Thank YOU Basque Country

•August 9, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Thank you Basque Country… great food.

 

Trying to find food that is interesting, tasty, simple and fulfilling can be a challenge in this world of fake over chemically treated, non sustainable and very changeable food and eating. The simple concept of eating what is sustainably raised, with love and care, of not always having to follow the intricate peripatetic moves of celebrity chefs, chefs who think too highly of themselves and cooks who have lost the art of simple eating, is not simple. We are in the thrall of determined profiteers who will do what ever it takes to make money. Food is not about money, not about financial bottom lines, it’s about feeding our rapidly growing world population.

 

I am reminded that much has changed since the days when my Grandfather would select cows, sheep and pigs that has been well raised, had eaten good food, lived lives that did not make them suffer. They would be transported to Port Fairy where they would be allowed a month or two of rest on the family farm and then my Father would dispatch them for the family butcher shop. I can say, since I spent many many days with my Father when he was slaughtering the animals, that none suffered. Naturally they did not go to their death with joy, but they did not unduly suffer. The quality of the meat spoke for itself.

 

Confusion is something that we seem to have to live and deal with daily. There is little in life that can be said to be simple and easy. In the past a retreat to a quieter life in some rural idyll seemed to work, now even that has changed and we are forced by a never ending set of rules and regulations, climate change and a million other things, to be ever vigilant. The desperate brawling of supermarkets struggling for your money is such that strip shops, local corner shops, local butcher shops are in rapid decline. Farmers markets, once the hope of artisanal producers, now often given over to endless home jars of bad jam and chutney. Local genuine growers of great product, makers of butter and cheese are so overwhelmed by rules and regulations, health and safety rules, that they give up. Growers of meats that can be transformed into wonderful charcuterie are so burdened by rules and regulations they don’t even try.

 

One of the sadness’s of my growing up was that my family, great butchers, did not engage in anything but sausages, corned beef, pickled pork and dripping. The sausages were always and only beef sausages, made in the English style with finely minced meat and as I remember, a handful of ‘sausage spice’ that was kept in a large tin. The dripping was made in a large 44 gallon drum that resided in the back yard over a smouldering wood fire, filled with all the fat scraps from the shops and allowed to melt over a few days. This bit I loved, the bits of meat that were left were crisp and crackly and delicious. Although they raised pigs, and Dad and his brothers slaughtered them, it never occurred to them to consider ham or bacon or other smallgoods. I think in the early days before my birth, it was done, I recall seeing a large cement tub that had a huge wooden lid that was used for salt curing. Its fair to say that Australian butchers followed the British traditions and only when European migration started, did changes happen.

 

This is not about meat, but about a dish that is somewhere between a soup and stew, a dish that embodies the world of real food, treated with simple respect and completely delicious. The cost of seafood, long with many other meats is on the rise, suggestions are afloat that people will not be able to afford meat or seafood in the near future it will disappear from our tables. Perhaps to be replaced by plant based meats now rapidly developing in the USA. However, this dish calls for Tuna and that is not abundantly cheap in Australia, so could be replaced by any cheaper firm fleshed fish. For Vegetarians, the fish could be replaced by tofu, large white beans (precooked) chickpeas (also precooked) or vegetable such as pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant or even green beans.

 

I think the point I am making above, is that we eaters must reclaim the day, we must not allow our own fears on health overwhelm us, we must not let government at any level continue to bind us with endless rules and regulations … I am reminded that a good butcher in Central Victoria, a man who cares about meat, to the extent that he has his own small farm (just like my father) where he fattens the animals to his needs on natural grass, has had an enormous struggle with local authorities to do this. Having your own slaughter yard or small shed, is not any longer allowed. My feelings are that we have become so over cautious about cleanliness and the likes, that international food catastrophes sweep the globe with such ease (swine fever) that much of the cause of this can be sheeted to countries who under regulate, we need to claw back local production to just that, to separate from ambitious exporters who will do anything for money and leave them to their fate. Look what has happened and is continuing to happen in the dairy industry because of over ambitious central companies. We need to not fall victim to supermarket chains who will, with no hesitation do what ever it takes to improve the bottom line. We need to encourage and support small operators who offer us good food, good service and a future. We need to support the John the Butcher, Mick the Butcher and the local green grocer, corner store and mini mart. We need to not allow our consumption of food to be driven by time constraints, celebrity chefs or lack of knowledge or any one type of consumer, don’t allow yourself to be railroaded by Vegans or any other ism, they have a right to eat what they wish, so do you. Nothing is gone, no recipe forgotten, just slightly hazy. We can reclaim the day.

 

Marmitako

500 gram of Tuna fillet or similar cut into 2 cm dice

125 mil EVO

2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped

1 medium red onion peeled and chopped

½ red bell pepper (I use the peeler to remove the outer skin) chopped into 1 cm squares

2 large potatoes peeled and sliced into ½ cm slices

2 large tomatoes chopped (or one can of chopped tomato if the fresh are not up to scratch)

½ tspn fresh thyme leaves

½ tspn smoked paprika

1 tspn capers

1 bay leaf

½ cup of white wine

1 ½ cups of fish or chicken stock.

Place a good terracotta or steel pan on heat, add the onion, garlic allow to cook till onion turns translucent, add the tomato and potato, the herbs, the wine and stock and allow to cook until the potatoes are 95% cooked through and the liquid reduced by 1/3 rd, add the fish and turn heat down to cook the fish through. To serve, drizzle some oil on top and scatter with freshly chopped parsley. Have a good supply of crusty bread on hand.

Delicious!

 

 

 

 

Love those Lentils and Dahl

•July 3, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Black Lentils with Caramelized Onions

Boil in a large pot of water until cooked to your preference

2 cups black lentils

Meanwhile, saute over low heat until soft and golden brown:

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced onions

When the lentils are cooked, drain them and return them to the pot. Stir in, along with the cooked onions:

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Serve with Nahn bread and a dollop of yoghurt.

Kaali Daal (black lentils) – Daal Makkhani

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup split urad daal (black lentils)
  • 2 large onions sliced thin
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinchof asafetida
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped into cubes
  • 2″ piece of ginger jullienned
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup thickened/ double/ heavy cream, whisked
  • 2 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 tbsps ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Boil the lentils with 3 cups of water, 1 sliced onion, green chillies, asafetida and salt to taste till they are very tender.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil and fry the other onion till soft. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin and red chilli powders and fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the boiled lentils and enough water to make a thick gravy-like consistency and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in the whisked cream and mix well. Turn off the fire. In another small pan, heat the ghee2 and when hot add the cumin seeds and cook till they stop spluttering.

Pour this into the lentils (it will all sizzle) and mix well.

 

Mt Byron Black Lentil and Speck Crostini

1 small red onion, diced finely

50 grams speck, cut into lardons

½ cup black lentils, rinsed

chicken stock (or vegetable)

sea salt and finely ground white pepper

toasted slices of baguette, for crostini

Sauté the speck until golden before adding the onion, reduce the heat and cook slowly until the onion has softened. Add the lentils, stir to mix through before adding enough stock to just cover the mixture. Simmer until the lentils have softened – you’ll find that you’ll need to top up the stock a couple times. Taste and season with sea salt and white pepper if desired.

Generously top the crostini with lentil mixture. These are best served hot or warm.

 

Salad of Lentilles du Puy
About 6 servings

 

Lentil Salad

1¼ cup (250 gr) French green lentilles du Puy
1 bay leaf
a few springs of fresh thyme
salt
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 bulb of fennel (optional), finely diced
freshly-ground pepper

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, peeled and minced

Transfer the lentils to a large saucepan then cover with a copious amount of water, which should cover the lentils by at least 3-4 inches. Add the bay leaf and thyme.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a bit of salt, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, adding more water if necessary. Be sure not to overcook them.While the lentils are cooking, heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a skillet and add the carrots, onions, and fennel (if using). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently until tender. Set aside.In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.When the lentils are done, drain them well, then toss them in the vinaigrette with the cooked vegetables. Stir a few times to release the steam. Taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and olive oil if desired. Remove bay leave and thyme sprigs.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooked lentils will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They can be reheated in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave.

Some other ideas:Dress the lentils with less vinaigrette and omit the mustard. When the lentils are cool, dress them right before serving with a very, very good-quality walnut or hazelnut oil and a handful of toasted nuts.Once cool, add a big handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley and more fresh thyme or savory.Add other root vegetables, like celery root or parsnips. Oven roast cubes of them in olive oil with salt and pepper until browned, then add them with the vinaigrette. Add morsels of cooked, smoky bacon.Stir a spoonful of duck fat into the warm lentils.

Crumble coarse chunks of fresh goat cheese into the room temperature lightly-dressed lentils. This is particularly good drizzled with walnut or hazelnut oil.

 

Spicy Lentil Soup

Serves 4

1 eggplant, cubed
Salt
Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
400g can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup Australian French green lentils
4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper 
Natural yoghurt to serve

  • Place eggplant cubes in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse well and dry using paper towel.
  • Saute onion in oil until golden. Add eggplant and stir until softened.
  • Add spices and stir for a minute. Add the carrot and celery and stir for 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir through coriander then serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of pepper.

French lentil & lamb salad

1 1/4 cups (250g) French green lentils
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped freshly ground salt and black pepper 
Lamb fillet, grilled and sliced

  • Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and stand for about 5 minutes or until lentils are just chewable or “al dente”. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  • Saute onion, garlic, carrot and capsicum. Stir this into the lentils along with parsley, oil, vinegar then arrange lamb slices on top and season.
  • Serve as either a warm or cold salad.

Spicy lentil salad

Serves 6-8
1 1/4 cups (250g) Australian French green lentils 
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 fresh chilli, seeded and finely chopped 
1 red capsicum, seeded and finely chopped grated rind and juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbs sesame oil 
2 tbs toasted sesame seedsPpinch salt

  • Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and stand for about 5 minutes or until lentils are just chewable (do not overcook otherwise you will not get a nice crisp salad). Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  • Add remaining ingredients and combine. Cool and serve.

 

Beef fillet with french lentils & red wine sauce

A great easy meal to impress family and friends

Serves 4

Beef fillet, cut into steaks 
Mashed potato (for 4)

Lentils
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 mushrooms, chopped finely 
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup (100 g) Australian French Green lentils 
1/3 cup red wine
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley

Red wine sauce
2/3 cup red wine
2 tbs tomato paste
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbs soft brown sugar

  • Lentils: Heat oil in pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and mushroom and stir for 1 min. Stir in the lentils, wine and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until reduced. If the mixture is too wet, remove the lid and boil until slightly thick. Stir in the parsley and keep warm.
  • Red wine sauce: Heat red wine in a pan, then add combined tomato paste, stock and sugar and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10 mins, or until reduced and thickened.
  • Make mashed potato and grill steaks.
  • Serve steak on top of mashed potato, spoon lentil mixture on top of the steak then drizzle with red wine sauce.

Chicken breast on a bed of french lentils

Serves 4

Olive oil
4 chicken breasts, skin on
1/2 cup AUSTRALIAN french green lentils
1 red capsicum, roasted, de–seeded and sliced into thin strips
2 kipfler potatoes, steamed and cut into cm thick slices
2 cups spinach leaves, washed
Chicken stock
3 tbs verde sauce (recipe below)

  • Heat pan with a little olive oil and place seasoned chicken breast skin side down. When golden, place in a preheated oven at 180°C skin side up. Cook until just pink in the centre and rest in a warm place.
  • Meanwhile heat pan with a little olive oil, add spinach, lentils, kipfler potato slices and capsicum and toss until spinach has wilted. Season well with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Add a little chicken stock and verde sauce and allow to reduce.
  • Serve lentil mixture on plates with chicken breast on top.

Verde sauce 
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 cup flatleaf parsley
1 tbs olive oil 
1 garlic clove
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 anchovy fillet, drained and rinsed
salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients, except olive oil to form a paste. Add olive oil gradually to form a thick emulsion.

 

Lamb shanks with french green lentils

1/3 cup olive oil
4 french trimmed lamb shanks
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed 
1 red capsicum, sliced 
400g can crushed tomatoes 
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups french green lentils
Mashed potato to serve
2 spring onions, sliced 
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat half the oil in a frypan and brown shanks each side. Remove from pan into casserole dish. Add onion, garlic and capsicum to pan and saute until golden. Stir in the tomato, wine, bay leaf and cinnamon stick then pour over lamb shanks. Cook for 1 hour, then uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the shanks are tender and the meat is just falling off the bone. Keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, place the lentils in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
  • Make mashed potato.
  • Heat remaining oil in frypan, add spring onion, spices and cook over medium heat for 3 mins. Stir in the lentils and parsley and cook until warmed through.
  • To serve, spoon lentil mixture over a mound of mashed potato on each plate. Stand the shanks upright on top and drizzle with cooking liquid and vegetables from casserole dish.

 

Persian red lentil tabouli

130g burghul
1 1/4 cups (250g) Australian Persian Red lentils 
1 cup coriander, finely chopped
1/ 2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped 
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp chili powder
Freshly ground salt and black pepper

  • Cover burghul with cold water and leave for 30 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve and spread to dry on paper towel.
  • Add lentils to boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Combine soaked burghul, lentils, coriander, parsley, onion and tomato.
  • Whisk oil, lemon juice, chili powder, salt and pepper together then mix through the tabouli salad.

Refrigerate then serve.

 

Rocket & Green lentil soup

Serves 6

2 tsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1 /2 cups Australian Green lentils 
6 cups vegetable stock 
12 rocket leaves
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup natural yoghurt

  • Saute onion, leeks and garlic in oil and stir until onions are golden.
  • Stir in lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add rocket and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Puree then return soup to saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for a few minutes until soup is hot.
  • Stir in yoghurt and serve.

Moroccan style lentil soup

Serves 4

2 tbs olive oil 
1 onion, diced 
1 leek, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup AUSTRALIAN Green lentils
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Natural yoghurt to serve

  • Saute onion, leek, garlic and carrot in oil until onion is golden. Add turmeric and lentils and stir for a minute.
  • Add stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins.
  • Stir through coriander then serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of pepper.

Lentil Nicoise salad

2 cups Australian Green lentils
3 sticks celery, diced
1 capsicum, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered 
425g can tuna in oil, drained

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white vinegar 
1 tbs lemon juice
Ground black pepper

  • Add lentils to boiling water then simmer for 20 mins, drain.
  • Add celery, capsicum, eggs and tuna to lentils.
  • Pour on dressing and mix well.
  • Chill then serve.

Green lentil & prawn chilli balls

1/2 cup Australian green lentils 
2 tbs onion, finely chopped 
2 green chillis, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped
12 shelled green prawns
Canola oil for frying

  • Add lentils to boiling water, simmer for 20 minutes then drain.
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend.
  • Shape mixture into balls.
  • Deep fry in hot oil until crisp.

Lentil “sausage” rolls

1 cup Australian green lentils
1 leek, white part only, sliced finely 
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tsp freshly grated ginger
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 egg
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped 
Puff pastry sheets
1 beaten egg

  • Cook lentils in plenty of boiling water for 20 minutes then drain. Roughly puree in food processor.
  • Saute leek until golden then add garlic and ginger and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add curry powder and stir through.
  • Combine lentils, leek mixture, egg, breadcrumbs and coriander in a large bowl.
  • Cut pastry sheets into small squares and brush edge with beaten egg.
  • Put a little of the lentil mixture in the center and fold the pastry over. Seal and trim the edge.
  • Brush top with beaten egg and bake on a greased tray for 20 minutes at 230°C.

Leek & lentil pasta

Serves 4-6

2 cups (400g) Australian green lentils
1 tbs oil
2 leeks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
25 g butter
2 tbs flour
3 cups chicken stock
4 tbs vinegar 
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
3 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
100g green beans, blanched
150g pitted prunes, sliced
2 cups pasta (spiral or penne), cooked

Bring lentils to the boil in plenty of water. Cook for 15-20 mins until just soft then drain. Saute leeks, onion and carrot in oil until soft. Put aside. Melt butter, add flour and stir until golden. Add stock, vinegar, sugar, mustard, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir and cook gently for 15 mins. Add leek mixture, lentils, beans and prunes and cook gently for 10 mins. Serve over hot pasta.

 

Lentil & vegetable curry

1 tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tbs curry powder
2 tbs coconut milk powder 
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup AUSTRALIAN green lentils
1 medium carrot, chopped 
500g cauliflower, chopped 
400g green beans
2 tbs fresh basil leaves, chopped
Low-fat yoghurt and ground cumin to serve

  • Saute onion and curry powder in oil until onion is soft.
  • Add blended coconut milk powder and water, then add stock and lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add carrot and cauliflower and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in beans and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir basil through. Serve and top with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of cumin.

 

Lentil burgers

1 cup Australian green lentils
1 leek, white part only, sliced finely 
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tsp freshly grated ginger
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 egg
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

  • Cook lentils in plenty of boiling water for 20 minutes then drain. Roughly puree in food processor.
  • Saute leek until golden then add garlic and ginger and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add curry powder and stir through.
  • Combine lentils, leek mixture, egg, breadcrumbs and coriander in a large bowl.
  • Form individual burgers from mixture and fry in pan or on BBQ.

Mexican lentil wraps

Serves 6

1/2 cup Australian Red lentils
2 cups rice
1 onion, diced
250g minced beef
450g tin refried beans
420g tin Mexican chilli beans
400g tin crushed tomatoes
350g jar salsa (either mild, medium or hot according to taste)
12 tortillas 
cheese, grated
tomato, diced
lettuce, shredded

  • Add lentils to boiling water add cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
  • Cook rice.
  • Brown onion in a little oil, then add minced beef and brown on medium heat.
  • Turn heat down and stir through lentils, beans, tomatoes and salsa until heated through.
  • Mix rice through.
  • Spoon onto warm tortillas, topped with grated cheese, diced tomato and lettuce then wrap.

Lentil chocolate cake with berry coulis

Lentils give our famous cake a wonderful moist texture
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 tbs vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 cups Green lentils, pureed (1 cup Green lentils boiled for 20 mins in boiling water, drained, pureed then let cool)
2 cups plain flour
1 /3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
Berry, Coulis
250g strawberries or berries of choice 
1/2 cup caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
Icing sugar and cream to serve

  • Blend oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs and lentil puree, mix well.
  • Add sifted flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix until well combined.
  • Put mixture into a well greased 23cm round cake tin and bake in 180°C oven for 20 — 25 minutes.
  • Puree berries then heat and blend berries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan until sugar dissolved.
  • Serve wedge of cake dusted with sieved icing sugar, with a drizzle of coulis and dollop of cream.

Tip: This cake freezes really well.

 

Lentil & pecan nut cheesecake

Serves 12

PASTRY
1 1/4 cups plain flour 
1/2 tsp salt
90g butter or margarine
2 tbs caster sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbs iced water

FILLING
1/2 cup (100g) Australian green lentils 
500g cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each nutmeg and allspice 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
ICING
250g low-fat cream cheese
2 tbs icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp orange liqueur 
1/2 tsp grated orange rind

  • Pastry: Mix flour and salt then rub butter or margarine through flour between fingers until mixture is like coarse meal. In another bowl, combine egg yolk and iced water. Add to flour mixture; stir briefly to get an even dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Roll out dough and press into pie dish.
  • Place lentils in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain and puree.
  • Beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time; beat until just blended then add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture into pastry–lined dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes in oven at 180°C, until centre is just set.
  • Beat all icing ingredients together then set aside.
  • Remove cake from oven and run a knife around the edge to loosen from dish. Cool to room temperature and cover with icing mixture.

Lentil carrot cake

2 eggs
1 cup castor sugar 
3/4 cup peanut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup Marsala
1/2 cup grated carrot
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup Australian Red lentils
Icing sugar, sifted

  • Add lentils to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, drain then puree.
  • Beat eggs, sugar and oil then add vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix through.
  • Stir in flour a bit at a time and combine well.
  • Stir through marsala, carrot, walnuts and lentil puree.
  • Put mixture in greased 23cm cake tin and bake for 40-45 mins at 180°C.

Immediately dust with icing sugar and serve.

 

Roasted carrot & red lentil dip

A simple, delicious and healthy dip for any occasion

500g carrots, trimmed and halved end-to-end
Olive oil
1/2 cup Australian Red lentils
1/2 small chilli, seeds removed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbs low fat natural yoghurt
1 tbs fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Extra coriander leaves to garnish
Pita bread

  • Preheat oven to 180oC. Brush carrots in oil then bake for 20mins or until soft.
  • Add lentils to boiling water and simmer for 5 mins. Drain.
  • Return lentils to saucepan then add chilli, paprika, coriander and garlic.  Stir and cook for 2 mins.
  • Blend carrots in food processor then stir carrot, yoghurt and coriander into lentil mixture.
  • Serve dip garnished with coriander leaves beside wedges of warm pita bread.

Indian style red lentil dip

1/2 cup Australian Red lentils, rinsed and drained 
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbs oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tbs chilli paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbs instant coconut milk powder

  • Bring lentils, stock and turmeric to the boil then simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Stir occasionally.
  • Fry onion in oil until soft then add garlic, chilli, cumin and coriander. Stir for 2-3 mins.
  • Stir the onion and spices into the lentil mixture then add tomato. Stir in the coconut milk powder for 1-2 mins.

Serve with wedges of Pita bread

Spiced chicken & lentil soup

2 tsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper 
2 tsp cumin
4 chicken thighs on the bone
1 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
800g tin of crushed tomatoes 
4 cups chicken stock 
4 cups water

  • Saute onion, garlic, carrot and celery in oil until softened.
  • Stir through peppers and cumin then add chicken thighs and brown.
  • Add lentils, tomatoes, chicken stock and water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes until chicken cooked.
  • Remove chicken from soup and place on a clean board. Cut pieces of meat from the bone and add it to the soup. Simmer for a few minutes then serve.

Turkish style lentil soup

Serves 6

1 small onion, diced
1 tbs oil
1/4 cup minced meat
1 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup Australian Red lentils 
4 cups water
1 tomato, diced
1 carrot, diced
125g fresh green beans, diced
1 handful parsley, chopped

  • Saute onions in oil until golden then add minced meat and brown.
  • Add tomato paste, lentils and water and boil for 5 mins.
  • Add vegetables and simmer for 10 mins.
  • Stir through parsley and serve.

Chickpea & Lentil soup

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups AUSTRALIAN  chickpeas
2 tbs oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 cup Australian Red lentils
400g tomato puree
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground coriander
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

  • Soak chickpeas overnight and drain or boil chickpeas in plenty of water for 30 minutes and drain.
  • Saute onions in oil until golden. Add garlic, ginger and cumin and saute for a few minutes. Add chickpeas and lentils. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree and stock. Bring to the boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add ground coriander and half fresh coriander. Puree. Stir in lemon juice. Return to stove and heat.
  • Serve garnished with remaining coriander.

Red lentil & coriander salad

2 tbs oil
1 red onion, halved, sliced 
1 garlic clove. crushed
1 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup sultanas
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped 
Freshly ground black pepper

  • Saute onion and garlic in oil until golden.
  • Add lentils, cumin and coriander and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add lemon juice and stir until it evaporates.
  • Add stock, half at a time, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in sultanas then remove from heat and stand, covered, for a few minutes.
  • Add coriander and pepper and mix through. Serve warm.

Red lentil patties with yoghurt mint sauce

1/2 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils 
1/2 stick celery, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 cups water
1 /2 tsp ground coriander 
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley 
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
2 tbs plain flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packaged breadcrumbs 
1 tbs canola oil
Yoghurt Mint Sauce
1/4 cup low-fat plain yoghurt 2 tsp chopped fresh mint 
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp lemon juice

  • Add lentils, celery, carrot, water, coriander, cumin and oregano in pan, bring to boil, simmer covered, for about 20 minutes or until mixture is thickened; cool.
  • Stir in parsley and stale breadcrumbs.
  • Shape mixture into patties, toss in flour, dip in egg white, then coat with the packaged breadcrumbs.
  • Heat oil in non-stick pan, add patties, cook until well browned on both sides; drain on absorbent paper.
  • Make yoghurt mint sauce: combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Serve with patties.

Tips:
Patties suitable to freeze.
Recipe can be made a day ahead.
Not suitable to microwave.

 

Lentil Wontons

15g dried mushrooms
1/4 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils 
100g spinach, finely chopped 
60g cabbage, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbs dry sherry
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
40 prepared wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten with 3 tbs water vegetable oil for deep frying

  • Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water, soak for 20 minutes. Drain then finely chop.
  • Add lentils to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, drain.
  • Combine mushrooms, lentils, spinach, cabbage, spring onions, ginger, sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Place a teaspoon of lentil mixture on each wonton wrapper. Brush edges with egg mixture and gather up wrapper, pressing edges firmly together.
  • Heat oil in a deep saucepan and cook wontons for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Lentil & vegetable rosti

1 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils 
1 large potato, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium zucchinis, grated 
2 medium apples, grated 
1 cup cheese, grated
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup plain flour 
Oil for frying

  • Add lentils to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, drain.
  • Combine lentils, potato, carrot, zucchini, cheese, onion and garlic then mix flour well through so mixture sticks together.
  • Take a tablespoon of mixture and form into a ball then flatten.
  • Heat oil in pan and fry each rosti on both sides until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve hot

Roasted tomato & eggplant on red lentil mash

Serves 6

To roast
6 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthways 
1 eggplant, cut into 6 thick slices

Dressing
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
freshly ground salt and black pepper
Red lentil Mash
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock 
1 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
1 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
To serve
Rocket leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C. Line a large baking tray with foil and grease with oil.
  • Combine dressing ingredients and stir.
  • Place the tomatoes, cut side-up, and eggplant on a baking tray and brush with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Bake for 40 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and keep warm. Return the tomatoes to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. Transfer to plate to keep warm.
  • Bring stock to the boil then add the lentils and paprika. Return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the dressing and continue stirring for 5 minutes, or until the lentils break up and form a thick mash.
  • To serve, divide the red lentil mash between each plate. Top with rocket leaves, then the eggplant and tomato. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve as an entree or lunch.

 

 

Red lentil curry

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups (250g) AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock 
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
2 tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs chilli paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander 
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup instant coconut milk powder
Naan bread or rice to serve

  • Bring lentils, stock and turmeric to the boil then simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Stir occasionally.
  • Fry onion in oil until soft then add garlic, chilli, cumin and coriander. Stir for 2-3 mins.
  • Stir the onion and spices into the lentil mixture then add tomato. Stir in the coconut milk for 1-2 mins.
  • Serve with naan bread or rice.

Lentil spaghetti bolognese

Serves 6

500g minced beef
2 large onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs mixed dried herbs
2 bay leaves
250g tomato paste
2 tbs red wine
500g spaghetti, cooked 
Grated parmesan cheese

  • Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft.
  • Add minced beef and brown.
  • Add hot water, lentils, pepper, herbs and bay leaves. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and red wine and stir through. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve on top of hot spaghetti pasta and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese

 

Chickpea Recipes

Hommus

1 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Add chickpeas to plenty of boiling water and simmer for 30 mins then drain and cool.
  • Blend chickpeas, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt and pepper in a food processor.
  • Chill and serve with chunks of warm Turkish bread.

Chickpea & Lentil soup

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups AUSTRALIAN chickpeas
2 tbs oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 cup AUSTRALIAN Red lentils
400g tomato puree
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground coriander
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

  • Soak chickpeas overnight and drain or boil chickpeas in plenty of water for 30 minutes and drain.
  • Saute onions in oil until golden. Add garlic, ginger and cumin and saute for a few minutes. Add chickpeas and lentils. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree and stock. Bring to the boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add ground coriander and half fresh coriander. Puree. Stir in lemon juice. Return to stove and heat.
  • Serve garnished with remaining coriander.

Chickpea & Leek soup

Serves 6

1 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas
1 potato, peeled and diced 
1 tbs oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 leeks
4 cups chicken stock
Parmesan cheese, grated 
Freshly ground black pepper

  • Soak chickpeas overnight and drain or boil chickpeas in plenty of water for 30 minutes and drain.
  • Saute garlic and leek in oil then add chickpeas and potato and saute for a few minutes.
  • Add stock and simmer for 10-15 mins.
  • Remove half of the soup, puree then stir back into the remaining chunky soup.
  • Serve topped with parmesan cheese and pepper.

Lemon Coriander Chickpea Soup

Serves 4

1/2 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas 
1 tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 /2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
250g cooked chicken, chopped
310g can corn kernels, drained 
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbs fresh coriander, chopped

  • Cook chickpeas in plenty of boiling water for 20 mins then drain.
  • Add onion, ginger, coriander, turmeric and cumin to hot oil and stir until onion soft.
  • Add stock, chickpeas, chicken, corn and simmer for 10 mins.
  • Just before serving stir in rind and coriander.

Vegetarian option: substitute vegetable stock and omit cooked chicken.

 

Chickpea, tuna & pasta salad

A sensational salad for BBQ’s

1 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas, cooked to nutty texture (see below)
300g spiral pasta, cooked al dente then cooled
425g can of tuna in oil, drained 
250g cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
100g baby mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of rocket

Dressing
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Ground sea salt & black pepper

  • Add chickpeas to plenty of boiling water and simmer for 30 mins, drain.
  • Combine ingredients for dressing and shake well.

Add chickpeas, tuna, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms and rocket to pasta and stir through. Pour over dressing and mix to combine.

 

Falafel

1/2 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas
1 cup frozen broad beans
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbs fresh parsley
2 tbs fresh coriander
2 tbs fresh mint
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed finely
2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed finely pita bread, chopped tomato, chopped lettuce and tzatiki dip to serve

  • Soak chickpeas overnight or add to boiling water and cook for 30 minutes. Drain.
  • Add chickpeas, broad beans, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, mint, coriander and cumin powder to a food processor and blend until all ingredients finely chopped.
  • Form a tablespoon of mixture into balls then flatten. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for a half hour.
  • Deep fry the falafel in hot oil for 3-4 minutes until they turn dark golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
  • Serve as appetizers or for lunch inside pita bread wraps topped with tomato, lettuce and tzatiki dip.

 

 

Chickpea and chicken tagine

Serves 4

1 tbs plain flour
2 tsp each ground coriander, cumin, ginger
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into pieces
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups chicken stock 
400g can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 cup AUSTRALIAN chickpeas 
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander 
1/2 cup blanched almonds 
Cooked cous cous, to serve

  • Soak chickpeas overnight or add to boiling water and cook for 20 minutes. Drain.
  • Combine flour and spices in a bowl and add chicken and coat.
  • Fry chicken in half of oil until each side golden brown. Set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to pan with onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and saute.
  • Return chicken to pan. Add chickpeas, stock, tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Stir through dates, coriander and almonds and heat for a few minutes.

Serve on a bed of cous cous.

 

Spanish lentil and chorizo soup

  • 150 g lentils 2 bay leaves 75 g Spanish chorizo, sliced1/2 onion (preferably red), chopped2 cloves garlic, chopped 200 g roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped a bit 150 mL red wine 250 g canned tomatoes 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • red chili flakes and salt to taste

Cook the lentils and bay leaves in a pot of boiling water for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still firm. Drain the lentils, saving the cooking water. In the meantime, heat a splash of olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat and sauté the chorizo for a minute. Remove the chorizo and set it aside, then sauté the onion in the oil for about 10 minutes, until it’s soft. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two, then add the chestnuts and cook them for a few minutes too. Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, chili flakes if you’re using them, and salt to taste.Simmer all of this until the mixture has thickened, roughly 15 minutes. Then stir in the lentils and as much lentil cooking water as you want (I make this like a thick lentil stew, but you can add more liquid if you want something more soup-like). Cook this together for another 10 minutes or so, adding the chorizo towards the end to heat it through. Season again if you need to, then serve it up! I like to use small, firm lentils such as Puy lentils for this, but I’m sure regular brown lentils would work just as well (or for extra authenticity, use Spanish Pardina lentils if you can find them). The chestnuts add a nice texture and sweetness, but I’ve made the soup without them and it’s still very good (and by the way, I don’t roast my own chestnuts—I just buy them already roasted and peeled).

 

How to Make Spanish Lentils

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 cup red wine

2 cups vegetable stock

400g/14.1oz can of chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups brown lentils

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika (ordinary paprika if smoked unavailable)

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

 

  • 1
Heat the olive oil in the saucepan.
  • 3
Add garlic and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • 4
Pour in the wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • 5
Pour in the vegetable stock and add the tomatoes, lentils and bay leaves.
  • 6
Bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down, cover and allow to simmer gently for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the cooking and if the lentils become dry earlier, add a little more stock to keep it cooking.
  • 7
Add the herbs and stir in. Season with the paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

8
Serve. It is best served in a table suitable dish that diners can help themselves from.

 

Spanish Lentils / Lentil Soup

1 cup lentils
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 medium potato
1/2 bell pepper
1 tomato
1 carrot
2 tsp oil
pepper
1 bouillon cube or stock cube of your choice
1 tsp lime juice

Soak lentils for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Chop all the vegetables into cubes. 

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Fry onion and garlic for a minute. Do not brown them. Add all the veggies and fry for another minute. Add lentils, pepper and stock cube. Add water just enough to cover the lentils. Cook for 2-3 whistles. Adjust salt. Usually the salt in the bouillon cube is enough. Squeeze some fresh lime juice. 

Serve with bread.

 

Persian Red Lentil & Onion Soup

1 TB olive oil

3/4 lb (one large or two medium) onions, diced

1/4 tsp turmeric

3/4 cup red lentils

1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) boiling water

1 tsp sugar, sucanat, agave nectar, or sweetener of choice

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp mint, chopped fine

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Place oil into the bottom of your stock pot. Add onions and turmeric, and sauté gently until the onions are softened through, but not browned. Add the red lentils, water, and sugar, and let the water come up to the boil. When the water is boiling, drop the heat down to medium-low, and cover the lid. Let the soup cook for about 45 minutes.

When the lentils have turned from red to yellow, and are falling apart, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, cinnamon, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat, and let it sit for another five minutes or so.

You don’t want to cook the cinnamon or the fresh mint very much, so you add them towards the end. If you prefer the red lentils to cook down a fair bit more, go ahead and do so, and it’ll still be delicious.

 

Spicy red lentil and pumpkin soup

Preparation Time

15 minutes

Cooking Time

25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 370g (1 1/2 cups) red lentils
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 5kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 625L (6 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  • Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold running water.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it softens. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Add the lentils and stir to coat in the onion mixture. Stir in thepumpkin and stock. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until pumpkin and lentils are very soft.
  • Use a potato masher to roughly mash the pumpkin and lentils. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Red Lentil Dhal

 

Place lentils, tomato (if using fresh tomato) and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are tender and have lost their shape, about 40 minutes (begin checking that there is still water in the pot at 30 minutes and add small batches of water as needed). Pick out any tomato skins and whisk dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over low heat. Make the spice mix as follows.. Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add cumin seeds. After seeds have stopped sputtering, add the garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until most of the onion has turned dark brown, 5-10 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, stir, and pour the onion/spice mixture over the dal. Add the butter/margarine, tomato (if using canned), (cilantro/parsley), and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot

 

Green Lentil Dhal (Indian)

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup whole green lentils

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

a small pinch of brown sugar (optional)

1 tbsp ghee / vegetable oil

1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds

1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly (or chopped finely, if you wish)

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 – 3 birds eye green chillies, sliced

1/4 tsp Punjabi garam masala

chopped coriander for garnish (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Put the lentils into a pan with 2 cups of water (for now, you might need more later if you want it runnier). Let it boil, and skim the scum from the top. Now add turmeric, and continue cooking until soft. When the lentils are soft, add the salt. Add a pinch of sugar if you want now. Add some warm water if you like your lentils less thick or even soupy. (Vicky leaves her lentils whole, but I like to mash some of them up to make the dish creamier.)
  2. To make the tarka, first pop the cumin seeds in some hot ghee. First, heat the ghee or oil (it’s hot enough when it starts sizzling when you insert a wooden spoon in it), and then add the cumin. Fry for a few seconds, until the cumin releases its fragrance (watch out, it burns quickly). Then, add the onion, sprinkle it with salt, and fry until golden brown. Now add the chillies, ginger and garlic, and fry for some more, until they soften and loose their raw flavour. If the ginger starts sticking to the pan, add a little water and scrape off. (I usually chop the onion first, then while they’re frying, prepare garlic, ginger and chillies, and add it as I go.)
  3. Pour the onion mixture into the dhal and stir through, leaving some tarka on top. Now add the garam masala.
  4. Garnish with coriander if using, and serve with some chapattis or rice.

 

Green Lentils (Yeşil Mercimek)

The eastern Thrace is the north western or the European part of Turkey. The region (except for Istanbul) is mostly occupied by people who migrated from the western Thrace (Greece and Bulgaria). Most of those people, like my grandparents, settled down in the region after the 1924 population exchange. This green lentil dish is cooked widely in eastern Thrace and known to be a western Thracian recipe

1 cup dry green lentils 3 tbsp olive oil or butter1 big onion, chopped1 tbsp flour2 tbsp tomato pastesaltpepper2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

sauce1/4 cup vinegar2 cloves of garlic, minced1 tsp rd pepper flakes

Cook 1 cup green lentils with 3 cups of water on medium until water is completely soaked.In a different pot heat the oil and stir in onions. Cook until soft. Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes.Add tomato paste and stir for another couple of minutes. Add lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water. Salt to your taste. Cook on medium low for 30 minutes. Add dill after you turn it off. For the sauce, in a little bowl mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and crushed pepper. When you serve the lentils, put a couple of spoons of the sauce on lentils. Serve with bread or rice.

 

Lentil, Potato & Spinach Curry

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon garam masala (or, if not available, mild curry powder)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups water

2 cups green lentils, rinsed

2 fist-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 14oz can chopped tomatoes

2 cups vegetable stock/broth

Salt

1 bag fresh spinach (or 1 pack frozen spinach)

1 large bunch cilantro, chopped

In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until tender and slightly browned. Stir in ginger,garam masala (or curry powder) and garlic, and cook for one minute.

Add water, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and a little salt. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are tender. Add a little more water if needed (lentils absorb a lot of water)

Add spinach and cilantro. Stir.

 

 

Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 5-inch sweet potato
  • about 1 cup lentils
  • 2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste OR Indian curry powder
  • a pinch or two of Aleppo pepper flakes or crushed red pepper flakes
  • a pinch of salt
  • about two cups water or vegetable broth
  • about 3 or 4 handfuls of spinach
  • chopped mint

First things first: prep your ingredients. Doing this first makes cooking less stressful. Sometimes I get lazy and decide to chop as I go, and it’s almost never a good idea. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the carrots into small bites. With carrots, I usually chop the thicker parts into quarters and the skinnier parts into rounds, so everything is about the same size. Cut the sweet potato into one-inch pieces. Trim the stems from the spinach and rinse it well to remove any grit and sand.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the onions and give them a good stir. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are light golden and just beginning to become translucent. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds before stirring in the carrots. Cook for about another minute before adding the sweet potatoes, then the lentils.

Now stir in the curry paste or powder. Stir well so all the vegetables are coated. Add a healthy pinch of salt and some pepper flakes to your taste (if you’re not sure about your taste, add a small pinch to start; you can always add more later). Now stir in the water or the broth. Stir well, cover the pot, and bring to a boil.

Once the liquid is boiling, lower the heat to about medium low, so the liquid stays at a low boil. Cover the pot and let the lentils cook for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft. At this point, I usually add another splash of water to loosen things up a bit, if it seems too dry. Then just stir in the spinach. Stir well until the spinach is wilted and mixed in.

Now give it a taste and add a little more salt or pepper flakes, if you think it needs it. Salt will intensify the flavors, and pepper flakes will add heat. Lemon juice will brighten things up a little, if you that’s what your lentils need. Serve over rice and garnish with mint; I love the flavor that mint brings to this dish: just a little bit of sweetness balances out the heat from the curry perfectly.

 

Green Lentil Curry With Potatoes And Vegetables

Ingredients:

2, cups, dried lentils – rinsed

green, red, or brown

2-tablespoons-vegetable oil

1-medium-onion – diced

12–mushrooms – sliced

1-small-zucchini – diced

2–tomatoes – cored and diced

4-cloves-garlic – minced

1–jalapeno pepper – seeded and minced

1-tablespoon-fresh ginger root – minced

1-tablespoon-curry powder (Madras style)

1-teaspoon-ground cumin

1-teaspoon-ground coriander – or

garam masala

1-teaspoon-salt

1/2-teaspoon-ground black pepper

2-cups-white potatoes – unpeeled, diced

2–carrots – peeled and diced

8–broccoli florets – or

cauliflower florets

8-cups-hot cooked rice

Place the lentils in plenty of water to cover and cook until tender (see package for time; 30 to 45 minutes). Drain the lentils in a slander, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, mushrooms, and zucchini. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the seasonings and cook 1 minute more. Blend in the lentils, reserved cooking liquid, potatoes, and carrots and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until broccoli is fork tender. Remove from the heat and serve with basmati rice. A cucumber raita or plain, lowfat yogurt make a soothing accompaniment.

 

Warm Red Lentil Salad With Goat or Feta Cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves, crushed (1 tsp minced garlic)

2 teaspoons grated gingerroot (I’d use powdered ginger)

1 1/2 cups split red lentils

3 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 red onions, thinly sliced

4 cups baby spinach leaves

1 teaspoon hazelnut oil

100 g soft fresh goat cheese (I’ll use crumbled feta)

4 tablespoons plain yogurt, strained

GARNISHES

pepper

1 lemon, cut in quarters

toasted rye bread

Directions:

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in the lentils and vegetable stock. Let cook, covered (but with venting for the steam), for 20 minutes on medium-high heat.

After 20 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the mint and cilantro.

In a frying pan (or skillet), heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, and cook for about 10 minutes or until softly translucent and browned.

Toss the spinach in the hazelnut oil in a bowl, then divide between 4 serving plates.

Mash the goat (or feta) cheese with the yogurt in a small bowl and season to taste with pepper.

Divide the lentils between the serving plates and top with the onions and cheese mixture. Garnish with lemon quarters and serve with toasted rye bread, pitas, or toast.

 

Salad Dressings

•June 20, 2019 • Leave a Comment

SALAD DRESSING

 

I must have eaten a million salads, not all of them came to expectation, some soggy, some dry, some with wrong dressing completely. We have been hurled around the place with a thousand or two variations on multiple themes, most thanks to the endless inventiveness of the USA cooks and TV presenters. Think BBQ pit masters and huge number of diner’s, think a population who, unless the plate is filled to the extreme and in danger of causing major catastrophe, don’t regard it a meal. Chefs needed to have a large repertoire of dressings. In some cases, all topped off with litres of melting cheese (can you believe the cheese is kept melted on the stove just to pour over the dish).

 

As a kid, I knew just two salad dressings, one was a mix of boiled egg yolks mashed with some cream and vinegar, I think this is what the Brits called a salad cream, then Mum discovered the condensed milk and vinegar combo, but she always had the boiled 2/4/6/8 dressing in the jar in the ice box. I left Port Fairy to work in Melbourne and begin my education in food and eating.  I came home raving about the delicious combination of Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar (Mum was stunned over this one, the only vinegars she had ever known were Malt and the mouth wrenching White Vinegar made from ascetic acid) who knew that wine would become vinegar if left alone. I don’t think Mum had ever tasted red wine, maybe her sisters who had married well and moved to Adelaide, but Mum married a butcher in a seaside town. She cooked what her mother had cooked. But then when I said that the new fangled garlic that Edgar Egan, local greengrocer had bought in at the behest of several European families, had to be included, along with a bit of Dijon mustard, her eyes bulged. She thought it too sour, but tasty, I added a splidge of sugar and that helped. It never did get the tick of approval from Dad!

Dressing

Salad Cream how ever did..

Ingredients

2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, yolks only

2 tbsp English mustard

½ lemon, juice only

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

150ml/5fl oz double cream

150ml/5fl oz olive oil

salt and ground white pepper

Method

Place all of the ingredients, apart from the oil and seasoning, into a food processor.

Blend until the cream starts to thicken then gradually add the oil, until the salad cream is smooth and emulsified.

Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

 

Mum had several Boiled Salad Dressings, some were very sweet. The one I think she did most was 2/4/6/8

2 eggs beaten

4 level tblspns sugar

6 level tblspns milk

8 level tblspns white vinegar

1 tspn sugar

salt to taste.

 

Put all in the top of a double boiler saucepan and place over heat, stir all the time until the mixture thickens. If you boil the water too hard, you may curdle the mix.

 

This one is good… it contains flour and is a bit more punchy.

 

1 level tblspn plain flour

1 level tblspn mustard powder

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup milk

1 tblspn butter

 

Place all but the milk and butter in the top of double saucepan, bring to heat and stir constantly, when thickened, add the milk stirring well, allow the sauce to thicken, remove from heat and stir in the butter. Allow to cook and store in a cool place.

 

And then..

 

I once went on a fruitless search of exploration for wine vinegars and their history in Australia. My conclusion was that very little wine vinegar was used, if it was, it was mostly by the Upper Classes, the wine makers found in South Australia and the Hunter Valley. Fruit vinegars were made in patches, often Tasmania, but never widespread until the advent of Raspberry Vinegar and about that, enough said. My mother’s go to was always Malt vinegar, it was the vinegar cuisine poverra in Australia. Made from beer it was easy to do and with less sourness than wine vinegars, greatly favoured.

 

Mums salads were not extravagant, they consisted of lettuce (most often grown in Dad’s garden) tomato, carrot, celery, cucumber, beetroot, salad onion (all also from Dad’s garden) on the odd occasion and to say to the world, some left over green peas, some grated apple and later, a potato salad. Salads were thought of as ‘summer’ food and rarely made an appearance in winter, Sunday evening was the exception when the cold left over meat from the Sunday roast would appear, usually with some mashed potato and a bowl of shredded lettuce and some beetroot. Mums go to dressing for this was salad cream and I quite liked it drizzled on the mash potato.  The other option was what Mum called a Russian Salad and that was a lettuce cup filled with vegetable left over from the roast and dressed with her go to dressing.

 

Let me digress a bit, the Sunday Roast was an institution in my youth, and much anticipated. My favourite was a corner Topside that Mum would stuff with her usual sage and onion stuffing, wrap in bacon and slather large amounts of beef dripping  and place in a moderate oven and cook for hours. The roast potatoes would be dark brown and crisp, the gravy delicious and the meat, if carved in thin enough slices, pretty damn good.  Mum’s decision later on Sunday usually after the bowls club was, will we have cold meat that meal or more likely the Monday meal which would have Bubble and Squeak from the roast or three vegetables. My job was, usually after the beach, boil a couple of eggs, peel, cool and use the yolks for a dressing. I lived in hope that Mum would decide on scones and that would also mean a scone pizza… bits of bacon, cheese, tomato and onion all baked in the oven. Mum had mastered this and it appeared often on card nights.

 

Scones with a pizza top..

How ever many scones you have left over cut in half.

Enough slices of tomato to allow one per as above.

1 small 2 cm x 2 cm square of bacon to cover scones

Enough small onion rings to allow one per scone

Grated cheese to allow a small dollop on each of above

Place all on a tray and get the oven set onto 180 c, drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the scones and bake until they are cooked, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm.

 

If I knew that Mum was doing these for a card night supper, I was so nice, so polite and quite crawly until I got three or four and banished to my room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correct NO KNEAD bread recipe

•June 18, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I love baking bread, its one of the things that takes me back to the tastes and smells of my childhood, to Caddy’s bakery where Tommy Digby wove his magic, baking breads, pastries, cakes, all came from the depths of his huge oven, part gas, part wood fired, from him always singing hymns as he worked and pure skill. I learned that Tommy only accepted the best ingredients, his flour was milled in the Wimmera where it was grown, the butter came from cows that grazed on rich grassland around Port Fairy. The jams, lemon butters and other fillings were made by local ladies who kept up a constant supply as the seasons turned. Tommies large supplies of dried fruits came from Mildura where he knew they grew great fruit. Apples and apricots for the pies came from Portland where there were large orchards and reliable growers.

Apple slice… between two slices of crispy short pastry with pink icing scattered with cinnamon,

Jam Roll… a delicious sponge cake slathered with absolutely delectable Raspberry Jam.

Vanilla Slice… a rich creamy thick custard wedged between two layers of puff

Rainbow Cake… three layers of cake, chocolate, plain, Raspberry with mock cream and chocolate icing

Neapolitan Slice… my fave, two sheets of melt in the mouth flaky pastry with a sponge layer, raspberry jam, mock cream and iced.

Tommy made great slabs of pastry, puff and short, every day and who would ever bother making their own when his was so good.

 

Sitting in a small cozy Italian restaurant last night with two of my grandchildren, their mother and father, the conversation turned to ‘what if’… the electronic data of the world was to be destroyed by a solar flare. My granddaughter said that would be the end of school and her social life as she knew it, no lap top, no tablet, no phone. Quite clearly the end of the world. Made me start to think of my life when all that did not exist, where the phone was not a dial up, but you had to be connected by an operator. Where radio was the only entertainment, apart from the movies on Friday or Saturday night, where the technologies we take for granted now, didn’t exist. Tommy Digby did, the family Butcher shop did, my Dad was the slaughterman and killed the animals with care. Wool was spun and jumpers knitted, vegetables grown, fruit in season bottled and preserved. Shoes were polished by mixing some beeswax with ash from kitchen wood fired stove. School was about writing in exercise books, carefully covered at the beginning of the year, exams were all written by hand. There was no electronic help. I joined the National Bank, ledgers were all hand written and the only assistance was an adding machine.

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It can be done. The ties of the electronic age need to be loosened and blinkers removed to see that a world can exist without dependence on electronics.

 

This bring me round to baking bread. Just a little history. Baking bread was slightly hysterically steered into the sour dough area (simply an active bread starter called a leavener, no different to yeast in action, but different in taste) then we were directed into the ‘no knead’ area, where a miniscule amount of yeast is used and a long waiting period to encourage wild yeasts. The result is a sour tasting, soft textured bread that for me was often too moist, crusty outer and a wettish centre. I suspect that it has been undercooked. Usually the accepted cooking time is 30 minutes in a preheated lidded dutch oven and then a further 10 minutes with the lid off. This is not enough cooking, I suggest that it needs 45 minutes, lid on and 15 minutes with the lid off. Yes, the loaf will be a dark shade, but the inside will be properly cooked and not wet.

My latest version.

4 cups of good bread flour.

2 teaspoons sugar (flat not rounded)

2 teaspoons yeast

600 mil of water, warmed to blood temperature

1 dessertspoon sale.

Mix the sugar, water and yeast, allow to activate

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl (that you can use cling film on)

Mix the active water/yeast with the flour and mix to a sort of shaggy dough, cover with tea towel.

After 20 minutes, wet your hand and drag the dough from one side to the other, sort of folding. Do this from the 4 corners.

This should be done a total of 3 times with 20 minutes between.

Cover with cling film and leave for 5 – 6 hours.

Remove dough to a floured surface and mould into a dome, this now needs to rise for 90 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn your oven on to 220 Celsius and place your bread cloch or cast iron pot (lids and all) and allow heat to get to 220. Will take 30 minutes.

Remove to a safe place and tip the dough into the well flowered cloch or pot, put a couple of slashes into the top, replace lid return to oven and cook for 45 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

The bread will be well browned, completely cooked and delicious. Still no kneading.

 

 

I love baking bread, its one of the things that takes me back to the tastes and smells of my childhood, to Caddy’s bakery where Tommy Digby wove his magic, baking breads, pastries, cakes, all came from the depths of his huge oven, part gas, part wood fired, from him always singing hymns as he worked and pure skill. I learned that Tommy only accepted the best ingredients, his flour was milled in the Wimmera where it was grown, the butter came from cows that grazed on rich grassland around Port Fairy. The jams, lemon butters and other fillings were made by local ladies who kept up a constant supply as the seasons turned. Tommies large supplies of dried fruits came from Mildura where he knew they grew great fruit. Apples and apricots for the pies came from Portland where there were large orchards and reliable growers.

 

Apple slice… between two slices of crispy short pastry with pink icing scattered with cinnamon,

Jam Roll… a delicious sponge cake slathered with absolutely delectable Raspberry Jam.

Vanilla Slice… a rich creamy thick custard wedged between two layers of puff

Rainbow Cake… three layers of cake, chocolate, plain, Raspberry with mock cream and chocolate icing

Neapolitan Slice… my fave, two sheets of melt in the mouth flaky pastry with a sponge layer, raspberry jam, mock cream and iced.

Tommy made great slabs of pastry, puff and short, every day and who would ever bother making their own when his was so good.

 

Sitting in a small cozy Italian restaurant last night with two of my grandchildren, their mother and father, the conversation turned to ‘what if’… the electronic data of the world was to be destroyed by a solar flare. My granddaughter said that would be the end of school and her social life as she knew it, no lap top, no tablet, no phone. Quite clearly the end of the world. Made me start to think of my life when all that did not exist, where the phone was not a dial up, but you had to be connected by an operator. Where radio was the only entertainment, apart from the movies on Friday or Saturday night, where the technologies we take for granted now, didn’t exist. Tommy Digby did, the family Butcher shop did, my Dad was the slaughterman and killed the animals with care. Wool was spun and jumpers knitted, vegetables grown, fruit in season bottled and preserved. Shoes were polished by mixing some beeswax with ash from kitchen wood fired stove. School was about writing in exercise books, carefully covered at the beginning of the year, exams were all written by hand. There was no electronic help. I joined the National Bank, ledgers were all hand written and the only assistance was an adding machine.

 

It can be done. The ties of the electronic age need to be loosened and blinkers removed to see that a world can exist without dependence on electronics.

 

This bring me round to baking bread. Just a little history. Baking bread was slightly hysterically steered into the sour dough area (simply an active bread starter called a leavener, no different to yeast in action, but different in taste) then we were directed into the ‘no knead’ area, where a miniscule amount of yeast is used and a long waiting period to encourage wild yeasts. The result is a sour tasting, soft textured bread that for me was often too moist, crusty outer and a wettish centre. I suspect that it has been undercooked. Usually the accepted cooking time is 30 minutes in a preheated lidded dutch oven and then a further 10 minutes with the lid off. This is not enough cooking, I suggest that it needs 45 minutes, lid on and 15 minutes with the lid off. Yes, the loaf will be a dark shade, but the inside will be properly cooked and not wet.

My latest version.

4 cups of good bread flour.

2 teaspoons sugar (flat not rounded)

2 teaspoons yeast

600 mil of water, warmed to blood temperature

1 dessertspoon sale.

Mix the sugar, water and yeast, allow to activate

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl (that you can use cling film on)

Mix the active water/yeast with the flour and mix to a sort of shaggy dough, cover with tea towel.

After 20 minutes, wet your hand and drag the dough from one side to the other, sort of folding. Do this from the 4 corners.

This should be done a total of 3 times with 20 minutes between.

Cover with cling film and leave for 5 – 6 hours.

Remove dough to a floured surface and mould into a dome, this now needs to rise for 90 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn your oven on to 220 Celsius and place your bread cloch or cast iron pot (lids and all) and allow heat to get to 220. Will take 30 minutes.

Remove to a safe place and tip the dough into the well flowered cloch or pot, put a couple of slashes into the top, replace lid return to oven and cook for 45 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

The bread will be well browned, completely cooked and delicious. Still no kneading.

 

 

IMG_0846

The Bowling Club

•June 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Port Fairy Bowling Club and the away days…

My father was obsessed with lawn bowls. Dad had been a great swimmer and a member of the life-savers in Port Fairy when he was younger and I loved to watch him as he swam in his languid style, effortlessly cruising through the waves and seemingly never getting tired. As he aged and since Port Fairy had no swimming pool, the sea became less attractive and for a few years Dad gardened.. he grew everything. Then along with his good friends he had grown up with all his life, he discovered lawn bowls.

The bowling club in Port Fairy was on the corner of Bank Street and Gipps Street, opposite the river. It had tall shiny leaf hedges all around it above the green corrugated iron fence, mostly to protect the bowlers from the cold winds that could spring up at any time and send the ladies hats spiralling into the air and everyone running about looking for their cream cardigans. On the Bank Street side of the greens, was the entrance, it was sort of an arch that had been carved out of the shiny leaf and had its own door way, the street was a metre or so below the level of the greens and walkways, so you had to climb a few steps and woe betide you if you did not shut the gate, you would be stridently reminded by the ladies either those who were busy preparing the afternoon tea or those on the greens and even those sitting with their knitting watching proceedings. There were some things that just had to be.

In the end Mum I think realised that she had little choice but to join the club or her life was going to be socially dull. Mum was soon in training and in the end turned out to be not a bad bowler although I don’t think her heart was in it. All her lady friends were members, even the few single ladies of the Borough enjoyed the social life of the club. Mind you, I have to say that those who saw themselves as upper echelon of the social ladder, seemed not to be interested, I can’t recall ever seeing any of the local doctors, solicitors or old family at the club. Its also fair to say that most of the Catholic community did not participate… a strange thing but any town in this country was divided along the lines of religion and class.

Summer was the main bowling season, it was at that time of the year that lawn bowls was at its busiest and the tournaments and regional competitions were held. There was great competition to be selected a member of the team to compete in these events. Dad was a younger and somewhat inexperienced bowler at that stage so only made it rarely to the team. I suspect too that his bowl delivery was somewhat dubious, even though he had been approved by officials as being correct. Dad had taken his rather laconic style to the bowling green and delivered his bowls straight legged and bending, he was very good and in time became one of the regulars at the competition.

Port Fairy summers were for me, all about the beach, I roamed from beach to beach, The East Beach when the surf was up, I even joined the life-savers for a brief time, but I was never good at any of the demands of clubs, so boy scouts, life savers and even a short stint in the local band left me as a loner, but able to jump all over the place. The South Beach was stunning, still wild, yet with tamed areas that at various times had housed such oddities as the nuns bathing box… in the days when nuns lived hidden lives and played the modesty game to extremes, the nuns would, when the summer sun was hot and biting, head across some open land between their convent and the beach, there they would all pile into the bathing box which was then slid, on rails, down to the water where the nuns would cavort and play until it was time to return, they never once left the box and to my knowledge, no one had ever seen them actually swim. Further along the South beach was one of my favourite places, everyone called it Pea Soup, I have no idea why, it was a piece of beach that was sheltered like much of the south coast, by large rocky outcrops which prevented the pounding surf from reaching the beach. Pea Soup itself was shallow, still and safe for little kids, a bit of  clamber over some rocks you could find the diving pool. This was a naturally occurring deep hole that had a diving board built, in the early days there was two boards, one higher than the other, as time and tide took over, only the lower board remained but that was enough.  Just near the diving pool was a natural area of rock on which we would lounge, change and should there be any girls around, pose.

My bike was the means of me getting around and that had a history, Dad had bought it for me second hand and I loved it, bright red with a racing seat, no gears of course, but for me freedom. At that time I had a dog called Monty who was particularly devoted to me and would come with me where ever I went, trotting along behind the bike, swimming with me till he got too cold and then waiting by the water with a worried look on his face. Monty loved to chase rabbits and often when I was at the South Beach, Monty would head off into the sand dunes to see what he could scare up, after being sure that I was settled for a bit and unlikely to head home before his return. Even if that was to happen, Monty knew his way around town and could be relied on to be home in time for his dinner. It was this fun activity that eventually, to my utter horror, claimed his life. As he was romping through the marram grass, he was stabbed with a burr that lodged in the cheek of his face and eventually became a canker and then cancerous, I held him while the Vet injected him and his life slipped away with that same worried look on his face to be sure that I would be alright. I cried for days and could not even ride past the house of the vet. No dog has ever replaced Monty in my affections.

I usually ended up at the bowling club because that’s where Mum and Dad would be and if I made my timing right, there was bound to be a sandwich or even a sausage roll left over for a hungry kid who had been swimming all day. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING stopped when time for afternoon tea was called, just who called it I have no idea, but I suspect that it was the team of ladies who were charged with the vital task of preparing the repast. And, since many of the bowlers would have also been travellers to other clubs, it was also likely that some other club members would also be present, then it had to be good. And good it was.

The tea urn was the centre of the table and the cups were stacked, cup and saucer in piles all around, you were expected to help yourself to tea, milk and sugar were already on the individual tables, coffee if wanted had to be ordered at the hatch and it would be made in the tiny kitchen using Turban coffee essence and milk.

Alcohol was frowned upon at Afternoon Tea and the bar only opened after the games had nearly finished and only those in the finals on the greens. There were a few ways of dispensing the food, it was either put onto one long buffet table and constantly refreshed as the hungry bowlers munched their way through endless sandwiches, sausage rolls, baby egg and bacon tarts, scones, drop scones with home made strawberry jam and cream,  cakes, big and small, sponge cakes which the ladies of the country seemed to excel with, my all time favourite was Ginger Fluff, or it was served to each and every table on separate plates. The supreme taste sensation was undoubtedly the sandwiches. It was these that provided the local ladies with the chance to excel.

Mock chicken, beef paste, sardine paste, sliced roast meats, eggs in so many ways, curried, mixed with chutney, stuffed back into their whites (one of my absolute favourite things, I had a great eye for a good stuffed egg and knew just who had done them. I have to confess here that even at that young age, I was a died in the wool foodie and was known to court some of the local ladies who I knew would always give me a cool drink and what ever was in the tins at the time!) I suspect that the shortages of the times of war were great teachers in terms of making do. While its certain that we did not have the elegant pates and terrines of French cooking, we did have the delicious meat pastes, the potted meats and the home preserved meats of the day. In todays world, we turn our noses up at the prospect of dealing with a calves tongue, but for my mother it was one of the delights of her kitchen and to this day, I remember with enormous fondness the thin slices of pink tongue served with brown bread and mustard One should perhaps point out that should you be lucky enough to enjoy a Bolito Misto in Italy, you would be given tongue to eat, with a mustard, the beautiful Mustard di Cremona, or even mustard preserved fruits.

In the cookbooks of the day, whole chapters were devoted to what was usually called ‘savouries’ and this included dozens of sandwich fillings utilising fish, vegetable and meats as well as the rarely seen poultry, however eggs were used in so many ways. I have often come across what I guess is the local Australian (via the UK) type recipe for ‘meatloaf’ or equivalent that was certainly a lesser creature than the wondrous terrines of France, but none the less, in their own way, were just as important as the terrine to locals in preserving the meats and offal.  I have come across recipes for an anchovy spread that was rather unusual since the wide use of anchovies was not common. Anchovy paste was readily available and I suspect that this is what found its way into the spread. I think two sandwiches were regarded as essentials for the fine buffet table, one a ham (off the bone naturally) and the other, an asparagus roll, tinned asparagus of course.

Entertainment was a lot more common in the days prior to television and before people took on debt loads that would cripple Pharaoh. With us now time poor, we never seem to have the time to get into the kitchen and spend the time making food that is economical, delicious and individual. In my home, some form of visitor entertainment would happen at least twice a week and that did not include trips to the Bowling Club, pop in for cups of tea with lady friends, or even dropping in to family members who were still expected to be able to produce a small, but delicious, array of accompaniments to the pot of tea. My mother spent at least one day a week, baking and filling the cake tins and biscuit barrels. Cakes would always be two, a fruit cake of some kind, Mum’s Sultana Cake was my favourite and that would be baked every two weeks or so, it kept well and so long as she could keep me and Dad away from the tin, lasted. A butter cake of some kind would be made and that would last a few days as the cream would get sour or the cake become hard. For special occasions or even just because my Father loved them, Mum would make a Tea Cake that you ate with butter, and for Dad if she was being specially nice, a Caraway Seed Cake, which I hated.

Its fair to say that most of the women of the town found no contradiction in popping in to Caddies bakery to get some of Tommy Digby’s cake. Tommy made a very fine jam roll, something that not many would do at home, although it was only a sponge. His Rainbow Cake was much loved and I recall to this day that the chocolate icing on the top was raked at a strange angle. The layers of pink, brown and yellow cake were separated with a thick layer of mock cream. Delicious. Tom also made Napoleon Slice, a slice consisting of cake, cream, jam, puff pastry (or more properly rough Puff) and topped with a modestly pink icing… very very yummy and, I am told, still to be found in Tasmania and New Zealand.. a trip worth taking.

One of my all time favourite things was to be told to ride my bicycle up to Caddies and get some pies and pasties for lunch… such a treat. Made fresh every day and the pastry was flaky, buttery and simply melted in your mouth. I knew that the meat fillings were fresh since the meat came from my own families butcher shop. Oddly enough, Dad was not a fan of the pasties, I was! I recall when he and I were sent one day to collect Mum from Mount Gambier, we passed through a small town just out of Portland, Dad spotted a bakery and since it was lunch time, we stopped. Dad bought two pasties for himself and one for me and we sat in the car to eat. My father declared them the best pasty he had ever eaten and returned to the shop for two more.  I think that I had been eating fresh crisp Delicious Apples as we had also stopped at our favourite apple growers orchard and got two boxes. Mums work would be cut out for her when we did get home, making the apples in many different things. One of my favourites was apple and cucumber relish.

Tommy also was the provider of puff and rough puff pastry for the town and it sat in great slabs on the counter to be cut up by the serving ladies into what ever you needed. No one bothered with the arduous task of making these two butter rich pastries. Mum varied her Sausage Rolls, sometimes making her own short crust pastry, sometimes getting some of Tommy’s Puff Pastry and even on occasions, making her own Rough Puff pastry, something that I loved. Mum had a few secrets with her Sausage Rolls, she used sausage meat of course, but she added not only onion and some ‘mixed herbs’, but she grated an apple and even a carrot and they went into the mix… she of course made her own Tomato Sauce, so these beauties where a thing of much delight and even on occasion, Mum would make a larger, fatter version which would be sliced and served with some mashed potato and green peas. Not half bad.

Asparagus Rolls

2 tins of asparagus spears, well drained… mum would use one tin green and one white although she said that the white asparagus was a little too thick for a real lady to get her mouth around.

1 loaf of ‘brown bread’, course wholemeal will not do, you could be better to get a high quality pre sliced loaf or have it sliced by the baker. You will need to trim the crusts from the bread. Mum on occasions would lay the bread out and lighty iron it with a warm iron, it was, according to Mum, more elegant if it was thinner.

Butter, mayonnaise ( a home made proper egg mayonnaise with a touch of Dijon) salt and pepper.

Lightly butter the bread and then smear with mayonnaise, add some salt and pepper. Take one  spear of asparagus, starting from one corner, begin to wrap the asparagus spear in the bread, rolling it up. If the bread is thin enough (and it should be) the roll will stay glued up, if not, it is permissible, but not desirable to use a toothpick.

Pile these up on a plate like logs.

Stuffed Eggs

Most people just love these tasty treats that somehow only make an appearance on the buffet table or when guests are coming.

use hard boiled eggs and follow any of these..

*remove the egg yolks, mix with cream, salt and pepper, mustard & paprika with a dash of white wine vinegar, return to the egg white and pipe it in. dust with chopped parsley.

*add anchovy fillets to  above

*add some chopped gherkin and pate to above

*add some chopped ham to the basic recipe above

*chop some olives and capers into the basic mix

*add some curry powder for curried eggs.

*chop some fresh herbs into the basic mix

If you are one of those people who have or can find, a piping bag, then pipe the egg mix into the whites for a great 50’s presentation. Remember that no home would have been without one in the fifties.

Sultana Cake

This is the much loved cake that is so easy to eat, its hard to know when to stop.

Pre heat the oven to 180°c/360°f (it will take 20 minutes to reach heat and have a shelf set just above centre, but not the highest)

250gr (8oz) butter softened

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tspn baking powder

2 tblspns milk

1/4 tspn lemon essence or a squeeze of lemon juice

1 1/2 cups sultanas

Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and creamy, there should not be any feeling of sugar in the cream, add the eggs, one at a time and beat in well after each addition

Sift the flour with the baking powder and begin to fold into the egg/butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk and lemon juice, when this is well combined and not overworked, fold in 1 1/2 cups of sultanas.

Use a 20cm cake dish and butter and flour it well, put the mixture in and bake for 1 hour at 180°c/360°f, turn the temperature down and cook for a further 30 minutes (150°c/300°f) or until cooked.

Allow to rest in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

TRY THESE GREAT SANDWICH POSSIBILITIES

* sardines and crisp bacon with mayonnaise on whole-wheat toast.

* tapenade, sliced tomatoes, and arugula on sourdough bread.

* fried flounder, bacon, sliced tomato, and red onion rings on a toasted, buttered hot crispy bun.

* thinly sliced prawns, cucumber and radishes with dill butter on pumpernickel bread.

* sliced ripe summer tomatoes, drizzle of extra virgin oilive oil, salt, pepper and basil on fresh white bread with crusts removed.

* cream cheese, currants, and chopped pecans on cinnamon toast.

* bananas, bacon, and peanut butter drizzled with honey on raisin toast.

* cream cheese, golden caviar, orange nasturtium petals, and snipped chives on very thin slices of black bread.

* tasty cheese and chilli chutney on toasted sourdough bread.

* scrambled egg, sliced ham, and sliced red onion on toasted rye bread.

* grilled Italian sausage and warm fennel or onion confit on a toasted roll.

* sliced roast lamb, eggplant caviar and yoghurt on pita garnished with chopped cucumber.

* sweet Gorgonzola cheese, sliced fresh purple figs, and fresh mint on grilled panettone.

* sliced roast lamb with fresh mint mayonnaise on toasted soda bread.

* roasted red and yellow peppers with sliced smoked ham on a thin baguette.

* sliced avocado, tomato, cucumber and alfalfa sprouts with mayonnaise on toasted multi-grain bread.

* hot tuna fish with chopped arugula, roasted red pepper, and sliced parmesan cheese.

* hot steak sandwich with roasted shallots and tarragon mayonnaise on a thin baguette.

* sliced sweet onion on buttered white bread rolled in mayonnaise  and chopped parsley.

* roasted cheese sandwich with sharp cheddar cheese, sliced tomato and crisp bacon.

* thinly sliced roast pork with apple butter on walnut whole-wheat bread.

* corned beef and cole slaw and mustard on toasted sour dough bread.

* egg salad and asparagus tips with dill mayonnaise on croissant.

* sautéed garlic sausage, onion confit, and  Dijon mustard on a thin baguette.

* sardines and egg salad on toasted rye bread a red pepper and ginger marmalade topped with a fried egg on roasted multi-grain bread.

*great freshly sliced ham off the bone with a home made mustard on chunky white rolls.

*focaccia loaded with slices of Italian sausages, roasted capsicum, tapenade and cos lettuce.

*smoked salmon, cream cheese and red onion on bagel, scatter a few capers on top.

*don’t forget thin white bread with cucumbers and a light spread of mayonnaise.

*creamed cheese and celery with fresh herbs on brown bread makes great sangos.

*rare roast beef on rye with seed mustard and sun dried capsicums.

Cold Boiled Ox Tongue

This is a very old dish, certainly on every great banqueting table, pressed tongue would have appeared. Although today we are likely to shudder a little at the prospect of even handling a tongue, the meat is delicious. Tongue can be obtained either fresh or pickled in brine, either way, this recipe will work for both.

1.8 to 2 kg (4lb) piece of pickled or plain ox tongue (pickled is best)

1 large onion cut into quarters

2 leeks split and washed

2 carrots cut into chinks (no need to peel, they are for flavour)

1 – 2 cloves of garlic peeled but not cut

6 parsley stalks (if you have them) if not a few leaves from some celery will do.

1 bay leaf

6 whole black peppercorns

2 tspns of powdered gelatine

2 tblspns of good port

You will need a good bowl that you can cover and weight for pressing the tongue, make it wide enough so that you can sit a board and a house brick on it.

Use a good firm scrubbing brush and give the tongue a good hard scrub then soak it in water to cover for a good half day.

Remove from the water and place in a deep saucepan along with the onion, leeks, carrots, garlic, parsley stalks, bay leaf and peppercorns, cover this with 3 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. As it boils, skim away any scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. Simmer for 3 – 4 hours.

The tongue is cooked when the skin on the surface begins to blister and the T shaped bone at the root of the tongue comes away easily. Take the tongue from the water and plunge it into cold water to cool. Pull all of the skin from the tongue and clean off all the gristly pieces under the tongue and at the root.

Fold the tongue into a circle and place in the bowl.

Boil the cooking liquid briskly to reduce by about 30%. Taste the liquid, sometimes this can be lacking in flavour in which case, add a stock cube or two, but be mindful of the salt.

Strain the liquid and reserve 280mil,(9floz) try and get the liquor when it has settled a bit to make sure that you are getting the clearest part of the stock. Add to the port wine. Dissolve the gelatine in a kitchen cup with a dash of water over a small saucepan, add this to the 280mil (9floz) and pour over the tongue.

Weigh it down as heavily as you can and leave it overnight, turn it our and it will be able to be carved easily. Serve with a selection of delicious pickles and chutneys as a garnish.

English Potted Meat

This is a very old fashioned way of eating meat. It originated in the days when meat could not be kept and this way it was able to be preserved for longer. No mater how it started, it is truly delicious and worthy of a picnic table or a great autumn or spring lunch. Eat this meat with a good hearty hot mustard or perhaps some of the wonderful Italian mustard fruits.

1.5kg (3lb) shin of beef on the bone, get the butcher to cut it into thickish slices, go for meat that has not got too much fat, some is necessary, but not excessive.

750gr (24oz) pickled salt pork belly, skin on.

6 black peppercorns

1/4 tspns ground cloves

1/2 tspn mace

1 bay leaf

2 tspns of anchovy essence (available from grocers or use 2 pounded anchovies)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beef and pork into a saucepan and cover with cold water, add the peppercorns, bay leaf and spices, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Simmer for 3 hours skimming off the scum that rises every now and then.

Remove the meat from the liquid and cool. When it is cool, take all the meat from the bones and skin of the pork, you can pull it apart with a fork or chop it, which ever you please, it should be on the small side.

Strain the stock and return the meat to the stock along with the anchovy essence or the two anchovies. Return the pot to the boil and cook on moderately high for 20 – 25 minutes. Taste for seasoning and if salt is needed, add now.

Take a nicely shaped bowl and pour the contents into the bowl, after you have rinsed it with cold water. Allow to set, this is best overnight in the refrigerator under a piece of kitchen plastic.

Turn it out onto a board, cut into thick slices and eat with great mustard fruit and a tomato salad.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower

•May 27, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Roasted Cauliflower

IMG_1371

Seems like it has become the flavour of the moment… thanks Ottolenghi perhaps? That said it is delicious and deserving of wide use. Cauliflower is a vegetable that I associated with just two dishes, simple boiled and tossed with some butter or in the occasionally mucked up, baked Cauliflower Cheese.

 

My Mother was a cook who was taught that no vegetable should be lightly cooked, consequently the water that cooked the vegetables held all the taste and goodness and was sent down the sink. Her cauliflower cheese was by any standards, mushy. On the other hand, there have been some that I have eaten where the cauliflower was undercooked and that does not work either. The BBC food log, usually quite reliable, suggests..

 

  1. Place a pot of well salted water and bring it to the boil.
  2. When boiling place in the segmented cauliflower (broken into florets).
  3. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes and then drain.

 

Not in my mothers case, cook for 20 + minutes.

 

The Cheese sauce, is as follows

40 grams butter

40 grams plain flour

400 mil milk

1 tspn English Mustard powder

100 grams mature cheddar cheese

 

Melt the butter, stir in the flour, add the milk (gradually or in my case all at once and whisk well), add the mustard and cheese, continue stirring until cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper.

 

Place cooked cauliflower in a dish with 5 cm high sides, top with the cheese sauce, scatter some good breadcrumbs, dot with some butter (not too much) and scatter some bacon pieces on, if liked.

 

Bake for 25 – 30 in 190 c oven.

 

Back to the roasted version. Slice the cauliflower in wedges of about 1.5 cm thick, place on a well oiled tray, brush with more EVOil and scatter some cumin powder, salt and pepper, place in a 190 c oven and roast until the top is browning, turn the wedges (some call them steaks) and cook until the underside is also browned, pour just a little EVO onto the underside. Cook till browned and they have some slightly burned bits.

 

Meanwhile, you need to decide what the next step will be.

 

  1. Tahini with Pomegranate seeds, caramelised Onion and Parsley.
  2. Blue Cheese with Caramelised Walnuts.
  3. Hummus with Yoghurt and parsley with a squeeze of Lemon.

 

IMG_1372

 

A dressing that I like is:

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons mustard (Dijon)

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, crushed with the salt

2 tablespoons of EV Oil.

 

Crush the garlic with your knife blade with the salt, add to mortar, with the rest of your ingredients, with the pestle, blnd to a smooth paste.

 

The use of Caramelised nuts (walnuts is the most common, but Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pistachios and Cashews are also great) is often suggested to accompany. This is for 1/2 cup.

 

1/2 cup whole roasted walnuts

2 heaped teaspoons white sugar

 

Use a small heavy based saucepan, melt the sugar until it starts to go golden, this happens all of a sudden, so keep an eye on it. Cook the sugar a little more until it starts to brown… not too much or it will go bitter. Remove from the heat, pour in the walnuts and toss well to coat all, pour out onto a sheet of baking papper, with a skewer, separate and allow to harden.

 

There are many ways to use roasted cauliflower, be creative and devise your own.

 

2019 –

•February 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

2019… WOW

 

I got dumped, it’s OK, not even starting to be unexpected. Just when these things are exploded on you that you get shocked. I am not a bitchy person, but I had to make some bitchy moves to counteract four years of being used. Enough, what’s done is done. However I did what I should have done some time back, traded in the yellow short wheel base Jeep, and the Berlingo and left with a shiny red 4 door automatic, petrol Jeep.

Hooray for me.

red jeep

I was a bit pissed off, I had planned a kitchen renovation at the country estate, replace the 1950’s sink and cupboard unit with something a little more cheffy. I carefully designed a self supporting frame of 4 cm steel square tube, had it sand blasted and then baked enamelled. It was splendid. I found a company in the industrial zone of Brunswick who could make me a 4 cm thick wooden top of Mountain Ash. I purchased a delicious black stainless steel basin and a tap that rose majestically from the bench top, complete with retractable spray, all very wonderful. I also found a black dishwasher. Shelves (needless to say) in black were cut to size. Plumber booked. I just needed muscle and that rippled away.

 

However, last weekend after locating a new plumber (the charming, affable and willing Charlie) then, seducing some family members to help, the job got done. I hate not being able to pitch in, but age, unsteady legs and pure fear made me refrain, I took my rightful place in a chair on one side of the kitchen and observed.

 

It’s amazing the way people love demolishing things, the old bench and sink, was removed in minutes and after 40 odd years of service, found its way into the bin. What was exposed was the hole through which field mice ventured

 

Jennifer, my long suffering companion and mother of our children, had it all planned out meticulously, and after I had offered a tiny bit of advice and been roundly rejected, her plans went smoothly and the job was done.

Kitchen Bench

Charlie the plumber also managed to take a look at a leaky tap, put a control tap on my toilet bum washing spray(bidet spray) which, although doing a splendid job, very nearly removed skin with the pressure. Charlie did assist with the installation of stainless steel sheeting on the walls and even, cut around some electric plug outlets.  I was also informed by family workers, after peering into the tank, that we were low on water. Hardly a shock, the weather has been very benign and besides the inlet was completely clogged with some sort of cement like plug, thus preventing water from getting into the tank. $240 later, a truck of water was delivered into the now cleansed maw of the tank.

 

My second daughter Kyrie is the most like her mother and has the ability to see ways of solving problems. The shelves were cut but no one had thought it through, there was no way they could be installed because of angles. I went cold and sweaty at the prospect that my long dreamed of new bit of kit, was going to be unfinished. Solution Kyrie, cut them in half, no one could ever even see the cut. It was then that we had to start learning how to use a complicated dishwasher.

 

Thanks family for your love and support of this slightly deflated, yet resilient father.