Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blue Eye Trevalla with the most delicious Pepperonata

This has to be the most delicious dish ever! I love it. I have been inspired to share this dish with you all now, as I have an abundance of home grown tomatoes that needed to be used quickly. They are slowly taking over my kitchen.

Yes that's right, here in Hobart my home grown tomatoes have only just turned red! I did plant them a little later than show day (all Hobartians know that tomatoes are due to go in the ground at show time, which falls around the second week in October). However when talking with guys in my office, they have all shared that their tomatoes were all late bloomers this year as well. Maybe it's because we didn't really get a great summer this year?



Either way- all I know is that I have heaps of gorgeous tomatoes that I do not want to go to waste. And I'm not really in the mood for chutney either- still getting through it from last year!

So... this recipe is the perfect answer for using them all up! As you will see from my photos, I have a very mixed bag. I have successfully grown beautiful Cherry tomatoes as well as Romas, Ox Hearts and some other round variety.



This dish has incredible health benefits for you- mainly due to the tomatoes. Like most of you may know, tomatoes have fantastic anti-cancer properties in them. Tomatoes are full of carotenoids, mainly lycopene which is known to be a potent cancer fighting nutrient. What you may not know- is that by cooking tomatoes, it releases up to 3 times more lycopene for your body to use. Great news!

This pepperonata is most certainly inspired from my Italian Nonna. I have watched her for years make this dish which is so more-ish that it never lasts long in the fridge. I remember having it for breakfast spread on toast- yum! Although inspired by Nonna, I'm going to call this one my own as I have mixed it up a little with the addition of olives and capers. She would probably shun me if she knew. Or maybe not? Italians are always inventing new things depending on whats in the fridge.

The olives and capers certainly lift the dish and add that extra zing! They are quite salty, so you won't need to add too much salt. I guess this dish is a bit like a cross between a caponata and pepperonata. I've taken the best bits from both.

If you're not like me, and don't have access to wonderful fresh tomatoes- then buy the vine-ripened or you can even use tinned tomatoes.

As there is so much flavour in the pepperonata, I have teamed it with an uncomplicated piece of crispy skin Blue Eye Trevalla. This has to be one of my favourite fish to eat. It tastes unreal when cooked in its simplest form- like I have here.

One last thing- make sure you have a wonderful fresh loaf of crusty bread! No Italian meal is complete without it. You especially need it with this dish to mop up the gorgeous sauce. I've opted for a delicious ciabatta which is baked at Smolt in Salamanca.

Get this
Variety of vine ripened tomatoes (about 650g) or 1 tin tomatoes
2 onions
2 red capsicums
2 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
80g kalamata olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers
Extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
4x 200g fillets Blue-Eye Trevalla
Basil leaves to garnish
Crusty bread to serve

Remove Trevalla from the fridge. Place on a plate, and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt flakes. Leave to rest.
Place tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and place in a hot over (220 degrees) for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Remove skins and roughly chop. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure to reserve the cooking liquid in the tray. Leave the oven on, but reduce heat to 200 degrees.
Meanwhile heat a non-stick fry pan over high heat. Add a good glug of olive oil, thinly sliced onions and crushed garlic. Cook for a minute and then add finely sliced capsicum and zucchini strips. You want these vegetables to be similar in size. Cook for 5 minutes and then add olives and capers.
Add tomatoes, their cooking liquid, quarter cup of water and balsamin vinegar to the capsicum mixture. Stir, reduce heat and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Taste and season accordingly.

Whilst the pepperonata finishes cooking, you can cook the fish.
Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Add the Trevalla skin side down and leave for 3 minutes. You shouldn't need to add extra oil, as there should be enough on it. Flip the fish, and check that the skin is nice and crispy. Place fry pan in the oven and leave for 3-4 minutes. You don't want to overcook the fish. You want it to be a little firm, but still quite moist inside.

Everything should now be complete. Use lovely big bowls to plate up. Spoon equal amounts of pepperonata in each bowl, top with a piece of Trevalla. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with baby basil leaves. Serve with crusty bread.
Serves 4

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Corn and coriander fritters, smoked salmon and avocado

It's Mother's Day tomorrow, and in reading the Mother's Day cards today I got thinking how much my mum really means to me. Yes I'm sure I think about it every day- but lately mum has been a real rock for me. She deserves a lot from me this mothers day. She is the most important person in my life, as I'm sure all your mums are to you too. She is constantly busy, running around for everyone and doing selfless acts, and yet she still has time to look after her daughter too. How do mums manage it?!

Well Mother's Day is meant to be the day they get to kick back and be treated by us- their children! So with that in mind I've created the ultimate brunch indulgence. Instead of heading out to a cafe, stay in and cook mum this gorgeous dish while she puts her feet up. My mum absolutely adores corn fritters, so I have jazzed them up a bit here with the addition of coriander blitzed through the batter.

Once cooked I have topped them with wonderful Tassal smoked salmon and a little avocado, coriander and lime salsa. Yum! Lime and avocado work so so well together, it's completely moreish!

I apologise for not getting this post up sooner- but it's been such a hectic week, and just now I've found myself polishing off these fritters I've cooked... instead of typing... I wasn't able to resist. I don't think you, or your mum will be able to either! Make sure to serve with a cheek of lime to moisten the dish a little. And remember- don't just spoil mum tomorrow- pull this recipe out every few months to remind her how special she is.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there!

Get This
2 corn cobs
1/2 bunch coriander
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red chili sliced
100g smoked salmon
1 medium avocado
1 teaspoon finely diced red onion
1 lime
Salt and pepper

Cook Now
Cut the corn from the cobs and place half in a small food processor. Add 3/4 of the coriander including the roots, flour, baking paper, half of the chili and the egg. Blitz until combined and smooth. Place into a bowl and add the remaining corn kernels and season well with salt and pepper.
Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add  oil and then place a heaped tablespoon full of the batter into the pan. Cook until golden (about 1 minute) and flip. Cook for a further 2 minutes and remove and sit on paper towel. Continue with remaining batter. It should make 4 large fritters.
While fritters are cooking, prepare the salsa by mixing the remaining coriander, half the avocado, onion and juice of half a lime. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To plate up- place two fritters in the center of your plate. Top with slices of rolled salmon, coriander salsa and slices of avocado. Garnish with chili and a lime cheek. Eat.
Serves 2

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Silverbeet, chickpeas and sumac

Easter came and went like a whirlwind this year. It was over before I knew it, but unfortunately it always takes its toll doesn't it? Two family lunches, bags of Easter eggs, and countless hot cross buns. Oh my! A week later and I'm still feeling the aftershocks of Easter. What makes us over-eat on occasions like these? Is it because we are surrounded by family and our friends can't see us. Or is it because you can write off the guilty pleasures and say... 'well it's the holidays'. Whatever it is- it's not healthy- and I'm so glad the holiday's don't come often.

So its time to get my healthy eating routine back on track- it's time for good food.

Hands down this has to be my favourite throw together healthy meal for when your body is just calling out for its saving. Silverbeet aka Swiss chard or spinach is such a fantastic vegetable. Steam, boil, saute- whatever you do to it it tastes great- and maybe its because as you're eating it you know how good it is for you. Silverbeet is extremely high in iron, B-vitamins, vitamin C, dietary fibre, folate, zinc, magnesium... I could keep going- seriously. It's one of those true feel good foods!

In this recipe, I added a few other favourites of mine for the perfect guilt free lunch. For a more substantial meal, add a steamed salmon fillet and an extra squeeze of lemon. You'll wake up glowing.

Get This
1 bunch silverbeet
1 can organic chick peas
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons sumac
2 lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook Now
Wash the silverbeet then chop- quite chunky. Add to a steamer and steam until wilted, about 4 minutes. Drain and put in a large bowl. Drain chickpeas and add to the silverbeet. In the same bowl add crushed garlic, sumac, olive oil and the juice from the 2 lemons. Stir to combine while the silverbeet is still warm. Season to taste. Serve when cool. Yum!