Sammy & Bella: Chefs. Sydney Food Blog. Catering. Best Recipes. Restaurant Reviews. Food & Travel. http://www.sammyandbella.com Recipes for food lovers, Catering for eating lovers, Everything for lovers of food Sat, 24 Jun 2017 03:16:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 Breakfast Piadina, at the Good Food and Wine Show http://www.sammyandbella.com/breakfast-piadina-at-the-good-food-and-wine-show/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/breakfast-piadina-at-the-good-food-and-wine-show/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 02:38:47 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5531 Savory piadina High Res

Bread is a staple of so many cultures, and Italy has some of the best bread in the world! But it’s not just focaccia and ciabatta – there is a plethora of styles, each belonging to the hearts of specific Italian regions.

“Piadina” is a flat bread that originates in the Romagna region in the north of Italy, which is also famous for their amazing prosciutto and parmesan cheese. These days, it’s a favourite street food across Italy, and has started to become super trendy around the world.  It’s traditionally made with rendered pork fat – but we are making a healthier version today with the very best quality olive oil… which makes it vegetarian and lactose free for any one pout there with dietary requirements.

The wonderful thing about this flat bread is that it can be filled with almost anything! Folded over, or wrapped up, it’s a perfect street food… and an even better way to eat breakfast. We have some ideas for a sweet and savoury brekky version below, but you can choose anything you like.  Just make sure you eat it fresh of the pan so its crispy and warm!

Sweet Piandina high res

Breakfast piadina

Makes 6

 

For the piadina:

  • 500g Barilla “00” flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 30g baking powder
  • ¼ cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 250ml water
  • extra flour, for rolling out

 

Savoury breakfast variation, makes 6

  • 12 slices of prosciutto di parma
  • 250g stracchino cheese, sliced
  • 1 jar Barilla Basil and Rocket Pesto (or Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, or Basil Pesto)
  • handful of arugula

 

Sweet breakfast version, makes 6

  • 250g Nutella
  • 250g Ricotta
  • 50g (1/2 cup) Hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 400g fresh strawberries, sliced

 

 

  1. Place flour salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment and mix for 30 seconds on low speed. Add oil and water, and mix on low speed until combined, and then continue to knead for 10 minutes. If it’s a bit dry, add an extra teaspoon of water at a time until you get a better consistency.
  2. Separate dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll into balls, wrap in cling film and rest for 1 hour at room temperature, or place in the fridge for up to 3 days
  3. If your dough has been refrigerated, remove and allow to come to room temperature before rolling out. Lightly dust your bench with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll out each ball into circles, about 20-25 cm wide.
  4. Take a large non stick fry pan and heat to medium. Place each piadina in a dry pan (no extra fats needed) and cook for 2 minutes on either side, or until you see little brown bubbles forming, as it caramelises on the bottom.
  5. Remove from pan, and fill half side of each with either sweet or savoury fillings, then fold over. Enjoy hot.
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Greek braised lamb shanks, Arni Kokkinisto – αρνί κοκκινιστό http://www.sammyandbella.com/greek-braised-lamb-shanks-arni-kokkinisto-%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%bd%ce%af-%ce%ba%ce%bf%ce%ba%ce%ba%ce%b9%ce%bd%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%cf%8c/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/greek-braised-lamb-shanks-arni-kokkinisto-%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%bd%ce%af-%ce%ba%ce%bf%ce%ba%ce%ba%ce%b9%ce%bd%ce%b9%cf%83%cf%84%cf%8c/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:56:33 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5511 Philips all in one lamb shanks

Winter is for braising, and this Greek dish will have all your neighbours begging to come over for family dinner! In Greek it’s called Arni Kokkinosto (pronounced koh-keen-isto), and it essentially translates to “reddened” – referring to the rich tomato sauce the lamb is cooked in. Lamb shanks do take a while to cook, but with the Phillips Premium All in One we use the pressure cooking function to cook them in just 45 minutes.

We are generally sticklers for tradition, and this recipe is served with pasta in Greece, so we are making our very own easy home made pasta using the Phillips Pasta and Noodle Maker. But… we do have 1 small Sammy and Bella twist – we are adding some balsamic vinegar to the braise. Although it’s not traditionally Greek, we love the redness it gives, and the acidity really helps to break up the richness of the meat.

Balsamic lamb shanks with home made pasta, Arni Kokkinisto – αρνί κοκκινιστό

Serves 6

To make the pasta:

  • make 600g fresh / 400g dried spaghetti using the Pasta and Noodle Maker

For the lamb:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 800g best quality tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp dry oregano flakes (preferably Greek wild oregano)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 large lamb shanks, or 4 small (about 1.3kg, bone in weight) (alternative 800g boneless lamb shoulder)

to serve:

  • ½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  1. For the pasta, use the Phillips Pasta and Noodle Maker to prepare 600g fresh spaghetti, according to the machine instructions. Cut the pasta into inch long pieces, dust in extra flour, spread loosely over a bench top and cover with a clezn tea towel. Let dry overnight.
  2. For the braised lamb, start by setting your Phillips Premium All In One to “sear/saute high temp” function with non stick bowl for 5 minutes. When hot, add the olive oil and chopped onion. Saute until lightly browned, then deglaze with red wine. Add in balsamic, garlic, carrots, tinned tomatoes, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, fresh thyme and honey. Stir until combined, then season to taste.
  3. Next, place the shanks into the sauce, fleshy side down so that the bone is sticking up. Fit the lid, and set to “pressure cook” for 45 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, let out the pressure and remove lamb from the sauce. Place dry pasta into the sauce and set machine to “saute/sear high temp”, cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. Take lamb meat off the bone and discard bones. Once pasta is cooked, stir lamb meat through the braise.
  5. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley.
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Healthy brekky – One Pan Mexican Shakshouka http://www.sammyandbella.com/healthy-brekky-one-pan-mexican-shakshouka-for-ww-no-count/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/healthy-brekky-one-pan-mexican-shakshouka-for-ww-no-count/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 02:34:45 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5505 Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 12.20.05 PM

Last week we had the pleasure of being invited to an amazing event – the World’s Biggest Degustation! It was indeed a massive brekky degustation with 42 courses (just a bite size of each thank goodness!) created by Sydney top chef, Matt Fletcher. We especially loved to soft boiled eggs with soldiers – served with wholemeal bread. And although we attended the breakfast, Matt and his amazing team continued to cook hundreds of courses throughout the day.

Half way through the event, we found out that every single dish was made froma Weight Watchers No Count recipe and was a curation of ingredients that you can enjoy without counting points Shock! It was so yummy, and brilliant to find out it was So healthy as well. It was a fab secret reveal and goes to show how creative you can get with creating nutritious, delicious and satisfying foods on the No Count option.

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In any case, we think it was a fantastic message – that there is indeed a incredibly large variety of foods you can eat that are healthy, and there’s no need to feel restricted if you’re dieting or opting for a healthier lifestyle change. The Weight Watchers’No Count option offers you a carefully selected list of nutritious and delicious foods (and recipes to boot). So long as you stick to shopping for those foods on your weekly trip to the grocery store, you won’t need to count points,  s. People just don’t have time for that, so we think it’s a really awesome initiative.

Probably our biggest tip for eating well, and staying healthy is to use spices. Spices have big flavour, and very little calories, so your healthy food will never be bland again! Also, stick to low GI foods (check the WW list for approved foods) and you’ll stay fuller for longer. If you’d like some more info, CLICK HERE

So today we are sharing one of the official recipes from the No Count option– the tastiest and healthiest brekky you’ll ever eat!

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Healthy brekky – One Pan Mexican Shakshouka

serves 4

  • 1 x 3 second spray(s) oil spray
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove(s) fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp Paprika, smoked
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 medium fresh tomato, finely chopped
  • 100 g roasted capsicum without oil, chopped
  • 2 can(s) Red kidney beans, no added salt, canned, drained
  • 4 medium egg(s)
  1. Lightly spray a heavy-based non-stick frying pan with oil and heat on medium. Cook onion, garlic, paprika and cumin for 2 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and capsicum and cook for 3-4 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in kidney beans or black beans.
  2. Make 4 shallow wells in mixture. Crack 4 eggs into wells. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes or until whites set. Season.

For more information on Weight Watchers and the No Count plan including lots of amazing recipes CLICK HERE.

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Butter Chicken and Almond Seekh Kebab with Mango Chutney Yoghurt, for Pataks http://www.sammyandbella.com/butter-chicken-and-almond-seekh-kebab-with-mango-chutney-yoghurt-for-pataks/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/butter-chicken-and-almond-seekh-kebab-with-mango-chutney-yoghurt-for-pataks/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 02:03:21 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5503 butter chicken koftas

Seekh kebabs are a North Indian/Pakistani dish with ties to middle eastern cookery – spiced ground meat is threaded onto skewers and cooked over a charcoal BBQ. It’s fantastic street food – especially delicious wrapped up in a naan bread with some sauce.

This is a really easy chicken and almond version – spiced with butter chicken paste. They are very easily cooked on a normal Aussie BBQ, or even on a pan or in the oven. The flavour is big and punchy, thanks to the paste, and it’s cooled off with a sweet mango chutney and yoghurt sauce.

Try it with your family this weekend!

Butter Chicken and Almond Seekh Kebab with Mango Chutney Yoghurt Sauce

Serves 4-6

For the seekh kebabs:

  • 6 Tbsp Patak’s Butter Chicken Paste (Medium)??? (qtys tbc)
  • 1 bunch coriander (roots and stems chopped, leaves reserved)
  • 750g minced free range chicken
  • 100g (1 cup) almond meal
  • 1 free range egg
  • spray oil

For the yoghurt sauce:

  • 250ml natural yoghurt
  • 125ml Patak’s Mango Chutney

to serve:

  • reserved coriander leaves, from above
  • naan bread

 

 

  1. For the Seekh Kebabs, thoroughly wash the coriander and finely chop roots and stems (reserve leaves for garnish). Mix together Patak’s Butter Chicken Paste, minced chicken, almond meal, egg, and chopped coriander roots/stems. Let the mix rest, covered, in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
  2. Soak 12 x long bamboo skewers in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Using wet hands, shape the rested mix onto the soaked skewers, so that it looks like an even sausage shape, covering the sharp tip, and leaving the end free for your gusts to pick up with. Spray the outside of the kebabs with oil.
  4. Heat a flat bbq or grill to high. Cook the kebabs until cooked through and caramalised.
  5. For the sauce, simply whisk together yoghurt and Patak’s Mango Chutney.
  6. To serve, simply garnish seekh kebabs with coriander leaves, and serve with a side of naan
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One-pot slow cooker butter chicken and buttery rice, for Pataks http://www.sammyandbella.com/one-pot-slow-cooker-butter-chicken-and-buttery-rice-for-pataks/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/one-pot-slow-cooker-butter-chicken-and-buttery-rice-for-pataks/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 01:53:52 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5500 butter chick meryland flat

Traditionally, butter chicken, also known as “makhani” in Indian, is made with chicken pieces on the bone, which are perfect for slow cooking coming into the cooler months. The bones release lots of flavour and nutrients into the dish, which is cooked in butter for extra yumminess. Don’t be tempted to use oil in this dish – the butter is essential to the authentic flavour, and we are only using a little bit so it’s not an unhealthy amount we promise!

As the chill sets in, there is nothing better than filling the home with the delicious smells of a slow cooked meal…. And I promise this dish will make you feel like you’ve just had a big warm hug! We are slow cooking chicken and rice, in a pilaf/biryani style, all in one pot. There’s hardly any mess, as it’s all cooked in either a slow cooker, or in a heavy based oven proof pot.

Although this is a slow cooked recipe, it’s actually very quick – there’s hardly any prep time involved. You can even cook the mild butter chicken curry a couple of days before, and simply pop the rice in a la minute (just before service).

The best thing about this dish is that it’s perfect for kids. The Patak’s Butter Chicken Mild Sauce is very delicate, without too much spice or chilli. They have blended the spices to perfection, so there’s enough flavour for the adults too. It’s a fantastic way to introduce your kids to yummy international flavours and build their palates.

One-pot slow cooker butter chicken and buttery rice

Serves 4-6

For the curry:

  • 1 jar Patak’s Mild Butter Chicken Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 5kg free range chicken marylands, on the bone, skin on
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large carrots

for the rice:

  • 5 cups basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp butter, extra
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florettes
  • 50g (1/2 cup) almond flakes
  1. For the curry, cut marylands through the joint, so you have a thigh and a drumstick piece from each. Heat a large oven proof pot to medium-high, add butter, and fry chicken, in batches, until golden brown. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop onion and carrots, place in the same pot, reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, then return browned chicken to the pot, along with Patak’s Mild Butter Chicken Sauce and just enough water to cover the chicken. You shouldn’t need more than 1 cup.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken is soft and is falling off the bone. Remove chicken using a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm.
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Lamb Tikka Shephards Pie with Mushy Pea Crust, for Pataks http://www.sammyandbella.com/lamb-tikka-shephards-pie-with-mushy-pea-crust-for-pataks/ http://www.sammyandbella.com/lamb-tikka-shephards-pie-with-mushy-pea-crust-for-pataks/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 01:50:58 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5496 This dish is an homage to British Indian cooking. When you think about it, there are so many ingredients that both the Indians and British love to use – potatoes, peas, lamb, and mint are all classics in both cuisines. So it’s no wonder that throughout history the English have borrowed the flavours of India and incorporated them into their cuisine, after all it’s a fabulous way to jazz up meals that we’ve all tasted many times before.

We wanted to share this recipe with you because not only is it scrumptious, but it’s also a really easy way to bring the flavours of India into your family kitchen. Shephards pie is a favourite of families across Australia, and we have an easy trick to make it gourmet with one simple step – just add some Patak’s Tikka Masala Sauce! You’ll get an authentic flavour of India without any of the guess work when it comes to blending spices – it’s been done for you with a recipe that goes back 50 years.

We hope you enjoy this recipe with your family!

Lamb Tikka Shephards Pie with Mushy Pea Crust

Serves 4-6

For the filling:

  • 1 jar Patak’s Tikka Masala Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 4 sticks celery (about ¼ bunch)

for the crust:

  • 500g potato
  • 500g frozen peas
  • ½ bunch mint
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • spray oil

to serve:

  • salad greenstikka masala
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190C. For the crust, wrap each potato in foil, place in a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes, or until soft in the centre. This will depend on the size of your potatoes. Test by inserting a knife.
  2. For the filling, place half the oil in a large pot on high heat. Add the lamb and cook until browned, making sure not to stir too much so it caramelises rather than boils. Once lamb is browned, remove using a slotted spoon, and keep any oil left in the pot.
  3. Finely chop onion, carrots and celery, and place into the pot that the lamb was cooked in. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the vegetables are translucent and lightly caramelised. Return the lamb to the pot with the vegetables, and stir in Patak’s Tikka Masala Sauce.
  4. To finish the crust, peel the cooked potatoes (use a small knife, the potatoes should still be warm so hold them using a tea towel or some dish washing gloves). Add the frozen peas and mash. Chop the mint, stir into the mix along with butter and seasoning.
  5. Place meat mix into the base of a large deep baking dish. Spoon the crust mix on the top, spread out, then rough up using the prongs of a fork. Use spray oil to coat the top of the crust evenly.
  6. Bake at 190C for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Serve hot with a side salad.
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Sammy’s home made Sauerkraut http://www.sammyandbella.com/sammys-home-made-sauerkraut/ Fri, 26 May 2017 00:48:17 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5466  

Sauerkraut has been sneaking its way back into our kitchen and meals with the fermented foods revolution. This revolution was brought back on in my opinion by kraut master Sandor Katz, who has been nicknamed Sandorkraut. You can read about him here: http://www.wildfermentation.com/who-is-sandorkraut/

For Bella and I our interest really started at home with our polish family. Sauerkraut was always in the cupboards or in the fridge. Our aunty would all ways make the best Bigos, which is like a hunters stew made with sauerkraut, pork and other small goods off cuts or left overs. Growing up eating fermented foods meant that our palettes were very used to the strong sometimes pungent but addictive flavour. After all the best things in life are fermented. Hello chocolate, wine, cheese, coffee, sourdough and cultured butter… hmm… licking our lips already.

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Many of us have probably already tried kraut on a Reuben sandwich or on German hotdogs at markets and fairs, or you may have even bought some yourself from the store as it’s become increasingly available over the years. The problem with most of these krauts is that they have been pasteurized to comply with current food guidelines, meaning the heat has probably destroyed most of the good bacteria. So if you want a more authentic and super healthy kraut you have to make it yourself, and you’ll be surprised just how easy it is.

Other than tasting great and being easy to make, homemade Kraut is jam packed with probiotics which are live micro-organisms (good bacteria). These probiotics reside in the gut and are very important in helping support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. Probiotics also play an integral role in maintaining healthy gut function by preventing the invasion of harmful microbes.

sauerkraut

Image credit: Emma Christensen

Sammy’s home made Sauerkraut

Ingredients:

1 kg cabbage – 1 large cabbage

1 tablespoon murray river pink salt (or more to taste)

3 bay leaves

4 black peppercorns

¼ tsp caraway seeds

Special equipment:

Sterile glass jars with non reactive lids

Or kraut crock

Method:

  1. Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Grate or slice the cabbage finely.
  2. Place cabbage and salt in a large non reactive bowl and massage with clean hands until the cabbage softens and starts to release liquid. This will take about 15 minutes. Mix in pepper corns, bay leaf, and caraway seeds.
  3. Next choose a jar or multiple jars that will fit all of your cabbage to the top. Its important to have very little room for air when you seal the jar as this will prevent bad bacteria or molds growing.
  4. Pack the jars firmly with cabbage pressing down each layer as you put it in. There should be about 5 cm of juices on top of the cabbage.  If this does not happen make up a salt water mixture of 15 g of sea salt to 1 liter of water and add a little of it to the jar only if necessary.
  5. A good tip it to use a sterilized smooth river rock that will fit perfectly into your jar to use as a weight to keep the bits of cabbage submerged under the liquid. Or you can place a folded cabbage leaf and push it down below the liquid and the tight fit should hold the cabbage down. Seal the jar.
  6. Keep your kraut out on the kitchen bench. Place a plate or tray underneath just in case the liquid bubbles out. Depending on temperatures your kraut can ferment for 3-6 days on your kitchen bench. I like to open the jar up daily, give the cabbage a bit of a stir and taste it to see if its to my liking. Giving your kraut a stir and press daily will allow for any excess gas and bubble to be released and it also helps prevent the growth of bad molds or bacteria.
  7. After a few days, when your kraut taste is to your liking you can place the jar in the fridge. The cooler temperature in your fridge will slow your fermentation process drastically so you wont see too much more flavour or textural changes. Keep the cabbage constantly submerged under the liquid and it will last months in your fridge, unless it isn’t eaten earlier.

 

 

*Adapted from Teresa Cutter recipe

https://www.thehealthychef.com/2014/03/polish-sauerkraut/

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Sammy’s Smoothie madness http://www.sammyandbella.com/sammys-smoothie-madness/ Tue, 23 May 2017 00:23:02 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5395 So I think its pretty clear that all current food trends are pointing to smoothies! I’ve been making smoothies all my life and over the past 4 years it’s been all about the healthy smoothie. Adding super foods and substituting dairy for homemade almond milk have been the main changes made, but its also opened up some quirky flavour combos and finding ways to please food cravings but in a healthy way.

Russell Hobbs Jug smoothie shot

The biggest changes in the last couple of years of smoothie madness are the blenders themselves. No longer are standard blenders good enough. There is a lot of engineering and technology going into developing the best blenders to make sure that every ingredient you throw in is going to get blitzed to perfection.

George Foreman’s Mix and Go XL Blast is the latest in Blender technology and was made for a smoothie lover like myself. It comes with a 2L jug, 800ml or 600ml bottle which are also great to transport your smoothie in straight fro the blender. The XL Blast also recognises the different between a regular smoothie and a green smoothie, giving you two Auto options to make sure your getting the best results.

Cookie Dough smoothie

Sammy’s faux cookie dough smoothie

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ dates, deseeded
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 2 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 cups coconut ice
  • sweetener to taste

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients on Auto Smoothie setting, together accept for the cacao nibs and the coconut ice, until creamy and smooth. Add nibs and coconut ice and blend on Auto Smoothie until frosty and smooth.

 

Strawberry cucumber smoothie 2

Sammy’s refreshing cucumber and strawberry smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped mint
  • 1 cup water
  • sweetener to taste

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into your XL Blast and blend on Auto Green Smoothie.
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Bella’s Wild weed and native spinach spiral spanakopita with dukkah http://www.sammyandbella.com/bellas-wild-weed-and-native-spinach-spiral-spanakopita-with-dukkah/ Fri, 19 May 2017 00:33:37 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5461 In rural areas of Greece, local home cooks love using wild weeds in their cooking, for their amazing health benefits and slightly bitter flavour. Plus, it’s free! It’s a wonderful sustainable way to eat – and the best way to get rid of pesky weeds that might be growing in your garden.

You can collect wild weeds in Australia too, but make sure you don’t pick from next to roads where they might have car pollution, pesticides or dog piddles on them. It’s always best to forage with an experienced forager, but you can find lots of online guides such as http://sustainabletable.org.au/tabletalk/tabid/53/entryid/87/edible-weeds-seasonal-local-delicious-nutritious.aspx or buy “The weed foragers handbook” by Adam Grubb for a guide on what is in our Aussie backyards.

Sammy and Bella Foraging

Another favourite foraged green is native spinach, or warrigal greens. These grow along coastal rocky regions of temperate and sub tropical Australia, and can also be grown at home. In any case, you can use whatever is available to you in this recipe – whatever mix you like of weeds, natives, or spinach from your supermarket.

This dish is called a “strifti spanakopita” in Greek, which is a coiled, serpent shaped version of the more common spanakopita. It’s incredibly visually appealing, and a fantastic treat for your guests at a dinner party or picnic.

This recipe should give you two pies, about 30cm in diameter. If you can get a hold of a traditional Greek pita/pie dish then please use it! Otherwise a large paella dish or flat cookie sheet will do.

In the below recipe I have suggested to prepare one sheet of filo pastry at a time. Alternatively, if you have enough bench space and are a quick worker, try arranging 5 sheets long ways, slightly overlapping, then adding the second layer etc – this will avoid seams in the pie.

Spanacopita

Wild weed and native spinach spiral spanakopita with dukkah

Makes 2 large pies

For the filling:

  • 1kg greens (native spinach, edible weeds, or store bought spinach)
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g goat or sheep feta, crumbled
  • 300g ricotta, crumbled
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 large or 2 small bunches dill, chopped finely
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ large bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dry greek wild oregano, leaves
  • decent grating of fresh nutmeg, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

to prepare pastry:

 

  • 20 sheets filo pastry (1 x 375g pack)
  • 250g butter, melted.
  • spray oil
  • ½ cup dukkah
  1. Bring a very large pot of water to the boil. Wash greens thoroughly and discard any tough stems. Blanch greens for 1 minute, then drain, let cool and squeeze dry. Chop finely.
  2. Slice leeks in half lengthways and wash thoroughly under running water. Save green parts for a stock for another recipe. Slice the white parts finely. Place sliced white parts and pine nuts in a frying pan on medium heat along with olive oil. Cook, stirring until leek is soft and nuts are caramelised.
  3. To complete the filling, place chopped blanched greens and leek mix into a large bowl along with crumbled feta and ricotta, eggs, chopped dill/parsley/spring onions, wild oregano, nutmeg, and seasoning. Mix well and separate into 10 even portions.
  4. To arrange the pie, melt the butter and make sure you have a pastry brush and 3 damp clean tea towels handy, as well as 2 (thin) baking sheets (or pie dishes) pre-lined with baking paper and sprayed with oil. Ensure you keep both the pies and spare filo sheets covered with the damp tea towels at all times.
  5. Take a sheet of filo and place on the bench top, brush with butter, place another sheet of filo on top, and brush again with butter. Take a portion of the filling and make a long-ways sausage shape at the base of the pie, then wrap it up into a log shape. Arrange the log in a tight spiral in the centre of the baking tray, or work from the outside in if you have a round pie dish. Continue with remaining filo and filling, arranging each next log from where the last one finished. Each pie should have 5 logs, and you should get 2 pies. Brush tops with remaining butter, and sprinkle over dukkah. Refrigerate the pies, covered in damp cloth, to chill, before baking. Or wrap tightly in cling film and freeze, then defrost before baking.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Bake the pie for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve hot or cold or reheated the next day.
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Sammy’s Pan fried Barramundi with lemon and aniseed myrtle bush spice http://www.sammyandbella.com/sammys-pan-fried-barramundi-with-lemon-and-aniseed-myrtle-bush-spice/ Mon, 15 May 2017 00:28:43 +0000 http://www.sammyandbella.com/?p=5457 Lemon myrtle has a wonderful lemongrass flavour, and it’s readily available online… Essentially the leaves are cold dried (to avoid any loss of essential oils) and powdered. We are using the powdered version in the spice mix today, but you can also use whole dried or fresh leaves in sauces, or tuck them into the cavity of a whole fish.

Or grow your own tree! They are beautiful and lend a lovely fragrance to your garden, especially when the leaves are disturbed (with a breeze or rain) and they REALLY release their fragrance. A great place to plant the trees is in front of south facing windows, to maximise this natural home fragrance effect. The feathery cream coloured flowers are gorgeous too – they come out in autumn.

Native Spiced baked Barra

The other native spice we are using is aniseed myrtle, which again is available online or you can grow your own. It has a delicate sweet liquorice flavour that works very well with seafood or pork.

The spice mix below can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge and used in so many ways in the kitchen – try marinating a roast chicken, sprinkling over veggies, stirring into a mayo or a salad dressing, or rubbing into your favourite bbq meats. It also makes a special gift idea, using repurposed glass jars.

You can buy all this stuff online… I have used http://www.bushfoodshop.com.au/ and http://www.herbies.com.au/product-category/herbs-and-spices/australian-native-spices/ but there are many other suppliers available if you just do a google search.

 

Pan fried Barramundi with lemon and aniseed myrtle bush spice

Serves 4

For the bush spice (makes extra)

    • 2 Tbsp Lemon myrtle powder
    • 2 Tbsp Aniseed myrtle powder
    • 2 tsp Garlic powder
    • 1 Tbsp Coriander seed powder
    • 2 tsp Cumin powder
    • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp Salt
    • 2 tsp ground white pepper
    • Chilli powder, to taste

 

for the fish:

  • 4 fillets of barramundi, skinless and boneless (about 180g each)
  • 2 Tbsp spice mix, from above
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 limes
  1. For the bush spice, simply mix all ingredients together well.
  2. For the fish, drizzle with half the olive oil and rub in to coat on both sides. Next, sprinkle fish with the spice mix.
  3. Heat a frying pan to medium-high and place a piece of baking paper in the base (this will stop the fish from sticking). Put remaining oil on the baking paper, and the fish fillets on top, ensuring you don’t over crowd the pan. Cook, without touching, until caramelised on the base and cooked 2/3 of the way though, then flip and cook until cooked through.
  4. Serve fish with fresh lime.
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