Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Winter Warmers

Let's get cosy together. It's time to share a couple of warming recipes with you. Let's shut out the bad things going on in the world today and concentrate on having a bit of fun for a change. And there's nothing more fun than sharing a meal with the one you love. Well, there is...but today we'll stick to eating...okay?

I’ve not joined the ‘flannelette brigade’ or the ‘ugg booters’…not yet, anyway! In truth, I never will. On the subject of ‘boots’, I did try ‘boot-scootin’’ once, though. It was very trying and also a sight to behold, I'm sure While the others were kicking to the right, I was off somewhere kicking to the left. When they kicked to the left…I left! Vainly trying to keep my pride intact, I scurried to the bar to watch from afar! My crowd-pleasing days as a fine line dancer fizzled, coming to a rapid end with no reprisals. There are easier ways to keep warm on these long winter nights and chilly days…for me, at least, now that I’ve given up making a idiot of myself on the dance floor of a golf club out west, the identity of which shall remain unnamed! I shan’t mention the more pleasant ways of staying warm throughout winter! However, one way to keep warm is to fire up the oven, toss calorie-counting out the window and roll out the pastry! Here are a couple pie recipes to try.

Cheesy Pie: Sift 1-1/2cups flour and pinch of salt into bowl. Add 1.5tspn yeast (dissolved in 1tbl warm water) and 1tbl olive oil. Stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup water. Mix well. Add a little extra water if dough is too dry. Knead until dough is no longer sticky. Turn into a greased bowl. Cover and stand in warm place while sipping on an Irish Coffee…oh…stand the dough in a warm place, also! When dough has doubled in size, punch down and knead lightly. Allow dough to rise again, covered, as before. Have another Irish Coffee. Skin a large red capsicum and then cut into strips. Put aside. Fry 125g smoked ham, diced, in non-stick pan over moderate heat, until golden. Drain. Leave 1tbl oil in pan, add 1tbl olive oil. Fry 1 thinly sliced red onion and 2 sliced cloves garlic. Add salt, pepper and of nutmeg. Cool. Mix together 250g ricotta, ½ cup grated mozzarella, ¾ cup grated provolone and ¾ cup grated pecorino with 2tbl thickened cream, 2tbl sour cream, 2 eggs and parsley. Add the ham and onion. Adjust seasoning. Punch down dough and press into a 25cm pie dish. Pour in filling. Decorate top with capsicum strips. Bake in 190C oven until filling is set. Cool for 10mins before serving.

Tomato & Zucchini Pie: Grated and squeeze-dry 500g zucchini. Add finely chopped shallots, some crushed garlic and chopped thyme to a lightly greased pan. Cook over high heat until softened. Remove from heat. Add beaten egg, 70g dry breadcrumbs, salt and ground pepper to mixture. Press into the bottom and sides of pie dish. Bake for 15mins in 180C oven. In a bowl, combine 150g grated mozzarella, ¼ cup grated parmesan, 1tbl mayonnaise and 1 beaten eggs. Spread on top of baked shell. Top with overlapping tomato slices. Sprinkle with Italian herbs and coat with cooking spray. Bake for about 30mins.

Currant Pie: Make a sweet short-crust pastry. Line a 23cm pie dish. Combine 500g each frozen black and redcurrants, 1 cup brandy and grated rind of 1 lemon in a bowl. Marinate overnight. Drain the liquid into small saucepan. Stir in ½ water, vanilla, ½ cup sugar, 2tbl lemon juice and 4tbl cornflour. Stir over medium heat until thick. Pour over currants, mix and then allow to cool. Pour into pastry-lined dish. Arrange a lattice-design with remaining pastry over top. Brush pastry lightly with cold water. Sprinkle with castor sugar. Bake in 180C oven 35-40mins. Serve warm with cream and/or ice-cream. Go for broke…have both! (Warm custard is yummy, too!)

There’s no disputin’, when it comes to boot-scootin’, I’d better stick to computin’!

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