Middle-Eastern Steak Sandwiches with Moorish Potato Salad

I made these for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I had a couple of cos lettuces from mum’s garden and a bunch of cucumbers from my trip to the market to use. It makes me feel like a domesticated housewife when I decide meals based on ‘what we’ve got to use up’, but it makes sense really and I’m sure that’s how it works in commercial kitchens too. Anyway, I settled on a middle eastern style turkish bread sandwich with thinly sliced minute steaks, natural yoghurt and caramelised onions.

The potato salad was a recipe I spotted in a magazine by Chef Matt Stone who operates the Greenhouse restaurant in the inner-city, which is a very hip, eco-friendly and decidedly alternative restaurant which has been receiving lots of buzz lately. The recipe looked good and it kind of paired with the steak sandwich idea, so I decided to do both. It’s sort of got a burger and fries vibe I guess.

The sandwiches were goooood! I ended up using sour cream instead of yoghurt but I think either would work well. The onions really made it. The potato salad was also delicious, but I have to admit the last thing I wanted after working through that sandwich was more carbs. The potato salad was good for lunch the next day though with leftover sour cream.

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Barbecue Meatloaf

Meatloaf is about as pedestrian as it gets. It brings to mind images of boring British roasts or cheap American diners. My mother has a Woman’s Weekly cookbook from the 60’s and I’m willing to bet there are several meatloaf recipes in there. It’s just not something you generally see in the glossy pages of modern cookbooks or magazines. But you know what? I happen to like the humble meatloaf. It’s warm, homely and comforting. And that’s good enough for me.

The recipe I use is from a family cookbook compiled by kindergarten mums in the small country town of Ceduna, South Australia where I grew up. The meatloaf itself is pretty standard, but the magic is in the barbecue sauce that it’s cooked in. It has a surprising depth of flavours and it keeps the meat deliciously moist. Seriously, it’s good.

But you’re more interested in the potato, aren’t you. Well me too. It’s called a hasselback potato, and I first came across the idea for these amazing things right here. They’re the Swedish version of a baked potato and are only slightly more difficult to make. The concept is simple; thin cuts along the potato (but not all the way through) cause it to fan out when baked so that the edges are crispy but the centre remains soft. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen these before or thought of doing it myself. I stuffed a tiny slice of garlic into each cut and sprinkled some paprika over the top to give them a bit more flavour. I love the rustic elegance of these potatoes and the contrast of crunchy and soft. They are so good – I insist you try them.

The carrots were roasted whole and unpeeled with a simple red wine vinegar glaze. It was an experiment, but they turned out beautifully, far exceeding my expectations. I will make carrots like this again for sure. The beans were simply sauteed with garlic and lemon juice like I usually do. Altogether it was a really enjoyable meal.

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Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (3)  
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Beef Roast

With sweet potato chips, cauliflower mash, baked potatoes and baby carrots

A few nights ago I cooked a fairly simple roast beef and some veggies. It’s been very cold the past couple of weeks so it was a welcome hearty meal. I picked up a pre-marinated cut of beef from the supermarket and grabbed a whole heap of different vegetables.

I tried a different method with my potatoes this time by par-cooking them. I quartered about six royal blue potatoes and placed them in a saucepan of cold water. I brought this to the boil and let them cook for a couple of minutes, and then drained them. Then I put the lid back on the saucepan and gave it a good shake to roughen up the surface of the potatoes, which is meant to make them crunchier. They were pretty soft though by this stage so a couple of pieces lost their skins and mushed up a bit.  I then coated them in some olive oil, salt and rosemary,  and baked them for about 20 minutes. They came out way crunchier than usual with fluffy insides. I’ll play around with this method some more but I think it’s a keeper.

The cauliflower I just cut into florets and boiled until soft. I then ‘mashed’ it with my stick blender and added a little butter, cheese and seasoning. It’s a slightly unusal way to eat cauliflower but I really like it. It’s more watery than mashed potato but it doesn’t taste so different, and I like to think it’s better for you.

The sweet potato chips were a new attempt for me. Sweet potato is very high in sugar, hence the name; which means it caramelises very easily. I figured if I cut the potato into fairly thin sticks it would caramelise on the outside and go a little crunchy. I spaced them out evenly on baking paper and coated with a bit of oil and salt. I baked them on a high heat in the hope that this would crisp them up even more. They came out well, but not as crunchy as I was hoping for. Apparantly it is difficult to make sweet potato as crunchy as regular potato because of it’s higher water content, but I will keep experimenting with this chip idea.

The baby carrots were so easy. I just chopped off the leaves and sauteed them in a little butter and a good squeeze of lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon really contrasted well with the sweetness of the carrots, and the sweet potato also on my plate.

Oh and the beef was really good too, although I was aiming for medium rather than well done.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 1:25 am  Comments (8)  
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