Monday, July 27, 2009

Stephanie's Mushroom Confit

On the recent Queen's Birthday holiday when we went to Canberra to celebrate Pat's birthday (see previous blog posts and Flickr photos referred to there), one of the other recipe books that was used was, of course, Stephanie's bible which we all refer to regularly. I think we only had one dish that actually came from Stephanie and that was Mushroom Confit that we had served on biscuits as a pre-dinner nibble a couple of times. Actually I lie. I had forgotten the Stephanie's Spiced Oranges which we did have the odd nibble of with cheese.

I was impressed by the Mushroom Confit and made a batch of it when I got back to Melbourne. I basically used Stephanie's recipe apart from a few variants. I don't have any sherry vinegar and don't even know what it is like so I used cider vinegar. And I didn't empty the final mixture into a food processor to pulse as Stephanie suggested: I just whisked it with a hand-held chopper. Otherwise I think it was really Stephanie's recipe.


15 gr dried porcini mushroom
1 head garlic
300 gr button mushrooms
Couple bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
100 ml olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 180c
Pour boiling water over the porcini and leave to soak for 30 minutes
Wrap garlic head in oiled foil and bake in oven until tender (30-45 minutes)
Squeeze liquid from porcini
Place porcini, roasted garlic, button mushroom, thyme, bay leaves, and 1/3 oil in a baking dish which can also be used on top of stove
Grind on pepper and cover with foil
Bake until mushrooms are tender (about 30 minutes)
Place baking dish on top of stove over medium heat
Add sherry and stir to dislodge stuck bits
Allow to boil and reduce
Remove garlic, peel and press flesh through coarse sieve
Discard thyme, bay leaves and garlic skins
Chop the mushroom mixture with hand-held device or else pulse roughly in food-processor
Pack into hot, sterilized jar and pack down firmly
Cover with remaining oil and seal
Leave for at least two months but once opened eat within two weeks.

My jar of mushroom confit is still sitting high in kitchen cupboard waiting for its time to come. I hope it is as delicious as the batch that Margie made for Queen's Birthday! I think she used field mushrooms that had been picked around Yarralumla so the flavour might be a bit different from bought button mushrooms! We'll see in the fullness of time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese

It's cold and wet in Melbourne at present and there's lot of cauliflower in season. So what better to do that whip up a vat of comfort food like cauliflower cheese? Lemons are around also and I always have Greek yoghurt and fetta on hand so I thought I would give it a bit of a Greek flavour by adding the quintessentially Greek flavours of lemon, yoghurt and fetta. There was nice broccoli around at the shops too, so I used both cauliflower and broccoli as the vegetables.


1 cauliflower
1 bunch broccoli
1 lemon
1 cup water
1 tbs margerine/butter
1 tbs flour
1 cup milk
2 heaped tbs Greek yoghurt (low fat)
150 gr fetta
Grated low fat cheese


Preheat oven to 180c
Break or chop cauliflower and broccoli into flowerlets
Add vegetables to large pan
Grate the rind of the lemon over the vegetables
Juice the lemon and add
Add a cup of water, stir and cover
Steam on stove top until vegetables are tender
Meanwhile in a saucepan melt the margerine/butter
Add the flour and stir until mixed
Add yoghurt to the milk and stir until combined
Add yoghurt/milk mixture slowly to butter/flour mixture stirring all the while
Crumble the fetta and add to mixture
Stir until fetta melted and mixture starts to thicken
Place vegetables in an oven-proof dish
Pour over cheese sauce
Sprinkle with grated low-fat cheese
Bake for about 45 minutes until golden.

This is delicious by itself with some crusty bread and a glass of retsina, or serve with any main meal as a side dish. The night I made it, it was served with chicken schnitzel (take note @shewgirl) but it also goes well with Abla's chicken from the previous post.


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