Regional flavours at Brisbane was the best thing in the world! I know I said that last year, but each year gets better and better. I was lucky enough to meet Paul West again and was completely inspired by his talks to just keep it simple, fresh and therefore, tasty! If you are reading this Mr West, thank you again for the inspiration and the reminder good cooking starts with good food. And thank you also for the insight you gave into the cooking industry, that was very interesting and helpful (and funny!). So without further ado, this is my simple cherry tomato pasta inspired by the wholesome, real of River Cottage Australia.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta
500g of mixed cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
250g of pasta
olive oil and parmesan to serve
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil. Spread the tomatoes out evenly on the tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for at least 40 mins or until soft. Once they are nearly ready, bring a large pot of water to boil, cook the pasta until al dente. When cooked, drain the pasta, toss in a large bowl with tomatoes and the juices from the pan. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, or to your liking. Season with salt and pepper, grate some parmesan over the top, and serve.
To start off I’d like to say one thing- Big Flavour! These sliders are absolutely packed with flavour, colour and most of all, deliciousness(if that’s a word). They may have heaps of flavour, but all this is packed inside a tiny bun…….. a bit like a Tardis to those Doctor who fans out there! Their small size lends themselves to perfect little dinners for all kids, big and small. I have taken a bit of a twist on the typical corner shop burger, instead of a slab of beetroot and fried onions I have used a beetroot and red onion relish that has both the sweet and salty flavour. I have used rocket from the garden as a peppery replacement to lettuce, and have added a carrot and cucumber quick pickle, or a quickle as Paul West would say.
Based on the River Cottage Australia Jersey burger recipe this was a massive hit with everyone and will definitely be made many more times.
First off, how amazing are potatoes? You can roast them, fry them, boil them and chip them. I don’t think you can chocolatify them…. But that would be awesome! But best of all these is boiling them, a little butter (actually I lie, I use a lot of butter) and some salt and pepper- perfect. Out of every potato in the world, I would get kipfler potatoes. These smooth, flavoursome potatoes are perfect for boiling and roasting. These things were good enough already, then butter came along and transformed these humble tubers into something more than amazing.
The simplicity of this dish is part of what makes it so good. You can just chuck on some potatoes to boil about 20 minutes before you want to eat. Once they are done lather them in butter, add salt and pepper to your liking, I personally like slightly more pepper than most people, and cut up some spring onions to sprinkle on top. Voila! Eat these little bits of deliciousness as soon as you serve them.
Alright, I know that a lot of people may not like beetroot but I am sure that this recipe will change your mind forever! The tender sweetness from the beetroot and then the rich creaminess from the fresh ricotta accompanied by that sharp bite of those bee-utiful fresh beetroot leaves that just add that extra complexity. Then there is also a little bit of saltiness from just a bit of pancetta that balances out the whole dish. In this recipe I use toffee balsamic vinegar because it is slightly thicker and and will make the beetroot reduction be more reduction like, not just beetroot juice like (not much difference but there is some none the less). Now that I am done rambling we can get to recipe if you would like.
Warm Beetroot not-so Salad
7 large beetroot plus the leaves
4 slices of pancetta
1/4 cup toffeed balsamic vinegar or 1/3 cup if using normal balsamic
2 cups water
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Wash beetroot until clean then cut off the leaves and a bit of the top, leave one aside. Cut them in half and then place them in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Give them a light coating of olive oil, then season well. Roast these for about an hour to an hour and a half. Meanwhile get the tops you have cut off and the beetroot that has been left aside and place them in a blender or food processor (I found a blender works best) a blitz until they form a course paste. From here add the water to the paste a let seep for 5 minutes. Drain the mixture into a small saucepan through a sieve and add balsamic vinegar. Boil the sauce down to roughly a third of the original amount, this will take about 30-40 minutes, stirring regularly. After your beetroot have been roasting for about an hour an 20 minutes place your pancetta in with them and cook them until they are nice and crispy. Once everything is done place three beetroot halves and three beetroot leaves on each plate with one piece of pancetta broken up, then 100g ricotta crumbled up. Finally drizzle your beetroot reduction over the top.
Tip: Beetroot taste best when they are fresh and a bit bigger than a golf ball.
With goat’s cheese in the fridge and my night to cook dinner I decided to make this easy and simple dish that is perfect for a nice light meal. The sweetness of the caramalised balsamic onions balances with the slight bite of the goat’s cheese that I picked up at the local food festival. The flaky filo pastry along with the creamy filling makes for a comforting, easy meal.
Mmmm…. Should have made more….
Caramalised Balsamic Onion and Goat’s Cheese Tart
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
6 tbs butter
1/2 tsp brown sugar
4 tbs balsamic vinegar
200g semi-hard goat’s cheese (I used Sunhill’s Chevrolin)
150g creamy ricotta
4 sheets filo pastry
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Thinly slice red onion and garlic. Fry the onion over medium heat in 2 tbs of butter until soft. Add garlic. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir frequently over a low heat until caramalised. Remove from heat.
Melt remaining butter and brush over two sheets of filo pastry. Repeat for the second half of the pastry and place over the top of the first. Cut in half to make two long rectangles. Layer these on top so there are now 8 layers of filo. Place the base on a lined baking tray. Crumble ricotta over leaving 1cm from the edges. Add the caramelised onion. Cut the goats cheese into cubes and sprinkle over the top. Fold in the short edges. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with fresh rocket and cherry tomatoes.
This simple, fresh dish is easy to prepare and perfect for a light meal. You could easily get chevre from the shops which would make it even easier, but I quite like making my own cheese lately and it adds a certain amou nt of satisfaction to know that I made it myself.
Rustic tomatoes and home-made goat’s cheese (serves 2)
1 punnet of Medley Mix tomatoes
4 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
small handful of basil
1 clove of garlic salt and pepper
chevre or home-made goat’s cheese (recipe beneath)
1 loaf of crusty bread
Roughly chop tomatoes into different shapes and sizes (this adds interest to the dish). Put the tomatoes in a colander and add salt. Let them sit for 10 minutes to draw out moisture in the tomatoes. While the tomatoes drain, finely cut up the basil and garlic. Bruise basil and garlic in mortar and pestle. Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar in small bowl and add the basil and garlic. Place tomatoes on a plate how you want and drizzle the dressing onto the tomatoes. Dollop a big blob of goats cheese onto the plate as well. Cut up the loaf of bread and serve.
PS. Watch out for little fingers stealing the tomatoes.
This style of goats cheese will give you a creamier, less acidic cheese than chevre. This makes it a better cheese for children as it isn’t as strong.
1 L goats milk
1/4 tsp citric acid
Heat milk to room temperature and mix in a sprinkle of salt and the citric acid. Wait 18-24 hours to gather the curd. Transfer to butter muslin and drain for 25 minutes or until no more whey comes out. Roll into a cylinder and add small amounts of salt as you are rolling. Serve.