Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fishy mac 'n cheese

Sounds like something out of a nightmare doesn't it? This dish came about because I wanted J&C to eat more diversely. C had an aversion to fish in any form so one day I sneaked it into a baked pasta dish while she wasn't looking. It was a huge hit.

It's a really simple dish to make.
Boil your pasta until it is done. I used about 3/4 of a 500g bag of pasta. Any round tube shape will do.

While your pasta is boiling, dice an onion and a handful of mushrooms (I used about 6 medium sized brown mushrooms) and a sweet bell pepper. Fry this in a tiny bit of butter and olive oil, adding garlic, salt and pepper. Right at the end, open your can of fish (I used a large can of pink Alaskan salmon), dump it in the pan and smoosh it down to warm through. Then, take it off the heat and add some parsley.

Then make a white sauce. For this white sauce, I melted 50ml of butter, mixed in 50ml of flour and cooked it for about 5 minutes or so. Then I added 500ml milk and slowly heated it through until the mixture thickened. Then I added about 2 to 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese, some salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk until all the cheese melted. Sometimes if my sauce is too thick, at this point I add another 250ml of milk and mix it through.

To assemble the dish, layer half the pasta into an ovenproof dish, pour over about 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Then add the fish mixture and pour over about half the sauce you have left. Then add the remaining pasta, pouring the leftover sauce over the top. Sprinkle about 1 cup of grated cheese over the top and bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve with garlic rolls, a salad....or eat as is.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Springbok fillet

Last night for supper we had fillet of Springbok. First time I have ever attempted to make this. I called The MIL, she of the old fashioned and awesome cooking skillz. Her yearly roast leg of Springbok is just to die for. Anyhow she had no idea what to tell me as she's never made it either. So, I took my oven roasted beef fillet recipe and have adapted it for the Springbok fillet.

Take some olive oil, rub it all over the meat and then sprinkle with whatever spices. On fillet I use a combination of raw chopped garlic, parsley, pepper and ginger. For the springbok, I used a couple of pinches of Nomu's African spice rub. It is a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, all spice, coriander, ajowan, and cardamom. Rubbed it into the meat after rubbing with olive oil.
As I bake my fillet, I pan fry it in some olive oil first, to get some nice colour onto the meat. Make sure you have your pan on a really hot setting, add a tiny splash of olive oil and when the oil is smoky hot, carefully place the meat into the pan. Turn almost immediately and then bake in a preheated oven until it is done to your likeness. As I didn't want the meat to shrink dramatically, I preheated my oven to 150C and baked for about 20 minutes for bloody, another 10 minutes more for pink. I like my meat screaming in agony as I cut into it while Himself likes it almost dead. C would devour any piece of meat in front of her cooked or raw so for now I make hers the same as Himself's.

To serve, let the meat rest for a few minutes then slice.

That's Himself cutting the meat into slices.
To serve with the meat, I quartered a small head of cabbage, peeled and thickly sliced some carrots, potatoes and marrows and steamed until done. J was beside himself when he realised that we were having meat for lunch (he decided a few months ago that he's a vegetarian...one that eats sausage, lasagna, chicken and fish) so I microwaved a bag of mixed cauliflower and broccoli as well. We get these really convenient bags of mixed veg at the store which you can pop into the microwave for a few minutes, add salt and a knob of butter and you are done.

While the meat was in the oven, I whipped up a quick mushroom sauce in the pan I'd browned the meat in. Slice a handful of mushrooms, add to your pan and stir fry with some garlic until the mushrooms turn brown. Add about 30ml of white wine to deglaze the pan and once the alcohol has cooked away, pour in 250ml of cream, adding salt and pepper to taste. Let that all boil down slowly until the cream thickens and keep warm.