Monday, 27 July 2015

Three Cheese Cannelloni

You know the expression, "everything is going pear shaped"? No? well this Australian expression means "things are not going as expected"

So I had an arthroscopy on my knee in April and I expected it to be a breeze and I would be back walking in a couple of weeks!  Needless to say that didn't happen.

Now, after 15 weeks of pain, swelling, feelings of utter desperation, physiotherapy visits and lots of strapping, I may be reaching a turning point! Albeit, fingers crossed, rabbit foot lucky charms and black cats  - it will be fine in 5 weeks when I leave to go to the UK to walk The Thames Pathway . That's a lot of kilometres to walk while carrying a back pack.

Intense gym sessions and extended walks over the next few weeks have to be high on my list or I will never make the distance.

In celebration of seeing 'the light at the end of the tunnel', I am cooking one of my favourite fast pasta dishes. Three Cheese Cannelloni! It has nothing to do with pears either, but it got you interested.

I first made this dish about 15 years ago and I have served this to most of the people I know and everyone agrees it is pretty darn good.

Three Cheese Cannelloni


Dried or fresh Cannelloni (approximately 15 tubes)
350 fresh ricotta cheese (the package supermarket wont do)
2 eggs
100g grated parmesan cheese
handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
200g Mozzarella grated
few chives finely chopped

salt and pepper

For the sauce

jar of Passata or large tin of diced tomatoes
1 onion finely chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
fresh basil chopped
handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tbls tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbls olive oil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

  • Start the sauce first. In a large fry pan heat oil and sauté onion and garlic until soft but not coloured.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Lower the heat and add passata or tinned tomatoes, chopped parsley, basil,bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Continue to cook for 10 minutes then add tomato paste. Continue to cook for a further 20 - 30 minutes until the tomatoes are nicely broken down and the sauce is thick. 
  • Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.
  • While the sauce is cooking, mix up the cheese stuffing. In a large bowl add parmesan, ricotta, eggs, parsley, chives, salt and pepper and mix together gently.
  • Spoon the egg and cheese mixture into a large piping bag and pipe the mixture into the cannelloni shells and place in a single layer in an oven proof dish.

  • When the sauce is ready, remove the bay leaf and pour the sauce over the cannelloni. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese. bake in a pre heated oven 180º/350 for 30 minutes until the top is nicely browned.
  • Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.
Note: You can change the type of cheese in the cannelloni to suit your taste. Also you can add chopped wilted spinach to the cheese, which is really yummy.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Grapefruit Whisky Marmalade

I got a good deal on grapefruit yesterday! I want to save some to make a cake, but I don't need 5 kilos for that, so I suppose I will have to make some marmalade. 

Driving around my neighbourhood, I see a lot of gardens with ripe fruit and I wonder why people plant these trees and don't use the fruit. It seems such a waste! Am I cheeky enough to knock on their door and ask if I can have some. I see a number of local orange trees that are just bursting with fruit.

In a previous house I lived in, we had two orange trees in the garden and we couldn't give enough away. I was happy for anyone to take a box of oranges so I didn't have to eat them all. I hope someone tells me they have oranges to give away soon, because I have a few new ideas to work on and I do love fresh oranges and orange juice. Orange sorbet? Orange Vegan ice cream?

But back to marmalade!

This is the first grapefruit marmalade I have made, because I generally use Navel or Seville oranges. This recipe is a hodge-podge of ones I have used when making orange marmalade. Also from a little research to find an easier way to deal with the peel and the bitter pith instead of spending hours cutting and slicing.

My biggest problem in making this was that I ran out of gas part way through the first 40 minute cooking, even though my husband had checked it the day before and announced that we had 3/4 of a tank full. (we rely on bottled gas in this part of the hills). When the gas ran out I had to wait for the grapefruit to cool down, put it back in the fridge and wait for a gas delivery the following day before I could resume cooking- so that added an extra day of it sitting in the fridge! Not sure what difference this made, if any.

I was very surprised at how quickly the fruit boiled up once I had added sugar and the set was quite robust. The marmalade has a nice tang to it because of the whisky I added and it certainly doesn't have any bitter pithy taste. The whisky has the alcohol cooked out of it but it does give it a great warming taste and the colour is a beautiful caramel.

I will be sure to take a jar to my scottish friends when we go for dinner tomorrow evening!

Grapefruit Whisky Marmalade


Grapefruit -  2 kilos of fruit
Sugar - 2 kilos 
whisky - 1/2 cup
Juice of 2 lemons

You can change the quantity of fruit and sugar to suit how much you want to make.

Wash and dry fruit. Don't worry about taking out the pips, that comes later.
Cut the grapefruit into  quarters and finely slice.
Place in a large stainless steel pan and cover with water.
Leave to soak overnight.

Following day, bring pan to the boil and cook for approximately 40 minutes until the fruit is very soft.  You will notice that over the next hour or so that the fruit is cooking, the pips will rise to the surface. You can take them off using a slotted spoon and discard. 

After 40 minutes, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Add lemon juice and bring back to the boil.

Continue to boil until the marmalade reaches setting point (See blog post on cherry jam for setting point and bottling information)

This takes approximately 50 - 60 minutes, but keep checking to make sure the fruit is not catching on the bottom of the pan. 

Once it has reached setting point, add whisky, cook for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol and then turn off, allow 10 minutes for it to cool and spoon into prepared jars.

I ate this the very next day, but it may be better if left for a while for flavours to develop. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Tangy Lemon Slice

A local request for some lemons was met with an avalanche. Because in Adelaide it is winter and winter means citrus and lots of it. I was overjoyed by the generosity of the community I live in and so thankful that people with abundance are prepared to share. I will certainly be sending some pickle their way once it is made.

While I was hoping to get some nice thin skinned lemons to make a gorgeous Indian Spiced Pickle,  most of the lemons had thick skins. So the pickle I was going to make wouldn't work with the thicker skinned lemons. 

Hey, no complaints, I can still make a pickle, but will need to change my recipe to suit and that means buying asafoetida powder and Nigella seeds and then I can get pickling.  

In the meantime I am making a batch of Lemon Curd and a gorgeous soft, sweet and very lemony slice.

Tangy Lemon Slice


21/4 cups plain flour
2 cups of caster sugar
1 cup of butter softened
4 eggs
juice of 2 lemons
icing sugar for dusting

Pre heat oven to 160º fan forced/180º/gas 4
Place 2 cups of plain flour, butter and 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a bowl and whisk together.
Press this mixture into a non stick, un-greased 22 x 33 cm (9 x 13 inch) pan, using the back of your hand. 

Bake this in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven.

While the base is baking, start making the topping. Take the remaining 11/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour and mix. Add the eggs and then the sieved lemon juice and whisk this all together. 

Pour this over the baked crust and return to the oven immediately, baking for another 20 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack. The slice will appear quick soft at first but it will harden up as it cools.

Once the slice is cold, cut into the desired pieces and dust with icing sugar.

This is a very easy recipe and one that we all love. Hard to make enough because everyone asks for seconds and a slab of it disappears in no time. I like that! 

Gather some lemons, wait for a rainy day in the kitchen and get juicing.