Tiramisu

Tiramisu, meaning ‘pick me up’ is one my favourite Italian desserts. When made well, the combination of coffee-soaked savoiardi and sweet mascarpone is unlike anything else and it simply melts in your mouth. The beauty of tiramisu is that it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, however, you may find it hard to resist after day one.

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Chocolate cake with brandy raisins and orange zest

This cake is from an old Maggie Beer cook book I came across. It is super rich and full of chocolate, inside and on top! It uses almond meal with a bit of a flour which could be substituted out to make it gluten free. It’s best to serve this cake the day you make it as I put it in the fridge overnight and it dried out a little unfortunately. Still a great recipe if you like rich, dense chocolate cakes!

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Yellow beef curry

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In this dish, use thinly sliced beef and brown it quickly for 30 seconds or so and set aside. Simmer the curry ingredients with coconut milk for as long as you like. The longer the better. Then add the beef at the very end. This will stop it from being too chewy. Add roasted peanuts for extra flavour.

Butter chicken with mint yoghurt

Butter chicken has to be my favourite Indian cuisine. Rarely I make pastes from scratch but did on this occasion and it was surprisingly easy. For the tandoori paste, place all the spices in a bowl… add yoghurt and lime juice and you’re done. There is not much to make this. Coat the chicken with the paste, brown for 5 minutes each side, and then simmer with yoghurt and chicken stock (not coconut milk).

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Cannelloni with braised meat

This dish was inspired by an Italian cooking show, Made in Italy, I came across the other day.

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The photo doesn’t really show the dish however behind the crusted layer of sauce are rows of homemade cannelloni filled with mozzarella and veal mince. Making the pasta from scratch is time consuming but well worth the time. Practice makes perfect. Putting the cannelloni together was a lot harder than on the show! (funny that). Anyway, still delicious, and I am still amazed at how only a few simple ingredients make such incredible meals.

Veal osso buco

Osso buco is one of my favourite slow cooked dishes. This time I used veal shanks instead of beef. This is slow cooked in diced tomaotes and chicken stock for about 2 hours. The base of the sauce is onion, garlic, anchovies, celery, carrots and white wine. The longer you simmer the dish the better it will be. Don’t be impatient.

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Served with mash potatoes, garnished with chives.

Kohlrabi

Cooking for me is about learning and experimenting with new ingredients, flavours and combinations. Sometimes this means getting inspiration from others, following recipes or sometimes going with my own ideas. When I saw this vegetable I didn’t even know what it but was curious as to what was underneath it’s purple and funny looking skin. It is actually a German turnip or cabbage and can be eaten raw or cooked. I baked it with truffle oil like any other hard vegetable. Without giving away the taste, I can say I will be buying this again.

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Take a chance in the kitchen and buy something you’ve never had before. You’ll be surprised at what you can find in your local fresh food shops. Happy 2015 everyone!