Kalamata Olive and Roast Almond Tapenade

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Every year I say, I’m not doing anything for Christmas, I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, blah blah blah. But then, every year, next minute, I’m elbows deep in royal icing, fighting off the flies on a 35 degree summer’s day, making gingerbread houses that no-one is going to eat. And I secretly love it.

However, I’m guessing most people aren’t like me, so here is a recipe for an impressive but very easy appetiser for these entertaining times. Will post another one tomorrow for an even easier one!dsc_1371 dsc_1396dsc_1415 dsc_1434

Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
500g kalamata olives
4 anchovies plus 1 tbs of their oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs capers
4 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup roasted almonds plus a quarter of a cup of sliced to serve
To Serve
4 garlic bulbs, cut and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper at 180 degrees for about 30mins
Cherry tomatoes on the vine, roasted at 180 degrees for about 15mins
Danish Feta
Fresh baguette (or a gluten free alterna
Fresh basil leaves
Method
To make the tapenade, first roughly chop the almonds in a food processor by using the pulse button so as not to over-chop. Empty them into a bowl.
Place the olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper in the processor and process until combined and relatively smooth. Empty into the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine.
To serve, place in a bowl and top with the extra sliced almonds. Place bowl on a platter with the garlic, tomatoes, feta, baguette and basil leaves.
Enjoy!

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Spinach, Egg and Chinese Sausage Pie

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I woke up yesterday morning, feeling nostalgic for Easters as a child, where, if I’m remembering this correctly (it was either Christmas or Easter), Mum would always make the most amazing bacon, egg and cheese pie. It was so delicious, and such a treat for us all to sit down and share breakfast together. I’m sure Mum was trying to fill our bellies with something wholesome to prevent us from making ourselves sick on Easter eggs. I was always the type to eat as many chocolate eggs as I possibly could, running out in a couple of days, where, my little brother, would save his for so long that they would start to turn white. I’m pretty sure he did this just to annoy me.

We always had a such an awesome time on the Sunday morning Easter egg hunt. Our Mum was a genius at making it seem like the Easter Bunny had been to our house, going as far as muddy rabbit paw prints through the house and half eaten carrots on the back porch. She was also fantastic at hiding the eggs, so good that we’d be finding them in the backyard for weeks to come. I can’t wait to do this for my kids one day!

Anyway, back to this pie. Yesterday being Good Friday, nothing was open to be able to buy the necessary ingredients to make this pie as I reminder, so, I had to make do with what we had. Which turned out to be absolutely delicious!! The eggs, spinach and basil all came from the backyard, and since living up here I’ve been keeping a constant stock of chinese sausage (lap cheong) in the cupboard, as it is just so flavoursome and can add a lot to asian dishes. I had to make do with the little amount of butter that we had for the pastry, but I think the mixture of butter and olive oil worked perfectly, with the parmesan giving an extra boost. You could serve this at any time of the day, with some spicy barbecue or tomato sauce and a little side salad (or not, up to you). Just make sure you place a marker, such as a little pastry leaf, on top of the pastry lid, where you have placed the eggs, so that you can cut right down through the centre of each to serve. Just cause it looks really cool. As you can see, the chickens only gave us three eggs this day. You could replace the chinese sausage with bacon or chorizo, or even some feta or haloumi for a vegetarian pie.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients
Pastry
270g plain flour
40g parmesan, finely grated
40g cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
Filling
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120g chinese sausage (lap cheong), finely sliced
120g brazilian spinach (or any other type of spinach), roughly chopped
400g can crushed tomatoes
130g grated cheddar cheese
large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
4 eggs
milk, for brushing
Spicy barbecue sauce or tomato relish, to serve

Method
In a large bowl, sift the flour, add the salt and parmesan, stir to combine. Add the butter and olive oil and, using your fingers, rub the mixture together until it resembles sand. Add the water and use a spoon to combine. Knead briefly to bring it all together, about 1 min, until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion and cook, stirring, about 4 mins, until soft. Add the garlic and sausage and cook, stirring, for a further 4 mins, or until starting to turn golden. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for 1 min, until wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until simmering. Allow to simmer for 5mins, stirring often. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Add the grated cheese and basil and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 20cm spring form cake tin.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut away two thirds of it to use for the base. Roll out into a 30cm circle and then carefully press into the prepared tin. Prick the base with a fork and place in the oven. Cook for 15mins, until dry. Remove from the oven.
Pour the pie filing into the pastry case. Make four holes in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top each egg.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a 25cm circle. Brush the edges of the case with milk. Carefully place the lid on top and press together the edges to seal. Brush the edges and all over the top with milk. Pierce a hole in the middle for steam to release. Use the pastry cutoffs to mark where the eggs are, if you wish. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pie for 45-55mins, until golden and crunchy on the edges. Remove from oven.
Allow to sit for about 10mins before cutting.
Serve with sauce and salad, if desired.
Enjoy!

Silverbeet, Kale and Walnut Tart (dairy free)

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My ultimate dream is to become a travelling foodie. I want to travel all over the world and research ingredients, recipes, traditions and methods. Well, I am going to do that anyway but to be able to make money from it somehow would be perfect. I haven’t figured out the best way to go about this yet but I figure if I keep doing what I’m doing, getting better and expanding my skills, I should one day get there.

Very soon I will be leaving this town with an indefinite plan and no return date.  I can’t wait to experience and learn everything I possibly can about the food from different regions along the way.

We will be travelling through northern Australia first, along the coast, and I’m so excited about the seafood.

I hope to be in Europe by this time next year, and after my experience there last year, it’s all I can think about. The local produce markets and beautiful little cafes in beautiful little alleyways…. aaahhhhh.

SBS’s Feast magazine is my favourite food magazine and in their recent issue was a recipe for a kale and walnut tart, taken from the streets of France, where beautiful people support their local businesses and support each other by buying local and cooking seasonally. I loved how simple but beautiful this tart sounded but i also wanted to make something reasonably healthy so I made a few adjustments and it was still absolutely delicious.

The fresh and simple salad to go with it is so perfect. I love the contrast of the creamy, earthy pie filling, the crunchy crust and the fresh juicy tomatoes. The spanish onion adds just the right amount of kick too.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Crust

270g wholemeal flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt

Filling

125g silverbeet leaves, finely chopped

125g kale leaves, finely chopped

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups oat milk

1/4 cup coconut cream

70g toasted walnuts, chopped, plus extra to serve

Salad

A few handfuls of heirloom cherry tomatoes

A handful of pitted kalamata olives

Half a spanish onion, thinly sliced

A handful of small basil leaves

Drizzle of good quality olive oil and balsamic viegar

Salt and Pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 280 degrees celcius. Grease a 24cm round tart dish.

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and olive oil. Add the water and store to combine. Bring together with your hands and turn out onto clean surface. Knead for about 4 mins or until smooth.

Roll out the dough to 3mm thickness and line the dish with it. Place in the freezer for half an hour.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, combine the silver beet, kale, and walnuts in a bowl. In another bowl beat the eggs with the milk, cream, and some salt and pepper. Add to the silver beet mixture and stir until combined.

Prick the base of the tart crust with a fork and bake for about 20mins or until just dry and lightly golden.

Remove front the oven and pour in the filling. Return to the oven and bake for about 50mins, or until set. Remove front the oven and let it sit for at least 10mins before serving. Or it can be served at room temperature. To serve, scatter with extra walnuts.

To make the salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Enjoy!