Brinner | Pea + Ricotta Fritters

Nothing pleases me more than the world realising what we’ve always known: No one breakfasts better than Australia. But while Sydney and Melbourne get all the glory, make no mistake – Perth is no slouch on the brunch front.

When my beloved Bitchez Who Brunch posted this beauty from Sayers Sister, it was an instant yes moment – everything I was craving in one go. Except, it was 4pm on a Tuesday, and who can wait until the weekend?

Enter: Brinner.

(brin-ner) adj. breakfast eaten at the time in which you eat dinner.
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This dish is full of spring goodness, and hits all the flavour points – sweet, salty, creamy and sharp, with plenty of green for smug. Perfect for your weekend’s brekky with the girls, or you know, tonight’s dinner. I’m not going to judge.

Pea + Ricotta Stacks with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Adapted from Donna Hay

400g fresh ricotta
2 tablespoons self raising flour
2 egg whites
3/4 cup frozen peas
8 slices prosciutto
Handful shaved Parmesan
Handful rocket leaves
2-4 eggs (depending on the number of people/how hungry you are)

In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the prosciutto until crispy, a couple of minutes each side. Set aside.

For the fritters, mix together the ricotta, flour, and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the eggs into the ricotta mixture until just combined.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan (non stick, if you can, they’re sticky bastards), and spoon a couple of tablespoons into the pan and cook for 3 minutes each side until golden.

While the fritters cook, poach your eggs to the required doneness (if you need help).

Stack as follows: Fritter, prosciutto, rocket, Parmesan and repeat. I went 4 fritters high, and topped with a runny poached egg.

For extra fancy, I also drizzled with basil oil (recipe here), but that’s up to you.

The cure to all your problems

It took no more than 3 days after Perth’s cold weather kicked in for one of my housemates to come down ill.

The Plauge Man-flu is as merciless as it is swift and incapacitating. The sniffles and aches, headaches and sneezing; it’s truly a wonder that health organisations don’t take it more seriously. There is, of course, only one known cure for man-flu – the magic of chicken soup.

Now, before you tell me that’s an old wives’ tale, science has my back (thanks, science!) on this one. With its anti-inflammatory properties and congestion clearing super-powers, getting a big bowl of this into your belly is probably the best life choice you can make when curled up on the couch with a box of Kleenex and 6 seasons of Sons of Anarchy.

I loved this recipe because it’s packed with vegetables for nutrition, pasta to fill you up, and plenty of juicy chicken, which is everyone’s favourite part. The stock base for the soup can even be made in advance and frozen if you’re a little short on time.

So, as soon as man-flu kicked in, a pot of this went on the stove, because there’s nothing in this world that is more comforting than this soup. Promise.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

4 carrot
4 sticks celery
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
sea salt
4 whole peppercorns
1 free range chicken (see note)
1 large knob butter
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
200g fresh egg pasta
200g baby spinach
1 lemon

 

Roughly chop 2 carrots and celery sticks, then add to a large pot over medium heat with the chicken carcass, 2 diced onions, bay leaves, peppercorns and a big pinch of salt. Cover the chicken completely with water – roughly 1.5 litres. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.

 

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While the stock simmers, dice the remaining carrots and celery into even pieces. In another large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat; add the garlic, remaining onion and parsley and gently cook until soft but not brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes.

When the stock is done, remove the chicken and shred the meat, setting it aside. Discard the carcass. Strain the stock, reserving the liquid and discarding the vegetables.

Add the stock to your second pot. Bring the soup base to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the egg pasta, baby spinach and shredded chicken and simmer for a further couple of minutes until the pasta is cooked. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a really good piece of sourdough slathered in butter. Seriously.

 

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NOTE:
So, in terms of the chicken you use, you can go two ways.
1) If you use a whole, raw chicken, you can break it down into parts following a video like this one. Breaking it down makes the chicken easier to handle once it’s cooked.
2) If raw chicken freaks you out, you can simply use a roasted chicken from the supermarket. Pull roughly 2/3 of the meat off the bones, shred it, then leave it in the fridge until a few minutes before serving – stir it though and simmer for a couple of minutes to warm it up. Add the carcass and remaining meat to make the stock in the first step.

Better than IKEA

For very brief, fleeting moments this week, it actually felt like Autumn. As a firm lover of blankets, pajamas and generally looking like an Eskimo, you can bet your ass I was excited.

It’s a widely accepted truth that everyone loves IKEA. Even if you hate it, there’s a perverse pleasure of being there, hating everything and everyone and coming out with 14 bags of Diam (which, by the way, is like crack). I, for one, love IKEA, and am the kind of person that can’t go unsupervised. Mostly because I need someone to remind me that I don’t need coat hangers/toys/500 picture frames and a whole new book shelving unit.

Of course, IKEA is also famous for it’s food court. It’s the cheapest feed in the world, why wouldn’t you eat your body weight in meatballs and mousse while you’re there? You’re going to need all the energy you can get when you’re at home and 4 hours into the most confusing bed assembly in the universe. The problem is, you can’t really go there for a meatball fix, lest you come home with a shelving unit, the temptation is far too great.

So here we have it, folks. The recipe that’s going to make your life just that much better. It’s perfect winter comfort food, and it’s also pretty damn easy.
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Better Than IKEA Meatballs

Adapted from The Londoner and Jamie Oliver

a handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or chives
300g minced pork
300g minced beef
1 large egg
100ml milk
75g dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground allspice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1tbsp mustard
1-2tbsp Worcester sauce
1tsp honey
300ml double cream
Salt n pepper

Roughly chop the fresh herbs. Set aside a pinch for garnish, and then place the rest in a large, deep mixing bowl, big enough for you go get your hands in to. Add the mince, egg, milk, bread crumbs and all spice. Season with salt and pepper, then mix and scrunch together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.

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Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown all over, about 10 -15 minutes. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and set aside.

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Add the flour to the remaining oil in the pan and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Add the stock and simmer, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (you want this, they are delicious). Leave to simmer and thicken for a couple of minutes, then add the Worcester Sauce, honey and mustard. Give a good stir, then add the cream. Stir again, then add the meatballs to the pan, and turn to coat. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

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Serve meatballs and sauce over your favourite carb – this is amazing with pasta, mashed potatoes, couscous or polenta. Sprinkle with reserved herbs.

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If you’re a little on the lazy side, or pushed for time, you can use your favourite flavoured sausages – just remove the meat from their casings, and roll into balls. The flavouring is already in the meat, so you’re good to go!

Those summer nights

There are some days where it’s pure torture to drag yourself into the kitchen. Even food bloggers aren’t immune to this.

Maybe it’s 38* outside.
Maybe you’ve had to do a lot of cooking lately.
Maybe you’re just too damn tired, and flopping on the couch with a season of Vikings and a bottle of wine is a much better idea.
Maybe it’s all of these things on the same day (last Monday, if you wanted to know).

These are all perfectly legit reasons to eat from the instant/delivered section of the food pyramid. BUT, if you stay with me, I can present to you a dinner that takes less time and effort to cook than it takes for Chinese to appear on your doorstep, with the added bonus of being good for you. I promise.

Lamb Skewers with Mint Pea and Feta Salad

From Good Food

500g lamb rump
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper
300g frozen peas
1 bag mixed lettuce greens
1/3 cup torn mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
150g marinated Persian feta
Flatbread, to serve

Dice the lamb into bite size chunks. Toss together in a bowl with oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Soak wooden skewers in cold water, if you’re using them, to prevent them from burning.

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When you’re ready to eat, cook the peas in a pot of boiling water until tender (5 minutes, or whatever the packet instructions say). Drain, and refresh in cold water. Add the peas, herbs, greens and feta together and toss to combine.

Heat a bbq or frying pan. Thread the lamb onto the skewers evenly. Grill the skewers for a couple of minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking.

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Serve lamb with salad and flatbread.

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I used the flatbread to make everything into little wraps, because everything tastes better in a wrap. Duh.

Breaking Bread

So, this is Christmas. And what have you done? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been run off your feet with Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking, shopping, drinking more shopping (what is with all these little last minute presents?!) and a million catch-ups.

It’s well documented that I’m a grinch, however, I can’t hate everything about this time of year. I mean, it’s the best time to get out and try all the places that you never got to during the year, under the guise of merriment and quality time with friends and family!

The one place I still haven’t gotten to is Fremantle’s Bread in Common. The brain child of Nic Trimboli (you might of heard of him – his other ventures include Balthazar, Duende, Gordon St Garage – oh, and a little place called Little Creatures) is buzzing on Packenham Street, away from the myriad of fairly average cappuccino and pizza/pasta tourist pleasers that has rendered Fremantle a culinary wasteland for far too long.

The hero dish (aside from the bread) that I’m dying to try are the mint lamb ribs with black garlic; there is nothing about that dish that doesn’t sound amazing to me. Luckily, I happened across the recipe in the current Delicious Magazine, and was ecstatic that I don’t have to wait to try them!

Lamb ribs are all kinds of fantastic. They’ve been living in the shadows of the more popular pork and beef ribs; but are increasingly taking centre stage on restaurant menus. The good news is, lamb ribs are a ridiculously cheap cut of meat (unlike pork and beef), and you can buy a kilo of ribs for around $10, making this a great dish to make for a group of people, or maybe even leave out for Santa! Actually, don’t do that. If you leave meat out overnight for Santa, you might just kill him.

Black Garlic & Herb Lamb Ribs

From Delicious Magazine

1.2kg Macabee Dorper lamb ribs
3tbsp peanut oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1tbsp chopped thyme and rosemary
375ml white wine
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
6 cloves black garlic
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
Coriander leaves, to serve
Marinade
1/2 bunch each of mint, rosemary and flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 long green chillies
2 tsp each coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and whole black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
Blitz the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor with 2 tsp salt until coarsely chopped.

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Rub the marinade into the ribs, then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight if time allows.

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Heat your oven to 140*C. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat in a roasting pan. Add the carrot and onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the ribs, thyme, rosemary and wine to the pan, then add enough hot water to cover the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, then remove from heat and cover with baking paper and foil and place in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is tender.

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For the dressing, mix together mint, black garlic, chilli, sugar, vinegar and last 2 tbsp oil until combined.
Remove the ribs from the roasting pan, and discard the liquid. Season the ribs and char-grill in a pan over high heat, for 6 minutes or until golden.

Place the ribs on a plate and serve with dressing and coriander.

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Black garlic can be bought in tubs from supermarkets, and is simply fermented garlic cloves. They’re sweeter, less pungent than regular garlic and the dramatic colour adds interest to the plate. If you can’t find it, substitute roasted garlic cloves.

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Everything tastes better when it’s round.

If there’s something that we can all agree on, there is nothing more delicious than pork belly. It appeals on so many levels – it can be roasted all sexy and crispy, or slow braised until it melts. It also works across the entire flavour spectrum, making it completely versatile.

But, let’s be honest, it’s also a little bit done. Everyone, everywhere, has done it to death. 

Enter your new Big Love – LAMB BELLY. It’s all the deliciousness of pork belly, with the additional awesome of lamb! You’re welcome, Kosher eaters.

Let me tell you – nothing makes you feel more cheffy than learning to tie something with kitchen string. Plus, everything tastes better when it’s round, which has been documented by science. Think about it, pizza, Wagon Wheels, scrolls, cheese burgers, doughnuts. You know it’s true. That is why this dish ticks all the boxes.

Crispy Stuffed Lamb Belly

Adapted from Food 52

3 tablespoons oregano, finely minced
1 cup feta, finely crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
900g lamb belly, off the bone
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 180*c.

Mix the feta, oregano and olive oil in a bowl (I used my food processor) and combine until it forms a paste.

Lay the belly out flat on a cutting board, fat side down.  Spread the feta paste evenly across the belly, leaving a small border around the edge.

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Start at one of the short edges, and roll the belly tightly, then tie every inch or there abouts with kitchen string. Rub the outside with the combined minced garlic, salt and a splash of olive oil.

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Place the rolled roast fattier side up in a heavy bottomed oven and stove top proof dish. Add the wine, stock and juice, cover and roast in the oven for 2 hours.   Increase the heat to 230*c and roast for a further 15 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

Note: As my piece of belly was only about half the size called for in the recipe, it was done in 45 minutes.


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Serve with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes and a green salad.

Lambpage

I’m on a lamb-rampage at the moment – a lambpage, if you will. I’d forgotten how good good lamb can taste.

I love ‘entertaining foods’, meals that are designed to have all the dirty work done in advance and then plated up with minimal fuss when you’re half a bottle of wine down. This particular dish couldn’t be easier – a couple of tubs of hummus, tabbouleh which can be thrown together quickly or even bought, and lamb which cooks up in 15 minutes. Oh, and eaten with pita bread – who needs plates? Probably people with table manners. I’m not that person.

Ras el hanout isn’t typically found in your local supermarket, but it’s stocked in specialty stores. In the absence of that, it’s easily made from the spices you have at home, which is kind of fun. Mixing spices always kind of makes me feel like a magician. Or a chemist, in a non-Breaking Bad kind of way. Don’t be afraid.

Spiced Lamb & Hummus with Tabbouleh

From Delicious

2 tbsp olive oil
1kg lamb leg steaks, diced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef stock
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
400g hummus
Pita bread and greek yoghurt, to serve

1/2 cup burghul
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
1 bunch mint and coriander, finely chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

For the tabbouleh, put the burghul in a bowl and cover with boiling water and let stand for 20 minutes.

For the lamb, add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced lamb to the pan and cook for 6 minutes until browned all over. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ras el hanout and cook for another couple of minutes.

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Stir in the tomato paste, then the beef stock. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and let the sauce thicken for 7 – 8 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, add the lemon zest, juice and season to taste.

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Drain the burghul and toss together with the remaining tabbouleh ingredients in a bowl.

Spread the hummus over a serving plate, then spoon the lamb over the hummus, and top with tabbouleh and Greek yogurt.

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