Thursday, August 27, 2009

Libby's Menu Part 2

The YamDaisy Cafe idea is to serve four meals over the day. Our guest menu this week comes from Libby. In Part 1 we looked at her hearty Minestrone and the Spetsofai, a dish I hadn't heard of before.

SOUP: Minestrone with Bread and Cheese
MAIN 1: Spetsofai with Rice
MAIN 2: Cauliflower with White Sauce served with Roasted Potatoes and Parsnips and Steamed Green Beans
FRUIT DESSERT: Apple Crumble and Creamy Yoghurt

Today is all about the second main, which will be ready to serve for a late lunch, an early evening meal, or to take home and have for supper. And the Fruit Dessert, for those who feel it just isn't dinner without it.
I made Cauliflower Cheese last night, especially so I could take a photo for the blog. (The lengths I am prepared to go for your sakes readers!). I tried a recipe with a bit of a difference: in between the cauliflower and the sauce was a sprinkle of onion and bacon made by cutting one onion and two rashers of bacon into small pieces and frying them till just about crispy.
However, this was not a complete success. Both my daughter and I decided we preferred the classic version, and since that is the one Libby nominated, that is the recipe I will give.

1 medium cauliflower in florets cooked until just tender, drained, and placed in a baking dish
- I fancied big pieces of cauliflower this time, thinking the hills and valleys of the dish would be fun, and to see how it would go having each piece (or two) as a serving.
Melt 40 g butter in a saucepan
Add 40 g plain flour and stir with a wooden spoon until toasty. Giving this a bit of time really adds to the final taste. You can smell when it is nice and toasty, the colour doesn't change.
425 ml (1 3/4 cups) milk - gradually stir in, mixing each bit until it is completely smooth, so you won't have lumps. You can go quicker and quicker as it becomes more liquid. Then bring to a simmer.
Add salt and pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard (or mustard of your choice: powder works)
1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar (or similar) cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Mix this all up and then pour it over the cauliflower.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of fresh breadcrumbs and another 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake at 180C until golden.
My recipe says 15 minutes, but I give it longer than that. As it cooks, the cheesey soft sauce melds into the cauliflower and makes it one fabulous dish. Don't hurry it! I think mine took a good half an hour.
Libby has it served with baked potatoes and parsnips, with their two different textures, and then set off with the Steamed Green Beans. Well, that is just perfect!

PS Why didn't we like the bacon and onion addition? - well, it messed up that perfect melding and added a fattiness we didn't need with the cheesey wonderfulness. But add it if you like!

Take a deep breath those of you who cannot bear to think of a crumble with additions like coconut and sunflower seeds. This is Libby's menu, and we are making it the way she likes it! Don't worry, it is delicious! Libby doesn't like rich desserts, so this one is perfect: tasty and crunchy, but (unless you eat the entire thing!) won't leave you feeling too exhausted and heavy at the end of the meal.

Place 500g Stewed Apple and 1/4 cup of sultanas, mixed, in a pie dish. Warm. (The microwave is great for this if you are doing it at home!)

Melt 50 g butter in a bowl (more microwaving!)
Add 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix well and spread evenly over the apple.
Drizzle 2 tbsp of honey over the top.
Bake at 180C for about half an hour until golden and smelling fantastic.
Serve with Greek Yoghurt.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Libby's Menu

This is another Melbourne based August menu for the YamDaisy Cafe. The YamDaisy cafe is structured to have only 4 dishes on the menu each day. They use seasonal, local ingredients and are made from scratch on the premises. Until a YamDaisy Cafe exists (it is still in the planning stage!) Guests are giving a menu that would suit the cafe and inspire you all!

I am going to spread this menu over a couple of posts to make it easier to read and to give it more attention. But here are all the dishes:
SOUP: Minestrone with Bread and Cheese
MAIN 1: Spetsofai with Rice
MAIN 2: Cauliflower with White Sauce served with Roasted Potatoes and Parsnips and Steamed Green Beans
FRUIT DESSERT: Apple Crumble and Creamy Yoghurt

First, pictured, is Minestrone. Classic Soup! It is one of those soups that has its own style - suiting the tastes of the people it is cooked for.
This means each YamDaisy Cafe (and surely they will all have it on the menu fairly often!) can develop its own style of Minestrone. Cooking it in large quantities, as the cafe would, means that brewing up the beans and adding in the vegetables takes on mythic qualities!
Minestrone is probably the favourite soup in our small household. I make enough to last a few days, but because we don't like pasta that has been sitting in soup too long, we cook the pasta separately. The beans vary according to what I have available: I soak and pressure cook beans, but tinned beans can work well. Today they were meant to be chickpeas, but they took longer to cook than expected and they hadn't managed to get into the first bowls! The veggies were what looked good at the veggie shop today.
I start by frying onions then garlic then carrots. No celery today so the next that went in was oregano and potato, then the stock and when the potato was partly cooked, in went chopped green beans.
After a few minutes I put in the contents of a tin of chopped tomatoes and the chopped mushrooms, corn, capsicum, and broccoli and cabbage. And the cooked beans with some of the liquor I cook them with. They just need a few minutes more.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Meanwhile I cook the pasta, drain it and place it in the soup bowls, I ladle over the thick delicious soup. It really is a meal in a bowl.
Libby's family like it almost thick enough to be a stew and they like to have hard cheese grated on top.

What? I asked. I had never heard of Spetsofai.
Libby explained that it is a Greek dish, basically sausages and peppers. When I went searching for more information I found this lovely link and yum! what a great meal to have! A simple pilaf would accompany it.

Part One of Libby's Menu - now you can go to Part 2

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Made From Scratch


This is a defining feature for the YamDaisy Cafe: the Food Project that looks to Neighbourhood Cafes that provide delicious Home Style meals. Nearly everyone needs such a cafe, and they need it to be good! And surely you would agree that the best food is made from scratch.

It is this that sets the YD Cafe apart from other low cost options and will give the customer better tasting and more nutritious food. No warmed up frozen food, no generic tins of things, no cheap cheese grated a week ago.

This is fantastic for the customers and allows people with specific dietary needs to eat there with confidence, and families who want to give their children the best food, to have the pleasure of food made from scratch they don't always have to make themselves.

But what about the chef! What about the work!

Ha! This is the whole point of the YamDaisy Cafe. We have a professional, energetic, healthy, committed cook (or two) to do all the work! Hooray!

Ofcourse, we don't want them to be burnt out! But since they are feeding a whole community (over 100 meals a day!) we will make sure they have great basic equipment, especially machines! lots of suppport, and a menu and workplace designed to make things easy. Not to mention those fresh, local, seasonal ingredients!

This is why we have the simple daily menu of only 4 dishes for the chef to make each day (soup, 2 mains and a fruit dessert).

Here is the question though.... where do we draw the line! Surely we must let the chef use preserved tomatoes! Do we expect her/him to make all their own bread? Can't they use prepared puff pastry?

For now let us say that the use of prepared food will be kept at a minimun. A minimum even smaller that the home cook generally uses. A teeny tiny minimum.

Because at YamDaisy Cafe's - they cook from SCRATCH!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Em's Menu

This is a YamDaisy Menu. Each day a YamDaisy Cafe would produce 4 delicious dishes using local, seasonal produce. The soup, 2 mains, and a fruit dessert would be cooked through the day by the chef in the small cafe kitchen. Customers can eat there or takeaway. Check the YamDaisy Menu site for more information. We ask for sample menus and this one is Em's.


SOUP: Lentil and Silverbeet Soup with Crusty Bread:
What a delicious, nourishing soup this one is! And perfect for August in Melbourne, because if there is no other fresh local vegetable available - there will be silverbeet. When I was growing up we thought silverbeet was spinach. Other people will know it as Chard, or Swiss Chard. If you don't know it, it is from the beet family, but doesn't have the big beet root! It is more robust than spinach, in texture and growing habits!
The soup recipe could use spinach, but since we are here in Melbourne... we will have silverbeet thankyou very much!
I know two basic lentil and spinach recipes. One starts with a fry of onion, garlic, celery and carrot and I think of it as the French recipe. The other is more Middle Eastern and adds spices like cumin and chilli to the onions and garlic, and finishes with a squeeze of lemon juice.
When I asked Em about her recipe she explained that she tended to add all sorts of veggies to the mix; but for this menu she was thinking to keep it simple, maybe adding some barley, because she wants it really yummy and hearty. Mmm, yummy and hearty! That is YamDaisy Food!

MAIN 1: Eggplant Pilaf with Sauteed Green Beans on the side:
Yes! That is it pictured! And I had to make this recipe so that I could take the picture! Thankyou Em! It is such a wonderful recipe. It comes originally from Greg Malouf. I am not sure how much it has changed by the time it got to me, but here is how I did it:
(of course the chef at the YamDaisy cafe will be making enough for 50 or 60, but they'll be professional and work out bigger quantities I am sure!)
2 medium eggplants cut into chunks about 2.5cm cubes. (I am very sensitive to the bitey taste in eggplants, so I put them in salted water for 20 mins, and then put them to dry). Brush them with oil (sprinkle with salt if you didn't salt them earlier) and place on a tray in a hot oven for 25 minutes or until they are softened and browned.
In the meantime, fry a chopped onion in 3 tbsps of oil until soft and golden.
Add 3 tbsps of pine nuts, and when they are starting to colour add a cup (200g) of rice and stir until it is coated with oil.
Then add two diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar (I couldn't find tomatoes worth buying, so I added half a tim of diced tomatoes instead). Simmer 5 minutes.
Next in is 2 tbsp of currants, salt and pepper, a tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/2 a tsp of ground allspice (pimento). Add 350ml of water and stir gently.
Cover and simmer softly until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the lid for a while if it needs to dry out, but hopefully it will be done perfectly if you turn it off and put a teatowel over and the lid back on top. This way the steam is soaked up, but the heat remains and it becomes fluffier.
Stir in a few tbsp of oil and chopped dil: I missed this out as mine didn't need more oil, and I didn't have dill.
Then gently mix the eggplant chunks through.
It can be served at room temperature, but we had it still steaming. The sauteed beans went with it perfectly. It was a lovely, lovely meal.
I remember thinking, when I ate it, that it would be exactly what I would want if I had been ill and my appetite was just coming back. It is a comforting, nourishing meal that is so delicious and yet has a feeling of lightness.

MAIN 2: Stirfried Vegetables and Tofu with Lemongrass and Ginger, served on Rice Noodles.
I love the way Em has thought through this menu. This main is so different to the other, and so provides a great choice for customers. Also, everything can be prepared in advance and then quickly cooked up as needed in the wok. This would give even greater flexibility as people could choose which vegetables they want included or not.

FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Stuffed Apples with Custard.
Yum, say no more! The conversation we had about this one was the issue of the custard! Em makes a cornflour based one, I use a brand of custard powder, and Teri the wonderful chef makes proper egg custard. Since the Yamdaisy Cafes rely on food cooked from scratch, we thought this could be the perfect place to have Gabriel Gate's Orange and Polenta Custard. It is delicious and easy and good for people who can't have wheat in their diet!
Orange and Polenta Custard
1 1/2 tbsp polenta, make a paste with 2 tbsp milk
Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk and then stir in the polenta paste, 1 tbsp orange zest, 1 tbsp sugar or honey and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring, and simmer for 1 minute.
The consistency is runny with the little lumps of swelled polenta.

Thanks Em for a wonderful days menu.