Month: August 2013

Match Made in Heaven – Salmon, Orange and Fennel

As a chef you learn food matches that are just meant to be – and some that are not. These flavours compliment in their contrast or their compatibility. There is of course science behind this and the plant families etc etc which you can look into if you are so inclined but this is more about the classics that we just learn and know. The trick is to take flavours you know work and make the styling or preparation your own. That’s where your personality comes into your cooking and makes it fun and enjoyable for you. As always, rules are meant to be broken so if you’re a fan of salami and pickle sandwhiches like I am, ignore the naysayers and crack open that jar in the fridge…

Now, to some classic combos:

– orange and fennel

– chocolate and pear (or chocolate and me!)

– garlic and onion

– basil and tomato

– oregano and lemon

– chilli and lime

– lamb and rosemary

– mint and peas

– salt and pepper (jokes)

There are of course a myriad of different combinations that are pleasing these are just an indication. I used fennel and orange as both are in season, the tartness of the orange is great with fatty fish like salmon and watercress has a peppery taste that lifts it all. The sauce was a thin tzatziki for a garlicy creamy punch. Let’s just say Monday night dinner got a little bit fancy.

There’s not a lot to explain with this dish as it was simple and straightforward. Just how we like dinner to be!

IMOK_salmon dinner

Ingredients:

– 6 kipfler potatoes

– 1 baby fennel

– bunch of large watercress

– 2 oranges

– 1/2 cucumber

– 1 clove garlic

– 1/2 cup natural yoghurt

– juice of half a lemon

Method:

Bring the potatoes to the boil whole in a pan with salted water, cook until tender

IMOK_kipfler

Slice the fennel on a mandolin (v slicer for some – available in most kitchen stores or shaving with a knife if you’re able will also do) and place in bowl on top of cut and washed watercress

Segment orange and sprinkle over

IMOK_salad

To make tzatziki grate the cucumber and garlic, add to bowl with yoghurt and mix. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. The lemon juice will thin the mixture along with the cucumber juice. If you’d like a thicker dip, squeeze the cucumber in a clean chux or muslin cloth and add to yoghurt adding juice until desired consistency.

IMOK_tzatziki

Slice the kipler into rounds and pan-fry until golden,  pan fry your salmon skin side down (if you like skin on) until skin is crispy, flip to finish and seal flesh side and serve.

I tossed the salad with some olive oil, placed the potatoes down first, then piled the salad up, salmon on top with the tzatziki spooned over as sauce. Yum yum!

A few hints for cooking salmon or any fish really

– cook it flesh side down first if there is no skin on – how do you tell which is the flesh side? the fillet will have a side with almost a silver marking on it, this was the skin side. The flesh side tends to have a plumper appearance – this is the presentation side as such so pan fry this side first for a nice golden colour then flip to the skin side to finish.

– if the skin is on, have a moderate heat to stop the skin sticking and make sure the oil is hot – this applies to cooking in general but it will help stop the skin sticking  – remember it colours quickly so if you blast it with a high heat it may burn, moderate even heat creates the best results

Enjoy!

Not just a pumpkin scone – my mother’s pumpkin scones

pumpkin scone finished v3

 

Well actually, this is a recipe for pumpkin scones, but not just any pumpkin scones, old school recipe from the 60’s pumpkin scones -mmmm. Once again I baked some treats from my mother’s high school recipe book and happened across the pumpkin scones and with a 1/4 pumpkin looking forlorn in the fridge and no immediate use in mind a scone it was destined to become!

A few hints for getting the pumpkin to the mashed stage as per the recipes request

– steam if you can don’t boil: pumpkins already have quite a high moisture content and boiling floods them with even more creating a sloppy mash even if you drain it well – steaming prevents this from happening thus ensuring you won’t need to add a lot of flour to compensate

– if you can, bake the pumpkin at a low heat (150 degrees Celsius) until soft for a lovely texture – the low heat ensures the pumpkin doesn’t over colour

As these are home made pumpkin scones and thus have no preservatives if you’d like to have them for more than a couple of days (if they can stay around that long!) freeze them and defrost and toast for an afternoon tea later in the week. Once again I served mine with apricot jam (its a weakness) and lashings of butter. Delicious!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups SR flour

1 cup mashed pumpkin

60 g butter

1 egg

60g sugar

1/2 cup milk

Method

– Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs

– Make well in centre of flour, mix milk with egg and sugar, fold into flour with a butter knife

– Add mashed pumpkin and mix to soft dough

– The mix will be sticky, flour your hands and use a piece of baking paper to roll the dough out onto

– Once the dough is rolled to about 3 cm thickness cut into rounds with cutter and place on tray

– Brush with milk for a more golden colour if desired

– Bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-15 min until golden

– Allow to cool, crack open, butter up and dig in. Yumm….

pumpkin scone ingredients

pumpkin scone dought rolled

pumkpin scone mixed

pumpkin scone finished v3