Posts Tagged With: beans

Fish-free salad Nicoise

Hugh says, ‘Without any tuna or anchovies, I guess you might upset the good people of Nice a bit with this one, but it is an exceptionally delicious and substantial salad – with plenty going on.’

ourkitchengarden.net

Fresh from the garden: new potatoes, green beans, eggs, small lettuce leaves, olives, basil, garlic
Recipe source: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Veg Every Day
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes

Equipment:

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Saucepans – med, small
  • Colander
  • Small jar & lid
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Salad spinner
  • Serving plates
Ingredients:

  • 500g new (baby) potatoes
  • 200g green beans
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • A small handful baby lettuce leaves
  • A handful small black olives
  • About 12 basil leaves
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

For the dressing:

  • ½ small garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • A pinch of sugar

 What to do:

  • Wash the beans and potatoes – do not peel them! Tail the beans & chop into 3cm lengths.
  • You can cook small new potatoes whole, but cut any larger ones in half or smaller, so they’re all roughly the same size. Cover with cold water in the medium saucepan, add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes until tender, adding the beans for the last 4 minutes. Drain, tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
  • To cook the eggs, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the eggs, return to a simmer, then cook for 7 minutes. Lightly crack the shells and run the eggs under cold water for a minute or two to stop the cooking, then leave to cool. Peel and quarter the eggs.
  • To make the dressing, put all the ingredients into a screw-topped jar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and shake until emulsified.
  • Halve, quarter or thickly slice the cooked potatoes. Put them back with the beans, add some of the dressing and toss gently together.
  • Wash the lettuce & basil leaves in several changes of water. Spin-dry and then gently toss in a bowl with a little of the dressing.
  • Arrange the lettuce, potatoes, and beans on your serving plates and distribute the olives and eggs over the salad. Scatter with torn basil leaves, trickle over the remainingdressing and grind over some pepper. Serve straight away.

Notes: What does emulsified mean? What does the adjective Niçoise mean?

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Beans and greens

Soaking dried beans and then cooking them the next day is such a rewarding experience – and these simple accompaniments make the beans a lovely cool-night dish. Serve with crusty sourdough or even a little steamed rice for a lovely midweek meal…

Our Kitchen Garden

From the garden: sage, spinach, silverbeet, chard, beetroot leaves, mustard greens, kale

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist Bondi PS

Equipment:
  • Bowls – large, heatproof
  • Colander
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large frying pan & lid
  • Kitchen towel
  • Measures: cup, tablespoon
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Serving bowls

Ingredients:

  • 250g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A small branch of sage
  • Cooking salt, flaked salt & pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 large bunch of greens (such as spinach, silverbeet, mustard greens or kale)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in the large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water well over the beans, add the bicarb and stir. They will need to soak for at least 12 hours.
  • At the start of your lesson, drain the beans into the colander and rinse them well, then put them into the medium saucepan with about 3cm cold water to cover.
  • Rinse the sage, keeping the branch whole, and shake dry. Peel the garlic cloves and add 3 of them, whole, to the saucepan. Also add the branch of sage, a teaspoon of cooking salt & grind of pepper. Set on a low heat with the lid on and simmer until beans are soft, probably about 2o minutes.
  • Thinly slice the remaining 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Wash the green leaves and shake dry. Remove any thick stems, and cut the leaves into 3cm ribbons. You can leave any baby spinach leaves whole.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes and stir until the garlic is pale gold, about 1 minute. Add the greens by large handfuls and stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with the tongs to coat with oil.
  • Add the stock, cover with the lid, and simmer until the greens are just tender, adding a little cannellini bean cooking liquid in spoonfuls if dry.
  • When the beans are soft, turn off the heat and let them cool slightly in the water.
  • Set the colander over the clean heatproof bowl and carefully pour the beans and their liquid in to drain. Add the beans to the greens and then simmer uncovered until the liquid is almost absorbed for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, taste and add more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of oil and divide into serving bowls.
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Cannellini beans with sage, garlic and rocket

We’ve recently discovered the joys of cooking our own soaked beans – the only thing is to remember to start at least 12 hours before as the beans need that soaking time.  These accompaniments are very basic but so delicious & perfect for a one-bowl supper in front of Masterchef! You can also substitute borlotti beans for an earthier dish…

Cannellini beans with sage, garlic and rocket

From the garden: sage, parsley, rocket

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist Bondi PS

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Soaking dried beans and then cooking them the next day is such a rewarding experience – and these simple accompaniments make the beans a lovely autumn dish. Serve with crusty sourdough!

Equipment:

  • Bowls – large, heatproof
  • Colander
  • 2 saucepans – medium
  • Kitchen towel
  • Measures: tablespoon, jug
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Sieve
  • Microplane grater
  • Serving bowls

 

Ingredients:

  • 250g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A small branch of sage
  • A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • A handful of rocket
  • Cooking salt
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • A splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50g grana padano cheese

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in the large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water well over the beans, add the bicarb and stir. They will need to soak for at least 12 hours.
  • At the start of your lesson, drain the beans into the colander and rinse them well, then put them into the medium saucepan with about 3cm cold water to cover.
  • Rinse the sage, keeping the branch whole, and shake dry. Peel 3 of the garlic cloves and add them, whole, to the saucepan. Also add the branch of sage, a teaspoon of salt & grind of pepper. Set on a medium heat and simmer until beans are soft, probably about 2o minutes.
  • Meanwhile wash the parsley and spin dry. Discarding the stalks, finely chop the leaves.
  • Wash the rocket and spin that dry too. Chop the stalks in half or thirds depending on the size.
  • When the beans are soft, turn off the heat and let them cool slightly in the water for a minute or two.
  • Set the sieve over a heatproof bowl and carefully pour the beans and their liquid in to drain.
  • Scrape the beans into a large bowl and toss in the rocket to wilt. Add a cup of cooking liquid back in with a splash of olive oil and stir.
  • Check for seasoning, then sprinkle over the chopped parsley and divide among serving bowls. Grate over some parmesan cheese and serve.
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May 24th 2012

With a sniffle and a snuffle we’re slowly making our way into winter – one more week to go chaps! – with cold nights and misty mornings, and my scarf wardrobe getting a workout… we’ve been late-autumning it up a bit in the cottage: last week the classes made the hearty ribollita soup from Tuscany (cavolo nero, overnight-soaked cannellini beans, carrot, tomato, celery, onion, stale ciabatta) and warmed up with a hit of chilli oil in Sean’s Panaroma’s recipe of handmade lingine with rocket, chilli, lemon and parmesan… alas the children ate all the linguine and left little for the grown-up volunteers… not even the chilli held them back! There was a little rhubarb for some crumble (of course!) and a drizzle of crème Anglaise for a lovely and rare sweet treat 😉

So we’re continuing on this week with the dried bean obsession – cooking off soaked borlotti beans in water with lots of sage and garlic until soft, then dousing in some rosemary-infused olive oil and finishing with a sprinkle of parsley. So simple and sooo good. Only bettered by spreading over buttered Iggy’s country sourdough! And jazzing up a crunchy radish salad with poached eggs and tarragon sauce – and we’ve now finished off the olives we picked in March in some hand-punched olive and rosemary foccacia.

To finish: for those cold nights with the heater dusted off and turned up to 11, we heartily recommend the rocket and coriander soup we’ve been making this week. Recipe to follow!

Keep warm out there… Melissa

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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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Broad beans and blood oranges

blood orange

Image by sweetbeetandgreenbean via Flickr

Yum yum, spring has sprung and we’ve taken full advantage of the delicious seasonal goodies of blood oranges & broad beans: we splashed out on a bottle of Campari to have with freshly squeezed blood orange juice at our regular long Sunday lunch with the delicious Kerry & Rod last week & followed drinks with broad bean & pecorino bruschetta and Spanish jamon…

Campari used to be my drink of choice a few moons ago, when I lived and drank in Melbourne as a young single thing – and when I had the energy to demand the proper measure (45mls) of the various bars if poured incorrectly – and drinking it the other day after ten years’ absence brought back many late night Negroni memories. Aaah, misspent youth!

Also, I found a lovely recipe for broad beans from Stephanie Alexander, so I set up my able sous chef Ava to podding:

We steamed the beans for 3 minutes, then re-podded to get the smaller, softer beans inside and smashed them straight away with the mortar & pestle. Then added a little salt & pepper, some grated pecorino and a glug of olive oil, stirred again and then served in a bowl to spread on yummy BBQ’d Brasserie Bread’s quinoa & soy sourdough, with a little garlic rubbed on. Just so delicious draped with a slither of jamon, am hungry just thinking about it now…

Pity Ava didn’t get in to the final product… those sneaky green vegetables!

PS. Soundtrack to this week’s cooking:
Smiley Culture – Shan-a-Shan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC-yMtPDsAw
Jurassic 5 -Hey (instrumental) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjNjZq7_TAU
The Headhunters – If You’ve Got It, You’ll Get It http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0JedCdsWSo
Mayer Hawthorne – Maybe So Maybe No http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpfcydeSGeo (still…!)

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