I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Swordfish with Tomato and Lemon

I know it seems like an awfully long time between posts, and that once again I am starving the family, but let me assure you this is not the case. We have been having incredibly boring meals, and time seems to be my perpetual enemy at the moment.

I did make a Japanese Tapas meal the other day, took the photos with all intentions to post, but as usual...... Well you know how it goes.

Last night 's meal however was definitely one that I need to tell you about.

I saw the idea in the current issue of Good Food magazine. It was an Ian Thorpe recipe (who knew Ian Thorpe could write recipes - perhaps he is hedging his bets in case the Olypmics don't pan out for him! Anyway, I used the recipe as a basis for my meal last night. Changed the fish, upped the ingredients.... And here is the end result.

Swordfish with Tomato and Lemon
adapted from recipe found in Good Food magazine - Recipe by Ian Thorpe

Serves 2

2 x swordfish fillets
300g tomato medley, cut into halves or quarters depending on size
1 x wedge preserved lemon, rinsed, finely diced
1 tbs oregano, finely chopped
1 tbs thyme, finely chopped
1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
70g pine nuts
1 tbs lemon juice
olive oil

Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add preserved lemon, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, lemon juice and pine nuts.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.  Season with salt and freshly grond black pepper.  Set aside and keep warm.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan and cook the swordfish steaks for 3-4 minutes each side, or until goden and cooked through.

Serve the swordfish topped with the tomato and lemon mixture.

A nice addition to this meal is some golden roasted kipfler potatoes and some steamed asparagus.

The flavours in this meal were lovely and fresh.  The preserved lemon gave it a great lemon hit, which married with the meatiness of the swordfish steak was just perfect.

Those of you that have not tried swordfish should try it.  It is kind of like eating a white steak really.  If you were blindfolded I think you would have a hard time naming it as fish.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chicken with Mango Apple Salad

I know, I have been slack again with the posts!!!  I could tell a lie here and come up with a story that could possibly be plausible, but the truth is that I have been spending far too much time playing with my new toy (the ipad) and hence daydreaming via the ipad about my upcoming trip to Italy!!!  Don't quite have all the details worked out yet, so expect to see more breaks in transmission until it is all booked and sorted out!!!

A meal that I did make last week that I thought was bloggable was a lovely fresh spring time meal, and that was Thai Chicken with Mango and Apple Salad.

I will give you the recipe as it is printed, but as per usual I did make a couple of adjustments - see the notations!

Thai Chicken with Mango and Apple Salad
Recipe from Good Food Magazine, November edition

Serves 2

6 french eschallots, peeled, halved
1-2 small red chillies, seeded * I used 1 long red chilli
1cm piece ginger, finely chopped
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, skin on
1 tbs coriander, finely chopped

Mango and Apple Salad
2 red apples, unpeeled, cored, cut into matchsticks
1/2 mango, peeled, cut into matchsticks * I used 1 whole smallish mango
1/3 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
2 green onions (shallots) thinly sliced
1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly torn
2 tbs lime juice
3 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar * I doubled this

Steamed jasmine rice to serve

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan).  Place the eschallots and half of the chilli in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Remove half, and set aside to use for the sauce.  Add the ginger, lime rind and remaining chilli to the food processor.  Process to form a paste.

Het the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the chilli paste, stirring for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Let cool slightly.

Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from each chicken breast, to form a pocket.  Place half of the cooled chilli paste unter the skin of each breast.  Place the chicken, skin side up, in a small baking dish.  Season and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the skin is golden, and the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a plate, and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

Place the baking pan with pan juices on the cooktop.  Add the lime juice and 1/2 cup of water.  Heat on medium, stirring to lift any cooked on pieces, until boiling.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until reduced slightly.  Add the chopped coriander and reserved chilli mixture.  Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Mango and Apple Salad

Combine the apple, mango, mint, green onion and coriander in a bowl.  Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add to the salad, and toss to combine.

Serve the chicken with steamed rice and the Apple and Mango salad on the side.

Yum, got to love it when the first mangos hit the fruit markets!!!!  My all time favourite summer fruit!!!

So how did I drag myself away from daydreaming to blog????  Well I still have not got the blog to work on the ipad, and I have two cakes in the oven at the moment (for our school's 60th birthday celebrations tomorrow) and so I find myself at a loose end and near the main computer!!!!

What's in the oven??  A Finnish Buttermilk Cake and a new recipe - a Thermomix Coconut Butter Cake - can't wait to try that one - I have heard good reviews from a friend with a TM!!!  Hope they both sell well at the cake stall tomorrow!!

The buzzer has just rung on the oven - so I can get back to daydreaming now - perfect timing I say!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Salmon Laksa Style

Technology, it's a wonderful thing isn't it????  Well, when it works it is!!!!

I decided it was time to splash out and get an ipad - well why not, everyone else seems to have one?  It will make life easier, no more queuing for the computer, able to blog on the go..... oh, and the main reason I decided the time was right, is that I have finally decided that I am going to be a big girl and take that trip to Italy that I have been wanting to do for so long!!!!! Remember I wanted to do it for my 50th - well that came and went... so now I am on the move - I will do it next April - for my 51st!!!  Dear Readers you have to keep me motivated, and not let me wimp out again.  I am a big girl now - I can travel on my own!!!!

I have decided on a cooking tour on the Amalfi Coast - well almost decided - there are a couple I am still tossing up between - but I am nearly there.  Airfares must be booked within the next couple of weeks - so once that is done there is no turning back!!

Anyway, back to the ipad, seems like I have issues accessing this blog via the ipad, so that is why there has been a delay in posting of late (oh, you didn't notice eh - figured I was just being slack again???)

So onto the cooking side of things, the other night I was in my usual quandary as to what to make for dinner.  Had picked up a couple of pieces of salmon, and decided to wing it.

Felt like something a little on the spicy side, so this is what eventuated.

Salmon Laksa Style

Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 x lemongrass (white part only) finely chopped
3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 4cm pieces
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 x 150g tail pieces of salmon, skinned, and cut into 4-5 cubes
4 kaffir lime leaves, vein removed, finely shredded
270ml light coconut cream
1 tbs red curry paste
1tbs fish sauce
1 tbs palm sugar
1 tbs ketchap manis
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp sesame oil
fresh coriander, roughly chopped for garnish

Add sesame oil to a medium sized sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass and gently fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.  Add the curry paste, and fry for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the coconut cream and chicken stock, stir to combine.  Add the palm sugar and fish sauce.  Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly.

Add the asparagus and salmon, and gently simmer for 2 minutes, or until the salmon is almost cooked through.  Add the pineapple, cherry tomatoes and ketchap manis.  Simmer for 1 minute, or until all the ingredients are heated through.

Serve with steamed rice.  Garnish with coriander.

This certainly satisfied my taste for something a little spicy.

Posting requirements now filled.... onto the important stuff - more Italy planning!!!! (oh and resolving techincal issues!!!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fried Squid with Chorizo, Feta and Chickpea Salad

I really must learn to abide by the "less is more" principle.

I mean who do I think I am that I can say - why that recipe looks like it doesn't have enough of blah in it, and just up the ante on any particular ingredient I feel like? Saying that though some recipes are way too stingy on some ingredients (usually the meat/seafood factor - prawns in particular!!).

I had heard rave reviews about this particular recipe from "my partner in crime" as we have trundled around the block getting her ready for her triathlon (me - I just complained the whole way, and she just smiled and told me to suck it up and keep on going.....).  Just think about food and listen to the music and you won't notice how far it is around the "block".  Yeah, right!!

I tend to think any form of salad is virtuous - but possibly not when it contains fried squid, chorizo and feta cheese.  Still I did feel good about myself after eating this lovely tasting salad.

I am going to give you the original recipe - trust me on this - don't up the feta, and chorizo!!

Fried Squid with Chorizo, Feta and Chickpea Salad
Recipe from Delicious Magazine September edition

Serves 4

400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
75g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
small bunch flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
100g feta cheese
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 1/2 tbs olive oil
12 small cleaned squid tubes
150g chorizo, cut into slices
1 tsp smoked paprika
juice 1 lemon
1 oregano sprig, leaves only, finely chopped
100g rocket

Place the chickpeas, olives, garlic, onion and parsley in a bowl.  Crumble in the feta and mix well.  Pour in the sherry vinegar and 2 tbs oil and season.

Slit the squid tubes in half so they open like a book.  Gently score the inside in a criss cross pattern with a sharp knife, then cut into 3 pieces.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in a frypan over medium high heat.  Cook the chorizo for 3-4 minutes until the fat has rendered and the chorizo is crispy.  Set aside.

Increase the heat to high, then, in batches, add the squid and paprika.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until just cooked, then add the lemon juice and the oregano.  Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, add the squid and chorizo to the salad and toss with the rocket.

This really was a lovely tasting salad - unfortunately overdoing the feta and chorizo resulted in it being a little too salty.

So now that the triathlon is over I wonder if "my partner in crime" will still persist in dragging me around the block??  I'm sure she will - if only for the "foodie gossip" that ensues!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beetroot, Pumpkin and Spinach Bread

When you have a Thermomix you can let your imagination run wild with ideas!

Years, and years ago I remember buying a bread for the then, very young "Precious".  The lovely colours of the bread captured her eyes - they were so vibrant - yellow, pink and green.  There had to be a vegetable or three in there - but she didn't care it appealed to her on a visual level.  She loved that bread and whenever we went to that bakery - that was what she wanted.

That bakery has long since gone, but the memory has stayed with me.  Now that I am turning into quite the bread maker, I thought it was time to experiment a little and see if I could recreate that wonderful looking bread.  Not hard really when you have a Thermomix!!

Beetroot, Pumpkin ans Spinach Bread

400g pumpkin, cut into 3cm cubes
400g beetroot, cut into 3cm cubes
1 bunch silverbeet, leaves only, white rib removed, cut into 2cm strips

Place the beetroot into the varoma receptacle.  Top with baking paper.  Place the pumpkin on top of the baking paper.  Place the varoma tray on top and place the shredded spinach leaves onto the varoma tray.

Put 1500g water into the TM bowl.  Place the varoma onto the TM bowl (weight down the lid of the varoma with cans if necessary to ensure that the lid is on tightly.)

Process on varoma temperature and speed 4 for 40 minutes.

Gently remove the lid from the varoma.

Remove the water from the TM bowl.  Add the spinach to the TM bowl and process for 10 seconds on speed 9.  Remove and set aside.

Rinse out the bowl, making sure there is no spinach residue left in the bowl.

Process the pumpkin for 10 seconds on speed 9.  Set aside and rinse the bowl out.

Process the beetroot for 10 seconds on speed 9.

Clean and dry the bowl completely.

Basic bread mix - you need to make this mixture three times!

520g bakers flour
15g dried yeast
350g warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water in the TM bowl.  Add the pureed vegetable.  Repeat with remaining batches.

Process on interval speed for 4 minutes.  Place in a well oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (approximately 40 minutes).

Once all three batches have risen.  Knock down the dough, and divide each colour into four equal portions.  You will have enough dough to make 4 baguette style loaves.

Take 1 section of each colour and roll out into a long thin "sausage" shape.

Secure at the end, and then plait the dough.

Allow to rise again for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Brush the top of the bread with a little milk.

Place in an oven that has been preheated to 210 degrees.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Isn't that the most gorgeous looking bread you have ever seen???

Even better when sliced.....

So for dinner that night we had crumbed pork schnitzel accompanied by a coleslaw consisting of cabbage and apple, and with a dressing of sour cream, parmesan cheese, red wine vinegar and olive oil.  Along with this gorgeous looking bread and some homemade butter.  As any Thermomix owner knows, butter is just as easy as whipping cream - really just a few seconds longer!!!!  To the butter mix I added a dash of sugar, some sea salt and a slurp of olive oil (so that it didn't become too hard in the fridge!!!).

I ask you is there anything more perfect than eating a slice of homemade bread that is topped with butter that you have also made yourself???  I think not!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chilli Coconut Chicken with Basil and Coconut Cream

Well life as we know it is now back to normal.

"The Darlings" have returned from their adventure in Japan with many stories to tell.  The one who was scared to go because he was afraid there would be nothing there that he would like to eat tells how the food there was really good!!!!  He even tried something that he thought looked disgusting - but it wasn't!!!  My how an adventure on your own can change your perspective!  Let's hope it continues.

Life here went on pretty much as usual (albiet a lot quieter!)  Spent the first few days they were away pulling their room to pieces and starting the arduous task of painting and giving the rooms a fresh look.  I wanted them to be "magazine perfect" when they returned - but that was not to be - am still waiting on several pieces of furniture in order to fully assemble - but they look a lot better than when they left.

After a hard day of slogging away in their rooms it was time to think about dinner.  I had not had a chance to go to the shops - what with one thing and another, so it was a matter of scrounging through the fridge to see what I could assemble!

We had some chicken, basil, coconut cream and some chillies....  I remembered a recipe I made many, many years ago, and went from there.....

Chilli Coconut Chicken with Basil and Coconut Cream
Adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Easy Thai Style Cookbook

Serves 4

1kg chicken breasts, sliced into 1cm strips
2 tbs sesame oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 red chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 cup shredded fresh basil
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh coriander root
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup coconut cream
1 tbs ketchap manis

Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Add the onion and chillies. stir fry until the onion is soft.

Add the chicken and stir fry until the chicken is cooked through and tender.  Add the basil, fish sauce, coriander root and sugar.  Stir fry for 1 minute.

Add the coconut cream and ketchap manis, stir mixture until heated through.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

What a lovely, quick and easy dinner this was - great flavours too.  I know the ketchap manis is not usually in the recipe - but I just love the flavour that it adds.

Sorry, too tired for any fancy photos - it was just a matter of let's just eat!!!!

Saffron Rice with Prawns, Peas and Coriander

While I must admit I did miss "The Darlings" life in the food department was somewhat simpler.  I could make one dish - and make what I liked without worrying what I would make for them.  They are not that keen on prawns so whenever we have them I have to come up with something simple that I can make at the same time for them.

This dish caught my eye in the latest edition of Good Food Magazine - it is basically a simple paella - all the flavours of the paella - rice and saffron, but only one meat involved (or should I say seafood!).  This was an incredibly easy, tasty, quick dish to make, and if you love the concept of paella you will love this dish.

Saffron Rice with Prawns, Peas and Coriander
Adapted from Good Food Magazine, October edition

Serves 4

3 cups chicken or fish stock
large pinch of Spanish Saffron
2tbs olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup long grain rice
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1kg green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
lemon wedges to serve

Heat the stock and saffron in a large deep frying pan on low, until just simmering.  Set aside for 5 minutes, to infuse the flavours.  Transfer to a large heatproof bowl, and cover to keep warm.  Wipe the frypan clean.

Heat the oil in the same frypan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add the rice, capsicum, and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring well until coated.

Add the hot saffron stock and increase heat to high.  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, covered, for 10 minutes or until the rice is almost cooked.

Add the prawns and peas, pressing gently down into the rice.  Cook for 12 minutes, covered, until the rice is tender.  Remove from the heat and stand covered for an extra 5 minutes, or until the prawns are just cooked.

Scatter with the chopped coriander.

Serve with the lemon wedges.

Yum..... this was too easy, and went oh so well with a lovely cold glass of white wine after a hard day at work.