Monday, 31 December 2012

Mediterranean Pork Kebabs - and variations

You can't go wrong with a kebab, they are versatile and fun.  Mix up the meat and veggies to what your preference is or what the fridge holds!  The trick to kebabs is cutting everything to about the same size so it cooks evenly.

1/2 cup Garlic and Herb marinade
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp each dried oregano leaves and lemon juice
500 g pork tenderloin cut into 16 bite size chunks
16 each bite size chunks zucchini and cherry tomatoes

  1. Soak 8 long bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.  Preheat the grill to medium high and grease the grate.  Stir the marinade with the ketchup, oregano and lemon juice until well combined.  Toss half of the mixture with the pork and vegetables; let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Thread 2 pieces each of pork, zucchini and cherry tomatoes alternately onto each skewer.  Grill the skewers; turn as needed and baste occasionally with remaining marinade mixture for 10 to 12 minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Makes 4 servings.
For Steakhouse Mushroom Kebabs
  • replace Garlic & herb marinade with steak spice marinade
  • replace ketchup with Diana Marinade Western Smokehouse flavour
  • replace pork tenderloin with beef top sirloin
  • replace Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes with Button mushrooms and red onion
For Spicy Tex Mex Kebabs
  • replace Garlic and Herb marinade with Diana Marinade Spicy Southwest flavour
  • replace ketchup with Diana Sauce original
  • omit oregano and lemon juice
  • replace pork tenderloin with chicken breast
  • replace zucchini and cherry tomatoes with red and green peppers

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sensational Burgers Three Ways

A family favourite!  It is nice to change up the regular burger now and again.

Burger Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp grated onion
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
500g lean ground beef or turkey
Hamburger buns (I like the thin ones)

Glaze Ingredients below

  1. Whisk the egg with the onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.  Crumble in the beef (or turkey if making the Mango Tango Turkey Burger). Mix gently.  Chill the mixture for 15 minutes; then divide into 4 equal sized patties.  Preheat the grill to medium high and grease the grate.  Set the patties on the preheated grill and cook, covered for 6 minutes.
  2. Flip the burgers and reduce the heat to medium.  Choose a glaze below and mix ingredients.  Brush with some of the glaze.  Grill turning and brushing with glaze for 6 to 8 minutes or until 90C inside. Brush with any remaining glaze and top with cheese (if using) before removing from the grill.  Serve on buns with traditional garnishes.
*reduce Worcestershire Sauce to 1 tbsp if using turkey.


Swinging Sweet and Sour
Stir together 2/3 cup ketchup, 1 tbsp each brown sugar and cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon Mustard.  Works on beef - use mozzarella cheese 

Smokehouse Shuffle
Stir together 2/3 cup Ketchup, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tsp hot sauce.  Works on beef - use crumbled blue cheese

Mango Tango Turkey
Stir together 1/3 cup each HP Sauce and Mango chutney, 1 tbsp each brown sugar and cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon mustard.  Works on Turkey - use cheddar cheese

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Grilled Tomato Pasta Salad

A salad with great variety and colour.  Lots of flavour.

2 lb (1kg) cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2/3 cup Diana Marinade, Garlic and Herb flavour
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups cooked orzo or other pastina (tina pasta shapes)
3 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach
1 cup coarsely shredded basil leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Toasted pine nuts

  1. Preheat the grill to mediumhigh.  Line the grate with a sheet of heavy duty foil.  Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with pepper.  Stir the marinade in a separate bowl with the lemon zest and lemon juice.  Gently toss the tomatoes with half of this mixture.  Whisk the olive oil into the remaining marinade mixture in the bowl; reserve.
  2. Brush the foil with a little extra olive oil.  Place the tomatoes on the foil, cut side up.  Grill the tomatoes for 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and grill for 15 minutes or until wrinkled and browned.   Lift the foil with the tomatoes and any juices onto a baking sheet.  Gently scrape the tomatoes into a bowl.
  3. Toss the orzo with the reserved oil marinade mixture.  Gently stir in the spinach and half each of the tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese.  Transfer to a deep plater or bowl.  Garnish the salad with the remaining tomato, basil, cheese and pine nuts.  Season with additional fresh ground pepper to taste.
Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Grilled Salmon Fillets - 3 Ways

Don't let winter stop you from using the barbecue!  These are simple salmon recipes that are definitely kid friendly.

6 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Lime Wedges

  1. Stir the ingredients for one of the glazes below until smooth.  Heat on high in the microwave for 2 minutes; stop to stir twice.  Reserve.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium high; grease the grate well.  Brush the salmon with the oil.  Place the salmon on the grill.  Grill for 3 minutes.  Turn and brush liberally with the glaze mixture.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Close the lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until just barely coral on the inside when tested with a knife.  Brush with additional glaze.  Serve with lime wedges.  Makes 6 servings.
Moroccan Spiced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp each ground cumin and black pepper

Smokey Chili
1/2 cup Diana Sauce, Western Smokehouse flavour
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp each ground cumin and black pepper

Lemon Tomato
1/2 cup Chili Sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp black pepper

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Shanghai Chicken Legs

A great BBQ recipe.  If you don't like dark meat change to Chicken Breast with the bone in.

4 chicken leg quarters, skin on
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 cup HP sauce
1 tbsp each brown sugar and lemon juice
2 tsp each minced ginger and toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder or ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
Snipped chives

  1. Preheat the grill to medium and grease the grate.  Marinate the chicken legs in the Worcestershire sauce for 30 minutes.  Blend the HP sauce with the brown sugar, lemon juice, ginger, sesame oil, garlic and five spice powder in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 2 minutes, stopping to stir twice, or until hot and bubbly.  Reserve.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt and pepper.  Place on the grill meaty side down.  Grill for 5 minutes or until well marked.  Baste with some of the sauce.  Turn the chicken and baste again with the sauce.  Turn off the burner directly under the chicken, leaving the other burner on.  Grill the chicken, covered, basting occasionally for 40 minutes or until very tender and cooked through.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Mushroom Tarts

This is a really rich accompaniment to dinner, but a very nice treat.  The pastry is very rich and if 1 tbsp is added, can be used for butter or fruit tarts.  If mushrooms are not your thing, substitute onions or your favourite roasted vegetable.  From Food and Drink 2003.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter, diced
1 cup cream cheese, diced

2 tbsp butter
250 g fresh mushrooms, chopped
250 g wild mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Place flour and salt in food processor.  Scatter over butter and cream cheese.  With on-off motion, pulse together.  Remove from processor and form into ball.  Chill for 30 minutes.  (I don't have a food processor so I use the old method of a pastry cutter and cut the butter and cream cheese into the dough by hand, you can also use two knives to do it.)
  2. Pinch 1 inch balls from pastry and pat into small tart or muffin tins.  Chill until needed.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Heat butter in skillet, add mushrooms and saute 5 minutes until juices disappear.  Add garlic and cream, bring to boil, add lemon juice, green onion and parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into pastry cases.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is edged with gold and mushroom filling is hot.  Turn out of tins and cool 10 minutes.  These may be frozen on cookie sheets, placed in frozen state at 350F for 15 minutes or until filling is hot. 
Makes about 30 tarts.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Coffee Roasted Rack of Pork

A wonderful dinner recipe.  You can't go too far wrong with rosemary and pork.  If you can't get or afford rack of pork - just get some bone in pork chops and cook in a pan.  I did that with this and it turned out well.  From Food and Drink 2003

1 rack of pork consisting of 6 chops about 1.6 kg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coffee
1 tbsp brandy
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup table cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp cornstarch

  1. Pat dry the meat, season, then spread mustard onto the fat side, sprinkle over the chopped rosemary.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Place the pork in a roasting pan, bone side down.  Roast for 15 minutes and then reduce temperature to 325F.  Continue to cook for 2 hours or until an instant read thermometer registers 165F when inserted into the centre of the roast away from the bone.  Remove from the roasting pan and allow to sit loosely covered with foil for 15 minutes.  (The roast will continue to cook).  
  4. Pour off any fat from the roasting pan, add coffee and brandy then bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Reduce by a quarter, then pour through a fie sieve into a saucepan.  Add stock, cream and sugar and continue to boil until slightly thickened.  Season.  If you want a thicker sauce, mix water and cornstarch together and whisk into hot coffee mixture.
  5. Remove string from roast and slice into chops.  Serve with the sauce. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake

A nice holiday treat and a change from the traditional pumpkin pie.  From Food and Drink 2003

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup ground pecans or other nut
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin, fresh or canned
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp sugar
candied pecans

  1. Line base and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and brush sides with 2 tbsp melted butter.
  2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, pecans and remaining melted butter.  Mix together and pat into bottom and sides of prepared pan.  Chill crust in refrigerator while preparing filling.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. In a large bowl or a food processor, cream butter and cream cheese together.  Scrape down sides, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Scrape sides again and beat in pumpkin.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
  6. Pour filling into chilled base.  Bake cake in centre of oven for 1 hour.  Leave oven door ajar, turn off heat, and let cake sit in oven for 1 hour.  Chill and remove from pan.
  7. Whip cream until soft peaks form then beat in sugar.  Pipe or dollop 10 rosettes of whipped cream around the top edge of the cheesecake.  Top each rosette with a candied pecan.  Place remaining pecans around the top of the cake if desired.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Grand Ghoul

A nice after dinner aperitif.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 3/4 oz Grand Marnier, 3/4 oz Skyy Citrus Vodka, 1/2 oz lime juice and 2 oz Blood Orange Juice or 2 oz orange juice with 1 tsp grenadine).  Stir until chilled and strain into a martini glass rimmed with orange sugar.  Garnish with a black licorice straw.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hot Rummed Cider

Another yummy festive drink :)

In a saucepan, bring to boil 6 cups apple cider and 4 tbsp brown sugar.  Reduce heat and add 1 tbsp butter.  When butter has melted, add 1 1/2 cups amber rum.  Stir and serve in heat proof mugs.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Hot Apple Brandy

A nice festive drink!

In a saucepan, simmer 6 cups apple cider, 1 cup brandy, 1/2 cup apricot brandy, 3 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 tsp ground cloves for 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Beef Tenderloin with Asian Flavourings

I love Asian inspired food.  This was excellent.  Make sure you use fresh ginger and not powderedFrom Food and Drink Summer 2011

3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp cracked peppercorns
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 kg beef tenderloin
Salt to taste

1 tbsp slivered onions
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice or cider vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
1 tsp Asian chili sauce or other hot sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
Salt to taste (I don't find I need any because of the Soy sauce)

1/4 cup low salt soy sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grated lime rind

Maldon salt (I didn't do this)

  1. Combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, peppercorns and oil.  Brush on beef and let marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Sprinkle with salt just before grilling.
  2. Combine ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce and oil.  Toss with onions then sprinkle onions lightly with salt.  Reserve.
  3. Preheat grill to high and turn off middle burner.  Add meat to grill and grill with lid closed for 10 minutes, then turn over and grill another 15 minutes or until medium rare.  When you turn meat add onion slices to grill over the lit burners and grill for 5 minutes, turn over and grill another 5 minutes or until browned and juicy.  Let tenderloin rest for 5 minutes before carving.
  4. Combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and lime rind in a small pot over high heat.  Boil until syrupy about 4 minutes.
  5. Slice beef, sprinkle with Maldon salt and drizzle with soy balsamic glaze.  Serve with onions.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Grilled Whole Veal Tenderloin with Brandy Butter Sauce

The Brandy Butter Sauce here is fabulous.  I used my gas bbq for this despite the recipe calling for an infra red one.  I just set one side on high for about 15 minutes and then seared the meat and then placed it on the unheated side to cook.  If you can't find veal tenderloin (I couldn't) use pork or beef tenderloin (I used beef).  From Food and Drink Summer 2011.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup brandy
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 veal tenderloins, each about 750g, silver skin removed
1/4 cup steak spice
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp brandy, diluted with 2 tbsp water
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brandy and thyme to combine.
  2. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels.  Fill an injector with the butter mixture.  Stab and inject the tenderloins in multiple places.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
  3. IN a small bowl, combine the steak spice and smoked paprika.  Remove tenderloin from the refrigerator, rub with the olive oil and then massage well with the spice mixture.  Set aside for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  4. For brandy butter sauce, place a medium saucepan over medium heat on the barbecue side burner or stovetop.  Heat 1 tbsp of butter until foaming.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until very soft and fragrant.  Remove from heat and stir in the diluted brandy.  Whisk in the cold butter, 1 cube at a time, until fully incorporated.  If the mixture becomes too cool to melt the butter, place it back on the burner briefly while whisking constantly to ensure sauce does not split.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over very gentle heat until ready to serve.
  5. Preheat the grill to medium high or 450F.  Preheat the infrared burner for 1 minute.  (If using a gas bbq use the above instructions).
  6. Place the tenderloin on the infrared burner and sear, about 1 1/2 minutes a side.
  7. Move tenderloin to medium high side and grill for about 4 to 6 minutes a side for medium rare.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Slice the tenderloin into 1 inch thick medallions, remove to a platter and spoon brandy butter sauce over.  Sprinkle with additional thyme leaves if you wish.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Baby Back Ribs on Maple Planks

I only have a propane BBQ - and I think that is what the majority of us use.  This is a recipe from Food and Drink 2011 that I loved. You can switch the maple planks for an apple wood or your choice.  Soak the wood in water for at least a couple of hours, overnight is better.  Use two 12 x 6 inch planks.  Serve with corn on the cob!

Barbecue Sauce
1 cup apple juice
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

2 full slabs baby back ribs

  1. To make sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook over high heat until reduced by half, or about 1 cup.
  2. To make rub, add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Peel the thin membrane off the back of the ribs (this helps the meat cook more evenly and absorb more flavour while cooking).  Using your fingertips, rub the meat liberally with the rub, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
  4. Meanwhile soak planks in water for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Ignite grill, turn to high and preheat for 10 minutes.  Turn 1 side off leaving the other on, and place planks on the side that has been turned off.  Close lid and wait for the planks to begin to crackle and smoke, between 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn planks over and place a rack of ribs on each plank, reduce heat to low, and close lid.  Maintain a temperature range between 275 to 300 F and cook for 3 hours.
  6. Brush both sides of ribs liberally with barbecue sauce and continue cooking with the lid closed for an additional hour.  Ribs are done when the sauce has become sticky and the meat separates easily from the bones.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The West Coast Burger

A fabulous burger, my husband and myself really enjoyed these.  Not a really kid friendly recipe, but grill up a regular hamburger for them :)  from Food and Drink 2011.

Roasted Tomatoes
4 small ripe plum tomatoes
1/4 tsp each kosher salt, black pepper and granulated sugar

625 g boneless skinless salmon fillets, cut into chunks
125 g smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 thin multi grain burger buns
1/3 cup tartar sauce
1 1/2 cups lightly packed washed and dried watercress (or use baby spinach)
Half small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled soft goat cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 250F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up on baking sheet.  Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and sugar.  Roast for 3 hours or until tomatoes are shrivelled slightly but still moist.  Let tomatoes cool to room temperature.
  3. In a food processor, (I only have a blender) pulse fresh and smoked salmon 8 to 10 times or until chopped but not pureed.  Scrape out salmon mixture into a large bowl.  Add bread crumbs, chives mayonnaise, dill horseradish, lemon zest garlic and cayenne and mix gently but thoroughly.
  4. Form salmon mixture into 4 even size patties about 1 inch thick.  Arrange patties in a single layer on a large plate.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat barbecue to medium high.  Cook patties on well oiled grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once until browned on both sides but still coral coloured in the centre.  Just before burgers are ready, split buns horizontally and toast, cut side down, until golden.
  6. Spread bottom halves of buns with tartar sauce.  Top with watercress, red onion and 2 roasted tomato halves.  Add a burger to each bun and top with goat cheese.  Replace tops of buns.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Arugula Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Spicy Shrimp

Alas I am not a big fan of the Grapefruit, but despite that I gave this recipe a try and I am so glad I did.  The spicy shrimp are wonderful and I enjoyed the grapefruit in the salad.  A nice healthy recipe just before you indulge over the holidays.  From Food and Drink 2011.

500g large tail on raw shrimp, defrosted
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp olive oil

2 medium grapefruit
1 to 2 tbsp seasoned rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
4 cups lightly packed baby arugula
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach

  1. Peel shrimp if needed, leaving just tails attached; discard shells.  Dry shrimp well with paper towels.  Stir garlic with thyme, pepper, salt and mustard until well combined.  Rub all over shrimp; drizzle with 1 tbsp oil.  Toss until evenly coated.  Cover and promptly refrigerate for up to half a day.
  2. Section grapefruits by removing outer rind and membrane with a chef's knife.  Then holding fruit in hand over a large bowl, cut between inner sections leaving rubbery membrane behind.  Squeeze juice from membrane into bowl to use for dressing.
  3. Measure 1/4 cup grapefruit juice.  Stir with 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic and Dijon; taste and add remaining vinegar if needed.  Set aside.  Drain remaining juice from sections; drink or save to put in a smoothie at another time.
  4. When ready to serve, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in large frying pan over medium heat until hot.  Add shrimp all at once.  Saute, turning frequently for 7 to 9 minutes or until hot, pink and firm.
  5. Toss arugula and spinach mixture with dressing.  Portion onto plates; dividing equally, drizzle with any remaining dressing in bowl.  Top with grapefruit sections and shrimp.  Serve right away.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mango Fruit Pavlova

This is a variation of a recipe I found in Food & Drink 2011.  I like Mango and it works well with the sweet meringue.

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar

1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 ripe mango

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F
  2. Trace an 8 inch circle onto a piece of parchment paper using a magic marker, and line a baking tray with the parchment paper, with the marked side down (so the ink won't transfer to the meringue as it bakes).
  3. Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until they are foamy, then slowly pour in the sugar while whipping and continue whipping on high speed until the whites hold a stiff peak when the beaters are lifted (the whites will be thick and glossy). Fold in the cornstarch and vinegar.  Spoon the whites onto the parchment paper and spread it to fit the circle, using your spatula to create pretty swirls.
  4. Bake the meringue for 75 to 90 minutes until the exterior is dry, cracking the oven door if the meringue starts showing signs of browning.  Once out of the oven and cooled, the meringue should feel dry on the outside and peel away from the parchment easily.  If still a little soft, return to the 250F oven for another 10 to 20 minutes.  Cool the meringue on the tray before removing.
  5. Whip the cream to a soft peak and beat in the sugar, lemon zest and juice.  Chill until ready to assemble.
  6. Assemble the pavlova immediately before serving.  Place the meringue onto a platter and top with the whipped cream.  Peel and cut the mango into small pieces and spoon over cream.  Slice and serve as you would a cake or tart.
Serves 8

Honey Vanilla Cheesecake

A delicious moist cheesecake that can be topped with your choice of fresh fruit.  From Food and Drink 2011.

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

3 blocks (250 g each) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup liquid honey
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease an 8 1/2 to 9 inch springform pan.  In a bowl, stir crumbs with sugar then butter until combined.  Press onto bottom of pan.  To prevent water bath seepage, wrap outside of pan's base and up the sides with heavy duty foil.  Bake crust until firm 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool slightly
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until very creamy and smooth.  Beat in honey then cornstarch and salt.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down sides occasionally.  Beat in sour cream and vanilla just until blended.  
  4. Turn into slightly cooled crust and smooth the top.  Set foil-wrapped pan into a roasting pan or casserole dish large enough to hold it.  Fill larger pan with very hot water to com 1 inch up the sides (this will minimize the cakes cracking and make it creamier).  Bake in centre of preheated oven until edges are set but centre jiggles slightly, about 45 minutes. 
  5. Turn off oven, leaving cake in oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and run a knife around edges.  Cool completely on a rack then refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.  Cut into wedges.  Wrapped and refrigerated, cheesecake will keep well for a couple of days.  Or wrap then rewrap in foil and cheesecake will freeze well for a month.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Polenta Lasagna with Roasted Vegetables

A wonderful dish you won't even know is meatless.  Well maybe you will, but you won't care.  From Food and Drink 2011

Roasted Vegetables
1 small whole head garlic
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 each large red and orange sweet pepper seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 each medium yellow and green zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (good quality)

2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

  1. For roasted vegetables, preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Slice top off head of garlic to expose cloves.  In a large roasting pan, toss together head of garlic, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, onion, olive oil, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.  Remove roasting pan from oven and set aside.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 400F.
  4. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skins and stir into vegetables.  Discard bay leaves.
  5. Spread half of vegetables in a 12 cup baking dish.  Spoon half of pasta sauce over vegetables.
  6. For polenta, bring milk, water, lemon zest and slat to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.  Very gradually add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly as you do so (don't add cornmeal too quickly or the mixture will be lumpy).  I find it helpful to use a small whisk for this.  
  7. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often and reducing heat further if mixture spatters, for about 8 minutes or until polenta has thickened and is smooth.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  8. Working quickly, spread half of polenta over vegetables.  Top with remaining vegetables and pasta sauce.  Spread remaining polenta evenly overtop.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.