Monthly Archives: October 2015

Spinach hotcakes and greens with almonds

This is another Good Food recipe that I tried out by Neil Perry.  He originally used feta in it, but I swapped it for ricotta wanting that creaminess of texture to contrast the almonds (and also because I’ll use any excuse to introduce ricotta); there was also originally a mixture of silverbeet and kale (I used all silverbeet), as well as some chopped olives which I skipped.  If you don’t want the hotcakes, the greens mixture itself is great with a fried egg or on a nice chunky piece of sourdough, or as Neil suggested, with some smoked salmon. You’ll get 8-10 hotcakes from the recipe.

hotcakes

Ingredients
Hotcakes

250g baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 whole egg, whisked
50g unsalted butter, melted; plus extra for frying
3/4 cup milk
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg white
1/4 cup ricotta, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve

For the greens
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small leek, sliced
1 tsp sea salt
1 red capsicum, small dice
2 cups shredded silverbeet leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped dill
1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Making them
1. For the hotcakes, wilt the spinach in a hot pan. Place in a colander to drain and squeeze out any excess liquid. Allow to cool and coarsely chop.

2. Place flour, baking powder, pepper and salt into bowl, then add the whole egg, melted butter and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add spinach and spring onions. Gently stir through.

3. Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form, then fold into the batter with a large metal spoon.

4. For the greens, heat 3 tbsp oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add leek and 1/2 tsp salt, then sweat for about 8 minutes. Add capsicum and cook for 2 minutes, then add greens with remaining salt. Increase heat and sauté for about 4 minutes until greens are starting to wilt. Remove from heat, add pepper, then stir through the dill and almonds. Cover and keep warm.

5. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, brush with remaining oil and melt a small amount of butter. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter to form round hot cakes with a diameter of about 10cm. Cook for 2-3 minutes until coloured underneath and bubbles form on top. Turn and cook for 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

6. Serve hotcakes topped with greens, dollops of ricotta and a wedge of lemon.

Missy French, Potts Point

A friend from Melbourne is in town and we’re catching up to discuss various First World Problems (what size handbag she should buy, where to find camisoles for suits, when am I ever going to buy an iPhone and the like) and a few more serious ones (food security, educating our children about good health, how to get our husbands to do more housework). And Josephine Perry’s recently opened Missy French is the right place for a girly meet, sophisticated with a decidedly feminine touch. There is no sign of the building’s colourful former occupants, among them a Japanese brothel and an illegal gambling house.

A real live Missy French is at the door to greet me – “alors, I ‘ave a lovely banquette for you” – and it is indeed lovely and the perfect spot to see what is going on in the rest of the pretty room. The Perry commitment to good service is obvious – when water is bought to the table, I ask for some ice which is bought promptly. But another staff member whisks it away, saying “we should put it in a prettier glass than that”, and returns with some gorgeous cut crystal.

The menu has a good mix – I’d be quite content with any of the dishes on it in the unlikely event I’d actually allow someone to order for me – and we are given a debrief and presented with a short but well considered wine list. So here is where we end up

Chicken liver parfait with brioche and cornichons. Classic and rich, I’m glad I decided to walk the two kilometres here from the office.missyfrench (4)

Prawn bisque with corn custard. Perfectly cooked prawns, silky custard but alas the bisque is underseasonedmissyfrench (3)

Parisienne gnocchi with pumpkin and sage. These are different to your Italian version, creamier is the best way to describe them, and they are damn deliciousmissyfrench (6)

So too is the pithivier – which I completely mispronounce, but it’s essentially a very fancy French pie – with succulent pork, peas, a very tasty jus and flaky pastry.missyfrench (5)missyfrench (7)

We are quite full by now and decide to share a dessert, the Lemon and Lime Eaton Mess – a chilled and refreshing combination of sweet and sour.missyfrench (8)

We leave content, First World Problems largely resolved; the husbands and housework issue may however need a follow up session. “Bonsoir” says the live Missy French, “see you again”.  She may well.

Missy French, Rothwell Crescent, Potts Point
http://www.missyfrench.com

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Missy French Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse, Woolloomooloo

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Genetics is a funny thing. As regular readers would know, the Marito is a vegacquarian. I’ve never been a big meat eater, and even less so since we’ve been married. Yet our progeny are two of the biggest carnivores I’ve ever come across. A slab of expertly cooked meat and a side of green beans is one of their ideal meals. So it was no surprise when I asked where they wanted to go for lunch for their birthday that they suggested a steakhouse. Being spring, I thought Woolloomoloo would be very pleasant for an outdoor waterside meal, and Kingsley’s it was. I thought then, it was only fair, that they write up their thoughts on our experience. I would only add that the service was excellent, with extremely attentive and friendly staff.

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Now before you think we are mean by not letting them have any more, they were keen on ordering another 250g steak a piece…..half a kilo of meat each for 25kg kids…hmmm….maybe not.

We also sampled a refreshing tomato and burrata salad

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And some tasty dressed king crab with avocado (though average brioche on the side)

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Kingsleys Woolloomooloo Wharf, Cowper Wharf Road
http://www.kingsleys.com.au/sydney/home

Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eggplant and tomato pasta sauce

The original recipe for this appeared on Good Food but I changed the method and ingredients a little to make it ‘piu Italiano’. The vegacquarian Marito loved it; this is a very hearty, robust vegetarian sauce that would convert any meat eater. The quantity of sauce below is enough for at least 8 people, but any excess can be stored in the freezer. You could throw in a whole red chilli during the simmering for a mild infusion of heat, or chop in some chilli for a bigger punch. I used casarecce shaped pasta for this as I thought it would “hold” the sauce well. Rigatoni or any chunky and tubular pasta would also work.

eggplantpasta

Ingredients
125ml olive oil
About 800g eggplant, stalk removed and diced
2 tsp salt
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 x 400g tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
25ml caramelised balsamic
50ml red wine
Grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Making it
1. Heat 100mls of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the eggplant and one teaspoon of salt, then fry over a high heat until golden. Spoon the eggplant onto a plate and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 25mls of olive oil to the pan, add the onion, remaining salt and fry off for 2-3 minutes to allow the onion to soften. Add 200mls of water and simmer until the water evaporates and the onion starts to turn golden.

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes

4. Add the balsamic and wine and simmer for a further 5 to 10 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick and it is sticking to the bottom of the pan add about ¾ cup of water, then add back the eggplant and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is tender but not collapsed. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Meanwhile cook your favourite pasta, and once cooked, toss through the sauce and serve with grated parmesan if desired

Qantas First Class Lounge, Los Angeles

Whenever we go to the US, we typically fly out of Los Angeles. The lounge offering to date in the States has been somewhat, well, awful compared to what we are used to in Australia (yes I know, spoilt, first world problem and all that). But late last year Qantas opened a dedicated First Lounge at LAX for its Platinum frequent flyers & First Class passengers. It doesn’t have all the glitz and glamour of the Sydney lounge, but it is a vast improvement on what was previously available. Our flight was leaving at 10pm so it was nice to sit in peace and quiet – in the evening it was nice and serene in there – and have a very decent meal before boarding.

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As with other lounges, the menu is designed by our own Neil. There’s a short cocktail list and some good wines on offer.

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You’ll find a few Sydney favourites plus some others. The boys will always hoover a minute steak or two whenever we go to the lounges.

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While the Marito enjoyed a very nice piece of halibut with some nice sides (creamed corn was delicious).

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I went for a frangrant Spice Temple-y pork dish

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The classic salt and pepper squid was tasty and nicely done

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And the hamachi was fresh, but the presentation was a little uninspiring

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Finish off with a little cheese

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…and a trifle

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And you’re ready to take off

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Qantas First Class Lounge, Airside, Level 5, LAX
http://www.qantas.com.au