Curry laksa

Vermicelli and tofuTakeaway: noodle soups, salads and stir-fries, 160pp.
by Les Huynh
Murdoch Books Australia, Millers Point NSW, 2006
Cooking on pages 32–33

This is the second page-32 recipe by Les Huynh that I have made for this blog. The first was mussels with chilli and basil, and that was made almost four years ago.

Huynh is a largely self-taught chef with a great passion for food. His eclectic cooking reflects influences from all over Asia, especially the Southeast, and he successfully takes traditional recipes and adapts them with a modern touch.

He has worked in the restaurant business for more than 20 years and has established restaurants in Adelaide as well as Blue Ginger and Bar Asia in Sydney.

Pages 32–33 have a classic southeast Asian recipe.

Curry laksa

Curry laksa

Ingredients
200 g (7 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) raw king prawns (shrimp) peeled and deveined, tails left intact)
800 ml (28 fl oz) coconut milk
1 tablespoon yellow bean paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
10 curry leaves
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 fried tofu puffs, cut into quarters
250 g (9 oz) rice vermicelli noodles

Basil, chilli, soy bean sauce Onions, garlic, cucumber Paste
8 dried long red chillies
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lemongrass stems, thinly sliced
vegetable oil
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
4 tablespoons medium curry powder (preferably Ayam brand)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

To serve
2 handfuls bean sprouts
1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, seeded and cut into thin lengths
1 handful Vietnamese mint
3 tablespoons fried shallots
sambal oelek or chopped bird’s eye chillies (optional)
lime wedges

Method
To make the paste, discard the seeds and stems from the dried chillies, then soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain, then roughly chop. Put the chilli into a food processor with the onion, garlic and lemon grass and add a little of the oil to help blend the mixture into a smooth paste. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the paste and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until fragrant. Add the remaining paste ingredients and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.

laksa mixture Fish sauce, turmeric, lemongrassToss in the chicken and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the prawns, 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) water, the coconut milk, yellow bean paste, fish sauce and curry leaves and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the salt, sugar and tofu puffs.

Place the vermicelli noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 5–7 minutes, or until softened. Drain well. To serve, put the noodles into individual bowls and top with the bean sprouts and cucumber. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and sprinkle with mint and fried shallots. Offer a small bowl of sambal oelek or chopped chillies alongside and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the soup.

How it played out
We love laksa, so I was keen to try out this recipe. The first task was to buy yellow bean paste, sambal oelek and Vietnamese mint. So off I went to a nearby Asian shop. The first two were easy to find, but I picked up three or four bunches of greens and waved them at the shopkeeper before she said I’d found the right thing. Of course, not long after I made this, I found the other bottle of sambal oelek I already had in the cupboard. 

My only changes were to use bottled lemongrass (on hand and needing to be used up) and to reverse the amounts of chicken and prawns (shrimp). I had lots of chicken on hand and not many prawns.

Takeaway cookbookI followed everything else. Even though it has a long list of ingredients, laksa is quite straightforward to make.

Verdict
This made a lovely laksa. It’s certainly not the best one I’ve ever had, but we’ve travelled extensively in Southeast Asia and have had the chance to sample many of the best. I wouldn’t expect to be able to match those recipes in a home kitchen.

On substitutes
I made a Korean soup recipe today. It’s not a page 32, but it was something I wanted to make after buying a huge bargain bag of pork bones for $1.

Wanting to follow the online recipe, I went to an Asian grocery but they didn’t have any of the Korean ingredients I needed. Not to worry. I used a range of reasonable substitutes, including white wine for Chinese cooking wine, and the whole dish turned out just fine. It was a great reminder that we can make-do most of the time. When you’re stumped by a recipe or ingredient, try searching online for substitutions and then use your imagination and what you might have in the cupboard.

Travel
I always think of laksa as a Malaysian recipe. I certainly ate plenty when we were there. It also reminds me of the entertaining Murder Mystery Night we had in Kuala Lumpur.

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Classic French bread

flour and bread recipeThe frugal gourmet, 388pp.
by Jeff Smith
Doubleday Australia, Sydney, 1996
Cooking on pages 232–33

This is the second time I have shared a recipe from a Jeff Smith cookbook. He was well-known in the USA in the 1980s and 90s presenting 261 television episodes and 10 cookbooks.

He fell from grace and public life when seven men accused him of sexual assault. No criminal charges were laid and Smith’s insurers settled the cases for an undisclosed amount in 1998.

The first two page 32s didn’t have recipes, so I moved on to page 232. Smith introduces the recipe by explaining the benefit of using a hard wheat (baker’s) flour.

Classic French bread

Classic French bread

Ingredients
2 packages dry yeast
2 1/2 cups tepid water
2 pounds and 3 ounces hard wheat flour mixed with unbleached white flour, or just unbleached white flour—mix them 1/2 and 1/2
1 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
cornmeal (optional)

mixing bread dough risen dough

Method
Dissolve the yeast in the water. (Tepid: not hot, not cool, but barely warm.) Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

Using a small paper sack on your scale, weigh out a total of 2 pounds and 3 ounces of flour. (If you can’t get hard wheat flour, use a good unbleached white.)

Make a sponge of the water and yeast, together with 4 cups of the weighed out flour. Whip for 10 minutes with an electric mixer. It will pull away from the side of the mixing bowl.

Add the salted water. Add the remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes in a good machine, or 15 minutes by hand.

Place on Formica counter, or on a piece of plastic wrap, and cover with a large metal bowl. Let rise for 2 hours. Punch down, and let rise for another 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down again, and mlld into 3 or 4 loaves. Let the loaves rise. I do this in an extra oven with a pan of hot water in the bottom. This allow for steam heat, perfect for raising dough. Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet before letting them rise: you may wish to place cornmeal on the greased baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. When the loaves have risen to double in original bulk, place them in the upper one-third of the over. Important: Place a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf. This will assure you of a great crust.

rising dough

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and the loaves sound hollow when you thump their bottoms with your finger.

If you wish an old-world look to your bread, simply dust the loaves with flour before the final rising. You can use an egg and water glaze, but I am convinced that you will get a much better crust if you simply use flour.

This bread is so rich that you need not put butter on it. The French rarely eat butter on bread. And if you wish to eliminate both salt and butter, simply cut down on the amount of salt in the recipe. It is tasty without.

How it played out
A few things about this recipe surprised me. This is an Australian edition of the book, so I’d have thought it would show metric (rather than imperial) measurements. So for those of you who rely on metric, the flour is equal to 1 kilo and the oven temperature is 230°C.

I also thought it was strange to specify using a paper sack when measuring the flour, and a Formica counter and a metal bowl for letting the dough rise. Oh well, I’ll stop being nit-picky.

1 of 2 loaves

1 of 2 loaves, less than a handspan wide

I did follow most of the recipe. I found that not only did the dough come away from the sides of the bowl while being whipped with the electric mixer, it also crawled up the spindles of the mixer. So I had to constantly scrape it down.

There was only enough dough to make 2 loaves, not the 3 to 4 suggested. I didn’t dust the loaves with flour or use and egg and water glaze, and the 25 minutes cooking time was fine.

You can see I did a rather bodgy job of slashing the tops of the loaves.

The Frugal Gourmet cookbook

Verdict
This made a nice enough bread, but I thought it involved a lot more work than necessary. I bake a lot of bread (a minimum of two loaves a week) and can’t remember a time that the recipe has called for 10 minutes of whipping and then 15 minutes of kneading.

As an aside, I made this when we had five Scandinavian exchange students staying with us for six days. I made seven or eight loaves of bread that week and these were the most labour intensive loaves of all, without any appreciable difference in taste. That said, it all got eaten. But in future, I’ll stick to my regular recipes.

Travel
Bread is a mainstay food on our travels. Here’s a post about one of my favourite memories of stumbling upon a small home bakery in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

French bread

 

Posted in Baking, Bread | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Messy strawberries Romanoff

Icing sugar, strawberries, meringuesCasual entertaining, 160pp.
by Ross Dobson
Ryland Peters and Small, London, 2009
Cooking on pages 132–33

This is the fourth Ross Dobson recipe I’ve made for this blog. The first one—a sensational fish dish—was shared here more than six years ago. Not one of his recipes has been a disappointment.

The premise of this book is that entertaining no longer needs to be formal or, most importantly, keep the cook in the kitchen away from the company. That style suits me fine. We entertain a lot and I often say, ‘I don’t do dinner parties, I just feed people’.

So I checked this out at the local library. It’s loaded with amazing recipes and when you see the scrumptious recipe on pages 132–33, you’ll see why I look forward to buying my own copy.

Messy strawberries Romanoff

Messy strawberries Romanoff

Ingredients
500 g fresh strawberries, hulled
65 ml Cointreau or other orange-flavoured liqueur
6 shop-bought meringues
125 ml single or whipping cream
4 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Strawberries and Cointreau Strawberries on meringuesMethod
Put the strawberries in a non-reactive bowl and add the Cointreau. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours, stirring often.

Roughly break each meringue into 3–4 pieces and put them on a serving platter.

Put the cream in a grease-free bowl and use a hand-held electric whisk to whip. Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, as you whip until the mixture forms soft peaks.

Spoon the cream over the meringue pieces then arrange the strawberries on top, along with a tablespoon or two of the macerating juice. Dust liberally with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) just before serving.

How it played out
Strawberries were on sale at the market, and you can bet I bought two punnets (250 grams or 8 ounces each) with this recipe in mind. While the berries macerated in the Cointreau, I dashed out to buy a packet of 8 meringues. I used them all.

Casual entertaining by Ross DobsonThe first time I made this, I spooned the strawberries over the meringues and then added the cream. I forgot the icing sugar until the last minute. You’d think I could follow such simple instructions! So I made it again a week later and got the assembly order right.

Verdict
Store-bought meringues are the key to making this a quick and stylish dessert. Of course, the strawberries and Cointreau do their bit too. People will think you slaved for hours over this winner, but it only take a few minutes.

It’s going to be one of my go-to party desserts and I recommend that you make it one of yours too!

Travel
We often encounter strawberries on our worldwide travels. Here are some we found, along with white asparagus, in Germany.

Messy strawberries Romanoff

Posted in Dairy, Dessert, Fruit | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Roast pumpkin and feta bruschetta

spices and cheeseShared plates, 192pp.
by The Australian Women’s Weekly
Bauer Media Books, Sydney, 2015
Cooking on page 32

The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine now comes out monthly, but it churns out new cookbooks all the time. This one is a lead up to Christmas without actually focusing on the holiday.

The premise is that these recipes can be passed around and shared with others—a sort of communal table.

I liked the quote in the introduction. ‘This is the simple idea behind shared plates: everyone gets to try everything…it’s like a buffet, but you don’t have to get up from your chair.’ So let’s check out the offering on page 32.

Pumpkin and feta bruschetta

Roast pumpkin and feta bruschetta

Ingredients
1 long French bread stick (300g)
cooking-oil spray
1.5kg (3-pound) butternut pumpkin
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (50g) walnuts, roasted, chopped coarsely
180 g (5 1/2 ounces) Persian feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

pumpkin/squash pumpkin/squash with spices feta and sourdough breadMethod
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two oven trays with baking paper.

Trim rounded ends from bread. Cut bread into 30 x 1.5cm (3/4-inch) thick slices; spray both sides with cooking oil. Place bread on oven trays. Bake for 8 minutes or until brown lightly. Cool on trays.

Meanwhile, cut pumpkin lengthways into four slices about 3cm (1 1/4-inch) thick. Cut each piece into 5mm (1/4-inch) thick slices.

Place pumpkin, chilli, seeds and oil in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Arrange slices on two oven trays lined with baking paper. Roast for 25 minutes or until just tender.

Top bread with 3–4 pumpkin slices: sprinkle over walnuts, feta and thyme.

Do-ahead: Bread can be toasted 2 hours ahead; store in an airtight container. Pumpkin can be cooked 1 hour ahead.

How it played out
As an aside, I need to have a little whinge (complain) here about consistency. Cookbooks by The Australian Women’s Weekly are sold worldwide, so they need to include both metric and imperial measurements. But I find it odd that the editors are quite happy to abbreviate grams, kilograms and centimetres to g, kg and cm, but spell out ounces, pounds and inches. In my editorial opinion, both should be treated the same. Just saying.

Made half a batch as written, using my homemade rye sourdough bread. I didn’t make this for a party or for company. Poor John and I enjoyed it for lunch, and we ate whole slices of bread. Oh, and our butternut pumpkins are what Americans call butternut squash.

Shared plates cookbookVerdict
What a fantastic recipe. So easy to make and sensational flavours. I loved the addition of chilli and thyme, but you could make all sorts of alternations to cater for your preferences. For example, slivered almonds or pine nuts instead of walnuts, any chopped herbs in place of thyme, or even omit the chilli and/or cumin. Get creative.

Travel
Pumpkin always makes me think of Halloween. A memorable one was during our second overland truck trip in South America.

Roasted pumpkin and feta bruschetta

Posted in Bread, Cheese, Snack, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Mussel, tomato and basil soup (plus fish stock)

green-lip musselsá la grecque: our Greek table, 256pp.
by Pam Talimanidis
Hardie Grant Books, Melbourne, 2009
Cooking on page 32

Pam Talimanidis got sucked in to running the Á la grecque restaurant in Aireys Inlet in 2004. That’s when her husband, Kosta, ignored her pleas of ‘no way’ and bought the premises on the southwest coast of Victoria.

By then, the couple had already been in the restaurant industry for almost 30 years, running Kostas Taverna in Lorne.

They decided to make the new venture a family restaurant, not only for their customers, but for themselves as well. The food is seasonal, fresh and simple. Talimanidis uses locally caught mussels for this recipe, but that’s not an option in Canberra.

Mussel, tomato and basil soup

Mussel, tomato and basil soup (plus fish stock)

Ingredients
120 ml olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 litre fish stock
500 g mussels, scrubbed clean and beards removed
150 ml white wine
1/2 cup basil, chopped
60 ml Pernod
freshly ground black pepper
basil oil or chilli oil (optional) to serve

Tomatoes, onion, wine

Method
Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the fish stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, put the mussels and white wine into another large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a low–medium heat, shaking the pan gently from time to time. Check after 4 minutes and discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Tip into a colander and reserve the cooking liquid. Strain this liquid through a clean muslin cloth to remove any sand or grit.

Set aside about a quarter of the mussels to serve in their shells as garnish. Remove the mussel meat from the remaining shells and add to the simmering soup. Add the basil and Pernod and season with pepper. Taste the soup before adding some of the reserved mussel cooking liquid. You want the mussel flavour, but it can be very salty.

Simmer the soup gently for a few minutes, but do not allow it to boil, as the mussels will shrink and become tough and rubbery. Divide the reserved mussels in their shells among 6 soup bowls and pour the soup over them. Drizzle with a little bail or chilli oil (if using) and serve straight away.

Serves 6.

Stock ingredientsFish stock

Ingredients
2 onions
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
1 leek
6 stalks parsley
3 sprigs thyme
2 litres water
700 g fish pieces, scaled and well rinsed
10 whole black peppercorns

Making stockMethod
Wash all the ingredients and herbs thoroughly. Chop the vegetables roughly then put them into a stockpot or large saucepan with the parsley and thyme. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the fish pieces and return the stock to a gentle boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Skim the stock if any impurities rise to the surface.

Strain the stock through a colander, discarding the solids, then taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. If not using straight away, when the stock is completely cold, divide it into batches and refrigerate or freeze.

Makes about 1.5 litres.

Sautéing tomatoes and onionsHow it played out
Our farmers’ market has great specials on Sunday afternoons, and I bought a kilo bag of New Zealand’s excellent green-lip mussels for $6. Bargain. The next day, when I started this recipe in the morning, I told Poor John there would be mussel soup for lunch.

Then I proceeded to make both recipes as written, except for using double the amount of mussels because we love them. Making the stock was straightforward. I had 670 grams of fish fillets in the freezer, so I thawed them out overnight. While the stock simmered, I steamed the mussels, strained them through a kitchen wipe, and set them aside.

Then I made a huge blunder—I left the house to run an errand! Sounds innocent enough, but nope. I returned about 12:05pm to find the fish stock suspiciously low.

Fish stockMe: Have you already had lunch?
Poor John: Yes, I had the mussel soup in the pan.
Me: Did you notice there weren’t any mussels in it?
Poor John: I did. I wondered about that.
Me: And you ate it anyway?
Poor John: Yes!

He’d polished off about half the stock I’d made, along with half of the cooked vegetables. 🙂

So instead of having plenty of fish stock to work with, I had almost 750ml (or three cups instead of four). It was an annoyance but not a disaster, so I acted like a grownup and topped up the fish stock with chicken stock.

The other hitch was removing most of the mussels from their shells. I usually leave the mussels intact, which means everyone gets to fiddle with their own shells. But I did these myself and it took a lot more time than I expected.

But at least the soup was ready and Poor John enjoyed a second helping along with me.

á la grecque: our Greek tableVerdict
While the soup was delicious and beautiful, I’m not likely to make it again. From go-to-whoa (Aussie slang for from-start-to-finish) it was fiddly. It took hours to make, although I repeat that I did pop out for a few errands. I started on the stock about 10am and sat down to my bowl of soup about 3pm.

I reckon this is exactly the right kind of recipe for a restaurant, where there are plenty of hands to deal with all the steps. Or make it for a dinner party and tell the guests exactly how much effort went in to making their starter. 🙂

Travel
I may not have been able to buy locally caught mussels for this recipe, but we caught lots of piranhas on a fishing expedition in Brazil. Amazing how easy they are to catch. Currently we are travelling in the southwest of the USA, enjoying the national parks, but not much in the way of seafood.

Mussel, tomato and basil soup

 

 

 

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Scotch woodcock

egg, butter, milk, creamThe CWA cookery book and household hints, 414pp.
by the Country Women’s Association of Western Australia
Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 2011
Cooking on page 32

The Country Women’s Association is Australia’s largest women’s organisation with 44,000 members across 1855 branches. It aims to improve the conditions for country women and to make life better for them and their families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia. The organisation is self-funded, non-partisan and non-sectarian.

This cookbook was first published in 1936 by Western Australia’s CWA. It covers all of Australia’s favourite recipes as well as hints for homemaking and gardening.

I was given a copy when I first came to Australia in 1982. No idea what happened to it. I’ve had this newer version for a couple of years. It’s the 54th edition and celebrates the 75th anniversary of the CWA.

Page 32 has five recipes, including one I’d never heard of, so I made it.

Scotch woodcock

Scotch woodcock

Ingredients
2 slices toast
3 tablespoons milk
15 gr (1/2 oz) butter + more to butter toast
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cream
cayenne and salt
2 or 3 anchovies or anchovy paste
parsley

Method
Butter toast on both sides. Into a stew pan, put the butter, egg yolks, milk, cream and cayenne. Heat, but do not boil. Pound anchovies and spread on the toast, cut toast into strips 5 cm (2 in) long and 2.5 cm (1 in) wide, pile toast pieces on a dish, pour sauce over and sprinkle with parsley. Serve very hot.

egg yolksHow it played out
First off, I have to confess that I did some minor editing on the ingredients and method. For example, parsley and extra butter for the toast weren’t mentioned in the ingredients. Some instructions were rather sketchy. They’d have made sense to an experienced cook, but not a beginner.

I made the recipe for lunch, according to the way I’d tidied it up. I used my homemade bread (great for mopping up the egg that oozed off the toast) and 3 anchovies (I love them).

CWA Cookery BookVerdict
Never mind that the instructions were a bit goofy. This was delicious and I have made it two more times in recent days. Perfect for when you have another recipe that called for a couple of egg whites, or when you’ve broken a yolk, or when you’re just hungry for toast and anchovies.

As an aside, I’ve had a good look through this book. It has an abundance of recipes covering plenty of Aussie favourites. Many have sketchy instructions and abbreviated ingredients, so I’m guessing the book has been reprinted without anyone going over the recipes again. I was an editor in a previous life, so I notice these things.

Travel
Poor John and I are currently travelling in the southwest of the USA. We’ve visited some fantastic national parks and have more to go. Feel free to check out my travel blog.

Posted in Bread, Breakfast, Dairy, Fish and seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Fennel, tomato and garlic gratin

fennel, tomatoes and garlicCooking from the market: vegetables, 192pp.
by Murdoch Books test kitchen
Murdoch Books Australian Millers Point NSW, 2009
Cooking on page 32

We love vegetables and I try to cook seasonally whenever possible. So this seemed the perfect book to check out at the local library. It gives tips on what to look for when buying vegetables, and how to store and prepare them. It also says what’s available when.

Chapters cover winter vegetables, the onion family, brassicas and greens, salad vegetables, and pods and beans.

Page 32 calls for fennel—an ingredient that is available year-round and often overlooked. Former US President Thomas Jefferson once wrote in a letter that ‘fennel is beyond every other vegetables, delicious…’.

fennel, tomato and garlic gratinFennel, tomato and garlic gratin

Ingredients
900 g (2 lb) fennel bulbs (about 2 bulbs)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
450 g (1 lb) tomatoes

parmesan and lemon grated parmesan tomato and fennel mixture tomato and fennel gratin Gratin topping
60 g (2 1/4 oz/ 3/4 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
65 g (2 1/2 oz/ 2/3 cup) grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, crushed

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Grease a 22 cm (8 1/2 in) square gratin dish. Cut the fennel in half lengthways, then slice thinly.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion for 3–4 minutes, or until softened but not browned, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes, or until softened and golden brown.

Using a small knife, score a cross in the base of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for about 20 seconds, remove using a slotted spoon then plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain the tomatoes and peel the skins away from the cross. Chop the tomato flesh roughly and add to the fennel. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the tomato has softened. Season well and tip into the gratin dish.

To make the gratin topping, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest and garlic. Sprinkle over the vegetables and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crips. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

How it played out
I bought two fennel bulbs at the market for $1.50 each. They weighed a little less than the suggested 900 grams, but I sliced them thinly and knew they’d be enough. For the breadcrumbs, I whizzed up a couple of slices of my homemade rye sourdough bread in the food processor, then followed all the rest of the recipe.

Confession: I often don’t peel tomatoes, but I did for this recipe. 🙂 I left them in the boiling water for just over 30 seconds, which I find makes them easier to peel.

Cooking from the market: vegetablesVerdict
Fennel isn’t a commonly eaten vegetable and people often forget—or simply don’t know—how tasty it can be. This is the perfect recipe to showcase it’s slightly aniseed-y flavour. We all (including two teenagers who had never tried fennel) loved the combination of flavours here.

Will make this regularly when I can buy fennel on special. If you’ve never tried it, I hope you do soon.

By the way, I hadn’t realised that fennel is a primary ingredient in absinthe. Who knew?

Travel
I haven’t tried absinthe in a long, long time, but I very much enjoy red wine. A recent outing was to visit the amazing d’Arenberg Cube in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Well worth the time.

Posted in Side dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments