FRESH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS SAUTEED WITH PRAWNS ON WHITE POLENTA
Use whatever mushroom takes your fancy, or try fennel or artichoke. This dish is also perfect using scallops or diced blue-eye trevalla.
Make extra polenta and pour it out on an oiled bench: when cool, cut it and then pan-fry or grill it - great with a braised or roasted chook or pork.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
500g fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
8 large king prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon, halved
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100g white polenta
1/4 cup freshly grated fontina
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
50g unsalted butter
For the polenta, fill a large saucepan with 600ml water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil over high heat. Pour in the polenta and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, for 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 50 minutes or until smooth. Stir in the fontina, parmesan and butter. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
To sauté the mushrooms, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat, and cook the mushrooms until tender. Add the chopped prawns and garlic and cook for 1 minute or until the prawn meat is just cooked through. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon the warm polenta onto serving plates and top with the mushrooms and prawns.
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM WITH VANILLA SHORTBREAD
You could serve the strawberries (or any fruit) in martini glasses. Macerate the fruit for 30 minutes with a splash of Cointreau, then layer with the cream and crumbled shortbread.
For something different, replace half of the double cream with mascarpone and combine gently.
350g hulled ripe strawberries, washed, dried and cut in half (or quarters if large)
160g double cream
250g butter, chopped
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/4 cup rice flour, sifted
Serves 4, with extra shortbread
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
To make the shortbread, beat the butter, vanilla seeds and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the sifted flours and press mixture together to form a firm dough.
Knead dough gently on a floured surface until smooth. (Don't over-knead it.) Divide the dough in half.
Roll out both halves of dough to approximately 23cm rounds. Press an upturned 22cm flan-tin ring into the dough to cut out a round. Cut each round into 12 wedges.
Place the wedges on lightly greased oven trays, about 3cm apart. Bake for about 25 minutes or until they become a light sandy colour. Leave on the trays for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
To serve, divide strawberries among 4 dishes. Top with a generous dollop of double cream and serve with shortbread wedges.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Complement the mushrooms' myriad intense flavours with a complex, flavoursome wine: the 2000 Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne (about $37), from Victoria's Nagambie Lakes, has plenty of richness and texture.