Saturday, February 28, 2009

Purslane, Tomato and Persian Fetta Salad

Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've found something new at the market - Purslane

purslane© by Haalo

Purslane may well be thought of as a weed, having the rather unflattering name of pigweed and hogweed, but this unusual green shouldn't be overlooked. By the look and feel of its spoon shaped leaves, you can immediately tell that it is a succulent. All parts are edible, the leaves, stem, flower and the seeds.

purslane© by Haalo

Purslane is a very nutritious plant and is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids as well as good quantities of Vitamins A and C. It also has anti-inflammatory and digestive properties - with high levels of anti-oxidants, its a plant we certainly should be eating more of.

The leaves are a little juicy, a subtle savoury flavour - the stems have a bit more bite and flavour.

In the dish I'm making I've decided to make use of all its healthy properties and enjoy it raw. I've tempted it with a mix of heirloom tomatoes and persian fetta to create a colourful salad.

purslane, tomato and persian fetta salad© by Haalo

Purslane, Tomato and Persian Fetta Salad

purslane, leaves picked, washed & dried
mixed tomatoes, quartered
Persian fetta
extra virgin olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste


I was lucky to score a gorgeous display of various heirloom tomatoes at the market today

heirloom tomatoes© by haalo

and with their different colours, tastes, textures and sizes, they make a wonderful salad just on their own.

Place you prepared tomatoes into a bowl and scatter over with purslane leaves, toss briefly. Crumble over with a little Persian fetta and very gently tumble it through. Drizzle over with a little olive oil and season to taste.

You can enjoy it as it but I've used it as a topped for Bruschetta


purslane, tomato and persian fetta bruschetta© by Haalo


On grilled pieces of ciabatta, generously top with the salad mix and then drizzle over with good aged Balsamic Vinegar.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #172 Hosting



Thanks go out to Susan for hosting - be sure to check out the recap here.

This week, Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska is our host.

Posts must be written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging ( this means they cannot be submitted to multiple events) during this week (February 23rd - March 1st) and the deadline is:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne, Australia Time

Send your email to tasteslikehome AT hotmail DOT com and include the following details:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (400px wide)


Weekend Herb Blogging rules can be found here and the schedule of future hosts can be found here.

If you would like to host, send an email to weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail.com - please include your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pluot Crumble

Susan from The Well-Seasoned Chef is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'll be looking at Pluots

pluot© by Haalo

Pluots are the result of crossing Plums and Apricots and were developed in the 1990's. The initial hybrid called a plumcot was then crossed with another plum - this second generation became the Pluot. They also crossed plumcots with apricots to form the Aprium, but I've yet to see those here in Australia.

From their external appearance they definitely look like a plum

pluot© by Haalo

but inside this particular variety it has an apricot colouring. They have a firmer flesh, when compared to a straight plum but with a finer skin. Tastewise, they are more plum than apricot.

When it comes to plums (or pluots), I must say that Paalo isn't really a fan so I've resorted to tempting him with something I know he loves - crumble!


pluot crumble© by Haalo


Pluot Crumble

6 pluots
80 grams self-raising flour
80 grams soft brown sugar
80 grams rolled oats
50 grams melted butter, cooled
30 grams flaked almonds
30 grams mini white chocolate buds


Make the crumble topping:

Place the flour, brown sugar and rolled oats into a bowl - pour over the melted butter and stir until amalgamated. Add in the flaked almonds and white chocolate buds and mix through until just combined.

Prepare the pluots:

Halve the pluots and remove the kernel. Slice them evenly into wedges. Scatter the slices over the base of a baking dish.

pluot crumble© by Haalo

Scatter the crumble mix evenly over the pluots.

pluot crumble© by Haalo

Place the baking dish on a tray and bake in a preheated 160°C/320°F oven until the crumble is golden and firm - about 30-45 minutes. You should notice the juices of the pluots bubbling around the edges of the dish.

pluot crumble© by Haalo

Enjoy it hot or cold or somewhere in between - with or without cream.

pluot crumble© by Haalo


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chef Al Rosas - Organic Chef - Content Thief

I like to first thank people that let me know when they have seen my photos elsewhere, in particular the person that informed me about this incident - I appreciate that they actually bother to tell me, every little bit helps to shut these people down.

Of all the occurrences out there, the most annoying are those from people that should know better - one of these people is Chef Al Rosas, the self-proclaimed Organic Chef.

If you visit his site (wwwDOTorganicchefmonthlyDOTcom) you'll notice he has trademarked and copyrighted his content and then you'll notice a photo of something he calls Chef Al's Rabid Raisin Rice Pudding.

Do you recognize any of your photos here?

One looked oddly familiar - why, yes it is. That's my photo

ricepudding© by Haalo


Last night I sent my email demanding its removal & informing them that I will file DMCA's if it isn't and woke up this morning to this response by Erin Rosas

"FIrst (sic) of all your mediocre photo is all over the internet. You go ahead and seek further action, if you have time to do that you probably are still looking for work. Don't threaten me and I'd govern yourself accordingly when calling people names and making allegations or you might find yourself on the other end of a libel suit you petulant starving artist."

Needless to say since my photo is still there, DMCA will be filed today. I'll let you make up your mind about their ethics.

*Note*
As of this afternoon, the photos have been removed from their servers. Their behavior remains on record.

Update:
As is the case with most photo thieves, they don't just do it once. If you need a reminder just check out the behavior of Chef Jasper J Mirabile.

As mentioned by Towser in the comments below, the Rosas' have taken material from Bee of Rasa Malaysia - do read her post

As Cath also notes the other rice pudding photo is also stolen - this time from Delicious Wisdom.

If I could take the time to make this request. If your content or photo has been stolen DO NOT simply let it pass and let them get away with it with an offer to credit or link to you. All that does is justify their actions. The principle involved is worth much more than a link.

*Update 2:*
Further articles about this issue:
The Kittalog
Use Real Butter
Rasa Malaysia
Slashfood
Chowhound
Well Done! Chef!

Spread the word.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #171 Hosting




This week, Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook is our host.

Posts must be written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging during this week (February 16th - February 22nd) and the deadline is:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne, Australia Time

Send your email to thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com and include the following details:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (400px wide)

Weekend Herb Blogging rules can be found here and the schedule of future hosts can be found here.

If you would like to host, send an email to weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail.com - please include your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wasabi Leaf Vichyssoise

Our host for Weekend Herb Blogging is Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness and this week I've found something different - it's a member of the mustard family...

wasabi leaf© by Haalo


fresh Wasabi Leaves!

wasabi leaf© by Haalo

These deep green, heart shaped leaves are rather thick and quite robust in nature. Eaten raw, they have a mild wasabi flavour, which makes them very approachable to even the most delicate palate.

It's the first time I've seen for sale here so if you are interested, head to Mow's at Prahran Market, he might just have some left, if I haven't bought them all.

From what I gather, the leaves and stems are used to produce Ashgrove Wasabi Cheese. This cheese has a bigger wasabi hit then you can get from the leaves.

To extract the most flavour from the leaf you would need to crush it but you can also use it as is, as a wrap. You can shred it and add to salads, pickle it, even deep fry it but I will be using it to add a new flavour to a french classic - Vichyssoise.


Wasabi Leaf Vichyssoise© by Haalo

Wasabi Leaf Vichyssoise

1 leek, quartered & sliced finely
2 potatoes, peeled diced finely
wasabi leaves, shredded
milk


On a low heat, place a good knob of butter in a saucepan and when melted add the leek. Let them slowly soften but not colour before adding the diced potatoes and shredded wasabi leaves. Stir well and then cover with milk.

Simmer until the potatoes have softened and have started to collapse.

Blend the mixture until smooth - you may need to add extra milk to achieve your preferred consistency.

Serve it hot or cold.

Wasabi Leaf Vichyssoise© by Haalo


As a bonus, here's a really quick way to use Wasabi Leaf -

wasabi leaf mashed potato© by Haalo

regular mashed potatoes get some extra bite with the addition of shredded wasabi leaf.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Orzo Paella

Presto Pasta Night reaches the 100th milestone and shortly after this we'll soon be celebrating 2 years of pasta goodness - it's a tribute to Ruth and to all who take part, that this event is still going strong.

This week I'll be using another Greek pasta - Orzo

Orzo© by Haalo

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta - in the past I've used Italian Orzo and Risoni which are very similar. Orzo cooks very quickly and I'll be using this quality in the dish I've made. Inspired by a very tasty Paella I recently enjoyed, I decided to combine cuisines and create an Orzo Paella!


Orzo Paella© by Haalo


Orzo Paella

2 red onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced thickly
4 skinless chicken thighs, sliced thickly
1 chorizo, diced
green peas
chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)


Heat a little oil and butter in a large pan and saute the chicken in batches until browned. Set to one side and in the same pan, saute the onions and garlic until softened.

Add the diced chorizo and cook until golden. Add the sliced capsicum and continue to saute for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, peas and chicken. Stir through and add enough water or stock to just cover the mixture. Simmer until reduced.

The orzo will only take about 5 minutes to cook so make sure that this chicken mixture is cooked and seasoned to your liking.

Over a very low flame, stir in the orzo and top with enough water to just cover the mixture. Place a lid on the pot and let it cooked undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

After this, stir the mixture and taste - check that the orzo is cooked through and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve at once.


Orzo Paella© by Haalo

Top with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blueberry Polenta Cakes

Blueberry Polenta Cakes© by Haalo

I had intended to post about these little Blueberry Polenta Cakes on Monday but it just didn't seem appropriate. Even now, it's been a see-sawing event of write a few lines and then delete them - it all seems so inadequate.

So perhaps I will just talk about these cakes.

They started their life as sultana polenta cakes from a recipe I spotted over coffee in some magazine. What struck me about these cakes was they way they are made - all the ingredients are placed in a saucepan and heated until thickened, just as you would do if you were making a custard.

As I've dropped the sultanas for an increased quantity of blueberries (I use frozen for cooking), I add the blueberries at the end of initial cooking so they don't start to melt and streak the mixture. If you use sultanas add them in at the beginning.

You then take this cooked mixture and bake it - the original recipe used texas muffin pans, I used mini-loaf pans and managed to get 6 from this quantity. Feel free to try with other shapes and tins.


Blueberry Polenta Cakes© by Haalo


Blueberry Polenta Cakes

100 grams fine polenta
120 grams caster sugar
300mls milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
30 grams melted butter, cooled
150 grams frozen blueberries


Place the polenta, sugar, milk, vanilla and eggs into a saucepan and whisk until combined. Pour in the melted butter and place on a low heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken - keep the heat low as you don't want to cook it too quickly and end up with scrambled eggs.

Remove from the heat and stir through the blueberries.

Pour the mixture out into a prepared tin - I used a mini loaf pan and bake in a preheated 160°C/320°F oven until golden and cooked through.

Let them cool slightly in the pan before turning out - they will deflate once they have cooled.

Blueberry Polenta Cakes© by Haalo


Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Blueberry Polenta Cakes© by Haalo

These cakes do have quite an usual texture - they are firm like tofu, so they are dense but not heavy which seems to be a contradiction.


Blueberry Polenta Cakes© by Haalo

Inside you are rewarded with a glorious golden glow that's speckled with vanilla bean.



Monday, February 09, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #170 Hosting




This week, Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness is our host.

Posts must be written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging during this week (February 9th - February 15th) and the deadline is:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne, Australia Time

Send your email to cheryl AT eharrishome DOT com and include the following details:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (300px wide)

Weekend Herb Blogging rules can be found here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bushfires - How you can help

It's hard not to feel helpless at times like this but there are ways all of us can do something useful.

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund

Donate online or:

at any branch of the National Australia Bank
BSB: 083 932
Account Number 04829 9080

via post to:
Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund
PO Box 508
Traralgon Vic 3844
Australia


Australian Red Cross - Victorian Bushfires 2009 Appeal

Donate online or

any Bunnings Store;

any ANZ, CBA, NAB or Westpac branch

or Direct Deposit:
Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund
BSB 082-001
Account number 860-046-797

or phone 1800 811 700


Myer Bushfire Appeal

all proceeds will go to the Salvation Army.

Donations can be made at any Victorian Myer Store.


Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Bushfire Appeal

Donate Online

or any branch of the Bendigo or Adelaide Banks

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Caramelised Endive Tart

Dee from the Daily Tiffin is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'm playing around with a member of the daisy family.

belgian endive or witlof© by Haalo

Depending on where you come from, you'll know this as Witlof, Endive, Belgian Endive, White Endive - whatever the name, it refers to this conical shape vegetable, a tight head of white leaves tinged with a light yellowy-green edge.

As a relative of chicory, you'll find that it shares some of those bitter flavours, which for some, can be a turn off. If you are one of those people, then this recipe will make you see Witlof in a new light.

I've been looking through Shane Osborne's Starters since he'll soon be in the country for the Food and Wine Festival in March and came across an interesting recipe for a caramelised endive tart. Cooking the endive releases it's natural sugars and these in turn will caramelise with time - the end product is a soft vegetable where just about all the bitterness has been removed.

caramelised endive tart© by Haalo


Caramelised Endive Tart
[Makes 2 tarts]

1 Endive, cut in half lengthways
40 grams butter
salt and freshly ground white pepper
100mls water
1 puff pastry sheet


Cook the Endive:

Melt the butter over a medium heat, in a frying pan just big enough to fit the halved endives. Season the endive halves with salt and pepper before placing them, cut side down in the pan. Let them gently cook for about 5 minutes or until golden - you may need to decrease the heat if they seem to be browning too quickly.

Turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Drain off the butter and add in the water or stock and simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked through and the liquid has reduced. Let them cool before continuing.


Assemble the tart:

Cut the puff pastry sheet in half.

Take one half and position a cooled endive half onto the center of the pastry. Trim the pastry so it forms an edge around the endive - about 2cms/1 inch. Remove the endive and using a finger, form an indentation in the pastry in the shape of the endive. Prick the pastry all over with a fork - put the endive back into position and then repeat the process with the other half.

Bake in a preheated 200°C/390°F oven until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.

caramelised endive tart© by Haalo

Drizzle over with some of the pan juices before serving. If you want to make it even more special then serve it with Shane's accompaniment of pan roasted pears and walnuts.

It's an excellent starter or lunch dish for any occasion.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Quince Paste and Olive Oil Cake

If you enjoy Spanish food and look for authentic Spanish ingredients then you'd probably be aware of Casa Iberica in Fitzroy. One of my more recent purchases was a rather large tin of Dulce de Membrillo or Quince paste.

quince paste© by Haalo

Now unlike other things I buy, I actually had something planned for this ingredient. My attention had been drawn in the Spring issue of Dish (an issue that focused on the flavours of Spain) to a rather simple cake that was studded with cubes of Quince paste. Of further interest was that olive oil rather than milk or butter was used. That was enough to set me baking and with the weather cooling a little, there was no time like the present.

Quince Paste and Olive Oil Cake© by Haalo

Olive Oil and Quince Paste Cake

150 grams quince paste, diced
1 lemon, rind finely grated
150 grams caster sugar
225 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125mls olive oil
3 eggs
50mls orange juice, approximate


Place the sugar into a bowl and grate the lemon straight over it. Rub the zest into the sugar to release its natural oils.

Sift together the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar mixture until well amalgamated.

Break the eggs into a bowl and add the olive oil and orange juice. Whisk until combined and then pour into the dry ingredients.

Stir well to form a smooth batter.

Butter and flour a 4 cup capacity loaf pan.

Pour in a third of the batter into the pan and top with a third of the quince paste cubes. Cover with another third of batter. Sprinkle over with another portion of quince paste cubes. Cover with the remaining batter and dot the remaining cubes over the top.

Bake in a preheated 170°C/340°F until golden and cooked through - about 40 minutes. If you feel the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil and reduce the temperature.

Let it rest for a 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Quince Paste and Olive Oil Cake© by Haalo

If you like, give it a dusting of icing sugar before serving.

Quince Paste and Olive Oil Cake© by Haalo


It's a moist cake with good texture - a lovely crust that isn't too hard and an enticing scent of cinnamon and lemon. To finish off, you get those pockets of quince paste every now and again that brings a different type of sweetness to the cake.

An excellent partner for tea or coffee.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #169 - Hosting



Marija has done a wonderful job hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging so do make sure you check out the recap for a feast for all the senses.

This week Dee and the crew from The Daily Tiffin are hosting.

Posts must be written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging during this week (February 2nd - February 8th) and the deadline is:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne, Australia Time

Send your email to thedailytiffin AT gmail DOT com and include the following details:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (300px wide)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...