Friday, 18 July 2014

Slow Roasted Ham Hocks (and Citrus & Mustard Ham Hock Hash)

Ham Hocks are one of the ultimate comfort foods.
Most people use them in soups.
This is a way to cook them that you may not know of.
There will be no turning back!

Slow roasting them with lots of aromatics leaves you with the richest, most unctuous meat that can be used in all sorts of things- shredded and put into fritters, popped into a salad of Roasted Winter veg, shredded & used in the ultimate Quiche Lorraine, shredded and served alongside eggs, the possibilities are endless.
The aromatics I choose leave the meat perfumed with a sweet citrus loveliness. Just perfect for winter.

I like to make a kind of Hash with the meat.
It requires a bit of forethought but boy oh boy the result is worth it.

I roasted the hock the day before and then whipped up the hash the following day for breakfast.
Oh my, the JOY!

Maybe you could do this over the weekend?
Delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
So simple, so DELICIOUS.
Slow food at it's very best.

HOW TO SLOW ROAST HAM HOCKS:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 1 whole orange, remove the rind in large sections & reserve the juice
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 2 large red chillies
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 bay leaves
METHOD:

Preheat oven to 150C.

Place the ham hock in an ovenproof roasting dish. make a couple of incisions across the hock.


Place all ingredients into the dish.

Cover well with tin foil and place into the oven for 4 hours.


Check after 2 hours and add a little water if looking too dry

Remove, allow to cool and shred meat, discarding bones.


CITRUS & MUSTARD HAM HOCK HASH: 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • shredded meat of one slow roasted ham hock
  • 3 large potatoes, cut into 2cm dice.
  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • juice of an orange
  • 1 large tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • olive oil
METHOD:
In a non stick pan, heat a tablespoon olive oil and add diced potatoes.
Pan fry till crisp on the outside and cooked through- about 10-15 mins.

Add garlic & mustard and fry for a minute or so.
Add shredded cabbage and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
Now add the ham hock and the orange juice and stir through.
Finally add the parsley, stir through and serve.

Great live improv duet by two of my absolute fave musical fellas- M.Ward & Howe Gelb.
Enjoy.
x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How to cook Stinging Nettle

I have vivid memories from my childhood of the stinging nettle patch.

It was right behind the chook shed.  Under the grapevines.

It was lush and green but had that hint of danger. The sting of nettles is biting & leaves welts not unlike mosquito bites. It's sting is not enduring, not unlike the burn of wax- fleeting yet felt!


I also have fond memories of the soups that the leaves of the collected nettles made.

It is one of the plants that is seeing a bit of a renaissance in the food world alongside other 'weeds'. One of the reasons perhaps is the knowledge of how incredibly nutrient dense they are.

I bought some at the Farmers Markets on Saturday (it seems kind of strange to be buying them rather than foraging them but when I saw them I just had to have them).

I thought you may be interested in knowing how to cook them.  Perhaps you didn't even know you can cook or eat Stinging Nettles.

For me there is some sort of extra pleasure in cooking something that is a little wild, a little uncommon and a little hard to handle.

For a plant with a bite when it is alive; when it is cooked it is delicate, fragrant and gentle. And yields the most glorious vivid green imaginable.

STINGING NETTLE SOUP:

Nettles are easy enough to prepare- especially if you wear kitchen gloves.

They are a great substitute for Basil in Pesto (some blanch it first before processing, others don't) and can be used as a substitute for Spinach in Saag dishes too.

If you do blanch be sure to ice immediately to help retain that amazing green



WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 large bunch Stinging Nettle
  • 1/2 bunch Italian Parsley
  • 6 large potatoes, washed & diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 litres chicken (or veg) stock
  • S & P
  • knob of butter

METHOD:


Using gloves, strip leaves of the woody part of the stem and pull the tops off- stem and all. Rinse nettles well and dry off in a salad spinner or in a teatowel.


In a pan melt the butter and add the clove of garlic.

Fry till fragrant and add potatoes & parsley.

Add chicken stock  & bring to boil.

Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.


Add nettles, bring back to boil.

Reduce to simmer and cook for further 5 minutes before blitzing.

Season and serve.

I served ours with Goats cheese on Sourdough toast. DELICIOUS.
I was listening to this on Saturday as I cooked. An old fave from an old fave band.


Friday, 20 June 2014

Kangaroo & Black Pepper Pie


Last night I posted some pictures on my Instagram account of the Kangaroo & Black pepper pies I made for dinner.

It sparked a lot of interest, ranging from people who wanted the recipe, to jokes about Skippy the bush kangaroo to people who weren't aware you could even eat Kangaroo.  I promised I would share the recipe.

Many years ago when I first moved out of home, I shared a house with Mr Girlfriend and my sister and her partner.
We all loved to cook. The way it worked best for us was to put money into a combined kitty and do the weekly shop together on a Saturday morning. Gosh we had so many laughs on these shopping trips and excitement at what deliciousness we could make for the week ahead.

Fun times, such fun times. Off we would trot in the old trusty Land Rover to find the bargains of the day that would feed us heartily and happily but most of all cheaply.

We lived in South Australia then.  At that time it was the only state that allowed the legal consumption of Kangaroo meat.
That has changed now and as far as I am aware you can buy it Australia wide.

Back then it was incredibly cheap & so perfect for our very limited food budget. We would buy Kangaroo fillet and I remember a dish that we all used to love that involved searing it on a super high heat and then popping into an oven for about 10 minutes before serving it with an Olive, Garlic, Rosemary & Sour cream sauce. I know right?! We ate so well even though we were on a tight budget. People then made the same jokes as they do now about eating Kangaroo, a kind of disbelief really. But to me it makes no sense, how exactly is eating the meat of Kangaroo any different to eating that of a Sheep or Cow?

Kangaroo is now readily available - I see it in most supermarkets now, whereas you used to have to go to the markets to find it. It is sold in a few cuts too, from fillet (which needs to be cooked on a high heat & fast as it is virtually fat free) to mince.

We just need to get more savvy with how and what food we buy and how we cook.
We need to arm ourselves with knowledge and skills and perhaps make some changes to the way we plan our eating.

Maybe buying cheaper cuts, and things like offal and game meats (rabbit and kangaroo) can help us eat really amazing food that is actually quite affordable and incredibly nutritious.
We need to stop being revolted by the idea of eating offal and cheap cuts such as liver & lamb necks (OMG YUM!) and maybe be a little more revolted in the way our food choices are affecting our planet and our health.

I encourage you to think BIG. Arm yourself with knowledge and start cooking things that challenge your palette. Taste the benefits!
It will not only do your wallet good but it will help the planet and YOU.

I really encourage you to give Kangaroo a try. It is really cheap and so incredibly flavourful.

KANGAROO & BLACK PEPPER PIE:
I bought a kilo of Kangaroo mince for less than $10.
It made a large Family pie and six regular pies. Or you could make all individual ones or 2 large- whatever suits you! 

Combined with the other ingredients I would guess that it cost me less than $15 all up.
If you bought these items at a bakery or specialty store I would be guessing you would be slugged close to $50.00 for all of that.
Making your own food is totally WORTH IT.
Baked pies can be cooled and frozen to be re-heated at a later time.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 kilo Kangaroo mince
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Rice bran oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a handful of finely chopped Parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • stock to cover (about 3-4 cups, add more if necessary)
  • shortcrust pastry (for the base)
  • puff pastry (for the top)
  • egg & milk wash
METHOD:
In a large non stick pan heat oil to medium high and add the diced onion, garlic and bay leaves.

Fry till onion is translucent.

Turn heat up to high & add Kangaroo mince.  Constantly break the mince apart as it cooks so there are no clumps.
Continue to cook till all meat is cooked.  Add Parsley, Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar. Fry for another 5 minutes.

Now dust over the flour and stir through so there are no lumps. Fry for a further 3 minutes so as to cook the flour through.  You will  notice the meat mixture is starting to thicken up.

Now add the stock and stir.


Cook on a low heat for about a half an hour so flavours combine.  You want the mix to be like a thick gravy- if it is too wet just leave to simmer so some of the liquid evaporates. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary.

While the meat mix is cooking you can prepare the pastry.

Heat the oven to 175C.


Grease a large pie dish (and also your muffin tray if you are making individual pies also).

Cut your shortcrust pastry to fit your dish remembering to leave about 2cm more as it will shrink as it cooks.


Prick the base with a fork a couple of times & place baking beads (or dry chickpeas) over the pastry (this helps prevent the pastry lifting off the base).

Bake for about 25 minutes or until brown (this process is called BLIND BAKING- it ensures the bottom pastry is cooked , if it wasn't you would have unpleasant soggy pastry).

Remove and fill with meat mix (be sure to remove the Bay leaves first).  Top the pie with Puff pastry &  brush with egg wash before placing back into the oven for a further 25 minutes.

Remove and serve.




Monday, 2 June 2014

How to make your own Muesli bars

I posted a pic of my Homemade Muesli bars on Instagram and had quite a few peeps call out for me to post my recipe.

I am not keen on the shop bought ones.

I am not a fan of all the ooky extras that seem to get put in packaged foods.

I am not an anti-sugar person - we eat sugar in our house, but I am not a fan of any over processed foods.

Let it be known loud and proud right here that some nights I serve Ice-cream for dinner here at my house.

*GASP*

I know right?!
S U C H a REBEL!

I mean why wait for dessert some nights when the day has been that bad. Cut your losses and go direct to the stuff nobody is going to turn down huh.
No arguments over ice-cream and tomorrow will be a new start.

I GIVE YOU PERMISSION to do it too!
Maybe tonight is the night!

You know what...... I don't really have a problem with my kids eating sugar.
What I do have a problem with is too much of anything too much of the time.

Too much sugar.
Too many numbers.
Too much fat.
Too much processing.

Be mindful by all means but maybe the obsessive ways are not the best tools we are giving our kids about decision making in anything.

I try really super dooper hard to make good decisions about the way we eat in our house.
We try to always eat food where we know its origins.
But that is not always possible. SO it doesn't always work out that way.
And that is OK.
We do our very best.
Just as I am sure everyone is doing.

But don't forget to have fun.
Fun is really really good.
And ever so underrated.

HOME MADE NUT FREE MUESLI BARS:
Keeping in mind what I have written above- these are not 'healthy' as such.
Really no muesli bar I know of is. Muesli yes. Muesli bars- not so much.
They are held together with a sugary buttery yumminess.
The difference with the homemade ones is there are no extra ooky numbers and preservative nonsense.

Ok- so here we go.
Super easy, super delicious and a TREAT!

I make my own muesli too- I just throw together a heap of ingredients I think will taste nice. No rules.
This batch was Oats, Puffed Quinoa, Sunflower seeds, Pepitas & sultanas- I often add nuts such as almonds or pistachios but I wanted to make school snacks and never make anything with Nuts because I am a BIG supporter of sending all nut-free food to school.
I don't have allergic children but I feel we all have a responsibility to the safety of the children around us.

This recipe is SO EASY your kids should really be making their own muesli bars!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • 3 cups muesli (of your choice- I make my own as I talk about above)
  • 3/4 cup Golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
METHOD:
Preheat oven to 175C.
Line a 20 x 30cm biscuit tray with baking paper.
In a small saucepan over medium heat melt butter, golden syrup and sugar till bubbling and sugar has dissolved.
Place Muesli into a large bowl and pour syrup over the top.
Mix well to make sure all the muesli is coated.
Spoon mix into biscuit tray and press down with the palm of your hand till evenly spread over tray.
You could add choc chips over the top at this point for an extra treat if you wish.
Place in oven for 20-30 mins or until going light brown.
Remove and let cool completely in tin before slicing into desired sizes.
I pop mine into an airtight container in layers separated by baking paper to keep for a few days.
Happy baking!
xx
GG

LOVING Sharon Van Etten's new album but particularly this track....

Friday, 30 May 2014

Clever Clogs Cooking Club

Today in my newsletter I announced a new GG project.
(The first newsletter has already been sent but you can subscribe over on the top RHS of the blog so you don't miss out on the next one!)

YAY!
I would love you to join in!


Every month you will be sent a cute gourmet goodie bag made by me.
Each pack will Ingredients and a super gorgeous Recipe card with ideas of how to use the ingredient/s included.
The recipes sent out to my Cooking Club are exclusive and will not be published elsewhere.
Subscriptions are available on a 3, 6 or 12mth basis & are designed to get you excited about being in the kitchen,  to encourage you to try new things & to save you a bit of time!
Some months there will be extra bonus goodies or special discounts on other items in my store.
You can head over here to look at the prices & plans. I will let you know when it is all ready to go but I am planning for a JULY start!

There are very LIMITED places available to my Cooking Class this coming Wednesday for Steps Australia at Hobba in Prahran.
You can read a review of the last one here.
We had SUCH a fun time. I hope you can come to this one!
Tickets are available by clicking on this link.
I hope you all have some nice plans for the weekend and enjoy some happy feasting times with those you love.
Toodle-oo till next time!
xx
GG