Saturday, October 15, 2011

Moussaka

I have been reading my friends blog this afternoon, which is largely about her little boy Noah, her husband Richard and her family and friends, life in general.
Whilst reading through and looking at some of her amazing photo's, I felt a pang of guilt on two counts, one the camera has been locked away in its bag for about a two weeks now, and secondly it is about that long since I have blogged myself.

The fact we are staying home tonight (hopefully so that we are well rested for a day out with the grandkids tomorrow on a whale watching cruise), gave me the chance to cook something new, something I know Jo is going to love, because of the fact it has eggplant as one of the main ingredients, it has been an interesting afternoon cooking this dish.
Browning the meat.
Ready to simmer for forty minutes
What has made it interesting has been the developing flavours, which for a while there, I was thinking this isn’t right surely, having a stick of cinnamon in a meat sauce and then adding caster sugar?, but as the sauce cooked the flavours developed and it was a task not to eat it by the spoonful when tasting the final result.
Peeling strips out of the skin helps when eating the dish, makes it easier to cut through.

Salted eggplant.

Pan fried to a golden brown.

As a healthy means of browning the eggplant, the recipe suggests brushing with oil and grilling until brown 3-4 minutes, well I grilled 3-4 minutes, then I gave it another four minutes, and yet another five minutes, just didn’t work. 
Finally I pulled out my frying pan and had it beautifully cooked in half the time, and to keep with the theme of being a little healthier, I just used a small squirt of EVO.
Layering the eggplant and meat sauce






Now everything is cooked and ready to go, just need to layer with eggplant, then the meat sauce, more eggplant followed by a final layer of meat sauce, another layer of eggplant and then finishing of with the b├ęchamel sauce and a good sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Looking good already

Pour the Bechamel sauce all over the top!
The b├ęchamel sauce was a breeze to make, basically the same recipe as I used for my lasagne last week, only difference being that you add an egg once the sauce is cooked and cooled.  I almost did the blokey thing and put the eggs in straight away as the pot come off the stove, then thought better of it and let it cool, good thing too as I realised later I would have had an omelette instead of a sauce.
Add the cheese and it is oven ready.


So chuffed with this result!

The recipe also suggests a simple salad of cos lettuce, dill and spring onions tossed in lemon juice and EVO, I wasn’t real sure of the idea of cos and dill together, but dill is pone of Jo’s favourite herbs, so I went with it and was so happy I did, the flavours went well with the moussaka and the lemon dressing cut through the oiliness from the eggplant.
Great simple salad, but so yummy!

YUM YUM

and YUM
I cannot remember having had moussaka before, maybe I have I’m not sure, whatever tonight’s meal will not be the last time I try this recipe, the flavours are very good and in some way intriguing, mainly due to the cinnamon in the meat sauce I think, it was very very Moorish and went down so well with a slab of crusty bread and a glass of red, delightful! 
My kinda food!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

As a young fellow I would go dancing on Friday and Saturday nights, it was a weekly ritual, I don’t recall dancing a lot, but there were girls there and I liked girls!  Then not long after I started in my first job, my mate Craig invited me to a Chinese restaurant in Hay St called Chopstick’s, suggesting we could eat before the dance.  I took up the offer and I will never forget my first feed of this exotic food, which included Sweet and Sour Pork with Special Fried Rice, I was hooked and it became part of my ritual!

I enjoyed trying the many different dishes on offer at Chopstick’s, but the meals always included the staple Sweet and Sour Pork dish.
Since those youthful days, I have ventured out and tried food from all parts of the world and I still today love to go to a new restaurant to try dishes from countries I have not been to, but can experience on a plate.  Sweet and Sour Pork is still a favourite and though Chinese is a seldom eaten food for us now, it still is added to the order when we do and it is a dish I have wanted to cook so many times in the past seven years, but I have not due to the fact that my wife does not like sweet and sour.

I had to put Jo’s dislike aside tonight, as I had Pork tenderloin I needed to cook and having arrived home a little wobbly from something I ate at my 3 hour lunch, I wanted something that wasn't going to tax me too much, this recipe I found thanks to Google was so easy I could have done it blindfolded.  I could not swear to how authentic it is, but honestly it is as authentic as I have had from any Chinese Restaurant!

Since that first time I have had eaten more renditions of Sweet and Sour Pork than I could poke a stick at,  some have been good, some better, some better left uneaten!  This effort tonight was well worth eating, well worth the effort and among the renditions that I have gone back for seconds for, but the really surprising thing I learnt from tonight’s meal, is my wife could not get enough of the  battered and fried meat.  She liked it so much so that by the time I got back to the stove after dinner to clean up and to store what was to be Saturdays lunch in the fridge, there was nothing left, she had snuck back into the kitchen on several occasions, taking one or two pieces at a time, until it was all gone!

Guess I will be cooking Sweet and Sour Pork again soon, I‘ll just have to do a half the sauce in future!!!