Saturday, September 18, 2010

Red Box Italian Feast


I have been requested a number of times to publish the recipes on the blog from the popular Italian Feast day that was held at Red Box Cafe mid last year.  So due to popular demand t'is.

The day started out sunny and still with loads of preparation ahead of us to prepare for the booked out lunch crowd of 40 people with the chance of walk-in customers highly likely.  The response to our publicity for the day was overwhelming, and we could have filled the cafe many times over if we had had enough food. Requests rolled in after the event to have this as a regular event throughout the year. The weather turned grey in the afternoon, but it did little to dampen any spirits, in fact it encouraged them to partake more if anything.
On the morning, the wood fire was stoked and roaring in readiness for the task and preparations started on the chopped and peeled 10 kg of potatoes and 7 kg of zucchinis that had been gratefully prepped by staff the day before. The marinated side of lamb and 2 very large joints of stuffed and rolled roast pork loin were removed from the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature. The meat was supplied by Josh at Tuross Meats and was as usual, sensational. On the day, all food but the cakes were cooked in the woodfired oven, however if you were cooking this at  home, a regular oven would do the job just fine,a nd I will provide quantities for regular home cooking. If by chance you do have a wood oven, stoke it and allow it to burn down to hot coals with a regular log top up each hour to maintain temperatures while cooking.

The menu for the day consisted of:

Housemade breadsticks with marinated olives
Woodfired roast loin of pork with apple, pecan and sage stuffing
Woodfired roast lamb, marinated in preserved lemon and housemade basil pesto
Baked garlic zucchinis
Patata sformato, potatoes baked in provolone and cream sauce
Hazelnut torte and housemade caramel ice cream
Jewish apple cake with vanilla bean cream (this recipe is already on the blog).

All recipe quantities serve 4-6 people
Roast loin of pork with apple, pecan and sage stuffing.
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 - 2kg boned, rolled loin of pork (ensure your pork is young, by choosing a loin that has light pink skin)
4 braeburn apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbsp maple syrup
Let's do ita again!
3 tbsp sage, finely chopped
4 slices of pancetta, finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g pecan nuts, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh bread into cubes
1 egg lightly whisked
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 230C. Stew apples in medium saucepan with maple syrup and 2 tbsp water on medium heat with lid on, until soft. This should only take a few minutes. Heat half the oil in a large frypan over medium heat, add onion, pancetta, garlic, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add pecans and cook lightly, unitl nuts are golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a little, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the stewed apple, bread, sage and egg and stir with hands to combine and season with salt and pepper well.

Place the pork loin (unrolled) rind side up on a clean surface and pat dry with paper towel. Turn pork over and use a small, sharp knife to make a cavity for the stuffing. Place the stuffing across the centre of the pork and roll pork to enclose. Secure with kitchen string, tying at 2cm intervals. Place in a roasting pan, drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with fennel seeds and extra salt. Rub into the rind. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, reducing heat to 180C and roast for a further 45 minutes or until pork is tender.  Remove from heat and cover with foil, resting for 15 minutes.

If cooking in a wood fire, place towards the rear of the oven for first 30 minutes to crisp the skin, then move to the front of the oven to adjust temperature where it is cooler. Rotate the pork in the pan to ensure it is crisped evenly. Cooking time will vary, depending on the type of wood oven you have.

Roast lamb marinated in preserved lemon and basil pesto
1 de-boned 2kg leg of lamb
1/2 cup of preserved lemon, use skin and flesh, chopped into large-ish chunks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups of fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
100g roasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 large garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Marinate the meat the day before cooking. Combine, the basil, pine nuts and garlic in food processer and pulse until fine. Slowly drizzle in the oil while machine is on and then add in the parmesan, pulsing  until combined.

Flatten out lamb on clean surface, skin side down and rub the pesto all over the lamb on both sides.Then rub the preserved lemon in, tucking the lemon skin into the meat. Leave to marinate overnight preferably. Preheat oven to 200c and place lamb and marinade in baking tray, roasting for about 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180c for the remaining 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with foil, resting for 15 minutes.  If cooking in the wood fire use the same oven temperature principle as the pork.

Zucchini in garlic

"Redbox Feast, what a great idea!
 6 zucchini, sliced with skin on
120 b butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C and place all ingredients into an ovenproof dish with lid and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This can be cooked in the oven at the same time as the meat, and can also be cooked in either regular or woodfired oven, adjusting the temperature as needed.

Potatoes sformato
500g bintje potoates, peeled and cut into 3mm slices
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 tbsp soft butter
100 g provolone cheese, grated
black pepper
sea salt
300m double cream

Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 20cm shallow ovenproof dish and rub the inside with the cut clove of garlic. layer the slices of potato, covering each layer with a sprinkling of cheese, then seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. Continue until the dish is full, then finish with a good layer of cheese on top.  In a pan, bring the cream to the boil, season with salt and pepper and pour over the potoato. Bake for about 45 minutes or until completely tender. Again, this dish may be cooked in the woodfired oven, however make sure it does not burn by turning the dish around to ensure it is evenly cooked. Test by inserting a fork into a potato slice.

Hazelnut torte
4 egg whites
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
2 tbsp melted butter, cooled
3 tbsp rum
15 whole hazelnuts

600mls w\pure cream
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Whip egg whites till stiff, add castor sugar slowly to make meringue mixture. Fold in sifted flour, butter and hazelnuts. Mix lightly until just combined. Pour into two 23cm baking paper lined cake tins and cook for approx 25 minutes at 140C or until just cooked but not coloured. Remove from oven and when cooled slightly remove paper and cool to room temperature. Brush both layers with rum.

Whip cream with cocoa, sugar, and vanilla until very stiff. Place one cake layer on serving plate, rum side up and cover top with a layer of cream about 1/2 cm high.  Place second layer on top, rum side down and spread top and sides with remaining cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. 
This cake can be frozen whole in a container and thawed with the lid off to alleviate the condensation dripping onto cake.


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