A MOVEABLE FEAST
Life’s moveable feast has taken food writer and stylist Katy Holder on a fascinating journey around the world.
Continuing the theme of food to go, Katy’s most recent offering is A Moveable Feast, a compilation of delicious dishes to take to a picnic, the beach, or when visiting friends. “All the recipes have been tested many times,” Katy explains. “Food can do strange things when it cools down, so it was important that everything could be made in advance and taste just as good hours later. I’ve also included tips for transporting the dishes, because there is nothing worse than going to the effort of making something delicious and having it damaged in transit.”
She also offers numerous styling tips, often utilising nature’s offerings including rocks, shells, feathers and flowers that can be collected and turned into pretty table decorations. Other words of wisdom include suggestions for containers, such as takeaway noodle boxes and lidded jars, which double duty as attractive pieces for the picnic table and good means of transportation. When Australian Country joined Katy for a delicious al fresco lunch in her garden, she treated us to a selection of favourites from the book, including a hearty savoury pie, a substantial quinoa salad and luscious caramel-filled meringues. Katy says her family are among her main critics and as well as appreciating their feedback, she loves the fact that even the children are quite adventurous diners, game to try everything.
For more of Katy Holder’s delicious recipes, purchase A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder (Hardie Grant Publishing, RRP $39.95).
Read more about our lunch with Katy Holder in our food files here.
Words Kirsty McKenzie
Photography Ken Brass
Prosciutto-wrapped Prawns with Garlic Aioli
Once cooked, these prawns are dipped into a homemade garlic aïoli. You could, of course, buy a jar of aioli but your homemade version will taste far superior. If you’re taking these to a place where there’s a barbecue, prepare them before you leave then cook them on arrival. Otherwise, cook them beforehand and eat cold.
20 medium king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left on
Olive oil, for brushing
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 free-range egg yolks, at room temperature
250ml (1 cup) lightly flavoured olive oil
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
- Soak 20 wooden skewers (preferably about 20cm long) in water for 20 minutes
- To make the aïoli, put the garlic into a medium bowl with the salt. Using the back of a fork, mash the garlic and salt together until a paste forms.
- Add the egg yolks and, using an electric hand mixer, mix until a thick paste forms. With the mixer in motion, start adding the olive oil, drop by drop; don’t be tempted to add it faster, otherwise the aioli may split. Once the aïoli becomes thick and creamy, you can add the oil in a steady stream. (This process should take 10-15 minutes, so don’t rush it.) Add the lemon juice to taste and check the seasoning, adding extra salt if needed. Put into the fridge until required.
- Thread each prawn onto a wooden skewer. Cut the prosciutto into long thin strips approximately 3cm wide, then, starting just above the tail, wrap a strip around each prawn, leaving 1cm of prawn visible at the top. Brush with olive oil.
- Cook the prawns on a chargrill pan or on the flat plate of a barbecue for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the prawns are cooked through. Serve the prawns hot, warm or cold with the aioli dipping sauce.
- If transporting, the prosciutto-wrapped prawns can taken uncooked and then cooked at your destination, or cook and chill them before you go. Tranport them in a lidded container in an Esky (cool box).
Chicken and Pork Picnic Pie
500g boneless, skinless chicken breast, preferably free range
400-500g good quality pork sausages
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
400g plain flour
180g chilled butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
75g rindless bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g fresh breadcrumbs (from day-old bread)
3 tablespoons flatleaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
1 cooked corn on the cob, kernels sliced off (or about 100g frozen corn kernels, thawed)
1 free-range egg, beaten
25g butter, melted
Green salad and chutney, to serve
- To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and mix for about 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 100ml of cold water and process for 10 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl or work surface and form into a ball (adding a little more water if necessary), kneading very briefly. Divide the pastry into one-third and two-thirds. Press each portion into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Roll out the larger of the two pieces to 33-34cm, or sufficient to line the base and side of a 20-21cm springform (or loose-based) tin (depth 6-7cm, allowing any excess pastry to hang over the sides. Chill until needed.
- Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally. Put it into a saucepan and add just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Drain the water and set aside (the chicken doesn’t have to be cooked through.
- To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes until softened. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, corn and beaten egg. Mix thoroughly, then season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the butter.
- Take half the stuffing and spread it over the pastry base, pressing it down gently with the back of a spoon. Shred the chicken and layer it on tip.
- Slit the skins off the sausages and put the meat into a bowl, squashing it all together, then spread it in a layer on top of the chicken, pressing it to the edges. Top with the remaining stuffing, once again pressing it down.
- Preheat fan-forced oven to 180ºC (200ºC conventional/Gas 6). Roll out the remaining pastry to a circle about 22cm across. With the excess pastry hanging over the edge, brush the top edge of the pastry in the tin with the beaten egg, then lift the lid onto the pie. Seal gently, pressing down with the tines of a fork. Trim the edges, ensuring the pie is well sealed. Brush the lid with beaten egg and cut a cross in the middle of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
- Place the pie on a baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, then brush it with egg again (to get a glossy finish) and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before slicing. If transporting the pie, leave it in the tin to keep it safe. Serve accompanied with a dressed green salad and chutney.
Quinoa Salad with Goats Cheese and Basil
This is a rich, indulgent salad, full of big flavours. You can replace the goats cheese with feta, or a more mildly flavoured bocconcini, if you prefer. If you are not serving the prawns, you could added 100g of crispy fried prosciutto to the salad.
150g (¾ cup) quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons small capers, rinsed and finely chopped
Handful basil leaves, larger leaves roughly torn
½ bunch watercress, leaves picked
150g goats cheese, broken into small pieces
50g black olives, halved
- Bring 2375ml (1½ cups) of water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover and return to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and place a clean tea towel over the saucepan, putting the lid on top of the tea towel ̶ this helps any remaining moisture to be absorbed. Leave for 10 minutes.
- Put the quinoa in a lidded bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the sherry vinegar and capers, and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Add the basil to the quinoa and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the watercress, goats cheese and olives over the top. Put the lid on to transport.
- Toss the watercress, goats cheese and olives through the salad just before serving.
Pistachio Meringues with Caramel Filling
I love meringues; they’re a favourite from Sunday afternoon tea from when I was a child. Instead of the traditional cream filling, I’ve filled these ones with caramel. Look for caramel in a can (often called Top ‘n’ Fill) in the baking section of supermarkets, or you can easily make your own caramel using condensed milk.
4 free-range egg whites
220g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
40g pistachios, roughly chopped
380g caramel in a can or 395g tinned condensed milk
- If you don’t have caramel in a can, make the caramel filling first. Remove the label from the condensed milk tin and make two small holes in the top. Put the tin into a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water up to 2cm below the top of the tin (be careful not to let any water get into the holes). Bring to a simmer, uncovered, and keep simmering for 4 hours. You’ll need to keep an eye on the water level and top it up with boiling water as necessary/ Never let the pan run dry, otherwise your tin may explode! Carefully remove the tine from the pan and leave to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, preheat fan-forced oven to 140ºC (160ºC conventional/Gas 2-3) and line three baking sheets with baking paper. Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and, using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat them until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Fold in the cornflour, vinegar and three-quarters of the pistachios.
- Put the mixture into a piping bag with no tube (or a zip-lock bag with the corner snipped off). Pipe small rounds (about 5cm in diameter) onto the prepared trays, allowing a little room for expansion, and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios. Reduce the oven temperature to 130ºC (150ºC conventional/Gas 2) and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside to cool completely.
- Scoop the caramel out of the tin, whisking it briefly to soften it. Use it to sandwich the meringues together.
- These meringues are fine to transport filled. Don’t squash them into a tin, but equally ensure they don’t have too much room to move about, otherwise they may break.