Broccoli and Green Beans with garlic, anchovies and onion 

This recipe brings together a classic combo of flavours. A quick and easy way to add flavour and bite to your greens. This is an excellent accompaniment to grilled steak and roast dinners.  I used special Tricana brand Portuguese anchovies rolled with capers for this version, but just ordinary anchovies will do fine. You can omit the capers, add chilli flakes, or add roasted almond slivers, and/or finish with lemon zest. Any or all of these additions would be just as delicious and quick! 

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients:
200g green beans (top and tailed)
250g broccoli florets
8-10 anchovies
2 teaspoons capers(optional)
1/2 onion sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ground Black pepper 
Parsley to garnish 

Method:

Steam or microwave beans and broccoli until just tender (al dente) – should be bright green! Set aside.
Slice onion thinly
Crush garlic
Heat olive oil in pan, then add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent, add garlic and heat through until fragrant, add anchovies (and capers if using) and mix through onion garlic mixture until some of the anchovies “dissolve”.


Add broccoli and beans to pan and heat, turning to coat vegetables in onion mixture and allow flavours to meld with vegetables.


Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm as a side dish.

Noodle Soup with Thai Red Roast Pork

The weather in Sydney this weekend has been awful with very high winds and torrential rain. It feels like winter has really arrived. Of course this  is perfect weather for heart warming soups, roast and casseroles. What a great excuse for comfort food!

This soup is a perfect antidote to winter blues and just as good in summer as it has a light chicken stock base. You can really season this to your taste and leave out the fresh chillies if you prefer a less spicy option.

You will need Thai Red Roast Pork for this recipe which will extend your preparation time if you are making yourself and not “cheating” and buying it at your closest Chinese BBQ store. Same goes for the chicken stock – of course homemade is always nicer but if you don’t have time or any frozen in the fridge then store bought is fine. It is good to fry the finely chopped garlic to  a crisp; and also roast and crush the peanuts, so that is out of the way before you assemble the soup itself. Once you have these key ingredients in hand, everything else is a breeze.

Prep time: 15 minutes    Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2.5 litres chicken stock
300g of roast red pork thinly sliced
50 g bean sprouts
4-5  iceberg lettuce leaves very finely sliced
200g dried egg or rice noodles (I use fine egg noodles)
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, depending how salty your stock is
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and fried to a crisp
1-2 fresh red chillies chopped (optional)

Garnish:
choppped coriander leaves
2 sping onions finely sliced
dried chilli flakes
roughly chopped roasted peanuts

Method
Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a small non-stick frying pan and fry garlic until golden and crisp, take care not to burn. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain. (I make extra fried garlic to use as a garnish as well.)
Dry roast peanuts in a frying pan, then crush roughly in a mortar and pestle or roughly chop
Slice lettuce leaves, coriander and spring onions finely. Keep seperately.


Bring stock to a boil, then bring to a simmer. Add pork, sugar and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, then add noodles and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until tender. Add fresh chopped chillies at this point if using.


Taste to see if additional fish sauce needed
Add fried garlic, bean sprouts and lettuce.
Immediately turn off the heat and serve in deep soup bowls and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with other garnishes to the side.

Homestyle Osso Bucco

As winter approaches here in Australia slow cooked Osso Bucco is a great recipe to warm the soul. Osso bucco is the cross-cut shank of veal featuring the marrow bone. You can use beef osso bucco but they tend to be much bigger and take longer to cook. I really prefer the smaller veal osso bucco. Order from your butcher if you need to. The meat in this recipe is slow cooked until tender and just falling off the bone and the marrow becomes soft and adds great flavour to the sauce. sucking the marrow out of the bones is not elegant but highly recommended! Served with a zingy gremolata, creamy mash and a fresh rocket and fennel salad, this a fabulous one pot wonder dish that will impress family and friends. It is very simple to cook and is economical as well with a short, sharp ingredients list.

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
12 small veal osso bucco (about 1.5kg)
1 cup plain flour for dusting osso bucco
100 grams unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions diced finely
2 carrots diced finely
2-3 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
3 stalks celery diced finely
400g of canned diced tomatoes
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
salt and black pepper to taste
half a bunch of parsley finely chopped
Fine zest of 2 lemons preferably microplaned or vey finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large heavy based casserole pot, big enough to fit the osso bucco and other ingredients in.

Roll the osso bucco one by one in flour and then brown well in the butter, doing this in small batches and adding more butter to pot until all the osso bucco is browned. remove from pot and set aside.

Add olive oil to pan, heat and then add onions, half the garlic, carrots and celery, Cook gently until onion is golden and soft.

Add the osso bucco to the pot, then tomatoes, white wine and chicken stock. Add 1 tspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1.5-2 hours until osso bucco is tender. If required carefully remove osso bucco from sauce and allow sauce to reduce to a tick gravy consistency, then return osso bucco to sauce and reheat before serving.

While osso bucco is cooking prepare parsley, lemon zest and half the garlic and mix together with a pinch of salt. This is the gremolata for sprinkling on  the osso bucco when served.

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Homestyle osso bucco with gremolata and creamy mashed potatoes

Osso bucco is great with creamy polenta, risotto to mash. I serve it with a sharp green rocket and baby spinach salad with finely shaved fennel – all gorgeous Italian inspired flavours that compliment the rich main course perfectly.

 

 

 

Amazing Chicken Maryland with tomato, thyme, garlic, and eschallots

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chicken marylands with tomato, thyme, garlic, eschallots and chilli ready for oven

The combination of these classic ingredients cooked slowly in the oven creates a succulent chicken dish that is healthy and full of flavour. Of course, I can’t resist adding some chilli for a bit of a kick but it is just as lovely without. You can also add large cubes of potato which absorb the juices as they cook. (You might need to add a bit more stock during the cooking if you use potatoes.)

Served with a simple green salad and some crunchy bread to mop up the juices, “amazing chicken”, as our family calls it, is a great staple for weeknight dinners or as a main dish for casual lunches.

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 1hr-1.5hrs
Ingredients:
4 chicken marylands or 6 chicken thigh fillets
6 cloves of garlic
1 large tomato cut in large chunks
2 red chillies sliced in half(optional)
8 eschallots
Half a bunch of thyme, leaves stripped off stalks
Salt and crushed black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
Parsley to garnish

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Heat oil in large frying pan and brown chicken marylands on both sides to a golden brown colour

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fry chicken marylands until golden brown

Remove chicken and place in a flat,deep casserole dish in one layer
Add eschallots and cloves of garlic to frying pan and fry to create a caramelised finish to eschallots and garlic cloves
Remove from oil and spread over chicken in casserole dish
Add tomato, chilli, if using, and thyme leaves to chicken
Sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper
Pour over stock and white wine
Place dish in oven uncovered to cook until chicken is tender, onions and garlic cloves are cooked and liquid is well reduced.(at least 1 hour)
Turn up oven to max or to top grill for about 5-10 minutes, to further brown and crisp up the top of the chicken
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so before serving with salad and crunchy bread to mop up juices

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Make sure you have crunchy bread to mop up the amazing chicken juices

Serves 4

Pan-fried Scallops on pea purée with crispy proscuitto

Red, white and green. These sweet scallops just pan-fried with a golden brown crust on the bright green pea purée topped with salty, red crispy proscuitto bits are a great Christmas starter or entree. The pea purée can be made ahead of time so it’s easy to assemble just before serving.

Prep time: 30 minutes cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

Pea purée
2 small eschallots finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
2 cups frozen peas defrosted
1/2 cup chicken stock
50g butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and finely crushed black pepper

Scallops
16-24 scallops (4-6 per person)
Olive oil spray

Proscuitto
4-6 slices very thin slices of proscuitto

Method
Pea purée
Heat butter or oil over medium heat
Add eschallots and garlic and sauté gently until soft and transparent
Add defrosted peas and chicken stock, bring to gentle simmer
Cook for maximum 5-7 minutes until peas are tender but still bright green
Add salt and pepper to taste
Process with stick blender or in food processor until purée forms
Pass through a sieve to remove husks, leaving smooth creamy and bright green purée

Proscuitto
Put proscuitto in non-stick frying pan and bring up to medium heat to allow fat to render slowly
Fry for 10 minutes or so until proscuitto is really crispy turning up heat slightly if needed but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn

Scallops
Pat dry each scallop with paper towel
Heat a non-stick pan on high heat, then turn down heat slightly, spray very lightly with olive oil if necessary to ensure non-stick
Add scallops to pan in 2-3 batches
Pan fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden crust forms and scallops are cooked. If too much liquid comes out of scallops, remove scallops from pan, clean pan and then add scallops back to achieve golden colour

Assembly
Spoon 2 tablespoons pea purée on individual plates
Spread purée with a spoon to form a “strip” on which to place scallops
Place 4-6 scallops on purée
Scatter with crispy proscuitto bits
Serve with a crisp white wine