Friday, January 08, 2010

Cookbook Challenge, Week 6 - Donna Hay Magazine's Sage and Prosciutto Corn Cakes

Ok... so it's a few weeks after christmas now, and I'm once again running really behind in my Cookbook Challenge posts, but I'm determined to catch up again! Hopefully now that the silly season is behind me, I'll be able to find some more time to get back to things like blogging!!

So, this week's recipe isn't so much from a cookbook as such, it's from the December/Jan 2010 Issue of the Donna Hay Magazine. Considering I have way more food magazines than I do cookbooks, I reckon they are fair game in the cookbook challenge.

This christmas was at my sister's house and everything was already done, so there was no real need for me to make anything for xmas lunch. But since I had to make something for the challenge, I made these corn cakes anyway.

Now before you go wondering "where is the corn in that recipe." Polenta is actually made from corn. The recipe calls for instant polenta, but I could only find real polenta that I had to cook for 20 minutes, stirring over the stove. This still works out ok, you just need to be aware when you're adding the wet ingredients like the sour cream, that you don't put too much in, otherwise it could become runny. The instant polenta would normally soak up some of the moisture from the batter. So, I cooked my Polenta and added it already cooked to the mix. It worked out just fine.

The sour cream in these little cakes makes the whole thing pretty rich, so they are good accompaniment to a turkey or something like that. Just be really careful that you grease the muffin tins quite well and leave the cooked cakes to rest for a while, because I found they tended to stick quite a bit. A flat knife helped to get them out in one piece - however quite a few still seemed to break apart.

1 cup of instant Polenta
1/2 cup of plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
2 tablespoons of chopped sage
sea salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 eggs
12 sage leaves, extra and 12 slices of prosciutto

Preheat the oven to 180c
Place the polenta, flour. baking powder, bicarb soda, sage, salt, pepper, cream and eggs in abowl and mix well to combine.
Place extra sage in the bases of 12 lightly greased 1/2 cup capacity 125ml muffin tins. Line each tin with proscutto and fill with polenta mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Turn out to serve. Makes 12.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Mies, Spotswood

Spotswood. There was a movie named after it once. There's a Science museum there. There's a train station. There's the beginning of the westgate bridge. Then there's Mies. The hippest little spot in Spotswood.
A small cafe on Hudson Rd, just off Williamstown Rd, which has popped up quite recently. Somewhere for the local residents to go, other than Nosh in Newport. This is a good thing.
The fitout is sparse, there's a communal table, but no kitchen as such. There's only a very small breakfast / lunch menu, with eats like muesli and toasties. Pretty good toasties too I must add.
Personally I think the guys could do a bit more in the way of food. If they checked out places like Amsterdam St Cafe in Richmond, they would see what could be done without an actual kitchen.
That said though, Mies is definately worth a visit if you're in the area and after a cup of good coffee and basic breakky, but if you're after a substantial breakfast/brunch probably best to head elsewhere.

Cookbook Challenge, Week 5 - Hellenic Republic's Homemade Yoghurt and Berries

This weeks challenge was Greek. So, when looking to a cookbook for Greek recipes - who else do you turn to other than the one, the only, masterchef - George Calombaris?
I thought about making things like Souvlaki, Pan Fried Halloumi, Spanikopita, but I decided to go with something a little different, a little homely and something I've been wanted to attempt for years. More than anything, I just wanted to see if this would actually work!

My recipe this week is from Georgie's book - Greek Cooking from the Hellenic Heart. It's Homemade Yoghurt with Berries. Now, despite the title, this yoghurt isn't actually homemade from scratch. You actually have to purchase a tub of natural yoghurt with live cultures.
You basically mix milk with the tub of yoghurt and overnight the cultures change the milk into yoghurt.

The yoghurt doesn't set as thick as the original yoghurt, it's slightly runnier, but it really does turn into yoghurt! It tastes pretty delicious! I used organic milk to make this, which hopefully created a better final result.
I topped the yoghurt with summer fruits and berries with yoghurt and chopped pistachios. If I had my own cafe, a version of this would definately be on the summer menu!

Recipe - Serves 4

800ml Full Cream Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey
Pinch Salt
1 Cup of Plain Greek style yoghurt with live cultures
Mixed Berries
Extra Honey

1. Bring Milk to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes and then leave to cool to blood temp (37c)
2. Whisk in honey, salt and yoghurt, then strain into sterilised glass jars and cover with cling film and leave to sit at room temperature for 12 hours.
3. Serve with mixed berries of your choice and drizzle with honey.