burnt toast

Tag: garlic

Cheese and Kale Pide

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So today I’m going to tell you the tale of this snazzy piece of ultimate comfort. It started off as the famed khachapuri, a wonderful Georgian cheese stuffed bread, ideal for accompanying anything and everything, especially soup. However, on the visual front it isn’t too much of a looker, so that’s where our trusty pide comes in. Between the two of them, pide wins all the beauty pageants because of its “I’m so much more en vogue than pizza” –presentation. The pide needed something else though, it needed something to cut through its wonderful if not sometimes slightly overwhelming cheesiness, something with a bit of bite, some garlicky, vegetably umph. Hold your kittens, make way for the kale! Here it comes, move out of the way, hail oh mighty kale! Of course I was going to put kale on my cheese pide. I haven’t written about kale for months. One crazy deficit over here.

No but for real now, this is wonderful. I absolutely love these as breakfast, but they go well with anything feast- or soup related. I personally go for a drizzle of sweet chilli with mine, but see what flavour combo works best for your tastebuds.

If you’re just after the cheese-less, round, covered version of this, i.e. khachapuri, Follow the recipe below, but instead of shaping boats, roll out two big round disks of dough, covering one with the cheese mixture, then pinch together the edges. The cooking time should be more or less the same, but keep an eye on it. As soon as it’s golden brown on top it’s done.

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Cheese and Kale Pide

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast

Makes 4 x 30cm / 6  x 20cm pide

 

Dough:

250g yoghurt

1 egg

25g butter, melted

300g flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

 

Kale topping:

A big glug of olive oil

1 bunch / packet kale, about 250g, finely sliced

3 fat garlic cloves, chopped

splash of soy sauce

 

Cheese filling:

150g mozzarella, preferably the more firm sort (because it’s easier to grate)

150g feta, crumbled

150g cream cheese

1 egg

 

For the dough, whisk together the yoghurt, butter and egg with a fork. In a large bowl, add 250g of your flour – keep the rest close at hand, because you’ll need it as you keep going. Stir in your yoghurt mixture. Stir stir stir, using a knife or spoon first, until it starts to combine and you can use your hands. Add more flour gradually until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Add the salt and the baking soda and knead that into the dough. I’m not quite sure why this happens at the end, but Nigella says to do so and we don’t question her. Next, cover the dough with clingwrap and let it rest for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Next, get a large frying pan and add the olive oil and kale. At this point I like to add a splash of water and cover it with a lid, and let it cook on medium heat until softened. Remove the lid and turn up the heat, adding the garlic. Once the kale’s volume has reduced to about 1/5 of what it was when it was freshly chopped, add the soy sauce and let that bubble away before removing it from the heat.

For the cheese filling, grate the mozzarella and combine it with the feta and the cream cheese. Stir in the egg. It’s not completely necessary to add the egg, however I find it helps keep the filling together.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces. Roll one of those pieces into an oval shape of about 5mm thickness. Spread some of the cheese mixture along the centre and add some of the kale. Fold in the edges and pinch together the ends. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Slide the pide onto a baking paper lined baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the bottom is cooked when lifted up to test. Serve with sweet chilli sauce, a knife and a napkin.

Creamy Zucchini Linguine

creamy zucchini linguine

It’s time for some more pasta I think. Melbourne, in its cheeky European-esque manner, has decided to have a good cry on all the plants and a few bits of stray washing outside today. It’s a good day for staying inside, drinking tea and making lists.

Pasta is rarely something I cook for guests, because I think they deserve more of an effort than that. But as a homey dinner for one, this is spot on. There’s something so inherently comforting about a bowl of pasta that for once isn’t laced with pesto or marinara, something cheesy and decadent but with still enough of a vegetable percentage for you to hi-five your conscience for getting at least one fifth of your five a day.

The combination of zucchini, garlic, thyme and dairy is one you’ve come across before here. If you by some chance are in possession of too many zucchinis, make both recipes.

 

Creamy Zucchini Linguine

Serves 4, with salad or something else to accompany it – can be halved or quartered to suit your needs

 

400g linguine, or whatever pasta you favour

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 small firm zucchini, diced into 1 cm cubes

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked, chopped

2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped

250ml cream

1 splash soy sauce, because umami, obviously

salt to taste

90g / 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

chilli flakes

 

Bring a big pot of water to boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Add your linguine and cook for as long as the packet instructions say, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and add the zucchini and the thyme. Fry the cubes over high heat until golden and cooked but still holding their shape. Add the garlic and  stir for another minute, before adding the cream, soy sauce, salt and ¾ of the parmesan. Set aside.

Pour your pasta into a colander, give it a good shake, and then add it to the sauce in the fry pan. Give everything a  stir and divide amongst four plates. Top with the rest of the parmesan and a few chili flakes.

 

PS: Feel free to add a whole 500g packet of pasta here. I just like a higher sauce to pasta ratio.

Cheesy Garlicky Flatbread

cheesy garlicky flatbread

You know what’s better than garlic bread? Nothing obviously, I hear you say. You’re wrong my friend. You know all those times you ordered garlic bread to accompany your sinfully satisfying take-away pizza, and almost without a doubt, the first bite into that scalding puff of steamy bread, your inner garlic demon chucks his garlic trident into a corner and turns his back to you. Because all you really have there is (not enough, never enough) molten margarine that was placed in the vicinity of a picture of garlic. WHERE IS THE GARLIC DUDE. But you eat it anyway, because you’re a respectful human being.

Homemade garlic bread is a whole other thing. But then so is cheesy garlicky flatbread. The topping on this beauty makes up for the (never enough) butter that ceases to exist as soon as your crusty garlic baguette is hot enough to remove from the oven. This garlicky cheesy flatbread has cheese and sour cream to accompany that deliciously enticing bite of (the absolute perfect amount of) garlic. And there’s some spring onion for added prettiness.

This is one of the best most possible things you can serve your friends while you figure out what next to turn into food before you pass out from hunger. Its tasty carby goodness hits that spot with a triple hi-five.

You might as well do it this Friday.

 

Cheesy Garlicky Flatbread

This is more an instructions list of how to assemble. Feel free to tweak to satisfy your needs.

As many rounds of flatbread (25-30 cm in diameter) as you think will be needed (2 or more for a group of 4 as an entree)

Per flatbread you will need:

3 heaped Tbsp sour cream (full-fat please)

1/2 tsp vegetable stock granules

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 cup / 60g grated cheddar cheese, or anything that melts well and isn’t too strong in flavour

1 spring onion, finely sliced

 

Preheat your oven to 220°C. Spread the sour cream evenly over the flatbread. Be sure to be generous, as some of it will be soaked up by the bread as it bakes, but, not too much, or else it’ll slide right off when you go to pick up a slice. Sprinkle the stock granules evenly over the top. You can use whatever type of salty component you like, just make sure you adjust accordingly. Sprinkle the garlic evenly over that, followed by the cheese, and then the spring onion. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 0-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the edges are taking on colour. Remove from the oven and cut into pieces. Share with friends.

Zucchini, Thyme and Whipped Feta Quesadillas

zucchini and feta quesadilla

It is slightly disturbing how much I love flour tortillas. I rarely have bread in the house because I’m a snob and see bread as the easy way out, but also because I’m lazy and think that tortillas are a perfectly acceptable substitute. If you have bread, you have a snack. If you don’t have bread, you use flour tortillas because they they require that tiny bit more effort, resulting in you feeling like a sneaky genius because you just made something delicious and impressive looking.

This is possibly my most favourite quesadilla version to date. Zucchini, thyme and garlic is a killer combo in my book, and if you contrast that with  some salty sour whipped feta, topped off with drizzle of sweet chilli, then you are well and truly in the game.

a bite left

 

Zucchini, Thyme and Whipped Feta Quesadillas

Makes 3-4, depending on how generously you fill them

 

100g feta

125g Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature

big glug of olive oil

600g / 4 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt

6-8 flour tortillas

sweet chilli sauce, to serve

 

Start with making the whipped feta. Combine the two cheeses in a jug and give them a whizz with a hand held blender until smooth. Alternatively, mash the feta very finely with a fork and then stir into the cream cheese. Either way, make sure it is at room temperature when you use it, or else it’ll be difficult to spread.

Next, heat some olive oil in a pan and chuck in the zucchini. Stir over high heat until they start caramelising in places. Add the thyme and keep cooking until they’ve reduced considerably in volume and are softened right through. Add the garlic and some seasoning and shake through a few times before taking off the heat.

To assemble, spread out a few spoonfuls of feta mixture over a flour tortilla and top with a thin layer of zucchini. Place another tortilla on top, then whack into a big frypan. Toast it on one side until golden (you don’t need any oil for this), flip, and finish toasting it on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board, slice into 8 pieces and drizzle with some sweet chilli. Eat while still warm and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Carbalicious

You know those annoying people (usually women – I’ve rarely come across a man saying this) whom you go out to dinner with that go: “Oh sorry, I don’t do carbs.  I guess I’ll just go for a salad…” And then you feel like a pig while you order some garlic bread and some extra potatoes with your duck confit? Yeah, I’m one of them. Well as often as I can bare it. I just do it to make you feel like crap, actually. And secretly, behind your back, I’ll eat half a triple cheese pizza (with wasabi) just to spite you. The truth is, I would love to be one of those people. That “ I can eat everything and still look fabulous” race. They seen to have some sort of supernatural powers, I swear. Where else does do all those fries go?!

To be honest, I’m a sinner half the time. It’s more fun that way anyway. Be a little naughty. Do something you shouldn’t. Especially when it’s devilishly good. Like chicken angelica pasta. Remember whenever some old family member goes: “Oh well, apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven, simple as that”, well, this recipe also belongs to the heaven category. Cream, white wine and mustard? I mean, come on.

Chicken Agelica Fettuccine

600g chicken thigh fillets, chopped into 2cm pieces

200g semi-dried tomatoes, chopped

3 Tbsp seeded mustard

3 Tbsp garlic butter

150ml white wine

450ml thickened cream

1 cup basil, finely sliced

1 Tbsp soy sauce (it adds a finishing touch to the depth of the flavour of the dish)

cracked black pepper

500g fettucini

parmesan, to serve

Fry the chicken in some olive oil until ¾ done. Add the sundrieds, the mustard and the garlic butter and cook for a further few minutes on high heat. Reduce heat and add wine and cream. Simmer until sauce has thickened and chicken is done. Stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta, then combine with the sauce. Top with parmesan and enjoy with a glass of wine. Because pasta just needs wine.

Garlic

There are many of you out there that worry about their meal-choices imparting a negative impact on their haleine. That is the reason I have never packed a lunch of canned tuna and rice cakes for uni. Cat food and crackers. I mean please. And any members of the cabbage family, well, go easy on them. Trust me, I’ve learnt from other’s mistakes. There is one thing however I couldn’t care less about what effect I could have on my fellow lunch-eaters (sorry guys). I adore garlic. nay, I love it. Maybe not so much raw garlic though. I have been told that if you eat a few raw cloves a day it will help keep mosquitos at bay. Yeah well I personally prefer insect repellent, but whatever you’re into.

Cooked, baked, fried and caramelized garlic, however, a recipe can never have enough of. There is nothing more satisfying than scooping the creamy white cloves out of an oven-roasted head of garlic, drizzled with some olive oil and a grating of Parmesan cheese onto a slice of crusty baguette.

As a young’un I always wondered how the street vendors made their garlic bread so tasty, so much better than that home made version my parents’ friends would offer at dinner parties. I don’t know, but I think I’ve cracked it.

If you are going to make garlic bread with this, please do a Nigella and don’t be stingy with the butter. It’s naughty anyway so why not go all the way. The more the better.

Garlic Butter

250g unsalted butter, cubed, softened

1 Tbsp mayonnaise (In my opinion, this is the secret)

t tsp Dijon mustard

small bunch of curly parsley, finely chopped

small bunch of chives, finely chopped

6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

30g parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp vegetable stock granules

2 pinches turmeric (optional – I just like the beautiful golden hue it gives to the garlic bread)

There are two ways to do this: either, beat the butter with a spoon or hand held mixed until creamy, then add the rest of the ingredients and beat until combined. Or, get your hands and treat it as if it where bread dough, kneading and squishing it until well mixed.

Roll the butter into a sausage shape and wrap up in cling wrap. Store in the freezer until needed. Which in my case is immediately, duh.

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