|Centrewood Spring Fete 2011|
I won't be at the farmers market this weekend as i am doing a demonstration at the Centrewood Spring Fete www.centrewoodestate.co.nz . I am so looking forward to it as not only do i get to cook outside in beautiful surroundings (with a wood oven) i also get to take my family shopping around the hundreds of stalls ranging from arts, fashion, handmade toys, food and wine etc.
We are back from the fete is was a typical spring day...a little rain fell and then a little more fell and unfortunately more fell. It was such a shame as it was so well organised and so beautifully laid out, live entertainment and so many unbelivably beautiful stalls. I was to do my demonstration outside by the wood oven, very exposed to the elements. I had made mountains of meringues, had all my beautiful props (thanks to total food equipment) and lots of fabulous food to prepare, cook and eat.
The rain made life a little tricky i have to admit and i was tempted to hide under the marque, but hey what is a little rain...? The wood fire was fantastic and it cooked the salmon which was cooked with fennel and lemons perfectly. The rest of the menu was shortened a little and unfortunatley i never got to do justice to Mandys Horseradish as it is such a fantastic product (sorry). Anyway despite the weather at least we got to do some cooking and eating and even had a laugh. Thank you for braving the weather to watch.
CENTREWOOD SPRING FETE
FLATBREADS WITH SMASHED AVOCADO’S
10 g dried yeast 310g bread flour 250g wholegrain flour 1 tsp caster sugar 50 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Combine yeast and 310ml cold water in a bowl, whisk to combine. Combine flours, sugar and 1 tsp fine salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Add yeast mixture, then oil and mix on medium speed until dough is shiny and elastic (8-10 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until double in size (1 hour). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 balls. Roll out each ball into a 14cm long oval shape, place on oven trays lined with baking paper, drizzle with oil, season to taste and bake, in batches, until golden and cooked through (8-10).
2 Avocados, 1 lemon, juice 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil or avocado
Carefully halve the avocados and remove the stone, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and put into a bowl. Using a fork mash the avocado, add the garlic and squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with sea salt flakes and a few grinds of pepper, drizzle over the olive oil and mix to combine.
OVEN ROASTED SALMON
1 side of salmon, skin on and pin boned 2 lemons, slice 1 lemon into thin slices Olive oil 2 bulbs fennel, slice thinly Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 200C
Remove stalks and leaves from the fennel (reserving a few for garnish) and place them in the roasting dish.
Place salmon skin side down on the fennel, scatter over the thinly sliced fennel. Arrange the lemon slices across the top, drizzle over the olive oil and season generously.
Place into a hot oven and roast for 15 minutes, check the thickest part of the flesh it should still be moist and ever so slightly under-done. If you require your salmon to be cooked more simply return back to the oven and cook until done.
ASPARAGUS – the season is sadly short so it is important to make the most of this glorious vegetable. However when purchasing, look for firm and crisp looking spears. Avoid extra thick ones as they tend to be woody and shrivelled spears should be left where you found them as they are certainly past their best. to prepare them: the base of the asparagus stalk is tough, and you generally need to snap off the end. I do this by holding just below the tip of the asparagus with my fingers and snap off the other end which will snap where it becomes tender. To store asparagus: like any fresh vegetable the sooner you eat them the better as they lose water. Store them standing in a dish with a little cold water away from direct sunlight.
Serves 4 2-4 bunches fresh asparagus Olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground pepper Fresh lemon or verjuice for serving
Heat up a BBQ or a griddled pan until very hot.
Prepare your asparagus by snapping of the tough ends.
Place the asparagus in a single layer across your grill, cook for a minute then move slightly so you get a lovely charred effect on all sides. It generally takes about 3-5 minutes to cook the asparagus (depending on size).
When cooked remove and put onto a serving plate, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, drizzle over the olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon or verjuice.
NEW SEASON POTATOES WITH GREEN HERB BUTTER
1 kg new season potatoes, washed well and scrapped if necessary 100g unsalted butter Good handful watercress and rocket 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon and chervil leaves 2 gerkins, finely chopped 1 Tbsp good quality capers, roughly chopped 2 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil Freshly cracked black pepper Sea salt
Method In a good sized pot, add the potatoes and cover with cold water and add a 2 teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer (as this prevents the skins splitting and the starch rising to the surface) cook for about 20 minutes or until just tender.
Meanwhile bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil, plunge in the rocket and watercress for a few seconds only. Remove at once and cool down immediately.
In a food processor add the softened butter and blend until pale and fluffy. Add the cooled rocket and watercress, all the herbs and blend again until well mixed. Season to taste.
Remove from the food processor and mix through the gherkins and capers. Put aside until the potatoes are cooked. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain well and put into a serving dish and spoon over this vibrant, pungent green herb butter.
BROWN SUGAR, SPICED MERINGUES Makes 10 large meringues
6 large egg whites 140g brown sugar 250g caster sugar 1 star anise ¼ tsp ground cinnamon Pinch freshly grated nutmeg Dutch cocoa, for dusting
Preheat oven to 110C.
Place a medium saucepan of water over gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Place egg whites, brown and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bowl doesn't come in contact with the water. Add star anise and stir to break up the egg whites and mix in sugar. Heat for approximately five minutes, until a digital thermometer reaches 40C.
Remove from heat and discard star anise. Place in a bowl of a freestanding electric mixer and whisk on high speed for about eight minutes, until the mixture has cooled. Gently fold in cinnamon and nutmeg. Place large spoonfuls of mix on lined baking trays, allowing room for the meringues to expand.
Sprinkle over cocoa with a fine sieve. Place in oven and bake for 1¼ hours. When they are ready, they will be dry underneath but still soft in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE VERY GENEROUS AND TALENTED PEOPLE WHO KINDLY DONATED THEIR FINE PRODUCTS BEHIND THE HEDGE – ASPARAGUS CANNON HILL GOURMET PRODUCTS – SAFFRON, DILL, MUSTARD MAYONNAISE - www.cannonhillgourmet.co.nz MANDYS HORSERADISH – HORSERADISH SAUCE – www.horseradish.co.nz TOTAL FOOD EQUIPMENT – PLATTERS AND PROPS – www.totalfoodequipment.co.nz THANK YOU!!!