Posts Tagged With: mascarpone

Creamy polenta with poached eggs and sage

This is such a vibrant and comforting dish, with the frizzled sage leaves giving everything a crispy, colourful lift. Just be sure the eggs are very fresh – and then there’s no need to add vinegar or do any of that silly swirling stuff!

From the garden: eggs, sage, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Chopping board &small knife
  • 1 heavy-based saucepan & lid
  • Scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Grater
  • 1 small saucepan
  • Salad spinner
  • Paper towel
  • Wooden spoons
  • Bowls – 4 small
  • Deep-sided frying pan
  • Serving bowls

  • 250ml milk plus extra 100ml on standby
  • 250ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fine polenta
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone
  • 50g pecorino
  • 25g butter
  • 4 very fresh large eggs
  • A branch of sage leaves
  • Flaked salt and black pepper What to do:

  • Bring the milk, water and bay leaf to the boil in the larger saucepan then remove from heat and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the bay leaf, bring to the boil again, pour in the polenta and stir continuously until it thickens, about 10-20 minutes, depending on the variety of polenta.
  • Meanwhile grate the pecorino and measure out the mascarpone.
  • When the polenta is cooked, add the mascarpone and grated pecorino and mix until well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. The polenta should be soft and creamy and only just hold its shape. You may need to add a little extra of the standby milk to loosen up the polenta if it becomes too stiff – this will also depend on what brand of polenta you use. You want a sloppy, porridge type consistency.
  • About 5 mins before the polenta is ready, poach the eggs. Fill the deep-sided frying pan 5cm deep with water and bring to a simmer. Carefully crack each egg separately into a small bowl without breaking it and then carefully slide into the water until they’re all in. Let the pan sit on a simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Pick the sage leaves, then wash and spin them dry. Heat the butter in the small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook, stirring, until they are dark green, crispy and fragrant.
  • To serve, divide polenta among serving bowls. Lift the eggs out of the water, drain, and then place one on top of each bowl. Season generously and scatter with the frizzled sage leaves & browned butter.

Notes: What is polenta? What is cooking by ‘absorption’ method? Why shouldn’t we break the eggs when poaching them? What is to simmer?

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Burnt cream tart with raspberries


So here you have it, in all its glory – not strictly a Kitchen Garden recipe, but definitely one for the folder… Lisa asked on Sunday night if I fancied taking home a baggie of the cassia-infused mascarpone she uses at Sean’s for the persimmon & quince trifle… My first reaction was huh? What could I possibly do that would do it justice? Anyway she gave me a few hints – and this recipe was my humble answer:


Burnt cream tart with raspberries


Italian shortcrust pastry

1 lemon

200g plain flour plus extra for rolling

100g cold unsalted butter

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon iced water


200g caster sugar

2 eggs

1kg mascarpone (we use Paesanella)

1 cassia stick (or cinnamon if you can’t get it)

1 vanilla bean

To finish

1 cup caster sugar

A punnet raspberries or other yummy berries

What to do:


Carefully zest the lemon using a microplane grater.

For the pastry sift the flour and add to salt in a food processor. Chop the butter and add to flour mixture – whiz until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle in the zest and caster sugar and pulse to incorporate.

Using 2 small bowls separate the egg and add yolk to processor with the cold water and motor running. Reserve egg white.

As soon as the pastry resembles a ball, take out of processor. Flatten dough to form a disc and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least an hour.


Roll out pastry onto floured surface to approximately 4mm thick. Rolling the pastry onto a rolling pin, lift it gently into a 26cm pie tin, and prick all over with a fork, cover again with cling film and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place foil in the pastry then baking beans and blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes.


Using the oven mitts, remove the pastry shell from the oven, remove the beans & foil and let the shell cool for 2 or 3 hours.


Grind the cassia bark then sieve it into a bowl.

Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the seeds and reserve.

Whip the caster sugar and eggs together and then fold in the mascarpone with the cassia and vanilla seeds. Chill for 1 hour.


Using a spatula, scrape the mascarpone out into the tart shell and even out. Then evenly sieve the cup of caster sugar over the mascarpone and either heat the sugar into a brittle layer with a handheld blowtorch or heat a non-flammable spoon or egg slice over a flame and caramelise the sugar that way. (NB. Your implement may not survive this intact!)

Garnish with some lovely fresh raspberries and try not to eat the whole thing yourself..! So good.


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February 23rd 2012

First kitchen news of the year and it’s already week 5, ooh la la!

Talking of which, we celebrated le jour de crepes on Tuesday here in the cottage with 5/6P & flipped up a revolution with spinach & goats’ cheese pancakes with ratatouille and pikelets with lemongrass syrup and vanilla mascarpone – served up with our ever-morphing salad, now with green beans, bush tomatoes, nasturtiums & tarragon vinaigrette…

I’m also continuing  my introductory talks with the children, recapping on safety issues and expectations of being in the kitchen and what I can promise for the year… those classes have been heavy on discussion (with plenty of arms raise for comment!) but we’ve managed to fit in some fun cooking at the end too – pounding loads of basil to make pesto; rolling out rosemary flatbreads to cook off in the pan; infusing vegetable oil with garden herbs to pop corn in (and exploding out like a never-ending  volcano in Ms Hamblin’s class 3E!); squeezing garlic & juicing lemons to wilt with spinach… lots of great cooking noises & ending in delicious dishes that we’ve all loved!

And I must say huge congratulations to all the students in classes 3E & 3H for gaining their Knife Licences! Each student demonstrated how to pick up & hold a big Santoku knife & show how to do the ‘Bear Paw’ (raaaahhhhh) and then pick and up and hold a small Paring knife and slice gently through a (very squashy) bush tomato without all the seeds oozing out. They all passed with flying colours with each student being awarded their own named licence – and will able to experience even more with each recipe from now on.

So all in all, lovely work these last weeks, and with the dappled sun shining through the trees and the birds singing their song, and the beautiful new deck and landscaping looking like they’ve always been here, life down here in the cottage is good! A big thanks to all the huge amounts of volunteers that have turned out to support the kitchen & garden classes so far in 2012 – we are so impressed and hope that you enjoy your time here!

Bon appétit! And don’t forget to check out the recipes on


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