Saturday, February 28, 2009

The M word and steak

Yes we're still eating the wild mushrooms would you believe! I'm quite amazed how well they're keeping actually, we're up to 6 days now, but we do have them in paper bags in the big veg drawer of our lovely Mitsubishi fridge so it's probably at the right temp. for them.

There aren't many more to eat now. Planning to have the last of them on home made pizza tomorrow.

Anyway, this was good old rump steak on the BBQ, with mushrooms (recipe below), some boiled potatoes out of the garden and a side salad. Yum.

For the mushrooms, heat a good lug of olive oil and a knob of butter in a frypan. Briefly fry a crushed or chopped clove of garlic, add the sliced mushrooms, some thyme leaves, salt and pepper and a little water. Cook quickly on a high heat. Add a little more butter near when the mushrooms are nearly cooked. Pile on top of meat and eat immediately.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The mushroom fest continues...

Yes we are still enjoying those mushrooms!

This is one of our favourite pasta meals, see here for the recipe. Topped off with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, lovely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wild mushroom soup

This recipe is adapted from one out of a cook book in my collection called The Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew (Select Editions), a collection of over 200 soup recipes from around the world.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g fresh wild mushrooms, sliced
1L homemade stock (I used a mix of chicken and vegetable)
About 150mls fresh cream
Sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper

Saute the onion in the oil and butter for about 5 mins until soft but not browned. Add garlic, fry for a minute more. Add the mushrooms and thyme, stir for a few mins until they begin to soften. Add stock and bring to boil, season, then reduce heat and half cover pan. Simmer for about 30mins. Blend the soup. Check consistency of soup, thin if necessary with more stock or water. Add cream and reheat gently.

Because I used mature wild mushrooms the soup came out an amazing dark brown colour. The taste was very good indeed. I don't think I'll have any problem using up the large quantity of mushrooms that G collected!

Wild mushrooms again and creamy mushrooms on toast

We were once again fortunate to be given access to pick lovely fresh field mushrooms. G came home with a big bucket yesterday.

So last night I made one of his favourite mushroom recipes, Creamy mushrooms on toast. Very easy to do.

In a saucepan add about 2Tbsp olive oil and a thick slice of butter, when melted add a crushed clove of garlic and stir for about a minute. Add 450g mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into chunks, put the lid on and leave on low heat for about 15 mins until cooked. Add a grating of nutmeg and some salt. Stir, add 300mls cream turn up heat and let bubble until thick. Serve immediately on thickly cut buttered toast. This is a tasty recipe with shop bought mushrooms (I normally use Portabello or brown mushrooms as button mushrooms are quite tasteless) but using the wild mushrooms the flavour was very good indeed.

N.B. It goes without saying really but if you want to try wild mushrooms make sure you know what you are picking, go with someone experienced in picking them until you are confident in identifying the edible varieties.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Essex fried rabbit

Well OK not Essex, but Maungaturoto!

G shot a rabbit yesterday and I've been wanting to try out Jamie Oliver's recipe since I saw it on his show Jamie At Home (Series 1). Couldn't find it on his website so here is how it's done:

Joints of a fresh rabbit (cut off any long bones)
Fresh rosemary
Olive oil
White wine
Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme

In a large lidded pan place the rabbit pieces, a good slug of olive oil, a glass of white wine, a couple of sprigs of rosemary, and a whole garlic bulb sliced in half (I would remove as much of the skins as possible as you can eat the garlic deep fried with the rabbit). Put the lid on and simmer on a very low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until the flesh just starts to pull away from the bone slightly. If the rabbit is big you may need to cook for longer.

When cooked, remove the rabbit and garlic from the pan. Dust in seasoned flour, then dip in beaten egg to coat, then press into a mix of fresh breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and thyme leaves. Make sure the rabbit is well coated.

Deep fry the coated rabbit pieces for about a minute or so until nicely golden brown. Also briefly deep fry a sprig for rosemary (about 20 secs). Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

This was the best rabbit dish we've ever eaten. A great recipe, will definitely try it again, hopefully with a smaller (younger) rabbit for more tender meat, although the one we had was fine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The tomatoes are ruined

Well with all this very humid weather we've had this week the poor old tomatoes have really taken a hammering and are now looking very sad indeed. Many are rotten and coupled with all the caterpillar damage it's been a pretty disappointing outcome to a much looked forward to harvest. I guess that's just the way things go. We are hoping to get a green house or grow tunnel in the not too distant future, so that next year we'll get a much better head start and hopefully a better crop.
I have managed to bag up a few tomatoes, mainly Roma, and freeze them but it's no where near as many as we had last year. I'm keeping a close eye on the Black Krim plant as there are a few reasonable (unripe) fruit on this one and it's my favourite for taste, while the Roma are best for cooking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nectarine crostata

Since we have an abundance of stone fruit available in the shops at the moment (none left on our trees unfortunately) I decided to make this dessert last night.
The recipe (from Taste magazine Feb 08) was actually for a peach crostata (a rustic Italian tart) - I substituted nectarines.

3 cups plain flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
350g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 egg yolks
iced water

6-7 nectarines
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice 1/2 orange

Make pastry, either in a food processor or - since my food processor is buried in storage - like I did by hand. Mix flour and sugar, then add cubed butter and rub in with finger tips. Add egg yolks and 2 Tbsp iced water, mix (with fork or knife) to distribute. Turn out onto floured surface and bring together gently into a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic film, chill for at least 30 mins.

Roll out to fit a rectangular baking tray, patching any holes, make a bit of a crust at the edges. Prick with a fork. Blind bake for 10 mins at 200deg C.

Cut nectarines in half remove stones and place skin side up on the pastry. Mix zest, sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Brush over fruit, bake for 25mins at 190degC. Brush remaining sugar mix over pastry, nectarines and return to oven for a further 10-15mins until pastry is nice and brown.


Update in the vege garden Feb

Hi Folks, well I've had another spot of down time, relaxing with visitors and generally trying to keep cool in this heat and high humidity.
We're getting some corn out of the garden now and it is really good. The Honey and Pearl comes out tops, with the Florida Supersweet a close 2nd.
Also the tomatoes are starting to ripen now, we've had a few Roma and some of my favourite for sandwiches etc Black Krim, just such a nice flavour. Unfortunately the cabbage butterflies have done some damage already, with their catapillars eating holes in lots of the fruit. G has put some Derris dust on but we've got a fair bit of affected fruit. Never mind, I'll just cut out any bad bits and freeze the tomatoes for later use.
No shortage of zucchini, although some have got away and turned into marrows. We are starting to tire of them a little now!!
I've been brutal with the climbing beans and ripped them all up, they'd really slowed down producing anyway, plus I've got the new ones (Italian Flat) ready to go in.
Also harvested a few more onions (white), and put in some more - shallots and Spanish yellow.
G harvested some more potatoes, the crop was disappointing, not sure what happened there, the plants are all dying off. We did mound up with some peat and then sawdust a little while back so possibly that affected things in a negative way.
Had one of the Cayenne chillies on a homemade pizza last night, it gave it a nice bite. Got a few on the Thai hot chilli plants too.
Well that's about all in the vege garden for now. I'm off to make a nectarine crostata (Italian rustic tart) for dessert.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blackberry jam

We went out blackberrying on the weekend and came home with several container loads (probably about 17-18 L approx) so we had a good harvest!
Last night I made some jam which set very well. The recipe I used was:

1.8kg fruit
1.8kg sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
Rind and pith/pips of lemon in muslin bag

The jam took about 20 mins to reach setting point and I got 8 jars (about 300mls each).

I've frozen the bulk of the berries for use later on in crumbles, pies, muffins, cakes and ice blocks. Yum!