Sunday 25 September 2011

Delicious September 2011 - Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad

I can't believe at how quickly this month is passing by. I all of a sudden found myself staring at not having a recipe cooked out of this month's Delicious magazine and I just couldn't let that happen. I kind of lost my cooking mojo lately. I have still been making stuff to eat but certainly nothing worth writing about. In fact not much cooking involved with pre-coated chicken breast schnitzels and frozen veg. I have, of course, had a few exceptions but I just haven't seemed to have gotten around to writing about them yet. I have a bit of catching up to do. 

From this issue I had initially wanted to make Nigella's Chocol-Oat Cookies. Basically a double chocolate oat cookie having both cocoa and chocolate chips. They sounded so good but had already made some other biscuits at the time and didn't really need two different types in the house. 

When menu planning for this week I decided to make two recipes from this issue this weekend. The first was Chicken with Shanghai Noodles from the Global Flavours feature. I had just scanned the recipe looking at what was required for it. Finding that I had almost all the ingredients I decided to make it for dinner on Saturday night. I, however, came down with a cold. Saturday morning I still planned on making it however by the afternoon I was starting to feel pretty awful again and on further reading of the recipe there was a lot more to it than I originally thought. So I have stuck the chicken thigh fillets in the freezer and I hope to make this on Wednesday when I have the day off and hopefully will be better. 

The other recipe on my menu plan from this issue is the one that I ended up making tonight, Valli Little's Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad which Valli says is inspired by Joanne Weir. This was very good. Although I did have a couple of issues. The first was the "lamb neck fillets" in the recipe, my very good local butcher didn't know what they were. So on my butcher's suggestion I purchased a 400g lamb leg roast portion. It was very lean and looked like it would be perfect. Second issue was that I couldn't get Dutch carrots, so I just used some regular carrots that I quartered. Finally, there was too much salt in the spice mix. I think reducing it by half would be better. I also reduced the amount of pepper. Oh, and very last, the citrus zest in the oven....200C was way too hot. 

Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad 


2 tbsp finely grated orange zest 
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest 
2 tsp cumin seeds 
1/2 tsp chilli flakes 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
2 x 400 g lamb leg portions 
1 cup whole-egg mayonnaise (I would use yoghurt next time) 
2 tsp harissa (I used more) 

Carrot Salad 
4 large carrots, quartered
2 tbsp honey (I used Leatherwood) 
100 ml extra virgin olive oil 
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 
radishes, sliced
sprouts, salad leaves, feta (I used garlic feta), to serve 

  • Pre-heat oven to 160 C. 
  • Bake zest and a tray for 5 - 10 minutes. Watch very carefully as it will burn quickly. 
  • Add cumin seeds and bake a further 5 minutes or until zest is crispy. Cool.
  • Crush zest, cumin, chilli with 1 tbsp each of salt and black pepper (original recipe was 2 tbsp each). 
  • Combine half the spice mix with oil and rub over lamb, cover and chill for 2 -3 hours or overnight. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C. 
  • Combine carrots, honey and 60 ml oil and roast for 20 minutes or until just soft. 
  • Combine jelly and juices in a pan over a medium heat. Reduce by half and then add cinnamon. 
  • In a bowl combine parsley, radishes, sprouts, salad leaves, feta and carrots and dress with a small amount of dressing just before serving. 
  • Heat an oven-proof fry pan over a high heat. Brown lamb on all sides and them place pan in oven and roast for 15 - 25 minutes (time will depend on how thick your lamb portion is and how well done  you like it). Let rest 10 minutes, covered with foil.
  • Combine mayonnaise and harissa and place in a serving bowl. 
  • Slice lamb and serve with carrot salad and mayonnaise. 

Saturday 17 September 2011

Baked Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake

A few weeks ago my friends and I decided that we needed to catch up more regularly. So it was decided that we would have a barbecue once a month rotating houses each month. It is kind of like a pot luck situation where each one brings something. I volunteered to make a dessert for a first gathering. 

I wanted to make something a bit different but something that would be family friendly and yummy. There were a couple of choices between different tart recipes that I have had bookmarked for a while. However, I had an idea for something brand new. It was kind of based around the lemon & coconut meringue cheesecake that I made last year. However I wanted to lighten it up a bit. So I decided to add in some strained vanilla yoghurt. I made both a large one (probably too large now I look at it) and a small one for blogging and taste testing purposes of course, lol. I am very pleased with how this has turned out. The raspberry flavour is just lovely and it is not too heavy. I made sure to go easy on the sugar as it could have easily been way too sweet. I hope that it is liked by all. 

Baked Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake 

  •  1 packet granita biscuits
  • 1 packet marie biscuits 
  • 170 g butter, softened 
  • 500 g cream cheese 
  • 250 g strained vanilla yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste 
  • 2/3 c caster sugar 
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 400 g raspberries (crushed and strained to remove seeds)
  •  4 egg whites 
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar 
  • 2/3 c caster sugar  
  • Process biscuits until finely crushed. Add butter and mix well to combine. Press into tart tins and chill for at least 1 hour. 
  • Place cream cheese & yoghurt in mixer bowl and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and sugar and beat to combine. Add eggs & yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Add raspberry puree and mix well to combine. 
  • Pour filling into tart tin bake at 160 C for 50 minutes, it should still have a slight wobble but not too much. Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes. 
  • In a clean mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Slowly add caster sugar beating until it is stiff and glossy and the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  • Spread meringue on top of cheesecake and then return to oven for a further 15 minutes or until nicely browned.
(From this I got 1 x 24 cm (5 cm deep) round tart tin and 1 x 10 cm (4 cm deep) round tart tin)

Monday 12 September 2011

Pumpkin Leek & Chorizo Risotto

So encouraged by a friend I have started on a bit of an exercise kick. Today was the beginning of week three of swimming four days a week (actually considering going to 5 days). I am now up to swimming 30 x 25 metre laps. Today it took me about 40 minutes. I have to admit that I am really enjoying it and am pleased to have been pushed into it. I have also managed to lose some weight. Since the start of this year I have lost a total of 5.5 kg. Not a huge amount but it is certainly a start. Losing is definitely better than gaining or even just staying still. I hope that with the swimming that the weight will come off quickly to start with. 

Now, I know that risotto isn't exactly diet food, however I did make this quite some time ago plus it is absolutely to die for (oh and I don't really do diet food... lol). I just love pumpkin risotto so much. In fact I really am a fan of almost any kind of risotto. I like to make my pumpkin risotto with raw pumpkin that has been fairly finely diced and let it cook in the stock as the rice cooks. Some of the smaller pieces start to disintegrate and provide a lovely orange colour while the bigger pieces stay whole and add a different texture even when fully cooked. For this one I had a leek in the fridge that needed using up so used that in place of onion and I also had some chorizo so finely diced it and fried until nicely coloured. I don't normally add the chorizo to this but it was so, so good in it and I will definitely add it in again. 

Pumpkin, leek & chorizo risotto

  • 1 chorizo, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, halved & finely sliced
  • Wedge pumpkin, finely diced (I am not sure how big it was, there was probably 1.5 cups of diced pumpkin)
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1/2 c white wine (or extra stock)
  • 3 - 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • grated parmesan (about a cup maybe)
  • rocket, to serve
  • Heat saucepan (I used my swiss diamond sauté pan) over a medium heat. 
  •  Place chorizo in and let cook. Remove from pan leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. 
  • Add leek and cook until soft. Add rice and stir for a minute. Add pumpkin and stir.
  • Add wine and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. 
  • Add stock slowly, stirring after each addition until absorbed, continue adding stock until rice and pumpkin are cooked. 
  • Add parmesan and stir. Season if necessary. 
  • Serve on a bed of rocket.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Feast - August 2011 - Beetroot Salad

There is a new food magazine on the Aussie landscape. Coming from the SBS stable is a wonderful magazine. It is full of some amazing recipes and wonderful articles. Recipes from many different cuisines. I have to admit to being completely engrossed with this magazine right from the start. My only small issue is with something in the editor's opening remarks: 

"Some of the ingredients may not be on your local supermarket shelves, but we believe unearthing new flavours, food stores and neighbourhoods is all part of the culinary adventure". 

That is all well and good if you are living in a major city or even in an area with a diverse population however there are those of us that do not live in areas where there are an Asian supermarket, Middle Eastern deli, Indian grocer etc, etc. There is only so much that can be purchased over the internet or by mail order. I am passionate about food, I love to create and try new recipes and cuisines. I make do with the resources that I have available. While I understand the desire to push people to move out of their comfort zones and explore, I would have thought that for a wider appeal for their magazine perhaps offering alternative ingredients would help people out. Yes, I can sit here and google what might be an appropriate substitute but sometimes it would be nice to have a suggestion from the author of the recipe.

Okay, now that I have vented that I will move on. I was quite taken with the feature on Argentine food in this issue. I was particularly taken with the look of two of the dishes, the Beef & Corn Pie and the Beetroot Salad. I ended up making both of these dishes on the one night. I was completely torn by these recipes. The Beetroot salad was absolutely to die for. I was so in love with it. The combination of the beetroot, potato, onion with a balsamic dressing was amazing. I have made it a number of times since and will definitely be making it again and again. The pie, however, was really not for me. The picture looked wonderful, the recipe sounded fine, I like all the ingredients in it but put it all together and I just didn't like it. There were two different fillings, a beef layer topped by a puréed corn/egg layer and it just didn't seem to meld for me. It was a lot of work and a lot of ingredients so I was really disappointed. The salad though was glorious and that is the recipe that I am going to be sharing with you. 

Beetroot Salad (Ensalada de Betarraga) 

  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced (I used a red onion) 
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • hot water
  • 4 beetroot, roasted until cooked
  • 2 large desiree potatoes, peeled and diced 
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Combine onion and salt and then cover in hot water. Stand for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse. 
  • Peel roasted beetroot and then dice to the same size as the potato. (The recipe said to slice thinly, I find it better diced.)
  • Add potatoes, 1 tsp salt and white wine vinegar to water and boil until tender and then drain. 
  • Combine onion, beetroot and potatoes. Dress with balsamic and olive oil and season to taste. 

Saturday 3 September 2011

Chicken Club with Avocado Mayonnaise, Roast Tomato and Bacon

Urgh, I am so tired. I just can't sleep. So I am here typing up some long over due posts. I made a very, very average birthday cake tonight. I feel really badly about it and wish that I could start over again but it is late and I don't have everything necessary start again nor do I have the time to do it. 

I simplified this recipe a bit. Instead of cooking chicken thighs for it I used some of the chicken from the warm poached chicken from my last post. I just gave it a quick go round in a fry pan to warm it up and brown it a bit. I also didn't make the mayonnaise from scratch. I just used some of Neil Perry's mayonnaise and added some mashed avocado. 

Chicken Club with Avocado Mayonnaise, Roast Tomato and Bacon

  • Chicken meat, left over from poached chicken
  • 2 slices bread, per person (I used sourdough)
  • Rocket
  • Bacon, fried until crispy and drained
  • Tomatoes, halved and roasted for 40 minutes in 180 C oven
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 1/2 a mashed avocado
  • Tear chicken into chunks. 
  • Heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and fry until warmed through and browned. 
  • Spread bread with avocado mayonnaise top with rocket, chicken, bacon and tomatoes. 

Friday 2 September 2011

Warm Poached Chicken with Onion Rice & Fresh Ginger Relish

Well, the last couple of weeks have been rather difficult. I am so tired at the moment but not sleeping well. I have had a few other things going on, including one of my cats being badly injured in a fight with another cat. She is improving but it is still worrying. Plus she escaped the house on me several hours ago and has not yet come home. I can only hope that she is not out there fighting again.

I made this dish from Bill's Sydney Food a while ago now. I used a lovely organic chicken that I had in the freezer and the chicken turned out really well. I even used the coriander roots in the poaching liquid, although I didn't use the leaves. I really enjoyed the onion rice and think that I will use it for serving with other dishes. However I wasn't overly impressed with the fresh ginger relish. It just didn't seem to be cooked properly. I doubt I would make the relish again. The poached chicken and the rice I would definitely make again.  I was worried that serving it with just cucumber as a vegetable wasn't really enough so I also steamed some zucchini batons.