Woe is me, or rather, woe is my camera, which is forever finding new ways of driving me nuts - so there will be no photos this post, but there will be not one but two delicious recipes!***Revision - there are now photos! Woohoo
Football in Melbourne is like fashion in Milan, or patisseries in Paris, or super-whitened teeth in LA, everyone should know something about it, and the more the better. So when the AFL Grand Final rocked around last Saturday I thought I should throw some sort of celebration for those of us who may otherwise be shunned for asking questions like "What happens when the ball hits the goal post and then goes through?" (That question really was asked, but I will save the offender mortal internet embarrassment and not reveal their name.) Plus, throwing a little party allowed me to experiment with cooking a bunch of party food that I would never otherwise make.
For the St. Kilda v. Geelong clash, Melbourne served up some classic freezing and hailing then sunny and shiny football weather and I served up some classic football party fare, complete with sausage rolls! Oh yeah! After all, who can watch the footy, drink beer and not eat something meaty wrapped in puff pastry - well, as it turns out, us! The entire party was veg friendly "sausage rolls" included - there were many who never even guessed at the deceit. Mwahahahaha.
As it turns out, we all ended up glued to my tiny, fuzzy TV screen by the last quarter, yelling at the players, calling the umpires rude names. As BJ pointed out, even if you don't care about footy, it is strangely addictive. Kind of like my other party snack success; cheese thins. (Good little segue there huh!?)
So, with a nail biting finish, and the last of the snacks polished off, my guests headed home for the evening - except for when we re-grouped about an hour later at 400 gradi in East Brunswick to munch down some pizza (like we hadn't eaten enough already!) but that my friends, is for another post.
Adapted from Where's the Beef
250g ricotta cheese (fresh not the one from the tub, it's too wet)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 medium onion finely diced
1 clove of garlic minced
3tbs soy sauce (don't leave this out, it's what makes it brown and look really authentic)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Puff pastry (if you were a wonderful person with bucket loads of time, you could make your own, but as it happens, due to an incident earlier in the day when I dropped an entire 6 pack of little creatures in Dan Murphys and had to flee the scene in tears of embarrassment, I had neither the time nor the will power to start the pastry process, so I bought some, and it was damn fine!)
Thaw out 3 pieces puff pastry and preheat the oven to 180c
Mix all the ingredients (except the pastry) together in a large bowl till it's at an eerily similar consistency to mince meat.
Take one piece of pastry and chop it in half.
Using one half at a time, put the filling down the centre of the pastry longways, then fold the long-side of pastry closest to you over the filling once, and then again, so it makes roll... You need to fold it in thirds like this, rather than just in half to get the sealed "roll" that you want.
Seal with a little milk or beaten egg if it's not sticking closed.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture and pastry.
At this stage your could cut some slits in the pastry and bake as is, but because mine were for a party I cut them into party sausage roll sized pieces, brushed them with a beaten egg and baked for about 20 mins.
Serve to unsuspecting carnivores with lots of dead 'orse.
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini
These were given the ultimate compliment at my party of tasting "exactly like those Phillipa's parmesan sables!" What else can I say but woohoo! Except for maybe, if something made with butter and cheese as its two main ingredients isn't drop dead delicious, you're probably doing something very wrong!
170g grated hard aged cheese (I used a particularly crumbly vintage cheddar that I buy from the market but the original recipe uses comte and I think pecorino or parmesan could be equally if not more delicious)
55g softened butter cubed
100g plain flour
1/4tsp smoked paprika or freshly ground pepper or 1tsp carraway seeds - basically be imaginative, whatever goes well with cheese (um, everything!?) throw in a tsp
dash of milk (or I used a tsp of natural yogurt)
Pop all the ingredients (except milk) in a bowl and rub the butter into the flour and cheese like you're making pastry. It will start to resemble fine breadcrumbs. At this point, if your mixture comes together nicely as a dough, that's it, you're done. But if it doesn't quite come together, add a tiny bit of milk or yogurt just to bring it together into a ball of dough.
Form the dough into a nice log - it can be as fat or thin as you'd like, depending on how big you'd like your biscuits to be - mine where about the size of a 50cent coin.
Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180c
Pull the log out of the fridge, and slice it into very thin rounds. They won't all be even sized, but that's fine because as I discovered some people like the slightly thinner crunchier ones and others like the fatter softer biscuits. Personally I'm more inclined to the thinner, well baked variety.
Pop some waxed paper on a couple of baking trays and distribute the rounds - leave a bit of space because they will spread a tad.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with beer and a major sporting event.