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December 2000 Issue
Ginger -- Zingiber officinale
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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Aubergine with Mushrooms in Ginger-Tomato Sauce

  • 15g dried Chinese mushrooms
For the sauce:
  • 220g fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded or drained tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper, or 5 pepper mixture
For the Aubergine:
  • 450g Aubergine
  • 75ml olive oil, extra virgin
  • 5 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon 5 aroma powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml water
Soak the mushrooms in warm water for about 20 min. drain and press the rest of the water out of them. Remove the stalks and discard them, cut the tops into fine strips.

Cut the fresh tomatoes into pieces about 1" in size, or the tinned tomatoes into small pieces.

Heat a large frying pan, pour in the olive oil, add the ginger, salt and pepper, and fry the ginger for about a minute, until it is slightly brown. Add the tomatoes and sugar, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 min. Remove from the cooker and place to the side.

Cut the Aubergines diagonally in 1/2 inch thick slices

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, when it has reached a middle temperature add the garlic and fry for about 1/2 a minute, add the Aubergine slices, the 5 aroma powder, salt and pepper and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Now add the tomato sauce, the mushrooms and water, cook for about 5 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes till the Aubergines are soft. Serve straight away. Goes well with a main dish of pork medallions and freshly baked rye bread.



Asparagus Coconut Quiche

For the pastry:
  • 150g flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cream
For the filling:
  • 350ml cream
  • 6 tablespoons of tinned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 250g fresh asparagus washed and pealed
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture or freshly ground black pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated coconut
Place all the ingredients for the pastry in a mixer and mix well, turn out on a slightly floured pastry board and for into a ball, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius or 350°F.

Roll the pastry to 3mm thickness, lay it in a 22cm diameter baking form, cover it with baking paper and weigh it down with about 350g dried peas or beans. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Remove the weight and paper, pierce the pastry a couple of times with a fork and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Pour the cream and coconut milk into a small pot, add the ginger and simmer at a low heat for about 15 minutes. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve, discard the ginger and leave the mixture to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200° C or 400°F.

Distribute asparagus evenly in the baking form. Mix the eggs, salt, pepper, sugar, chives, spring onions, and coconut to the cream mixture. Pour the mixture over the asparagus. Bake the quiche for about 25 minutes till it is golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with freshly baked onion-rye bread.



Fried Rice with Ginger and Spring Onions

  • 360g long grained white rice
  • 600ml water
  • 2 tablespoons oil (The recipe that inspired this dish stated peanut oil but I prefer walnut oil.)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 100g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture, or freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
Cook the rice in advance, either the evening before or at least two hours earlier. (I do mine in a rice steam cooker.)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the ginger, reduce the heat and stir-fry the ginger till it changes color. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and fry for about 5 minutes or until it is well heated. Lastly add the coriander and mix the rice well. I have tried this with various meats, and have found it goes really well with Rabbit, skewered with garlic.



Tagliatelle with Chili Tomato Sauce

  • 900g tomatoes, skinned and stoned
  • 150ml olive oil, extra virgin
  • 100g onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100g carrots, finely chopped
  • 100g celery, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red chili, stoned and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 450g tagliatelle
Cut the tomatoes into cubes about an inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, celery, spring onions, and chili. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the sugar, salt, pepper, and chili oil. Stir-fry for another minute. Finally add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour.

Cook the tagliatelle in salted water, drain, pour into a large serving bowl, pour the sauce over the top and liberally grate parmesan over it before table serving.



Chocolate Cake with Candied Ginger

  • 350g good quality chocolate cut into small pieces
  • 150g butter
  • 140g sugar
  • 50g candied ginger finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 40g sieved flour
  • some sieved castor sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 180° C or 350° F. Place a heat resistant glass bowl in a large pot of hot water. Add the chocolate, butter, sugar and candied ginger to the glass bowl. Melt, stirring continuously.

Let the mixture cool a little, add the egg yolk then the flour and mix thoroughly.

Whip the egg whites stiff, a third of the egg white should be mixed quickly into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold the rest into it. Pour into a baking form of about 20-23 cm diameter and bake for 35-40 min.

Leave to cool completely before turning it onto a cake platter, dust with the castor sugar and serve.



Crème Brûlée with Ginger

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 500g cream
  • 6 tablespoons fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius or 350°F.

Cut the vanilla bean down its length, scrape out the middle and mix it with 1 tablespoon of sugar, place the mixture to the side.

Place half the cream, the ginger, and the rest of the vanilla bean in a small pot and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat leave to cool completely before passing it through a very fine sieve. Discard the rest of the ginger but remove the vanilla bean, dry it completely and place it in sugar for later use. Now stir the Vanilla-Sugar into the Ginger-Crème.

Mix the egg yolks, the beaten egg, the rest of the sugar with the remaining cream. Add the Ginger-Crème and mix well. Pour into 8 portion-sized forms of about 6cm diameter place on a deep baking tray with about 2cm of water in it and bake for about 30 min or until the Crème has stiffened. Leave to cool thoroughly and then place them in the fridge.

All, up to this point, can be done in preparation the day before serving.

Shortly before serving turn the oven grill on to its highest temperature, sprinkle the brown sugar equally over the Crème and place in the oven until the sugar has caramelized. Make sure the sugar doesn't burn, let them cool for a minute or two, to enable the caramel harden slightly before serving.


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