Monday, November 24, 2008

Chef Jules' most unusual Barbecue

Hello Friends,

Had my first barbecue of the season yesterday, not quite summer yet, and was forecast to rain. But, as I already had it in my mind, I went ahead anyway. I cleaned up my barbecue and fired it up, and got the embers glowing nicely. I have to say, it always envokes a reaction, usually laughter, especially when I ring the bell on the top, but it works really well as you can raise and lower the cooking surface, thereby controlling the temperature.

Friends and family enjoyed kebabs of red and orange capsicum, cubed lamb shoulder, and fresh bay leaves drizzled with garlic, olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. A really meaty pork spare rib which I had marinated in soy sauce, garlic, honey and worcester sauce, both nicely chargrilled, just before it poured down. Accompanied by fresh artichokes which I combined with some cos lettuce, watercress, and tomatoes, and of course drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

By the way I have renewed my padi open water certifcate after 23 years of dormancy. Being involved in Dive Planet  has encouraged me to pursue diving again.
So looking forward to fresh crayfish (lobster), scallops, mussels, and hopefully some abalone as well.
Ciao for now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gnocchi di Patata

Hello Friends,
I have a nice little recipe for you here, a real classic. Gnocchi di Patata is basically potato dumplings, quite easy to make.
So here goes:
Ingredients ( Makes 4 large portions)
1.2kgs agria potatoes, (suitable for mashing, i.e. not a waxy potato)
50gms butter
salt, pepper (level teaspoon of each)
50gms grated parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
500mls  Napoletana sauce
250gms flour
plus flour for dusting bench
You might want to make the napoletana sauce first and keep to one side.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Place the whole washed potatoes on a baking tray and cook for 35 minutes turn over and cook for another 35 minutes
Take out and cut in half, scoop out the potato pass through a sieve or mash in a bowl, add the butter, parmesan, seasoning, egg yolks and the sieved flour. Mix with a wooden spoon, divide in two, roll out on to the floured benchtop. Form a cylindrical shape about 25mm wide and 800mm long. Cut into 20mm pieces and roll off the back of a fork with your finger, as in photo below, pressing into the potato. Repeat process with the other half of the mixture. Bring to the boil a large pot of water, add salt to taste, add the gnocchi and take out when they have all floated to the top, strain and add to the heated napoletana.
To serve place on the serving plate and top with freshly grated parmesan. In the backround of the top photo I have grilled some pork cutlets and topped with aged balsalmic vinegar and whole sage leaves which I shallow fried in butter, it's a nice combination, hope you enjoy it.
Chef Jules Tips
If you have children this is a great way of introducing them to cooking, they can help with the labour intensive job of rolling out the potato gnocchi into the right shape.

The ready made proprietry, usually vacuum packed gnocchi is crap because it's too rubbery. The key to making great gnocchi is cooking the potato dry thereby allowing you to add as little flour as possible which makes it less stoggy.

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changing Tide

Hello Friends,

I have been a bit distracted of late as little old New Zealand has had quite a change in direction, politically. On Saturday the 8th of November there was a resounding shift to the right, in other words conservative (National Party), after 3 terms of a left wing, socialist, liberal (labour), lead government.

As we have an MMP form of representation, the minor parties have more of a say and are currently negotiating their position in a government lead by the National Party. As the victory was so resounding they have the mandate to govern alone but are showing good will, foresight and looking at more than one term by entertaining the minor parties. Actually looking forward to the new government so we will see what happens. So that is Chef Jules short synopsis of the political situation in New Zealand.

However, back to my first love, cooking, I have some really good recipes coming up, meanwhile check out  Dive Planet Recipes

So ciao for now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chef Jules Quickie

Hello Friends,

I hope I find you all well. Every now and again I will share with you some recipes which are quick, easy to prepare and cook. I work strange hours and last night I found myself at home and quite hungry, with no fresh fish available at the time, this is what I came up with. The recipe is as follows;

Ingredients: (Serves 1 main size or 2 entrees).

1 x 400g tin fagioli (butter beans) refer to pantry list

100gm veal, flattened and cut into strips

3 x cloves garlic, chopped

60 ml olive oil

salt and pepper

6 x cherry tomatoes, halved

6 x florets of broccoli


Place a small pot of water on the stove and heat. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a fry pan and add the veal, cook quickly on a high heat, add the garlic and take off the heat. In the small pot of boiling water add salt to taste, add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes, then add the drained fagioli, bring to the boil again, then drain, add to the veal, season and add the tomatoes and the rest of the olive oil, and serve.

Chef Jules Tips

Instead of veal you could use a stir fry beef i.e. eye fillet, scotch fillet, pork fillet, or even chicken breast or thigh meat.

Instead of the fagioli or butter beans you could use frozen broad beans, another good thing to have in the freezer, once cooked in salted water and shelled they are amazing and very useful in different recipes left whole or pureed. Incidently this dish is gluten free which is an added bonus for a late night meal.

Hope you enjoy it, Ciao for now!