Awesomeness at Regional Flavours Brisbane

driving along

 

Travelling 6 hours to meet Paul West is definitely worth it! For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of watching River Cottage, he is the host of the Australian version. Nothing could compare to meeting your food hero…. except for getting to meet him, go up on stage and taste the food he had just cooked!! Best steak sanga…. EVER!!! 

meeting paul west

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In honour of the most exciting day of my life, I would like to share with you quite possibly the most amazing pumpkin scone recipe that you will ever try, from the man himself, Paul West. Definitely a good one for the Grannies at church. For the amazing pumpkin scone recipe, you can find it here.

Only thing I did differently, was to make some butter from cream. This is really easy to do, you just add a pinch of salt to cream and beat until you start to get grains of butter. Squeeze them together and drain off the buttermilk (don’t throw this out, it can be used for other things). If you want to keep the butter more than three days, put the butter in a jar with cooled boiled water, shake to remove the last bits of the buttermilk. This is really important as the butter goes rancid otherwise…. trust me….

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Paul West, if you ever read this (and fingers crossed, you will one day), I would like to thank you for being the most down to earth and generous person and celebrity. You not only made my day… or my week…. or month, or even year… but quite possibly my whole childhood. You rock 🙂

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Classic Blackberry Pie

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This blackberry pie is perfectly warming treat for a cold winter’s night. Made with a simple, crumbly shortcrust pastry and plump, juicy blackberries it makes a delicious combination of both tart and sweet. I think this classic combination is made even better with a zing of lemon. This a repeat of the first pie I ever made and has since become my go-to dessert…. especially when we have some thick double cream to dollop on the side.

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Classic Blackberry Pie

Ingredients-

500g plain flour

100g icing sugar

250g butter, chilled and cut into cubes

2 eggs

zest of 1 lemon

splash of milk

500g blackberries

1/2 lemon, juiced

50g castor sugar 

extra splash of milk and 1tbs of sugar

Method-

To begin the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar into the food processor into a large bowl. Rub 250g of butter into the flour with your fingertips. Make sure that you keep your ingredients as cold as possible while using them. Next mix in the two eggs until a crumbly dough forms, add a splash of milk at a time until dough comes together. Dust a clean surface with flour and turn dough onto it. Knead until shiny and elastic- this is when the gluten is activated.

Preheat the oven to 180degrees.

Roll between two sheets of baking paper until about 1/2cm thick. Line a greased pie tin with the pastry and trim edges. 

Gather up the scraps, re-roll them to about a 1/3cm thick (just so they are slightly thinner than before). Cut into strips of about 2cm width and set aside. 

Now for the filling, in a small bowl mix the blackberries with the lemon and castor sugar. If your blackberries are frozen, leave them until they are thawed. When mixing, I like to keep the berries as whole as possible as it adds to the texture and appearance of the pie. 

Next, fill the pastry lined pie tin with the blackberry mix. Cover with the strips of pastry in criss-cross pattern leaving a small gap between each strip. Brush the top with extra milk and sprinkle with extra sugar. 

Bake until golden, about 30-40 minutes. Remember to turn the pie as it cooks so it will be evenly golden.  

Now for my favourite bit- pop a slice on a plate with a big dollop of cream and enjoy!

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PS. In the background is my slowly evolving veggie garden, at this point there are tomatoes, broccoli, rocket, spinach and herbs. It is a bit messy, but growing strong. I am loving having access to fresh ingredients that I have grown myself! 

Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Mega Ravioli

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I haven’t been cooking for long compared to some people but in my twelve years of cooking I have found this dish one of the most satisfying meals to make, from growing the spinach to making the cheese and rolling out the pasta- and of course sitting done and eating it. All the elements on the plate have either been sourced locally, grown by me or made by me.

I could almost do a whole blog series on just this one dish, but today I will just bring it all together, rest assured though I will give further tips in further recipes. If you want to make this recipe at it’s best, a good place to start would be my Back to Basics Pasta Recipe. If you don’t have the time, the means or the availability (such as if your neighborhood dairy goats are on holidays) then there are a few shortcuts that can be taken- like buying fresh lasagna sheets instead of making the pasta, buying ricotta and goat’s cheese instead of making it and buying spinach instead of growing it.

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Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Mega Ravioli

Ingredients-

1 batch of handmade pasta (recipe here) or 1 pack of fresh lasagna sheets

1 large bunch of spinach/silverbeet

200g ricotta

90g chevrolin (or could substitute with creamy goat’s cheese or feta)

 

100g butter

2 cloves of garlic

3 large leaves of basil, finely chopped

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Method-

Boil spinach until soft. Drain and finely chop. Place in a large bowl and add crumbled chevrolin and ricotta and season to taste. Mix together.

Lay out sheets of either homemade pasta or fresh lasagna sheets. Place heaped tablespoons of spinach mix onto half of the pasta leaving about 10cm between each one. Brush with water around edges. Place remaining sheets of pasta over the top pressing down the edges of the mix as you go, trying to eliminate any air that may be trapped. Cut evenly between each mound, making sure they are sealed around the edges.

In a very large pot of boiling water gently place ravioli and cook until they float to the surface. This should take about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile melt butter in a frypan. Add crushed garlic and basil. Keep stirring until brown. Remove from heat and spoon over drained ravioli.

Last but not least, sit down and eat and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

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Mum’s Caramel Chocolates

choc6It’s Sunday morning. Not just any Sunday morning, Mothers Day Sunday morning… And I am presentless. So what do I do? I make chocolate- as any self-respecting boy would do if he had yet to spoil his Mother on Mother’s Day. Indeed this is the best way to appease any forgotten Mother- lots and lots (and lots) of chocolate.

These chocolates were perfect to make because I had to think of something fast, and everything I needed was in the cupboard (there is always chocolate in our house). They are sweet, they are tasty, they are simple…. they are chocolate- what else do I need to tell you?

choc5Mum’s Caramel Chocolates

Ingredients:

120g castor sugar

50g pure cream

50g butter

3-5 drops of vanilla essence (or to your liking)

250g dark chocolate

Champagne metallic edible dust

Method:

Heat cream and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat slightly and stir constantly until cream is just boiling. Add the butter and vanilla essence. Stir and continue to heat until it holds it’s shape when you scoop a spoonful out. I like my caramel soft, but if you continued to cook it, it would become more chewy.

Once the caramel is at the desired consistency, spoon into dome shaped silicone moulds. Refrigerate until cool and set. While the caramel is cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (if you don’t have one, pop a bowl over simmering water). Dip the caramel into the melted chocolate using a dipping fork. Lightly tap on the surface of the chocolate until you have a thin, even layer of chocolate over the caramel. Place on baking paper to set.

Now for decoration- once they are set use a food dedicated paint brush to dip into the metallic dust, tap on the side so there isn’t too much dust, then sweep across each chocolate top once.

Finally, present these to your Mother. If it is now late on Mother’s Day, you might (for your own safety) want to throw in a back rub or a clean bedroom too.  Happy belated Mother’s Day to the Mothers of the world.

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PS. Dad’s like these too.