Thursday, May 31, 2012

Green Curry Fish and Prawn with Coconut Rice

During the last half hour I spent in the office today it looked very bleak outside, it was rainy and I really was not looking forward to running out to the car and getting wet, it must have dampened my spirits as I rang Jo and asked her to stop by on her way home so I could take her out for dinner.

Stopping somewhere in Northbridge on our way home for dinner has become a fairly regular event, often it will be my favourite Vietnamese Vinh Hong, not only because I love the food, but also because of Jo’s love for the wine bar next door, it is a nice way to end the day, especially  after being busy at work.

Well that was the plan anyway, however by the time I left the office it had stopped raining, and Jo was still stuck on the freeway, so I told her to continue on home and I’d cook for her after all, I had started driving myself by this time and was formulating an idea in my head to cook a green curry chicken.  That was until I turned the next corner and the traffic was at a stands still, so after a quick U turn, I was heading back from whence I began and looking for a quicker route home, that route took me through North Perth, straight past our local fish monger, an ordinary chicken curry had now been elevated to a fish and prawn curry.

After a quick stroll through Coles, I was headed home with my snapper and king prawns, a yellow capsicum, a handful of green beans, a bunch of chives and a red chilli, with this and a few items from the pantry dinner was on its way!

I make my own green curry paste from green chillies, lots of coriander, shrimp paste, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shallots, galangal, ginger, garlic, Kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass, it is absolutely the best, when I make it I make enough so as to make a couple of curries and then to fill an ice cube tray for later use, I used 3 cubes tonight from my last batch. 

I cooked the rice in coconut milk using the absorption method that takes 30 minutes to cook, having prepared the curry ingredients in the first 10 minutes of that time, left me 20 minutes to cook the curry, such an easy dinner to make and oh so YUM YUM to eat, really did leave me wanting more, but that would leave Jo without lunch tomorrow and we cannot have that now can we!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mamma Agata – Simple and Genuine

We are planning a trip to Italy in a year’s time, which is keeping Jo very busy as she surfs the net looking for as much information as she can find about the place, its culture and most importantly its food.  Whilst doing this she came across a site for a cooking school on the Amalfi Coast, which is one of the areas I have indicated I very much want to see and experience.  The cooking school, known as Mamma Agata’s is perched high up on the side of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it would be an experience just to visit the property it looks so beautiful.  She keeps nagging me, can we go, have you had look, nag nag nag, so eventually I went and had look at the site and some of the food they prepare there, and I have to agree with Jo it does look fantastic. 
Whilst looking around on the site I found they had released the third edition of a cook book titled “Mamma Agata – Simple and Genuine” and it was available from their web site.  I could not resist so ordered one there and then, it arrived a few days later personally autographed by Mamma and the family with the words “Cucinare con amore in Jack's cucina”, which translates to “Cook with love in Jack’s kitchen!”

I sat down and had a look through the recipes one night last week, then handed the book to Jo and had her pick out 3 recipes to make up a 3 course meal, as I handed her the book I told her I think you really only need to pick the main because I know what you will want for the other two courses, a little while later she gave me the three courses, the only surprise being her main course, Stuffed Squid, the entrée  and dessert as I had predicted were to be Sautéed Mussels and Clams and an Apple Tart, know her too well!

Sautéed Mussels and Clams

A very simple entrée, but oh so satisfying, mussels and clams sautéed in garlic and olive oil finished with a squeeze of lemon, very more-ish, served up with crusty garlic ciabbata YUM YUM

Stuffed Squid
Another very simple to prepare dish, packed full of flavour, finished in a tomato puree cooked up with the left over stuffing, beautiful fresh flavours, accompanied by a Mediterranean styled salad, so glad I brought too many squid, took the left over’s for lunch on Monday and had all the office looking on in envy as I devoured my lunch!

Mama Agata’s Apple Tart

If I never made this tart again, I can promise you I will certainly be using the pastry recipe again, unbelievably good!  But then so was the filling, I was feeling a little guilty putting this together, felt like I was cheating on my Mother and Grandma, as I have made their apple pie recipe so many times and I love it, always will, but I am going to have to find room for this recipe too, it is so amazing.

So we have celebrated a year to go until our holiday in true Italian style, with good food, really good food, made with love for the one I love, now there is just 364 days to go, can’t wait!

As you can see by the photo's Jo did a great job setting the scene for our evening, she also picked out an amazing bottle of wine for us to enjoy with our meal, an Autumn Red from one of our favourite Swan Valley wineries Windy Creek, a top drop from a top little winery!