Saturday, July 24, 2010


I had 6 egg yolks left over from another recipe/dish I had made. Not content with just throwing them into the bin, I decided to make Zabaglione which is a simple Italian dessert made with just egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine. This light and fluffy custard however gave my arms such a work out! Just a few minutes into whisking the custard over the simmering water, I could feel my arms aching from all that whisking! Maybe next time I'll try using the electric whisker- not sure if it'll give me the same results but at least it'll be less painful- on another note, at least I'm enjoying the fruits of my labour whilst eating the Zabaglione, or should I really be saying that my hips just keep getting wider :P

Serves 4-6


6 egg yolks
⅓ cup caster sugar
¼ cup Marsala wine or dry white wine
Strawberries, lady fingers or biscotti, to serve

  1. Half-fill a pot with water. Bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.
  2. Whisk the yolks, sugar and wine together in a large, round bottomed stainless steel bowl until frothy.  Set the bowl containing the custard mixture over the water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Continue to whisk over the pot of simmering water until light and fluffy and forming soft peaks - approx. 10 minutes. 
  3. Whilst whisking the custard mixture make sure the water does not boil. This ensures that a gentle, even heat thickens the mixture without scrambling it. Whisking traps air in the yolks for a light, fluffy mixture.
  4. Continue whisking until the mixture triples in volume, froths up and becomes pale.
  5. When it reaches the desired consistency, take the bowl out of the pot. Continue whisking for a minute or two to prevent the custard from sticking to the bowl.
  6. Pour the zabaglione into glasses and serve with strawberries and/or biscuits like lady fingers or biscotti.
Notes & Tips

The whisking is done over simmering water so that the egg yolks cook as they thicken into a light, foamy custard. The mixture must not get too hot during cooking or it will become grainy. If it begins to feel warmer than body temperature, remove the bowl briefly from the heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture cools. Then return the bowl to the heat and continue cooking.

Zabaglione may be served warm or cold. A cold one is whisked off the heat until cooled. Traditional zabaglione must be made just before serving. The warm froth can be served as a dessert by itself or as a sauce over cake, fruit, ice cream or pastry.

In France, this is called sabayon

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pear and Rocket Salad

What I really love about this salad is the explosion of flavours- the crunchiness that comes from the hazelnuts, the saltiness from the pancetta and goat's cheese, the fresh taste and sweetness of the pears, the bitterness of the rocket and the acidity from the dressing. This salad is a great accompaniment to any meat dish and just so simple to put together.

There are 2 ways I like to use the pear when making this salad. The first way is to caramelise the pears and the second way is to just thinly slice the pears lengthways using a mandolin and serving it fresh/uncooked. I tend to caramelise the pears in Winter since it's cold and I don't often feel like eating cold salad, but in Summer I tend to just slice the pears and have it fresh. Whichever way, both work with this salad.

Adapted from the recipe in Notebook magazine, March 2 2010, page 7

Serves 4


4 pancetta slices
2 Williams pears, peeled and cored
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 bunch baby rocket (approx. 65g), washed
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
50g goat's milk cheese

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, turning occasionally, for 2 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.  
  2. Combine the vinegar, oil, mustard and honey in a screw-top jar and shake until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Arrange the rocket leaves onto a serving platter. Coarsely break up the pancetta and sprinkle over the rocket with the pears and hazelnuts. Crumble over the goat's cheese. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Notes & Tips

To make caramelised pears, heat 20g butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar in a small non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add pears (cored and cut into wedges) and sauté for 2-3 minutes until light golden.

To slice the pears thinly, use a mandolin.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Osso Bucco

Serves 4


4 x 350-400g, centre bone cut pieces of veal osso buco
50mL extra virgin olive oil 
2 onions, finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 anchovy fillets 
1 cup dry white wine
800g tinned crushed tomatoes
1 cup veal or beef stock 
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
2 large sprigs of fresh sage
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary 
1 fresh bay leaf 
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the puree:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped good quality anchovy 


Season the veal with the sea salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and brown the veal osso buco pieces evenly on all sides. The veal should be well coloured but be careful not to burn the meat.

Remove the browned veal shanks from the pan and set them aside in the slow cooker. Add the diced onion, garlic, anchovy and herbs and sauté slowly for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Turn heat up and then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced before adding the tomatoes and veal stock.

Bring to the boil before adding into the slow cooker- make sure the sauce covers the veal. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly, if the tomatoes are not as ripe and sweet as they should be a little sugar should be added. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the cut but will take somewhere between 4 to 6 hours on low setting.

The veal should be fork tender, with the meat just beginning to separate from the bone when you remove them from the slow cooker. Do not remove until meat is falling off the bone. 

To make the purée, combine the garlic, anchovy and parsley.

After you have removed the veal from the sauce, stir in the puree.  Serve veal pieces with equal portions of creamy polenta and spoon a little of the veal sauce over the top of the veal pieces to finish.

Soft Creamy Polenta

This traditional Italian staple makes a fantastic warming side dish for meat, chicken, fish or vegetables.


1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
1 cup coarse polenta (cornmeal)
125ml (1/2 cup) thin cream
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
40g butter
Salt & finely ground white pepper

  1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Use a wire balloon whisk to stir the stock. Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until all the polenta is incorporated into the liquid (whisking ensures the polenta is dispersed through the liquid as quickly as possible). Don't add the polenta too quickly or it will turn lumpy. 
  2. Reduce heat to low (cook the polenta over low heat otherwise it will cook too quickly and you will need to add extra water/stock). Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the polenta is soft. (To test whether the polenta is soft, spoon a little of the polenta mixture onto a small plate and set aside to cool slightly. Rub a little of the polenta mixture between 2 fingers to see if the grains have softened. If the grains are still firm, continue to cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the polenta is soft.)  
  3. Remove from heat. Add the cream, Parmesan and butter, and stir until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes & Tips

The hot polenta may splatter as it cooks, so use a long-handled wooden spoon to avoid being scalded.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lamb Shanks with Thyme and Rosemary

I love eating lamb shanks with the meat falling off the bone and this slow cooker recipe will do just exactly that! This is a great Winter recipe that I keep going back to. It's so easy to make since all I have to do is just pop all the ingredients into the slow cooker, set it on low heat and 4-6 hours later, a nice hearty meal awaits- minimal time, minimal fuss, maximum flavour!

Recipe adapted from July 2008, page 4


4 lamb shanks, French trimmed
plain flour, for dusting
salt and cracked black pepper
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g can crushed tomatoes (with roasted capsicum)
3 cups (750ml) beef stock
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
75g baby spinach leaves
100g mushrooms, sliced
Roast potatoes, to serve, if desired

  1. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beef stock, rosemary and thyme into a slow cooker. 
  2. Dust the lamb shanks in the flour, salt and pepper, and shake off excess. 
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb shanks, in batches, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. 
  4. Add lamb shanks into the slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook for 4-6 hours on low setting.
  5. When almost ready to serve, stir through the mushrooms and baby spinach leaves. Cook for a few more minutes or until leaves are wilted. Serve with roast potatoes if desired.

Notes & Tips

The size of shanks can vary, so ensure all the shanks will fit in the pot before commencing.

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