Otago Farmers Market
14 August 2010
WARM SPICED APPLE CAKE
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tablespoon caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
Enough milk to make up 110ml
1 orange, zest only
For the apples
4 tart apples
50g unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons clear honey
100g dates, diced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Appr0x 15g flaked almonds
Good quality vanilla ice cream
1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
2. For the sponge mixture, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl with the salt and caster sugar. Cut in the butter and rub together with your fingers until you form a breadcrumb texture (or do this using a food processor).
3. Beat the egg in a measuring jug with the vanilla essence then pour in milk up to the 110ml mark. Add the milk and egg to the flour mixture and bring together to form the sponge, add a little orange zest (leaving most for the apple mixture) and mix through.
4. Next, peel, core and dice the apples. Add the butter to a hot frying pan and toss the apples through before caramelising with the honey. Add the chopped dates and cinnamon to the pan along with the rest of the orange zest. Cook for a few minutes making sure that the apples are evenly coated in the honey caramel.
5. Divide the cooked apples into four individual baking dishes (approx 250ml volume each) and use a piping bag to squeeze a thin layer of the sponge mixture on top. Scatter the sponge with flaked almonds and bake for 18 minutes until golden and risen in the centre.
6. Serve the individual cakes with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on top and dust with icing sugar.
Whether it is fresh or dried it is arguably one of the all time great meals. It makes the perfect light lunch or a comforting dinner and it is always a hit with children.
A lot of people think fresh pasta is superior to dried - not true! It’s just that they have a different role to play in your dish. Dried pasta generally is made from flour and mostly water, which means that it lasts longer and retains a fantastic bite. It is great with seafood, oily tomato sauces, whereas fresh pasta is silky and tender and suits being stuffed with creamy and buttery sauces.
HOW TO COOK PASTA
FRESH AND DRIED
The most important lesson I have learnt with cooking pasta is not to over cook it! It needs to have a slight bite. And getting the appropriate pasta for the right sauce…
Always use a large pot with enough water so the pasta has plenty of room to move around. Simply 2/3 full a good size pan up with water and a generous pinch of salt.
Bring to the boil. Only add the pasta when it is on a rolling boil. I tend to read the packaging on the pasta packets as they can vary. But the best test is to remove a piece and bite into it to test it. It should be tender to the bite not soft!
Give the pot of pasta a frequent stir to prevent over cooking. As soon as it is done, drain most of the liquid, reserving some of the liquid as it is good to add to your sauce. Add to your favourite sauce!
Spaghetti with squashed olives, tomatoes, garlic and rocket
Penne with balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, basil and ricotta
Tagliatelle with green beans, pesto, and potato
Farfalle with broccoli, chilli and anchovies
Spaghetti with cockles, chilli and parsley
Pappardelle with sausages, silver beet and pecorino
PAPPARDELLE WITH SAUSAGE MEAT, SILVER BEET AND PECORINO
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
255g of the best sausages you can find (cardrona lamb)
1 good sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
4 leaves of silver beet - stalks removed from leaves
350g Fresh Pasta doro - pappardelle
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 knobs of butter
1 handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan) or Whitestone’s Monte Cristo Cheese
Get a large pot of salted water on to boil.
Fry the onions, garlic and remove the meat from the sausage skin by simply squeezing out the filling into little balls. Do this directly into the pan with a little olive oil until golden. Add the rosemary, chilli flakes and some of the silver beet stalks finely cut. Continue to cook until the stalks are tender, add the roughly chopped leaves of the silver beet, sprinkle with a little seasoning , and cook gently.
Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until al dente (tender to the bite). Drain, but keep a little of the cooking liquor to add to your pasta later on. Toss the pasta through your sausage mixture, add the butter and a little of the cooking liquor to loosen up your sauce. Sprinkle of cheese, parsley and check for seasoning. Eat immediately!
PANGRITATA - poor man’s parmesan
8 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 good handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
200g fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the Pangritata. Put the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the garlic, thyme and breadcrumbs: they will fry and begin to toast. Stir for a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs are really crisp and golden. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and drain on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle pasta generously with Pangritata, especially good with oil based sauces.
TOMATO SAUCE FOR PASTA
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
Good glug olive oil
1 tin tomatoes and juice
Heat oil in a heavy based smallish pot. Add the garlic and cook gently until the garlic turns a light golden brown, (it will give off a nutty aroma). Add the tomatoes and cook gently for any where between 30 minutes to 1 hour. You are looking for a thick, glossy, vibrant red sauce, you do not want a watery sauce! Add seasoning now, and add to your favourite pasta with the addition of fresh herbs etc.
CHEESE - tips on serving
Always serve cheese at room temperature, not cold from the refrigerator. Keep wrapped until required as they will dry out. Hard cheese will take longer to get to room temperature compared to soft cheeses.
Try to pair cheese with appropriate flavours - blue cheese love something a little sweet, toasted fruit loaf or plump sultanas and a drizzle of good quality honey is magic. Apples and Pears always go well with cheese and perhaps a scattering of hazelnuts or almonds.
Try different good quality breads with different cheese’s
Salami’s etc go extra well with hard cheese
Relishes, chutneys can also work. If you haven’t already tried it quince paste is amazing, the Spanish always serve it along side their cheese
Try to not overload your cheese board. I think it is more enjoyable to eat if you have just one really good quality cheese with a great wine and accompaniments that partner together perfectly.
If you are going for a variety of cheeses try to avoid placing them to close together. Try to avoid strong smelling cheeses sitting next to mellow cheeses etc.
Choosing wine to accompany cheese can seem daunting. A really simple rule is to try to partner the cheese with a wine produced near the region of the cheese.
But above all eating cheese is always full of surprises, the varieties are endless and the flavours and textures are for ever changing. Richard from Whitestone Cheese is very knowledgeable and can assist you in trying the many varieties of cheese he has available.
Alison and the Otago Farmers Market would like to say a BIG thank you to the vendors who have supported and donated their beautiful produce for the demonstration.
Te Mahanga Orchids