Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red velvet cake

Around 3:30 this afternoon my boss waltzed in with a Corica Apple Strudel for afternoon tea, if you live in Perth and have had Corica Apple Strudel you know it was a big treat for the team, thanks Anthony.
Now if you don't live in Perth and you haven't had Corica Apple Strudel you really do not know what you are missing, so I will tell you.  It is basically 18 inches long, 3 inches wide and 4 inches high and made of the lightest yummiest puff pastry, which is layerd with beautiful apples, custard and cream, they are simply heavenly!

Now I don't quite know how you go from an Apple Strudel to a Red Velvet Cake, but somehow I did and there I was thinking I am going to cook Red Velvet Cake tonight, so I looked up a few recipes, there were lots to choose from, ended up going with the first one, as you do, dropped into Coles on my way through Northbridge and shopped for the few ingredients I did not already have at home and I was on my way.

I have wanted to try Red Velvet Cake since I watched Steal Magnolias years ago, mine is not as elaborate as the one in the movie, you may recall it was in the shape of an Armadillo, I think they actually called it a Groom's cake and as they cut a slice it looked like the thing was mortally wounded.  As the Dad takes a slice of the rump he says "nothing like a good piece of arse!"

It was actually really wierd mixing the dough, it was like blood red, but tasted like normal chocolate cake mix, it was fun to make.  I stopped at my favorite little Asian mini market to buy a couple of cake tins on my way home as Coles did not have any, I could only get 26 cm tins, it was supposed to be 2 x 23 cm tins and when it came to pouring the mixture out, it proved I was only going to need the one tin, so my cake is not going to be as high as I would like, but boy is it wide!!!

I have just taken the cake out of the oven and it has risen beautifully and thanks to a little butter and then flour on the tin, it came out in one bit, not like Joel's birthday cake, so I was very happy about that, just have to wait till it cools now and I can get the icing on!  Excited!

The proof will be in the eating, will have to wait till tomorrow for that, in the mean time I'd like to say thanks to Annabel213 for this recipe.  Now I can't wait to cut into it!!!

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Curry night

Had a phone call whilst I was at work today requesting an Indian curry for dinner, it was Jo making the call and the request, which cracks me up because for years Jo told me she didn’t like curry.
In fact I have this little curry cookbook which I would use 2 or 3 times a week before I met Jo.  But since we have been together every time I brought it out she would say no let’s have something else instead, this went on for the better part of five years, until earlier this year I was reacquainted with my little curry book and I finally cooked Jo curry.   Things have never been the same since and I am often requested for some form of curry to go with roti bread or naan bread or as the craving was tonight, pappadums!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do so when I shopped I brought both pork and beef, ended deciding to use the beef in a Keema Curry, it wasn’t until all the spices and garlic and ginger were ready to go that I realised the recipe stated minced beef, I had diced meat, so went with it all the same, just cooked it a little longer and added about a cup of beef stock to the gravy whilst it cooked.
It turned out pretty good, as curry goes it will be better still tomorrow, so will look forward to the leftovers.
I also cooked up a dry potato and pea curry, which has always been one of my favourites, think I added a bit more chilli than I used to though as it was quite hot, to combat that heat I diced up some cucumber and tomato, added some fresh mint and it worked wonderfully and had a lovely cooling affect on the laughing gear.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stir fried beef in oyster sauce with rice noodles

Tuesday’s after a long weekend can be so hard, especially when you wake at 3:00 AM and are still looking at the ceiling at 5:00 AM.  My son and his lovely young family took off for Kuala Lumpur this morning and had to leave home at 3:00 AM, so I probably had them all on my mind and woke out of sympathy for them having to be out of bed so early, not that bad though being on your way to KL, great city, one Jo and I would go to in the blink of an eye given the chance.  Hope you have a great holiday Michael, Sherrilee, Ethan and Reggie, Poppy & Jo Jo love you, keep safe xx

Given the fact I could barely hold my eyes open throughout the day, I went for something quick and easy for dinner and was very happy I did, because it was yummo!  Jo and I had both been hanging out for a Beef stir fry for a while, and this one done in oyster sauce with fresh veggies and mushrooms, with lots of cracked pepper, really hit the spot!

This could have been marginally better had I the time to marinated he meat in the soy sauce for 1-2 hours, but when you are tired and hungry who wants to wait that long?

Marinate beef strips in 2 tablespoons of light soy mixed with 1 tablespoon cornflour (if you can wait that long).  Whilst the meat marinates prepare you vegetables, stir fry’s are great because you can put anything that takes your fancy or what you have on hand, provided it gets thrown in the wok at the appropriate time it will be spot on!
Tonight I added, 1 julienned carrot, 1 stick celery julienned, ½ red capsicum sliced, ½ green capsicum sliced, a handful of green beans, 2 large field mushrooms sliced, 4 spring onions diced and a red chilli sliced.

Heat a table spoon of peanut oil in wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon each of chopped garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant.
Add the beef, cook until browned all over, remove from wok and set aside
Add a little more peanut oil, and then add all the vegetables except the spring onion and chilli and cook for a few minutes
Add ½ cup beef stock, return the beef and mix in with vegetables
Add 2 tablespoons oyster sauce and a teaspoon of sugar, mix well, then add ground black pepper
Add the spring onion and chilli, stir for a minute or so and it is ready to serve.

Serve with steam rice or like I did tonight with rice noodles.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy 16th Birthday Joel

We had the family over on Saturday night to celebrate my youngest son’s 16th birthday, it turned out to be a great night and we all enjoyed some amazing food.  Having a vegetarian amongst us dictates that Seafood always features when the family gets together, not that the rest of us are complaining as we all love our seafood.
Whole baked snapper which had been marinated overnight in a spicy Thai style, coriander and green chilli paste was the star, with a great supporting role by a Malay dish called Sotong Sambal, which is baby squid stuffed with fish, prawns, garlic and spring onions, the squid is then poached in a spicy coconut, red chilli and onion sauce.  The snapper was delightful, beautifully flavoured and the flesh, which came away so easily from the bone, was moist and succulent.  The squid was tender and oh so tasty, it was a big hit with the boys, the spices complimented the seafood rather than dominating it.
Sotong Sambal

Herb Steak and Thai BBQ Chicken
For the meat lovers there was oregano and garlic steak, which was Jo’s favourite, and some Thai style barbeque chicken, which had been marinated in a coconut milk sauce, flavoured by coriander, ginger, lemon grass, garlic and shallots.
Layered Salad
Tomato, Cucumber and Onion
Jo made a yummy potato salad and a fantastic layered salad, which was everyone’s favourite, unfortunately as there was no leftovers for my Sunday lunch!

And of course there was Joel’s South African Chocolate Birthday Cake for dessert.  I made the cake on Friday night, and being the first cake I had made in a decade, I had a few little problems getting the cake out of the tin once cooked, leaving a little bit behind in both tins, so the final product looked a little wonky.  The important thing though, was that it was homemade and made with love, but the best bit was the taste, and that was fantastic, it tasted so good my grandson Ethan who is not a big eater, asked for seconds then complained he was so full, but still ate the cake, it was yummy and E was not the only one to go back for seconds, I know that for the truth!
It was a lovely night, just as it should be when four generations sit down to a meal to celebrate something as important as a 16th birthday, so Happy Birthday Joel, hope you enjoyed yourself as much as the rest of us did.
Ryan, Sherrilee, Jo, Grandma, Michael, Regan, Joel and Ethan

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thai fragrant grilled chicken

A lovely Thai dish was on the menu tonight, very simple and quick to prepare but very big on flavour, just as you would expect from a Thai dish.
What better way to go on a Friday night, would be great to sit back with a cold beer now and watch a nice movie, I had started to watch On Golden Pond for the umpteenth time before dinner, just a bit to chill out after what seemed a stressful day, thanks to electronic things not working as they are meant too.
All good now though, but the movie will have to wait as I have some more cooking to do in readiness of having the family for dinner tomorrow night, celebrating my son Joel's 16th birthday, my God where did those years go?  Where ever they went they ain't coming back, nor are the precious moments going by as I sit and write this, so I best wrap it up and get back to my kitchen, have a great weekend everyone and com'on the Saints!

Recipe from The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook

Wow,  my blog has just been accepted onto The Foodie Blogroll, check sidebar for their widget, best place to start when you are in the mood to read about food! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mid week Bouillabaisse, a quick fix!

After cooking with saffron last night and enjoying its flavour so much in the yummy sauce of the involtini delicati, it got me thinking today of one of the best things I have ever tasted, Bouillabaisse.
My brother gave me the best recipe ever many years ago to make a traditional Bouillabaisse and it is outstanding, though it takes a good 3-4 hours to make it and it is quite expensive to make due to the ingredients, but it is worth every minute and every penny when you sit down to a bowl of it, with nothing more than some big chunks of crunchy crusted bread.
I have only ever cooked it twice, due to the length of time it takes and the fact it is quite expensive and you certainly would not cook it mid week unless you were on holidays.
But all the same I had hankering to cook again tonight with saffron and to have it with seafood, so I thought to myself, self get over to Vic Park and buy some of that beautiful marinara mix and find a recipe to use as a base from Gourmet Traveller.  So that is exactly what I did and boy I am delighted with the result, the flavours that where in this plate of food was unbelievable!
It took me about an hour to prepare, cook and serve up and was so good, I would have to think twice about using the other recipe again, but that is bull because I know I will cook that other recipe again on day!

The recipe I used for a base can be found here, but trust me my ingredients were quite different when you get to the lower end of the page.  I did follow the cooking method to a degree, just changed a few things due to the ingredients I used, so the fish went in first, then the squid, then the prawns and finally the mussel meat and scallops which take so little time to cook.  The marinara mix I use comes in a 400g bag, it costs $5.40 and has about, 1 cup diced baby squid, 1 cup mussel meat only, 1 cup shrimp and ½ cup scallops, the place I buy it from is in Burswood Road Vic Park, and they know how to treat seafood, they only sell frozen product but when you defrost it, you can smell the ocean it is so fresh.  They do a bigger 1kg bag at $7.90 and I noticed today they have whole baby octopus in it, looks good but was more than I needed.  I also added 1 cup Norwest prawns and a fillet of fish I had in the freezer and instead of using a bay leaf I added 4 Kaffir lime leaves, which where ideal for this dish.
The other thing I do different to the recipe is with the saffron, rather than adding the threads to the pan, I dilute them in a ¼ cup of boiling water for about ten minutes before I use them, this brings both the colour and the flavours out of the threads.
If you were to follow the GT recipe to the letter I can guarantee you it would be fantastic, you might spend a little more but it would make a great meal  and would suffice until I do my traditional Bouillabaisse and share it on this blog, but you’ll have to wait until sometime midsummer for that!   In the meantime if you did what I have done tonight, I know you are going to enjoy!

Garnish with fresh herbs, dill, flat leaf parsley and/or fennel fronds, serve with fresh crunchy bread or garlic bread, knock yourself out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Involtini Delicati

Had fun doing tonight’s dinner, after I was inspired reading a blog last night, well looking at pictures really, as it is an Italian site and it is written in the native tongue, but as they say a picture paints a thousand words, anyway the meal this Italian lass has blogged, looked so good I just had to have a go at it.

I was able to translate the recipe, it really is not a good translation, but it was good enough and I am so glad I tried it, because it was very, very yummy, tasted as good as it looked.

I will be a regular visitor to her blog, her food really looks amazing.

This is exactly how it translated,
In a pan heat oil and fry the onion finissima.Unire pepper, diced ½ cup wine, salt and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes, adding a ladle of hot water if the sauce is too narrowed. Dissolve saffron in half a cup of water calda.A cooked, add half the saffron diluito.Aquesto point preparing the rolls, chop the ham and add to sauce, pepper, add the Parmesan cheese salt and pepper and place the mixture on slices of breast chicken, stop rolling pin with a toothpick and leaf alloro.Farli brown, add the remaining saffron pepper sauce and half a glass of wine and finish cooking about 10 minutes. As reproduced from this Italian Site

And this is how I went about it

3 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
100g bacon, thick sliced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
100g parmesan cheese
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
Pinch of saffron threads
Bunch sage leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
Oil, salt and pepper

Cut the breasts lengthwise into two, then covering with cling wrap lightly pound out with a rolling pin to flatten out a little
Heat oil in a non stick pan over medium heat
Dissolve saffron threads in a ¼ cup boiling water and set aside
Add finely sliced onion, capsicum, garlic and cook for a minute
Add thickly sliced bacon and a few sage leaves, mix in well and cook for a few minutes
Add half the wine, deglazing the pan and scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, cook until wine has almost evaporated
Transfer contents of pan to a mixing bowl, allow to cool, then add the parmesan and mix well into other ingredients
Lay chicken pieces out flat and spoon mixture into the middle, roll chicken from the small end, lay sage leave over the chicken and pin it with a toothpicks
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan, add chicken rolls a couple at a time and roll around to brown and seal all over, remove from pan add more and repeat till all done
Add the remaining wine to deglaze the pan, again scrap up any stuck bits, then add garlic and chilli
Add saffron juice, mix well then add chicken stock, mix in whist bringing to the boil
Add chicken rolls to sauce, cover with lid, reduce heat to simmer and cook about ten minutes, spooning sauce over every now and then and turning chicken a few times.

Serve with creamy potato mash, steamed silver beet and julienned carrots


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

I absolutely love Vietnamese food, not the Westernised stuff that you can get at any Chinese restaurant, but the real McCoy which is made with exotic spices and fresh as they come herbs.
This particular meal was very similar to Pho Bo (Pho is pronounced as Far, Bo is Beef), and it was pretty good, nowhere near the traditional Pho Bo I enjoyed at the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Min City earlier this year, but it had the same pungent smell and mouth exploding flavours, not to mention the hot spiciness of the chillies.
All this in something that took less than ten minutes to prepare, the perfect meal to make when your wife wants to nick off to South Geraldton to see Family.

Served up with fresh spring onion slices, beansprout, Vietnamese mint, coriander and lime, I added a couple of little extra condiments to the ones suggested in this recipe, that help make the dish a little more authentic, firstly a sprinkling of tiny little dried shrimp and secondly a decent squirt of Sriracha hot chilli sauce over the Beef strips.  Fantastic!  Makes me want to go back to Vietnam, oh well one day soon we hope, have to make do with Vinh Hong in the meantime!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A non blog blog

I will be preparing a boring T-Bone for dinner tonight so nothing to blog about really as I have covered steak a couple of different ways already from memory, and well steak is steak not a lot to blog about, is there?

Ever since I started this blog, people have asked, did I start blogging about my cooking because I had seen the movie Julie & Julia, and quite honestly other than having heard the name I knew nothing of it, and every time I have told people that they have said "Oh you should get it out, you'll really enjoy it", so I did today, I went down to the video store and I rented a copy of Julie & Julia, so now I understand why people keep asking me about the movie.
It wasn't a bad movie, though it did get in the way of an afternoon nap a couple of times, but I did enjoy it overall, mainly due to some of the comparisons both Jo and I could draw from the situations being played out in the movie.  But then it was about people who love cooking and love eating good food, so I guess that was always going to be the case, I did find it funny though some of the interaction between the couples, the love and the dedication to each other and in each other's lives and interests, in a way the story could have been about Jo and Jack to a large degree.

We went out for Yum Cha early today with Dorothy.Dot and young Luke, it was Luke's idea to go, he has become very fond of Yum Cha since we introduced him to it a couple of months back, today we introduced Dorothy.Dot and she seemed to enjoy it too.  It is a fun thing to do on a Sunday, cueing up on the footpath waiting for a table having a chat  in the sun, then venturing inside to sit and chat whilst drinking hot green tea and nibbling delicious Chinese delicacies, love it.  We shared a table with some friends we bumped into whilst we were waiting for a table, it seems it is easier to get a table for ten than it is for four when you go to Yum Cha, we numbered seven when we sat to eat, and it was great to catch up with old friends over some yummy food.  I actually took my camera so I could share the occasion, but it only got used on the walk to and from the car, so will have to make do with these, enjoy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

I have just put tonight's dinner in the oven and I am quite keen for it to be ready as I am intrigued by it due to the name and the ingredients, "Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic", Jo was horrified when I first said I was going to cook this, but she seems ok today, maybe because it is a weekend and we don't have a lot planned, sure she would be objecting if she had a dentist appointment though, no doubt so would the dentist!
It is a very easy dish to prepare, simple as putting some chicken pieces in a pot with a few herbs, oil and lots of garlic.  The garlic goes in skins and all so there is no tedious shelling to worry about, hardest part about this dish was making the dough and rolling it out long enough to go around the circumference of the pot.
I didn’t get the dough very even in thickness, but it is only to seal the lid to the pot and I think I have done a pretty good job at that.  This recipe also came from the Gourmet Traveller, one of the ones I found when perusing the net at lunchtime a few weeks back, so I have had it here for a while, just had to warm Jo to the idea of trying it, I am hoping I will be able to say "I told you so".
I am planning to serve this with a creamy mashed potato, some baby carrots, and broccoli and of course some roasted garlic, and as I said before I can’t wait to see how it turns out, stay tuned!

Ready for the oven.

Ok, I will keep my word and I won't say it, but what I will say Jo is I did notice you get up and go for seconds!!!

Very nice, very nice indeed, the chicken fell off the bones and melted in your mouth, it was not over powering with garlic as one might have thought, but beautifully flavoured and the chicken oh so succulent, the mash potato, roasted carrot and steamed broccoli where perfect, as was the gravy my gorgeous wife made at the last minute.  This will be done again!  Sooner than later please, ... yes Jo!

Victoria Walters - Shrimp scampi with linguine

I have been hanging out to cook this meal, I received the recipe from an old cyber space friend Victoria Walters, who lives on the other side of the world in the US of A.  I first met Victoria in a chat room in 2003, we have been friends since, have exchanged gifts of calendars from our home towns etc., several emails and photo’s and even a phone call in early 2004, having shared many highs and lows along the way as good friends do, thankfully for both of us it has been more of the high’s than the other way.
So how did Victoria come to share one of her recipes with me?  Well she posted a request to all of her family (which is spread out over America) on Facebook asking them to send her some of their favourite recipes, as she wanted to put them all together to form a family favourite’s recipe book.
Several of the family responded and contributed some great recipes for her book, I was feeling a little left out I guess at the time, so I sent her my Grandma’s/Mother’s Apple Pie recipe with a message saying “Hi Victoria, saw your request for recipes on FB, and although I am not family could not let the opportunity to share the best Apple Pie recipe with you! Regards Jack”
She must have liked it because the recipe made it into the Nimmo, Hamilton, Wagoner Family Cookbook, I know this because she was kind enough to send me a copy, and this recipe that is out of that book, is a little beaut.  Victoria makes the comment in the recipe that she makes it when she has company over for dinner, we didn’t have company over, which was fantastic because I only had to share it with Jo Girl, bonus!
Shrimp Scampi with Linguine
Submitted by Vicky Walters, altered oh so slightly by me to metric and a couple of substituted ingredients.

A household favourite for special occasions – The first time I made this, it was chosen by popular vote to be served the next time we have company over for dinner.

1 kg. Green Prawns, shelled and deveined
1 medium Onion chopped
1 tsp Roasted Red Pepper flakes
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
½-1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
½ cup Parmesan/Romano grated cheese blend
1 cup Milk
½ cup Dry White Wine (White Balsamic Vinegar may be substituted for wine if preferred)
500g Linguine – cooked according to package directions
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Lemon juice

In an extra large skillet, sauté prawns with onions and spices in the oil until onions are clear.
Remove prawns from skillet leaving behind everything else.
Add 2Tbsp butter to the skillet.
Stir with large fork to blend the butter evenly with the onions and spices.
Sprinkle the flour over the top of the mixture and continue stirring it with the fork until the onions are coated and the flour has mixed well with the butter/oil mixture and is smooth.
Add the milk and wine gradually, continuing to stir the mixture with the fork.
When all the liquid is in, continue to stir until the sauce thickens to medium-consistency.
Add the shrimp back in, add the cheese and mix together with sauce, then lower temperature to keep the scampi and sauce just under simmering and hold until ready to serve over Linguine.
After Linguine is cooked as directed by package, drain, rinse, and put back in pot.
Add the butter and lemon juice, stir until well blended, then place on plates.
Top the linguine with the scampi and sauce.
Serve with garlic bread (or bread sticks) and a green salad to complete the meal.
Both Jo and I can understand the popular vote to have it served next time company is over, it was absolutely divine and will become a favourite for me simply for it’s simplicity to prepare and cook, thanks Victoria, this one is surely a winner!
We will look forward to the day when we get to share your company, even more so now, coz we know what's for dinner!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beef fillet with black pepper sauce

This recipe is HOT!
We have a favourite little restaurant in Perth, it is a Japanese restaurant, the owners have been there near to 30 years now, they are extremely pleasant people and their food is out of this world.
I rarely order steak when I dine out, Jo on the other hand would do so every time if she had her way.  The first time I took Jo to our favourite little restaurant she ordered the fillet steak and the experience for her was orgasmic, I had seldom seen her smile so big, it affected me so, that the next  time we visited that restaurant I ordered the fillet steak, then I understood. 
Every time we have been there since I have ordered the fillet steak, boring? ... anything but!, and I always say, I wish I could cook steak that tasted as good as that, well tonight I did, thanks to the ever faithful Gourmet Traveller, absolutely outstanding and the easiest, honestly this one takes the cake, recipe ever to be cooked in Jack’s kitchen.  This is how it went, Jack got home around 5 pm, Jack dices the steak in to 2 cm cubes, puts it in a bowl, opens a bottle of good rice wine and pours 2 tablespoons over the steak, a grind of pepper and a little salt, give it a stir, open a Corona and sit and play on the computer, time 5:10 pm.  An hour twenty later return to kitchen, boil some water, put the wok on the stove and heat some oil, water boils throw in some mungbean vermicelli in the water, throw the steak in the wok, take the steak out, remove most of the oil, throw in some garlic and the sauce, return the steak to wok, stir, remove noodles from water, place on a plate, spoon beef and sauce over top, dinner is cooked, time 6:40 pm, too easy! 
 And that is how to cook the best steak ever.

Wash it down with one of these!
Cook's choice, Cheers!

And here is the recipe, thought I forgot didn't you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nona’s meatballs in tomato sauce with fried aubergine

Love this recipe, it is extremely easy to throw together and always tastes fantastic, the meatballs are the yummiest I have ever tasted and the fresh home grown aubergines went so nice with them too, thanks MIL for the aubergines.  Ha ha heard a funny story whilst cooking them aubergines, apparently Jo texted her Mum last night to thank her for them, she texted back and said "you’re welcome darling", as she usually does, then this morning Jo rang her and thanked her again, Mother dearest laughed and asked “what are aubergines”, good on ya Mum,  v funny!

Start out by getting your big mixing bowl out for this one and throw 750g premium beef mince into it, followed a good handful of grated tasty cheese, a cup of grated parmesan cheese, 4 eggs, a couple of garlic cloves crushed, 1 ½ cups of fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp mixed Italian herbs, a decent cranking of black pepper and a shake of salt.  Now wash your hands and mix all that together until well combined, then with wet hands grab half a handful and roll into a ball, about the size of a squash ball, repeat until you have about 20 balls ready to cook all nicely lined up on a tray.  Now heat some vegetable oil in a heavy based frying pan, you want it about 2-3 ml deep, when the oil is nice and hot add the meatballs, turning often whilst they cook for 8-10 minutes. When they are cooked remove to your tray that is now lined with paper towel and bung them in the oven to keep warm, have oven at about 120C.  Now using the same pan and oil fry the aubergine, which I dusted lightly with rice flour, salt and pepper, cook until golden both sides, remove from pan add put with the meatballs in the oven.  Drain off the oil from the pan and remove any meat crumbs, now using the same pan, add a tbsp olive oil, let that heat a little then add a finely diced onion, a fine diced green capsicum, a crushed garlic clove or two and a tbsp mixed Italian herbs, stir whist cooking.  Cook until onions are softened then add 1 cup stock, stir pan to remove stuck bits, then add two cans of crushed tomatoes, if you have whole tomatoes like I did, you get to have fun squishing them between your fingers.  Bring sauce to the boil, and then reduce to simmer with the lid on.  Now cook your pasta, bring water to the boil, once it is boiled add your pasta, then take meatballs from the oven and add them to the sauce, spoon sauce all over them and let them simmer whilst the pasta cooks, about 8-11 minutes depending on the pasta you have chosen.  Serve meatballs with sauce over the pasta and add aubergines to the side, bon appétit.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tomato chicken curry with potato and aubergine

Thought I best do a blog tonight since I have had a few nights off, thanks to Friday football, a birthday party, a wedding and a case of food poisoning (had some bad grapes, again), all good now though still somewhat tired, but that is enough whinging for one post!

Had a very late finish from work today and came home to find Jo had defrosted some chicken drumsticks for dinner, only thing there was not a lot in the house, so I decided best and easiest thing to do would be a curry.  I had a quick look at one of my curry books but did not see anything that interested me so I just sort of threw a few things together as I went and ended up with a tomato chicken curry with potato and aubergines.  The best thing about curries is they are so easy and you can throw just about anything in the pot and it will work out ok, the second best thing is I know it is going to taste even better tomorrow, but tonight it tasted very nice indeed.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp ginger
1 kilo chicken legs
2 med-lge potatoes, diced
1 large aubergine, diced
2 x 400g cans tomatoes, diced
1 cup stock
Curry paste

Curry paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp garamassala
2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
2tbsp white wine vinegar

·         Add all ingredients for curry paste to a bowl and mix well with a fork until it forms a paste
·         Heat oil in a large heavy based pan, add onion and cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat
·         Add garlic and ginger and cook until onions are tender
·         Add chicken to the pan and cook to brown all sides, then remove chicken from pan and set aside
·         Add the curry paste and cook stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute
·         Add the stock, scrap bottom of pan to get all stuck bits off
·         Add the potato and aubergine, mix well to coat with curry paste
·         Add the tomatoes , mix in with stock
·         Return the chicken to the pan, cover with curry sauce
·         Raise heat until sauce comes to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with lid and let cook for 30-40 minutes, the chicken should just start to fall from the bones and the potatoes tender
·         Serve with steamed rice and a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Garlic roasted chicken with tomatoes and olives

Every now and then I get to feeling a little lazy about my cooking, it is these times when I turn to my old friend Donna Hay as I have tonight.  I have come to know Donna Hay as the easy peasy designer of great food, her recipes are so simple, so tasty, and I love them.  Tonight’s meal was as easy as oiling up a chook and throwing it in the oven for half an hour, then whack in some tomatoes and olives and roast for another ten minutes and dinner is done.  I have added a couple of extras to the dish as I think if you are having roast anything you have to have roast potato, so I part cooked two spuds in the micro, quarter them and put them in with the chook.  I also added a few slices of sour dough bread which were lightly coated with butter and olive oil, I put these in with the tomatoes, they add a great element to the dish with both taste and a bit of crunch.  So we had a few more greens on the plate I served it all up with a few mixed lettuce leafs , which went wonderfully together.
Tomato, Olives and Bread added now back in the oven for 10 minutes
Donna’s recipe
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for brushing
1 x 1.5 Chicken, halved
250g truss tomatoes
½ cup pitted green olives (I used stuffed green olives for a bit more flavour)
1 cup Basil leaves
Red wine vinegar, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200C.  Combine the garlic, salt, pepper and oil, and brush over the chicken. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes and olives to the tray. Roast for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are tender. Top with Basil leaves and drizzle with red wine vinegar to serve. Serves 2

Now I did not have basil leaves so I threw in some fresh mint leaves, and of course the other little extras mentioned above, that was so easy I have been able to write this blog whilst it is in the oven, just the kinda cookin ya want after a hard day at the grind!
That was so funny, this looked and smelt so good coming out of the oven, Jo was salivating at the lips.  Then I started plating the meal up and before I knew she whips hers away and says "yeah you'res looks better take photo's of that"!!!  The only thing I doubt about Donna's recipe is the bit where she says Serves 2! It is a pretty big meal for two people, and would easily feed four, especially if your having apple pie for desert, something I am not tonight coz there just ain't no room!  One last thing, it is a good idea to serve a couple of slice of bread with the meal to soak up all the beautiful juices, the truss tomatoes were the best!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ginger and soy pork with fried rice and bok choy

I have always been fond of honey soy pork, but have never really knocked it on the scone like I would have liked, after cooking this recipe from Gourmet Traveller tonight, I now know I have not been putting in enough honey and my method of cooking has not been quite right.  That is all sorted now, as this recipe has sorted that out, the pork was spot on. We finished dinner almost an hour ago, but Jo is still walking around saying how wonderful the house smells, thanks to the ginger and garlic in the honey soy sauce and I guess a little bit is due to the fresh herbs I added right at the last moment to the fried rice, it did smell fantastic.
The pork fillet was so tender and juicy and the flavour of the ginger honey and soy really was to die for.  Actually the food must have smelt great to the passing traffic too, as my son was driving home up the freeway and made a detour to Dad’s, just in time to sit for dinner, some people get it good don’t they?
The GT recipe had this teamed up with steamed rice, which would go very nicely with it, but I wanted to use up some bits and pieces so I made fried rice and it went just as well with it, there is none left so I know it was not too bad!  Have to say I loved the steamed bok choy too, added a great crunch factor to the meal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prawn saganaki

This painted ceramic of an ocean scene, as viewed from a little Greek villa, sits on the back fence of our home, I often looked at it and dream of one day being at such a villa on a Greek Isle somewhere enjoying a view just like this one with my gorgeous wife, while eating a scrumptious seafood lunch, I think what we had for dinner tonight would be just the shot to fulfil the lunch part of this dream, all we need now is the villa and a couple of air tickets.

This was a great little dinner, found the recipe on Gourmet Traveller this afternoon and it is a beauty, easy to make and fantastic on flavours.  I had a little trouble getting some of the ingredients, that’s the trouble with shopping so late in the day, but I was very happy with what I substituted with and now could not imagine cooking any other way it was so good.  The recipe called for thyme and red banana chillies, as I could get neither I used fresh dill and green chillies, the dill tasted so good like I said earlier I could not imagine it any better.  We had this with mixed salad leaves, for which I prepared a simple French mustard, white vinegar and extra virgin olive oil dressing, this has become my favourite combination for a salad dressing and it is so easy to put together, and to soak up all the lovely flavours from the prawn sagnaki, we had some fresh crunchy green olive and feta panini’s. 

Another great recipe from Gourmet Traveller, and one we will be having again soon, so I have been told, gees hope it is from the balcony of that villa!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lamb and sweet potato tagine

We had one of our favourites for dinner tonight, lamb and sweet potato tagine, it is a recipe from Michelle Bridge’s Crunch Time, now I know Michelle is no world renown chef, but her book does have some flavour filled recipes such as this one and we do take the healthy alternative from time to time, some say not as many times as we should, but I’m smiling!  

This is the recipe that first introduced me to Moroccan Spice, I love the stuff but it has an effect on me where I do not sleep so well after I have eaten it, so I have added an extra can of tomato to the recipe and served up with some mash potato, so long as no one tells Michelle we should be right, don’t really fancy doing an extra gruelling sixty minutes in the gym!  It is a great meal though, full of flavour and it is great reheated the next day for lunch too, so hopefully Jo won’t ask for seconds!
Actually it cooked up a lot bigger than I expected and there were three of us eating as I had one of my sisters over for dinner, and there is still plenty for a few lunches tomorrow, not going to complain about that now am I?

Olive oil spray
650g lamb shoulder, cubed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1½ tablespoons Moroccan Spice
400g canned tomato (i used 2)
850g sweet potato, cubed
1 ½ cups frozen peas
1 lemon, juice only
1 bunch coriander leaves only

Lightly spray pan with oil spray and heat on medium-high
Brown meat in batches and then set aside
add oil to the pan, heat and then add onion, cook for a few minutes until softened, add garlic, ginger and spices, cook 30 seconds or until fragrant
add the meat back to pan and coat with spice mix
add tomatoes with 2/3 cup water, mix in, bring to the boil , then cover and cook on simmer for 1 hour
add the sweet potato and cook a further 30 mins covered
add peas cook another 3 minutes
take off heat and stir through the lemon juice, sprinkle with coriander leaves.
My wife's beautiful touch, luv ya work Jo Girl xx

Roasted loin of pork, rolled with onion and thyme stuffing

Having woken up Saturday morning with a touch of food poisoning, thanks to a bad bunch of grapes, I was feeling a little like I had been hit by a truck before the driver jumped out and began pounding on my head.  I had so much to look forward to for the day to, Freo playing the Sparrows in an elimination final, a bit of shopping to do and at the end of the day six mouths to feed and no idea what I was going to put on the table.  I decided in my ill state of health the easiest option was to cook a roast; heck they almost do themselves, don’t they? Yeah right!

After being brought back into the land of the living by a beautifully cooked breakfast, thanks to my gorgeous wife, whom I have now been reminded can cook; I headed out to the shops and returned an hour or so later with a nice rolled pork loin and a box of fresh veggies.  I had not cooked a pork loin before but liked the look of the amount of skin it had which I knew would turn into yummy crackling, and I also saw an opportunity to unroll the loin so I could stuff it before rerolling.  I made the stuffing by frying off 4 sliced onions in butter for about ten minutes till they were golden in colour, I then added a couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme and a few cups of fresh breadcrumbs.  Re rolling and then tying of the roll was interesting, especially when the string kept snapping, but we finally achieved it and the result was well worth the effort, the crackling by the way, was awesome.  To go with the pig, I roasted potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips and carrots, boiled some cauliflower and beans, made an apple sauce and barely enough gravy, in fact I had no gravy but that was fine because I had apple sauce.

A good roast would not be complete without something for desert, I satisfied this requirement with a Golden Syrup self saucing pudding, served up with lashings of custard, I was quite surprised with the result, the pudding was so light and the golden syrup sauce went beautifully with the custard, I liked it so much I went back for seconds, just hope our guests enjoyed it all as much as I did.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Poached prawns with rice noodles, cucumber and Thai herbs

Absolutely delicious! 

Every now and then I’ll come across a Thai recipe that I can’t let go of, without going out to get the ingredients just to try it out, and when it happens, I love to shop at my favourite Asian supermarket, for the hard to get ingredients.  
So when I saw Thai basil, palm sugar and kaffir leaves on this recipe I headed straight for the Lucky Import and Export Co in Brisbane St, Northbridge.

It always cracks me up when I have to ask for help, because usually the person I ask can’t speak a word of English, so they’ll rush of and find someone who does, that person will tell them what I want and the non English speaker will then rush off speaking gobbly gook and pointing at whatever it is I want!  It works, I get what I want but the poor bugger is usually running around like a chook with its head freshly chopped off and then I’ll turn and say “Can you tell me…”! and it starts all over again.  It is a fantastic little store though, and I could spend hours there investigating what they have, be a damn side easier though once in a while, if I could communicate with more of the staff, at least they are there to help, something lacking in most of the big supermarkets, and they really are lovely people, luv em.

I found the recipe on Gourmet Traveller, which is becoming the norm on a work day, I was drawn to the dish by both the combination of ingredients and the ease of preparation.  Once again I have not been disappointed, you experience all the elements of flavour in this dish hot, sour, salty and sweet, the meal was fresh, light and oh so tasty, the perfect meal for the perfect spring day we had today.  Now I know Jo enjoyed it without even asking her, never heard so many ooh's and ah's in my life, well not for a few days anyway!
Opps forgot the recipe find it here on Gourmet Traveller