Tag Archives : bacon


Savoury Bacon, Feta and Capsicum Muffins 1

Savoury Muffins with Bacon, Feta and Capsicum

These are the savoury muffins I made for our Melbourne Cup Day picnic at the Canterbury Gardens. I personally don’t quite understand the races I am happy for any excuse for a day off. We ended up going to the Canterbury Gardens and feasted on these little muffins, garden salad, chicken and beetroot sandwiches, best-ever scones*, fresh strawberry ‘jam’ and my homemade lemonade. We even missed the drizzle and got all the sunshine hours. Bliss.

Feta, capsicum and bacon dice

This recipe was based loosely on Stephanie Alexander’s American Muffin from the Cook’s Companion.

Muffins for the Race Day

(Makes 6 muffins or 12 mini muffins – this recipe uses standard Australian measurements.)

  1. 220 g. self-raising flour
  2. 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
  3. 1 egg
  4. 3/4 cup vegetable oil (not strong-flavoured like extra virgin olive)
  5. pinches of salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 1/4 red capsicum, diced into very small pieces
  7. 1/4 block of feta, diced into very small pieces
  8. 2 rindless rashers of bacon

Note the capsicum, feta and bacon should come to about 100g all up.

Savoury muffin batter

Preheat oven to 180′c. Whisk together the wet ingredients (milk/buttermilk, egg and oil) together until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix together just until combined. Do not overmix as this will toughen the muffins. Bake in non-stick muffin tins for about 20-30 minutes. Leave to cool before attempting to remove the muffins from the tin otherwise they stick!

This recipe has also appeared on my new blog, With What We Have. It won’t be a food porn blog like this one but I hope you’ll find it interesting.

This time last year I made: A Most Excellent Rogan Josh and Saffron Rice

* Coming soon to Spatula, Spoon and Saturday. Soonish. Some time. Promise.


Asparagus, Rice and Pancetta Soup 7

asparagus, rice and pancetta soup

I am totally going through an asparagus phase at the moment. Every market I go to, they’re selling beautifully fresh, plump asparagus. Who am I to refuse these little beauties?

This soup was adapted from Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients, which is really a beautiful cookbook. She writes cookbooks like she writes poetry. It’s great. As Skye said, this recipe is more like a wet, sloppy risotto rather than a soup. It is substantial for dinner.

slowly frying the onion, herbs and pancetta

Hearty Soup for 2:

  1. 8 fat asparagus, tough parts peeled back and chopped into 3 cm pieces
  2. 1.5 cups of risotto rice
  3. 1 spanish onion, finely chopped
  4. 3 slices of mild pancetta (about 80g), chopped
  5. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  6. 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  7. 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  8. 2 slices of dried porcini or 2 dried shittake mushrooms
  9. 750 ml of hot water + 1/2 cube of Massel vegetable stock + 1 tsp of Vegeta Gourmet stock*
  10. a pinch of salt and pepper
  11. parmesan, shaved to serve

adding asparagus to the soup

Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and slowly fry off the onion, pancetta, sage and thyme for about 10 minutes on low heat until the onion turns clear and translucent. Add salt, rice and garlic and fry until the rice is too hot to touch. Add the stock and dried mushrooms and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add asparagus and bring back to boil for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Serve with freshly cracked pepper and shaved parmasan.

* Or use whatever light (vegetable/chicken) stock you have. I rarely do my own stock but I have started a freezer bag of off cut vegetables so once that’s full I might do up a batch of fresh stock.


Country Style Rabbit Casserole 1

country style rabbit casserole with onion, mushrooms and all things nice

The very first time I had rabbit was actually at Grossi Florentino and it was absolutely delicious. One Saturday I just decided that cooking a bunny was in order so I perused through all my food books and settled on something vaguely resembling Stephanie Alexander’s Country Rabbit in a Claypot.

country style rabbit casserole

I never cooked rabbit before so I figured surely one cannot screw up a casserole and went with that choice. Which turned out to be a rather good one (if I may say so myself). Our local butcher sold whole free-range rabbits, which  she kindly jointed for me (very loudly with a huge cleaver, might I add. Josh commented, ‘Bunny definitely dead now’).

marinade rabbit pieces

Marinade

  1. 1 farmed rabbit (about 800 g.)
  2. 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  3. 1 tbsp plain flour
  4. 1 tsp soy sauce
  5. 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked

Start by making a paste from the ingredients above (minus the rabbit of course) and then coat the rabbit pieces with it. Leave to marinade while you prepare other things.

frying bunny (not boiling)

(fryin, not boiling, the bunny)

Casserole

  1. 1 onion, finely chopped
  2. 1 carrot, finely diced (reserve peel)
  3. 1 carrot, sliced into chunks (reserve peel)
  4. 100 g. of smoked bacon (I used kaiser but try pancetta or any smoked bacon)
  5. 8 pickling (small) onions
  6. 12 small button mushrooms (leave whole, or halved)
  7. 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  8. 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  9. 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked

DSCN5336

Stock

  1. 2 fresh (or dried) bay leaves
  2. 1/2 litre of boiling water
  3. carrot peel
  4. pumpkin peel (from the pumpkin and sweet potato mash puree)
  5. sweet potato peel
  6. 2 tsp of Vegeta gourmet stock powder (or your favourite)
  7. 4 pieces of dried porcini
  8. rosemary stalks

simmering stock

(simmering the stock)

Start by heating up a bit of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the rabbit pieces on all sides until browned. Be careful not to dislodge the marinade.  Set the meat aside in a casserole dish and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Pour the pan juice onto the rabbit pieces.

DSCN5337

Meanwhile, heat up a knob of butter in a frying pan and slowly fry the chopped onion and diced carrot with some garlic and rosemary. Add the bacon and cook on medium heat until the bacon mixture slight lycoloured. Place the bacon and onion mixture on top of the rabbit pieces in the casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 160’C. Put the casserole dish in it to keep warm while making the stock.

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Pour the stock ingredients onto the frying pan that was just used for the bacon and simmer the stock ingredients for 5 minutes. Pick out the bay leaf and add to the rabbit. Add the pickling onions. Strain the stock and pour it onto the casserole dish. Cover and cook for an hour.

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After an hour, add the mushrooms, carrot slices and the rest of the rosemary leaves. Cook for another hour.

bunny stew

Serve with mashed pumpkin and sweet potato.

country-style rabbit stew

I declare my bunny experiment a success!


Best Lasagna In the World 2

best lasagna in the world

Hopefully everyone has realised by now that good food is all about love. The food is only as good as the love and care that has gone into it. It’s not about how exclusive and trendy the restaurant is, or how many types of purees there are on the food or how artful it is.

Why is this the best lasagna in the world? It’s because it’s made by one of the person who loves me the most in the world. And, that, is worth everything.

Josh first made this for me about three dates into our relationship. That was the day I distinctly remember as the day I totally fell in love with him. It was a lovely summer day, his plum trees were full of red plump fruits, the sky was bright blue, his roses were in full bloom and the bees were going crazy on the flowers, and I had the best comfort food in the world, lasagna, without the luxury of having an Italian mother.

This is the way Josh makes his lasagna:

He would heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil, to which he would add half an onion that has been carefully diced. He then adds two chopped rindless bacon.  He would slowly cook it until the onion goes all soft and translucent and the bacon slightly coloured. Then, he would take about 300 g. of good minced beef (not the fatty horrible supermarket one) and two cloves of crushed garlic and add that to the mix.

He would stir until the mince browns and all the juice evaporates. He would add a can of diced tomatoes and two tablespoons of tomato paste (he usually buys those sachet ones that individually contain two tablespoons per serve).

He would then pick leaves from two or three sprigs of fresh oregano and add to the mince sauce.  Sometimes he would put other fresh herbs in. He likes to grow rosemary, sage and thyme together because the combination amuses him (greensleeves, geddit?) When we have some fresh parsley growing, usually in summer, or I bought a bunch from the market, he would chop a handful of parsley stalks in, reserving the leaves for later.

layers of lasagne

He would then turn the heat down to simmer and let it stew over for twenty minutes. This is where patience comes in. He doesn’t rush. There’s no rushing, no shortcuts to good food for him. He would give it a stir once in a while but mostly just let it sit there, bubbling.

After twenty minutes, he would chop up the reserved parsley leaves and add that to sauce and stir it through. He would get his old faithful glass baking dish and spoon the mince sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish and layer instant lasagna sheets on, ensuring every inch of the sauce is covered, breaking off bits of the sheet if he has to. He would repeat this until the baking dish fills up. There’s no bechamel sauce. No creme fraiche. No cheese in between the layers. Just the mince sauce that had been patiently stewed until it’s just right and the pasta sheets.

He would cut a few slices from a ball of good quality mozzarella cheese, not a fresh white ball, the normal pale cream diseccated one that you get from a deli (or a supermarket with good selection of cheese) and top off the last layer of the lasagna. He would grate a thing sprinkling of parmesan cheese as well. There’s no buying of pregrated icky supermarket cheese, of course.

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He would then carefully cover it with a layer of foil, then off it goes into the oven at 180′ c for another good twenty minutes. He would then uncover the lasagna and turn the heat up to 220’c and bake for another ten minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

He would then cut up a good section and plonk a good portion of it for his hungry wife (who would usually be very hungry by now because he needs at least two hours to ‘make it properly’) Sometimes he would do up a nice green salad with various ingredients that take his fancy (I once discovered strawberries and pineapple in his ‘green’ salad, ‘it’s half way fruit salad, isn’t it awesome?’) to go alongside the lasagna.

There’s always leftovers to take to work the next day.

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