I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Glazed Salmon with Simple Egg Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Finally.... "The Darlings" have returned - and so has my camera cable - so better late than never - here are the photos....

Good intentions really do not count for much do they?

I have been meaning to post for days and days, but something always seems to get in the way.

Lifestyles change (you have one person away, then they come back, and another leaves, and then they come back and two more leave....) meals become different, and totally unblog worthy - and then finally you see some light at the end of the tunnel - you make a meal that is really good, and you hear the words - "make sure you put this on the make again list" - and you go to blog the meal, only to find that the last two evacuees from the home have taken your camera cable, and you are unable to download any photos!!!!! (can you hear me cursing from there???)

What can you do???  Take a deep breath, and just get on with it.

As I said life has been a little different of late.  Mr. CCC took himself off to New Zealand (on a blokey tour) to see the Rugby World Cup.  He came back, then "The One Who Can Never Be Filled" went off to camp.  He came back, and the same day "The Darlings" took off for a rugby tour of Japan.  Meanwhile I got to stay here and maintain the castle, as all good domestic goddesses do!!!  (Me thinks a trip is in the cards for me soon?!?!  You can only dream can't you?)

Yesterday was one of those days - off to the airport at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. (makes for a very long day), then all the usual stuff - oh, and a Thermomix demo smack dab in the middle of the day too, just for good measure!!!  I'm sure I was totally brain dead at this point, but I did manage to pull it all off - not sure how how though.

Demo over, now what to make for dinner..... I picked up a couple of pieces of salmon hoping that I could make a reasonable meal with these and whatever I could find in the fridge and cupboard.  It did help of course that this week was the release date of all the new cooking magazines (there is a god!!) and I had a little inspiration in the way of Bill Granger's recipes in the latest edition of Delicious Magazine.

There was a lovely recipe for a simple Egg Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing - looks perfect - have all the ingredients - will go brilliantly with my salmon!!!

So here is the meal that transpired!

First of all a simple glaze is in order for the Salmon - this is my usual standby when all else fails.

Easy Salmon Marinade

1/4 cup mirin
2 tbs cooking sake
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tbs caster sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl.  Add salmon pieces and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of rice bran oil to the pan.  Place the salmon in the pan skin side down.  Cook for 3 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.  Turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.  During the last minute of cooking add some of the marinade to the pan and allow it to bubble up around the salmon pieces - this will give it a lovely golden glaze!!

Now onto the salad...

Simple Egg Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing
Recipe by Bill Granger printed in Delicious Magazine, October Edition

Serves 4-6

400g medium-thick fresh egg noodles (I actually used dried)
1 1/2 tbs honey
2 tbs smooth peanut butter (I only had crunchy)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs light olive oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce (I used light soy)
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 carrot, finely julienned
1 red capsicum, seed removed, finely sliced
2/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (I used cashews)

Place the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling, lightly salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just tender.  Drain well.

Whisk together the honey, peanut butter and lemon juice in a bowl, then gradually add in the oils, soy sauce and the vinegar.

To serve lightly toss the noodles, vegetables. and dressing in a large bowl.  Scatter with the chopped nuts.

Serve warm or cold.

This was truly a lovely salad, and yes, I will definitely be making it again.  It was made even more lovely with the addition of a splash of ketchap manis!!!

I also serve a few steamed snow peas with this dish just to add a little bit of colour.

My only regret now is that I cannot show you how lovely it all looked.... but stay tuned "The Darlings are due back in 11 days .... let's hope they don't lose my cable!!!  Photos will be downloaded then.

Today, I have spent the day cleaning out their rooms, I think a makeover is due while they are gone - tomorrow onto the painting (one of my pet hates let me tell you - but it is long overdue and might as well take advantage of them being gone!!). So dinner tonight... another throw together ..... we have some chicken, basil, chilli and coconut milk lurking in the kitchen - so a Thai inspired meal it seems to be!!!

So Dear Reader please excuse the lack of photos - but it is that or no post!!!  Blame "The Darlings"!!!!!  They will get an earful when we skype later!!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thai Style Pork Burgers with Pineapple Relish and Snow Pea and Mint Slaw

The other day I was at a real loss as to what to make for dinner.  So much so that I ventured into a supermarket that I don't usually buy at just to pick up their "freebie" recipe magazine for inspiration!! Thank goodness I did.  Sometimes picking up something different is like a breath of fresh air (and sometimes it isn't, as they all seem to just recycle the same ideas -but slightly differently!!  I have seen Rueben Sandwiches in two current magazines lately!!!)

Anyway I picked up Curtis Stone's "Feed Your Family" brochure.  In it were several ideas that I could quite happily have made - but the one that struck a cord was the Thai Style Burgers.  The little "reluctance motor" in my brain was working overtime (did you like how I slipped in the Thermomix theme?).  I am going to make these burgers, but I am going to make my own mince!!!  Why you ask??? Well 1) 'cos I can, and 2) I am sure that my mince is going to be so much better than what I can buy already pre packaged - I am going to use pork scotch fillet (which at $7.99 per kilo is cheaper too!!!).  So here is the meal that was - all food preparation was performed by my sous chef "Thermie".

Thai Style Pork Burgers with Pineapple Relish and Snow Pea and Mint Slaw
Adapted from recipe by Curtis Stone - Coles "Feed Your Family Brochure"

Serves 6


1.2kg pork scotch fillet (or pork mince)
4 cloves garlic
3cm piece ginger, cut into slices
4 tsp fish sauce
4 tbs hoi sin sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

To make the mince - cube the scotch fillet into pieces and process in batches of 250g -300g each batch.  Place the meat in the TM bowl - set the dial to closed lid position and press Turbo 3-4 times, or until the meat has been minced to desired consistency.  Place in bowl and process remaining meat until all meat has been minced.

Place the ginger and garlic in TM bowl and process for 3 seconds on speed 7.

Place the ginger and garlic into the bowl with the mince and the add remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  With wet hands form the mixture into patties.  Place on a foil lined tray and place in the fridge until ready to cook.

Pineapple Relish

2 cups diced fresh pineapple, cut into 2cm cubes (approx 1/2 a pineapple)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 red chilli, seeded
2cm piece ginger, cut into slices

Place the ginger and chilli in the TM bowl and process for 3 seconds on speed 7.  Add the remaining ingredients to the TM bowl.  Cook for 25 minutes at 100 degrees on Reverse and speed soft - with the MC removed.  You want most of the liquid to have evaporated.  If there is still a lot of liquid cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Place the MC back on the lid and with the dial set to closed lid position press turbo 1-2 times, or until you have a chunky consistency.  Allow to cool.

Snow Pea and Mint Slaw

1 carrot, peeled and finely julienned
100g snow peas, ends and string removed, finely julienned
1/2 wombok, finely sliced
1 green shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup finely diced fresh pineapple

Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tbs rice wine vinegar
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small screw top jar and shake until sugar has dissolved.

Toss all the slaw ingredients in a large bowl.  Just before serving toss through the dressing.

To cook the burgers heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and cook the patties for 4-5 minutes each side, or until browned and cooked through.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.  You may also like to cook these on the BBQ - but be careful that they don't burn - the sweetness of the hoi sin sauce may over caramelise!

To serve place a mound of the slaw on the plate, a pork patty and a dollop of pineapple relish.  If you want to complete the picture add some fries!!!

This was a lovely take on the old burger - with beautiful fresh flavours.  The slaw, by adding a small amount of pineapple, really brought it all together nicely.  This would be a great meal to serve on a hot summer's evening.

Of course you can make this without using a Thermomix - simply use prepackaged mince, cook the pineapple relish on the stove, and then process in a food processor.

So as the weather is starting to show sings of changing is your menu changing too???  HAve you lightened up a "classic"?  Do tell.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thermomix Chilli Con Carne

This recipe is for all my new Thermomix customers.  I made  this the other night and just loved it - the kids did too!!!  So super easy and tasty!!!

Chilli Con Carne
Adapted from EDC Thermomix Cookbook

Serves 4-6

1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 small red chilli, or to taste
1 tbs olive oil
600g steak (I used porterhouse), roughly cut into cubes
400g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs TM vegetable stock concentrate
2 tbs tomato paste

To Serve
grated cheese
sour cream
warmed flour tortillas

Place the onion, garlic and chilli in the TM bowl - chop for 3 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape down bowl, and repeat if necessary.  Set aside.

In 2-3 batches place the beef into the TM bowl.  Set the dial to closed lid position and press the Turbo button 3-5 times, or until the beef is minced to desired consistency.  I like mine with a little texture - so I minced one batch a little more than the others, and one slightly less than the others - this gave it a really good chunky consistency.  Set meat aside.

Place the onion, garlic and chilli in the TM bowl.  Add the olive oil and saute for 2 minutes at 100 degrees on reverse and speed soft (without the MC in place).

Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 25 minutes at 100 degrees on reverse and speed soft.

Serve in bowls, garnished with grated cheese, sour cream and whatever other toppings you desire!!!

This was sooo yummy - I will definitely be making my chilli con carne this way from now on!!!  Trust me, making your own mince is worth the extra few minutes it takes!!  Perhaps not as cheap as the mince you buy already packaged - but at least you know what is in there!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Glazed Salmon with Roast Pumpkin, Wombok and Cashew Salad

The other night there was a decided "Springness" to the air - so I decided it was time to lighten up a little, and adjust the meals accordingly.

A nice healthy salad and a piece of salmon will always do the trick as far as I am concerned.  I purchased the salmon, but wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with it exactly - but not to worry though - there is always something on hand to improvise with at my house.

I had seen a salad that appealed to me while perusing some older copies of Good Food Magazine.  It was a lovely Roast Pumpkin Salad - looked very healthy looking (well apart from the fried noodles - but I didn't use that many!!!).

Easy Salmon Marinade

1/4 cup mirin
2 tbs cooking sake
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tbs caster sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl.  Add salmon pieces and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of rice bran oil to the pan.  Place the salmon in the pan skin side down.  Cook for 3 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.  Turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.  During the last minute of cooking add some of the marinade to the pan and allow it to bubble up around the salmon pieces - this will give it a lovely golden glaze!!

Serve with Pumpkin Salad and steamed rice.

Roast Pumpkin, Wombok and Cashew Salad
Adapted from recipe found in Good Food Magazine, May 2011 edition

Serves 4

800g pumpkin, peeled, cut into small cubes
Garlic olive oil spray
juice of 1 lime
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice bran oil
crispy fried noodles
1/2 wombok (chinese cabbage) finely shredded
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 cup mint, finely shredded
1/2 cup thai basil, roughly torn
100g roasted unsalted cashews

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper.  Spray the pumpkin liberally with the garlic olive oil spray.  Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and golden.  Set aside to cool.

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, pepper and oils in a small screw top jar.  Place lid on and shake to combine.

Place the cabbage, green onions, herbs, cashews, noodles and cooled pumpkin in a large salad bowl.  Add dressing, toss to combine and serve immediately.

This post has been brought to you today by the NSW Government School Teacher's Strike.  Lucky me - the teachers have all gone on strike, and "The Darlings" are at home for the day!!!!  Mind you I have used it to my advantage - I told them that yes, they could stay home on the proviso that they get a hair cut - it was that or go to school with the few other children that had no where else to go today!!  Worked a charm - they now look respectable - all ready for their big trip to Japan in a couple of weeks time!  Won't I be enjoying the peace and quiet then???

So Dear Readers do you have to bribe your children to get them to do what you want them to do?  Hair cuts seem to be the big one in this house - they like to grow their hair from the end of one rugby reason until the start of the next - I suppose it helps save $$$$ but they do start to look a little shaggy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Wings with Ginger Caramel Dipping Sauce

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

Until recently I felt like I needed something to fill a void I felt in my life.  I was a stay at home Mum who was becoming tired of all the "mundaneness" that being a stay at home Mum involves.  So I embarked upon some new avenues in life.  The first being this blog - even though it didn't get me out of the house - I felt like I was getting out and about in the world - meeting new people - although rarely if ever in person.  Still though, I felt I needed something else - and I started the Thermomix adventure.  Now, I feel that I have so much going on that I don't have time to do anything properly anymore.

It feels like a million years since I wrote my last post - don't worry I have been cooking away, and taking photos - but I just never seem to find the time to get around to writing the post.

I am here now to make amends for this error in my ways!!!

Recently I was sent some samples of Real Stock from the people at Campbell's - they have a new range  of stock pastes available - chicken, beef and vegetable.   I don't really think they are that new - they have just been repackaged and re-introduced to the market.  I actually used to buy these several years ago, and was disappointed when they were no longer available.  Along with the samples there was a lovely little recipe book - with some great recipes in it.  A couple of weeks ago I was tempted to make King Prawn and Chive Ravioli with Saffron Butter Sauce.

I must say I was very disappointed with the recipe.  Although the flavours were lovely - they were ruined, I felt, by the Saffron Butter Sauce - the basis of which was vinegar.  I felt the vinegar totally overpowered the flavours - if I made the dish again I would make it a purely creamy saffron sauce.

My next choice of recipes was Chicken Wings with Ginger Caramel Dipping Sauce.  "The Darlings" and Mr. CCC love chicken wings, so I felt that this would be a "Dinner Winner".  I was not let down with this recipe.  One component that I loved was the Caramel Dipping Sauce - again the basis of this sauce was vinegar (do Campbell's have a vinegar range as well??? Will look next time I am at the store!!).

I have of course modified this recipe - 1) to use the Thermomix to make the marinade even easier - and 2) to increase the servings.

Chicken Wings With Ginger Caramel Dipping Sauce
Adapted from For The Love of Real - Real Stock - Campbells Cookbook
Serves 4-6

2kg chicken drumettes

4tsp Campbell's Real Chicken Stock Paste
4 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
3cm pice of ginger, roughly sliced
240g ketchap manis
45g olive oil

Place the garlic, ginger, and coriander in the TM bowl.  Process for 3 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape down bowl and repeat if necessary.  Add the ketchap manis and olive oil and process for 3 seconds on speed 4.  Place the marinade ingredients in a large ziploc bag, along with the chicken drumettes and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

When ready to cook.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Place drumettes in a large roasting pan and bake for 60 minutes, turning regularly to allow even browning.

Meanwhile make the Ginger Caramel Dipping Sauce.

Ginger Caramel Dipping Sauce

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 star anise pods
200g brown sugar
2cm piece of ginger sliced thinly

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Mix to combine.  Bring mixture to the boil, then simmer for 6-10 minutes, or until the mixture is syrupy.

Serve the chicken wings with steamed rice, or fried rice, accompanied with the Dipping Sauce, and garnished with thinly sliced green onions (if desired).

These wings were a huge hit!!  Not a scrap left over - just what every cook likes to see.  The Ginger Caramel Sauce was also a lovely accompaniment to the wings.  This dish will definitely be made again.  A great dish to get ready in the morning and the just throw in the oven when you walk in the door in the evening!!  Also would make a great entertaining meal - finger food!!!

So Dear Readers have you ever wished for something, only to find that after you have "got" it, that perhaps that wasn't what you were looking for, and that you were actually doing ok in the first place??

I will try and find a little more time to get some more posts up here!!!