31 July 2017

The Queen of Tarts

Pastry.  I love pastry.  To be even more specific, I love to eat things made from pastry.  Pies.  Danishes.  Tarts.  Yum.  

Over the weekend I spent a day at The Food Show in Auckland, and saw some fantastic cooking demos by some of our coolest celebrity chefs.  It got me thinking back to past years at the show, and I remembered a tasty, but very quick, tart whipped up by Ray McVinnie, using mushrooms, pastry and butter (ok and a couple more ingredients, but you got the basics right there!).  

So, without further ado, here it is, as Frankie and I created it, yesterday for lunch...

Serves 2-3 (depending how hungry you are) 

2 sheets flaky puff pastry (I was using the pre-rolled Edmonds) 
1 egg 
sesame seeds 
c. 10-12 button mushrooms, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced or chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp dried tarragon 
salt and pepper 
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.  
  2. Beat egg in a small bowl.  Brush 1.5 cm around edge of pastry with egg.  Fold over, creating a border.  Brush tops of border with more egg.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  
  3. Prick bottom of tart (within the border) - this will stop that pastry rising when cooking.  Place in oven for a few minutes, just to start cooking the area where the mushrooms will be - don't leave it for too long, 'cause you don't want the border cooked too much before you top the tart.  
  4. Remove from oven and top with a layer of mushrooms.  Mix together butter, onion, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with a few more sesame seeds.  
  5. Return to oven for 5 minutes.  Remove when nicely browned.  

27 July 2017

Hulk's signature dish

If Hulk were to take on cooking, I reckon this would be his signature dish.  It's hearty, rich in flavour and, as with Hulk, has more than one personality involved.  This dish is essentially a sausage casserole, but mixed with a pasta bake and a lasagna.  That's right - sausage casserole pasta bake lasagna - boom!!  

As with most casseroles (and indeed, most dishes I make), there are several places where you can switch things in or out, depending on your tastes and what you have (or don't have) in the fridge.  This is adapted from Chelsea Winter's recipe in Scrumptious (thanks Janelle!!).  

500 g pumpkin + kumara (I used butternut and orange kumara, chopped into 2cm chunks)
2 tbsp EVOO 
salt and pepper
smoked paprika
8-10 sausages (I used our local butcher's beefys) 
1 large onion, sliced
4 - 5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 cups chopped spinach (or 2 zucchini, grated)
1 tbsp dried oregano 
2 x 400 g tins tomatoes 
1 cup beef stock (fresh - if you use powdered, add a little extra water and no extra salt)
1/2 cup red wine (or another 1/2 cup stock)
1/2 cup tomato paste (I used half-and-half pizza sauce and BBQ sauce, 'cause I'd run out)
250 g dried pasta (penne, macaroni...) 
1.5 cups cheese sauce (however you like to make it) - or 200 g creme fraiche (sprinkle some grated chedder cheese on top, if you use creme fraiche)
1 cup freshly grated parmasan cheese
  1. Toss the pumkin/kumara with oil, salt and pepper, and paprika.  Roast in oven at about 180 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes.  
  2. Cook pasta as per instructions on the packet, to al dente.  
  3. While veges are roasting, chop sausages into 5 or 6 pieces each.  Melt some butter in a large frypan and brown all over.  Remove from pan and set aside.  
  4. Melt a little more butter, cook onion until softening.  Add garlic, spinach and oregano.  Cook for a couple more minutes.  
  5. Put sausages back into pan and add tomatoes, stock, wine, tomato paste.  Stir and bring to rapid simmer.  Simmer away for about 15 or so minutes, until sauce is thickened.  
  6. Make your cheese sauce, if using.  
  7. Mix roasted veges, cooked pasta and sausage saucey mixture together in a large lasagna dish (I had to use one large and a small one too).  Pour cheese sauce over all.  Grate parmasan on top.  
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden in colour.  You could grill for a minute at end too, to get that really sweet golden top.  
  9. Serve on its own or with some stramed greens.  This is so yum!  
Serves about 10 adults.