Tag Archives: Cooking

A stroll through the garden – October 2017

Duchess and I have decided to take you on a stroll through our garden.

It has been a dry and cold winter and we are hoping to get some spring rain sometime soon. In fact I had a grin from ear to ear one morning earlier this week as we received just a few mls – it was nice to watch and listen to the rain falling.

The garden is coming along nicely and our citrus are now happy with their new home, luckily they survived the harsh frosts, unlike many in the area.

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Smoked Trout

Some months ago, we took our first drive from our new home, across the mountains, to beautiful Bright – what a treat. The drive is an easy five to six hours, and the scenery is simply sensational! As we climbed the winding roads, the scenery continued to change. There were eagles soaring, incredible panoramas and great anticipation for a fun few days ahead. It was autumn and Bright in autumn is always a stunning canvas of autumnal colour. Continue reading

The Frozen Garden!

We have recently endured a spate of heavy frosts, and for us it was very cold – minus 7.6 celsius etc. The first morning I got up and wandered down to the vegie patch, before heading into the garden for the community in Stratford. As I worked in the garden there I was kicking myself for not having got up earlier and taken photos of the beauty that a frost creates. I know that it also causes devastation, but all I saw was beauty. Continue reading

Som Tam Salad (Green Pawpaw/Mango Salad)

Som Tam is Green Pawpaw salad that originated in the north-east of Thailand (although some argue that it is actually from Laos). The wonderful, refreshing combination of sweet, hot, sour, salty and bitter is amazing and leaves you reaching for more, particularly on a hot summer’s day.  This salad is Thailand on a plate.

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Som Tam Salad (Green Pawpaw/Mango Salad)

This recipe is based on the Thai Salad, Som Tam, a dish that originated in north-east Thailand, but is now popular throughout the country, and also abroad. Normally served with sticky rice, we enjoy it served with Tod Man Goong (Thai Prawn Cakes).

Ingredients

  • 3 green mangoes
  • 150 g green beans, sliced and blanched
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to serve

For the dressing:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 golden shallot, chopped
  • 60 ml lime juice

Directions

  1. Peel the green mango and cut the flesh into long thin strands, if you have a mandolin, use the fine julienne or grater attachment.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, shallots, and chillies into a paste.
  3. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and carefully mix to combine. Set aside.
  4. Combine the mango, beans and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.
  5. Add the dressing and, using your hands, toss gently.
  6. Pile onto a large serving platter and sprinkle over the crushed peanuts and coriander leaves.

Until next time…

Happy Cooking & Bon appétit!

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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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