Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

These delicate little pillows of ricotta and Swiss chard / silverbeet were given their wonderful name because they are not blanketed in fresh pasta like the ravioli that we all know and love.  This dish is fast becoming a favourite in our home – it is delicious, surprisingly simple to make, very economical and has very few ingredients.  I love making it because it means I get to make use of produce from our vegie patch.  It is so rewarding to take your basket and fill it with the ingredients needed to prepare your next meal…

Ravioli Ignudi - 20

Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

Ingredients

  • 300 g ricotta
  • 400 g Swiss chard, leaves only
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 16 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the Swiss chard and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain thoroughly, wrap in a cloth and squeeze until the chard is very dry. Chop very finely.
  4. Gradually combine the Swiss chard with the ricotta. Add about two-thirds of the Parmesan, the nutmeg and egg yolks. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Scoop up a small quantity of the mixture with a spoon and, with well-floured hands, form it into a little oval pillow about 3cm long.
  6. Dredge the little pillow lightly with some of the flour and set aside.
  7. Continue forming little oval pillows with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  8. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage leaves in a frying pan and keep warm.
  10. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the ravioli, a few at a time, and cook until they rise to the surface (as you would for gnocchi).
  11. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place them into the warm melted butter and sage.
  12. Continue cooking the remaining ravioli in the same manner.
  13. Arrange the ravioli in a serving dish and drizzle with the melted butter and sage. Dust with the remaining Parmesan and grind over a little black pepper.

Notes:

  • I like to bake some tomatoes and add them together with a few shards of crispy prosciutto to the plate when serving, just for colour, flavour and texture.
  • We also like to crisp some of the Ignudi up a little in the butter.
  • While I have used my Gluten Free Flour Blend, this recipe was originally made with normal wheat plain flour, so either can be used, depending on dietary requirements.
  • Adapted from a lovely old book, Tuscany – The Beautiful Cookbook (1996) L De Medici, p78.
  • I make my own soft ricotta style cheese.

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Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

I have read many recipes for Swiss Chard or Silverbeet gratin, where the prominent ingredient is the stalk, rather than the rich green leaves.  I recently stumbled upon this recipe that I thought I would try, because it includes some of the leaves as well.  I was so thrilled with the end result, I cooked it again a couple of days later.

This gratin really is very easy to make, and the end result is a delicious cheesy gratin with the stalks providing texture, the leaves, colour, and both contributing to the wonderful flavour.

Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

The stalks of Swiss Chard make a gratin that is delicious and delicate in flavour, and pairs beautifully with a roast. Equally it can be served as a light meal with a fresh green salad on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • Stalks from a large bunch of chard, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced.
  • 4 chard leaves, thinly shredded
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 30 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and half the butter.
  3. Add the onion and chard stalks, place the lid on and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion softens.
  4. Stir in the flour, and cook for a 1 minute over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer until the sauce has thickened. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Stir in the chard leaves and cook for another minute or two until the leaves have wilted a little.
  6. Then stir in the Parmesan and the cream, then pour into a greased gratin dish.
  7. Mix the topping ingredients together and scatter over the top of the gratin. Dot with the remaining butter.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

Notes:

  • This gratin can also be popped under the grill ’til golden and crispy, if short on time or oven space.
  • For a gluten free version, simply replace the flour with the same amount of gluten free flour blend.
  • Adapted from Easy Vegetarian One Pot, 2011, R Woods (ed), p159

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Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

Gluten Free Four Blend

Swiss Chard

Chard, Chicken and Potato Soup

I love this soup, the chard stalk in this soup gives it a little texture and the leaves add a lovely rich green fleck through it. This is also a great way to use up left over roast chicken, but if you do not have any left over cooked chicken, you could poach some chicken thigh fillets in the stock and then shred or chop them up and add to the soup.

Chard, Chicken and Potato Soup

A delicious soup that can be enjoyed all year round.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 250 g cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 125 g bacon rashers, cut into fine julienne
  • 125 g onion, diced
  • 125 g celery, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 500 g potatoes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 10 swiss chard/silverbeet leaves, washed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Remove the swiss chard leaves from the stalks. Finely chop the stalks and set aside, then finely chop the leaves and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add the bacon and gently fry, stirring, until slightly crisp.
  3. Add chard stalks, onion, celery, garlic and potato, stir, put the lid on the pan and cook gently until onion is soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer, until the potato is just tender.
  5. Add the cooked chicken and swiss chard leaves, simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve hot.

Notes:

  • The broth keeps the soup nice and light.

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Chard, Chicken and Potato Soup

Swiss Chard AKA Silverbeet

Swiss Chard AKA Silverbeet

I have to say that Swiss Chard, or Silverbeet, as we knew it, was not a favourite vegetable of mine when I was a child. However, tastes change and more importantly cooking methods and an introduction to international cuisine has definitely changed that!

We all know Swiss Chard as a vegetable, and it really is such a great addition to any vegie patch as it is easy to grow and continues to produce for many months. But as I began traveling to France, I was to discover it’s value, in particular the coloured varieties, as an ornamental in flower gardens. The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, is the first place I think of when reminiscing about such beautiful displays. As I walked through the gates for the first time, my eyes were automatically drawn toward a stunning vision of rich reds and greens. I had never seen Swiss Chard used in such displays before.

You probably realize that Swiss Chard now has an important place in our vegie patch and in our meals, and as the flower garden is developed, I also hope to use it as a feature plant there too. Over the next several days, I hope to introduce you to some new ways to use Swiss Chard and make it star in meals you prepare. With the first recipe of this series being an old favourite – Weed Pies

Weed Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity of Savoury Potato Pastry
  • 350 g mixed greens (refer to note below)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 150g dry ricotta or feta
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)

Directions

  1. Rinse the greens and remove any yellow or damaged leaves.
  2. Finely chop the onion and any stems, and then finely slice the leaves, keeping separate
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and stems, sauté until soft, then add the leaves and put the lid on the pan and cook until the leaves have all wilted. Set aside to cool. Drain off any liquid.
  4. Preheat oven to 200˚C (Fan forced).
  5. Combine the cooled greens with the cheeses, eggs and oregano, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Lightly grease the pie tin(s).
  7. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking, paper, and line the pie tin(s).
  8. Leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, before filling.
  9. Cover with pastry, make a little hole to allow steam to escape, brush with egg wash and bake 25 minutes, until golden.

Notes

  • For your wild greens, use a combination of dandelion, mustard, chickweed, rocket, wild fennel, beetroot tops, turnip tops, silverbeet or rainbow chard. You could also add some fresh herbs if you want.

For those new to gardening or who would like to try and grow a few plants, I have also included a little information which may be of use.

Description  – Swiss chard, which some people mistake for spinach, is actually a member of the beetroot family. The ribbed stems come in a variety of colours, white (the most common) yellow, orange, pink and red (rainbow chard) and a very deep red (ruby chard). The stems support large crinkly deep green leaves and both the stalks and the leaves are edible. The green leaves are normally separated from the stalks when being prepared for cooking, as the rich green leaves require much less time to cook than the stalks.

Growing  –  You can either purchase seedlings, or grow your own from seed. Seedlings can be planted from early spring to Autumn in the temperate and colder areas, and all year around in the tropics. Swiss chard needs full sun and prefers well drained soil that has been prepared with compost and well-rotted animal manure. We use a combination of horse and sheep manure along with compost, in our garden. Why a combination of the horse and sheep manures – it is what my Uncle Paul recommended, so it’s what I do. A fortnightly feed of liquid fertilizer will also ensure a ready supply. For those without a vegie patch, I have successfully grown Swiss Chard in pots so if you are restricted to a balcony or a courtyard you can grow it too.

Harvesting  –  To harvest Swiss Chard, pick the larger leaves from the outside of the plant, simply by breaking the stalks downwards and sideways at the same time. Harvest regularly, but leave 4 or 5 leaves on the plant. The plants will keep producing and keep you supplied with this wonderful green all season, so no need to plant again until next season.

Uses  –  Soups, sides, omelettes, gratins, pasta dishes…

Until next time…

Happy Gardening & Bon appétit!

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Oranges 1 – A recap!

The oranges are gone, well, with the exception of the few that have been set aside for our breakfast fruit over the next week or so. Overall things went really well, and we have some lovely goodies stashed in the store for future use. We’ve also enjoyed some orange flavoured meals as well.

That being said, the marmalade proved to be my nemisis. The first batch didn’t set and discoloured!  What to do… Add Cointreau to the mix, and lable it as Orange and Cointreau Syrup for use with desserts – I have to say it goes deliciously with date pudding !

So what was the problem?  More pectin you say? That’s what I thought, anyway. So I saved all the pips from the oranges and lemons used in all the other recipes – I had a lovely little pile of them by the time it come to revisit the marmalade. Neither Gary, nor I, could understand what happened to the first batch, it’s never happened before…

With everything prepared, I started again – it was looking beautiful, time to test for set, and again… it just wouldn’t set and turned dark. Fearing it would burn, I took it off the heat and bottled it. The next morning when I checked, it was syrup, nothing like the lovely jelly like consistency of marmalade. By this time I thought I knew what the problem was – while the pot I was using was big enough, it was tall and narrow, not wide and squat.

Not wanting to waste the fruit sugar and time and effort, this time we decided to try and cook it a little more. It just got darker, and again wouldn’t set. Finally, I had to bite the bullet and use commercial pectin (I have plans to make my own in future, but didn’t have time at this point). Set was reached, it doesn’t taste too bad, really, just sweeter than usual and it looks like treacle!  A new wider, shallower, preserving pan style, pot has now been ordered and is on its way. I am hoping that by using it, we will avoid any more marmalade dramas.

So what was cooked? You will have seen some of the goodies in previous posts, but here is the list in full…

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There is one more recipe brewing, but it is going to take another couple of weeks – Collette’s Vin D’Orange. I will put up a post about it when its ready, and let you know what it is like.

Finally given that Jan provided all the oranges for this little marathon, I thought it only propper that I share the recipe for this delicious dessert that she has shared with me – Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream.

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream

This simple little dessert is the perfect way to finish a meal. It can be prepared ahead - adding the Yoghurt Cream and pistachios just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 6 large navel oranges
  • 6 fresh dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbs pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

For the Greek Yoghurt Cream

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 125 g light cream cheese
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
  • 1 tsp pure icing sugar

Directions

  1. To make the yoghurt cream, place the yoghurt, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until combined. Place the cream and icing sugar in a bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into yoghurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
  2. Cut top and base from each orange. Use a sharp knife to remove skin and white pith. Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments.
  3. Combine orange, dates and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Toss to combine.
  4. Divide fruit among serving plates and serve with pistachios and yoghurt cream.
  5. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Notes:

  • My sister Jan passed this recipe to me, she received it from her friend, Mandy, who found it in Australian Good Taste – September 2011, p.80 .
  • Allow 2 hours chilling time.

 

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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Links:

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Sticks 

Nana Mac’s Potato and Orange Salad

Orange and Mint Jelly 

Orange Cordial

Spiced Oranges

Spiced Oranges & Dates with Greek Yoghurt Cream 

Sugar Coated Candied Orange Sticks 

Zingy Citrus Mocktail