Monday, February 23, 2009

Eye fillet of beef with mushroom mascarpone and red wine reduction

What I wanted to do here was show people how easy it is to make restaurant quality steak at home.

I stole the idea for the mascarpone and mushrooms from a restaurant I visited in Sylvania, Sydney, called Kalevu, it was delicious and a great contempary way of dressing a steak. All I did here was sweat off some mushrooms in some butter and olive oil then use the barmix to whip them up with a few tablespoons of the mascarpone cheese, salt and pepper.

For the eye fillet however i think it is prudent to show everyone how easy this can be to be done, i am sure lots of people have their methods, but i'm going to describe mine that has time after time delivered juicy tender beef.

I buy my fillet from the butcher and cut it into steaks at home, i like them about 220g or about 2 inches thick, i cut across the grain always and season the raw meat very well with fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt, i heat up some olive oil in a good frypan, and preheat the oven to about 120 degrees, put the meat into the pan once the oil has heated up and turn back the heat a touch so its just below high, i brown the two sides that have been cut first, then brown all other four sides, forget this rumour about only turning a steak once, bbq maybe, but if you have a good cut of meat, it really shouldn't matter, i think what's inportant is to not squash or toss around the meat, treat it with care. Once all sides are well browned, place on a baking tray in the oven and forget about it while you fry off some smashed garlic in the meat pan, deglaze with some red wine, add half a cup of beef stock, a good splash of balsamic vinager and a tablespoon of brown sugar (raw will do also), reduce this to a foamy glaze and turn off the heat, you have a lovely glaze for your steak.

I find the best way to tell when the meat is done is by a combination of factors, most importantly, push down on it with some tongs, it should be firm, but take the pressure easily and spring back, if it is too firm it's starting to get well done, if it takes a while to spring back, it's still underdone. Second factor is if moisture has started to eminate out of the top of the meat, this will tell you that you have a desireable temp within the beef and moisture is starting to boil out of it. Your meat is done to (my) perfection. I fond this process allows you to cook the meat, still rest it and ensure the meat is not burnt onthe outside and raw on the inside.

Andthe picture speaks for itself.

Roast pumpkin & blue cheese ravioli wth sundried tomato pesto

This is what happens when I'm left home alone, i put my thinking cap on, i wanted to make some more ravioli and i wanted a new filing. I'm of the opinion now that i like my ravioli filling to be the main flavour, and for the sauce to accompany it, after some Internet research and having a look in the fridge i decided on the above.

Rather than go through the whole process I'll just write up what I did for the filling and topping, as I have again followed Jamie Oliver's advice on making the pasta and forming the ravioli.

For the filling;
Half a Butternut Pumpkin
clove of garlic (minced)
splash of olive oil

preheat the oven to 180, dice the pumpkin, place in a mixing bowl with the garlic and oil and give it a good toss, you just want a nice thin layer of oil over the pumpkin. Put in the oven until golden and soft. Return the pumpkin to the mixing bowl and add the sliced up blue cheese, start with a bit and gradually mash it into the pumpkin with a fork , making a rough mash, add more blue cheese as you go tasting along the way. I would like to try fetta cheese next time.

For the Pesto;
a good handful of semi dried or soaked sun dried tomatoes
bunch of basil
bunch of parsley
half a handful of pine nuts
handful if shredded Parmesan
two cloves of garlic
half a Spanish onion
red wine vinegar
red wine
tomato paste
olive oil

Now, I used the food processor and pretty much put in a hand full of the herbs each and added more as I felt, but basically everything here needs to be blended, start with small amounts of the red wine and tomato paste, a good dash of red wine vinegar brings this to life and add the Olive oil as you think it needs moisture, after all you're cooking for your tastes, so go wild with what you like.

I boiled a jar and made enough to fill it so i had a jar of my home made pesto in the fridge and keep a heap of dried home made fettuccine in snap lock bags for easy lunches and lazy dinners, a tablespoon of this stuff and some extra Parmesan on top with a glass of Pinot is a nice night in in my books!

Atlantic salmon tossed in angel hair pasta with riccota

This is a great Saturday light lunch, knock it back with a nice rose on the balcony.

This is one of those flash in the pan deals, get everything ready to go, drop your pasta in and its done in literally 5 minutes, the time it takes to cook the pasta.

What i used for two people;

1 fillet of Atlantic/Tassie salmon, skinned, boned, sliced across the grain so you have a hadfull of peices.
Handful of angel hair pasta
Some snow peas (i rip out the string) sliced at angles
one clove of garlic (minced)
splash of white wine
around 100g of ricotta cheese

Very simple, get your pot of water boiling with some salt and olive oil, get the frypan warm with a dash of oil, once water is boiling, add the pasta and throw the salmon, garlic and snow peas in the frypan, give it a toss until the hot oil has covered everything, add the white wine and simmer off for about a minute, add the ricotta cheese, turn off the heat and swish the pan around to melt/spread the sauce around, strain the pasta, add to the pan and toss it all together, serve with a wedge of lemon and a glass of your summer favourite.

You can also use wilted spinach leaves or green beans as opposed to the snow peas, i have also made this vego by subbing the salmon for cauliflower, just apply heat for a bit longer.

Sorry, no picture for this one, i seem to have lost it, i'll make it again and add it later!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Corriander Seed Spiced Ginger Pork Cutlet with Apple and Red Onion jam

I created a new dish tonight that i was pretty stoked with, the pork had a wonderful zesty flavour, slightly salty meat, combined with the sweet yet still savoury jam literally gave me goose bumps, then letting your pallet be refreshed by the sharp, crisp green salad, lots of crunchy fresh vegetables, followed up by the delicious juicy tender pork again. I cant wait to remake this one!

I made up a rub for the pork in my Jamie Oliver Food Smasher, for the rub i used;

half a teaspoon of black peppercorns
one teaspoon of coriander seed
teaspoon of salt
one white section of a spring onion (chopped)
a thumb of ginger root (peeled/sliced)
one small red chili (de-seeded/chopped up)

Smash the dry ingredients first into a powder, you could use a mortar and pestle, then add the ginger, spring onion and chili, smash it all into a paste and rub evenly all over the pork and set aside.

For the salad in the picture, you could do any type of fresh garden salad, i made a Chinese style salad.

Baby Cos hearts
Celery (julienned)
Snow peas (sliced)
spring onion, peeled and sliced
crushed cashews
sesame seeds

I dressed it with some sesame oil and Ketjap Manis.

For the jam, julienne one peeled, cored granny smith apple, and half a red onion. In a pan with about half a cup of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar, simmer until there is no fluid left, then place in a preheated oven on low heat so the apple continues to soften. This really made the dish.

When BBQing the pork, i use the grill on high, you want to leave about 7 or so minutes each side then turn off the heat and close the hood while you prepare the plates with the salad and get the table set, this will help to rest the meat, ensure its cooked through and let the proteins settle and relax, i find it makes the meat more tender.