Saturday, February 25, 2012

Orange juice the old way / Juices

Why post this? Because we love orange juice - only when the oranges are freshly picked from our friends tree and juiced in our own kitchen. A whole lot of goodness, chemical free! Oh and the  oranges  photographed beautifully. 

Freshly squeezed Orange juice...the old way! Perfect start to the day to enjoy with our weekend breakfast feast 'Poached eggs with a rich Tuscan bean sauce'

Orange Juice the old way
serves 2

5 organic oranges halved

squeeze orange halves to make 500 mls of orange juice


Organic poached eggs with Tuscan beans cooked in tomato, garlic & sage / Weekend Breakfast Feasts

Our Weekend Breakfast Feast
Organic poached eggs with Tuscan beans cooked in tomato, garlic & onion
Serves 4

Every Saturday, in celebration of the weeks-end, we love to prepare a noshy cooked breakfast packed with flavour. We always find cooking cathartic, and what better way to refresh & re-energize than cooking a beautiful Saturday breaky!

The cooked beans in tomato, garlic & sage ( traditionally known as fagiolli all' uccelletto ) is our own - tried and tested over many months, using varying ingredients and methods. We think we've got it pretty right - the flavour is rich & luxuriant, the colour and textures an ode to its Tuscan roots. It is a hearty, rustic mix of flavours we know you will love.

Try these with organic poached eggs on a great sour dough loaf and you will never turn back!

1. Beans cooked in tomato, garlic & onion


500g dried red kidney beans
 (if time poor can use tinned)
500g dried white butter beans 

(if time poor can use tinned)
2 x 400g tinned Italian tomatoes
1/2 large red capsicum finely diced
200ml tomato passata
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely diced
 (refer to our post "Cutting onions without tears")
2 tsp mild organic chilli paste
(feel free to turn up the heat if you love the hot stuff)
6 large fresh sage leaves
2 large springs of fresh thyme
90ml extra virgin olive oil
2 anchovies
Sea salt & ground black pepper

If using dried beans, soak them in water for 6-7 hours or overnight. The drain, rinse and cook them in plenty of simmering water until soft - about 1 1/2 hours - then drain them and set aside.

Prepare your "mise en place" - (everything in its place) of garlic, onion, chilli paste and capsicum.

Put the garlic into your pot with the olive oil and gently simmer until fragrant, ensuring you don't burn the garlic. Stir in the onions and cook until they are soft but not browned (sweat). Stir in the chilli paste and add the capsicum and cook until soft.

 Once you have done this, add the fresh herbs - sage & thyme and stir them in.

Add in the tinned tomato's, passata and beans.

Stir in the anchovies (they will dissolve into the sauce and add a wonderful richness)

Add salt & pepper to taste

Lid on - and simmer over low heat for 30 mins (stirring occasionally).

2. Organic poached eggs


4 eggs
100ml vinegar / litre of water

Heat water and vinegar in a deep pot until the bubbles are foaming on the bottom, but not breaking the surface (this temperature is very important).
Crack each egg into a small cup and gently place into the middle of the liquid.
As the egg falls through the water, it should set into an egg shape and then float to the surface when the white is set.
Cook until the white is set and the yoke is still runny - approx 2 1/2 - 3 minutes according to the size of your egg.
Remove from the liquid with a slotted spoon & drain on absorbent paper.
Trim edges to make it look pretty!

Serve on fresh sourdough with a curl of avocado & a splosh of our yummy Tuscan beans!

Buon Appetito! -X-

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Help / Featured Weekend Movie

We settled in to watch "The Help" tonight and loved this story. An emotional account, no doubt typical of so many lives , not just in Southern USA in the 60's - but all around the world. Good will always eventually win over evil - it's only a matter of time. If you haven't already seen it, then hire it this weekend! Minnie's cooking makes you want a big bowl of Southern fried chicken! We'd skip her chocolate pie though ;) 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday's Cooking tip / How to Ripen Avocados

Need to ripen avocados quickly? Place avocados into a bowl or paper bag with ripe bananas! The ripe bananas give off a gas that helps to speed up the ripening process. This works for us every time and will give you ripe avocados for the following day, to enjoy as you so wish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bok choy with Poached chicken, Spring onion, chilli, garlic & ginger sauce

We have been missing Asia lately...mainly because we have recently been in touch with our friends, who still live in Hong Kong, and who we miss so much! That, and also the fact that another friend has just arrived back on Australian soil after spending an entire month in Thailand - yes a whole month, Lucky indeed! We also have another friend living in Chiang Mai who teases us with all the wonderful food he is enjoying! So, it goes without saying, that I have been totally inspired this week to create and cook a new recipe! I was so pleased with how everything came together. The flavours, textures and colours of this dish take you on a wonderful asian journey. So close your eyes and enjoy every mouthful *^^*

Bok choy with Poached chicken, Spring onion, chilli, garlic and ginger sauce
serves 2

Mise en place (everything in it's place)
place 1 1/2 cups brown rice
into rice steamer and let cook
Meanwhile start chopping
2 cloves garlic finely chopped 
2 tbs finely chopped ginger
1/2 large red chilli finely sliced
 (most seeds removed)
2 tbs peanut oil
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 bunch bok choy ends
 removed, washed
to remove grit
 remove tops
 and roots of spring onions
and wash, then
slice lengthways down centre 
of all 5
reserve 1 tbsp of dark green
spring onion leaf
slice as thin as possible (chiffonade)
this will be used later
Bring shallow pan of water to boil
with 3-4 large slices of ginger (skin on)
and a few sprigs of corriander, then reduce
to poaching temp
 (no bubbles coming to service
but still HOT, so low heat)
at the same time bring another 
pan or wok of water to boil
and place bamboo steamer
over top to steam veggies
Bok choy and spring onions
will take 4 minutes to steam
same time as chicken (below)

ginger slices and coriander will
infuse their flavour into water
leave for 15 mins, then add thin chicken slices
(we used 1 chicken breast)
and continue poaching for 2-3 mins
chicken will be moist,
 tender and white in centre
place in bowl, cover
and out aside

Bok choy and Spring Onion
steamed and ready to eat

Add chopped chilli, garlic, ginger
steamed spring onion halves
and 1 tbsp dark green spring onion
finely sliced into small
heat proof bowl
In a wok or fry pan heat 2 tbs 
peanut oil to smoking point 
over high heat 
(you can test that your oil is HOT enough
by sticking the end of a bamboo skewer
in it. If oil bubbles and hisses it's ready)
Remove from heat and immediately
pour over your mixture in bowl
then pour in your soy sauce,
sesame oil and mix through 

everything is mixed through and ready
to plate up

Serve your rice on plate
add bok choy first, 
then chicken slices
then carefully spoon mixture 
over chicken


Monday, February 20, 2012

Stressed is 'desserts' spelled backwards / Sweet Mondays

So, who wakes up on Mondays feeling bouncy and ready to go...? Not us! Mondays are usually stressful in one form or another, right? What we love about the word 'stressed' is that if you spell it backwards it says 'desserts' that's a lot to smile about! Each Monday we will be posting a delicious dessert recipe, to help make Mondays a little easier...stay tuned.