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Baby Octopus & Fennel Risotto Recipe

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

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With the temperatures dropping a wee bit at the beginning of this week it has encouraged me cook more ‘substantial’ meals, by this I mean risottos, pasta or roasted food which I have steered clear of for the past few months in preference for something lighter and refreshing. I’m not saying it has gone cold but after several months of hot humid weather even a drop to temperatures in their low 20s (centigrade) makes me excited about winter food and baking again. I think P has been craving winter food, he loves stodgy carb loaded food whereas I avoid them. As part of our European trip back home to Europe this year I am taking him to visit where I lived in Frankfurt in June and I just know he is going to be in heaven eating in the Keipern (Bistros) on plates of dumplings and pieces of meat that hardly fit on the plate.

This risotto is hardly stodgy, far from it, it is creamy and light with the fresh lemon and fennel coming through and it didn’t have me toiling for long over the stove top either. The sun is out again this morning though so I imagine we will be back to salads again tonight!

Ingredients – makes 2

  • 8 baby octopus
  • 4 cups stock, approx (chicken, fish or vegetable)
  • 2 cups Aborio rice
  • 2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  • To cook the octopus I use my BBQ with an open flame which prevents the octopus from ‘stewing” and gets nice char grill but you can fry it on a very high heat.
  • Season the octopus with salt & pepper and a little olive oil and slice in half if not very small pieces (for faster cooking). For BBQ cooking place on a skewer and grill on high for 2 minutes, just until cooked. For pan cooking, place a cast iron pan on a high heat and quickly fry the octopus for 2 minutes in batches. Do not put all the octopus in the pan at once as the heat will drop and the octopus will stew in it’s juice and be rubbery.
  • Heat the stock in a pan.
  • Remove the core and fronds from the fennel before slicing thinly.
  • Add the olive oil to a large frying pan over a low heat then the garlic and fennel. Fry gently until the fennel is opaque and soft.
  • Add the rice and turn the heat up to medium and stir the rice so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate before starting to add the hot stock.
  • Turn the heat down again and start adding the stock one ladle at a time, stirring the rice to release the creamy starch. Allowing each ladle of stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladle of stock.
  • It will take about 15-18 minutes for this process, taste the rice to see if it is cooked and soft but still with a slight bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked add boiling water in place of the stock.
  • Remove risotto pan from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon zest, Parmesan & char grilled octopus then place the lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with cracked pepper.

And for some exciting news this week, my blog along with a few other fab Kiwi bloggers was mentioned in the NEXT magazine this month. Here is the article and do visit the other bloggers mentioned.

 

Source: http://peasepudding.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/fennel-and-baby-octopus-risotto/

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Rice, Seafood, Vegetables

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Recipe

Rhubarb is the culinary equivalent of the groundhog. When its fuscia stalks emerge in the markets, you know that spring is nearly here. Luckily, rhubarb’s best friend, the strawberry, also make an early spring debut in California, jostling for attention with the well-established lemons and oranges crowding the supermarket shelves. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I’ve combined all of these seasonal goodies in this dessert recipe. Strawberries, rhubarb and lemon muddle together in this impossibly bright cobbler, while a crumbly sweet dough flecked with lemon zest attempts to keep a lid on the bubbling fruit.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Serves 6

For the filling:
2 cups diced rhubarb
1 pound strawberries, hulled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Make the filling:
Combine all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Make the topping:
Combine flour, sugar baking powder, salt and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until dough resembles coarse meal. Add cream and egg; pulse until dough comes together. Pulse in lemon zest.

Spoon strawberries into a baking pan or individual ramekins. Drop spoonfuls of the topping over the fruit. Bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbly, 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The flavors will develop as the cobbler cools. Serve with creme fraiche.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Pear and Prune Crumble with Armagnac Cream
Rhubarb Trifle with Vanilla Almond Cream
Strawberry Rhubarb Soup

or these rhubarb recipes from the food blogs:
Red Wine Poached Rhubarb from David Lebovitz
Rhubarb Fool from Real Epicurean
Rhubarb Apple Cake from Whipped

Source: http://tastefoodblog.com/2011/03/21/strawberry-rhubarb-cobbler-recipe/

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Fruit

 

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Betty’s Festive Cranberry Orange Muffins

zest

Image by Chris Blakeley via Flickr

In this video, Betty demonstrates how to make her Festive Cranberry Orange Muffins. This is a wonderful bread to serve with your holiday dinner. It’s nice and moist, and is bursting with Christmas flavors. (However, it is great anytime of the year!)

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest (grated orange rind)
6-oz. container vanilla yogurt (You may use plain yogurt or orange-flavored yogurt.)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, well beaten
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup pecan pieces (These should be small; you may chop them with an electric kitchen chopper.)
1 tablespoon cold butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups self-rising flour, ½ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl, stir together 2 well-beaten eggs, a 6-oz. container vanilla yogurt, and ½ cup vegetable oil. Add to dry ingredient, stirring until just moistened. The batter will be thick and may contain some lumps. Gently fold in ½ cup dried cranberries and ½ cup chopped pecans. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured 12-cup muffin tin, putting the same amount in each cup. In a small bowl, place 1 tablespoon cold butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Sprinkle equal amounts over batter in muffin cups. Bake at 375 (F) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from pans and place on wire racks, and let cool slightly. Place on a nice serving dish and serve while warm. These may be made ahead and frozen. Just thaw them overnight, and warm them in aluminum foil in the oven before serving. This is a magnificent bread to grace your Christmas table! I hope you enjoy it! –Betty ♥

 

 
 

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