This salad was alot tastier  than what I thought it would be, made a couple of changes here (as I always do) my local fruit & vege guy had Danish fetta on special ($3.99 per kilo) so I used that. It’s alot softer & creamier than the Greek fetta, so when making the vinaigrette I substituted the mustard for a little of the fetta, I put all the ingredients including the fetta into a little processor & whizzed them together & came up with a tangy, cheesy dressing, I also used stuffed green olives cause I already had those in the pantry. I did make the bread but forgot to put them on the salad before the photo was taken. A great choice  from Tara of Smells Like Home for The Barefoot Bloggers.

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

We had 2 muffins to choose from this month for the Barefoot Bloggers,  either Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins or Blueberry Streusel Muffins or both. I chose the coffee cake ones & made them in the texas muffin tin, (cause I like my muffins big). I made a couple of changes, I used vegetable oil instead of the butter, only because I had forgotton to take the butter out to soften. I made them again using the butter but I found them to be alot moister using the oil, I also used frozen blueberries instead of fresh, I buy them in bulk when they’re cheap & freeze them to use whenever I want, fresh or frozen they are delicious in anything. Maria of Close to Home chose this yummy muffin recipe.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

 Here’s a great dish for the cold nights we’ve been having here in Sydney this winter.

 

Ingredients:

4 pieces of osso bucco

Salt & pepper.

Flour, for dusting

Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2  garlic cloves,  finely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

3 cups chicken stock or water

parsley, finely chopped ( as much as you want)

Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:


Season  the osso buco with salt & pepper  then dust with flour

Heat oil in a medium sized pot over a medium heat, add the osso bucco & cook for about 2 mins each side or until lightly browned. Remove the meat from the pot & set aside.

Add the onion, carrot, celery & garlic  to the pot &  cook , stirring until they start to colour a little.

Add the tomato paste & cook for about a minute.

Now add the stock or water, the thyme & bay leaf, give it a bit of a stir  then add the osso bucco & any juices that have come out back to the pot  and bring to a simmer.

You can either leave the pot on the stove to simmer away for about 2 hours (which is what I often do ) or place in a preheated oven at 180 celcius or 350 farenheit for the same amount of time. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf & thyme stalks before serving.

When you’ve dished it out sprinkle over the chopped parsley & lemon zest.

Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or rice, or just by itself with lots of bread for dunking.

This one was chosen by Josie of Pink Parsley Catering for the Barefoot Bloggers. First time making this one, it was a bit like a baked panzanella the problem with recipes like these is that ya can’t stop at one serve. I added some extra mozzarella on top.

 

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Barefoot Bloggers time again, the first recipe chosen by Gwen of Cooking in Pajamas was for this very yummy cake, I love walnuts so this one went down really well, I think I made it 3 times this month. Give it a go.

  

   

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen chose this recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers.  It’s one of the best prawn recipes in my opinon, I didn’t make it this month as I already had  it on my blog, but do try it, it’s simple & it can be prepared in advance,  you won’t be disappointed.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Directions

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Skewer the shrimp. I use 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Serves 6

I got this recipe from the Masterchef Australia website, instead of using pork I used chicken breast. I have to admit that I didn’t make the coleslaw but I did make the chips. I made sandwiches with the left over bread. It was so filling I ate half for lunch & half for dinner.  DELICIOUS!!!

 

 

Ingredients

4 potatoes, such as russet, cut into 1.5cm chips
1 carrot, peeled, halved
¼ white cabbage, finely shredded
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 eggs
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tbs chardonnay vinegar
1 cup olive oil
6 x 80 pork leg steaks
300g sourdough, crust removed, roughly chopped
1 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
1 ½ tbs chopped sage
1 ½ tbs chopped thyme
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
½ cup plain flour
Peanut oil, for deep frying
1 tbs unsalted butter

Method  

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat, cook for 10 minutes or until just tender.
2. Using a mandolin, slice the carrot into thin slices. Chop the carrot thins into fine matchsticks. Place carrot with cabbage and red onion in a bowl.
3. Process 1 egg, mustard and vinegar together in a small food processor until creamy. With motor still running, gradually add oil in a steady stream until thick and creamy, season to taste.
4. Add 2 tbsp of mayonnaise to the cabbage mixture and toss well to combine. Set aside. (Cover remaining mayonnaise and refrigerate).
5. Meanwhile, pound steaks with a meat mallet until each steak is 5mm thick. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Place sourdough in a food processor, pulse to form coarse crumbs. Place the crumbs, herbs and the parmesan in a bowl, mix well to combine.
7. Place flour, salt and pepper onto a plate and the remaining egg, whisked into a shallow dish. Dip pork, 1 piece at a time, into the flour. Shake off excess. Dip into egg then coat with breadcrumb mixture, pressing crumbs on firmly with your fingertips.
8. Pour oil into a saucepan until one-third full. Heat over medium-high heat until 130 degrees celsius in temperature. Deep-fry chips for 3 minutes. Remove and drain. Increase heat to 180 degrees celsius, return chips to the pan, and cook for a further 7-10 minutes or until golden. Drain and keep warm.
9. Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook pork, in 2 batches, for about 2 minutes each side or until browned and just cooked. Drain.
10. To serve, divide the chips, schnitzel and coleslaw between plates.

Serves 2

This dish from Gordon Ramsay is not only delicious you can also prepare it the day before and then finish cooking it in the oven . I seal the steaks, make the mushroom mixture and then top the steak with the mushroom mix and refrigerate. The next day I take the steaks out of the fridge for about 10 mins before putting them in the oven for 10 mins or until done to your liking and serve. I served this with  steamed carrots and boiled potatoes.  I just used button mushrooms cause I can always find them. Of course it will be delicious to add black truffle but its difficult to find it on sale I often check sales here

  

Ingredients:

Beef Fillet

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g mixed mushrooms (shiitake, oyster), roughly chopped
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 fillet steaks, about 180g and 4cm thick
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

New potatoes

  • 500g new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 garlic cloves, skin on and lightly crushed
  • Knob of butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

2. Place the new potatoes in a large pan and fill with cold water to cover. Add a generous pinch of salt, partially cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain and refresh under cold, running water. Halve the potatoes and pat dry with kitchen paper. Set aside.

3. To prepare the topping, gently sauté the shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes until nicely softened. Add a further 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms over a high heat, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes until browned and cooked. The mixture should be quite dry. If necessary, tip it into a sieve to drain off any remaining liquid. Remove the garlic clove and transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, allow to cool. Whip the cream until softly stiff. Fold in the mushrooms along with the egg yolk, herbs and a tablespoon of the grated Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until you can feel a strong heat rising. Cook the steaks for about 2-3 minutes, turning them to seal all over. Remove from the pan. Put the steaks on a shallow baking tray. Pile the mushroom mixture on top of the steaks and dust with the remaining parmesan. Cook in the oven uncovered, for about 5-7 minutes until the topping is bubbling and golden. Meanwhile, finish off the potatoes. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and rosemary, followed by the potatoes. Sauté over a fairly high heat, until the potatoes are golden brown – stir throughout to prevent them sticking to the pan. Add a knob of butter towards the end of cooking, season generously with salt and pepper.

4. When ready, serve the steaks with the sautéed potatoes

The first recipe for the month of May for the Barefoot Bloggers  was chosen by Kimberly of Indulge & Enjoy. This is my first time making risotto, gotta say I actually enjoyed standing by the stove listening to the radio and stirring away for half an hour. I couldn’t get any decent asparagus so I replaced it with  frozen broadbeans, aka fava beans. I didn’t think we’d like it but it turned out quite nice, I’m not saying I did a great job but I did ok, which is good enough for me and thanks to Kimberly I’ve made my first ever risotto.

Serves:

4 servings for dinner, 6 servings for appetizer

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

I have been wanting to make this Matt Moran recipe for a few months now, & today I finally made it, (with a couple of changes).  It was in the December issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine. I didn’t have any cherries or cherry jam but I did have frozen blueberries & raspberry  jam, I also didn’t have slivered almonds but did have flaked almonds. It still turned out great & tasted even better. I didn’t have time so I didn’t make the Brandy Custard. So here’s Matt Moran’s recipe.

 

 

 

 

Serves 10

Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

180g butter, chopped into 1cm cubes

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 egg yolk, beaten lightly

2 tablespoons cherry jam

500g cherries, pitted

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Filling:

250g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

2 cups almond meal

1/3 cup plain flour

Brandy Custard:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brandy

 

Directions:

Combin flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, rub in the butter. Stir in the egg and mix until ingredients just cling together, press the pastry into a ball. Knead the pastry gently on a lightly floured surface and press into a flat disc. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 180C or  (160C fan forced).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until large enough to line a 28cm loose based flan tin. Ease pastry into the tin, gently pressing pastry into the base and side, trim the edge.

Place tin on a large oven tray, cover pastry with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans. Brush with a thin coating of egg yolk. Return to the oven and cook a further 5 mins.

Filling:

Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the almond meal and flour together, then fold into the butter mixture.

Spread the cherry jam over the base of the cooked pastry case, then spoon in the filling, smoothing the top with a spatula. Top evenly with the pitted cherries, pressing down slightly into mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set.

Brandy Custard:

Combine the milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Bring milk to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Add one third of the infused milk, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk.

Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the brandy. Strain the custard through a seive and pour into a serving jug.

Serve the tart with the Brandy Custard.

This recipe is suitable to freeze.

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