pour in the eggs and let them sizzle a little before turning down the heat. As the eggs cook lift the edges to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath. When there is only a thin layer of uncooked egg, scrape it over to one side of the omelette and add the filling on the same side. Flip the other side of the omelette over the top and continue to cook until the crab meat is heated through and the egg is cooked. Garnish with spring onion and coriander (cilantro). Serve hot.

Written by michelle picker

March 25, 2020 at 12:11 am

vegetarian moussaka

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This classic Greek dish is usually made with layers of eggplant and minced lamb, topped with a bechamel sauce. In this version mushrooms take the place of meat. It’s both satisfying and delicious.

Slice 1.5kg (3.3 lbs) of eggplants (aubergines) into 1cm (less than ½”) slices. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and cook on a griddle or bbq until soft and a little charred. Set aside. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 finely sliced large onion and 1 cup each of finely diced carrots and celery. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add 4 minced cloves of garlic and 340g (12 oz) of chopped portobello mushrooms. Sauté until the juices evaporate then add 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 can of diced tomatoes and ¼ of a cup of chopped fresh Italian parsley. Cook for at least 10 minutes until the mixture thickens a little. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. To assemble, oil a lasagna baking dish and arrange half of the eggplant slices in a single layer. Spoon half of the tomato mixture over the eggplant. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, tomato mixture and more cheese. In a heavy saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in 7 tablespoons of all purpose flour. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in 3½ cups of whole milk. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Whisk in ½ a cup of grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk 4 large egg yolks in a bowl and then gradually whisk them into the hot sauce. Finally, pour the sauce over the moussaka and sprinkle with another ¼ of a cup of cheese. Bake the moussaka for approximately 45 minutes or until heated through and golden brown on top. Cool 15 minutes before serving. .

*Adapted from this recipe.

Written by michelle picker

February 5, 2020 at 12:07 am

pavlova roulade

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Christmas is upon us and here in Australia pavlova is one of our most popular celebration cakes. Traditionally pavlova consists of a round meringue base, usually quite high and ideally with a crisp crust and chewy centre, which is slathered with cream and covered with fresh fruit. And as it’s summer here and fruit is at it’s finest, what better way to show it off? In this version, from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh (who just happens to be an Australian) the meringue and filling are rolled instead. I made mine with mangoes, passionfruit and blackberries.

To make the meringue first preheat your oven to 220ºC (430ºF) and line a shallow baking tray with baking paper. My tray was a little flat so I stapled the corners of the paper to make the sides a little higher. Put 6 large room-temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the whisk, beat them on medium to high speed until you have soft peaks forming. Continue to beat while slowly adding 375g (13 oz) of caster sugar, one spoonful at a time, until the mixture is thick and glossy. This should take at least 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar. Now increase the speed for a final minute of combining. Transfer the meringue mix to the prepared baking sheet and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 200ºC (390ºF). Bake for 35 minutes or until the meringue is crusty and has coloured a bit. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely. At this stage you can even keep the meringue for assembly the next day by covering it with a clean tea towel and setting it aside at room temperature. To make the filling, beat 400ml (13½ fl oz) of double cream until you have soft peaks just forming. Add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 30g (1 oz) of pure icing sugar and continue to beat a little until the cream is just firm enough. Be careful not to beat too long or your cream will turn into butter.

When you’re ready to assemble the roulade, place a clean tea towel over the meringue and invert it onto a work surface. Peel off the baking paper and spread about ⅔ of the cream evenly over the meringue and then cover it generously with the fruit. I put mangoes and passionfruit into the roulade but saved my blackberries for the top. You can also add toasted almond slices at this stage but I opted to put them only on the top. With the help of the tea towel, roll the meringue into a log shape and then carefully pull away the tea towel. Slide the roulade onto a serving platter with the seam facing down. Top with the remaining cream, fruit and toasted almonds and serve.

Written by michelle picker

December 25, 2019 at 12:08 am

baked eggs with yoghurt and chilli

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A delightful brunch made with open range eggs and home-grown roquette and spinach. Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from his cookbook Plenty.

Preheat your oven to 150ºC (300ºF). In a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook 300g (10½ oz) of roquette and spinach with a sprinkling of salt. When it is wilted and no liquid remains transfer it to a shallow oven-proof dish. Make 4 indentations in the greens and carefully break an egg into each. Sprinkle with a little salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or so until the egg whites are set. Meanwhile mix 150g (5¼ oz) of plain Greek yoghurt with 1 crushed garlic clove and a little salt to taste and set aside. In a small saucepan melt 50g of unsalted butter. Add ¼ – ½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes and a pinch of salt and cook until the butter foams. Finally add 6 fresh sage leaves and continue to cook until the leaves are crisp and butter is browned but not burnt. Remove from the heat. When the eggs are cooked spoon the yoghurt sauce over the top and drizzle with the hot chilli butter.

Written by michelle picker

December 11, 2019 at 12:17 am

Posted in eggs, vegetables

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gado gado 2.0

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My first version of gado gado is a little westernised (not such a bad thing) and makes a great meal on it’s own. This recipe, from Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford, is a lighter version with a fresher peanut dressing which is served underneath the other ingredients in the traditional manner. It makes an excellent side dish.

First boil 2-3 eggs to your taste (soft-boiled or hard) then shock them in icy cold water and set aside. Next, heat a generous amount of peanut oil (or similar) in a frypan and fry 150g (5½ oz) of cubed silken tofu. When the tofu is browned set it aside. For the salad the recipes suggests these vegetables: 100g (3½ oz) of snake beans or green beans, 2 bok choy, a large handful of water spinach (a.k.a. river spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus or kangkong), ¼ of a Chinese cabbage and 2 handfuls of beansprouts. I intended to use all of these but forgot to buy bean sprouts. Prepare the beans and cut them into shorter lengths, cut the cabbage into large slices , if the bok choy is large separate the leaves and chop the water spinach into shorter lengths. Place each vegetable into the boiling water and cook until just tender. Use a spider or a sieve to remove each vegetable from the boiling water and stop them cooking by running under cold water. To make the sauce combine 75g (½ a cup) of unsweetened peanut butter with 1 clove of crushed garlic, ½ a teaspoon of salt, ½ a teaspoon of shaved dark palm sugar, 1 tablespoon of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and the juice of a kaffir lime or ½ a lime. Mix well to combine and thin a little with water until you have a consistency you like. Add 2 teaspoons of fried shallots and stir through. To assemble spread the peanut dressing over your serving plate and arrange the vegetables over it. Top with tofu and egg segments.

Written by michelle picker

October 30, 2019 at 12:10 am

frittata with fresh ricotta

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Really fresh ricotta has a great texture and taste so I like to keep it unadulterated. This frittata is a lovely way to enjoy it in a quick and simple meal.

Wash and trim a bunch of spinach and blanch it in boiling salted water until just wilted. Drain and cool it under cold running water then squeeze out the excess water. Chop the spinach roughly and set aside in a large bowl. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry 1 sliced onion and 1 sliced red pepper over moderate heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and cook just a little longer. Add the onions and peppers to the bowl of spinach and combine with 4- 6 eggs, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Wipe your pan clean and heat some more olive oil. Pour in the egg mixture and cook over low heat. When the eggs have cooked halfway up, dot the fresh ricotta over everything and top with pine nuts and finely grated pecorino or parmesan. Place under a hot grill until the egg is firm and the pine nuts are golden brown. Serve from the pan.

Written by michelle picker

October 9, 2019 at 12:13 am

Posted in cheese, eggs

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tocinillo de cielo + almond and orange florentines

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My good friend Daniel Aguera introduced me to this traditional Spanish dessert. Although similar to a crème caramel, this rich custard is non-dairy and is made with only eggs, sugar and water. In the early 20th century, the wineries of Jerez de Frontera clarified their wines with egg whites. The left-over egg yolks were donated to the local nuns who created this magnificent dessert. The name translates to something like heaven’s little pig (or bacon).

As Spain is known for its almonds and oranges, these incredibly crunchy and delicious almond and orange florentines from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi made the perfect accompaniment. 

For the custard I slightly adapted Daniel’s recipe. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350°F). Combine 100g (3½ oz) sugar and 100ml (3½ fl oz) of water in a small saucepan, cover and cook over medium heat until it becomes a deep amber colour. Keep an eagle eye on this caramel as it can burn. Remove it from the heat and quickly pour into the bottom of your baking dish. I used a rectangular dish and layered the caramel for serving. You can also make this in individual ramekins. In another small saucepan combine 300g (10½ oz) of sugar with 250ml (8½ fl oz) of water. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar reaches 105º – 108ºC (220° – 225°F). If you don’t have a thermometer the cooled syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile separate 8 eggs. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks plus 3 more whole eggs. Whisk in the cooled sugar syrup until well combined. Pour the mixture into the baking dish or ramekins. Place the baking dish into a larger dish and pour hot water into the outside dish making sure the water comes up the sides of the dish or ramekins and no water gets into the custard. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the custard is set. You will still see a slight jiggle in the custard when it is cooked. Carefully remove the custard from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To serve, slide a sharp knife around the edge and invert onto a serving dish.

To make the almond and orange florentines lower your oven temperature to 150°C (300°F). Line an oven tray with baking paper and brush with a little oil. In a bowl combine 2 egg whites, 100g (3½ oz) of confectioners’ sugar, 260g (9¼ oz) of sliced almonds and the grated zest of 1 orange. When the ingredients are well mixed wet your hand and place portions of the mix in little mounds on the lined tray, flattening them a little and making sure they have some space between them. Bake for about 12 minutes or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Allow them to cool completely before removing from the baking tray with a spatula. They will keep for 4-5 days in an air-tight container.

Written by michelle picker

August 14, 2019 at 12:14 am