Eggs Florentine with Prosciutto & Truffle Hollandaise
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This post is for my beautiful friend Jane who recently asked me for a good eggs benedict recipe. Technically it’s an eggs florentine recipe, but ditch the spinach and hey presto, it becomes eggs benedict! The hollandaise is so easy to make and practically foolproof – absolutely anyone can make it. Hope you enjoy your eggs benedict Miss Jane!

Eggs Florentine with Prosciutto & Truffle Hollandaise

For the hollandaise sauce

• 2 egg yolks
• 100 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 teaspoon truffle oil
• Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a large, shallow microwave safe bowl, whisk the egg yolks while slowly drizzling in the melted butter.
2. Add the lemon juice and water and whisk for another minute before microwaving on high for 20 seconds.
3. Remove from microwave and whisk. Reduce microwave power to 50% and then cook for a further 15 seconds before whisking again. Repeat this process until the sauce has thickened and egg yolks taste cooked.
4. Season with salt & pepper and then whisk in the truffle oil.
5. Keep warm until ready to use by placing the bowl over a pan of water on very low heat on the stovetop.

For the eggs

• 4 eggs, cracked individually into cups
• Water to boil
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• ½ cup steamed spinach, seasoned with salt & pepper
• 2 large slices rye sourdough, toasted and buttered
• 4 slices prosciutto

1. Bring the water to the boil and add the vinegar before reducing to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to create a whirlpool in the simmering water and then add the eggs one at a time to poach.
2. Allow eggs to poach for 2 – 3 minutes and then use a slotted spoon to remove to a plate lined with paper towel.
3. To assemble, top the buttered toast with the prosciutto, spinach and the poached eggs and then drizzle with the truffle hollandaise.

Homemade Italian Sausages
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I am a geek. Yes, I admit it. Actually, not only do I admit it but I embrace it. I love gadgets of all sorts, but particularly food gadgets. For years I desperately wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer and when I finally got one for my birthday last year, I treated myself to an accompanying meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment. I have used both attachments at least 20 times by now but I still get excited each time I use them. Being able to make your own sausages is nothing short of amazing. It’s not difficult to do and once you try it you will never ever buy store bought sausages again!

Homemade Italian Sausages

  • 1.5 kg pork shoulder, skin removed and diced
  • 750 grams of veal, diced
  • ½ cup cold red wine
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 5 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried peppercorns
  • 3 teaspoons dried chilli flakes (more or less according to taste)
  • 5 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • Sausage casing
  1. Begin by creating the spice mix. Add the salt, pepper and all the dried spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until you have a fine powder.
  2. Next, put the pork and veal through your meat grinder using a fine grinding plate.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  4. Use your sausage stuffing attachment to stuff the sausages into the casing. (You can omit this step if you are just using the sausage meat in another recipe.)

Rye, Honey & Raisin Bread
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I am not much of a breakfast kind of gal. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast on weekends with a good coffee and maybe some eggs benedict, but generally just a cup of tea and a piece of toast will do me. I especially love raisin toast but am always trying out new ways to make it healthier. I think I hit the jackpot with this recipe on the weekend. I adapted my regular light rye bread recipe a bit to include some honey for a bit of sweetness, ground cinnamon for that hint of spice and of course the necessary raisins which I soaked in warm water for 20 minutes so that they were plump and juicy and not all dry and shrivelled up. The end result was nothing short of spectacular. Very tasty with a hint of earthiness from the rye flour, and practically guilt free. I can recommend it toasted and spread with butter (or nuttelex in my case) and served with a hot cup of Earl Grey. Mmmmmm …

  • 1 cup sourdough starter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups rye flour
  • 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 x 7 gram packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 cups 00 bread flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried raisins, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
  1. Combine sourdough starter, rye flour, and one cup of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Mix and ensure all ingredients are combined thoroughly and let stand for 45 minutes.
  2. Mix the yeast and remaining water in another small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes before adding to the starter mix.
  3. Add all ingredients to the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer and select the ‘dough’ cycle.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. When the dough has finished in the bread machine, turn it out onto a floured board and divide into two balls. Shape into two logs, place in prepared loaf tins, cover with damp tea towel and allow to rise until the loaf just overhangs the edge of the loaf tin. Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Mediterranean Lamb Pizza
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This pizza uses leftovers from a roast lamb dinner to make the most delicious mediterranean inspired topping which I secretly love more than the actual roast dinner itself. I use my standard rye dough for the crust which provides a crisp but chewy base with a bit of oomph; it works perfectly with the robust flavours of the lamb and the fetta and the sweet pumpkin and caramelised onions. YUMMMMMM … I am actually on Day 3 of the Flat Belly Diet as I type this and it’s taking all the strength I have not to lick my computer screen. Being a food writer whilst trying to diet really sux!

Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup ‘00’ bread flour
  • 1 cup light rye flour
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon raw caster sugar
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 x 7g sachet active dry yeast
  1. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the yeast mixture into the flour and knead until smooth.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal size balls and roll out, ready to use.

Mediterranean Lamb Pizza

  • ½ cup caramelised onions
  • Leftover roast lamb
  • Leftover roast pumpkin
  • Fetta cheese, cubed
  • Pecorino cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine the crushed garlic and olive oil and brush over the base of the pizzas. Top with the onions, lamb, pumpkin, fetta and grated pecorino and cook until the crust is golden and crispy.
  3. Slice and serve!

Ricotta Hotcakes w/ Poached Pears & Butterscotch Sauce
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All my single male friends out there, take note now. If you’re looking for a way to win over a woman, you’ve just found it. A serving of these decadent Ricotta Hotcakes with Poached Pears and Butterscotch Sauce in bed will guarantee you success in the romance department. The light, fluffy hotcakes and soft, spiced poached pears all drowned in butterscotch sauce will cause a woman to completely lose sight of all obstacles your budding relationship may have previously faced and she will be 100% yours. Well until she finishes off the last bite anyway. After that, you’re on your own.

Ricotta Hotcakes

  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter, to cook
  1. Whisk the ricotta, milk, egg yolks and vanilla together until combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently whisk to make a smooth batter.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter until just combined.
  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook dollops of the batter for 1 – 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  4. Serve with poached pears and butterscotch sauce.

Poached Pears

  • 4 small pears, peeled, cored and halved
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 2 tablespoons raw caster sugar
  • Water
  1. Combine all ingredients except pears in a large pan. Bring to the boil, stir to ensure sugar has dissolved and then reduce to a low simmer.
  2. Add the pears and cover the pan with a lid. Poach until the pears are just cooked through.

Butterscotch Sauce

  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 1 cup pouring cream
  • 200 grams cold butter
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and allow the sauce to reduce for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Italian Sausages & Lentils
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I love one-pot (or one-pan in this instance) dishes for midweek dinners because if there’s one thing I hate more than having to come home and cook after a tough Wednesday at work, it’s washing up afterwards! This tasty treat is super simple and strikes the perfect balance between healthy and delicious. I like to serve it with some good crusty bread, a green salad and a nice big glass of red! :-)

Italian Sausages & Lentils

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 cups dried Puy lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 Italian sausages
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  1. In a large heavy based fry pan, add a little olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat. Add the celery and carrot and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then brown the sausages on both sides for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from pan.
  3. Return the vegetables back to the pan and then add the lentils. Cook for a minute or two and let the lentils coat themselves in the flavoured oil before adding the red wine.
  4. Allow the alcohol to burn off and then add the chicken stock and bay leaf. Place the sausages on top of the lentils and then cover pan with a lid.
  5. Simmer over medium heat for half an hour or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the sausages are cooked through.
  6. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread and a garden salad.

Osso Bucco & Creamy Polenta
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I love slow cooking in winter, especially on rainy weekends when I lock myself inside my house and curl up on the couch watching movies all day long. One of my favourite things to cook on days like these is this tender osso bucco served with creamy polenta and gremolata. I put it on to cook just after breakfast, set up camp on the couch, watch a couple of movies and then it’s ready to be served and eaten – yes, you guessed it – on the couch!

Make sure to cook the polenta just before serving though, otherwise it firms up and loses that lovely goopy, silky texture.

Osso Bucco

  • Olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 16 baby carrots, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 pieces veal osso bucco
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  1. Preheat oven to 110 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the flour, salt & pepper in a large zip lock bag and toss to combine. Add the osso bucco and shake to coat in the seasoned flour.
  3. Add a little olive oil to the base of a casserole dish and seal the osso bucco for one minute on each side. Remove from pan and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Add the onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat. Add the celery and baby carrots and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Return the sealed osso bucco to the pan and add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Cover with lid and transfer to oven. Bake for 4 hours or until the meat is tender.
  7. Serve with creamy polenta and gremolata.

Creamy Polenta

  • ¾ cup polenta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • Grated parmesan to tatse
  1. Combine the stock and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add the polenta in a slow, steady stream while whisking.
  2. Return to heat and whisk continuously over low heat for 20 minutes or until the polenta begins to pull away from the pan.
  3. Remove from heat and add the mascarpone and parmesan. Stir through and serve immediately.

Sumac Coriander Flatbread
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This delicious flatbread is great served with dips or as a side for charcoal grilled or barbequed meat, but my all time favourite way to use it is with my spiced lamb meatballs in cherry tomato sauce. The coriander and sumac give the otherwise plain bread a little bit of life and tastes sooooooo good when used to mop up the sauce from the meatballs. Yum!

Coriander & Sumac Flatbread

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 x 7g package active dry yeast
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Ground sumac
  1. Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and then make a well in the centre. Slowly whisk in the yeast mixture until dough begins to form and then knead in the bowl for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a further 10 minutes or until you have a smooth ball of dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls.
  4. Roll each ball out into a flat circle about 1cm thick. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Brush each round with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, sumac and chopped coriander and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.

Crispy Roast Potatoes
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This post is dedicated to my dear friend Sherry, who is currently working on broadening her kitchen repertoire :-)

Crispy Roast Potatoes

  • 1 kg baby potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  1. Cut all the potatoes in half and place in a large pot of cold water with the salt. Cover and bring to the boil. Cook until the potatoes are just cooked through.
  2. Drain the potatoes and place onto paper towels to dry. (The trick is to make sure the potatoes are very dry all the way through so that you get very crispy poatoes!)
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Pour enough olive oil into a shallow baking tray to cover the bottom by 1cm. Put the tray in the oven and allow the oil to get very hot.
  4. Meanwhile, add the potatoes back to the pot, put the lid on, add the rosemary, salt & pepper and shake the pot around to rough up the edges of the potatoes.
  5. Add the potatoes, cut side down, to the hot oil in the baking tray and roast for 45 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, making sure to turn regularly to prevent the potatoes from burning.
  6. Drain on absorbent paper before sprinkling with sea salt flakes to serve.

Red Wine Roast Lamb
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This makes a lovely Sunday lunch when served with Crispy Roast Potatoes, Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and your favourite roasted vegies (I personally like a bit of roasted pumpkin, garlic and zucchini) and the leftovers make a fabulous pizza for dinner the next day.

Red Wine Roast Lamb

  • 1 x 1.5 kg easy carve lamb leg
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed and dried
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 stalk celery, washed and dried
  • 1 large carrot, halved
  • 1 large brown onion, quartered
  1. Rub the lamb leg with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a container with the remaining ingredients and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Remove the vegetables from the marinade and place on the bottom of a roasting tray. Place the lamb leg on top so that it is not touching the tray and then pour the marinade over the top.
  3. Roast for 1 hour and 15 mins. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  4. Serve drizzled with pan juices and fresh lemon.
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