The Hobart

BONUS Christmas Recipes

by Zilla Gordon
BONUS Christmas Recipes
If, after reading our guide to a fuss-free Christmas season, you’re still after a little extra festive cheer, take a look at these gems from Tasmanian foodies.

Strawberry & Mint Shrub by Mathew Evans

We often serve a version of this shrub for our welcome drink, a cordial often enhanced with a splash of Tasmanian gin. A shrub isn’t just a small tree, it’s an old-fashioned thirst quencher that has been making a bit of a comeback. Really, it’s like a cordial for grown ups because it uses vinegar as well as sugar and fruit, to make an incredibly delicious drink that is fabulous with sparkling water or still, and is very much suited to a mixed drink. This makes approximately 500mls.

Ingredients:

  • 250g ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 160g sugar
  • 200ml good quality cider vinegar (or use white wine vinegar – the most important part is the quality)

Method:

    1. Pop the strawberries, mint and sugar in a non-reactive bowl, stir, cover and set aside on a the work surface for eight hours or overnight.
    2. You’ll find that the sugar should have dissolved to form a syrup by this stage. If the sugar hasn’t quite dissolved, stir the mixture until the grains have disappeared. (You can also leave it in the fridge for a few days.)
    3. Add the vinegar to this mix, stir well and leave on the bench in a cool place for two – three days. You can actually do this in the fridge and leave it for two weeks, but it does take up quite a bit space.
    4. Taste and the liquid should be intensely strawberry flavoured. Pass the shrub through a fine sieve, letting gravity do the work rather than pressing it to speed it up. That’s because you want a nice clear liquid, not a puree.
    5. Once it has drained well, transfer the shrub (the liquid bit) to a sterilised bottle and store in the fridge. It can keep for several months. You can also use the strawberries in a sprightly dessert, rather than discarding.
    6. Use this syrup to make your drinks. We aim at about diluting the shrub about 3 parts water to 1 part syrup, but let your taste be the guide.

The recipe is from The Commons; a year of growing, cooking and eating on Fat Pig Farm. Published by Hardie Grant.

Macaroni with Slow-cooked Pork Belly and Beef-Shine Ragu by Massimo Mele

We always have a pasta dish on the menu and this one is my favourite. Delicious slow-cooked pork and beef with lots of onions and some herbs. Very simple but packed with flavour. Also can be made well ahead of time so you are not panicking last minute.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250g diced pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pancetta
  • 750g beef shin diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1.5kg onions chopped mixture red and brown onion
  • 500g good quality dry pasta

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150° C.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook pancetta until most of the fat is rendered out, about six minutes. Remove cooked pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Raise heat to high and transfer the meat to the pot. Season with salt. Cook and stir until the liquid releases from the beef and begins to evaporate, and meat browns, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onions, celery, carrots, reserved cooked pancetta, salt and pepper. Cook and stir about five minutes. Add a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste, bay leaf, and white wine. Cook and stir, scraping up browned ingredients from the bottom of the pan, two to three minutes.
  5. Place lid on and cook for two hours in preheated oven.
  6. Check every 30 minutes. If the sauce seems to reduce too much, add water or broth as needed to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Cook until beef and onions seem to melt into each other.
  7. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook rigatoni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until just barely al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
  8. Add rigatoni to the sauce and cook until heated through, you may need a little pasta water to finish cooking the pasta.
  9. Serve topped with a pinch of marjoram and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Torta Caprese by Massimo Mele

For dessert, I also make a torta Caprese. Simple, delicious, gluten free so I tick the dietary requirement box. A little sweetened goats curd from Tongola cheese is a nice touch.

Ingredients:

  • 350g almonds*
  • 300g sugar
  • 260g butter (plus extra to grease)
  • 200g dark chocolate (60 per cent cacao)
  • 120ml Strega liqueur
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • Icing sugar

Method:

  1. Scald almonds in boiling water for about 2 minutes and allow to dry. Peel and grind the almonds to make almond flour.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a bain-marie.
  3. Preheat the oven (150°C for a conventional oven and 130°C for fan-forced). In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolks and almond flour, followed by the melted chocolate and liqueur, and combine.
  4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and gently fold into the cake mix. This recipe can be used to make one large cake or approximately 15 individual portions, using ramekins.
  5. Line the base of a cake tin or ramekins with baking paper and grease the borders with butter, then pour the mixture inside.
  6. If you are making one large cake, bake for 50 minutes. If you are using Ramekins, bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin or ramekins. Place on a plate and dust with icing sugar to serve.
  8. This recipe is best eaten after one to two days. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream.

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November 2021

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