Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bring out the ouzo! - Mykonos Toasted Sandwich

Idon't always plan the family meals for the week. Usually I like to buy a few things and then see what we all feel like. However, last week I had about 5 nights of meals sorted. 3 of those happened, one remains on hold in the freezer and the other, well it morphed into something else. I was all set for making my stuffed capsicums and then I just didn't feel like it. The weather was hot and dry and I felt like something light and summery. I had to use up some greek yoghurt and salad and suddenly I was taken back to the Greek Islands all those years ago. For every meal, as I travelled around the islands, I enjoyed home-made Tzatziki, wild grown tomatoes, crusty bread and usually a yeeros filled to the brim with lamb. Here is my version of those simple dishes smashed together and made into a steak sandwich. Opa!


Serves 2 adults and 2 children

Lamb and marinade
500g lamb strips (You want large strips [see pic]. The kind you can sear on each side for a minute or two easily with tongs. Thin and small stirfry strips won't really work in this dish)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a good grinding ground pepper
about 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
a dash of olive oil

200g greek yoghurt (I like Jalna brand for its thickness)
1 small lebanese cucumber, skin on, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, finely diced
lemon juice to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons)

ripe tomatoes (3-4 slices per sandwich, very lightly salted)
baby lettuce leaves
8 slices of whatever bread you'd like to use, well toasted
butter (for the lettuce side)

how to make your mykonos toasted sandwiches

first of all, make your tzatziki. In a plastic container with a lid add the yoghurt, diced cucumber, diced garlic and lemon juice. mix well, pop on the lid and put back in the fridge until your ready.

Now wash your tomatoes and lettuce, lightly salt the tomatoes and set aside.

Pop your bread in the toaster ready to push down; or if using thicker bread then pop under the grill.

Pop the lamb strips into a bowl with the remaining 7 ingredients and give it a good toss together.

Throw a dash of oil in a pan and put it on high heat. When really,really hot pop the bread down in the toaster and then place each piece of meat in the pan. Allow a minute or so then turn over and cook for another minute or until done to your liking.

Butter one side of the toast and lay the lettuce and tomato on this half. On the other half spread the tzatziki, then lay some of the lamb strips and serve immedately.

If your unsure whether your kids will like the tzatziki you could always use less garlic or go for something else like hommus.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pear and Ricotta Tarts with Fox Drink Water Syrup

My very good friend, Caroline and I have put together a little store on Etsy; you can find us here! If you are in need of something Vintage and Fabulous and Kitcheny, then check it out!

To celebrate our efforts in putting this shop together I wanted to create a scrumptious dessert that reflected both of us; something that we would devour in 5 seconds flat! Having recently been spoiled to a wonderful breakfast of pancakes, Caroline also made her unbelievably delicious brown sugar syrup. So I created a tart that would have to incorporate this liquid yumminess.You can see her wonderful recipe for pikelets and brown sugar syrup here. I hope you enjoy sharing the tarts with your friends and we hope you enjoy perusing our little vintage shop! (We are still to add a few more pieces but we will get there shortly, drop in and say 'Hi'.)

When I first started creating this recipe Quinces were still just in season so I have included the details for that so when next season rolls around you'll be able to give it a go too!


For the Quince Tarts -

approx 2 quinces (you will need 1 quarter per tart), stewed and cooled. (Just make sure they are not stewed for too long otherwise they will be too mushy)
250g ricotta cheese - Perfect Italiano Brand from the cheese section in the supermarket
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons plain flour
2 sun-ripened figs (Angus Park do a pack of these that aren't dried and are very scrummy)

For the Pear and Ricotta Tarts -

2 pears, Don't peel and core them until ready to assemble - I used just ripe Josephine pears
250g ricotta cheese - Perfect Italiano brand from the cheese section in the supermarket
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons plain flour
2 tablespoons of dried currants

For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry -

150 g Plain flour, sieved
Pinch Salt
85 g Unsalted butter, cold and cut into rough cubes
1 Egg yolk
1 - 2 tbsp Cold water
25 g Caster sugar

how to make your Pear and Ricotta Tarts with Fox Drink Water Syrup (or Quince Tarts with Fox drink Water Syrup)

*makes six 9cm diameter tarts

First of all make your pastry so you can pop it in the fridge for half an hour or until ready to use.

Put the flour, sugar, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process briefly - to make fine breadcrumbs.

With the machine running, add the egg yolk and continue to process. Add a little water until it just comes together.

If making the pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add the egg yolk and just enough water to bring it together.

Flatten it out as it will be easier to roll out then wrap in glad wrap and pop in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry between 2 pieces of glad wrap or glad bake until it's about 1/2 cm in thickness. Cut into 6 rough squares. Spray your 6 9cm diameter tart tins with oil spray(I have a tin that's like a muffin tin except it's for tarts! It was a wedding present from family, one of the best presents ever!!) and then press the pastry into each tin. Tidy up edges roughly they should look a little rustic.

Next, grab a bowl and whisk the ricotta, plain flour, egg yolk and caster sugar together until smooth. Stir through the currants (or figs). Pop into each pastry lined tart tin then top with thinly sliced pear (or quinces). Pop in the oven for 20 - 25 mins, until pastry is cooked and mixture is set.

Leave to cool in the tins for 5 - 10 mins (before then it will be too tricky to get them out unless of course you are giving each person their own individual tart in a tin - that would look kinda cute!)

Pop on a plate and drizzle liberally with the delicious Fox Drink Water Syrup. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

spring-a-ding-ding - Sweet potato, chickpea and risoni salad

Chucking fresh herbs in a salad, especially when you've grown the herbs yourself, is one of the best things! This is my favourite salad and I know that there are many salads similar to this one but I can honestly say I threw this one together out of desperation when I was pregnant with my first child. My cravings consisted of anything fresh: fruit, salads, asian broths - I had never been so healthy in all my life! One vegetable though I ate practically everyday was sweet potato. I couldn't get enough of it. So, this salad was born and we still LOVE it. Whenever there is a touch of warm weather I always throw it together for a quick and easy meal. There are no hard and fast rules with this dish, just make sure everything is beautiful and fresh and it will definately take you to a sunny place!


1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
half piece of butternut pumpkin (if you like), peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1 zucchini, chopped into 4 pieces
1 spanish onion, peeled and chopped
1 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup risoni, cooked
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
salt and pepper
extra virgn olive oil

how to make your sweet potato, chickpea and risoni salad

Pre heat your oven to 180C. Chop up your vegies and throw on a baking dish and drizzle with some extra virgn olive oil. Pop in the oven for about half an hour. You'll need to check them every now and then as the cooking time depends on what size you have chopped your vegies.
Heat up a frying pan gently with some olive oil and throw in your chopped spanish onion. Sweat over a low heat until very soft. Now pop a pot of water on the stove over a high heat. When boiling add your cup of risoni. (You could omit risoni and use cous cous instead)
Back to the onion, add the cumin and give it a stir until fragrant then throw in your chickpeas and heat through until soft.
When risoni is cooked, drain. Grab a large bowl, throw in: the onion,chickpea mix,the vegies and the risoni. Now throw in your roughly chopped herbs, some salt and pepper to taste and a good spritz of lemon juice. Give it a good toss, check seasonings and throw in a serving dish. voila!

Beautiful served warm straight away but also yummy cold the next day!