Veal Schnitzel with Tuna Sauce and Herb Salad

Serves: 4

This is a cracker from my backlog of Gourmet Traveller magazine tear-outs: essentially a 10cm pile of recipes I’ve torn from years of magazines.

Think quick-fire Friday dinner.

Nothing too complex, wine in hand, Friday night great dinner.

Each element is a winner.

A classic veal schnitzel. The flavour of a classic vitello tonnato liberally lashed on the veal. And the crunch of the salad of parsley, tarragon and shallot.

Bloody yum.

Keep the wine going and this is a Friday no-brainer.

How good is a good schnitty?!

Ingredients

2 c panko crumbs
2/3 c finely grated pecorino
1/2 c plain flour, seasoned
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 veal schnitzels
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
1 c each (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, dill and tarragon
2 red shallots, thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Tuna sauce

185gm canned tuna in olive oil, drained
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tbsp baby capers in vinegar, drained and chopped
40gm cornichons, finely chopped
1/4 c (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley
1-2 tbsp lemon juice plus wedged to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 100c and line a baking tray with baking paper. Mix panko and pecorino in a bowl, then place seasoned flour and egg in separate bowls. Dust schnitzels in flour shaking off the excess, then dip into egg and press into the panko, coating evenly.
  2. Fill a large, deep frying pan with 2cm oil and heat to 180c. Fry the schnitzels in batches until golden brown and cooked through: 2 – 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels, placed on prepared tray and keep warm while you cook the remaining schnitzels.
  3. Meanwhile, combine herbs and shallot in a bowl.
  4. For the tuna sauce, blitz the ingredients in a small food processor until combined though still textured.
  5. Top schnitzel with herb mixture, drizzle with oil and season to taste with salt flakes. Serve with tuna sauce and lemon wedges.

Giana De Laurentiis’ Caremalised Pancetta and Fennel Salad

Serves: 4

In the family, I known for my green salads.

I’m known for plenty of other things too 🥴, though pulling together vinaigrette and a bowl of greens and leaves, is definitely my thing; with pasta, with grilled meat, by-itself.

Shaved parmesan, toasted, sliced almonds, French shallots, plenty of avacado… or just leaves.

Yum.

Which is why when I find a new salad that hits it out of the park, it makes me so excited.

We did a lockdown date-night last night and I did a Giana De Laurentiis lemon spaghetti and this salad.

The pasta was good.

This salad was brilliant.

Cook the pancetta until it crumbles. And don’t hold back on the salad greens.

Because trust me, none will be left.

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb, halved and cut into 1cm wedges
6 slices pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground blac pepper
6 – 7 c mixed salad greens
Red wine vinaigrette
Bottle of cold, crisp white ready for big pours

Red Wine Vinaigrette

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and fennel is caramelised: about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. For the Red Wine Vinaigrette: mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  4. In a large bowl, place the salad greens, crumbled pancetta and caremlised fennel. Toss with the Red Wine Vinaigrette.

Sixpenny’s Mushroom Lasagne

Serves: 8 – 10

Sixpenny is a Sydney institution – 3 hats no less – and their head chef Dan Puskas is clearly a genius.

We have only eaten there once, though it was an entirely memorable and particularly impressive meal.

So when the head of Sixpenny puts out a lasagne recipe and it is based on mushrooms with a celeriac thrown in, time to listen up.

Simply put, this is mushroom greatness.

Yes, being a lasagne helps, though the mushroom is is the clincher. It is so moorish, so satisfying, so endless, it’s as I said, mushroom greatness.

I was wrong footed on the porcini powder, though simple blitz dried porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder and voila.

Also, I used instant lasagne sheets which seems to me a fine cheat. No doubt, fresh would be even better and the next time I do this dish, I’ll make the effort.

Live like they do at Sixpenny and mushroom it up the next cold Saturday night you can.

Ingredients

50gm dried porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1kg button mushrooms, finely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
100gm butter
1 medium celeriac, peeled, coarsely grated
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp coarsely chopped sage
1/3 c porcini powder
100gm tomato paste
200ml red wine
4 c vegetable stock
Lasagne sheets

BĂ©chamel sauce

125gm butter
125gm plain flour
5 c milk
165gm Parmesan, finely grated
1 1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Method

  1. Soak porcini mushrooms in 3 cups boiling water until soft (30 minutes); drain, reserving liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, working in batches, use a food processor to finely chop the button mushrooms.
  3. Heat half the olive oil in a deep frying pan over a high heat. Cook half the button and porcini mushrooms, stirring until browned and tender; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms. Set aside with the cooked mushrooms.
  4. Add butter to the pan, reduce heat to medium and use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan of any caramelised bits. Add celeriac, celery, carrot, onion, sage and porcini powder; cook, stirring until softened. Add the tomato paste and mushrooms and mix well. Add wine and simmer until almost evaporated.
  5. Add the reserved porcini liquid and 2 cups of the stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until well reduced. Add remaining stock and simmer until the consistency of a meat sauce.
  6. To make the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add flour and stir until bubbling. Remove from the heat, gradually whisk in milk until combined. Simmer over a low heat stirring until thick and smooth. Add 125gm of the Parmesan, pepper and nutmeg. Season with salt. Set aside until needed.
  7. Preheat oven to 180C. Great a large ovenproof dish. Spread 1/4 of the mushroom mixture in base of the dish. Top with pasta sheets and then a layer of béchamel. Repeat, finishing with béchamel. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling.

Neil Perry’s Classic Prawn Cocktail

Serves: 4

I have plated this dish at least half a dozen times and it is always so well received.

Classic Saturday lunch sort of stuff.

Fresh prawns, iceberg and a wonderful cocktail sauce. Everything you would expect of Neil Perry in his style of cooking.

Of course, it’s nothing new and people have been doing this since the 70s. Though slightly deconstructed like this recipe is, it’s a great return of a classic dish.

Follow it up with a good steak over charcoal and oh man, that is a great Saturday indeed.

Ingredients

150gm iceberg lettuce, outer leaves and core removed, finely shredded (about 1/4 of a whole lettuce)
2 lemon wedges, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 large cooked king prawns, peeled, tailed instant and intestinal tracts removed

140ml thick good-quality egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish (I use horseradish cream)
Pinch cayenne pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Method

  1. For sauce, combine ingredients and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Divide lettuce among 4 plates, squeeze 2 lemon wedges over and drizzle with oil. Season to taste, top with prawns and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

Neil Perry’s Chicken and Leek Pie

Serves: 4 – 6

I have written many times about my love of pies.

Though I have never typed up a chicken pie. Not because I haven’t cooked them and don’t necessarily love the very best of them: though I have never cooked one of the very best of them.

Until now.

Weeks into Sydney’s lockdown and it’s Father’s Day and knowing that both my father and my father-in-law love a pie as much as I do, I had to do a compassionate food run.

I needed a down-the-line, bloody good chicken pie.

Something that was honest and simple. To be served with a mash* and peas.

A celebration.

This is just that pie. Thanks Neil Perry as usual.

You can’t go wrong with leek slowly cooked in butter, though it is the thinly sliced chicken breast that wins here.

And smoked bacon.

Line your pie dish with pastry and then cover all with pastry and make it even more svelte.

It’s simple and that’s the point.

Happy Father’s Day.

(I have slightly adapted the recipe.)

Ingredients

30gm butter
2 small leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
6 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
3 chicken breast fillets, cut into thin strips
300ml cream
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
Sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and cook the leeks until very sold and lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until lightly browned, remove and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly browned, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Wipe out the pan with paper towels. Return the leeks, bacon and chicken to the pan. Add the combined cream and yolks, stir over a low heat for 2 minutes and then season with salt and pepper, to taste, Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 210C. And make a pie. You known how to do this right? Egg wash, prick the pastry to allow the steam to escape and bake for 30 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown.
  5. Happy Father’s Day ladies. And gents.

* Use a ricer, plenty of butter and milk, well seasoned: and then add a finely chopped golden shallot.

Roast Ocean Trout with Chilli-Turmeric Paste

Serves: 4

This recipe is awesome.

Think a good lashing of a wonderful, oily paste on a thick piece of ocean trout (or salmon), roasted at a high temperature.

Served hot with a drizzle of coconut cream and a squeeze of lime, this is what you would call vibrant. I mean, ocean trout in any setting is the finest of the fish, though add this wonderful paste and this is just moorish.

It would be just as good with barramundi or even chicken breast.

Just make sure you have a glass of cold, crisp white ready to go!

Ingredients

4 fillets of ocean trout
Coconut cream, for drizzling
Lime wedges and steamed rice, to serve

Spice paste

4 long red chillies, seeds removed
1 lemongrass stalk, white part, finely chopped
10gm piece of turmeric, coarsely chopped
1 small golden shallot
2 tsp dry-roasted, coarsely ground coriander seeds
1/4 c olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240C. For spice paste, using a hand-blender, blitz ingredients with a pinch of salt until smooth.
  2. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add spice paste and stir until lightly roasted (1 – 2 minutes), then set aside to cool.
  3. Spread spice paste over fish and bake until just cooked through (8 minutes for medium-rare). To finish, drizzle fish with coconut cream and squeezed lime juice. Serve with rice.

Gourmet Traveller’s Ultimate Hot Cross Buns

Makes: 12

We are big fans of Gourmet Traveller and I always have a backlog of their magazines and recipes to get through.

Their various collections of recipes are always successful. Hand on heart, I have never been disappointed by a GT recipe.

Nat found this recipe in what presumably was an Easter edition and it was simply great. It’s origins are in three other hot cross bun recipes that GT was sampling, this being the culmination.

This is by no means the easiest hot cross bun recipe out there.

Though we all know that you get what you pay for: the fruits soaked overnight in the sherry, the orange juice and the vanilla bean in the glaze.

I mean, this is luxury and a case of very much getting what you paid for.

Odd time to post a hot cross bun recipe given we are equidistant periods away from Easter at the time I post, though I mentioned the backlog: bookmark these for Easter.

They’re smashing.

Ingredients

100gm currants
100gm sultanas
Juice of 1 orange
40ml Pedro Ximenez (sherry)
50gm candied orange peel, finely chopped
200ml milk
3 tsp dried yeast
470gm strong baker’s flour
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 stop ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground gloves
60gm light brown sugar
1 egg
60gm softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 tsp sunflower oil

Glaze

2/3 c caster sugar
Juice of 1 orange
Scraped seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Method

  1. Combine currants and sultanas in a bowl with orange juice and Pedro Ximenez, cover and soak overnight. Stir through candied peel and set aside.
  2. Warm half the milk in a saucepan over low heat until just lukewarm, then combine with yeast in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Place 420gm flour, combined spices (reserve 1/4 tsp spice mixture), sugar, egg, yeast mixture, remaining milk and 3/4 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed until combined (5 minutes). Add butter, zest and oil and mix until combined. Drain soaked fruit (reserving the liquid). Stir fruit through dough just until incorporated. Place dough in a bowl lightly greased with butter. Cover and set aside to prove until dough has doubled in size (2 hours).
  4. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Knock back dough, divide into 12 pieces, then roll each into a smooth ball, dusting with a little flour if needed to prevent dough sticking (do not add too much as dough will become tough). Place buns on tray in even rows, leaving a 2cm gap. Set aside to prove until doubled in size (30 – 40 minutes).
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C. Combine remaining flour and reserved spice mixture into a small bowl with 40ml water and mix to a paste. Transfer paste to a piping bag, snip the end and pipe crosses over buns: bake until golden and cooked through (25 – 30 mins).
  6. For glaze, combine ingredients and 1 – 2 tbsp reserved fruit liquid in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and a syrup forms (2 – 3 minutes). While buns are hot, brush syrup over liberally, then set aside to cool slightly. Serve hot cross buns warm or at room temperature.
  7. Or halve, toast and serve with good butter like we did!

Antonio Carluccio’s Salsa di Funghi (Mushroom Sauce)

Serves: 4

How good is Northern Italian food?

And how good is simplicity?

Which when combined, begs the question, just how good was Antonio Carluccio?

I absolutely love mushrooms and cooked down slowly, with just a bit of olive oil and rosemary; the addition of the porcini stock, butter and then Parmesan. My word.

Toast me something and pile those mushrooms on that! Polenta equally so!

Again, it’s simple, though cook those mushrooms as slowly as possible and live the Northern Italian life.

(We did the white sauce… which is not what you might expect.)

Ingredients

25gm dried porcini mushrooms
150ml water
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400gm fresh mushrooms (mix it up!)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan to serve

For white sauce

15 butter

For red sauce

2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp tomato pulp (passata)
1 tbsp tomato paste

  1. Soak the dried porcini in tepid water for 30 minutes and squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquor.
  2. Heat the oil and fry the rosemary and garlic for 20 seconds. If you are making the red sauce, add the extra virgin olive oil at this point. Add the fresh mushrooms and soaked dried mushrooms and continue to slowly cook for no less than 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. (I cooked for 45 minutes and wow!)
  3. Cook your pasta, reserving a small amount of pasta water for the sauce.
  4. For the white sauce, stir in the soaking liquor and the butter and cook for another 15 minutes. Add some of the pasta water and check the seasoning.
  5. Serve with the pasta and a good amount of Parmesan.

Method

Antonio Carluccio’s Insalata all’Abruzzese (Vegetable and Tuna Salad)

Serves: 4

This salad is a triumph of flavours: the combination of cooked and raw vegetables, the tuna, the whole thing.

(Yes, it is a summer salad and we had it in the tail of winter, though the sun was out and we had some good Italian wines to try.)

With a bit of toasted bread, this is a meal on its own.

Though next time I serve this, I hope it is part of a long Italian feast welcoming our family and friends back into our home.

That’s when the really good Italian whites and reds are coming out.

Bookmark this one. It is beautiful. And lockdown will end one way or the other!

Ingredients

300gm young zucchinis (around 4 small)
200gm green beans, trimmed (about a big handful)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200gm tomatoes (around 2 tomatoes)
1 red pepper
1 red onion
150gm good canned tuna in oil, drained
8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
8 basil leaves, torn
1 tsp dried oregano
1 – 3 red chillies, chopped
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Method

  1. Quarter the zucchinis lengthways, then cut into chunks. Cook the beans until al dente, drain and cool. Repeat with the zucchinis.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and remove the seeds. Halve, core and deseed the pepper, then cut into long, thin strips. Finely slice the red onion.
  3. Put the zucchinis, beans, tomatoes, red pepper and onion into a bowl. Break the tuna into little chunks and add to the salad with the anchovies, herbs and as much fresh chilli as you can take! Toss everything together, adding the olive oil, followed by the wine vinegar. Season and serve at room temperature.

Chin Chin’s Son-In-Law-Eggs

Serves: 4

I was a bit perplexed when Nat said that the people reading this blog wouldn’t really want to cook Son-In-Law-Eggs.

I think they are just beautiful. And they’re not complicated.

Perhaps it needs a broader Thai menu behind it? Perhaps deep-fried eggs comes across odd if you’re not in the know?

Because Son-In-Law-Eggs are just essential Royal Thai cooking and by that definition, have to be wonderful. All Royal Thai is! Especially given the Chin Chin twist.

Key is to boil as quickly as possible and then to cool as quickly as possible to keep them as runny as possible. Though don’t worry either way.

They are amazing either way.

Ingredients

Sweet Tamarind (Makes 2 cups) *

120gm palm sugar
1 c tamarind water
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbs aromats (chilli, lime leaf, lemongrass scraps)

Chilli Jam (Makes about 1kg) **

10 red birds eye chillies
8 red banana chillies
2 red capsicums
6 red onions
1 stalk lemongrass (pale part only)
1 knob ginger
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup vegetable oil
250gm palm sugar
3 tbs tamarind water
1/2 cup fish sauce

Eggs

4 eggs at room temperature
Vegetable oil for frying
2 sprigs Thai basil, leaves picked
1 large red chilli, sliced

Method

  1. Mix 2 – 3 tbsp of the tamarind and 1 tbs of the chilli jame to make a sauce. Set aside.
  2. Fill a bowl with ice and water. Place eggs in a small saucepan and just cover with water. Bring the water to a rapid boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the boiling water and put them straight into the iced water to stop the cooking process. When they’ve cooled off, gently roll and tap each egg on a chopping board to break the shell then peel off the shell using your thumb. Gently does it.
  3. Heat a good quantity of oil – enough to deep fry – in a wok to medium (about 180c) and fry the eggs for 4 minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
  4. To serve, arrange the eggs on a serving platter and bruise them gently so that the yolk just starts to ooze out. Drizzle with the sauce and garnish with basil leaves and chilli.

* You need far less than two cups unless you are operating a restaurant. Reduce accordingly.

** Ditto.