SupSupSup

The weather is being very unseasonal at the moment;  therefore:  soup for dinner.  Made from summer vegetables.

In the beginning,  take two capsicums, peeled and finely diced and saute with about a half dozen crushed garlic cloves over a medium-low element.  Once it smells like it’s “getting there”,  get three spring onions, slice, and add to the pot.

Next, take five tomatoes, and chop coarsely.  Once you’ve finished chopping, add those to the pot, too.   Lower the temperature just a little.
Next-next, take a head of broccoli,  and chop it so there are teeny little florets.  Big florets are no good in unpureed soup.  Trust me.

Almost finally, add a can of cannellini beans which have been strained.  Continue heating until the beans have been warmed through.

Finally, assault the soup with salt and pepper until it is just so;  then serve with grated parmesan on top (You can grate the parmesan while waiting for the beans to warm through.  Efficiency at its finest).  I made a line of parmesan across the middle of bowls.  It looked extra-swank.  However, my dig’ camera is missing at this time.  So you will just have to imagine it.

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Ginger Poached Pears with Vanilla Custard and Walnut Praline

Pears w/ custard and praline

This was dessert last night. It is pears, halved and poached in a simple-syrup with ginger; sitting on vanilla custard with walnut praline in the cored holes of the pears. I served it in wide Martini glasses (they’re oh so pretty, but so easy to spill your drink out of); and it tasted even better than it looks.

For The Pears
I halved and cored four pears (handy hint: use a melon baller to do the coring); and put them in a wide saute pan with one cup of sugar and about four cups of water (enough to cover most of the pears), along with a finger of peeled ginger sliced up. The pears were then cooked over a low heat for an hour, being flipped over every twenty minutes or so.

For the Custard
I have a favourite custard recipe (: It’s nice and reliable, so I haven’t investigated others. I use the custard part of this recipe for Mille Feuille; but instead of orange blossom water, I added vanilla essence (I use the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla essence. It’s..magical..when the bottle is opened).

For the Praline
I covered the bottom of a small saucepan with sugar, and added just enough water to dissolve the sugar. Before you start cooking the praline, it’s important to have somewhere to put it when you’re finished (: Usually, I’d use a silicon baking sheet; but alas, my one has seen better days. Instead, I used a sheet of baking paper inside a roasting pan. This is the caramel cooling zone.
I heated the sugar+water over medium heat until it turned amber; then added a handful of walnut pieces. Next, jiggle the syrup around so all of the walnut pieces are covered. Then, pour the caramel on to your caramel-cooling-zone.
Give the praline 10-15 minutes to cool down and solidify. Once it has hardened; break it into smaller pieces, then use a pestle (pounding stick from a mortar and pestle) to reduce it down to little pieces.

To Assemble
Place the custard in the bottom of glasses. Put the pear halves on top of that. Fill the cored holes with praline.

Woo!

Ultimate Tag Warrior 2.5

Ultimate tag warrior 2.5 is out! however, UTW now has it’s very own home at http://www.neato.co.nz/ultimate-tag-warrior where the juicy details will be posted for this, and other versions.

[Brief overview: 2.5 has big changes to the admin side of things; allows tag clouds; will render a long-tail graph for your tags; ought to behave in not-in-the-siteroot blogs; will clean up duplicate tags; can turn categories into tags; and anything else that I’ve forgotten]

I’ll continue to make announcements in the main part of my blog, though (:

Crepes, with caramel sauce and whipped cream

Delicious. Although a bit like eating dessert for breakfast.

Crepes: sift 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder together

Whisk 1 egg, 2 1/2 cups of milk, about 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt together.

Make a well in the flour, and pour the liquid in and whisk everything until smooth.

Take a non-stick pan, and melt about 75 grams of butter. Whisk the melted butter into the batter.

Wipe the excess butter from the pan, and swirl in about 1/3 cup of the batter. Cook until the batter sets, then flip over.

Caramel Sauce: take a small saucepan, and add enough sugar to cover the bottom of the pan in a complete layer. Add enough water to cover the sugar. Add a little drizzle of corn syrup.

Gently heat the mixture until it caramelizes (it’ll take a little while – there’ll be a phase of dissolving, then it will bubble, then it’ll turn light yellow, then darker.); then whisk in 1/2c of cream.

Continue heating the sauce until it thickens.

A dish with rabbit; with a terrible name.

I have been thinking about the sorts of things I might cook over Easter weekend, and rabbit is something that seemed just perfect, in a perverse sort of way (don’t hit me!). I had a poke around some recipe books to see what I could see; and nothing I saw was compelling.

I thought some more. Stroked my chin; and pondered. Then it struck me: I could prepare rabbit loins using a tried and true method that I devised for chicken!

Bunny in MarinadeFirst: Create a marinade using a combination of verjus and honey with salt, and marinate the loins for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. I used two heaped teaspoons of honey and about 1/4 c of verjus making this dish for two people; but by all means vary this as you see fit.

Brown the BunnySecond: After the loins have finished marinading, heat up a cast iron fry pan. Once the pan is hot, take each of the loins out of the marinade, and place in the pan. Hold on to the rest of the marinade! Brown each of the loins.

Glaze the BunnyThen: Once all of the loins are nice and brown; and the honey is starting to caramelise, add the rest of the marinade back into the pan, and continue to cook until the marinade is all caramelised and the rabbit is coated in a delicious sticky glaze.

That, is all there is to it.
Eat the Bunny!

Of course, every dish needs a name. With this dish, however, the name came first. This, will be forever known as….

Honey Bunny.

Mushroom+Bacon Risotto

Melt butter in a pan, and add chopped bacon. When the bacon is browned; add risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli), and fry until just starting to brown.

Deglaze the pan with a couple of glugs of vermouth; then add finely diced onion and saute until translucent.

If there is still fond on the pan (uh.. brown bits), use some chicken stock to deglaze further. Then, add enough chicken stock to just cover the rice.

When the stock has evaporated off; cover the rice with stock again.

This time, when the stock evaporates, add sliced mushrooms; and again, cover the rice with stock.

When the stock evaporates this time; the risotto is probably ready. Sample a grain of rice, and if it tastes about right; stir in grated parmesan cheese and serve. Otherwise, continue adding and cooking off more stock until it’s finished.