Category Archives: Cheese

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FOGDOG Italian Crumb Mac N Cheese

FD-Mc_Ch_webServes 2

Years ago, my mother thought me a way to make a white sauce that so easy and is infused with bay. She called it her reversed white sauce and I have never looked back.

Ingredients

1/2 cup FOGDOG panko or GF crumb
125g pasta of choice
1-2 tbsp flour of choice (GF flour is fine)
1 tbsp butter
2 cups milk plus 1 cup
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 cup shredded cheese your choice, sharp, aged, etc.
1/8 tsp cayenne, (optional)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika, (optional)
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp fine grated parmesan
parsley to garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 180C

Cook the pasta in a medium saucepan with a good pinch of salt, according to the package instructions. Drain and run under cool water to prevent sticking. Temporarily set aside. Be careful not to overcook the pasta as you do want it to go soft and gulpy when its baked in the oven.

Transfer your saucepan back over to the stove over medium heat and add the unsalted butter, 2 cups of milk, bay leaf and heat over a medium heat till it starts to form little bubbles around the edge of the pan. Stir well and remove from the heat.

As the milk is warming combine 1 cup milk and the flour. Wisk into a paste/slurry and make sure there are no lumps.

Place the steeped milk back on the heat and warm. Once warm add ¼ of the slurry and whisk to combine. Add another ¼ of the slurry and again combine.

Now slowly stir the flour milk mixture to thicken for about 2 minutes over medium heat. We want to cook out the flour and thicken to a light to medium thickness. Add 1 tbsp of the slurry at a time until the white sauce is at the right thickness. Remove the bay leaf at this point and turn off the heat.

Add in the shredded cheese, cayenne, paprika  and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remember that when you add cheese to a white sauce never do it over heat.

Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, and stir everything together until all the pasta is coated in the sauce. Divide the pasta among one medium small, or two small, oven-safe casserole/soup-type dishes. Temporarily set aside.

Melt the salted butter, then toss with the panko crumbs and grated parmesan. Sprinkle this mixture evenly on top of the pasta.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes to finish and serve hot. Garnish the finished pasta with fresh chopped parsley.

Sweet Potato Rosti

Sweet-p-rosti-stack-webThis recipe is easy to scale and is a wonderful starter or brunch with the addition of a seasonal fresh salad of choice.

Serves 1

Ingredients

500g (1.1lb) sweet potatoes, peeled, grated and dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme or ½ tsp cumin

175g feta like cheese, crumbled. I like goat cheese for its sharpness

2 eggs, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 220 C (440 F). Line a baking tray with parchment.

Grate the sweet potatoes, place in a clean cloth and squeeze out the excess liquid, transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in the hot oil until soft and transfer to the bowl with the drained sweet potato.

Add the egg, about 2/3 of the cheese and all the thyme and mix well. Divide the mixture into 3-4 even portions and shape into balls with your hands and then flatten them to about 1cm (1/2 in) thickness. Arrange the patties onto the baking tray.

Roast in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes turning once after 20 minutes. When turning sprinkle the remaining cheese over the patties and return to oven to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes more.

Making A Stack

Its all about choice as to what you add between the rosti’s. I love to add a soft poached egg on top and sour cream and beetroot relish between the layers.

You can add cooked bacon, salmon slices, avocado slices, thin sliced cooked eggplant.  

Tangy Chicken Nibbles with Blue Cheese Dip

A great starter and one that I have been making for years and love with a passion. If blue cheese is not something you like use a fine grated strong cheese in its place.  

Ingredients

1kg chicken wings or chicken nibbles

3 tsp paprikaTangy-Chicken-Wings-web

2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Tangy Chicken Wing Sauce

1 tbsp of good olive oil

5 tbsp tomato sauce of choice

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Tabasco

1 teasp. Dijon style mustard

Juice of ½ a lemon

Blue Cheese Dip

75g blue cheese, mashed

100ml Greek style natural yoghurt

Cut the wing tips off each chicken wing and discard.  Then cut each wing in half through the main joint.  In a large bowl mix together the paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh thyme.  Add in the chicken wings and toss until coated the spices.

Heat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F).

Mix together the tomato sauce, oil, honey, Tabasco, mustard and lemon juice.

Cover and rest for 30 minutes and then add the sauce and mix well to coat evenly.

Line a large roasting tin with tin foil then spread the wings over the foil.  Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning the wings half way through.

Mix the blue cheese into the yoghurt and serve with the wings, celery sticks and a green salad.

Canter Valley Turkey Stuffed Eggplant

stuffed-eplant-1Eggplant, well what can I say, I love it. In Sicily its right up at the top of the list of vegetables that are eaten. This recipe is great as a Sunday brunch with salad or as a side when you are doing a BBQ. 

Ingredients 

Serves 8 

4 eggplants

2 cups shredded cold turkey meat
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
4 tbsp ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 egg, separated
1/4  tsp each of dried rosemary,
thyme and oregano
2 tbsp chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup chicken stock 

Method 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, (390 F). 

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, leaving the stems attached. Score the flesh in a criss cross fashion out 5mm deep with a sharp knife, making sure you do not cut through the skin. Rub the cut surfaces with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. 

Set the eggplant halves, cut-side-down, on paper towels and allow moisture to drain for 15 minutes. Eggplant has quite a lot of moisture in it and doing this removes some of it. 

Brush the cut surfaces of the eggplant halves with the olive oil and place them, cut-side-down on baking paper on a large flat tray and bake for 15 minutes. The eggplants will not cook completely through, the skin and flesh will just be softened. Cool for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (400 F). 

With a tablespoon gently scoop the pulp from the partially cooked eggplants leaving about 5mm of flesh on the skins. Set the skin shells aside for later use. 

Place the flesh in a food processor and add 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano cheese, the ricotta cheese, the remaining salt, pepper, egg yolk, tomato paste, dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Process lightly by pulsing until the ingredients are just mixed, about 30 seconds. 

Mix in the cold turkey with a spoon them whip the egg white in a small bowl with a hand mixer or whisk until stiff. Fold into the eggplant mixture with a rubber spatula. 

Fill the eggplant skins with the mixture, mounding it slightly. 

Place in a baking dish large enough to hold the 8 halves and pour the chicken stock around them. Sprinkle the stuffed eggplant halves with the remaining Parmigiano cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. 

Grate a little Parmigiano cheese over each half and cool for 5 minutes and then serve with a fresh seasonal green salad of your choice.

Canter Valley Turkey Meatballs With Sicilian Sauce

cheese-meatballsIngredients  

400g (1lb) Canter Valley Turkey mince
½ onion chopped finely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs, gluten free if required
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp grated carrot
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 -3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
200g (1/2lb) mozzarella, the dryer the better, diced into small chunks  

Sauce  

1 400g (12oz) can diced Italian tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup stock (broth)
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to season  

½ cup chopped Italian parsley 

Method 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all mixed evenly.  

Lightly oil the palms of the hands, and shape into medium sized, 3-4 cm meatballs.  Push back any mozzarella pieces that poke through the meat – they can melt and burn.  

Heat a medium sized frying pan large enough to hold the meatballs.  If this is not available, work in batches.  Sauté meatballs over medium-high heat, turning as you cook, to brown all sides.  When browned, lower heat and cook, covered, for ten minutes turning frequently. Remove from the heat, leave the meatballs in the pan and set aside. 

Sauce  

In a pot over a medium-high heat combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce be half. Once reduced pour over the meat balls and combine to coat the meat all over. Place over heat and simmer for ten minutes, turning often. 

Serve the meatballs over rice or pasta and top with the remaining sauce and garnished with parsley.

Easy Sweet Potato Frattata

frittata-sweet-webIngredients 

6 eggs

1 – 1/2 cups grass fed cows milk

100g (3oz) chedder style cheese, grated

3 strips of streaky smoked bacon, diced

200g (6oz) of sweet potato, peeled and chopped

few handfuls of spinach, about 1 cup, washed and patted dry

2 tsp fresh thyme, lightly chopped

Salt and Pepper to season

2 tbsp Olive or coconut oil 

Method 

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) 

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk and season with salt and black pepper. 

Over a medium heat add oil to a heavy, oven safe skillet and add the bacon and sweet potato. Lightly fry until sweet potato pieces are slightly tender and golden and bacon is cooked. 

Reduce the heat, add the spinach and thyme and cook for a further 3 minutes until spinach is slightly wilted. 

Pour egg mixture over top and then sprinkle with the grated cheese. 

Bake until the mixture is set and the cheese has melted and is golden, about 20 minutes. 

Serve with a side salad.

Easy Chicken Bites

Chick-bites-webChicken breast seasoned with sage and Italian seasoning, rolled in prosciutto, then skewered.

Makes about 30-36 

Ingredients 

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
12 strips prosciutto or streaky bacon
120g (4oz) cream cheese, room temperature
6 basil leaves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalk and chopped
3 parsley sprigs, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced 

Method 

Preheat your oven to 175C (350F)

In a medium bowl mix together your whipped cream cheese, thyme, basil, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on each piece of bacon and then cut into thirds. Then wrap 1 piece of chicken with the piece of bacon. It will only wrap around one time, secure with a skewer.

Place on a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

Venison Meatballs With Cheesy Bites

cheese-meatballsI love to use venison mince as it takes on the flavours of the herbs, especially the garlic and rosemary. I use the lovely mince from Duncan Venison 

This recipe is the same base as I use for my paddies which is another old time favourite for me. People love to come for dinner when I am cooking either of these. They are basic to prepare but taste so good. 

I also make these as a starter and they are usually the first to go. 

Ingredients 

500g (1.1lb) venison mince
½ onion chopped finely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup GF bread crumbs
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp grated carrot
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 -3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
200g (1/2lb) mozzarella, the dryer the better, diced into small chunks 

Sauce 

1 400g (12oz) can diced Italian tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup stock (broth)
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to season 

Method

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all mixed evenly.    

Lightly oil the palms of the hands, and shape into medium sized, 2.5cm (1in)  meatballs.  Push back any mozzarella pieces that poke through the meat – they can  melt and burn. 

Heat a medium sized frying pan large enough to hold the meatballs.  If this is not available, work in batches.  Sauté meatballs over medium-high heat, turning as you cook, to brown all sides.  When browned, lower heat and cook, covered, for ten minutes turning frequently.  

Sauce 

In a pot over a medium-high heat combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce be half. Once reduced pour over the meat balls and combine to coat the meat all over. 

Serve the meatballs with sauce poured over with tooth picks.

Summer Fresh Roast Vegetable Salad

roast-veg-salad-webThis recipe can be served as a side with cooked meats. Its also a great dish if you are having someone over that is a vegetarian. Leave out the feta to make this vegan. 

Ingredients 

3 medium medium beetroots

2 medium carrots

2 parsnips, woody core removed

2 courgettes

1 cauliflower, florets only

6 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 tsp salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

5 garlic cloves, bruised with the flat edge of a chopping knife

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp smoked paprika

100g feta cheese, crumbled for serving. I use Over The Moon feta
Small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped for serving 

Method 

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F) 

Wash and roughly chop the beetroots, carrots, parsnips and courgettes. Roughly chopped gives the dish a rustic look. 

In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower florets and veggies with 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to season, garlic and thyme, leaves removed from stem of one sprig. 

Drizzle base of an oven proof roasting dish with the rest of the olive oil and position the remaining 2 sprigs of thyme on the base. Arrange vegetables in the dish so that they’re roughly evened out across it. 

Roast in the middle on the oven until carrots and beetroot are just fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Once cool, serve on platter with generous sprinkling of smoked paprika, crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint. 

Serve as is or with leftover cold cuts as a summer fresh brunch or dinner.

Asparagus Frittata

frittata-cheese-asp-webIngredients 

4-6 asparagus spears

3 free range eggs

3 tbsp grated parmesan

Olive or coconut oil

freshly ground black pepper and fine sea  salt. 

Method 

Clean the asparagus, cutting the lowest end of the stalks. Bring to a boil a little salted water (just enough to cover them) and let the asparagus cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well and cut into 1 and 1/2 cm (slightly bigger than 1/2in) long pieces. 

Whisk the eggs with a little salt and black pepper (I like lots), add the parmesan and then the cut asparagus. 

Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil in a medium-small frying pan and make it hot before adding the egg and asparagus mixture. Lower the temperature and cook until the eggs start to solidify. Flip over and quickly brown also the other side. Serve warm or cold with a seasonal side salad.

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