Category Archives: Antipasto

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Batch 10 Bourbon Bacon Jam

2016-bc-jam-webFor my bacon jam I select bacon that has a low fat level. I love to make it with dry cured, smoked bacon. During the cooking of the bacon remove as much of the oils released from the bacon

Ingredients

600g bacon sliced into small pieces, (about 20mm)

2 cups of shallots, finely chopped

1 cup red onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ cup Batch10 Honey Bourbon (125ml)

½ cup maple syrupbatch10-banner-toh

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the bacon pieces in batches to allow for it to crisp up properly. Cook over medium heat until  brown. You want the bacon a little crisper with as little visible fat as possible. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess fat off.

Pulse your shallots and onions in the food processor or cut them by hand.

Leave about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat in one of the pan. Add shallot and onion to the pan, cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute.

Add the chili powder and smoked paprika, stir to combine.

Increase heat to high and add the bourbon (carefully) and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, stir and scrape the pan so all the little bacon bits comes loose. Continue boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add vinegar and continue to boil for about another 3 minutes.

Using a sharp knife cut the bacon into small pieces. You can also tear it by hand so it looks more rustic, not too perfect.

Add the bacon into the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken.

Turn off the heat and drain any excess fat off the bacon jam by pouring it through a sieve or use cheesecloth to drain it.

Now you have two options, you can pop the mixture into a food processor and pulse until it breaks down more. Or you can leave it chunky, your choice.

Transfer to jars and store in the fridge.

Smoked Salmon Pate

smoked-salmon-webIngredients

150g smoked salmon, trimmings are fine

200g tub soft cheese

1 tbsp crème fraîche, only if you have some

juice half a lemon

zest ½ lemon

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine

Method

If you aren’t using smoked salmon trimmings then chop the salmon into small pieces. Tip the soft cheese, mustard, crème fraîche (if using) zest and lemon juice into a food processor, season generously with black pepper and blitz to your liking. Add the smoked salmon and pulse a few times if you want the paté chunky or blitz some more if you want the paté smooth and pink.

Stir the herbs into the paté and spoon into a large or four smaller bowls and serve on slices of cucumber or as dip with vegetable sticks.

Easy Chicken Liver Pate

Chic-Liver-Pate-1-webMaking pâté sounds intimidating, but it’s honestly one of the quickest and easiest restaurant dishes to make at home and you can serve this fancy treat without breaking the bank. Plate it up on tasting spoons for smaller portions with pickled red onions and thyme leaves to garnish. 

I used Bostock’s Organic Free Range Chicken in this recipe and what wonderful flavour. 

Ingredients 

100g (8 oz) butter

1 cup of milk

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

400g (1 lb.) chicken livers, trimmed and cut in half

1/4 cup of Madeira or Sherry

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf 

Method 

Remove and discard any sinew or unpleasant-looking parts. In a bowl, soak the livers in the milk for 2 hours. Drain well. 

Melt 100g (4 oz) or half of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not colored. 

Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Add the Madeira to the pan and boil until reduced to a couple of tablespoons. Remove the bay leaf and place the liver mixture and 5og (2 oz) of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chic-Liver-Pate-2-web

Place the puree into six 100g (4-oz) ramekins or 1 serving terrine and smooth the top. Melt the remaining butter and pour on top of each ramekin or serving terrine, then refrigerate until set. (Approximately 30 to 40 minutes)

Prosciutto Melon Starter

Prosciutto-Melon-Starter-weQuick, fresh and a yummy balance of flavours. The watercress adds a light, peppery finish to each bite. This recipe can easily be scaled to your needs. 

Ingredients 

10 slices prosciutto
10 slices melon
Lemon garlic dressing
Watercress 

Method 

Wrap the prosciutto around the melon pieces and place on a plate together. Place desired serving numbers on individual plates then drizzle with the dressing and top each serving with watercress. 

Lemon Garlic Dressing 

Ingredients 

4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped (more if you LOVE garlic)
1/2 tsp of black pepper (more if desired)
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method 

Mix all ingredients into a container that has a tight fitting lid. Place lid on tightly and shake vigorously until olive oil and lemon juice blend into one, after about 1 minute of shaking.

Baked Eggplant Snacks

Eggplant-Snacks-webIn Sicily eggplant is one of the most eaten vegetables. Match it with some cheese and other topping and you have wonderful yummy snacks. 

In the south of Italy pizza topping are kept to just a few ingredients so the individual flavours can be experienced and this recipe is an example of this. 

If you want longer versions cut the eggplant long ways and follow the same process detailed below. 

Ingredients 

1 large eggplant
1/2 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 400g (16 oz) fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, juice removed (for canned tomatoes)
100g (4oz) about 5 spring onions (green onions), white parts only
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano 
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g (4 oz) fresh mozzarella
a few shavings parmesan
a few sliced olives
Fresh chopped basil leaves 

Method 

Slice the eggplant into 7mm (1/4-inch) thick slices. Place them on a flat surface and sprinkle with coarse salt. This will draw out some of the moisture that is in the eggplant. Let sit for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Pat the slices dry on both sides with paper towel, place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender on the inside, but still holding together. 

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce: chop the onions and garlic separately. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, season with salt, pepper and the paprika, and simmer for 15 -20 minutes, until it has thickened. 

When you are ready to top the eggplant preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Slice the mozzarella and olives into very thin slivers. Spread 1 tbsp tomato sauce on top of each eggplant slice, add a sliver of mozzarella, a few parmesan shavings, a few olive slices, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. 

Top, garnish with some fresh chopped basil and serve warm.

 

Fresh Basil Parsley Garlic Pesto

PestoIngredients 

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Method 

Combine the basil and parsley in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more. 

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

No Bread or Grain Open Sandwich Recipes

Eggplant-open-sandwichEasy Gluten free and paleo options coming during the next month.

Over the next month I will be taking you through many simple but very tasty options for bread/grain free open sandwiches. These recipes will be family friendly and easy to adapt to cater to the differing taste choices that people have in your home and when entertaining. They will include dairy and nut free options and all will be soy free as well.

An open sandwich usually consists of a slice of fresh bread with different spreads and toppings such as butter, pâté, cheese spreads, relishes, cold cuts such as roast beef, turkey, chicken, ham, bacon, salami, cheese slices or sausages like beerwurst and vegetables like bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, radish, spring onions (scallion), grated carrot and cucumber to name a few.

When living a Gluten-free life an open sandwich is a great option for a fun snack or meal and you can get the kids making their own. We can use GF breads but I prefer to use other things for the base such as large flat mushrooms, lightly grilled bell peppers (halved), egg plant slices (grilled on both sides), cucumber, large tomato slices to name a few.

ingredients-1As a brunch or an after school snack an open sandwich can be made by each person to their desired choices, this makes it ideal at gatherings of family and friends. It is also a great way to use leftovers from a large meal the day before. I use the grill a lot when I am making open sandwiches to melt in cheeses on the toppings and add some warmth when needed.

Classic Tomato Basil and Balsamic Salad

Tomato-Basil-Salad-2This is a salad that is a real “fall back” for me.

I have been making it for years and will do till the day I move onto my next life. Its so simple to bring together and the flavours are exquisite when you are using local, seasonal fresh produce from your garden or Farmers Market .

I serve it as a side with Antipasto or as a snack with crumbed bacon as a topping with some avocado slices.

Serves 2 as a side

Ingredients

400g (12oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large spring onion, quartered lengthwise and diced fine (1/2 red onion is also good)
1 tbsp fresh basil, dhopped fine
1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar 
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

Method

In a small bowl add all the ingredients except the balsamic. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic and mix together.

Cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Stir through and rest for another 2-3 hours.

Serve when required at room temperature 

Is Eating Seasonal and Local Expensive Part One Getting Started

Chicken-Lemon_Honey_Ch-SkewAs a seasonal fresh chef I get told all the time that “we can’t eat local and seasonal fresh, it costs too much”. 

I have to say, this is not true and it can be made a reality with a little understanding on how to buy in season. Seasonal food is better for you and the planet , plenty of nutrients and flavour ! 

Eating locally supports the economy you live in or are close to. It also supports local and smaller farms who are farming sustainably 

Eating seasonally also reduces food costs because when we buy what is abundant and in season, the supply is higher and this means the cost of the food is lower. This enables you to buy better quality items while stretching your food dollars. Often they will have specials and you can buy up on, blanch vegetables and freeze for later use. 

When I say local I don’t mean at the supermarket, I mean from your local farmers markets or green grocer. The benefit of buying from these two is that either they have grown the produce themselves or they have sourced from local suppliers and can tell you where it has come from. 

When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive.  It’s the basic law of supply and demand, and when crops are in season you’ll be rewarded financially by purchasing what’s growing now. 

Ok, How Do I Start? 

Planning Your Weeks Meals 

The first thing I suggest is to start a meal plan for the coming week. I do these late in the week in the evening so I can take advantage of the farmers markets and green grocers. 

You can download a A4 weekly meal planning chart here…. 

www.jimmyboswell.com/GFS_Meal_Planning.pdf   

When you are starting chat with family and find out what they want over the next week and make a list of the meal suggestions. 

Spend time each week looking for recipes. The internet is great for this. Remember to bookmark sites you like to you can get back to them quickly. 

Decide what to prepare. I find it helpful to think in terms of categories, for example: 

Soup or Salad

Ethnic styled meals like Italian meatballs, curries etc

Pasta

Casserole

Quick & Easy. 

Ethnic – you could divide it into cooking styles 

grilling & BBQ’s

crock-pot

stir-fry

roast

If I pick one from each category, there’s sufficient variety that my family won’t complain, and by putting the Quick & Easy meals (tacos, hamburgers, spaghetti) on harried days, dinner will get done on time. 

Save one day a week for a new dish from a cookbook or a food blog if you like to try new things. If it’s from a blog, make sure you print out the recipe and keep it with your menu plan or in a notebook just for that purpose. 

To help with herbs and seasonings have a look at my blog on herb and spice blends that makes cooking a lot easier. 

http://www.tasteofhome.co.nz/everyday-dried-herb-blends/ 

Start a Meal Calendar.

Now that you’re getting inspired in what to eat, start a calendar of what you’d like to cook over the next few days or few weeks and mix and match meal requests from family and friends. 

Kids-in-KitchenThis is also a great way of getting kids in the kitchen helping meals that they love. They can start with washing vegetables, mixing things together, cracking eggs and loads more. This gives them pride in what has been cook and what they are eating. 

Choose a shopping day and make a shopping list. 

This makes it easier to plan where you need to go and this can save a lot of time and money. 

Check what’s on sale. 

This works in with meal planning and your shopping. When you are making the shopping list check your pantry and add to the list anything that needs to be re-stocked. 

Plan for leftovers.

This is a very good way to eat fresh and save money through buying when things are on special. I regularly cook one or two big healthy casseroles or ragus at the beginning of the week and eat off them all week long for lunch. 

Some people can only eat leftovers for a single night. There are many ways that we can have the leftovers in different ways. I will delve into this in another post. 

Be strategic about freezing.

The freezer is your friend. Actually, it’s the friend of future you. Make a double batch of that sauce you love, some stocks half or all for later. Make a double batch of soup, stew, chicken cacciatore — throw it in the freezer. Let a month go by, and those leftovers will look fresh and tasty! 

Don’t overstuff the refrigerator.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your fridge is over-full. Also, things get hidden in the back. Don’t let things go bad. Keep your fridge airy and light, with a sensible, realistic amount of food in it. 

Keep a well-stocked pantry.

Meals are easier and quicker to prepare if you keep your pantry well-stocked. Don’t run out of olive oil at inconvenient moments. Have spices and herbs ready to season and flavour dishes you are cooking.

Antipasto Chicken Liver Spread

chicken_liver_spread-webI often make this spread and keep in the fridge to form part of a snack. I love it spread in the middle of celery pieces as well a cucumber slices. This is also how I serve it as part of an Antipasto.

This can be made several days ahead and should be stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Serves 6 – 8 as part of an Antipasto 

Ingredients 

3 tbsp chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 cup brandy
150g (6 oz) trimmed chicken livers
5 large egg yolks
1 cup whole grass fed milk or coconut milk
1/4 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
salt & fresh ground black pepper

Method 

Preheat oven to 170C (350F).

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onions until lightly golden brown, then add the garlic and cook another minute or two.

Remove from the heat and add the brandy and then return to the heat and cook until the brandy has reduced by half.

Place the onion mixture in a food processor along with the chicken livers and egg yolks and blend until smooth.

Add the milk, flour, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper and blend until well mixed. Pour the mixture into

chicken-liver-spread-web

 a ceramic oven proof bowl (crock) large enough to hold it all, and then place the crock in a larger oven-proof pan and filled halfway up the sides of the crock with water.


Bake until the spread has set when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes.

Remove from the water bath, and cool to room temperature. This can be made several days ahead and should be stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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