Thursday, March 31, 2011

G.G. cooks Spanikopita (Spinach Pie)

As children, my two sibbies and I were lucky enough to have a Dad who whipped up some pretty awesome food for us. Mum had her own specialties too (seriously she is the meatball and rissole champion of the world). Chicken masala, homemade dolmades and chinese fillet steak were always favourites. Perhaps one of my most favourite (although this is a pretty tough call) meals was spanikopita or spinach pie. There's something about the combo that just makes me melt and when done well it really just sings in your mouth. It only gets better the next day and it is the perfect pie to have when you want something that is still comforting but a little lighter than the average meat filled specimen.

There are, of course, the way too tart versions that you can sometimes buy at a dodgy joint, and I must plead- don't think those bitter babies are a true indication of all this pie can be. Seriously, get yourself to a good Greek place or, alternatively, make your own. That way you can tweak it to include different types of feta and maybe even use a little extra butter on the filo!

Spanikopita (Spinach Pie)-
Ingredients (serves 4)
125 butter (melted)
2 bunches English spinach, washed, leaves removed from stalks (chopped)
350 g feta cheese (I use Danish feta, but you can use whatever your little heart desires)
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
12 sheets filo pastry (try to buy fresh filo pastry - it really doesn't freeze very well and breaks easily when frozen)
olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease ovenproof dish with oil.

2) Put some olive oil in the pan and add shallots to cook until brown (medium heat).

3) Add chopped spinach and wilt down for about 15 minutes or until most of the moisture has been cooked out of the spinach and the onions and spinach are well combined.

4) Take the mixture from the bowl and leave to cool slightly.

5) Whilst the mixture is cooling, start layering filo pastry into the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Brush on butter between each layer. I usually use at least 6 layers on the bottom (a good tip is to keep the filo pastry covered under a tea towel to prevent it drying out)

6) Once the spinach and onion mixture has cooled to room temperature, mix with the feta and eggs and season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie dish.

7) Once mixutre is even in dish, layer filo pastry (at least another six layers), again brushing butter on between each layer. Make sure to cover the top sheet genererously.

8) Bake for 35 minutes or until firm in the centre. Remove from oven.

9) Serve with salad a nice salad and don't forget to save some for tomorrow- trust me, it tastes better when it's cold!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

G.G cooks Donna Hay's steak sandwich

Lately I've been making an effort to cook more at home, even when the urge for take-away tries to override. So now, when laziness, exhaustion or lack of inspiration hits at about 6:30 p.m. instead of going to my draw of menus, I have a look in the fridge and try to think of something that would take less than 20 minutes to cook. There is no point trying out a new recipe or something which takes 30 minutes plus, because that leaves me frustrated and hungry, all the while thinking 'I should have had Vietnamese.' 

On the other hand, when I whip up something very quickly, it reminds me why home cooking is just so good, and so easy, if you let it be. In actual fact, this next recipe is so easy that C made it all by himself- with a very good result. We all know C is fabulous at pizza from scratch, but otherwise, cooking really isn't his thing. He has now added this steak sandwich to his reportoire and I've put some veal steaks in the fridge to defrost, as I'm secretly hoping he will pull this one out again tonight. 

Notes: Personally, I think there is a little bit too much butter used so I used less. You should know by now, that it's not for health reasons I suggest using less butter, but for taste. Even two thirds of the amount, it's still  wonderfully buttery and garlicky.

The veal steaks work particularly well as they are thinner than a regular steak, and can be very tender if cooked for just long enough. Make sure you don't overcook though- they can become chewy very quickly. 

This recipe comes from the Donna Hay Season's cookbook which I find has quite a few quick and easy recipes.

Steak Sandwich

125 g butter, softened
1 bunch of garlic chives, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
4 veal steaks
olive oil for brushing
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 baguette cut into four pieces
2 green onions (scallions) finely sliced
70 g lamb's lettuce + or baby spinach leaves
20 g chevril leaves

1) Place the butter, chives and garlic in a bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

2) Brush the veal steaks with the oil, spoon over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. 

3) Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat and cook the steaks for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. 

4) Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthways and toast under a preheated hot grill for 1 minute until golden.  

5) Spread with the butter mixxture, top 4 baguette slices with green onion, lamb's lettuce, chevril, steaks and remaining baguette slices. Makes 4.

+ Lamb's lettuce, also known as mache, is available from greengrocers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Decent Cuppa - a rant from the crazy tea lady

Today's post is a guest post from friend Sue aka the crazy tea lady. She really needed a medium to have a light-hearted rant about her love for good tea and the lack of places you can get it, so I offered her a guest spot. I have worded her up about a couple of places she might like to try in Brisbane and I'm sure she would also love your suggestions too. As a fellow tea lover I think her points are very valid (generally... considering that she hasn't visited my fave tea spots!) Part 2 is still to come.

A Decent Cuppa
Why is it so hard to get a decent cuppa?  At the end of a nice meal, something warm and wet to wash down the sweetness of dessert without overloading your caffeine receptors.  Is there anything better than the anticipation, first thing in the morning, as dawn is breaking, waiting at the kitchen window as the kettle boils and you look forward to the delicate aroma of a fragrant Assam blend. The scent, almost as invigorating as the drink itself.

I admit there was a time when I felt this way about coffee, but that was many years and several children ago.  As an ex-coffee lover I can remember the painful time in Australia BC (Before Cappuccino).  A time when coffee meant a teaspoon of powdered granules and Nescafe was a luxury brand.  Even after most capital cities took on the challenge of trying to work a coffee machine without any training (the pre-Barista era) it has taken a while to drag our country cousins out of BC times.  I still remember a trip out west 10 years ago, walking into the sole general store and meeting a sight that made my urbanised travelling companion sigh with relief.  A brand new menu board hanging above the counter and painted with a selection of coffees that one would normally only find in a city centre.

My companion, unwisely, ordered a macchiato, only to be asked, “What’s a matchiyato?”
“One of the coffees on your board”, he quite sensibly replied.  The proprietor glanced a little guiltily at the board and I started to suspect that perhaps he’d gotten a good deal on the board from a disposal store, “We can only do cappuccinos,” he responded.  Well, at least all was not lost so we ordered two and the proprietor headed to the back of the shop.  It was then that I realised that there did not appear to be a coffee machine to match the impressive coffee board but I did hear the familiar sound of a microwave.
“There you go”, the proprietor proceeded to proudly plonk down two mismatched cups clearly filled with instant cappuccino from a sachet, clearly a ground breaking initiative for the store. We certainly had to award points for effort and my friend silently counted his blessings that no genius had yet invented the macchiato sachet.

But, I hear you say, what has all this to do with my story about finding a decent cuppa?  Unlike a decent coffee, which requires a combination of factors to be drinkable such as quality of blend, storage of beans, efficacy of coffee machine, competence of barista, a good tea is cheap and easy to make – as everyone’s grandma can attest. Before my own nana was seduced by the ease and convenience of tea bags, the tea making ritual consisted of swirling some hot water round a teapot, emptying it, filling it with one serve of tea leaves per person plus an extra one for the pot, pouring over freshly boiled water, steeping for 3-5 minutes and then pouring into a fine china cup.  In common with coffee, the best technique in the world would not compensate for poor starting ingredients.

So why, if the process is so much simpler, is it impossible to be served a decent cuppa at any cafe or restaurant?  Imagine, coffee lovers, meeting your friends at a cafe.  You all pay the same amount of money yet while they all wait for the barista to grind, tamp and extract you are presented with a lukewarm cup of water that someone has inexpertly thrown a coffee pod at and, to add insult to injury, added a tablespoon of milk on top before any coffee has found its way out of the pod and into the cup.  If you would find a cup of coffee served to you in this way unacceptable then why are cups of tea invariably served this way? 

Tea drinkers of the world unite!  We need to demand the same level of service enjoyed by coffee lovers.  Enough is enough.  Next time you are at a coffee stand, while others order tall, decaf long blacks with dashes, ask for your dreams to be realised, “I’ll have a blend of Tibetan and Chinese black teas covered with freshly boiled water in a pre-heated teapot and steeped for exactly four and half minutes before being served, without delay, in a bone china tea set directly to my table.”  Try it, and keep trying it, until one day we are met with success.

Part 2 still to come...........

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Corner Store Cafe - Sylvan Road Toowong

Corner Store Cafe in Toowong is one of a new breed of cafes popping up around the burbs in Brisbane. Coffee obsessed but with  focus on good fresh, seasonal food, they have a little somethin somethin' more than the your average suburban cafe.

Two weeks ago, some friends of mine, Kim and Michael Malouf opened the Corner Store Cafe at 113 Sylvan Rd, Toowong. This is therefore, NOT a review cos that just wouldn't be fair! I did want to show you a couple of photos and encourage you to check it out for yourselves though, because I think it's pretty awesome!

Cute little sign. Corner Store Cafe is located just across from the tennis courts on Sylvan Rd.

Absolutely jam packed on only their second weekend open. They were also hammered the weekend before. The outside area can seat 60 + and about another 25 or so inside (from my count).

The have lots of beautiful flowers for sale.

More flowers.

Out the back, they have planted a garden and are growing their own herbs and vegies from seed.

The two baristas were super busy on the weekend. The coffee used is by the cleanskin coffee company which is roasted locally. 

The walk through kitchen means you feel really comfortable, like you are in your own house! As the name suggests, aside from being a cafe they also have a corner store element and stock some basic (canned goods), as well as some more luxurious (Persian fairyfloss) items you may want to stock up on. You can see the shelves in the background. Like any true blue corner store, they also have an icecream cabinet.

You can also pre-order a kids lunch pack (for the kids to take to school) if you feel like doing so. They are dietian approved and include a sandwich (vegemite, chicken & avocado or ), a treat and a couple of other items.

C couldn't wait for me to take a photo before he got stuck into his coffee.

Apple, Pineapple and Mint juice for $7

C's brekky- a Bacon and Egg Burger with gruyere, rocket, tomato and beetroot relish for $12

My brekky - poached eggs with zucchini and haloumi fritters, jamon and tomato jam for $16.

So readers: What are your favourite suburban coffee shops popping up around Bris Vegas? Have you been to Corner Store Cafe? What do you think?

Corner Store Cafe
113 Sylvan Rd 
Toowong 4066
(07) 3870 2297

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Your Faves - and a couple of things you might like to go to

What's this? No recipe, No review and no whining from G.G.? Not even a new Global Gastronomy Gal?  Nope, not today (hmmm was that a sigh of relief I heard?!?) Instead I'd like to ask you guys a question or two. What are your favourite global food blogs- as in from O.S? I'm updating 'My Faves' section and I really want to incorporate some more global blogs in the list. I've been trawling for hours and also want to know what sites you guys like the best, because after all, I'd have to think you have pretty good taste (wink wink!). So, please, let me know!!

In other news, a couple events you might like to pop in your diary:

Sunshine Coast 29-31 July 2011
'The Real Food Festival is a fantastic celebration of the wonderful variety of food that Sunshine Coast producers, manufacturers and restaurants have to offer, and a brilliant way to  talk, taste and buy for them.'  

Over the course of the weekends, events will be held all over the Sunshine Coast Hinterland - I think the program is still being finalised, but it looks to be a pretty cool idea. There is a good list of participating restaurants from the region, including Reserve Cellars, where I had a great meal a year or so ago.

13th, 14th and 15th May
This festival needs absolutely no introduction but just a reminder to write the dates down. 

I'm tossing up between a couple of the lunches on the Friday, but need to get my butt into gear because they do sell out.
Let me know if you are going?! I'd love to know what events you are planning on going to.

Every Sunday 6 a.m. -(I'll have to check what time it finishes...)
Location: A pleasant spot on Baroona Road between Governor's Hill an Norman Buchan Park.
On offer: Stanthorpe fruits, Warwick Veg, Ascot fresh meats, Hills Bakery produce, Fresh eggs, Smoked Salmon, german Sausage, marinated cheese + heaps more. 

I saw signs around for a little while ago when they were trialling the markets, and yesterday I received this little card in my note explaining a bit more. It's going to be great to have a regular Sunday Market to go to!!

So, two things- are you attending any of the above and most importantly don't forget to let me know all about the fabulous global food blogs you are reading.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

G.G. cooks The Spirit House's Tom Yum

Gosh, I know I always rave- but twitter is great, isn't it?! Yesterday afternoon, I was on my way home when I realised that I didn't have the tom yum paste I needed. You see, I've been meaning to make Tom Yum for yonks and finally put it onto the menu plan this week as I managed to score some beautiful ingredients at the New Farm Farmer's Markets on the weekend. The only thing I couldn't find was the paste. I went to a couple of supermarkets and one deli and they either didn't stock the paste or were sold out. I know, I know, I should make my own, but not on a weeknight!

So in a little bit of a hurried state I sent out a tweet asking where to buy some and no less than 8 tweeps responded to me very quickly. I was able to head to one of their suggested suppliers on my way home. OK so Coles at Toowong isn't really a supplier, but I did get some insider tips about where to purchase boutique brands of Tom Yum paste at discounted rates and some other grand information. I'll be sure to check these tips out and let you know the outcome. Thanks to twitter and some lovely tweeps I was able to secure the illusive (or as it turns out, not so illusive) paste and make some lovely Tom Yum soup for dinner.

This recipe comes from the Spirit House cook book which you simply must get if you are a fan of Thai.

1 litre of chicken or prawn stock
2 stalks of lemongrass (outer leaves discarded) and angle cut into 5 cm pieces
4 pairs kaffir lime leaves
4 slices galangal
2 tablespoons of chilli jam ( I used tom yum paste but Spirit House label chilli jam is available)
1/2 cup lime juice
100 ml fish sauce
16 green king prawns peeled and deveined (I decided to substitute chicken for prawns which worked well too- about 150 g per person)
1-2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
coriander to garnish
finely sliced spring onion to garnish

Put stock, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaces and galangal into saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add chilli paste, lime juice and fish sauce and cook until blended. Add prawns and simmer gently until prawns are just cooked, about 1 minute. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with chilliies, coriander and shallots.

So tell me readers- Where do you buy your curry and soup pastes from? Do you make your own? Get it from Woolies or Coles or a secret supplier I need to know about?!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Canteen Cafe and Bar Noosa Junction

It's easy to walk past Canteen at Noosa Junction. I have many times in the last several years that I've been visiting regularly. It hasn't been intentional, it's just that the dining scene in Noosa is constantly changing, and as a result, there are always new beaut places to try. This sometimes means that some of the other places on the must visit list just keep getting put off. It shouldn't always be this way, but it is!

On a Saturday morning it was teeming with rain and C and I were about to start the hunt for a new doona cover. Doona covers for me, are the very essence of the room and when the time is right, I feel the need to change doona covers. Camb ensures it doesn't happen too often, but also agreed it had been a while. The changing of the doona often comes with the change of season and a large degree of groaning from Camb as he knows what the search can entail. Most of the time I go it alone, but sometimes, he tags along, quickly remembering why he hates shopping. Predictably, C's interest had started to wane before we even started and so he decided to grab a coffeeto give him strength for the long trip ahead. As I said, it was teeming with rain, and as we were already at Noosa Junction and didn't want to go to far, Canteen seemed the obvious place. 

Noosa Junction is very relaxed and beachy but stepping into Canteen feels almost like you've stepped out of QLD or at the very least, out of the Sunshine Coast. Muted tones and tables set along one wall, all parallel to the bar and kitchen, create a cosy and calm feeling. From the moment we were seated by one of the many waitstaff who were buzzing around, it was clear that this seemed to be a nice place to escape from the weather, be it hot, cold or raining. Current magazines and newspapers spread out encourage patrons to stay a little longer. 
Staff were relaxed but not lax, (despite their accents giving them away as some of Noosa's transient travelling hospitality population), taking our orders within the first few moments of being seated. 

C obviously went for a coffee, his usual flat white about $4 (from memory) whilst I had the option to choose from a couple of different fresh juices and felt that it was a watermelon and mint ($6.5) type day. They use segafredo coffee and C was pleased with the result. My juice could have used a little extra mint.

The breakfast menu offers some standard options, but most with a canteen twist that transforms the menu from cliched to cool. C only felt like something light, so the bacon and egg muffin with hollandaise sauce for $8.5 suited him down to the ground. 

I'm not usually one for sweet brekky but the hotcakes with maple syrup caught my eye, as I hoped the accompanying bacon ($14.5) would take off the sugary edge. 

The cafe has a nice little buzz and great acoustics meant it was still quiet enough to enjoy the ambience and one read one of the papers. As it was quite busy, we were prepared for a small wait and settled in to read The Weekend Australian. I only got halfway through the first article before our meals arrived looking tantalising.

Although a little messy and swamped in syrup - my hotcakes were fluffy and good. The bacon was well cooked and was quite delicious in it's own right. A tried and tested combination can sometimes fail if the individual elements are not up to scratch, but luckily this wasn't the case. Next time I would ask to be in control of the syruping- they did provide a little jug on the side, but already came with a more than adequate serving of syrup.

C's bacon and egg muffin was enjoyable too. The eggs were well cooked and the hollandaise had a nice lemony kick-without being too plasticy like can sometimes be the case. The accompanying rocket was really fresh.

If we weren't on the great doona cover hunt, we probably would have ordered another coffee, and maybe a pot of tea for me and finished reading the papers, but as we knew what was ahead of us, we had to get going! 

Canteen provided solace from the weather but also solace from the too-trendy establishments that have a habit of popping up around Noosa. They have prompt and polite service and a solid menu. Next time, instead of walking past, I'm going to be walking directly to Canteen so  I can sit down, read the paper and eat a nice little brekky.

When to go: When you're hanging out at Noosa Junction and want to sit down at a calm eating spot with a nice but not a way too trendy menu.

2/4 Sunshine Beach Road
Noosa Junction  QLD 4567
07 5447 5400

Canteen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Dandelion and Driftwood at Hendra

Last week, when my paw and I were at home recovering, I was feeling a little lonely. Luckily one of my friends Lolly (who was actually supposed to be on study leave- tsk tsk Lorenzo) decided to come over and take me out for lunch.  Lol said she felt like going to a nice cafe as opposed to the Japanese takeaway I had in mind. Even though Lol protested that she was only taking 'the morning and maybe a little bit of the afternoon off' I knew an across town trip to Dandelion and Driftwood was in order (even if it would take a little longer than nicking somewhere more local).

Dandelion and Driftwood has been on the must visit list for a while, and I admit I'm a little late hopping onto the train. Opened in the second half of 2010 by coffee connoisseurs Peter Wolff and Penny Lowe, Dandelion and Driftwood has been touted by many of my twitter mates as being the next best thing. Located in a surburban stretch in Hendra, it's not the usual location you would find such a gorgeous little place to go, but gorgeous it is.

The weather was decidedly gloomy, but from the moment we stepped through the door, the service was cheery and prompt. We were shown to our table, and one of the staff took our wet umbrellas to the umbrella stand. Seated at the large table, we were very comfy, and the place was almost full to capacity, with only a couple of other spare seats at our communal setting.

Stepping into Dandelion and Driftwood is almost like stepping into the pages of a book, where everything is in it's place and when in it's place, looks just so right. From the lolly trolley, to the Paul Grainger jams lining the shelves and the sweet treats placed at the counter, the everything has charm. The specialty here is obviously the coffee but as caffeine and I are mortal enemies, I thought I'd leave that department up to Lolly so that she could get her caffeine study fix, whilst I sipped on some spesh herbal tea and had a bite to eat.

The coffee menu has so much on offer, but I'm going to leave that to the die-hards to blog, as I really don't know that enough about it. I might take C in with me next time, he's much more qualified to comment. Lolly did order a chai for $5 which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Something I do know a little bit about though, is tea, because I do have a slight addiction. My top drawer at work is testament to this and houses at least 5 or 6 different blends at any one time. I'm the girl that office peeps come to when they have run out of tea, or need something a little different to get them through the day.

The herbal list at Dandelion and Driftwood is very concise, in fact there are only two teas listed. The green tea list is considerably more extensive, as is the black tea list. I would have liked a larger choice, but in the end, the peppermint tea at $6 was fab. The flavour was really deep and the whole experience was heightened by the full peppermint aromas steaming out of my cup. It was probably the best peppermint tea I have ever tasted, nothing like any of the blends you would buy from the supermarket. It even kicks the specialty tea shops peppy butts. Served alongside the tea was a little laminated note, telling me all about the origins of the tea and the best serving methods. Although some might class this as a little OTT- I think it was a fabulous touch that allows customers to become more aware about the tea or coffee they are drinking in a non confrontational way. And if they just want to sit and enjoy their cup without in bliss, they don't have to read it. 

Apparently this tea was made from the highest grade peppermint leaves grown in Victoria, it is supposed to be cleansing,clearing and a digestive. You shouldn't drink with milk (I'm ALWAYS surprised about how many peeps try to put milk in herbal tea- don't worry- I scold them if I catch them in the act) and honey and sugar are allowed, although I'm an ala natural girl. To brew you should pour water at 84 degrees over 3g of leaves per pot and infuse for 3 minutes. It's really nice to see how much these peeps love their tea and after drinking a pot of their offerings, I'm convinced it's all in the little details. Not sure how I'm going to get my water to 84 degrees when I'm at work though!?!

I'm on the Reuben bandwagon at the moment, and so the ovbious choice for my lunch was Dandelion and Driftwood's take on the Reuben for $9.5. Corned silverside, pete's favourite sauerkraut, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing made up a nice sandwich. The flavours went well together and the sauerkraut was quite pleasant, but I didn't get the flavour explosion I was hoping for. A little lacking. I do love the whole being served with chips(crisps for all your poms) thing.

Lolly went with another option from the grilled sandwich menu, the smoked chicken breast, natural tasty cheddar, doodle creek beetroot relish and tomato chutney sandwich also $9.5. Although I didn't get a taste, L really liked her sandwich saying the smoked chicken was moist and the beetroot relish and tomato chuntney surprisingly worked well together, again, not absolutely awesome, but quite nice.

As I was relaxing, sipping my sensational tea, I couldn't help but scope out all the baked treats that sat before me, and thought that I would quite like to try a macadamia nut brownie. Feeling a little full, I offered to share with L and she willingly obliged. Hindsight is a wonderful thing peeps, I have to say, in hindsight I never ever should have offered to share no matter how full or however much I was trying to be a little bit healthy. Shouldn't and won't next time. The brownie (about $5ish from memory) was beautiful. Moist and and rich but somehow light at the same time. It didn't sit in my tummy for hours afterward reminding me that I shouldn't have eaten it. It made me want more - now that's a magic brownie!

Even after finishing the sweet treats, Lolly and I sat for about 20 minutes just chatting and finishing the last of out drinks. It was a lovely place to chill out, particularly with the rain pouring down outside. It's like time had slowed and we were just happy to sit and be.

Despite my sandwich being a little disappointing, I will definitely go back and visit Dandelion and Driftwood sometime. The service was impressive, the brownie was impeccable and the atmostphere and decore were intimate. Next time, I've got my eye on some of the tea cakes and maybe another variety of hot pressed sandwich to see if it can take my fancy. I'll be sure to have a full brownie and I might even grab an amber bottle filled with milk bottles, strawberries & creams and peppermint leaves for the road.

When to go: When you feel like sitting in a lovely little place and drinking some lovely coffee or tea. When it was raining was particularly nice, as it felt warm and sunny inside. Go with the girls, it's the place to sit and chat.

Dandelion and Driftwood
Shop 1, 45 Gerler Rd 
Hendra 4011
07 3868 4559

Dandelion & Driftwood on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 3, 2011

G.G. cooks Teriyaki Salmon with Soba Noodles and a little side salad

I'm officially an idiot. I have a gauze paw. I've burnt my hand- not just a little kitchen wound style burn, but the whole palm. How do you burn your whole hand you wonder? Well, I put my hand on a hot plate. Ha. Don't try that at home kids. SO to explain a little more, we have hot plate covers. The hot plate cover was on and I thought I had turned the right hot plate on and then went to take the left cover off to use that hot plate too. Turns out I'd accidentally turned the left on instead and so it had been on for 10 mins already! So now I have a stupid gauze paw with a weird glove thing. Tres embarrassing and quite sore. 

Not as bad as it could have been though - no 3rd degree burns or anything like that so very lucky! I have to nick back to the doctors in the mornings to get it redressed and I'm not sure how long I will have to do that that for, but I'm hoping it will be starting to heal pretty soon. I'm not typing much today because it takes a ridiculous amount of time with one hand and one paw. On a side note- have you tried doing your hair with one hand- something as simple as putting hair in a pony tail becomes a mission only completable by complex reasoning and problem solving skills we all claim to have on our resumes. The things we take for granted.

It seems rather ironic that I'm now going to pass on a recipe for you guys to cook at home (and not burn yourselves hopefully!) p.s. just so you know - I wasn't cooking this when I burnt myself.

This recipe comes from The Low G.I Cook Book by Helen Footer. There are plenty of low G.I. cook books around and I wasn't specifically after low g.i. but my MIL cooked this dish when we were at the farm a couple of weekends ago, and I thought it was really quick and delish so I grabbed the recipe to cook at home.

Teriyaki Salmon with Soba Noodles
Serves 4
4 skinless salmon fillets
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dry sherry
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon seasme oil
2 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons seasme seeds
2 spring onions
250 g soba noodles
3 tablespoons of chopped coriander

1) Mix soy, sherry, sugar, garlic, ginger and 1/2 oil and water together
2) Brush over salmon and set aside for ten minutes
3) Cook in grill for 5-6 minutes (so the salmon is still a darker shade of pink inside- nothing worse than over cooked fish peeps!)
4) Cook noodles according to directions on the packet
5) Heat oil, add seeds and spring onions - fry off for one minute
6) Add noodles and remaining marinade - stir through and add coriander at the last minute to stir through
7) Serve with Salmon fillet and a nice fresh light salad or steamed greens

So tell me readers - what injuries have you sustained in the battlefield (i.e. the kitchen)?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

G.G. Cooks G.T's roast zucchini and torn bread salad with verjuice dressing

I'm a little bit additcted to magazines. I have a ridiculous collection (I really don't hoard anything else though!?) and every month I must purchase delicious, Country Style, Jamie, Donna Hay and Gourmet Traveller. I love to spend ages pouring over the pages, drooling at many of the stylish photos and sensational desserts. I must admit there are some pretty amazing looking dishes and I would love to cook them all, but sometimes I do find the recipes a little unrealistic, espesh for mid week meals. So I stick with simple! 

When I was browsing through the Feb 2011 edition of Gourmet Traveller I noticed a couple of recipes that jumped out- looking fresh and straightforward enough to knock up pretty quickly. I decided that the roast zucchini and torn bread salad with verjuice dressing would perfectly compliment the baked chicken I was planning on making on Sunday night.  The salad was easy peasy, and lovely for a late summer dish. My brother in law thought so too when he quietly helped himself to the leftovers I had carefully portioned for the next days lunch! 

When making, I halved the recipe, as I was serving only for 2 peeps and as a side salad, and there was still more than enough (that was, until L got into it.)

This recipe was from the Australian Gourmet Traveller - Feb 2011 edition

Serves 4 
Cooking Time Prep time 15 mins, cook 15 mins (plus cooling)

4 zucchini, cut lengthways into wedges (see note)
60 ml or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon
crustless sourdough bread, coarsely torn
1 cup (loosely packed)  pea tendrils
baby gem lettuce hearts, quartered (see note)
yellow squash, thinly sliced
salad onions, thinly sliced on a mandolin

Verjuice dressing
50ml  olive oil
30 ml verjuice
Juice from 1 lemon

1) Preheat oven to 220C. Toss zucchini and half the oil in a bowl, season to taste, spread in a roasting pan and roast until golden and tender (12-15 minutes). Drizzle with lemon juice and set aside to cool.

2) Meanwhile, toss bread, lemon rind and remaining oil in a bowl, season to taste, spread in a roasting pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp (8-10 minutes). Set aside to cool.

3) Blanch asparagus until just tender (2-3 minutes), drain, refresh and drain again. Transfer to a bowl, add zucchini, croĆ»tons, pea tendrils, lettuce hearts, squash and onion, and toss lightly to combine.

4) For verjuice dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine, and season to taste. Drizzle over zucchini 
mixture, toss lightly to combine and serve immediately.

Notes :We’ve used yellow and green zucchini in these recipes, but you can substitute any available zucchini. If gem lettuce is unavailable, substitute baby cos.

P.S - just a photo of the baked chicken I served the salad with. Look at all that stuffing. Sadly L devoured a large portion of the stuffing too.

So readers... tell me- what food magazines do you read religiously, and do you use them as food porn or are you inspired to create the dishes that grace their pages?
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