Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SLAM DUNK


Some have been asking how the great slam cook-off went on Sunday...Very well thanks. Reports have all been positive.

Hard work though - might stick to catering for families rather than festivals. Had to make an extra spinach torte. Didn't have enough beetroot for 24 rice cakes so we made a batch of pumpkin and feta to make up the numbers. It's all in the planning...

There were a few oh-my-gawd-I-forgot-the....moments. But we got there in the end.

Twenty spoken word artists and crew were well fed, ready to hit the Sydney Theatre Company's main stage on Sunday evening for the Australian Poetry Slam National Final.
Thanks Annie

Special thanks to Annie (for being a fabulous sous chef) and Bravo for keeping Billie busy. Annie was very good at calming my nerves when I forgot to put the pumpkin in the muffins.

"That's strange, why is there not enough mixture to fill 24 muffin tins?"

"Oh my gawd I forgot the pumpkin - there it is sitting on the bench".

Luckily the muffins were not yet in the oven. Out the came from the 21 tins, and back in. But they tasted great - recipe to come.

20 food parcels almost ready to go






And a big congratulations to the 2010 Slam winner - the Northern Territory's Kelly-Lee Hickey.

Well done Miles Merrill and Word Travels for putting it all together.










Friday, December 3, 2010

THE GREAT SLAM COOK- OFF

billie bites is the official catering sponsor of the Australian Poetry Slam National Final, held this Sunday on the main stage at the  Sydney Theatre Company.Yes, the one Cate Blanchett runs.

Word Travels is bringing two poetry slam finalists from each state and territory to compete for the coveted title.

The spoken word artists will be fueled by billie bites fodder.

Which means, I have a very busy Sunday. I don't want to pre-cook anything, so everything will be made fresh on Sunday morning.

The brief is extra challenging because not only does it all have to be finger-food suitable to be eaten at room temperature, but it must be presented as 20 individual lunch-box-style meals.

HERE'S THE PLAN:

24 x beetroot and feta rice cakes (see below)
24 x pumpkin, cheddar and walnut muffins (a new recipe still to come)
1 infamous spinach torte (see September post)
20 bananas
20 pears

Very healthy, plenty for anyone with a gluten intolerance, and vegetarian. Nothing sweet I know, but pears are...

Stay tuned for the results.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED POTATOES and A SPECIAL REQUEST


One of my fondest memories of intermediate school (junior high, year 6) is learning to make stuffed potatoes. I then made them for my family a few times as I progressed from baking to cooking actual meals.

But stuffed potatoes have been left behind in my culinary adventures of late. Until last week when I was a little, ahem, in need of stodge after too much fun at the work Christmas party.

And actually, with the addition of plenty of spinach, these potatoes are not just tasty but nutritionally sound.

I can't report back on how Billie fared as Miles and I didn't manage to save her any. But I'm sure she would approve.




 
CHEESY SPINACH STUFFED POTATOES

1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch spinach
1 cup grated cheddar
butter
5 medium potatoes
salt and black pepper

Bake potatoes in a preheated moderate to hot oven until done - about 30 minutes for medium potatoes  or 1 hour for large potatoes. Pierce skin with fork or knife before placing in oven.

Meanwhile, wash and drain spinach and place in large pot with a knob of butter on medium heat. Shake or stir every minute for five minutes, or until just wilted. Place on board to cool and then chop.
 
Carefully slice tops off potatoes and scoop flesh out into a large mixing bowl. Take care not to pierce skins - better to leave a bit of potato in bottom to be safe. 

Mix potato flesh with grated cheese, a few knobs of butter, spring onions, spinach and pepper. Add a little more salt if necessary. 
 
Spoon mixture into potato skins, packing it in and over filling a little until all mixture used up. If you have any leftovers, spoon onto the little potato lids and place on tray next to stuffed potatoes.
Bake in oven until browned on top - about 10 minutes. Check heated through before removing and serving.

FOR BABIES 6 MONTHS AND OLDER: Mash up some potato and pureed cooked spinach
FOR BABIES 9 MONTHS AND OLDER: Reserve some of the stuffing before butter and salt added
FOR TODDLERS 12 MONTHS AND OLDER: Serve whole stuffed potato
 


And now for something completely different...
I do love a request. So despite there being no photographic evidence, and despite this being similar to other dishes I have presented on these pages, I can't resist. I took this salad to a lovely lazy Sunday BBQ at Cath's place the other week. I didn't record the measurements so I hope I get this right. Here you go Cath:


BEETROOT AND LENTIL SALAD WITH GOATS CHEESE

 Bunch baby beet root, or couple of large ones
1 cup French Puy lentils (those small black ones), or regular brown ones
Handful of spinach leaves, washed and drained and torn if large
Dressing:
3 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Juice of a lime
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

First cook the beets. Steam or roast whole. DON'T remove the skins or tails, just chop off the stalks, but leave a bit on as you will remove them later with the skins. This stops the beets bleeding. If you have a pressure cooker, cover about half the beets with water and cook once at pressure for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Rinse first then place in small pot with a cup of cold water. Bring to gentle simmer with lid on, and cook gently until just soft. Check during cooking and add more water if needed. Particularly if using the Puy lentils, be careful not to overcook until mushy. The beauty of these lentils is their texture.

Prepare dressing. When lentils are cooked place in large bowl and gently stir dressing through.

Cool cooked beets and remove skins and tails etc. Chop into large chunks and add to lentils. Add walnuts.

When ready to serve, add spinach and then gently combine sliced goats cheese.

 



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