Crushed Olive Oil Potatoes and Baked Flathead with mint and Caper Dressing

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This months The Cookbook Guru book of choice is Karen Martini’s Cooking at Home. Delicious recipes made easy.

I couldn’t decide which recipe I wanted to make so I let my shopping expedition decide and the flathead with an amazing mint, parsley and caper dressing got the all clear. The flathead in the local seafood shop window looked too good to pass up. Not to mention the herbs in the garden are growing madly and need to be harvested and eaten. Good thing we love fresh herbs.

For the mint and caper dressing mix together:-

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped mint

2 Tbls finely chopped capers

1 finely chopped gherkin

1 finely grated clove garlic

1 finely chopped green chilli

2 Tbls finely chopped red onion

1 Tbls finely grated lemon zest

2 Tbls lemon juice

3 Tbls olive oil

1 Tbls sherry or red wine vinegar

freshly ground black pepper

Mix really well and set aside for the flavours to develop.

Boil up 2 desiree potatoes. Drain them well and crush them with a fork. Stir in 2 Tbls finely chopped red onion, 3 Tblsp olive oil and a little salt and pepper. (The onion is optional, mum use to do this with potato all the time)

Preheat oven to 220oC. Place the fish on a baking paper lined baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 7 – 10 minutes (depending on how thick the fish is)

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To serve put some of the potato on a plate. Top with the fish and dressing.

The dish needed a little more colour so I also served a tomato, onion and purslane  salsa on the side.

Ended up being a delicious and disgustingly healthy dinner that took hardly no time to prepare. What more could one ask for?

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Try it and enjoy…

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Public Holidays and Eggplant Bake….

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It’s a public holiday here today. Besides a 30 minute spin on the exercise bike and ironing a few shirts I haven’t really done too much. It’s been good.

I was thinking about what I had in the fridge that needed to be used up and remembered I’d bought an eggplant a couple of days ago with the idea of making a pasta dish with tomato, eggplant and chilli but we went out for dinner instead. That was good too.

So I took the eggplant out and looked at it with the hope that it would let me know how it wanted to be cooked, and do you know what it suggested?  Yes, that’s right… NOT pasta with eggplant, tomato and chilli but potato, eggplant and tomato bake.

Crazy huh?

So I peeled a couple of potatoes, sliced them about 5mm thick, tossed them in a little oil and spread them on a baking sheet and baked them at 250c for 20 minutes.

Then I partially peeled that brilliant eggplant, sliced it about 1cm thick, spread it on a tray, splashed a little oil over those slices and sprinkled them with salt, cumin powder and fennel seeds and then baked them at 250c for 20 minutes.

Yes, it was all coming together.

Next I peeled a couple of really big cloves of garlic and a small onion and chopped them up nice and chunky. I put them in a large frypan with a little olive oil and a couple of sliced red chillies. I stirred them around for a few minutes on a medium high heat until they were soft then threw in a 400g can of italian cherry tomatoes (it was the contents of that can I threw in. I discarded the actual can), added a pinch of salt, a pinch of ground pepper, a pinch of sugar and about a tablespoon of dried oregano. Yum! I turned the heat down and let that wonderful sauce bubble away gently for 20 minutes. It was all good.

Next came the whole putting it together part of the program.

In a deep oven proof dish I spread a little of the sauce then arranged half the potato and eggplant slices on top. I spread half the sauce over that and enjoyed it so much I did it again Finishing with a layer of sauce. But I wasn’t done yet.

I put what I had created into the oven at 180c and commenced preparing a luscious white sauce which I would use as a cover.

Melting 20g of butter in that very same frypan I made the tomato sauce in, I added 1 tablespoon of flour and stirred it around for 30 seconds. No more no less. I then gradually incorporated 200ml soy milk. Oh the joy as it started to thicken and bubble.

Next I took it off the heat and added a sprinkle of salt and a single egg. Oh the whisking was brilliant, even if I do say so myself.

I brought the dish out of the oven and poured this amazing milky, eggy sauce over what I had already built, sprinkled on a few pieces of goats feta and a little mozzarella cheese then I had it back in the oven quick smart for 45 minutes. It was all bubbly and brown. Perfect I tell you.

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To accompany this masterpiece – a salad and a glass of red.

Brilliant.

And the best part……….

I cooked and my husband cleaned.

Enjoy…

Roast potatoes with garlic and fennel seeds.

The last few months I’ve been sprinkling fennel seeds son just about everything. I can’t seem to get enough of them.imageTiny seeds that pack a punch.

We’re having roast salmon fillets (coated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, sesame oil and of course fennel seeds) for dinner and to go with them roasted potato and sweet potato.  It’s all terribly healthy.

I just cut up the potatoes into 5cm cubes, threw them in a bowl with some olive oil, minced garlic, ground pepper and fennel seeds.imageToss really well to coat it all and bake for about 30 minutes at the hottest your oven goes…imageVery nice….

Enjoy…

Kafta bi Saneah (baked Kafta)

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Most people now know what kafta is, and the many ways of cooking it.

It can come as skinless sausages, on skewers or not, which are grilled or barbecues and traditionally served with hummus and salad.  That’s a very popular to have it.

I’m baking it with potato, onion and tomato. The mix prepared the same way but instead of forming it into sausages we spread it onto a deep baking dish, add veggies and tomato and serve with rice, or riz.

We had a barbecue a couple of Sundays ago at mum and dads for mum’s and my Birthday. Menu choice was ours. I love barbecues. Our choice was lamb kebabs with hummus, Kafta sausages and loads of veggies, large portabello mushrooms, sliced zucchini and eggplant. We had great weather and the whole family was there to eat and have cakes. What a fantastic day.

Anyway...Kafta bi Saneah….

In a bowl mix together:

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250g lean beef or lamb mince

1 small brown onion – finely diced

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley – finely chopped

1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 14 tsp ground cumin.

Spread 1 tsp olive oil over the bottom of a deep oven proof dish and press the kafta mix evenly over it. Slice 1 small onion into 5mm thin slices and place on top with 1 large potato that’s been sliced into 8mm rounds.Image Pour over 400g canned diced tomato with the juice and enough water to cover the potato. Give it all another small sprinkle of salt and pepper and bake at 200c for about 60 minutes or until the potato is cooked.

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Serve with Riz (see Bazella post for Riz recipe) and if you like, a little natural yoghurt.

Perfect.

Enjoy…

Cauliflower and Leek Soup

What’s for dinner tonight…..?

Well, nearly had cheese sandwiches actually.

There I was chopping veggies, getting things ready and the electricity goes out. My stove and oven are electric.

A massive power outage  took out the electricity grid for most of the inner west of Sydney and then some. Who knew if it was going to come back on any time soon?

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There was no telling when my husband was getting home – trains weren’t running on the line he catches.

I had bought a loaf of sourdough bread from the local bakery this morning so fresh bread slices with cheese and tomato would be a easy dinner to prepare in the dark.

However, the electricity did come back on with plenty of time to continue with my plan of making soup.

So…..

Chop up a head of cauliflower (mine ended up being about 600g), throw it into a large saucepan and then fill with water. Bring to the boil. Then turn the heat off and leave to sit for about 5 minutes and strain. (They’ll only be partially cooked at this stage)

In the same saucepan melt about 40g butter with 2 tbs olive oil. Add 1 large leek that you’ve washed and sliced very thinly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes on a medium heat, then add 1 large diced potato and the cauliflower.

Top up with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of stock (I used beef because its all I had in the kitchen), cover, bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (I love adding fennel seeds – about 1/2 tbs).

Once the veggies are tender, whizz up in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. Taste, adjust seasoning.

Serve and eat.

Not many ingredients but full of flavour and because of the potato, it ends up being rich and creamy – no need to add any cream. Bonus.

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Enjoy…