Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sweet Potato Rolls

These are yummy soft rolls that are great as a dinner roll or a hamburger bun. They have the added benefit of having sweet potato in them and freeze really well. You could of course make this recipe into a single loaf. I would braid it and make a sweet potato challah. 

You will need:

  • 2 small sweet potatoes (to equal 1 cup puree) or you can use canned
  • 1 cup milk - warmed 45 seconds in micro
  • 2 tsp regular dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees F bake 8 minutes then rotate pan and bake another 8 minutes. Brush with butter or olive oil when they come out of oven.

Step 1: I cooked  2 small peeled sweet potatoes (this is not a yam...look it up on the web) until soft. This takes approximately 20 minutes.  Drain water.

Step 2: place in food processor and puree until smooth. Let cool.

Step 3: place milk in a measuring cup and microwave 30 seconds or until warm to the touch but, not hot. Add yeast, stir and wait 5 minutes until it starts to bloom. (float to the top)

Step 4: in a large bowl add your sweet potato puree, the milk and yeast, olive oil and egg yolks. Stir to combine.

Step 5: add flour and lastly add salt. Mix in bowl until it becomes too stiff and then scrape out contents onto counter and continue to mix and incorporate flour until it forms a smooth dough and add flour until no longer sticky. You may need a bit more flour but add a tbsp at at time until dough is soft and smooth. 

Step 6: place dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rest until doubled in size, 2 hours.

Step 7: turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and divide dough into half and then each half into halves and keep doing this until you have 16 balls if you wish to make rolls. I then roll out the dough ball and then create a knot.  Let double in size again which takes approximately 45 minutes.

Step 8: place on parchment lined sheets and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 8 minutes, then turn the pan and bake another 8 minutes until lightly browned on top.  You can brush them as soon as they come out of the oven with a bit of butter but, I use great olive oil. Cause I like it better than butter and it's so much healthier than butter. You do whatever makes you happy!



Thursday, 27 June 2013

Lemon Kale Ricotta Shells

Pasta shells stuffed with Ricotta and Kale served with a simple marinara sauce.

You will need: 

10 shells cooked - perfect for 2 people
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup Parmesan (plus a bit more to top)
1 tbsp lemon zested finely
1 egg yolk
1 spring onion - chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme - chopped
1 tsp fresh basil - chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley - chopped
2 kale leaves- cut into strips cooked with 1 clove garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce
  • 1 14oz. can of tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • a few basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp olive oil - I used a beautiful Italian Titone
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: prepare your ricotta filling. Remove the soft leaves from the base of the kale leaves.  Slice kale into small strips.

Step 2: chop your spring onions basil and parsley. Add to the ricotta cheese (mine is a cow and goat cheese combination and is really nice) Add egg yolk, Parmesan and lemon zest. 

Step 3: add chopped kale, chopped garlic and olive oil to a pan and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Let cool.

Step 4: chop kale and garlic into fine mince and add to ricotta mix. Taste and add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step 5: boil pasta shells in boiling heavily salted water according to directions on box. I always add a couple extra in case some break during cooking.

Step 6: prepare easy marinara. Chop and mix all ingredients in a bowl. You do not need to cook this sauce.

Step 7: fill cooled shells with cheese and place in an individual ramekin. Add sauce to the bottom and then place shells and drizzle a bit of sauce or alot of sauce depending on what you like. You can add a bit of grated Parmesan or mozzarella to top.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes until cheese and sauce is hot, bubbling and melted.

I prefer a bit of sauce.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Charmoula on Baramundi

Charmoula is a condiment that is common in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It is a sort of salsa or some people puree it to create a marinade that is delicious on fish or chicken or even toasted bread. It has tomatoes, peppers, chilies, mint, cilantro, parsley, great olive oil and loads of spices.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces white fish - I used a Baramundi
  • 4 tbsp olive oil - I used a strong Spanish Fuenroble
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 chili d'arbo flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp hot water
  • handful fresh mint
  • handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped jarred peppers- I used 1/2 small jar
  • handful of parsley
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • salt/pepper to taste

Step 1: in a small pan add good olive oil. I have used a strong, fresh Spanish olive oil. Do not be afraid of a strong oil the more you use them the more you will love them. Add ground coriander, chili flakes or chili d'arbo ground (but use half as much), ancho chili flakes and cumin seeds. Cook 1-2 minutes and set aside off the flame.

Step 2: in 2 tbsp hot water add a pinch of saffron. Let bloom while you chop all your ingredients.

Step 3: chop mint, cilantro, tomato, roasted peppers (you can use jarred or fresh roasted), parsley, lemon zest and juice, grated ginger and your garlic oil and saffron. Mix.

Taste it and add salt and pepper.

Prepare your fish by quickly cooking in some olive oil, the oven or on the grill. (mine was frozen, then thawed) I have added some salt, pepper and old bay seasoning to mine. Cooked for a few minutes on each side. You can prepare any vegetables you like or a fresh salad. The point is to add lots of fresh veggies to the plate.

Spoon over some of your charmoula and be prepared to be amazed and how complex and fresh this topping is from the saffron to the fresh herbs and good oil!!

Monday, 24 June 2013


This is a great southern Italian appetizer. It is normally stewed eggplant, tomatoes, celery, vinegar, capers, olives, fresh basil and other herbs. I prefer to grill my eggplant and tomatoes for a bit of roasted flavour. It can be served hot or cold. I prefer it on toasted ciabatta or crostini and served warm with a drizzle of excellent olive oil. It is like jazzed up bruschetta.

You will need:
  • 1 medium eggplant- sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes - sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil - I used an Italian Teraliva
  • 1 stalk celery - diced fine
  • 1/2 onion - diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/2 fresh chili or 1/2 tsp dry chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp capers - chopped
  • pinch sugar
  • 3 green olives - chopped fine
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • more oil to drizzle! 
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • ciabatta bread or baguette for crostini
  • Parmesan grated to top

Step 1: slice the eggplant and tomatoes into thick slices. 

Step 2: heat the grill to high and brush both the tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil. Grill for a few minutes so that the tomatoes do not lose their shape but get a bit of char on them. Cook the eggplant the same way. You will continue to cook the eggplant in a bit of olive oil in step 3, so it does not need to be cooked fully on the grill.

Step 3: chop eggplant into small dice and cook in 1-2 tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes until cooked completely and nicely coated in olive oil. Place eggplant in a medium sized bowl. Chop tomatoes into small dice and add to bowl along with eggplant. 

Step 4: in the same pan cook finely diced onion and celery, garlic and chilies in 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook 5-7 minutes until softened and just starting to brown. Add to eggplant and tomatoes.

Step 5: add vinegar, chopped capers, pinch of sugar, chopped olives, chopped basil, parsley and salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust if necessary.  I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon at this point if it needs something but, it is not required.

Step 6: slice some bread and toast first, then add your caponata.

I like to add a bit of Parmesan and broil for a minute or two to melt.


Friday, 21 June 2013

Miso Glazed Pork Ribbons

These are really tender and quick cooking. The miso glaze is sweet and salty and makes a perfect dipping sauce so don't use it all while cooking save some to drizzle over these delicious ribbons of meat.

You will need:
  • 1 pork tenderloin- cleaned of all fat and sliced thin and pounded (you can easily double the recipe for a bigger crowd)
  • soaked bamboo skewers or metal ones
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (soy bean paste)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp coffee
  • spring onions
  • sesame seeds
  • nectarines/peaches, apricots or pineapple to grill with the meat

Step 1: create sauce in a small bowl. Add miso, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, honey and coffee. Stir to dissolve honey and set aside.

Step 2: clean the pork tenderloin (which is the leanest cut of pork) remove any silver skin ans slice into small medallions. Between wax paper gently pound the meat to flatten. These also make great scalopini or schnitzels.

Step 3: soak bamboo skewers (or use metal) and thread the meat on in a ribbon or satay like fashion. Pour on some good olive oil and some finely zested orange. Let marinate for a few hours or you can cook right away.

I put mine in the fridge for the day and cooked them later.

You can add some fruit to your skewers like a peach, apricot or tangerine. Pork loves fruit. Heat up the grill and brush on a bit of your miso glaze. 

Cook on medium heat for a few minutes on each side and leave some glaze to drizzle when serving. I served with some rice, a bit of fresh fruit slices and a crisp green salad. This glaze would be great for chicken as well.