Cooking with Siba: Episode 12

Food Shot

Flamboyant television presenter and model, Bridget Masinga, loves eating out and has high standards for her palate.

Can Siba’s Prawn starter followed by Mushroom Risotto and ending with a traditional Milk Tart reach those standards?

Prawn Salad, Mushroom Risotto and Milk Tart

200 g shelled prince prawns
15 ml (1 tbsp) oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) grated garlic and ginger
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
80 ml (⅓ cup) sweet chilli sauce
45 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 avos, cubed
Juice of ½ a lemon
rocket leaves or salad leaves
125 ml (½ cup) baby tomatoes, halved
¼ -½ cucumber, sliced or quartered

1.    Dressing: mix the dressing ingredients together and chill in the fridge until needed.
2.    Prawns: remove the shell and vein from the prawns, leaving the tail end. Rinse in running water and pat dry with kitchen towel.  Heat the oil and sauté prawns with grated garlic and ginger until no longer translucent but pinkish in colour.
3.    Salad: place the rocket on salad serving platters. Mix with cucumbers and tomatoes and top with prawns. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is often thought of as tricky to prepare but this recipe will help you understand the process and avoid pitfalls. The basic rule of a perfect risotto is to give it your full attention and to stir constantly.

Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 to 40 min
Serves: 4

You will need
25 ml (5 tsp) olive oil
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
125 g brown mushrooms, chopped
20 g dried mushrooms, soaked in just enough water to cover them
150 g (1 cup) Arborio rice
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
60 ml (¼ cup) cream
60 ml (¼ cup) grated Parmesan cheese

1.    Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy based pan. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add all the mushrooms and sauté until buttery and slightly caramelized. Add the rice and sauté until coated with butter.
2.    Use a 150 ml soup spoon and add one spoon of stock to the rice. Stir over medium heat until the stock is absorbed and the rice almost dry. Add another spoon of stock repeating the process, but making sure that you don’t add more than one ladle of stock at a time.
3.    Stop adding stock when the rice is tender but still firm (al dente). It should be very moist and creamy but not runny. The cooking should take about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4.    Add the reserved mushroom mixture, cream and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with cheese shavings. Serve immediately.

•    Because risotto is relatively neutral in flavour the earthiness of the mushroom, Parmesan and chicken stock, together with the creaminess of the dish, will give this dish its unique taste.
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 30 to 40 min
Serves: 6 to 8

You will need
1 roll (400 g) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg white, whisked
500 ml (2 cups) milk
1-2 cinnamon sticks
15 ml (1 tbsp) cornflour
45 ml (3 tbsp) cake flour
80 ml (⅓ cup) castor sugar
1 ml (pinch) salt
4 extra-large eggs, separated
15 ml (1 tbsp) butter or margarine
1-2 drops almond or vanilla essence
15 ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon mixed with 45 ml (3 tbsp) brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 220 °C. Grease a 24 cm casserole dish.

1.    Crust: Line the pie dish with the puff pastry. Brush the pastry base with the whisked egg white and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then prebake the pastry for 10 minutes until half cooked.
2.    Filling: Heat the milk and cinnamon sticks together until almost boiling. Switch off the heat and leave the mixture to stand for 10 to 15 minutes then strain through a sieve to remove the cinnamon.
3.    Mix 45 ml (3 tbsp) of the milk mixture with the cornflour, cake flour, sugar, salt and egg yolks to a smooth paste. Stir into the remaining milk mixture and heat again, stirring continuously with a hand whisk until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens (this takes 5 to 8 minutes).
4.    Remove from the heat and add the butter, allowing it to melt while tilting the saucepan from side to side so the melted butter can cover the entire surface of the mixture. In a separate clean mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites and almond essence until soft peaks form. Fold into the milk mixture.
5.    Spoon into the prepared pastry base and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180 °C and bake for another 15 minutes or until set – it will still be slightly wobbly though. Topping: Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, cut into slices and serve lukewarm.

•    Don’t worry if the tart filling puffs up in the oven. This is because of the air incorporated while folding in the egg whites – it will shrink back slightly when taken out of the oven.
•    Use 2 packets of crushed Tennis biscuits with 60 ml (¼ cup) melted butter instead of the

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