Appetisers

Pan Seared Scallops with Japanese Dressing

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I was lucky enough to be given scallops in the shell to cook with – how spoilt am I?!?

Keeping it simple with scallops is always best, with minimal cooking time and a nice clean dressing, you are doing justice to these delicate sweet morsels. The bonus of having them in the shells, is that it serves as a small bowl to capture all the juices and dressing. The shells can be cleaned for later use. Scallops are a lean source of protein, virtually no fat and are packed full of minerals and vitamins.

I have cooked scallops like this before from frozen and you would never have known.

 


Pan Seared Scallops with Japanese Dressing


Ingredients

12 scallops, removed from shell and shell cleaned before serving

Dressing

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane

2 tbsp shoaxing wine

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp castor sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Spring onion for garnish, finely sliced


Method

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.
  2. Heat a little peanut oil in a  large fry pan over medium heat. An easy way to get all your scallops in the pan at the same time, is to place them on a piece of baking paper and when the fry pan is ready pick up the paper and flip it over, the scallops will fall off. They will only take about 30 secs each side. The frypan needs to be very hot to get the caramelisation on the outside of the scallop.
  3. Serve immediately in the shells with 1/4 tsp of dressing on each, garnished with spring onion.

Notes:

If you would like curly spring onion, finely slice, place in a bowl of water and put in the fridge until ready to use.

The dressing can be made a couple days ahead and will last in the fridge for up to a week. You will have dressing left over. If you put too much dressing on the scallops you will lose the delicate flavour of the scallop.

Pork Gyozas

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I have been using this same recipe for years, simple ingredients – equals simple flavours! You can cook them like Gyozas (pan fry one side and then steam at the end), steam, boil, add to soup or broth, or deep fry for something naughty. I’ve tried them every way and they are delicious! The recipe is very adaptable if you wish to add chilli or use chicken mince, prawn or a mix, just be adventurous. They can be frozen once assembled and will last in the freezer for 2-3 months. Just thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Lastly serve them with a Japanese Soy Dipping Sauce or if deep fried Okanami Sauce and Japanese Mayo – oh so very sinful!


Pork Gyozas


Ingredients

500 g pork mince

1/2   wombok (Chinese cabbage), core removed from each leaf and finely shredded

3 green onions/shallots/spring onion, white removed and finely chopped

2 garlic clove, crushed

4 teaspoon light soy sauce

4 teaspoon shoaxing wine

2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon caster sugar

Pinch of ground white pepper

48 gyoza or gowgee wrapper, 2 packets

2 – 4 teaspoon peanut oil

1/4 cup (60ml) water

Japanese soy sauce, to serve


  1. Combine the pork, wombok, green onion, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, caster sugar and pepper in a medium bowl, mix all together with your hands.
  2. Place gyoza wrapper, about 6 at a time on a clean surface, put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each one, wetting the edges as you go, fold over to make a half moon and pleat the edges together. Its a bit fiddly the first time, but you will get the hang of it. Repeat this process until all filling is used. If you have filling left over, it can be frozen. You can also freeze the gyozas at this stage, make sure they dont touch each other and separate the layers with baking paper.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan over high heat until just smoking. Remove from heat. Arrange dumplings over the base of the frying pan. Return to the heat and cook for 2 minutes or until the base of the dumplings are golden. Sprinkle water evenly over the gyozas. Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes or until gyozas are cooked through and the water evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes.Place on a serving platter. Serve immediately with soy sauce or a Japanese dipping sauce.

Marinated Lamb Skewers with Haloumi and Grape Tomatoes

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On a bit of a Tapas roll this weekend, creating and making some awesome finger food. A lot of my creations come from what I’ve got in the fridge – lamb, haloumi, grape tomatoes and greek yoghurt!

Just marinate the lamb overnight in rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and rice bran oil, prepare the tomato and haloumi, thread all the ingredients onto the skewers and place in fridge until ready to cook.

Cook on the  BBQ or just pan fry till golden and delicious!


Marinated Lamb Skewers with Haloumi and Grape Tomatoes


Ingredients

400-500g lamb leg steak, diced into 2 cm pieces

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary

4 garlic cloves, smashed with a back of a knife and roughly chopped

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoon rice bran oil, olive oil or grapeseed oil

180g Haloumi, sliced then cut into squares

1 punnet of grape or cherry tomatoes halved

bamboo skewers, short or long

Yoghurt Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup greek yoghurt

1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped oregano

1 garlic clove, cruched

dash of lemon juice and salt & pepper


Method

  1. Combine the lamb, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and oil in a container, season and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Make the dipping sauce ahead of time to enable the flavours to be absorbed. Whisk all dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, place in fridge till ready to use. Will last 3-4 days.
  3. To assemble the skewers, thread the haloumi on very slowly, (turning the skewer as you go, learn’t the hard way and mine kept breaking) then a piece of lamb, more haloumi, half a tomato, lamb, haloumi and tomato.
  4. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used, cook immediately on a fry pan/bbq or place in fridge till ready.
  5. Serve with dipping sauce as finger food or as a meal with  flatbread and salad.

Tempura Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill

 

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I was very excited to discover that my local fruit and veg store now stocks Zucchini Flowers. The manager could see the excitement on my face and asked –what are you going to make with them? of course I replied –stuff them with ricotta…he stopped me mid sentence and said- you should try it with smoked salmon, so I did and that is how the recipe came about- Tempura Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill.
I made  a chive oil and used a smidge of Caramelized Balsamic Glaze, it was lovely and light. I’m going to try Roasted Capsicum and Tomato Puree next time. Since making these and talking to a few friends they gave me inspiration to use risotto in the filling, similar to  Arancini Balls – how delicious!

 


Tempura Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Smoked Salmon, Ricotta and Dill


Ingredients

160 g smoked salmon
1/2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp horseradish cream
2 tbsp cream
3 tbsp ricotta

squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

10 zucchini flowers

Tempura
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 cup chilled soda water
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour


Method

  1. Combine the smoked salmon, dill, horseradish cream, cream and ricotta in a small food processor and blitz until well combined, scrapping the sides as you go. Taste, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Fill a piping bag or snaplock bag with mixture, set aside.
  2. Prepare the zucchini flower by opening it up and removing the yellow stamens, they will just snap off . Pipe your mixture into the zucchini flower till it reaches the splits in the top, seal the flower by twisting or pressing together.
  3. To make tempura, add whisked egg with the soda water,  add the flours, only mix enough to combine, it will be lumpy.
  4. Line a tray with paper towels. Bring a deep fryer or saucepan one third full with oil to 180c, test with a bit of bread, it should brown in 15 secs.
  5. I did 2 at a time, dip in batter and place into oil, they will take 2 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, continue with the remaining flowers.
  6. Serve with your desired accompaniment.