I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Teriyaki Beef with Asian Mushrooms and Soba Noodles

If you are short on time, but want a meal that is big on flavour, then a stir fry is the perfect option!

I am going to make this post short and sweet, just like this recipe!!!

Teriyaki Beef with Asian Mushrooms and Soba Noodles
Adapted from Good Taste Magazine March Edition

Serves 4

2 tbs dark soy sauce
2tbs Shaoxing cooking wine
2 tsp honey
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3cm piece ginger, finely chopped
500h rump steak, trimmed of fat, thinly sliced
rice bran oil
150g oyster mushrooms, halved
100g shitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
100g enoki mushrooms, trimmed, separated
270g soba noodles

steamed greens to serve

Combine the soy, cooking wine, honey, garlic, and ginger in a bowl.  Add the beef.  Combine well.  Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinate.

Heat a wok over high heat, adding a splash of oil.  Using tongs, drain the sauce from the meat, then add to the hot wok.  Tossing quickly, sear the meat, until just browned.  Place meat in a bowl, cover to keep warm.  Repeat until all meat is cooked.

Cook the soba noodles according to packet directions.

Heat  small amount of oil in the wok over medium high heat.  Stir fry the oyster mushrooms for 2 minutes, adding a small amount of the marinade to keep from sticking to the wok.  Transfer to the bowl of meat.

Repeat - cooking the shitake mushrooms.

Heat the wok again, adding a little oil, then quickly stir fry the enoki mushrooms for 30 seconds.

Add the beef and mushroom mixture back into the wok.  Add any remaining marinade, and toss quickly to heat through.

Place the soba noodles in a bowl, then top with the beef and mushroom mixture.

Very, quick, very easy!!  Better than take away too!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Salmon with Curried Prawns and Coconut Sambal

If when reading a recipe, ingredients such as salmon, prawns, curry leaves, coconut, and chilli gets your taste buds going - then man this is the recipe for you!!   This was soooooo good!!!

I have actually passed over this recipe a few times, and never got around to making it.  By the end of the week I really want some fish, so I start looking in the cookbooks for new and exciting ways to serve our favourite (which if you are a regular follower will know - is salmon!!).  The recipe as it is printed actually is only for Salmon with a Tomato and Coconut Sambal, but ........  Actually what happened was when I was shopping I spied this lovely little school prawns on special - who can resist?  I did think about making a little prawn cocktail for starters, but as time marched on, and people were home late, and I really wasn't that hungry I decided to incorporate them into the main meal - what a wonderful idea!!!

Salmon with Curried Prawns and Coconut Sambal
Adapted from Delicious Quick Smart Cook Cookbook

Serves 2

1 tbs sunflower oil
1 escahalot, thinly sliced
1-2 green chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped (to taste)
3-5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped (to taste)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 stalk (approx 15-20) curry leaves
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
270ml can coconut cream
2tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ketchap manis
juice of 1 lime
400g (weight with shell) school prawns, peeled
2 salmon tail pieces

Steamed rice to serve
Coriander Leaves to garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the eschalot, chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until softened.

Add the curry powder, curry leaves and tomatoes, and half of the coconut cream - cook for 2-3 minutes or until the tomato starts to break down slightly.  Stir in the remaining coconut cream and lime juice, sugar, and ketchap manis, season to taste and simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile heat another frypan over medium high heat.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper.  Cook skin side down for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

After you have flipped the salmon, and it is nearly cooked, add the prawns to the sauce, heat gently (do not overcook - as they will become tough).

Place some steamed rice on a plate - top with the salmon, then pour over the sauce.  Garnish with coriander leaves.

Even though I was not that hungry - there was no way I was leaving any of this - it was so delicious!!!!  If you love seafood and curry flavours - then MAKE THIS!!!!  You will not be sorry!

It is really quite and impressive dish, so if you are entertaining this could be worth considering.  The only trouble being that it is all last minute cooking.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Asian Style Meatballs with Rice Noodles

It seems that I am on a bit of a roll at the moment, in more ways than one!  (no pun intended!!)

I was stuck for a dinner idea this week, I remembered how well the Italian Style Meatballs went down the night before, so I decided to make an Asian version, but instead of using pasta, using rice noodles.  "The Darlings" love Chinese Spag Bol - so let's just use the same basic ingredients and turn it into a meatballs dish.

One thing I learnt while mincing the chicken for the meatballs in the Thermomix is that different meats mince differently.  The breast meat minced very easily - the thigh meat however, took a little longer, I guess because of more sinew or something.  Not sure - but if you are mincing your own meat - be aware of this.  I wanted to add some thigh meat for the little bit of extra fat - meatballs can be quite dry with absolutely no fat in them - also I think thigh meat has a little more flavour.

Asian Style Meatballs with Rice Noodles

Serves 6

1 x red onion
4 cloves garlic
5cm piece ginger
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2tbs dark soy sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
500g chicken breast fillets
500g chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup hoi sin sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing Cooking Wine
1kg fresh rice noodles
300g endamame beans
1 tbs sesame oil
2 green shallots, finely sliced

Place the bread into the TM bowl, process for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Remove from the TM bowl and place in a bowl.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the TM bowl, process for 3 seconds on speed 7, scrape down bowl, and repeat until chopped to desired size.  Remove and place with the breadcrumbs.

Mince the chicken in 200-300g lots by processing for 15 seconds on speed 7.  Repeat until all meat has been minced.

Place the breadcrumbs, chopped onion mixture, and all the chicken mince back in the TM bowl.  Add the beaten egg, and the dark soy sauce.  Place lid on TM - put in the closed lid position and process on interval speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is well combined.

Taking small spoonfuls, and with wet hands, roll the meat into walnut sized meatballs.  Place on a foil lined tray.  Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large frypan over medium heat.  Cook meatballs for approximately 5 minutes, turning often, or until cooked through.

Steam the endamame beans for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

Pierce the bag of rice noodles with a knife, and place in the microwave for approximately 5 minutes, or until warmed through.

Return all the meatballs to the pan, and the sesame oil, hoi sin sauce and cooking wine.  Add the warmed up rice noodles, chopped up green shallots, and 1/2 cup of water.  Combine well, adding more liquid if needed.

Serve topped with endamame beans. (No, of course "The Darlings" didn't eat those - don't be silly - they are green!!!  The "Fussy Darling" even picked out the shallots!)

The verdict - "The Meatballs Darling" was in raptures again!!!  The way I see it - it was ostensibly the same meal two nights in a row - but with different flavours - nothing wrong with that in my books!!  It all got eaten - that is the main thing.

So tell me Dear Readers if you find a winner - do you repeat often, but perhaps with slight variations??

Friday, March 25, 2011

Italian Pork Meatballs

When is a sausage not a sausage? When you turn it into something that both you and the kids love!!! I saw this recipe in the current edition of Delicious Magazine - and knew straight away that it would be a winner with "The Darlings".  Of course I have "tweaked" it a little - as I usually do!!!  Here is what we ended up with!

Italian Pork Meatballs
Adapted from Delicious Magazine - March Edition

Serves 6

1kg Pork, Sage and Onion Sausages
2 tbs each oregano and rosemary
120g fresh breadcrumbs
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 x 700g bottles passata
red wine
2-3 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs TM vegetable stock concentrate
500g dried spaghetti
handful of fresh basil, chopped

Parmesan and crumbled fetta to serve

Place the breadcrumbs in the Thermomix bowl - process for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Place in a bowl.  To the TM bowl add the onion, garlic, oregano and rosemary, process fro 3 seconds on speed 7, scrape down bowl and repeat until processed to your liking.  Squeeze the meat from the sausages into the TM bowl along with the chopped herbs/onion.  Add the breadcrumbs and process on Interval speed, closed lid position, for 2 minutes.

Taking small spoonfuls, make meatballs approximately the size of walnuts.  Allow to sit for 20 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

Heat a frypan to medium high heat, and brown the meatballs in batches, until they are slightly golden.

Place in a large saucepan, add the passata (now here is what I did - I added a good slug of red wine to the passata bottle to ensure I got it all from the bottle - so this is not an exact science!!)  Add the tomato paste, and the stock concentrate.  Season with salt and pepper, and  basil. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.  In the meantime cook your pasta, drain well.

Add the cooked pasta to the meatballs and sauce.

Serve with crumbled fetta, and or grated parmesan cheese.

One of "The Darlings" said to me "Mum, this is the best meal ever - Only one thing would have made it better - your garlic bread!!  (Sorry, didn't have time for that today - perhaps next time!!!) Music to my ears!!!

So the humble sausage had a makeover, and turned itself into a family friendly Italian Meatballs dish that had everyone coming back for seconds!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

At Visit to Adriano Zumbo Patissier- Manly

The sun finally broke through after many dismal days of rain, so it was time to get out the convertible, put the top down, and take a ride to the beach!!!  Madame T, The Cake Woman Extraordinaire, Precious and I set off for a girls day out at Manly to visit the latest jewel in the Zumbo crown.

Adriano has recently opened a Patissier on The East Esplanade in Manly, with a Cafe currently taking place next door.  We arrived a little too early, and the delivery from the factory had not arrived yet.  There was a small selection of cakes on display, but no macarons!!!  What were we to do?  What any sensible person would do of course - eat one of his delectable sausage rolls!!  There were three flavours to chose from Pork and Fennel, African Lamb, and Beef, Bacon and Chilli.  At $4.00 each these were really good value - quite large, and oh so flakingly good!  Even though I had saved all my stomach space by not having breakfast, we all decided that we were feeling decidedly full, and needed a walk to ensure more available stomach space be available for cakes/macarons when the truck arrived!!

Word certainly seems to have spread, and those in the know knew exactly when to anticipate said truck's arrival.  Once the delectable little morsels had been delivered it was like watching seagulls circling hot chips on the beach. The tiny little shop soon became full.  Mind you - once there was more than the four of us in the shop it became a little claustrophobic!

Today there were five choices in Macarons - Pancake and Maple Syrup, Vanilla, Rose, Blueberry Mud and Raspberry Liquorice.  All were delicious!!

We were having a hard time making our minds up about what cakes to get, but the macarons were going fast!  Must make decision quickly, or else miss out on the macarons!

My problem was that I had studied the website for days trying to decide what I would buy - only to arrive there and find that none of those choices were available!!!  If you have been watching the SBS series, you may have seen the episode where he asked his staff to come up with some new items for the next collection - if you haven't seen any of the Adriano Zumbo Series click and catch up!!  All of his staff collection is on sale at the moment,  here is what we chose.....

I am sorry I am not a great food blogger - I can't remember all the names - too in awe with the beauty of these items, and trying to get may hands on them!!

This one I think was called Ranger's Vine Ripened.  It was a White Chocolate casing,  inside there were several layers, each one with flavours resembling bruschetta - so there was the tomato flavour, the basil flavour, and a little crunch factor as well.  Very different - can't say it was fantastic, but also can't say that it was bad.

Now this little beauty was the best in my opinion -  tarte aux fruits de la passion!!  Oh to die for - wonderful passionfruit tang, creamy filling, and wonderful pastry - must buy again!

I can't remember this little beauty's name - but it had a lovely cake base, with a filling of white chocolate and raspberry cream, and then topped with this gorgeous red jelly top!

This one was .... something ....  Saturn??  Chocolate, caramel, and almonds, with a surprise pineapple centre!  Yum!!!

This little gem was made by Adriano's youngest apprentice  She is 16!!  It was called Chai my Raspberry.  If she is turning out cakes like this at 16 - then the world is her oyster!  Is was lovely.  I, unlike The Cake Woman Extraordinaire, did not dissect this layer by layer - but let me just tell you by eating all layers together, you could discern that there was a pastry layer, a raspberry jelly layer, and a chai tea layer - they all worked beautifully together!  On top was the "whiter than white" cream that we saw last year in the V8 cake!  Absolute perfection!

So if you find yourself at a loss for something to do - head on over to Manly and check out the new collection - you will end up with a stomach ache I can guarantee it - but you will be oh so happy!!!

1a/40 East Esplanade Manly

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thai Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Relish

My loyal readers will know that last week was a bit of a slow week for me in the blogging department - no bloggable meals to speak of, and hence not many posts.  This week I have tried to redeem myself - I have had a few successes on the table - but my camera failed me last night the bl*#@y thing wiped out the photos of last night's meal (oh, and the night before's as well - stupid me hadn't downloaded them!!).  I am so cranky (that's me being polite - I was a lot more than cranky!!!!)   Last night's meal was great, and I knew I had to share it with you - so I have taken a photo of the photo in this month's Delicious to show you (but I must say I actually thought my meal looked better than theirs!!!)  Will explain the differences as we go along.

Of course this was a meal where the Thermomix shone!!! Don't worry though - if you don't have a Thermomix this meal is still very achievable!!!

Thai Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Relish
Photo From Delicious Magazine March edition
Recipe slightly modified

Serves 4

1kg chicken breast fillets, chopped
1 lemongrass stem (pale part only)
1 1/3 cups (100g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbs plain flour
3 spring onions
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbs chopped coriander
1 egg, lightly beaten
grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus extra to serve
1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
1 long red chilli, seeds removed
1 tsp caster sugar
2 lebanese cucumbers
1tbs rice vinegar
chilli *

Sweet Potato Fries

600g sweet potato
olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli sauce to serve

As I am using the Thermomix my method will be a little different.

Place the bread into the TM bowl, process for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Place the crumbs in a large bowl.

Cut the lime into quarters, place in the TM bowl along with the lemongrass, spring onions, chilli and coriander.  Process for 3 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape down bowl and repeat until all ingredients are chopped finely.  Place chopped herbs into the bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Place 200-300g of diced chicken meat at a time into the TM bowl, and process for 15 seconds on speed 7.  Place the chicken mince in the bowl with all the other ingredients.  Repat until all the chicken is minced.

Note - you can do all of this in a food processor!

Place the egg into the TM bowl, put in closed lid position and press Turbo once.  Add the egg mixture to the bowl with all the other ingredients.  Add the flour, soy sauce and fish sauce to the chicken mix, and mix well using your hands, until all the ingredients are combined.

Shape into 8 patties.  Place on a plate, cover and sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

To make the cucumber relish, place the caster sugar and rice vinegar in a bowl, mix well until the sugar is dissolved.  * I had used up all my chilli, so I added a small amount of sambal oelek to the vinegar mix - use your discretion on how much/if any chilli you use. Peel the cucumbers, and using the vegetable peeler cut the cucumber into ribbons until you get to the middle, seed, section.  Cut the middle section into cubes.  Mix the cucumber through the vinegar and sugar mix.  Put aside until needed.

I also made my own sweet chilli sauce in the Thermomix - now again you can just do this on the stove.

Sweet Chilli Sauce

100g raw sugar
1 red chilli
120g rice vinegar
good splash of water approximately 1/3 cup

Blitz the chilli in the TM - 2-3 seconds on speed 7, repeat if necessary.  Add all the other ingredients.  Cook on varoma temperature, Reverse and soft speed for 15 minutes.  Make sure to leave the measuring cup out, and place the "basket" over the hole to allow evaporation.  I actually make it quite thick - so when it was cooked I added a splash of mirin and an equal splash of water until it was a thinner consistency.

Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat oven to 200C.

Peel the sweet potato, and cut in "fry" shapes.  Put in a bowl and mix with a good splash of olive oil.  Place on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper.  Bake for approximetely 25 minutes total - turning, so that they brown evenly.

To cook the chicken patties heat a frypan over medium heat.  Add a small amount of oil, brown the patties for 2 minutes each side.  Place on a baking tray that has been lined with foil.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve the patties warm with a small salad, cucumber relish, sweet potato fries and a small cup of sour cream topped with sweet chilli sauce, and of course your home made sweet chilli sauce on the side!!!

Got a big thumbs up from Mr. CCC with this one.  We actually found the patties quite big and 1 - 1/2 patties was quite sufficient.  That's fine with me because now I have some patties in the freezer for a Thai Chicken Burger Pizza!

So Dear Readers do you have times when all that can possiblly go wrong does go wrong?  Like the camera meltdown on a good blogging week!!!  I hope I am not alone here, and I hope you will forgive me for the photos on this post - but like I said, I just had to share the recipe with you.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cuppa Anyone?

When it's raining outside what else is there to do, but bake and blog!!

With the rain we are having, you certainly don't want to go out to the shops to pick up ingredients. Luckily just this week I had done a clean out of the pantry, and I knew exactly what I had on hand.   A quick look through the cookbooks for inspiration, and I'm off!

Sometimes when you bake you get that little niggle of insecurity in the back of your head - "will this actually work?"  Well one of these slices I had made before, so I knew with certainty that it would work - but as I assembled it - the question still loomed.  You see this slice you don't actually mix it - you just layer the ingredients on top of each other and then you bake it!  How easy is that?  I did modify the recipe slightly to account for the ingredients that I had on hand!

No Bowl Choc Bit Slice
Adapted from The Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook

90g butter, melted
130g weet bix, crushed to fine crumbs (any biscuit crumbs will work)
250g choc chips
1 cup shredded coconut
390g can  condensed milk

Preheat oven to 180C.

Grease a 30cm x 20cm slice tin, cover base with baking paper, grease paper.

Pour the melted butter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle evenly with the weet bix crumbs, then top with the choc chips,

then the coconut.

Drizzle the condensed milk over the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until evenly golden.  Cool in the pan before cutting.

This next slice is just like an Anzac Cookie - but in slice form!!!

Cornflake Honey Slice
Adapted from The Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook

2 cups cornflakes
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/3 cups desiccated coconut
3/4 cup caster sugar
130g butter
2 tbs honey

Preheat oven to 180C.

Lightly grease a 30cm x 20cm slice tin, cover base with baking paper, grease paper.

Combien the cornflakes, oats, coconut and sugar in a large bowl.  Melt the butter, then add honey to the butter.  Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients.

Place the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.  Stand for 15 minutes before cutting, cool completely in the pan.

Do not allow it to cool completely before cutting - as it goes quite hard!!  Trust me on this one - I forgot all about it (too busy blogging) - it set pretty hard!

Sit back, have a cup of tea, and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

So Dear Reader how did you spend your Sunday afternoon?  Hope it wasn't raining for you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roast Lamb with Thai-Style Mint Sauce

In the February edition of Delicious Magazine Valli Little had a section called Aussie Top 10.  In this section she transformed some iconic Australian dishes.  There was a revamping of the sausage sanger, an Aussie version of Steak Diane (with a secret ingredient - can you guess what it is??), and a delicious twist on the humble lamington!  What caught my eye, however, was the twist on the old Leg of Lamb!  My Partner in Crime had told me all about this dish on one of our "trots" around the neighbourhood.  (We always tend to end up talking about food as we try and burn off the past week's digressions!!)  She told me how good it was, and how her family had just loved it!  Better give it a try then!

Now everyone has their own take on the humble roast.  Since I can remember my Mum has always included an onion and tomato bake with our roast (along with all the usual suspects of roast potato, sweet potato and pumpkin), and of course a green veggie on the side.  Although this recipe seemed a little "wrong" as I was making it, it was oh so right, in oh so many ways!!  There was a clean uncomplicated mix of flavours that worked so well very together - and the bonus was that you didn't walk away from the meal feeling too full, as you usually do when trying to serve so many different roasted vegetables!!

Roast Lamb with Thai Style Mint Sauce and Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from Delicious Magazine - February Edition

Serves 6

2kg leg of lamb
2tbs fish sauce
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 tbs sunflower oil

1.5kg floury potatoes, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces

Thai Style Mint Sauce

2 tbs grated palm sugar
2 tbs rice bran oil (you can use peanut)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
zest and juice of 1 lime
1tbs fish sauce
1-2 long red chillies, seeds removed, chopped (to taste)
2 shallots (green spring onions), sliced on an angle
2 cups mint leaves, roughly torn

Preheat oven to 180C.  Combine the fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, mint and sunflower oil in a bowl.  Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and brush with the marinade.  Fill the pan with 2cm of hot water, then loosely cover lamb with foil.

* Now I thought I came up with a wonderful "washing up saver" here.  I used a deep baking dish, covered it with foil, then placed a disposable foil baking tray inside that - then I put the rack inside the disposable tray (the only washing up then was the rack!!!  "The Darling" on Wash Up Duty last night had virtually nothing to wash up!!!

Roast for 1 hour, then remove the foil and roast for a further 45 minutes (for pink) or until cooked to your liking.  Rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes.

While the lamb is roasting it's time to make the sauce.  I thought it benefitted from making it early and letting it sit, as the flavours were more well developed.  Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.

How beautiful and fresh does this sauce look?

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with cold water, and add some salt.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high, and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  Drain well, then return the potatoes to the pan.  Add a good slug of olive oil, and mix well - you can be a little rough with a spoon - if you "rough up" the edges of the potato, they will go nice and crispy!

I decided not to add them to the lamb's baking tray - I simply spread them out on a baking sheet that was lined with baking paper.  Roast the potatoes alongside that lamb for it's final 45 minutes of cooking.  When the lamb is done, remove it from the oven to rest, and turn the oven up to 220C, and cook the potatoes for an additional 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Season well with sea salt.

Slice the lamb, serve with the roasted potatoes, and a green veggie of choice (I decided on minted peas!) and of course the mint sauce!!

I loved this meal - "The Darlings" loved this meal ....... but Mr. CCC - well he wouldn't have the mint sauce (his loss) - he wanted gravy!!!  As I have learned in this house - You can't please all of the people all of the time!!!  I will definitely put this on my make again list - but next time I will also make some gravy - just to try and keep the customers satisfied!!!

So Dear Readers how do you like your lamb roast?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thai Seafood Curry

I know it has been a long time since my last post, and yes we have been eating!!  I really don't know what happened this last week - either I was rushing to get the meal to the table and forgot to take a photo, or the meal wasn't WOW - and I just didn't think I should blog about it.  The weeks just seems to blur along at the moment - we have so much activity going on after school - and we are eating at weird hours - so food, well it becomes just a chore!

Anyway I tried my hardest last night to rectify this terrible wrong.  I scoured the cook books looking for something that I could blog about (sad existence isn't it??)  I had a hankering for fish, prawns, any kind of seafood really.  I almost got off track along the way when I found a recipe for duck.  I have had this wonderful duck dish at a greek restaurant - meltingly tender duck baked in a claypot with honey, apricots and strawberries - the recipe I found had honey and orange, I could almost see and taste the modifications to "my" dish....... No!!!  Back on course!!!  I want seafood!!  No duck tonight!!!

So what did we have?  Well of course you know, you have already read the title to the post - so yes it was Thai Seafood Curry.  Oh it was so good!  Nice and spicy - but not too spicy, or Mr. CCC would complain - but fresh, crunchy, seafoody and spicy - I'm in heaven!

Thai Seafood Curry
Adapted from Delicious Quick Smart Cook Cookbook

Serves 2

280g fish, cut into 3cm cubes (I used Marlin)
250g green prawns (peeled weight - I purchased around 500g)
380g squid hoods (2 tubes)
400ml coconut milk
400ml chicken stock
1 lemongrass stem (pale part only), halved
3 kaffir lime leaves (that's 6 leaves in total)
3-4 tbs green curry paste (to taste)
3 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp caster sugar
1 cup frozen peas
2-3 tbs lime juice
1 cup bean sprouts, trimmed
1 cup thai basil leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
1 long red chilli, chopped

lime wedges and steamed jasmine rice to serve

Cut the squid hood along one side so that you have one large piece of calamari.  Score the soft inside with a sharp knife, making small diamond shapes, making sure not to cut the whole way through.  Once scored cut into 2 cm wide "ribbons, cut these ribbons in half.

Place the coconut milk, chicken stock, lemongrass and kaffir leaves in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to the boil.  Add the curry paste, fish sauce and sugar (taste at this point, and adjust to suit).  Decrease heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the peas, allow the mixture to come back to the boil.  Add the seafood and half of the chopped chilli, and simmer gently for approximately 2 minutes, or until the prawns have turned pink.  Stir in the lime juice.

Ladle into bowls, top with bean sprouts, remaining chilli, thai basil leaves, and coriander.

Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.

I feel redeemed now - a decent meal at last!! Definitely broken the "food drought" now!!

So tell me Dear Readers, do you have weeks where the meals just become a blur?  Where you make food that is quick, easy, and probably just a little bit boring?  Please tell me you do, just so I feel a little bit better!

Monday, March 14, 2011

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Travelling around food blogs is fun!!

You can catch a glimpse into what others are serving at their table.  A lot of the time though I get terrible food envy.  I envy those bloggers who don't have children, and can dine on the fine stuff all the time, I envy the bloggers who have children who will eat vegetables without complaining, but most of all I envy other people's ability to take such beautiful photos.  Perhaps one day I will get a real camera and I too will have lovely photos adorning my blog!!!

When you visit other blogs you get inspiration, and often come away thinking "I am going to make that" - the trouble is there are so many recipes running around in your head that if you don't do it then and there, you often forget where you saw the recipe.  Recently when I was visiting Pam's house I saw that she had made this lovely recipe - BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Skewers.  This was a must, and was quickly added to the menu for the up coming week.  The flavours in the BBQ sauce are great, and the combination of the chicken and pineapple is a winner.

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Skewers
From The Love of Cooking website 

1 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 tbs yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cloves garlic

1/2 fresh pineapple, diced
3-4 chicken breasts (depending on size) diced *

Combine the tomato sauce, soy sauce, honey, mustard, brown sugar, lemon juice and garlic in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.

Allow to cool.

Place diced chicken in a large bowl.  Add approximately 1/2 of the BBQ sauce, mix well and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Thread diced chicken and pieces of pineapple onto skewers.  Place under under a hot grill and cook for 5-10 minutes, turning often, or until golden and cooked through.

Serve with steamed rice, salad and or vegetables.

I think the next time I make this recipe I will actually use thigh fillets - I found that the breasts were a little dry for my liking - but I will leave that up to you.

We had a skewer left over - so guess what - tonight being pizza night there will be a BBQ and pineapple pizza on the menu!!!!!

Thanks Pam for your inspiration for dinner!!!  Sorry my photos do not do it justice!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Choc Chip Shortbread Slice

It's Sunday - so if you are looking to make yourself a little treat to have with a cuppa later this afternoon - or you are looking for a lunchbox filler for next week - this recipe is for you!!  Quick, easy, and oh so yummy!!

Shortbread is always popular in this house.  At Christmas time I make bucket loads of the stuff!!  (If you look in the Baking section to the right you will find my usual Christmas recipe.)  This recipe though, seemed so much easier - no fiddly little individual shortbreads - but all the same ingredients - so what could be better? I am going to give you both the recipe as it appears in Super Food Ideas, and my Thermomix version.

Choc Chip Shortbread Slice
From Super Food Ideas March edition

250g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup choc chips
1/2 cup white choc bits

Preheat oven to 140 degrees fan forced.  Grease an 18cm x 28cm slice pan.  Line base and sides with baking paper - allowing a 3cm overhang on all sides.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Stir in the flours.  Stir in the choc chips.

Press mixture over the base of the prepared pan.

Using a small knife cut the slice into squares (this makes it easier when it is baked - and prevents a lot less crumbling!!).

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and just firm to touch.

Cool completely.  Cut into squares.

Thermomix Version

250g butter, cubed
130g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
240g plain flour
95g self raising flour
110g choc chips
110g white choc bits

Place the cubed butter into the TM bowl.  Process at 50 degrees, for 10 seconds on speed 8.

Add the sugar and vanilla, and process for 10 seconds on speed 8.  Scrape down the bowl and repeat.

Add the flours, process for 10 seconds on speed 4, scrape down the bowl and repeat.

Add the choc chips, process for 20 seconds on reverse speed 1.

Press into prepared pan, and follow directions as above.

So go on - make yourself a little treat to have this afternoon - you deserve it after all that hard gardening, watching sport, housework, or whatever it is you get up to on a Sunday afternoon!!!!