Eating in. Discussions about the food we buy and prepare - with occasional recipes
why do we eat the food we eat?
Back in 2003, I won a competition, the Mediterranean Tucker Recipe Contest.
Attached are my two winning recipes. They work and work quite well, but be advised that they have limitations as the contest only allowed a total of six (6) ingredients – three of which were specified.
The contest was run by the Australian National Maritime Museum as part of its Mediterranean Tucker Festival in October 2003. The aim was to show how Mediterranean cuisines have changed the Australian diet and how Australian conditions in turn have made an impact on Mediterranean food.
The challenge was to use just three ingredients plus three more. Three foods – wheat, grapes and olives - dominate the Mediterranean palate. Thus the competition was to develop an Australian version of a Mediterranean recipe using all three of the Mediterranean staples - wheat, grapes and olives – in any of their forms, plus as many as three other ingredients of choice – a total of six.
There were two categories – main courses and desserts/cakes. I entered one recipe in each…
Main course: Rabbit Pie
Dessert/Cake: Wild Lime Olive Cake
There were 250 entries from all over Australia. Entries were judged by a panel of celebrity chefs.
My Rabbit Pie came second in the Main courses (the winner was a Stuffed Squid)
My Wild Lime Olive Cake came first in the Desserts/Cakes.
My Wild Lime Olive Cake came first overall!
Please try and enjoy…..!
This is a variation of the traditional Australian "fast food" - a meat pie with some sort of beef and/or mutton filling, but using the Mediterranean staples. I have made this using rabbit (rabbits having a long association with Australia as a pest and as food during the depression), although one could use lamb or beef.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
Raisins – 40gm (1/4 cup)
Bread Rolls – 4x large, round, dense “panne de casa”
Rabbit – 1x, cut into pieces
Roma Tomatoes – 450gms
Chicken stock – 300mls
Seasoning – salt, black pepper, bay leaf, garlic
Cover raisins with water and soak for at least 20 minutes.
Slice Roma tomatoes in half, lengthways, coat generously with olive oil and bake or grill until soft and semi-dried.
Heat about 30mls of olive oil in a shallow non-stick pan and brown the rabbit pieces all over.
Transfer rabbit and tomatoes to a saucepan, cover with the chicken stock, season to taste and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the drained raisins and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and then pick all the rabbit meat off the bones. Discard bones and return meat to the sauce.
Using the bread rolls, make four bread cases by slicing the top off the bread rolls, retaining the “lids” and hollowing them out, removing all the soft bread. Brush to bread cases with olive oil, inside and out and heat in an oven. Reheat the meat sauce, then spoon into the bread cases, dividing equally among the four bread rolls. Replace bread lid and serve.
Wild Lime Olive Cake
This is a modification of the classic olive cake using Australian native Wild Limes to add a unique Australian flavour to a Mediterranean classic. Regular West Indian limes can be used if Wild Limes are unavailable.
Flour – 1 cup, plain, sifted plus extra for dusting
White Wine - ½ cup, dry white (Semillon)
Olive Oil – 2/3 cup
Sugar – 175gm plus 100gm
Eggs – 5 whole separated, plus 2 whites
Wild Limes – 4 tablespoons of juice plus zest (10 Wild Bush Limes or 2 West Indian Limes) (native limes are quite small)
Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly grease a springform cake pan, dust with flour and line the base with baking paper. Grate the zest of half the limes and set aside. Carefully peel the skin off the other limes (a potato peeler is perfect for this) and cut the zest into thin strips. Set aside. Juice the limes.
Beat the 5 egg yolks with 175gms of sugar until light and creamy. Add the grated lime zest, flour, salt and mix well. Slowly add the white wine and the olive oil, mixing until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the 7 egg whites until stiff and fold into the flour and sugar mixture. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 170C and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the cake is a golden brown colour and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
Prepare the lime syrup by putting the lime juice and 100gms sugar into a small saucepan, heating gently until the sugar dissolves. Add the zest strips and coat well with syrup. Cook gently for 5 minutes.
Arrange the coated lime zest strips in the centre of the cake and then pour the syrup over the cake allowing it to absorb the juices. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and serving, with extra lime syrup if available.