VIETNAMESE PRAWN AND GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
This is a delicious, light salad, full of flavour from the herbs, and a bit of heat from the chilli. Be careful of the kind of chillies you use – I chose some very hot ones recently, which made the salad almost inedible! Not my finest hour…
1 green papaya
250g cooked prawns, peeled, centre vein removed
1/2 telegraph cucumber
3 spring onions
Large bunch coriander, thai basil and vietnamese mint
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1 long red chilli
Nuoc Mam Cham (dipping sauce/dressing)
(with thanks to Luke Nguyen)
3 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp white vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1 long red chilli
2 Tbsp lime juice
- For the Nuoc Mam Cham, combine fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to just below boiling. Remove from heat.
- Finely chop the garlic, and finely slice the chilli. Stir into the sauce along with the lime juice, and refrigerate until required (will keep refrigerated for a month)
- To make the salad, peel and deseed the papaya. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the papaya flesh into julienne strips.
- In a large bowl, toss the papaya and prawns with some of the dressing.
- Arrange on a platter and top with fresh herbs, and finely sliced chilli and spring onions. Sprinkle over chopped peanuts and serve.
UNBAKED VANILLA CHEESECAKE WITH CHERRIES
125 g crumbled malt biscuits
75 g butter, softened
300 g cream cheese
60 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon juice
250 ml cream, whipped
500 g fresh cherries, halved and stones removed
100 g sugar
100 ml vodka
100 ml lemon juice
250 ml cream, whipped to serve
- Line a 20cm springform baking tin with tinfoil.
- Put the biscuits and butter in a food processor and pulse until well combined
- Press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of the tin. Put into the fridge to set (approx 20 minutes)
- Using the food processor again, pulse together cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice until well combined and smooth
- Transfer to a bowl, and fold through whipped cream.
- Pour cheese mixture over the biscuit mix, and return to the fridge to set (approximately 3 hours or overnight)
- Put the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar, vodka and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and cook until cherries are beginning to soften.
- Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue to boil juices until thick.
- Cool and add cherries back to the pan. Refrigerate until needed.
- To prepare the cheesecake to serve, remove the cake from the tin. Top with extra whipped cream and cherry compote. Garnish with a few fresh cherries and serve.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggplants, tops removed, sliced into wedges
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
Pinch chilli flakes
1/2 cup white wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp capers, drained
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Large handful basil leaves, torn
Extra virgin olive oil
- Heat olive oil over moderate heat.
- Add onions, garlic and chilli and saute until onions are soft
- Add eggplants, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes
- Add white wine, allow to bubble up, then pour over tomatoes.
- Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, until liquid has reduced and sauce is thick
- Stir through capers and balsamic vinegar. Cook for another 2 minutes to soften vinegar slightly.
- Season to taste, stir through basil and drizzle over extra virgin olive oil.
BLUEBERRY AND RED WINE SAUCE
1/4 cup olive oil
250g shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
400ml cups red wine
400ml chicken or beef stock (depending on whether sauce is being served with red or white meat)
1 cup blueberries
1 Tbsp butter
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan
- Cook shallots until soft and lightly browned
- Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for another 3 minutes
- Add vinegar and boil until almost completely evaporated
- Add red wine and boil until reduced by two thirds
- Add stock and simmer until reduced by two thirds.
- Strain, discard solids and return sauce to the pan
- Add blueberries and cook until soft, about 5 minutes
- Stir through butter, then season to taste and serve hot.
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1kg ripe tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/2 red capsicum, seeds removed
100g stale bread, crusts removed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar if you have it)
5-6 drops Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
- In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes, cucumber, red capsicum and bread until smooth
- Add garlic and olive oil and pulse until very smooth. Strain if necessary.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir through vinegar, cumin and Tabasco Sauce and season to taste. Thin with water if texture is too thick.
- Chill until very cold.
- Serve drizzled with extra olive oil, and fresh crusty bread.
SCALLOPS WITH PETITE POIS A LA FRANCAISE
Fresh scallops (allow 5-6 per person)
1 Tbsp butter
4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
500g frozen baby peas
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cos lettuce, finely shredded
150ml white wine
Handful parsley leaves, chopped
- Heat a frying pan to hot, sear scallops until cooked. Remove and set aside.
- Melt a knob of butter in the pan. Add chopped bacon and cook until bacon is crispy. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Reduce heat and add finely diced onion and chopped garlic. Cook until onion is soft.
- Pour over white wine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to lift the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add frozen peas and shredded iceberg lettuce and simmer until lettuce is wilted and peas are just cooked (this shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes)
- Stir through parsley leaves and season to taste.
- Onto deep plates, ladle the peas and juices. Top with scallops and sprinkle with a little extra parsley. Serve.
STRAWBERRY AND LEMON TRIFLE
500g fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 x vanilla sponge cake
2 x egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour, mixed to a paste with a little water
1 x lemon, zested
1/4 cup lemon honey
300ml cream extra, whipped until soft peaks form
- Slice strawberries. Mix with icing sugar and Cointreau, set aside for 30 minutes
- To make the custard, heat first portion of cream, milk and vanilla until just below boiling
- Beat together egg yolks and sugar until light in colour and fluffy
- Pour hot cream mixture into eggs, beating as you pour
- Return custard into a clean saucepan, heat slowly over low heat until custard coats the back of a spoon
- Mix in cornflour paste and heat gently until custard thickens
- Stir in lemon zest and lemon honey. Set aside to cool (do not refrigerate)
- Assemble trifle by lining the bottom of a trifle bowl with sponge cake. Tip over berries and their juices and spread evenly to cover. Pour over custard and refrigerate until set.
- Top with whipped cream and extra sliced fresh strawberries and serve. (You could also use the left over egg whites to make mini meringues and top the trifle with these)