October 31, 2010

happy halloween

October 25, 2010


I'm not going to pretend I had any idea what raviules were before I saw them in an issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller, but as soon as I saw the photo of them, I knew they had to be mine. They are, according to AGT, "essentially a French version of gnocchi." I have no idea to pronounce "raviules," either, so I find it easier just to call them tasty potato friends.

I wasn't making these for a special occasion, but they're absolutely dinner-party worthy. They'll require some last minute frying, but if you don't mind that, then it's easy to prepare them to either one of two stages in advance: after the shaping, when they can be refrigerated quite happily (and I think the fridge time helps firm them up, ready for boiling), or after the boiling, though they shouldn't be refrigerated at that point. So you could even mix and shape them the day before, boil them in the afternoon, and quickly fry them (a 10 minute job at most) right before you serve.

The recipe calls for chervil, which I couldn't find in either fresh or dried form at any of the 3 grocery stores I tried. I used fresh flat leaf parsley and a little tarragon instead. Plain parsley would be fine, but the aniseed flavour of the tarragon lended that extra chervil-like something.


500g Sebago potatoes (about 4), unpeeled
1 egg
50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
11g butter, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley, loosely chopped
a handful fresh tarragon leaves, or 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180ºC / 360ºF. Place unpeeled potatoes in a roasting pan and roast until tender when pierced with a skewer (40-45 minutes). When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Pass through a ricer / food mill into a large bowl, or mash very thoroughly. Add egg, flour, and one crushed garlic clove, season to taste and knead lightly until smooth. Shape mixture into quenelles and place on trays lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until ready for the next step.

Cook raviules in a large saucepan of boiling salted water over high heat until they rise to the surface (1-2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well, set aside and keep warm.

Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until nut brown (3-4 minutes). Add raviules and stir to cat, then saute, turning occasionally, until golden brown (2-3 minutes each side). Add remaining garlic, parsley and tarragon, stir to combine, and serve immediately.

October 16, 2010

strawberry jam ice cream


Strawberry jam ice cream: pretty pretty pretty. And sweet in just the right subdued kind of way. It's lovely as a scoop on its own, and amazing mixed with meringue and raspberries. You MUST use homemade or good quality store-bought jam - the kind with chunks of fruit in.



strawberry jam ice cream
from Simon Hopkinson, Week In Week Out

300ml full fat milk
1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways*
4 egg yolks
250ml double cream
150-175g strawberry jam (homemade or quality store-bought)

Place a large metal bowl in the freezer (or at least the fridge). Gently heat together the milk and vanilla pod in a solid-bottomed pan. As it comes to the boil, give it a whisk so as to disperse the vanilla seeds into the milk. Cover, and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Beat the egg yolks with a fork in a small bowl and then mix in a little of the milk to loosen them. Add this to the vanilla-milk mix, whisk together and then cook over a very gently heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has lightly thickened - do not allow it to boil. Take the chilled metal bowl from the freezer (or fridge), pour the mixture into it, and whisk thoroughly to cool quickly. Now whisk in the cream. Stir in the jam, pour into an ice-cream machine, then churn and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

* Because I can't afford to use a vanilla pod for every recipe that calls for one, I buy Nielsen-Massey's pure vanilla bean paste. In this recipe, I used 1/2 tsp. You could use a good quality vanilla extract, but the paste includes the seeds, which I think are crucial in a good custard.