Saturday, February 28, 2015

roasted lemon chutney + pasta

lemon + lemon = 2 lemons
lemon + lemon + lemon = feast

Roasted lemon chutney
Heidi Swanson adapted this recipe from Molly Steven and I adapted it from her blog 101cookbooks.
It is addictive and goes so well with everything.

30 50g finely chopped shallots red onion
3 small unwaxed lemons (4 to 5 oz each)
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon honey, plus more to taste (heaped tablespoon)
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil or mint

Heat the oven to 400F / 205C with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Soak the shallots red onions in a small bowl of cold water to reduce their strength a bit.
Set one of the lemons aside to use later. Slice about 1/4-inch off both ends of the remaining lemons and discard (this part is mostly pith which can make the chutney too bitter). Slice the lemons into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (see photo), and use the tip of a knife to remove any seeds. Arrange the lemons on the baking sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil. Turn and coat the second side with oil.
It was the first time I roasted lemons and I followed instructions fully. 

Roast the lemons, turning every 10 minutes, until they are very tender with just a few spots of brown, 20 to 25 minutes. In my oven this was done in 20 minutes. Don't let the lemons crisp, and keep an eye on the bottoms, which tend to brown before the tops. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Transfer the lemons to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. If there are any juices (not burned or blackened) on the baking sheet, add these. Molly notes there frequently aren't any, which was my experience as well. Same here. Drain the shallots red onions, shaking off any excess water, and add to the processor. Add the honey and pulse several times until the lemons are coarsely chopped. Add the juice from half the remaining lemon and the 1/4 cup / 60 ml of olive oil. Continue pulsing until the chutney is fairly smooth and creamy, with just a few lemon chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper and more lemon juice or honey to taste. Keep tweaking until it really tastes great to you. For example, if it's too tart for you, just keep sweetening a bit at a time. Transfer to a small bowl and let sit for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld. This is very important. Be patient and let flavors meld. Just before serving stir in the fresh basil or mint, taste, make any final adjustments, and serve at room temperature.

Shrimp, leek and roasted lemon chutney pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
leek, about 20cm light green part  (peeled and finely sliced) 
3 cloves garlic 
1 heaped tsp roasted lemon chutney 
4 tbsp milk
250g small shrimps (defrosted)
salt and pepper to taste 
parsley, roughly chopped  for seasoning 
200g spaghetti 

Put a large pan of water on to boil. When starts boiling season well with salt and cook the pasta (cook the pasta according to packet instructions). In another pan, over a medium heat, fry leek until it softens. Add chopped garlic, shrimps and lemon chutney and fry for few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add milk and cook for another minute or two. Take the pan off the heat. When pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and toss in the pan, add some water where pasta has been cooked (about 60ml). Check once more for seasoning and serve with parsley on top.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

a cocktail hour

before spring cocktail
100ml gin
200ml grapefruit juice (red grapefruit)
200ml orange juice (blood orange)
1 cup ice cubes
2 tbsp sugar syrup (optional)
rose petals (optional)

Combine grapefruit and orange juice, gin and ice in a blender (or shaker).  Mix everything for about 30 seconds (if you are using shaker, shake until well chilled). Strain and divide cocktail among few favorite glasses. I did not use sugar syrup in this version as I do like very much bitter taste from grapefruit. Roses are also optional and since these petals are so beautiful I could not resist not using them. Drink immediately and if you like it repeat!

 it's the happy hour. relax and enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

banana bread vanishes

It’s strange.
I don't know if I have disappeared or I've got lost.
I have sailed away.
I dreamed a dream.
Seventeen days without waking.
Fantasy world where I walked through clouds, felt wind power, lived in a sea.
And then I woke up.
The smell of baked bananas woke me!

Banana bread
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3 bananas
1 cup milk (3,8% milk fat or regular milk)
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180oC. Line loaf tin (length 34cm) with a baking paper.
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until everything is well combined.  
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for about one hour and ten minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and eating.