Friday, April 30, 2010

Gourmet Goddess Newsflash!!!

Hi everyone - Just a reminder that for the month of May, I am packing my bags and stamping my passport and heading off on another trip. My travels will include a brief soujourn in Korea, then to the UK - London, Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and finally Paris, where I am enrolled in cooking school (I'm coming over all "Julia Child" just thinking about it - Bon Appetit!)

For those regular Gourmet Goddess readers who were very vocal about having no new posts to read the last time I went away, you can rest easy. I have been working on a secret stash of recipes that will be posted when I am overseas, so you can get your regular GG fix! When I return, I'm sure I will have all manner of foodie delights to share, pictures to post and tales to tell, so stay tuned.

So, bon voyage until then - see you all in a month.

Delicious regards
The Gourmet Goddess

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Luscious Lamb

Today's dish is a simple but delicious salad that makes a great weeknight meal. You can throw it all together in about 20 minutes and it is full of flavour and a lovely contrast of textures. I created this just out of what I had in the fridge, along with some beautiful saltbush lamb rump that I had purchased from the Addison Road Organic Market the weekend before. (See the bottom of this post for more information on saltbush lamb - if you have never tried it, I highly reccomend it!)  

I think that this recipe would work really well with beef or even pork if you aren't that keen on lamb. It would also make a nice shared salad for a buffet or BBQ - just place it on a big platter and let people help themselves. We ate our salad with some warmed flatbread, which was ideal for wrapping around the filling and also mopping up all the delicious juices from the meat and the dressing. Yummo!

I used organic cow's milk fetta and tiny black wild olives from South Australia for this dish, but use whatever olives or fetta you like - I also think that this would work with a touch of goat cheese, mozzerella or even some nice fresh ricotta in place of the fetta. This salad has quite bold flavours, so it calls for quite robust salad leaves, which is why I chose lovely crunchy Cos lettuce (which is also my favourite variety) I would avoid any greens that are too flimsy or delicate.

This recipe serves two people.

Saltbush lamb salad with pumpkin, fetta, mint and pomegranate

You will need:
(For the salad) 2 lamb steaks, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon olive oil, cracked pepper, 1 baby cos lettuce (use a few handfuls of fully grown cos lettuce if you can't buy the baby version) 1/4 thinly sliced red onion, 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, 1 cup diced, cooked pumpkin (I just microwaved mine until soft), 1 tablespoon olives (I used tiny black, wild olives from South Australia), 1/2 cup cubed fetta cheese.

(For the dressing) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white balsamic (you can use the dark balsamic if you can't get the white one), 1 tablespoon maple syrup, generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Combine the lamb steaks, teaspoon of olive oil, paprika and a generous grind of black pepper. Mix well and set aside. (You can do this a few hours ahead if you have the time)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if required. Feel free to also add more balsamic if you want the dressing to be particularly tangy. Set aside.

Heat a pan and cook your lamb steaks to your liking - I like my lamb pretty rare but obviously go with whatever makes you happy. When the steaks are cooked, put on a plate, cover with foil and allow them to rest while you assemble the salad ingredients.

Using all of the salad ingredients - except the dressing, assemble your salad. Slice your lamb steaks (across the grain) into pieces. Add to the salad.

Tip any juices from the plate that the lamb has been resting on into the dressing and whisk together.
Drizzle over the salad. Serve right away.


About Saltbush Lamb
I source my lamb from Drover's Choice, based in Coonamble NSW. The lamb grazes on saltbush, a native plant which gives them a rich source of minerals and nutrients not readily available from other sources. Because it is a deep rooted perennial plant, it assists with sustainable land management as it helps to prevent salinity. Saltbush requires very little water to grow, so it does not need irrigation or watering by the farmers. It also allows native wildlife to co-exist with the flocks, which means it is more environmentally sustainable. And finally, saltbush gives the lamb a spectacular flavour, so both your tastebuds and the environment win.

To find out more, or to get a list of locations where you can purchase saltbush lamb, check out the Drover's Choice website:


Monday, April 19, 2010

Degustation Delights

On Friday night I entertained dinner guests and decided to put together a degustation menu using new season's ingredients. I haven't done a degustation menu for a while, but I always love creating a menu in this style. I enjoy being able to have a little of this and a little of that, and the joy of creating something that will flow from course to course. The challenge is always to balance variety and texture - to have enough contrast to make things interesting but to not make those contrasts jarring to the palate.

The menu began with a creamy chilled soup of cauliflower and leek, flavoured with a hint of roasted garlic and finished with cucumber and delicious salty salmon roe. The soup can also be served hot, but I really enjoy starting a degustation menu with something cool and fresh tasting. Although the soup is velvety and creamy, serving it cold gives it a lighter dimension. The natural sweetness of the vegetables is a nice contrast to the salty explosions of salmon roe and the fresh cucumber.

Course number two was a mushroon ragout tart - the ragout was made with four different types of mushroom - Porcini, Shitake, Enoki and Oyster varieties. I used a simple shortcrust base and teamed this with a horseradish cream - a combination of horseradish, organic natural youghurt and creme fraiche. The earthy, savoury nature of the mushrooms really shines through when teamed with the tang of the horseradish cream.

Course number three was duck and fennel ravioli served simply with sauteed asparagus and parmesan. The filling was made with duck breast meat, parmesan, caramelised onions and fennel, garlic and a touch of nutmeg. I bought the duck breasts on the bone and after I removed the meat that I needed, used them to make a batch of rich duck stock which I have stored in the freezer. I am already thinking about what I will use the stock for. The rich flavour of the duck meant that it did not need an overly complex sauce - I used Danish Lurpack butter, a touch of salt and some pepper and the asparagus and that was all. This allowed the flavour of the duck to take centre stage.

After the richness of the duck it was time to lighten things up - I chose a salad of watercress, sweet roasted pumpkin, buffalo mozzerella and pomegranate seeds. I made a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic, garlic and a touch of maple syrup. I like using watercress as a salad base - the peppery bite is a nice contrast to sweeter ingredients such as the pumpkin and maple. The tartness and texture of the pomegranate seeds works well with the creamy mozzerella - and who can resist that gourgeous ruby colour?

I really love game, so I decided on venison for the fifth course. I marinated vension rump for 24 hours in olive oil, garlic, crushed juniper berries, a splash of white balsamic and a touch of dijon mustard. The meat was then cooked in a pan with a touch of butter and allowed to rest for 10 minutes before carving. I teamed the venison with a puree of potato and parsnip, caramelised balsamic beetroot and a stuffed zucchini flower, which I filled with fresh herbs, ricotta and a touch of lemon rind. For the sauce, I did a stock reduction with redcurrant jelly and a touch of bitter chocolate. The chocolate works beautifully with the venison - but it is only used in very small amounts, just enough to add some richness and complexity to the sauce.

And finally, dessert - I took fresh figs, split them in the centre and baked them for 10 minutes drizzled with honey. Once they were out of the oven, I filled them with tangy fresh raspberries. I accompanied them with honey, pistachio and glace pear icecream that I made ealier in the week. I made the icecream in a loaf tin and served slices instead of scoops. Figs and raspberries are my two favourite fruits, so this was a great way to indulge in both!

One of the challenges of doing a degustation menu is the logistics of the menu - choosing dishes that will not require you to be stuck in the kitchen for the whole evening when you should be drinking wine and being fabulous with your guests. For the above menu, I made the icecream a few days before. I did the filling for the duck the week before and froze the filling - that way all I had to do was defrost it and complete the final tortellini making at the last minute. I also made the caramelised beetroot and stuffed the zucchini (which can be a bit fiddly) the day before. I pre chopped all of the salad ingredients a couple of hours before the guests arrived and also made the sauce for the venison and the potato/parsnip puree. On the night, all I had to actually cook was the zucchini flowers and the venison, heat the figs and do the tortellini.

If you have never tried a degustation menu, don't be daunted. Just make sure you plan well and that you don't choose overly complex dishes that require lots of attention for every course - balance it with some simple dishes such as salads, or soups or terrines that can be made ahead. I find that the work of creating a degustation menu is totally worth the rewards of seeing delighted guests feeling pampered and indulged. I had a ball creating this menu for my guests on Friday night - it was a fun night full of lots of laughter and lots of wine.

And finally, a good degustation menu is nothing without good friends to share it all with, so choose your guests well. Thanks to Chris, Michela, Susan, Mary-Lou, Damon and Andrew for being such fabulous company and riotously entertaining dinner guests on Friday night - a fantastic evening :)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gourmet Goddess - News

Hi Foodie Friends

Just a few Gourmet Goddess news items for your information.....

Firstly, In May I will be packing my bags yet again and heading off on another trip. (Yes, I know I just back back from the last one!) This time I will be heading to London, then a few weeks in Scotland (Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh) to visit my lovely sister George and finally to Paris, where I will be attending cooking school. This will all happen for the entire month of May, but I am already preparing a number of recipes and blogs to keep you entertained when I am away - so don't fret - you will all get your GG fix whilst I am off eating haggis! Of course when I return I will have all manner of recipes and foodie stuff to share with you, all inspired by my travels. I fly out on 1 May and will be back here in the Gourmet Goddess kitchen on 31 May.

If you enjoy Gourmet Goddess and you are also on Facebook, don't forget that you can join the Gourmet Goddess Foodblog Fans Group. Just head to:!/group.php?gid=86784532290

In other news, I am now listed on Foodie Blogroll. Check it out if you also want to find other culinary inspired blogs you might be interested in:

I recieved an email this week from PetitChef - a French based food site - inviting me to join their stable of food bloggers. I was delighted to accept the invitation and now my recipes will also be included on their site. If you would like to visit PetitChef, then head here:

I will be back in the kitchen later in the week, so stay tuned.

Delicious regards


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eye on the Pie

On the weekend I was on a mission to use up a whole lot of bits and pieces that I had in the fridge and freezer - a couple of sheets of pastry, some eggs, a few slices of bacon and proscuitto, a handful of cheese, a tomato, some parsley. I am actively trying to eliminate food wastage and also reduce what I purchase, so using up leftovers and random bits and pieces has become all the rage in my house. A few days ago I came up with a good way to do this with yummy breakfast pies - a nice change from a normal weekend cooked breakfast. This recipe would also be an ideal picnic or brunch dish. You could easily make these ahead and just reheat them before serving, or even eat them cold. This recipe makes six individual pies - you could of course make a large one if you wanted to.

These pies are meant to be home style and rustic - I personally didn't bother getting them all perfect. It was meant to a relaxed Sunday breakfast after all and I was hungry and eager to get them cooked and on the plate as soon as possible. My partner Andrew polished off the leftover pies for lunch the next day, so there was definitely no waste here!

Bacon, egg and proscuitto breakfast pies

You will need: 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry, 4 slices bacon chopped roughly, 4 slices proscuitto chopped roughly, 1 cup finely chopped spring onion, 1 large tomato diced finely, splash of olive oil, 1/2 cup grated cheese (I used mozzerella), 6 eggs, 1 tablespoon water, 2 tablespoons chopped continental parsley, pepper and salt.

Method: Preheat the oven to about 200C.

Heat a pan and cook the bacon for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the spring onions, tomato and proscuitto and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, water and season very generously with salt and pepper. Se aside.

Grease six individual pie tins. Cut each piece of pastry into four, leaving you with eight smaller squares. Line the six tins with the pastry. Use any leftover pastry to fill any gaps or to make extra edges (see the picture above) The extra edges will give you more puffy, crispy bits to tear at!

Prick the bottom of the tins in a couple of places. Place the filling evenly in the bottom of each pie.
Now sprinkle over the cheese and pour the egg mixture into the pie bases.

Finish with some pepper and the parsley. Bake for about 25 minutes until puffed and golden (be sure they are cooked on the bottom) If the bases are a bit soft, just remove them from the tins and let them bake for 5 minutes on a baking tray so that they crisp up.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Gorgeous Game

I am a big fan of all kinds of game meat and with the arrival of beautiful Autumn produce, it is the perfect time to indulge in both! I had a couple of duck marylands in the freezer and thought I would team these with some lovely organic produce from the Addison Road Organic Market for dinner on Sunday night. I bought a bag of French Charlotte potatoes (a variety I had never tried before), some sugar snap peas, asparagus and a bunch of stunning ruby red beetroot.

I love the earthiness and sweetness of beetroot and it tastes fabulous when cooked until sticky and sweet with balsamic vinegar, lots of nutty roasted garlic and caramelised onions. It is the perfect addition to a dish of simply roasted duck. To prepare the duck, I simply took 2 marylands and rubbed them with garlic salt (made with 2 teaspoons of Maldon sea salt, a pinch of cayenne and 2 crushed cloves of garlic) I let the duck rest for about 2 hours in the fridge, before roasting it gently for about 35 minutes (let it rest for 10 mins before serving) For the sauce, I just used the pan juices, some homemade chicken stock and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly whisked together and thickened slightly.

Below is the recipe for the caramelised balsamic beetroot - be warned, it is extremely moreish! I like the beetroot in reasonably large chunks, but you can also cut the beetroot small, so that it forms more of a relish. It can be served warm or cold and is great with all kinds of game - venison, duck, rabbit or quail. It will also work well with lamb or roasted pork if you aren't that keen on game.

Here is Sunday night's offering.....

Roasted duck marylands
with roasted balsamic beetroot and redcurrant gravy

Roasted Balsamic Beetroot

You will need:
5 or 6 small, fresh beetroot, 1 large red onion cut into thick slices, 6 cloves garlic peeled and cut into half, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, generous pinch black pepper.

Cut the stalks from the beetroot and wash them well. Place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to the boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Drain the beetroot and run them under cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, gently rub off the outer layer (it will come away easily) Cut the beetroot into quarters.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the beetroot with all of the other ingredients. Cook for about an hour or until the onion and beetroot caramelises. Give the mixture a stir every 20 minutes or so.

Serve warm or cold with baked or roasted meat.