I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sticky Salmon Noodle Salad

The theme for this fortnight's Cookbook Challenge is Rice/Noodles.

There are so many things that could be made with either of these ingredients, and I am sure that I will come up with several entries in this theme.  The first dish that I have made using these ingredients however, is this Sticky Salmon Noodle Salad.

The recipe is in the current edition of Super Food Ideas, and the photo appealed to me as soon as I saw it.  I find that I often embark upon a recipe without too much thought as to how the dish will actually taste (I don't know how I can possibly do that - I mean, I guess I must have some sort of an idea - otherwise why would I make it - but I don't think the penny actually drops until I have made it.) This was the case last night.  As I put the components together I was struck by how similar it was in flavours to the Beef Salad that I made several weeks ago - but this was oh so much better because the "meat" part of it was my favourite - salmon!!!

Sticky Salmon Noodle Salad
From Super Food Ideas February edition
Serves 2

2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 x pieces of salmon tail fillet
270g noodles (I used thin egg noodles)
1 small lebanese cucumber, halved, sliced diagonally
2 green onions, thinly sliced
50g mixed lettuce leaves
200g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped
2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbs oil
2 tbs sweet chilli sauce

Combine the sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a shallow glass or ceramic dish.  Add the salmon. Turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Cook the noodles according to packet directions.  Drain, then rinse, and then drain well.

In a bowl combine the cucumber, onion, lettuce, tomato, mint and coriander.  Add the noodles, then toss to combine well.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Remove the salmon from the marinade.  Cook for 2-3 minutes each side (for medium) or until cooked to your liking.  Transfer the salmon to a plate.

There are two options here - you can either flake the salmon into the salad and serve.  Or you can plate up the salad and top with the piece of salmon.  I took the second option as I didn't want to miss out on any of "my" salmon.  It would definitely look a little prettier is you flaked the salmon through the noodle salad - but you know it's not always about looks is it?  Anyway - you decide.  Which ever way you do it - sprinkle the top of the salmon/or salad with the sweet chilli sauce.

After making this dish I was thinking that another nice addition to the salad would be some chopped cashews - see what you think when you try this.  This is a lovely light, refreshing dinner, and I will definitely make it again (but with the addition of cashews!!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Indian Style Chicken Wraps

Happy Australia Day!!!

What better way is there to celebrate Australia Day than by having a BBQ??

Let me share with you a little BBQ secret that we recently found.  This nifty little piece of equipment has got to be one of the best buys of the summer season.

As you all know we recently went away on vacation, and before we went we decided that we would purchase a small portable BBQ so that we could cook easy meals while we were away.

If you are a Korean BBQ restaurant patron, you will already be familiar with what I am about to show you - if you are not - then take note!!

This little beauty was so cheap - the bottom part (the burner part) cost $15, the plate to cook on cost $15 (but I have since seen them for $10), and the gas to cook with cost $5 for 4 cans!  How cheap is that!!!!

Anyway since we have been home we have used it several times - to dine "al fresco" on the deck.  We marinate some meat, and then all pitch in and cook the meat as we eat it.  It makes it so easy - everyone pretty much cooks their own meal this way.  If you have all the condiments ready, it makes for a very easy dinner.

So this is our Australia Day (Indian Style) BBQ!

Indian Style Chicken Wraps
Adapted from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Recipe Book 

Serves 4

2 tbs curry paste (I used butter chicken - but you can use whatever you have)
400g reduced fat yoghurt
800g chicken breast fillets, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
4 wholemeal flatbreads
lime wedges to serve

Wholemeal flatbreads

Combine the curry paste and the yoghurt in a large bowl.  Add the chicken pieces and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes - preferably longer if time permits.

Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad
250g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 lebanese cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 tbs coriander leaves
1 baby cos lettuce, torn roughly
2 tbs lemon juice

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl.

Yoghurt Dressing
1/4 cup low fat natural yoghurt
2 tsp chopped coriander
2 tsp chopped mint
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Another nice addition to this meal is Mango Chutney - but that is purely a personal taste thing.

Now when it comes time to cook.  Heat up the BBQ and cook your chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes each piece, or until cooked through (will depend on how thick your pieces are).

Once the chicken is cooked, all you need to do is assemble your wrap.  Add a little salad, your chicken pieces, some chutney - if desired, and there you have a simple light easy meal.

Now you can take the even lighter option, and have salad and chicken only (which is what I did as I had used my carbs at lunch time!!!)

I know this is not a particularly fancy, or exotic meal, but I just wanted to share with you this great little BBQ.  This little device would be fantastic if you are looking for a cheap easy alternative to the conventional BBQ.  The other beauty about it is that it is so portable - it even has it's own little carry case - so you can take it to the beach with you if you so desire!!!

So Dear Readers have you bought something lately that you think is so great that you just have to tell us all about it?  Do share.

I hope you all have a lovely Australia Day, and enjoy some form of BBQ - after all that is the Australian way of life!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cashew Crusted Lamb Racks with Nashi Pear Salad

Now before you all comment that this is not diet food, let me say this in my defence.  Taking into consideration what I had eaten (or should I say not eaten) yesterday I felt an little indulgence was in order - besides this rack of lamb had been sitting in my freezer for several weeks, calling out to me each time I  opened the freezer.  It constantly beckoned me with it's sweet dulcet tones.... "You know I am going to be sweet and succulent and beautiful - please eat me, eat me!!"  Who could resist it any longer??

Cashew Crusted Lamb Racks

Serves 2

2 x 3 chop each racks of lamb *
150g savoury honey cashews **
2 tbs Buderim ginger marmalade (150g) **
2 x green shallots

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the cashews, marmalade and shallots in the food processor/TM bowl.  (Process speed 7 for 10 seconds, scrape down bowl, then another 10 seconds), or in a food processor simply process until it forms a thick paste.

Spread over the lamb.  Bake on a baking tray for 25-30 minutes for medium/rare, or until the crust is golden and the lamb is cooked to your liking. * Keeping the rack whole will result in a "pinker" piece of meat - if you like it cooked a little more I suggest you cut into serving sizes and cover each piece in the crust and cook individually.  I like my meat with a lot of pink - so this amount of cooking was perfect for me.

Nashi Pear Salad

baby spinach leaves
2 x nashi pears, sliced
fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
shaved parmesan cheese

Nashi Pears

With the left over cashew paste in the food processor bowl - add a small amount of white balsamic vinegar, and a splash of olive oil to make your salad dressing.  Process for a few seconds until combined.  Reserve.

Mix together the spinach with the mint leaves, then add the sliced nashi pear.  Top with parmesan shavings, and a small amount of dressing.

** Often I am asked for particular brands of ingredients that I use - these are the "crust" ingredients".  If you are unable to find these particular brands, substitute regular cashews, and whatever type of marmalade suits your fancy.

Serve the lamb racks with nashi pear salad and some smashed potatoes (click here for recipe).

Was it worth the sacrifice of only carrot sticks and hummos for lunch?  OMG yes!!! It was beautiful - sweet, juicy, and oh so tasty!

Now you know that after a lovely meal like that you are going to want some dessert don't you?

The beauty of owning a Thermomix is that you can whip up lovely little sweet treats in seconds - whether it be a custard, or a sorbet.  Now there is not much in a fruit sorbet so I decided a little "Blueberry Fruity Dream" was in order (I only had a small amount - just enough to satisfy that craving for sweetness).

I think it will actually take me longer to tell you about the Fruity Dream than it took to make it!!

Fruity Dream
From Everyday Cooking for Every Family Cookbook

45g raw sugar
300g frozen fruit of choice (blueberries)
1 egg white

Place sugar into TM bowl

Pulverise for 20 seconds on speed 9.

Add fruit and chop for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.

Insert Butterfly and add egg white and mix for 45 seconds on speed 4, or until you have a soft consistency.

This is a lovely soft serve dessert.  Great to whip up for the kids on a hot afternoon as a treat too!  (I should know, I made a batch up for mine and a few of the neighbourhoods kids - it got the thumbs up!!!)

So Dear Readers, even though I look like I truly indulged, I still managed to loose weight this day!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fish and Two Tone Chips with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

Still hanging in there, still eating healthily (oh my, how virtuous I am!!!).

Friday and the weekend are usually treat days, I allow myself a vino or two, but I am determined this week.  So no wine, let's splurge with the meals.

I had recently seen a recipe for sweet potato chips in the current edition of Good Taste Magazine, so I decided to go one step further (yes, you guessed the real reason - "The Darlings" wouldn't eat orange chips!!) - so I made two tone chips.  Here is my take on the recipe.

Fish and Two Tone Chips with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing
Serves 4 - 6
Adapted from Good Taste Magazine January Edition

700g sweet potato, peeled, cut into batons
700g potato, peeled, cut into batons
1tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
Garlic infused Olive oil spray
2/3 cup low fat natural yoghurt
1 tbs capers, rinsed, drained, chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest *
1 tbs lemon juice *
2 tbs chopped chives

4-6 fish fillets (approx 150-200g each)
Ketchap Manis

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Steam the sweet potato and regular potato batons in a steamer.  I used the varoma and cooked them for 20 minutes at varoma temperature.  You want them to be just tender.  After they have been steamed, remove as much excess moisture from the chips as possible with paper towels.

Spray the baking paper with the garlic oil.  Place the regular potato chips on one tray.  On the second tray place the sweet potato chips, sprinkle these with the oregano and paprika.  Spray both lots with the garlic spray and bake for 15 minutes.  Toss the chips around, and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until lovely and golden.  Season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, combine the yoghurt, capers, lemon rind, lemon juice * I added slightly more than the recipe said as I like it nice and zesty!!, and parsely in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a frypan to medium high heat, add a little olive oil.  Cook the salmon pieces, skin side down first for approximately 5 minutes (this will depend on how thick your pieces are) if you are using tail pieces then do 3-4 minutes.  My pieces were quite thick to they too a bit longer).  Flip over and cook for the same time on the other side, or until cooked to your liking.  When they were almost cooked through I poured a little ketchap manis over the pieces just to give them a slightly sweet/salty flavour.  Be careful though - once you add this it will "caramelise" quite quickly in the frypan - so be prepared.  At this point you can either add a little water to stop the caramelisation and steam the fish slightly, or simply remove if it is cooked through.

Serve the fish with the two tone chips, a side serve of salad, and a dollop of the yoghurt dressing on top.

So you see it really wasn't that much of a treat - but it sure was nice.

How's that for gourmet fish and chips???  Can't go past salmon, can you?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Citrus Pork Chops with Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

So what is that is appeals most to you about Blog Surfing?

In many ways it is a lot like picking up a magazine - a good blog will have the lovely photos there to entice you and tantalise your taste buds, and the stories abound - but somehow Blog Surfing is a little different.

To me the difference is that in "Blog World" the words in the stories have not been touched by countless wordsmiths, and polished and buffed until they shine like pure poetic prose - they are words from the heart, purely and simply, as they are felt.

These stories offer us a glimpse into other people worlds.  We can live vicariously through the blogs that travel to places we only dream of going.  Others take us to eat at restaurants that we have heard about, and would one day like to go to.  Or others still, offer us a glimpse, almost voyeuristically, into other people's lives - we get to see how they live, what they eat, and I think more importantly, we get a glimmer that they are real people just like us.

Dear Readers I have not been posting much this week as I am afraid there has not been much that is bloggable. You see I am embarking on... and dare I say it .... but if I do then it is committed to cyberspace and I must make good.....yes, I have started the New Year's Resolution Diet!!!

So rather than post a somewhat Bridget Jones' Diary type of post - you know the kind

0 units cigarettes
0 unit alcohol
lost 1.5kg

I am only going to blog meals that I think are worthy of mention.  Last night's fell into that category.

I had saved all my protein for dinner - had only had a lunch of Hommus (homemade of course in the Thermomix!!) and vegetables - so I was pretty hungry come dinner time.

This salad looked absolutely scrumptious (and it was!!) - all vegetable - so could eat lots of it - and the flavour.... well you have to try it yourself.

The recipe also has the Citrus theme for the Cookbook Challenge!

As usual what to put with it... how about some pork cutlets, we had a citrus theme going with the salad dressing, so let's concoct a marinade in the same vein for the pork.  Here is what eventuated.

Citrus Pork Chops

Serves 4-6

Pork Cutlets - 1-2 per person
5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tbs honey (50g)
1/2 cup sweet sherry (120g)

Now because I have the Thermomix I tend to throw all the ingredients that need chopping (garlic, ginger, and orange) into the TM bowl (just cut the orange into quarters) and give it a whizz on speed 7 for 20 seconds, scraping down the bowl halfway through.  Then add the sherry and honey, and process on speed 4 for 7 seconds.  Of course if you don't have the Thermomix - just combine all the ingredients.  Once combined, place the marinade and the chops into a large ziploc bag and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.

When ready to cook, preheat the BBQ to medium high, and cook for 4-5 minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking.

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad
Serves 6
Recipe from Super Food Ideas February edition

700g butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 cup olive oil *
1 tbs orange juice*
1 baby cos lettuce
400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped pecan nuts
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 200C.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Combine pumpkin, coriander, chilli flakes and 1 tbs of oil in a bowl.

Place pumpkin mixture on prepared tray.  Roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender.  Set aside for 40 minutes to cool.

Place orange juice and remaining oil in a secure top jar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Secure lid.  Shake to combine. ** I actually used the juice of the whole orange and used less oil - and I really liked it this way.

Remove the outer leaves and core from the lettuce, separate and wash the leaves.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Roughly chop the leaves.  Place the lettuce, chickpeas, pecans, parsley and pumpkin mixture in a bowl.

Add dressing, and toss to combine, when ready to serve.

Serve with some corn on the cob, and you have a lovely healthy dinner!  This was a true winner - the citrus flavours combined so beautifully - I just couldn't get enough of the salad -
(well I was pretty hungry!)This meal in no way felt like I had made any compromises ... yumm.

So Dear Readers, what do you like most about blog surfing, dare to tell - are you one that lives your life vicariously through others, or are you a little voyeuristic??  Do tell.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thai Banana and Chilli Salad with Thai Style Chicken

Cookbook Challenge Challenge #2 - Citrus Fruits

The question has been raised on other blogsites as to whether a salad is a "bloggable" item?

Well certainly not the salads of my youth.

I still remember them......on those hot summer's nights my mother used to artfully arrange the salad on our plates.  The piece of iceberg lettuce, the wedges of tomato, slice of cheese, a little beetroot, perhaps some grated carrot and a hard boiled egg, and of course cold meat of some kind.  Then for something a little exotic - she added a slice of orange!!  The dressing of course was a dollop of mayonnaise!  Thank goodness we have moved on from those days.  I think the only places you will find a salad like that now is in nursing homes, or RSL clubs (oh, and maybe perhaps at my mum's!)

So I say, yes a salad is a bloggable item if it is truly a salad that brings together a melange of flavours that you probably never would have considered before.  Such is the case of last night's salad.  I am not sure where I got the recipe for this salad - but I seem to recall pulling it from a newspaper many years ago and making it on the spur of the moment - needless to say it has become an integral part of our summer repertoire now.

This was one of those meals where the side was where the idea started - so what to serve with it?  Some kind of barbecued chicken.  I went and purchased all the items necessary to make the salad, and some chicken drumsticks and a couple of breast pieces, not really knowing what I was going to do with the chicken, but here is what unfolded.....

Thai Style Marinated Chicken

Serves 6

Combination of chicken drumsticks (skin removed) and breast pieces 1-2 pieces per person

4tbs fish sauce
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs light soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 tbs palm sugar, grated (I actually used 1 cube of Jeeny's - which is 15g)

Combine all the above ingredients and place in a large ziploc bag.  Add the chicken pieces and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes - longer if possible.

When ready heat the BBQ, by turning to high, but once warm, turn down to low.  Add the chicken drumsticks and cook for around 15-20 minutes, turning several times.  You have to cook them slowly to ensure they cook all the way through and just don't burn on the outside!!  Add the breasts for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time (depending on the thickness of the pieces).

Thai Banana and Chilli Salad

2-3 bananas, (depending on size) sliced
assorted salad greens
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
1 cup of snow pea sprouts
1/4 cut chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped coriander
chopped roasted cashews or peanuts to garnish


1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs lime juice (approx 1 lime)
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (you can use light)

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar.  Shake to combine.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl (except the bananas).  Just before serving add the bananas and the dressing, mix well.  Top with the chopped nuts.

It was a truly lovely light summer's meal.  The underlying lime notes, the kick of the chilli, the sweetness of the banana - yumm!!!

Give it a go - you will be pleasantly surprised!

So Dear Readers what memories do you have of salads of your childhood?  What are the strangest combinations (that have worked) have you tried in a salad?  Do tell.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Griswold's Family Vacation

Dear Readers,

The Griswold's are heading off on vacation.....

so, there won't be any recipes for a little while.

Rest assured though, that I will be back, with more recipes in a week or so to tantalise your tastebuds!!!

Come back and visit soon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pork Cutlets with Cherry Port Sauce and Potato Crisps

I have recently joined up for the Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Jeroxie, Iron Chef Shellie, Kat, and Agnes.

The Challenge has been set up this year so that every fortnight there will be a new key ingredient that must be used - it can be a sweet or savoury dish, but it must contain the key ingredient.

What luck!!  The meal that I had actually planned for last night's dinner actually contained this fortnight's ingredient!!

So what is the ingredient - stonefruit!!  This brought forth a discussion at the table last night - is Avocado classed as a stone fruit?  I am guessing yes - so there may be further recipes forthcoming!!!!

What I actually made last night was inspired by a recipe that I saw in the current edition of Good Taste, and it fits the challenge - so here goes.....

I am going to use......

Pork Cutlets with Cherry Port Sauce and Potato Crisps
Adapted from a recipe found in Good Taste Magazine, January issue
Serves 4

4 potatoes - 1 large one for each person, peeled
60g butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 pork cutlets
450g fresh cherries, pitted
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup port
200g snow peas
1 zucchini
200g peas

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (you may need two - you do not want to crowd the potatoes)

In the TM bowl place the garlic bulbs, process on reverse speed 4 for 3-6 seconds to remove the skins.  Remove the skins from the bowl.  Add the butter and process for 40 seconds at 50C on speed 4.  Or simply use softened butter and crushed garlic!!

Using a pastry brush, brush a small amount of the garlic butter over the baking paper.

Using a mandoline cut the potatoes into thick slices.

Lay the potato slices on the prepared baking trays.  Brush the potato slices with more garlic butter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning over halfway through cooking.

Season the pork chops with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the remaining garlic butter into a frypan, add 1 tbs olive oil, and heat over medium high heat.

Cook the pork chops for 4-5 minutes each side, or until golden, and cooked through.

Remove the chops from the pan and place on a plate, cover loosely with foil to rest.

Add the cherries to the pan.  Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until the cherries start to soften.

Add the water and cook stirring for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Add the port and any juices that have come from the meat while resting.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Divide the pork and potatoes among the serving plates. Top the pork cutlets with the cherry port sauce. Serve with steamed green vegetables.

There you have it - Challenge # 1!Cookbook Challenge

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zesty Lime Chicken with Bean Salad, Brazilian Cheese Bread and Pikelets!

Challenge # 2 Cookbook Challenge - Citrus

I am starting to fall into "normal usage" now with the Thermomix.  The burning question that I had after  seeing the demonstration was "how much am I really going to use it?  I mean I had all these appliances already - the food processor, the mix master, then blender - the TM did all this (and more) - but was I really going to use it more??  I would often baulk at using the appliances as it seemed too hard to get them out, then have to clean them afterwards.

When it first arrived, although a little scared, I went into a little bit of a TM frenzy.  Which I see after trawling through many TM blogs, is very, very normal.  I was making things left, right and centre - what was I going to do with all this food??

Well, as I have said, I have settled down to normalcy now (well sort of).

I will tell you though that I am using it at least 3-4 times per day.

In the past I would have used a chopping board and knife to chop herbs, or garlic, I would have used a whisk to make pikelets etc. etc - but I am now finding that because the TM is on the bench (and it is so easy to use and clean) that I use it for everything!  I must admit along with the frenzied use I was a little anal about cleaning it - but that too has calmed down - I now know that all it really needs to clean it is a whizz around with a little hot water and some detergent (I am glad because the number of times I was pulling it apart to clean it - I thought - this thing is not going to last at this rate!!!)

Enough of all that - so what did I actually make yesterday.

I started off the day making a marinade for the chicken we were having that night.

Zesty Lime Chicken
adapted from a recipe found in Good Taste Magazine - January edition

Serves 4-6

10 chicken thighs
4tbs brown sugar
4 tsp Nandos Brand Hot Peri-Peri Sauce
4 cloves crushed garlic
zest of 1 lime
2tbs olive oil

To Serve:
Pesto Dip (such as Cashew and Spinach)

I used my home made basil pesto dip, to which I added a small amount of olive oil to thin it a little)
You could use any commercially prepared pesto type dip.

Into the bowl of the TM place the unpeeled garlic cloves (you just need to remove the hard ends).  Process  for 4 - 6 seconds on reverse speed.  Remove the skins.  Into the TM bowl place the thinly peeled pieces of lime skin (make sure you don't get too much pith!).

Process for 4 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape down the bowl, and repeat until the rind is finely grated.

Remove the rind and garlic, place in a large ziploc bag along with the peri peri sauce, brown sugar and oil.  Mix well, then add the chicken pieces.

Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.

For afternoon tea I made "The Darlings" some pikelets.

Adapted from Everyday Cooking for Every Family

Makes approx 16

20g butter
140g self raising flour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp bi carb soda
1 1/2 MC (measuring cups) buttermilk - approx 1/2 cup
1 egg

Place butter into TM bowl and melt for 40 seconds at 50C on speed 4.

Add remainder of ingredients into bowl.  Mix for 30 seconds on speed 5 until smooth.

Heat a lightly greased frypan over medium heat.  Place dessertspoon full amounts into the hot frypan.  Cook until bubbled, and then turn over to cook other side.

Serve with butter and jam.

As dinnertime approached it was time to prepare the bean salad that I was serving alongside the chicken.

Bean Salad
adapted from a recipe found in Good Taste Magazine - January edition

2 x 440g cans five bean mix, drained and rinsed
2 green shallots, cut into 5 cm pieces
10g (1/2 bunch) coriander
juice of 1 lime
15g (1tbs) olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g cherry tomatoes (or variety of tomatoes from Tomato medley pack)
Salad greens for serving

Into the bowl of the TM place the shallots and coriander.

Process for 3 seconds on speed 7.

Add the lime (the one you removed the skin from before), cut into quarters.

Process for 3 seconds on speed 7.

Add the olive oil and salt and pepper, blend for 2 seconds on speed 4 to combine.

Toss this mixture through the bean mix.

When ready to serve add halved cherry tomatoes, and mix through.

Recently Tammi from Insatiable Munchies made a recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread.  It looked really interesting, but not being one for making a recipe similar to choux pastry, I went in search of other recipes that didn't require cooking.  I found a recipe that looked really easy at Rasa Malaysia.

I looked for tapioca flour at the local supermarket, and came to the conclusion that I could make it just as easily from scratch using tapioca seeds and milling them myself.  This turned out to be a much cheaper option too.  If you have a coffee grinder you can achieve the same results!.

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de-Queijo)
Adapted from recipe found at Rasa Malaysia
Makes approx 36

1 egg, at room temperature
70g (1/3 cup) olive oil
160g (2/3 cup) milk *
320g (1 1/2 cups) tapioca flour **
70g (1/2) cup cheese (combination of parmesan and mozzarella)
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 200C.

Grease mini muffin pans very well with olive oil.

Into the bowl of the TM place the seed tapioca.  Process for 30 seconds on speed 9.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat.

Place all remaining ingredients in the bowl process for 30 seconds on speed 5, scrape down the bowl and repeat.  *At this point I found the mixture a little too thick, so with the motor still running I added more milk until the consistency was a little thinner - I added probably up to another 2/3 cup of milk - the consistency was still quite thick - but I could semi pour it into the moulds.

Place the mixture into the prepared tins, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  You may need to rotate the tins half way during baking to ensure even baking of all the bread.

Remove from tins and serve warm.

** Note a 375g bag of tapioca seeds will yield approximately 2 cups of tapioca flour.

While the bread is baking in the oven, it is time to cook the chicken.

Preheat BBQ to medium high heat.  Cook the chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes each side, or until cooked thorough.  Be careful - because of the high fat and sugar content of the chicken it will flare up quite a lot.

To serve the chicken place a small amount of salad green on a serving plate.  Top with the bean salad, then 1-2 pieces of chicken.  To top the chicken a dollop of pesto dip.

This was a lovely light, sweet, zesty dish.

So there you have a day in my kitchen and how I used my Thermomix!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Japanese Style Chirashi Salad

My local Japanese Sushi bar makes a fabulous Chirashi Salad.

I have had a couple of attempts at making it over the years, but there dosen't seem to be a definitive recipe for it.  When I did a little "googling", it appears that anything goes when it comes to making a chirashi salad.  It is regarded by some as "scattered sushi", and so any of the ingredients that you would find in sushi is acceptable.  You may want to add some other ingredients that you like - such as roe or avocado!!!

So what I have done is try and replicate the one that I buy at my "local".  The most difficult part of this recipe may be in "sourcing" the ingredients.  I am lucky I have a Japanese neighbour and she regularly frequents the Japanese markets!!!

This is the first time I have used the Varoma on my Thermomix - so it was an exciting day for me.  I am going to give you a step by step - so you can see how easy it is using the TMX.

There is a wide assortment of ingredients - but I will walk you through it.

Chirashi Salad

Serves 4

440g Sushi rice
900g water
2 x pieces of salmon approx 200-250g each
6 x seafood sticks, cut into small pieces
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
kombu, cut into thin strips *
seasoned fried soybean curd (used in making inari) cut into thin strips **
yaki nori sushi sheet cut into thin ribbons***
toasted sesame seeds

To Serve
Japanese Soy Sauce

Glaze for Salmon
1 tbs mirin
1 tbs cooking sake
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sushi Rice Seasoning
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Place the rice in the TM basket, and wash the rice under running water until the water runs clear.


Combine the mirin, sake, sesame oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Place the fish in the tray of the varoma.  Place the rice, in the basket, in the bowl of the TM, place the lid on the TM bowl, then top with the varoma.  Brush the glaze over the salmon, until all used.  Place the top on the varoma and cook at Varoma temperature speed 4 for 20 minutes. (Alternatively cook salmon by poaching in a frypan with a small amount of water, but increase the seasonings and add to the water.)

 While the rice and salmon are cooking make the seasoning for the sushi rice.

Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Do not bring to the boil.  Allow to cool until needed.

Now is also the time to make the "omelette".  Place the beaten eggs into a lightly oiled frypan.  Heat over medium heat, and cook the omelette until set.  Remove from frypan and allow to cool.  When cool, cut into lite cubes.

When the rice is cooked carefully remove the bowl from the TM bowl.  Place the rice in a large bowl, add the sushi seasoning and mix well using a spatula to "fan" the rice, and incorporate the seasoning.

Remove the salmon from the varoma tray and allow to cool.  Remember this is a salad - so the rice and fish need to be cool/cold.  When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and flake apart into largish chunks.

Chirashi salad is essentially a layered salad.  You may wish to do this as one large dish, or you may like to do four individual salads.  The process is the same.

The cooked, seasoned rice is the first layer.  Top with salmon chunks, then the pieces of seafood sticks. Next goes the egg, then the cucumber.  Your garnishes are the pieces of kombu, and the fried soybeancurd.  These are the lovely little sweet additions to your salad - so use as much or as little as you like.  Top it off with the pieces of nori and toasted sesame seeds.

Serve with Japanese Soy sauce and wasabi.

This is a lovely fresh, light summer meal.  Also incredibly healthy as there is no added fat, and lots of good omega 3's in there!!!


* Front of Kombu pack

Back of pack (it says Prepared Vegetable Dried Gourd)

** Front of fried soybean curd      

  Back (it says seasoned fried soybeancurd)                 

                                                                 *** Yaki Sushi Nori

                                                                     Seafood Sticks

This really isn't as hard as it probably seems.  Follow the steps and you will be pleasantly surprised.