Posts Tagged With: asparagus

Risotto primavera

This lovely spring risotto is positively bursting with green goodies!

ourkitchengarden.net

Fresh from the garden: broad beans, green beans, marjoram, garlic, onion, pea shoot tendrils
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Saucepans – small, medium and large stockpot
  • Salad spinner
  • Bowls – 1 large, small, med
  • Large knife& chopping board
  • Grater, microplane zester
  • Ladle
  • Wooden spoon with a flat end
  • Heavy based stockpot
  • Measures: scales, jug, cup, tablespoon
  • 4 bowls or soup plates to serve

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres water with 2 tablespoons bouillon (or 2 litres stock)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 brown onion
  • 20g butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g Arborio rice
  • A handful broad beans
  • A bunch of asparagus
  • A handful of green beans
  • A cup of frozen peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 50g parmesan
  • A small handful marjoram
  • A handful pea shoot tendrils

What to do:

  • Measure 2 litres of water into the medium saucepan, add the bouillon and bring it to a simmer on medium heat.
  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and butter over medium heat in the large stockpot. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent & then stir in the garlic and then rice until the grains begin to crackle.
  • Begin adding the simmering stock, a ladle at a time, and stir in until fully absorbed. The stock should just cover the rice and bubble. Stir every minute or so, making sure you get into all the edges of the pan with the wooden spoon.
  • Meanwhile fill the smaller saucepan with water and set to boil. Pod the broad beans and boil for 3 minutes. Drain, refresh in a bowl of cold water and pod again. Reserve in a small bowl.
  • Wash and chop the asparagus into 1cm lengths. Measure out the peas from the freezer and reserve. Wash and snip the beans into 1cm lengths.
  • After about 15 minutes add all the peas, the broad beans, the green beans and the asparagus and stir in, cooking for another 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, zest the lemon and grate the parmesan to yield about ½ cup. Wash and gently spin the pea shoots dry. Wash, spin and strip the marjoram leaves.
  • When the rice is just tender all the way through but still slightly firm, usually in about 20 minutes, it is done.
  • When you are ready to serve, add in a last ladleful of stock. Stir in the pea shoots, lemon zest and parmesan, and remove from the heat. Taste now and check the seasoning. The mixture should be creamy.
  • Serve onto the bowls and eat right away!

ourkitchengarden.net

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Crispy asparagus with herby lemon aioli

Crunchy? Herby? Garlicky? Yup, ticks all the boxes… yum yum yum! Hooray for spring!

ourkitchengarden.net

Fresh from the garden: asparagus, lemon, eggs, herbs
Recipe source: adapted by Melissa from simplycratch.com
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Baking sheet, baking paper
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Grater &microplane zester
  • Bowls – large, med, small
  • Whisk, sifter, tongs
  • Measuring – jug, ½ cup, ¼ cup
  • Citrus juicer
  • Scales
  • Salad spinner
  • Stick blender & cup
  • Garlic press
  • Serving plates
Ingredients:

FOR THE ASPARAGUS:

  • 1 large bunch of asparagus
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 30g parmesan
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

FOR THE AIOLI:

  • A small handful garden herbs
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks (left over from the asparagus)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 juicy lemon
  • 1 cup rice bran oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

FOR THE ASPARAGUS:

  • For the asparagus:
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • Wash the asparagus and trim the woody ends into the compost. Slice the asparagus in half to make short stubs.
  • Finely grate the parmesan to yield about ¼ cup.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks into a medium bowl and gently whisk. (Reserve the yolks for the aioli).
  • In alarge bowl add the panko, sift the flour, the grated parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir.
  • Roll a few of the asparagus in the egg whites, drain off any excess and then roll in the panko mixture to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all the asparagus.
  • Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes turning the asparagus half way through, and continue to bake until the outside is lightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

FOR THE AIOLI:

  • Zest the lemon and then cut it in half and juice the halves. You will need 50ml lemon juice in total.
  • Smash the garlic cloves, peel them and squeeze them through the garlic press.
  • Wash the herbs, spin them dry, strip them and finely chop.
  • Into the stick blender cup add the whole egg, the egg yolks, the mustard and only 20ml lemon juice. Whizz together until all is combined.
  • Measure the rice bran oil, then get a friend to help super-slowly stream in the oil into the egg mixture while you are whizzing(this takes a few minutes so don’t rush it).
  • To make this mayo into an aioli, slowly add in the remaining 30ml lemon juice, the zest, the pressed garlic, the chopped herbs and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • (For the best tasting mayo at home, store in an air-tight glass jar and refrigerate overnight.)

TO FINISH THE DISH:

  • Divide the asparagus among your serving plates, then drizzle a little pool of aioli onto each.
  • To eat: pick up an asparagus spear with your fingers, scoop up some aioli and eat!
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Mayhem of a Masterchef Mother?

Well, I made it into the Top 50 of Aussie Masterchef 3 – and then waved sadly and gladly goodbye a week later. Now I’m back in the land of the living after a few weeks of Masterchef craziness and wondering: “What was THAT all about?!”

I don’t want to be on telly! I don’t want to be a reality tv non-celebrity! I don’t want to be away from my children/Steve/life/garden/cats for up to 7 MONTHS!!! Why did I fill out the application form in the first place? And then keep accepting each audition? Well, I’ve searched my soul and come out the other end a much wiser woman – in a nutshell, I think it’s all about validation/ congratulation/ appreciation on a egoistic ability level, usually that one gets from ones job and that one doesn’t get mopping up squashed food from under Olly’s highchair 5 times a day. In short I think it means I’m ready to get back to work and get some other stuff going on in my life…

So I feel that I’ve come all around the houses in a big circle to stand exactly where I was in the beginning but with a whole lot more decided about the future. One thing that trying to get through the levels into Masterchef is that you’re asked to define your ‘Food Dream’ a hundred times a day, so if nothing else I’ve given that a huge amount of thought – If I Could Do Anything What Would It Be?  And also being involved for the week that I was WAS very exciting. Especially as I kept getting through…

I certainly hadn’t banked on the level of contact (or lack of) during the time of competition, which could be only one phone call home a week, and many weeks not even that. They have psychologists and practices in place to help once you go in to the ‘House’ however the fact remains is that you may not be able to hold your little kids for a huge amount of time. I think I was kidding myself that I could go in for a few weeks and then pull out but I think now that to enter in is to go with your eyes on the prize and expect to be there until the end – as my good friend Kerry said, the longer you’re there, the harder it will be to pull out.

So I pulled out of the Top 50 and let someone else take their place at the hotel for a 17 day ‘lock-down’ to establish who’ll be going through to Top 24 in January. Good luck to all, and I really hope we see Samala, Tony or Nathalie go through.

Here’s what I cooked to get through those first crucial stages, with mandates & subsequent recipes:

Day one, audition: You will need to bring 1 x  plated serving of the dish you have prepared.  There are no heating facilities available for you to reheat your dishes, so please come up with something that does not require it.

Chicken liver pate with balsamic onions and Sean’s malt scrolls

CHICKEN LIVER PATE (from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course)
225g chicken livers, cleaned
175g butter, room temperature (I used European-style unsalted)
50g extra butter, for melting
2 tbsp brandy
2 tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp powdered mace (I used nutmeg)
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and black pepper

Melt about 25g butter in a heavy frying pan and sauté the chicken livers over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Using a slotted spoon remove them from the pan and transfer them to a blender.

Melt the rest of the 175g butter and add this to the blender. Deglaze the pan with the brandy then add to blender. Then add the mustard, mace, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and blend until you have a smooth paste.

Next, pour the mixture into one large or several small ramekins. Pour the 50g melted butter over, leave to cool, cover with cling film and put it in the bottom of the fridge for a day or two to set.

BALSAMIC ONIONS
Peel and halve 6 large brown onions, slice finely. Heat a large frying pan with a glug of olive oil and add onions in two lots so as not to overcrowd the pan. Fry gently until soft then add alternate sprinklings of brown sugar and splashes of aged balsamic vinegar until onions are super caramelised and gorgeous.

My notes: the audition was fun and easy, everyone was friendly – and nervous! My pate smelt fab, very garlicky – but I overestimated the time we would spend waiting – and consequently wasn’t able to let it warm up a bit and was too hard to mold into a pretty swirly curl… what I put on the plate looked super-rustic (which is how I described my food in the first place, phew) but could also have been described as turd-like…a  bit lump of brown poo on the plate with brown onions and brown bread. A study in brown you could say. Luckily it tasted bloody good, and even though I say it myself, my second ever attempt of Sean’s bread (baked that morning) was great.

Day two, audition: Within your allotted time, you will have 1 HOUR to prepare and cook your dish. After this there will be an allotted amount of time for judging by the judges and they will ask you plenty of questions about your dish so be prepared.  
You will need to bring:
All the raw ingredients for your dish including salt, oil etc
Any food containers that you will need
A cool bag containing all of your perishables (items to be refrigerated)
You must use raw ingredients and all preparation is to be done at the Masterchef kitchen
Your judging hour: You will have 1 hour to prepare your dish in the MasterChef kitchen. You will plate up in the kitchen and the judges will taste your food at your station. There is no time or facility to wash up so ensure you have brought enough equipment with you.

Polenta and parmesan torta with a spring ragout of broad beans, artichokes hearts and peas

(This recipe serves 4-6, I obviously adjusted the amount I needed on the day…)

POLENTA (serves 4-6)
1 corn cob
1 clove garlic
100g coarse polenta
50g grana padano
Olive oil
Salt

Grate corn directly into a heavy based saucepan
Peel & crush garlic & add to 500ml water, bring to boil over moderate flame
Rain in polenta, stirring
Cover & reduce to mere simmer 15 mins
Remove lid, beat in parmesan, season well
Pour onto tray to cool, refrigerate
*Cut cooled polenta into 4-6 wedges, brush with olive oil, panfry until golden & crisp

ARTICHOKES
2 lemons
1 lt chicken stock
2 globe artichokes, stalks snapped & removed
Stock on to simmer
Gloves on, basin cold water with juice of 1 lemon squeezed, have another half ready
Pull off dark outer leaves til uniformly pale
Place on side & cut off top half, rub lemon
Trim base & stalk, rub lemon

Halve or quarter artichokes & remove prickly, pointy, pink-tinged leaves & choke, rub lemon
Drop into acidulated water
Cut stalks into 6cm lengths, strip away dark green, rub lemon & drop into lemon
Transfer all to simmering stock, simmer 10 mins
Cool in liquid a few minutes then lift out with slotted spoon to cool further

RAGOUT (from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen  Garden Companion)
500g broad beans in pods, to be shelled
250g peas in pod, to be shelled (yields 1 cup peas)
4 cloves new season garlic
Ice cubes
30g unsalted butter, chopped
2 trimmed & cooked artichoke hearts, halved or quartered (see above)
½ cup light chicken stock
1 teaspoon freshly chopped French tarragon
½ tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Black pepper

Garlic into saucepan, cover with water. Bring to boil low-med heat, drain.
Repeat
Slip skins off & set aside
Refill saucepan with water & bring to boil on high
Drop broad beans in & boil for 1 minute, drain & immerse into iced water. Peel
Melt half butter in sauté pan medium heat
Once frothing add artichoke pieces, turnips, garlic & sauté until artichokes are golden flecked
Add stock & peas, cook covered for 5 mins
Uncover, scatter over broad beans & herbs & shake gently
Should be very little liquid now, if so turn heat to high & continue shaking
Add remaining butter, grind over pepper, serve.

My notes: I don’t think I spared even a minute of the 60 in getting it all done – all 6 of us were a blur of energy and activity & I didn’t even manage to look sideways the whole time to what the others were doing. I made the dish twice at home, once to work it all out and the second to fix the timing but I hadn’t been able to finesse the presentation… Amazingly on the day it all came together (the photos shown here are home ones) and I put up a lovely dish. Gary and George were just like on the tv, very friendly & supportive – George did question where he knew me from (old sommelier days) and then ask why I was there, to which I had to give the positive, ‘to win!’ spiel, but of course it should have been more a ‘what AM I doing here?!’… To their credit (and mine) they loved the dish & seasonal tones of it, and said straight away that I was in the Top 50 but would give me extra time to think about whether I wanted in, and was prepared to weather the anti-ex-restaurant-staff ‘advantage’ backlash from the public & press that would ensue… my thoughts at the time: I’ve got an out! hooray…

So now back to the highchair wiping, the nappy changes, the endless washing & the weed & snail removal and back to my life! Back to Jazzie B on a Saturday morning, yoga overlooking the beach, a bracing dip in the still-cold Pacific, digging a couple of seats in the sand for Ava & Olly, lovely summery dinners & a wineglass or two with Stevie after the children have gone to bed… and of course back to you  my lovely fellow MMMers! 

Chop chop! 

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