Coco’s Green Smoothie

Serves: 2

My sister in law Court (Coco) shared this awesome breakfast smoothie with us.

Perfect for our new year’s resolution!

Highly commend and can be made the night before ready to be blitzed with ice in the morning.

Ingredients

1 cucumber
1 stick celery
1 banana
Kale (or baby spinach)
Dollop of Greek yoghurt
Minced ginger
Splash of cold water or almond milk

Method

  1. Blitz together all the ingredients in a blender and serve with ice.

Mint Sauce

Serves: 1 cup+

There is more to mint sauce than mint.

Ingredients

1 c full fat yoghurt
1/4 c coriander leaves
1/4 c mint leaves
1 green chilli
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Place coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chilli in a blender and process until smooth, adding 1 – 2 tbsp water to bring it together.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, spoon in the yoghurt.
  3. Now add the green herbs mixture, salt, sugar, cumin, garam masala and lemon juice to the yoghurt. Whisk together until well combined, cover and chill until needed.

Josh Niland’s John Dory Tagine

Serves: 6

Wow, this is a just a brilliant tagine.

The heat is perfect. The unusual addition of thyme and fish sauce and anchovies.

The f-you preserved lemon yoghurt.

And the pine nuts toasted with salt and then sherry vinegar.

I mean it when I say, skip now to that part of the recipe and simply do the pine nuts as a snack. They are addictive.

(If they lose their crunch, refresh them in a hot oven for a minute or two.)

This was our first Josh Niland recipe from his book Take One Fish and I really don’t know why we delayed buying his books or cooking his stuff. We have every other cookbook in the world, and there is a reason he won James Beard Book of the year.

We didn’t source John Dory darnes because we didn’t have the time to get to the markets; and also because we’re not entirely ready for whole fish-tail in our tagine. (It’s us Josh, not you.)

We cooked cubbed Snapper, though next time I’d do cubbed Dory or even Barramundi.

As Josh interestingly points out, the whole piece of John Dory tail with the bones means you get the addition of gelatine into the sauce which would just wonderfully balance it out: I guess it dependents on whether you’re a fish-tail tagine sort of person.

Either way, this tagine is absolutely on point. We just loved it.

Put the kids to bed, open a cold Chardonnay and do this next Saturday.

Ingredients

6 x 150gm John Dory tail shank chops or darnes (or 1kg firm white fish, cubbed)
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
1/4 c currants
1/4 c coriander leaves
1/4 c mint leaves
Couscous to serve

Tagine Paste

1/4 c chilli flakes
1/4 c ras el hanout
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground turmeric
3 tsp sweet paprika
3 large onions, finely diced
6 large garlic cloves, finely grated
100gm peeled ginger coarsely chopped
2 long red chillies, seeds removed
12 thyme springs, leaves picked
1 bunch coriander, washed
1 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, washed
12 salted anchovy fillets
1 c extra virgin olive oil

Tagine Base

100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 x 400gm tins crushed tomatoes
1/2 star anise
500ml brown fish stock
Pinch of sea salt flakes
1 x 400gm tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large fennel bulb, coarsely diced
Generous pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 60ml boiling water
1/4 c honey
Zest of 1 orange
Lemon juice, to taste
Fish sauce

Salt and Vinegar Pine Nuts

1/2 c pine nuts
1 tsp fine salt
3 tsp sherry vinegar

Preserved Lemon Yoghurt

90gm preserved lemon, pith removed
350gm natural yoghurt

Method

  1. To make the tagine paste, blitz all the ingredients in a blender until completely smooth.
  2. For the tagine base, warm the olive oil in a large, wide-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the tagine paste and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until thoroughly cooked out and aromatic. Add the crushed tomatoes, star anise, stock and salt. Brind to a simmer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until thick and fragrant, then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Rub each of the John Dory shanks with a little olive oil and season lightly with salt flakes.
  4. Using a tagine pot or flameproof casserole dish with a fitted lid, pour in enough of the sauce to completely cover the base to a depth of roughly 2.5cm, then nestle the shanks/cubbed fish into the sauce. Bring to the boil over a medium-heat, then cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer very gently for 6 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. (46 – 48c if cooking the tail). Remove from the heat and leave the residual heat of the tagine to finish cooking the fish.
  5. To make the salt and vinegar pine nuts, add the pine nuts and salt to a dry frying pan and set over a high heat and toast for 3 – 4 minutes, tossing the nuts as you go, until evenly coloured all over.
  6. Add the sherry vinegar and continue to cook, tossing for 2 minutes until the nuts are thoroughly dried out. Remove from the heat.
  7. For the preserved lemon yoghurt, place the preserved lemon in a blender and blitz to a fine paste, adding a splash of warm water if necessary to deliver a simply smooth finish. Stir into the yoghurt and set aside until needed.
  8. To serve, bring the tagline to the table and serve with the pine nuts, preserved lemon yoghurt, currants, coriander, mint leaves and couscous.

Gretta Anna’s Potato Pancakes

Serves: 4 – 6

These potato pancakes are a wonderful invention.

Nat cooked them as part of an American Linnar (Lunch/Dinner which is now my new favourite meal) with ribs and a wholesome, creamy salad of greens.

It’s just comfort. Nothing complex. Just solidly good, satisfying food.

I’d have them for breakfast. As a hot dish with a cold buffet. As a finger food.

And definitely as a side to ribs or really any grilled meat.

Ingredients

2 – 3 rashers rindless bacon, chopped
25ml vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp plain flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled and grated
2 tbsp chopped chives
50ml olive oil

Method

  1. Sauté the bacon in a frying pan with the vegetable oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until slightly crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  2. Beat the eggs with the flour and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the bacon, egg mixture and grated potato in a bowl and add the chives. Leave the mixture until ready to cook, when it will be very watery.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Place tbsps of potato mixture in the oil and cook for about 5 minutes each side, until golden. Turn the heat up if necessary.
  5. Serve immediately, or keep in a 100c oven on a cake rack to ensure the pancakes remain fresh and crisp until needed.

Grace Parisi’s Pappardelle with Veal Ragù

Serves: 8

The most viewed recipe on my blog is consistently Gordon Ramsay’s Slow Braised Beef Ragù with Pappardelle.

An amazing dish as I wrote up 6 years ago.

Recently we have cooked this Ragù twice and it is just as wonderful.

Simple like Ragù is, though just as rich as an amazing Ragù is and should be.

For me, a long Italian lunch in the sun – one white pasta, one red pasta – is the absolute definition of heaven.

I commend this Ragù to your next such session.

Have a medium-bodied Chianti Classico ready to go and it is bliss.

Ingredients

2kg boneless veal shoulder, cut into large chunks*
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 1/2 c dry red wine
4 c chicken or veal stock
1 1/2 tbsp minced rosemary
1kg fresh pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve
Chopped, fresh Italian Parsley to serve

Method

  1. Season the veal with salt and pepper and dust with flour, tapping off the excess. In a large, heavy casserole, heat 1/4 of the olive oil. Add the veal and cook over a moderately high heat until browned all over. Transfer the veal to a plate and do in batches if need be.
  2. Turn the heat down to low, add the remaining 1/4 c oil to the casserole. Stir in the onion, garlic, coriander and fennel and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the wine and boil until reduced to 1/3 c. Add the tomatoes and cook over a moderately high heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock and rosemary and bring to a boil. Add the veal, cover partially and cook over a low heat until falling apart and thickened. 3 – 5 hours.
  3. Cook the Pappardelle in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain, add the Ragù and toss over a low heat until the pasta is coated. Serve with the cheese and parsley.

* I’ve found it increasingly hard to source veal, which could be in-line with questions about the ethics of its consumption. I persevered and got there in the end. One butcher told me the issue is that he wouldn’t sell veal if he couldn’t verify it. Not sure what the answer is. We used veal chuck which broke down beautifully after 5 hours, twice.

Tony Roma’s Baby Back Ribs

Serves: 4

One of my parent’s traditions was a visit to Tony Roma’s for the birthdays of any of the kids.

And we loved it.

The ribs. The onion loaf. The potatoes with sour cream. And creaming soda back then.

Both Tony Romas shut in Sydney years ago, though every time we make it to Waikiki (Honolulu), we visit Tony Romas.

Of course our kids have been and love it just as much as we did when we were kids.

The ribs are sensational and it has to be a full rack with cold beer:

Straight off the charcoal.

The longer you can keep them in the oven, the better of course. And if you can access charcoal, finish them off as the full Monty.‘

Ingredients

1 c ketchup
1 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c golden syrup
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
4 large, full rack pork ribs
Cold beer to serve

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the ribs in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until thick.
  2. Heat your oven to 150c. Coat the ribs front and back with the sauce, wrap in foil and. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the ribs from the foil and smother with more sauce. Preheat an grill on high and grill until darkened and caramelised.

Healthy Mai Thai

Makes: 2 cocktails

How good are summer holidays.

Nothing to do, essentially all locked in our houses thanks to Sydney’s current Covid situation (🖕🏻😖😷), long afternoons under the umbrella reading and typing recipes.

And drinking this amazing cocktail by Nat.

I could get very used to this.

Ingredients

I cup fresh cut pineapple
2 large vodka shots
1.5 shots of Malibu
3cm ginger
1 tsp of honey
2.5 shots of coconut water
Lime slices to garnish
Ice to serve

Method

  1. Whiz together the pineapple, ginger, honey and coconut water in a blender. Strain and return to the blender.
  2. Add the vodka and Malibu and whiz once more.
  3. Serve with lime slices and ice.
  4. Repeat.

Martin Teplitzky’s Egg Yolk Ravioli with Prosciutto, Asparagus and Lemon Butter

Serves: 6 as a starter

This is a bit of an adventurous dish, though ironically it’s the simplicity of the whole thing that is the point.

This dish from Martin Teplitzky – son of the great Gretta Anna – is all class.

Nat did this as a first course for a long-lunch we had over the past Christmas and my goodness, what a treat:

Doh. I forgot the Parmesan and chives before I took this photo.

The double whammy here is that you both need to make pasta dough and then expertly transfer egg yolks into each ravioli. I think we lost only two yolks.

Though its a fun dish to make – I helped with the pasta part – and it looks wonderful. (Yolks at room temperature are much easier to handle: pro tip.)

And as I said, it’s just the wonderful simplicity of it all.

Thankfully I nailed the other part of my limited brief which was to have a solid white wine chilled and ready.

Enjoy. (I did. Very much.)

Ingredients

18 egg yolks
1 tbsp olive oil
3 thin slices prosciutto, finely chopped
50gm Parmesan, finely grated
Finely chopped chives, to garnish

Asparagus and Lemon Butter

150gm butter
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 bunch asparagus, spears trimmed and cut into thirds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Egg Yolk Ravioli (Makes about 18)

300gm type ‘00’ flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
Semolina flour, for dusting

Method

  1. To make the ravioli, sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Using a fork, gently beat the eggs and gradually allow the flour to mix with them. Continue until the sauce is too think to work with the fork. Tip out onto a smooth surface and work the dough until all the flour is absorbed, then continue to knead the dough for 5 – 10 minutes until it becomes smooth. (You may need to dust the work surface with a little semolina flour if you find the dough sticking a bit.) Wrap the dough in plastic film and place in the refrigerator to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Dust the work surface with semolina flour, then cut off about a quarter of the pasta dough, being sure to wrap the remaining dough in a tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Flatten the first piece of dough and pass it through the widest setting on a pasta machine. Drop the setting down a notch and roll out, and again drop the setting a notch and repeat. At this point, take your dough and fold it over twice. Pass it through the pasta machine. Repeat this process 5 times on this setting, folding air into the pasta. Once you have done this, drop the setting down another notch and roll through once, then drop the setting down once more and roll your pasta dough through. You should now have a lovely thin sheet of pasta ready for cutting or filling Repeat with remaining dough it give 4 sheets of pasta.
  3. Using a cutter, cut the pasta dough into 18 discs about 8cm in diameter for the base of the ravioli, and 18 discs about 9cm in diameter for the top. Carefully place an egg yolk in the middle of an 8cm disc and wet the edges with a little water on the end of your fingertips. Place a 9cm disc on top and press the edges together, being careful not to puncture the pasta with your fingernails, and making sure you remove any air pockets from inside the ravioli. Repeat with the remaining pasta discs and egg yolks.
  4. The ravioli can then be dusted with semolina flour and placed in the fridge or thrown straight into a saucepan of salted, boiling water. Remove the ravioli when they float to the surface, after about 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-heat and sauté the prosciutto until crisp and golden, then drain on paper towel.
  6. To make the asparagus and lemon butter, simply melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the lemon zest and juice and gently sauté the asparagus for 2 – 3 minutes until they turn bright green and have softened a little. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Drain the ravioli, divide evenly between the plates. Drizzle the asparagus and lemon butter over top and serve with prosciutto and Parmesan, then scatter over finely chopped chives.

David Leite’s Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

Serves: 8 as a snack

My mother whipped these up as part of a long, grazing lunch of cured meats and focaccia.

In the same way we should all be making our own dips for special meals, the same is true of nuts.

So here you go.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 egg white
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried red-pepper flakes
2 cups mixed raw nuts of your choice

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 150c. Line a lipped baking sheet with foil and coat the foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the egg white until very foamy. Add the sugar, salt, cumin and red-pepper flakes and whisk well. Stir in the nuts and coat completely.
  3. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until they’re deep golden brown about 25 – 30 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Remove the sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Break up any nutty clumps. (The nuts can be made a week in advance, stored in an airtight container.)

The French Laundry’s Staff Dressing

Makes: 2 cups

We have been on a salad tear the last six months.

Neil Perry’s classic palm sugar dressing with leaves and herbs is just amazing.

My mother said that this Giana De Laurentiis’ salad of leaves tossed with caramelised pancetta and fennel was the best salad she had ever had.

Though in what is certainly seeming like a never-ending crescendo, the podium needs to be cleared again.

Because this dressing is superb.

Nothing less than one would expect from Thomas Keller.

The basic ingredients don’t vary from a traditional vinaigrette, though the use of the blender and the addition of the egg yolks completely transforms what would have been a vinaigrette, into the most wonderful cream.

Just add leaves and some fragrant herbs: dill, basil, coriander, chervil, tarragon, whatever you have in the fridge.

Get excited. It’s superb.

Ingredients

1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp chopped shallots
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 large egg yolk
2 c canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Place the garlic, shallots, mustard and vinegar in a blender and blend until well combined. Add the egg yolk and blend again.
  2. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be refrigerated in a covered container for 1 week.)