Eight Bells

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Three Fruit Marmalade

There is a ton of citrus fruit around at the moment and despite the fact that this recipe is mainly sugar (as with most marmalade recipes), it is still a good way to use up any excess fruit you may have. This recipe will make around 10 cups of marmalade and is the best home made marmalade I have eaten. The recipe is taken from 'Jams and Preserves' published by Murdoch Books.

1 grapefruit
2 oranges
2 lemons
3 kg sugar, warmed

Scrub the fruit under warm, running water with a soft bristled brush to remove the waxy coating. Quarter the grapefruit and halve the oranges and lemons. Slice the fruit thinly and place in a non-metallic bowl. Retain the pips and place them on a square of muslin and tie securely with string. Add the muslin bag to the bowl along with 10 cups of water, cover and leave overnight.

Put two small plates in the freezer. Put the fruit and water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about an hour until the fruit is tender.

Add the sugar and stir over a low heat, without boiling for five minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved then boil rapidly for 50-60 minutes, stirring often. Remove any scum during cooking with a skimmer or slotted spoon. When the marmalade falls from a tilted wooden spoon in thick sheets without dripping, start testing for setting point.

Remove from the heat, place a little marmalade onto one of the cold plates and place in the freezer for 30 seconds. When setting point is reached a skin will form on the surface and the marmalade will wrinkle when pushed with your finger. Discard the muslin bag and remove and scum from the surface of the marmalade.

Hot wash your jars and place in the oven at around 100C until dry. Place the jar lids in boiling water while the jars are drying. When the maramalade is ready spoon immediately into the clean, hot jars and seal. Turn upside down for 2 minutes, then turn right way up and leave to cool. Can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. Refrigerate after opening and use within 6 weeks.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Onion Soup and Duck with Cherries

Todays French theme is in honour of the opening day of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Unfortunately for Les Tricolours their opening match against Los Pumas didn't go according to plan with the French team succumbing to the Argentinians 12-17. The All Blacks first up game against the Italians went a little more as the form guide predicted with the New Zealanders destroying a surprisingly inept Azzurri 76-14.
What can I say about these next two dishes? Tres délicieux! The duck recipe is from Gourmet Traveller magazine's August 2006 edition.

Onion Soup

6 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 of a teaspoon of sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups of beef stock
4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 a cup of dry white wine (any half decent sauvignon blanc is fine)
1 bay leaf
1/4 of a teaspoon of dried thyme
Salt & pepper
Toasted bread
1 1/2 cups of grated Gruyere with a little Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and then saute the onions over a medium-high heat until well cooked and lightly browned, this will take around 30 minutes. Add the sugar around 10 minutes into the process to help caramelise the onions.
Add garlic and saute for a minute then add the stock, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer for around 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf.
Put the cheese on your toasted bread and grill until golden. Serve.

Duck with Cherries

1 tablespoon of butter
1.8 kg duck, quartered (don't worry you can buy prepackaged duck quarters, a good place for this in Hamilton is the Foodtown at Chartwell Square)
125 ml of red wine
500 grams of cherries, pitted (we used a 625g jar of pitted cherries in juice)
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornflour
Salt & pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or casserole over medium-high heat. Add the duck and cook for around 5 minutes on each side until well browned. Add the wine and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for around an hour. Carefully drain the excess fat from the pan and add the cherries, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
Remove the cherries and duck from the pan, cover and place in a warm oven while you finish the sauce. Combine the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cherry juice to make a smooth paste, bring the juices in the pan to the boil and add your cornflour/cherry juice mixture. Whisk the sauce over a medium heat adding more cherry juice until you have a slightly thickened and tasty sauce. Serve with Puy lentils.

Puy Lentils

125g of Puy lentils (about 1/4 of a box)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 teaspoon of butter

Melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the carrots and celery for around 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes (the lentils should absorb all the liquid but still retain their shape and firmness when done).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Aglio Olio with Chicken

Literally garlic and oil this dish is inspired by the excellent Aglio Olio served up by Scott's on Ward in Hamilton. It is sold as a takeaway meal kit that you put together yourself from their pre measured ingredients. I don't know what their secret recipe is but this comes pretty close. Along with the spiced meatball dish below this is definitely on my all time top ten favourite meals and if you're looking for a quick and simple dish it doesn't come much quicker and simpler than this. The recipe below will serve two.

A very large handful of flat leafed Italian parsley
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
A heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes (more if you like the heat)
3 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
Spaghetti for two

Heat a little oil in a pan and start to cook your chicken breast on a fairly high heat. Cook until well browned and then turn. Don't poke at the chicken or play with it just put it in the pan and turn once. When both sides are well browned remove the breast from the pan and slice lengthways through the breast (imagine you have a slice of lemon and you are making 2 thinner slices, this is how to slice the chicken) and then return to the pan to brown the newly exposed sides. When the chicken is done remove from the pan and rest (not you, the chicken!) while you cook your spaghetti. While the spaghetti is cooking whiz the garlic, parsley, oil and chilli flakes together in a food mixer or with a whiz stick (we use a Black and Decker mini food mixer for this, very handy). Slice the chicken. Drain the spaghetti and then return to the pan, add the herb/garlic/oil/chilli mixture and the sliced chicken and mix so that the spaghetti and chicken are well coated. Serve as it is or with Parmesan.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Squid and Scallop Salad

We almost always call into the Coromandel Smoking Co. on the way back from Coromandel. They have a great range of smoked and fresh seafood and we picked up some of their excellent lime and cracked pepper Trevally and some fresh scallops. This is a quick and very tasty little salad, preparation time is around twenty minutes.

Fresh squid, cut in to rings
Romano cheese, shaved
Lemon oil
Self raising flour
Salt & fresh, coarsely ground black pepper

Heat a large frying pan and add a tablespoon of lemon oil. Flour the scallops and squid rings and fry in batches (to avoid steaming) adding lemon zest and plenty of the ground black pepper. The squid and scallops will only take 2-3 minutes to cook, remove when they are just starting to turn golden brown. Keep the cooked seafood in the oven to keep warm while you finish off the remainder
Arrange lettuce and Radicchio on plates and sprinkle on the Romano. Add the squid and scallops, squeeze lemon juice over and serve.

Cat Snacks

We travelled to Coromandel in the weekend to watch the Waikato V Canterbury Ranfurly Shield defence (let us never speak of it again) and have a few beers/wines with Julia's parents. I have been getting to grips with my new camera having recently upgraded from my trusty little Sony W1 (3.1 MP 3X optical zoom) to the Panasonic Lumix FZ8 (7 MP 12X optical zoom), a huge improvement and a fantastic mid priced camera if you are in the market. The food pictures will not be improved greatly but having more zoom has been great for most other things including the 'wildlife' shots below taken from the in-laws back door. The bowls contain sugar water which the Tui and Tauhou love, I think the cat is after something else entirely.

Tui (Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae)

Tauhou or wax-eyes (Zosterops lateralis)

No Isis, I don't think they are coming back