Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Best friends and baking
In theory, my bestie V and I should make better enemies than mates. She loves Harry Potter; I prefer obscure arthouse movies with subtitles. V is outgoing and happily chats to strangers; whereas I'm more on the I(ntroverted) side of things. She is a naturally beautiful, latte-skinned Indian goddess who never wears make-up, not even on her wedding day (bitch!); I regularly spend a small fortune on beauty treatments and pampering for my pale, sensitive, scandanavian skin (the last time I turned up to work without foundation, I received concerned looks from colleagues who said "are you okay? You look ... unwell").
We're very different, V and I, in many ways. But we do agree on the important stuff. We hate shopping for the sake of it. We believe strongly in friendhsip, family and community. We share a passion for all things involving cheese. And, we love cooking.
Enjoying my first of two weeks leave and with V on school holidays, we agreed to spend a day together, cooking up hearty, healthy food with some of this season's early fresh produce.
White bean soup with tapenade and olive beer bread
Soup: 400 grams cannellini beans soaked overnight, then simmered in a pot for an hour with 2 litres vege stock, sauteed onion and celery, bay leaves, dried oregano then pureed and seasoned with lemon rind, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil once cooked.
bread: 1 1/4 cups each plain and SR flour mixed with 2 cups mixed pitted olives, 2 tbs olive oil, few chipped spring onions, 250ml beer (I went with a lovely James Squire pilsener), 1 tbs sugar - knead for a few mins and press into a pan, let it rise for 10 mins then bake in a 180C oven for 25 mins.
olive tapenade: Mix a few handfuls of mixed pitted & chopped olives with a chopped red chilli, splash of olive oil, 1/4 cup of fresh chopped oregano leaves, and the rind and juice of one lemon. Serve with cannellini bean soup and olive bread.
Autumn vegetable stew with herb dumplings
A selection of large chopped autumn vegetables simmered in just enough vegie stock to cover, along with a few bay leaves, ground ginger, cinnamon stick, garlic, and a teaspoon of flour to thicken. Dumplings were made using flour, grated cold butter, and enough water to bring together to a dough. Knead and roll into balls before dropping into simmering stew, simmer for approx 20 minutes or until all vegetables and dumplings are cooked through.
Olive marinaded roast chicken and mashed potato
Two small sized organic chickens were placed side by side in a roasting dish, after being marinaded in a mix of finely chopped kalamata olives, anchovies, lemon juice and rind, olive oil, fresh and dried oregano (pulse marinade ingredients in food processor to bring together and rub over chicken). Roasted in a 200C oven for 1 1/4 hours (turn once to redistribute juices and keep moist) - cover in foil for first 50 minutes of cooking. Potatoes were boiled and mashed roughly with some butter and milk, seasoned with a little pepper.