Monday, October 11, 2010

Coconut apricot chicken curry

An easy chicken curry that even my two fussy eaters enjoyed.

Preheat your oven to 180C

1kg chicken pieces (I used 4 legs and 4 thighs)

Place chicken into an ovenproof dish and lightly salt and pepper both sides.

For the curry sauce :

1 1/2 tsp turmeric
400ml coconut cream
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried coriander
2 tsp mild and spicy curry powder (the kids were eating so I didn't want to make it too hot)
3 tbsp apricot jam
1/2 - 3/4 cup diced dried apricots
2 bay leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed dried curry leaves
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 crushed dried lemon leaf

Mix the ingredients for the curry sauce in a bowl then pour over the chicken. Bake covered for about an hour or until the juices of the chicken run clear. Serve with rice, a side salad of diced onion and tomatoes and diced banana.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Having fun with food - an Egg Net

Masterchef Australia started on the Food Channel here last week, the 2009 season. I'm an avid fan and love watching shows like this to get ideas. On one of the episodes, the contestant who won the challange had an opportunity to cook off against a well known top Australian chef to win straight through to the last week of the competition. The recipe that the contestant cooked was an egg net with a Thai pork and prawn filling. Looks easy doesn't it?

This morning, I looked at my eggs, the mushrooms, leeks, shredded spinach and red pepper that I had chopped up to fry for an omelette filling and thought why the hell not?

So I stir fried the veg, added some seasoning, attempted the egg net and voila!

For the egg net, I beat one egg with a few drops of water and using my fingers, drizzled it into a hot pan with melted butter and a bit of olive oil. I took it off the heat to drizzle and put it back on to cook the egg. Slowly, using a spatula, I carefully peeled the fiddly bits off the surface and put it on a plate.
So while it might not look as delicate as lace, I am quite happy with my first attempt.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday food porn : stuffed pancakes

Mini pancakes, stuffed with caramel and banana. Pour ideal milk over the two layers, sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate melts and the ideal milk is all bubbly.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Curry Sauce

A good curry has to have a decent base. Without a base, you don't have anything to layer the taste on.

The Spice Guy at Irene Market keeps me in various shades of red (depending on the curry mix I buy). His masala mixes have all sorts of goodies in them like star anise, cardamum pods, bay leaves....

For this all purpose curry sauce, I used :

3 Tbsp medium masala curry powder mix
1 Tbsp hot masala curry powder mix
About half a tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns
4 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried coriander
2 tsp sugar
2 Tsp fennel seeds
2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced (or blitzed in a food processor)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
couple of bay leaves
2 410g tinned tomatoes
olive oil
extra sugar
Mrs Balls chutney

Mix the curry powders, chilli flakes, turmeric, ginger, crushed peppercorns, parsley, coriander and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat up about 4 to 5 tbsp of good quality virgin olive oil. Add the finely diced onion and fennel seeds. Cook on medium heat until the onion starts going golden brown and then add the garlic, cook for a few more minutes. Add the curry mixture, add more oil if necessary, and cook the mixture for about 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaves, stir well and cover, then cook on a low heat for about 25 minutes. Stir in about 2 tbsp of Mrs Balls chutney, then cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. At this point, taste your sauce. If it tastes too acidic, add a bit of sugar and cook for a few minutes before tasting again. Once you have a good balance of sweet, acidic and hot, add whatever meat or vegetables you wish. Cook through until the meat and veg is tender, taking care not to let the sauce burn. Add a splash of water if necessary. Serve over basmati rice.

* I made meatballs by combining 800g mince with 1 egg, tsp of crushed garlic, 1 small onion finely diced, about 2 tbsp spice mix for mince (Robertson), salt and pepper and forming meatballs with a heaped tbsp full of mince mixture. Plop them in the sauce to simmer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stuffed baby aubergine (eggplant)

I saw a pack of 8 baby aubergine at the shop the other day and bought them on a whim, with no idea what to do with them. Finally, I decided to wing it and try something I vaguely remembered from one or other cooking show on the BBC food channel.

Ingredients :

8 baby aubergine, sliced from tip to almost stem in a cross.

1 medium onion, finely diced
heaped teaspoon finely diced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons finely diced fresh parsley
about half a cup of finely grated Grano Padano or Gruyere cheese

Fry the onions in some butter until translucent and starting to go brown (about 10 minutes or so). Remove from the heat and place into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix. Add enough olive oil to just start combining all the ingredients and then, using a teaspoon, stuff the mixture into each slit on the aubergines.

Bake in a preheated oven at around 180C for about 20 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick easily goes through the skin of the aubergine.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fishy mac 'n cheese

Sounds like something out of a nightmare doesn't it? This dish came about because I wanted J&C to eat more diversely. C had an aversion to fish in any form so one day I sneaked it into a baked pasta dish while she wasn't looking. It was a huge hit.

It's a really simple dish to make.
Boil your pasta until it is done. I used about 3/4 of a 500g bag of pasta. Any round tube shape will do.

While your pasta is boiling, dice an onion and a handful of mushrooms (I used about 6 medium sized brown mushrooms) and a sweet bell pepper. Fry this in a tiny bit of butter and olive oil, adding garlic, salt and pepper. Right at the end, open your can of fish (I used a large can of pink Alaskan salmon), dump it in the pan and smoosh it down to warm through. Then, take it off the heat and add some parsley.

Then make a white sauce. For this white sauce, I melted 50ml of butter, mixed in 50ml of flour and cooked it for about 5 minutes or so. Then I added 500ml milk and slowly heated it through until the mixture thickened. Then I added about 2 to 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese, some salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk until all the cheese melted. Sometimes if my sauce is too thick, at this point I add another 250ml of milk and mix it through.

To assemble the dish, layer half the pasta into an ovenproof dish, pour over about 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Then add the fish mixture and pour over about half the sauce you have left. Then add the remaining pasta, pouring the leftover sauce over the top. Sprinkle about 1 cup of grated cheese over the top and bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve with garlic rolls, a salad....or eat as is.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Springbok fillet

Last night for supper we had fillet of Springbok. First time I have ever attempted to make this. I called The MIL, she of the old fashioned and awesome cooking skillz. Her yearly roast leg of Springbok is just to die for. Anyhow she had no idea what to tell me as she's never made it either. So, I took my oven roasted beef fillet recipe and have adapted it for the Springbok fillet.

Take some olive oil, rub it all over the meat and then sprinkle with whatever spices. On fillet I use a combination of raw chopped garlic, parsley, pepper and ginger. For the springbok, I used a couple of pinches of Nomu's African spice rub. It is a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, all spice, coriander, ajowan, and cardamom. Rubbed it into the meat after rubbing with olive oil.
As I bake my fillet, I pan fry it in some olive oil first, to get some nice colour onto the meat. Make sure you have your pan on a really hot setting, add a tiny splash of olive oil and when the oil is smoky hot, carefully place the meat into the pan. Turn almost immediately and then bake in a preheated oven until it is done to your likeness. As I didn't want the meat to shrink dramatically, I preheated my oven to 150C and baked for about 20 minutes for bloody, another 10 minutes more for pink. I like my meat screaming in agony as I cut into it while Himself likes it almost dead. C would devour any piece of meat in front of her cooked or raw so for now I make hers the same as Himself's.

To serve, let the meat rest for a few minutes then slice.

That's Himself cutting the meat into slices.
To serve with the meat, I quartered a small head of cabbage, peeled and thickly sliced some carrots, potatoes and marrows and steamed until done. J was beside himself when he realised that we were having meat for lunch (he decided a few months ago that he's a that eats sausage, lasagna, chicken and fish) so I microwaved a bag of mixed cauliflower and broccoli as well. We get these really convenient bags of mixed veg at the store which you can pop into the microwave for a few minutes, add salt and a knob of butter and you are done.

While the meat was in the oven, I whipped up a quick mushroom sauce in the pan I'd browned the meat in. Slice a handful of mushrooms, add to your pan and stir fry with some garlic until the mushrooms turn brown. Add about 30ml of white wine to deglaze the pan and once the alcohol has cooked away, pour in 250ml of cream, adding salt and pepper to taste. Let that all boil down slowly until the cream thickens and keep warm.