category recipe

A cool change

Last week, Kate and the team thoroughly enjoyed styling and catering the launch of a stunning new Meriton development in Dee Why called Lighthouse. With the event being held on the Northern Beaches and with the building echoing a cool Hamptons-esque vibe, we decided to make good use of beautiful fresh seafood and lovely late-summer produce. But it won’t be long before our menus begin to take on a more autumnal tone.

We’re slowly but surely sliding into the cooler months. The memory of summer is slipping a little further away with every day that dips below 30-degrees. Green leaves are quietly turning to rusty-brown and stone fruit and berries are dwindling in our shopping baskets.

Our thoughts are turning to restorative soups, sour pickled plums, robust pulses and slowly braised meats. But, if you know what to look for, summer has left a few little gifts in her wake.

You might be surprised to learn that mushrooms are beautiful at this time of year, especially king brown and field mushrooms. In fact, we’re so excited about these spongy, pudgy little earth-dwellers that we’re creating a mushroom bar for an upcoming event. There’ll be mushroom gnocchi, shiitake dumplings, mushrooms stuffed with quinoa, and a fantastic truffle mushroom cappuccino.

And while peaches and nectarines are winding down, late-summer, early-autumn plums are sweet and plump. There are few things more delightful than a perfectly ripe plum. Most people seem to miss the season entirely, grabbing them too early when they’re still tart, giving this crimson gem a bad wrap. But if you catch them now while their skin is deep purple and they’re ever so soft to the touch, you’ll find yourself with a full-blown plum addiction.

Which is exactly what we’ve developed here at Katering HQ. We’ve had to come up with a way to devour as many plums as possible before they disappear, so we created this gorgeous plum and apple crumble that makes use of the last plums and crisp, new season Granny Smith apples. In the interest of enabling your new addiction, we’ve shared the recipe, below.

Enjoy!

Plum, apple and almond crumble

8 large plums, halved, stoned, and chopped into large chunks
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
80g brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
The finely grated zest of one orange
Crumble
180g plain flour
Pinch of salt
140g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
60g rolled oats
75g Demerara sugar
30g sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the chopped plum, apple, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and 100ml water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes or until apples are softened. Transfer to a shallow, medium ovenproof serving dish and set aside.

To make the crumble, place the flour and salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the oats, Demerara sugar and almonds. Scatter the crumble over the fruit in large chunks. Bake for 30 minutes or until crumble is golden. Serve with fresh vanilla ice-cream or cream.

Kids in the kitchen

It may sound simple, but one of the best gifts we can give our children is knowledge around food. From where food comes from to how it can nourish your body and how to prepare it, this education is truly profound.

Cooking is a life skill that will set kids up for health and happiness. It will enable them to appreciate the quality of what they eat, as well as the abundance of food they’re lucky enough to have on-hand in Australia.

Visiting farmers markets and produce regions with your family is a beautiful way to open them up to this world. Another way is to cook with them at home. You don’t need to turn them into mini MasterChef contestants – a brûlée torch in the hand of a seven-year-old probably isn’t a good idea. But following a few simple recipes together, of the type of food they enjoy to eat, is a good start to setting up these foundations.

You might even win a few battles at the dinner table if your broccoli-adverse child has tossed their most-loathed vegetable through pasta themselves. At the very least, they’ll have a greater appreciation of what’s on their plate.

It’s a good move to start their cooking repertoire off on a sweet note. We’ve created a recipe for delicious apricot muesli balls and peach fruit leather (see recipes, below) for you to make at home. What we love about these little bites is they solve both the lunchbox and the hurried breakfast-while-running-out-the-door issues. Win!

And because we’re all about making mealtimes easy and delicious here at Katering at Home, we’ve helped solve the ongoing lunchbox dilemma with our weekly menu that includes Vegemite scrolls, pizza scrolls, and our ever-popular banana loaf.

When the weekend rolls around, bundle the kids into the kitchen to prepare our pre-mixed pancakes for breakfast. They can get creative with toppings and have a go at flipping the pancakes in the pan – supervised, of course. Or let them bake our cookie dough and watch their sense of self-accomplishment rise with the cookies.

You never know, they might enjoy it all so much they give you a night or two off from cooking (one can dream). For the other nights, there’s always us!

Apricot and muesli breakfast balls

Prep time: 15 minutes

1 cup (nut-free) toasted muesli
½ cup apricots, roughly chopped
2 Medjool dates, roughly chopped
40g honey
30g butter, melted
2 tsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted and roughly chopped
2 tsp sunflower seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup desiccated coconut

Place muesli, apricots, dates, honey and melted butter in a food processer. Process for 2-3 minutes or until well combined.
Add pepitas and sunflower seeds and stir to combine.
Place coconut in a shallow dish. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls. Roll balls in the coconut to coat.
Store balls in a sealed plastic container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Peach fruit leather straps

Prep time: 10 minutes

3 cups roughly chopped peach (about 6 peaches), skin on
1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 80–100C (or set to the lowest temperature).
Line a baking tray with a non-stick silicon mat or baking paper.
Using a hand-held blender or a food processor, blend peaches and honey until smooth. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly over the baking tray.
Place in the oven for 2–3 hours (or overnight if you have a very low setting), or until mixture is set and dry.
6.    Allow to cool slightly, remove mat or baking-paper and place on cutting board. While leather is still on mat, cut into strips using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife.
7.    Place leather on strips of non-stick baking paper before rolling. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

 

 

 

Christmas Gingerbread

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

Christmas testing and production is now in full swing and Katering at Home is humming along like a well-oiled machine.

Each morning I step into a bustling hive of activity, music blaring, chefs chopping, computers tapping away….

For many, like myself that work and have worked for Katering, this place is like a second home. Children are very much part of many of our lives and therefore become a solid fixture in much of our working lives. They often test our recipes (and our patience) and provide endless inspiration and ideas.

As part of our Bakery and Christmas range we wanted to provide a bake-at-home hands on product, sort of a family affair really. Something to keep kids entertained during the holiday period and something fun parents or grandparents could be part of and so the Gingerbread kit was born. Our mixture is nut-free, contains no food colours, preservatives or additives. They are available online from next week and have been sold through our Christmas markets.

GINGERBREAD KIT

These kits make a superb gift if your popping to a friends house for festive celebrations or just crack one open and bake at home with the kids. I make them each year with my kids and pop them out for Santa clause on Christmas eve with beer (and carrots for the reindeers of course!)

If you have purchased the kit you’ll need the following few fresh ingredients to get the ball rolling.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 50g unsalted butter (room temp)
  2. 95g golden syrup
  3. 45ml cold water

METHOD

Mix the butter and golden syrup for a few minutes by hand until glossy and well combined.

Tip in the contents of your Gingerbread jar, get little hands dirty and mix until the mixture forms a breadcrumb like consistency.

Make a small well in the centre and pour in cold water. I’ve used soda water as that’s what I found in the fridge, either is fine.

Now it’s time to bring the mix together, tip onto the bench and mix till just combined and the mixture forms a soft ball in your hands.

Wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

When you’re ready to start rolling just throw a little flour onto the bench and roll the pastry out slowly to around 5 mm thick.

Cut out your gingerbread shapes and lay onto a tray lined with baking paper. You can scrunch up the off cuts of pastry and re-roll them a few times over. You should end up with about 10 large gingerbread men in the end.

Bake in a pre-heated 160c oven for around 15min. or until just coloured then rest until cool on a wire rack.

From there it’s totally up to you. Dust with a little icing sugar and enjoy with a cuppa or get creative with fondant, sprinkles and food colour and bring your little men to life.

We finished ours with a little white icing and a few sprinkles I rescued from the back of the pantry.

The dough will keep in the fridge for a week or freeze for 3 months.

Author: Katherine Hunt

 

 

 

Oodles of veggie noodles

On the menu this week Katering at home has a side dish of zoodles, or rather “zucchini noodles.”  Our chefs are making a delicious zoodle salad with whipped ricotta, toasted pine nuts, garden peas, mint and zesty lemon vinaigrette. This will come as a refreshing side dish to our Turkish chicken skewers that are found on the Weekly Menu. 

Weekly Menu – Katering at Home

Spiralized vegetables have been around for a while now, because they are a fantastic way to add extra veggie into any meal. Packed with vitamins and minerals, low in carbs and starch and tons of flavour!

Inspiralized.com

Don’t feel restricted to just zucchini though, you can spiralize carrot, parsnip, cucumber, broccoli stem, cauliflower stem, beetroot, and sweet potato.

 

 

 

 

Now that you know you can use nearly any vegetable your heart or dish desires,  its time to create some delicious food!

First off, I would suggest investing in a vegetable spiralizer, you can pick one up in your grocery shopping for as little at $10 or a top of the range $150 automatic spiralizer. I have a little $10 one and it works a treat with a little bit of elbow grease.

There are plenty of ways you can cook your noodles if you aren’t up for eating them raw. Although there are many health benefits to eating your vegetables raw. Here are a few cooking methods that I have found work best:

Just pile up your noodles in a microwave safe bowl and a tablespoon of water in the base and cook in 30 sec increments tossing in between. Cook for 30 second at a time until cooked to your desired texture. I would recommend 1-2 minutes maximum of cooking.

This technique is great If you are already cooking on your stove top, just toss noodles in a table spoon of olive oil and fry for a minute or two on a high temperature.

Boil a pot of water, once your water is at a nice rolling boil drop in your noodles for one minute, strain the noodles and serve. If you like your noodles a bit drier just pat them down with paper towel before serving.

All of these methods and cooking times will depend on the type of vegetable you use. Sweet potato will take longer to cook then your Zucchini but just use your senses to judge the right consistency for your meal. I always air on the side of under-cooked as the veg will continue to cook once removed from your bowl, pan or pot due to the residual heat within the vegetable mass.

If you have any questions you would like answered or suggestions of what you want to see on the blog next let me know via email, Instagram or Facebook.

Also, we are running a competition to win a $200 gift voucher so head over to our Instagram pages and comment on the win photo to enter.

Author Rene Hunter – Marketing

Super stretchy chinese noodles

Noodles are one of the most important components of Chinese food culture. No matter whether ordering a hot bowl of noodles in a restaurant or purchasing freshly made noodles to cook at home, it’s one of the cheapest ways to have a fast, fulfilling and hearty feast.

Careful not to break them! Unbroken noodles represent a long life, and some say it’s even bad luck to cut them!

INGREDIENTS:

400g Plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

280ml water at room temperature.

METHOD:

  • Combine the four and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine
  • Slowly blend in the water with a pair of chopsticks, until the water is integrated and there is no dry flour left
  • Kneed the dough, it should be quite soft and sticky so make sure you dust your hands lightly with a little flour
  • Kneed for 10-15min further until the dough is springy and smooth
  • Dust a bowl with dry flour. Transfer the dough to that bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rest at room temperature for a least 2 hours.
  • Once rested divide the dough into 4 pieces. Dust the bench and roll each piece out to a thickness of 5mm with a dusted rolling pin
  • Cover each piece with plastic and let rest for 1 hour.

TO PULL THE NOODLES

  • Bring a medium pot to the boil
  • Take one dough sheet out to work with and slice into strips 2cm wide with a flour dusted sharp knife
  • Pick each strip up at one end and pull to form a very long noodle, drop into the water quickly and repeat with a quarter of the noodles.
  • Boil each batch for 1 min then fish out with a strainer and toss in a little splash of sesame oil
  • Work the rest of the dough in this manner
  • To serve just dip the strained noodles into boiling water to heat

The Lamington

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 80ml boiling water
  • 270g desiccated coconut
  • 750g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 20g soft butter
  • 180ml milk
  • Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan-forced). Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm pan, line the base with baking paper.
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick. The mixture should form thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted.
  • Meanwhile sift the flour and cornflour together three times. Combine the butter and boiling water in a small heatproof bowl.
  • Transfer the egg mixture into a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture; using a whisk or a large metal spoon, gently fold, then fold in the butter mixture.
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre and comes away from the pan. Turn onto a cake rack to cool.
  • Cut the cake into 20 even pieces.
  • Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl; add the butter and milk; stir over a medium saucepan of simmering water until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pace the coconut into a bowl.
  • Dip each piece of cake into the icing with a fork and turn to coat then drain. Toss into coconut and gently pat to coat
  • Leave to set on a wire rack.

Author: Katherine Hunt

Quick crispy pickles

Preparation time: 30min

INGREDIENTS:
6 cups raw vegetables (beetroot, baby carrots, radish, turnips or whatever takes your fancy really)
1 tbsp. coriander seed
1tsp mustard seed
6-10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
few sprigs fresh dill or thyme
pinch celery seeds
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 cup water
2 tbsp. table salt
5tbsp sugar

METHOD:
Prepare the vegetables by washing them and patting dry with paper towel, slice or quarter.
Bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to the boil in a medium size pot. Let sit for a half hour to cool slightly.
Divide the spices evenly between the jars.
Layer the vegetables into the jars with the fresh herbs and garlic slices.
Pour the hot liquid into the sterile jars, making sure to submerge all the vegetables.
Cover with a lid and let cool on the bench.
Store in the fridge – keeps for up to a month

Home Made Fermented Pickles

Preparation time: 30min

INGREDIENTS:
6-7 very fresh pickling cucumbers
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 bird’s eye chilli peppers, fresh or dried
3-4 sprigs fresh dill
2 tbsp dill seeds
1 tbsp pickling spice (available from Herbies Spices)
3 cups boiled water, at room temperature
1½ tbsp Himalayan or unrefined salt
1 large, very clean glass jar (Mason type or hinged-top jar)

METHOD:
Slice the ends from the cucumbers and cut them in half if desired. You can also leave them whole if you prefer.
Stuff the cucumbers so they fit snuggly in the jar and add fresh dill, chilli, dill seeds and pickling spice.
Mix salt and water in a large measuring cup, stirring until the salt is completely dissolved. Pour over the cucumbers until they are completely submerged. Make sure to leave at least 2 cm of head space to allow the brine to bubble up during fermentation without exploding the jars on you.
Alternatively, if you wanted to draw more flavour out of your spices, you could also do this is by heating the dill seeds, pickling spice, salt and water over medium heat until it comes to a simmer then let this brine come back to room temperature before adding it to the jar.
Once the cucumbers are completely covered with the brine, place a small non-reactive object such as a small dipping bowl, shot glass or plastic lid over them to make sure they remain entirely submerged then close the lid leaving a little open to allow gas to escape.
Leave your pickles to ferment on the bench for 7 to 10 days. Open the jars every day to allow gas to escape.
After 7 to 10 days, transfer your pickles to the refrigerator, they will keep for 3-4 weeks.
If you like your pickles to be a little more on the vinegary side, you can add a little bit of vinegar to the jar once the fermentation process is complete. Let your pickles macerate for a couple more days before eating them.

Simple shortcrust pastry

INGREDIENTS:
250g Plain Flour
75g Pure Icing Sugar
125g Unsalted Butter
1 Whole egg
1/4tsp. Vanilla essence

METHOD:
Have a 20cm round tart tin ready to line, keep it chilled in the fridge if you prefer.
Weigh up all the dry ingredients, place into a bowl in the fridge.
Cut the butter into small dice (all the same size works best) and keep in the fridge.
Rub the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until crumbly (don’t worry If a few small butter lumps remain in the mixture.)
Using a folk stir in the egg and vanilla just until the pastry comes together.
Pat into a small round flat disk, do not work the dough at all, and just bring it together gentry.
Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30min or overnight.
Roll out the pastry between two pieces of baking powder till 5mm thick. If the pastry becomes a little soft you can always place it in the fridge for 10min at this stage.
Line the 20cm round tart tin, using flour to lightly push it into the corners and trim off any excess with a sharp knife.
At this point if you have the time, rest the lined tart once more. If you don’t want to make your tart today just wrap and keep it in the freezer for up to a month.
To Bake, preheat your oven to 160c
Place baking paper into the tin and pour in rice or beans.
Par bake for 30min or until light and golden.
Now you are ready to make, fill and bake your favourite tart!

At this stage, if the bottom of your tart is still a little undercooked just take out the beans and bake for a further 10min.

If you have a few cracks then make slurry with some leftover pastry and water and patch up and cracks or holes.