Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chicken Salad with Grapefruit and Pistachios

This is another salad from the wonderful Bill Granger and Bill's Food and another hit this week. Simple to put together and really tasty. Definitely a winner!

Chicken Salad with Grapefruit and Pistachios
(Serves 4)

4 skinless chicken breast fillets
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon sliced
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1/2 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
2 grapefruits, segmented

yoghurt dressing
1 cup plain yoghurt
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
salt freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice each chicken breast into three escalopes on a chopping board, put a freezer bag over them and pound them with a mallet or rolling pin until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Place the chicken escalopes in a flat ceramic dish and pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil over them. Distribute the lemon and pepper over the chicken, cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large frying pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle it with sea salt. Cook in the pan for 1 minute each side or until cooked through and golden.

4. Toss the herbs with the pistachios, onion, grapefruit and remaining olive oil, then season well. Divide this among four plates and top each with three pieces of chicken. Serve with the dressing on the side.

5. To make the dressing, stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Grilled Sirloin with Wild Rocket and Rosemary Potatoes

My wonderful hubby took me away to Philadelphia this past weekend and it was an eating-fest. We dined at lots of wonderful places, then on Sunday spent the day watching football and eating bar food....always fun at the time, but regrettable after the fact. So, I figured I better make something light for dinner tonight to compensate for a weekend of overindulgence.

The first book I turned to was Bill Granger's Bills Food. I love Bill's food because its so light and simple. No fussy ingredients, just simple and tasty. I chose to make this semi-salad as I am not usually one to eat salads in winter. But this one still evokes the heartiness of meat and potatoes, but is still light like a salad. It was the perfect remedy for my expanding holiday waistline!!

Grilled Sirloin with Wild Rocket and Rosemary Potatoes
(Serves 4)

4 sirloin steaks
2 tbs olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 large handfuls of wild rocket (arugula)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
rosemary potatoes

rosemary potatoes
1kg potatoes, cut into 2cm dice
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove steaks from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature. Brush with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. heat a large frying pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Sear steaks for 2 minutes on each side, by which time they will be done if you like rare steak. Cook for a minute or two more if you like it medium or medium well.

2. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. While the steaks are resting, put the arugula, lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Divide the rocket among four serving plates. Put the steaks on a chopping board and cut each into slices, then place on top of the arugula, pouring any escaped juices over them. Add rosemary potatoes to the plate.

3. To make potatoes, preheat oven to 400F. Place the potatoes, olive oil and rosemary in a bowl and toss. Place potatoes in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour or until crispy. Transfer to a serving plate and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce

These ravioli are a little fiddly to make, but you get a lot and can freeze them for later use. You could even double the ravioli recipe easily as cans of pumpkin tend to be really big. I considered making fresh pumpkin mash, but didn't end up having the time and the canned worked just fine. It is also pretty easy to find this time of year. This is a good vegetarian recipe. tasty and low calorie. Its from the November edition of Cooking Light.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce
(Makes 6 serves)

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
2 tbs dry breadcrumbs
2 tbs fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced fresh sage
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
30 wonton wrappers
1 tbs cornstarch
cooking spray
1 cup fat free milk
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs butter
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 tbs chopped hazelnuts

1. Spoon pumpkin into several layers of heavy-duty paper towels and spread to 1/2 inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand for 5 minutes. Scrape into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, minced sage, pepper and nutmeg.

2. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep from drying), spoon 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into the center of wrapper. Brush edges of wrapper with water and fold in half, pressing edges firmly with fingers to for a half moon (or triangle). Place on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch. Repeat process with remaining wonton wrappers and pumpkin mixture.

3. Fill a large dutch oven with water; bring to a simmer. Add half the ravioli to pan (cover remaining ravioli with a damp towel to keep from drying). Cook 4 minutes or until done (do not boil), stirring gently. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon; lightly coat with cooking spray and keep warm. repeat with remaining ravioli.

4. Combine milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. gently stir in Gorgonzola.

5. Place 5 ravioli in each of 6 shallow bowls and drizzle each serving with 3 tbs of Gorgonzola mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tsp hazelnuts. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mum's Minestrone Soup

This is a recipe that I love to make in the winter. It's definitely one of my favourite soups and it comes from none other than my mum. She doesn't like to cook that much, but she does have a couple of stellar signature dishes, and this is one of them. Its a hearty, healthy soup that always last for a few days and is absolutely delicious served with fresh, crusty bread. I made this for dinner tonight and thought I would share with the rest of the world. Hope you don't mind, Mum!! :)

Minestrone Soup
(Makes about 8-12 servings)

1-2 Bacon Bones
1 onion, chopped
1 stick of celery, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 litres (12 cups) of beef stock
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 large carrot, chopped
2 zucchini's, sliced
1-2 potatoes, chopped into cubes
a handful of green beans, cut into small pieces
as much broccoli (cut into small florets) that you like
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 -1 cup of small macaroni
grated parmesan cheese to serve
crusty bread with butter to serve

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a little olive oil, then saute bacon bones, onion, celery and garlic over low heat until onions are transparent.

2. Add stock and tomatoes, then turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Whilst waiting for the soup to boil, add the vegetables, basil, oregano and bay leaf.

3. Lower heat and simmer, covered for at least 2 hours. Add macaroni 10 minutes before serving, then serve with cheese and bread.

# This soup gets better the longer you leave it. I like to leave it simmering for at least 3-4 hours and it is even better the next day. Enjoy!