Thursday, July 22, 2010

Slightly Spiced Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower is on special this week at The Fresh Ingredient, and because so many people ask me what to do to make cauliflower more interesting, here is one of my cauliflower standbys (serves 4)

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
60g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread, sourdough if you can)
cheese sauce
500ml (2 cups) milk
30g butter
2 tbs plain flour
1tbs Herbies “Balmain & Rozelle Spice”
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated tasty cheese
Salt & ground white pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the flour & Herbies Spice mix and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and begins to come away from the side of the pan. Remove from heat.
3. Gradually pour in half the milk, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking until smooth and combined.
4. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat. Add the cheese and stir until cheese melts. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain. Arrange the cauliflower in a 1.5L (6 cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
6. Melt butter in a frying pan over high heat until foaming. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat.
7. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Works well with lamb, chicken or beef.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Butter Spice Biscuits with Rose Petals

Now that we are stocking a range of Herbies herbs & spices I am experimenting with many of their products. I love them. They are so fresh, fragrant & affordable.

I made a lovely batch of Lavendar Friands, using Herbies Lavendar Flowers. My next batch of Lavendar & Lemon Friands were very tasty, but all except one stuck to the pan. I will write up the recipe for the straight Lavendar Friands & post it shortly.

I have also made a beautiful batch of "Butter Spice Biscuits with Rose Petals", this recipe uses a minimal number of ingredients, but the quality of the ingredients is important.

250g unsalted butter, softened & cubed
160g pure icing sugar, sifted
375g plain flour (organic preferred), sifted
2 teaspoons "Herbies" Fragrant Sweet Spices with Rose Petals

1. Using an electric mixer & a large bowl cream butter & icing sugar, with mixer still running add Sweet Spices, beat for another 10 seconds.
2. Using a wooden spoon stir in flour in two batches until a dough just forms.
3. On a clean, cool, lightly floured surface (granite or marble are best) knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 4 equal size "balls".
4. Working with one "ball" at a time, (place other "balls" into fridge while working), roll ball into a log shape, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 1hr. Repeat with other 3 "balls".
5. While dough logs are chilling, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees, line oven tray(s) with baking paper.
6. Using a serrated (bread) knife slice logs into 1cm rounds, place on trays leaving enough room for some spreading.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, allow to cool on tray for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks.

These are best enjoyed with a good quality cup of tea or coffee.

Dough logs can be frozen for up to 3 months, thaw in fridge before slicing & baking as above.
Don't overwork the mixture - too much beating/kneading results in a tough biscuit