Saturday, 26 October 2013

Classic Meatloaf

A weekend winner that will never let you down has to be meatloaf.  Did you know it has European origin and was mentioned in the renowned Roman cookery collection 'Apicius' as early back as the 5th century?  It is a traditional German and Belgian dish, and a cousin to the Dutch meatball.  It also happens to be our dinner tonight, here we go ...

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
24 slices smoked black ham / pancetta
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
500g beef mince
1/2 cup ham / pancetta, extra
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat over to 180'C
Heat oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic until soft, allow to cool
Line a 22 x 8 x 7cm tin with ham (all sides and bottom) slightly overlapping
Place breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl, mix and stand for 5 min
Add onion mix, rosemary, 1 tsp mustard, egg, Parmesan, mince, chopped ham, salt & pepper and mix well
Press down firmly in the time with the back of a spoon
Cut some aluminium foil to size of the pan and cover the top to fit exactly
Bake 40 min
Leave to rest for 5 min before turning it out on a lined tray with non-stick baking paper
Smear top with balance of the Dijon mustard
Bake for another 8 min until golden brown.

Serve hot with some lovely thick gravy and mash .... delish!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Smoked Salmon Cheesy Wraps

Don't feel like cooking today to be honest with you.  So it is a case of opening the fridge and seeing what is in there for dinner tonight.  Now here is something simple, quick and supa dupa easy. It doesn't seem like much, but it is very rich with the cheese and salmon. Here we go ...

2 large store-bought wraps
English cucumber, thinly sliced
125g herb cottage cheese
Mixed salad green leaves
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
250g smoked salmon

Pop the wraps on a plate and microwave for 20 seconds until soft
On one side evenly smear cottage cheese over the entire surface of both wraps
Add cucumber in a single layer down the centre on each
Generously place salad greens on top of the cucumber
Lightly with a fork mix Panko, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper
Sprinkle evenly over salad greens
Place smoked salmon on top

To fold wrap:
Turn both side in to almost touch
Fold bottom upwards to halfway
Carefully tucking the filling as you roll, roll bottom up towards the top
Tuck all in tightly
Cut diagonally once or twice, pending size of the wrap


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hearty Roasted Potato, Leek and Saffron Soup

I absolutely love enjoying a big bowl of soup with warm farm-style bread and salted butter on cold days.  Today is about 3'C so I think soup is definitely the order-of-the-day for dinner tonight.  Besides, I have just made 12 litres of homemade chicken stock.  Remember, your soup is only as good as the stock you put in it.  Here we go ...

1kg potatoes, skin on and big dice
4 cups chopped leeks, cleaned well
1/4 cup olive oil
Lots of salt & pepper
2 cups baby arugula/rocket
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade chicken stock
500ml light cream
Pinch Saffron
1 tsp paprika
250ml yoghurt

Preheat over to 200'C
Place potatoes and leeks in a deep baking tray
Add oil, salt and pepper and toss well
Bake 45 min until tender, turning a few times during baking
Add  arugula/rocket, toss to combine and bake for 4 min
Add wine and stock scrapping bits off the bottom of the tray
Place in a processor and whizz in batches until smooth
Transfer to a large pot adding cream, saffron, paprika and yoghurt and heat through without boiling
Add more salt & pepper to taste

Enjoy with some freshly grated Parmesan on top.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Oriental Green Bean and Ginger Chicken

Having spent a great two weeks vacation in Cape Town, South Africa I am back in Belgium and the Autumn temps are plummeting. Our low tonight is 3'c bbbrrrr.  Here is a great tummy warmer.

1 tsp olive oil
1inch fresh ginger, peeled, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp flour
250g skinless chicken thighs, cut in thick cubes
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar
200ml chicken stock
80gm green beans, trimmed, cut into 2cm lengths
1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Heat oil and fry ginger, garlic, onion, nutmeg, turmeric and pepper for 5 min.
Add flour and chicken and stir for 2 min.
Add fish sauce, sugar, chicken and stock and cook on medium to low heat for 15min.
For last 3 min of cooking, add beans and heat through.
Add half coriander and stir.
Serve with steamed rice and sprinkle with remaining coriander .

How easy was that?  Enjoy ....