Bite-size food for the festive season

By
Casey Warrener
Added
05 December, 2016

Whether you’re throwing a party or bringing a plate, here are five sure-fire winners from Cooked: Food for Friends. And our friends at Halliday Wine Companion have provided a wine match for each. 



Mamasita corn on the cob

Jane Kennedy, One Dish. Two Ways
Serves 6

This recipe is suitable for kids if you omit the cayenne pepper, paprika and chillies.

6 corn cobs, husks removed, cut in half
125g mayonnaise
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
2 chipotle chillies (or you can use 2 tbsp chipotle sauce or 1–2 tsp chipotle chilli powder – look for these at gourmet delicatessens, Latin American supermarkets or online)
100g grated Parmesan
Lime wedges to serve

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.

Cook the corn for 1 minute, then drain.

Combine the mayonnaise and lime juice, and then divide into bowls for serving.

Heat the grill of your barbecue or a chargrill pan to a very high heat. Brush the corn with olive oil then cook, turning regularly, for 10–12 minutes, or until charred and tender.

While the corn is grilling, combine the cayenne pepper, paprika and salt in a small bowl.

Heat a small frying pan over high heat then toast the chillies for about 30 seconds on each side, or until fragrant. Remove from the pan and discard the stems and seeds.

Coarsely chop the chillies and grind them to a powder using a small food processor or a spice grinder.

Add the chipotle powder or sauce to the lime juice and mayonnaise mixture.

Insert a bamboo cocktail stick into one end of each of the corn pieces. Brush the corn all over with the chipotle mayonnaise. Sprinkle with the paprika mixture and the Parmesan, and serve with lime wedges.

Wine match: 2014 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Riesling
The 2014 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Riesling delivers great purity and stunning natural acidity. This dish pairs beautifully with the lifted floral and spice aromas, as well as the wonderful texture and generosity of the palate. – Winemaker Ben Haines

Coconut fish cakes with cucumber pickles
Leanne Kitchen and Antony Suvalko, East
Makes about 25

These Javanese-style fish cakes are simple to prepare, easy to cook and packed with flavour. Any white-fleshed fish will work and, while we’ve gone for snapper, by all means substitute with what’s freshest, sustainable and well priced at your fishmonger or supermarket. No chilli required here – just whip up a batch of cucumber pickles and you’re away!

4 small red Asian shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 candlenuts, chopped
1.5cm piece fresh galangal, chopped
1cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
800g boneless, skinless snapper, John Dory or any other white-fleshed fish fillets, cut into 5cm pieces
1 tsp caster sugar
200g fresh grated or thawed frozen grated coconut
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml coconut milk
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Cucumber pickles
60ml clear rice vinegar
2 tbsp boiling water
55g caster sugar
2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
1 telegraph cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways

For the cucumber pickles, combine the rice vinegar, boiling water and sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cool. Add the chopped chilli.

Remove the seeds from the cucumber using a teaspoon, then thinly slice the cucumber diagonally. Add to the vinegar mixture and stand for 1 hour before serving. Cucumber pickles are best served on the day they are made.

Combine the shallots, garlic, candlenuts, galangal and ginger in a food processor and process until a paste forms. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle. Add the fish fillets and process until the mixture is smooth

Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the oil and pickles, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a large wok until it reaches 170°C, or until a cube of bread turns golden in 20 seconds.

Using your hands, form two tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls then flatten into thick discs about 5–6cm across.

Fry the fish cakes, in batches, for about 12 minutes, turning once, or until deep golden and cooked through. Take care when cooking as the cakes are delicate. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain any excess oil, then serve them hot with the cucumber pickles.

Wine match: 2016 Rutherglen Estates Pinot Grigio
The warm Rutherglen summer gives our Pinot Grigio well-ripened almond and pear-like aromatics. The palate shows slightly mineral grapefruit characters with vibrant fruits and a clean, soft texture that will complement the fresh fish and coconut. – Winemaker Marc Scalzo

Sesame tuna squares 
Jane Kennedy, OMG! I Can Eat That?
Serves 6

A combination of sesame seeds gives these nibbles a great crunch and the wasabi mayo gives the tuna a zingy bite.

2 fresh tuna steaks (about 200g each)
80g sesame seeds
80g black sesame seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Lime wedges to serve
Wasabi mayonnaise
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
Wasabi paste to taste

Cut the tuna into approximately 3cm squares. Sprinkle both the sesame seeds on a large plate. Season the tuna squares with sea salt and pepper. Roll the squares in the sesame mix.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Using tongs, gently place the tuna squares in the pan. Cook on one side for 1½ minutes, then turn and cook for another minute. Do the same on all sides. Place on paper towel.

To make the wasabi mayonnaise, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the tuna squares with sea salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and the wasabi mayonnaise.

Wine match: 2016 Audrey Wilkinson Rose
The fresh strawberry and red cherry flavours of this Rosé, with its crisp finish, will contrast against the rich tuna nicely while providing some refreshment from the bite of the wasabi. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne

Zucchini and haloumi fritters with roasted capsicum salsa
Bitesize: Tartlets, Quichettes and Cute Things
Makes about 24

1 small red capsicum
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
350g zucchini
250g haloumi, grated
3 spring onions, chopped
75g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp chopped dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for shallow-frying

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the capsicum on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until the skin has blackened. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds. Cut the capsicum into thin strips and place in a bowl with the parsley and lemon juice. Set aside until required.

Coarsely grate the zucchini. Wrap in a tea towel and wring out to remove excess moisture. Place in a bowl, add the haloumi, spring onion, flour, eggs and dill, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Heat 2cm oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon amounts of the zucchini mixture, flatten out slightly and cook for 1–2 minutes on each side or until golden.

Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining mixture. To serve, top each fritter with a spoonful of capsicum salsa.

Wine match: 2014 Yering Station Chardonnay
The key to this pairing is the balance between the saltiness of the haloumi, the racy, natural, citrus-like acidity of this cool climate chardonnay and its fleshy, mid-palate fruit sweetness. – Winemaker Willy Lunn

Brown sugar meringues with passionfruit curd
Lyndey Milan, Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia
Makes 50

These meringues are a modern take on an Australian classic – the pavlova with cream and passionfruit. Made as miniatures, they are ideal for afternoon tea or to finish a cocktail party.

3 eggs, separated
80g caster sugar
80g brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Lightly whipped cream to serve

Passionfruit curd
60g passionfruit pulp
40g butter
55g caster sugar
3 egg yolks (left over from the meringue mixture)

Preheat the oven to 160°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar then the brown sugar, gradually, and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cornflour and vanilla, and mix until just combined.

Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the prepared trays. With the back of a wet teaspoon, carefully make an indent in each meringue that will hold the cream and curd. Bake for 50 minutes or until dry. Place the trays on wire racks and leave to cool. Carefully peel the meringues off the baking paper.

While the meringues are baking, make the passionfruit curd. Strain the passionfruit pulp, but return a few seeds to it and put it with the remaining ingredients in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Whisk for 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

To serve, top the meringues with a spoon of the lightly whipped cream and a dollop of the passionfruit curd.

Note: To test to see if the sugar has dissolved in the meringue, rub a small amount of mixture between your fingers; if gritty, keep beating until it feels smooth.

Wine match: 2016 Audrey Wilkinson Moscato
This 2016 Moscato, with its fresh, delicate flavours of berries and hint of spritz, is a great complement to the sweetness of these meringues and their zesty curd. – Winemaker Jeff Byrne


This is an edited extract from 
Cooked: Food for Friends published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $24.99.

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