Thursday 26 April 2012

Delicious April 2012 - Cauliflower, Lentil & Coconut Milk Curry

I haven't forgotten about this month's delicious magazine recipe. I have just had a bit of a motivation problem. In fact I lost my cooking mojo for a few weeks. I did make a couple of things but for the most part I really just couldn't be bothered. I did however start to get out a bit. Barbecues at friend's places, dinner out, swimming a lot. I had been getting meals from the local cafe for lunch so wasn't all that inclined to eat much for dinner. 

I was quite interested in making Bill Granger's Lentil Bolognaise from this issue. It is always nice to get some more vegetarian meals. However in the past 12 months I have managed to lose 20 kg and, as much as I love it, I am being very careful about the amount of pasta that I eat. I have issues with pasta. I just adore it. Unfortunately I just can't eat a small amount. When it comes to pasta I always have a massive bowl full and eat until I am absolutely stuffed. I also never make a salad or anything to go with it. Although at least this recipe is lentil based rather than meat. Plus I would probably add some vegetables to it, probably grated carrot, zucchini, perhaps corn & peas as well. I will make it one day. I might be able to serve it with some quinoa instead of the pasta. 

I came very, very close to making Phoebe Wood's Eggplant Escabeche. It looked and sounded so yummy. I guess the best way to describe it would be some kind of eggplant pickles or relish. The only thing that stopped me making it was the fact that it used 1.5 kg of eggplant and at the moment at my local greengrocer eggplants are $8.99/kg. Would make for a rather expensive recipe unfortunately. I will add it to my "must make" list for when eggplants drop in price. 

What I ended up making was Debbie Major's Cauliflower Lentil & Coconut Milk Curry. I had cauliflower in the fridge that was in desperate need of using up. I also had a few green beans that really needed to be used as well so I tossed them in as well. I was really happy with the result of this. I only had a good medium curry powder so just reduced the amount a touch. I would probably reduce the amount of coconut milk in it next time as there is a bit too much sauce for my liking. I would probably use 250 mls. I think that would be plenty. Although if I had the 400 ml can then I would be able to add more if necessary. I served it with some brown rice and a Chickpea, carrot & yoghurt salad. The salad was really easy to throw together, just some chickpeas, a grated carrot, sliced green onions, chopped mint & coriander, yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Was the perfect accompaniment to the curry. 

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Tamarind glazed pork

So I have been meaning to make this for two days. I got the pork out of the freezer on Sunday. Oh, well it is made now and the pork was still fine when I went to use it. I am very pleased with how it turned out. I pretty much just went by feel so I will try and write down what I did. 

Tamarind Glazed Pork 

4 pork belly rashers (or spare ribs as they are also called in Australia)
Piece of tamarind paste about 3 cm square
Zest & juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 - 2 tsp sambal olek (or to taste) 
2 tsp soy sauce 
1 - 2 tbsp brown sugar (palm sugar would be better but I didn't have any)

Tear up tamarind paste and place in a small dish and cover with warm water (I probably added 1/3 - 1/2 c water). Let soak 10 minutes then stir well. Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds & pulp. Make sure to stir it around and press through well. 

Place tamarind, lime zest & juice, garlic, sambal olek, soy sauce and sugar in a small pot over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by at least half and thickened. 

Heat grill, place pork rashers on a rack with a foil lined tray underneath. Brush half glaze over one side of the rashers and cook under the grill until browned, about 5 - 7 minutes. Turn over and brush with remaining glaze. Place under grill again and cook for a further 5 - 7 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned. 

Serve with rice and steamed greens.

Monday 16 April 2012

Herb-crumbed cutlets and bean & parsley salad

So I performed a little surgery and gave the place a bit of a facelift. I also finally got around to making my own header. I think that it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. I actually had quite a bit of fun playing around with some photo editing software over the weekend. Even better, I have a one day photography course coming up in a couple of weeks. I hope that it will improve my photos. Most of the time getting a good photo is pretty much a matter of luck for me. I suppose if I really sat down with my camera manual I might be able to work it out but I think it will be a lot easier having a professional photographer how to get the best out of your camera. There is also the possibility of a longer course next semester. I am actually quite excited at the prospect. 

I made this recipe quite some time ago now. At the moment I am in a bit of a funk and can't really be bothered cooking or even eating much. I am, of course, still eating and trying to eat well but there is just nothing exciting being made in my household. Chicken & sprout sandwiches really aren't blog worth. 

I plan on making this recipe again. I have more cutlets in the freezer. I only made a few changes to the recipe. I used sourdough in place of the white bread for the crumbs. Instead of flour & egg wash I lightly coated the cutlets in low-fat greek yoghurt. I had some green beans that really needed to be used up so I sliced and blanched them and added to the salad. It was nice and filling and I can't wait to make it again. Perhaps with some different herbs in with the crumbs and next time I might give them a spray with some olive oil and cook under the grill instead of pan frying. 

Monday 2 April 2012

Sweet & Spicy Potatoes and Pumpkin

Nice quick little post with a side dish that I made recently. I have talked before about playing around with your side dishes. It really makes so much difference to your meal. I served this with pickled pork and cabbage fried with onion, garlic & ginger. It was all ever so good. Oh, and I have heaps of the potato & pumpkin left so I think I might use it in a frittata or something on another night. Oh and one recommendation, I used butternut for this dish but it was not firm enough. I would definitely suggest a firmer pumpkin. For those in Australia, Queensland Blue or Kent.

Sweet & Spicy Potatoes and Pumpkin
2 tbps brown sugar (I used a US tbsp though so 1 tbsp + 2 tsp)
1 tsp hot smoked paprika (if you don't have hot, use 1 tsp smoked paprika + 1/4 tsp chilli powder)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil (about, I just poured some in)
1 tsp honey
500 g pumpkin, chopped
4 potatoes, cut into eighths

Combine brown sugar, paprika, allspice & salt in a plastic bag and shake to combine. Add olive oil and mix. Add pumpkin & potatoes and shake and massage until all are well coated. Place on a foil lined tray and drizzle with honey. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 C or until done.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Chicken & Mushroom Fajitas

Ugh, end of daylight savings today. I suppose it is a good thing, although I do like daylight savings in the summer. However the first few days after coming off or going on always suck. I am very tired tonight so hopefully I will actually be able to get to sleep early. 

I first had chicken & mushroom fajitas in a restaurant in Canada. They were really, really good. When I came home I made them using a bought mix and, of course, they weren't nearly as good. Although I had done them a few times since. Well, yesterday I decided that I was going to make some for dinner. I went looking around the net for a recipe. I didn't find anything that really grabbed me so I kind of just made it up as I went along. They turned out really, really well. They weren't quite spicy enough for me but I hadn't put chilli powder in as I was using hot smoked paprika and it does have a bite. So next time I will put some chilli powder in, probably 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of mexican chilli powder. Served with grated cheese and yoghurt on top with a rocket & tomato salad on the side. 

Chicken & Mushroom Fajitas 

500 g chicken thighs, trimmed and sliced into strips
1 tsp hot smoked paprika (if you don't have the hot smoked, use 1 tsp smoked paprika & 1/4 tsp chilli powder)
1 tsp sweet paprika 
1/2 tsp ground allspice 
1 tsp oregano 
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar) 
250 g mushrooms, quartered (or two large flat mushrooms cut into wedges)
1 red capsicum, sliced into strips 
1 red onion, cut into wedges
tortillas, yoghurt, grated cheese & salad to serve

Combine paprika, allspice, oregano, onion powder, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Add chicken strips and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
Heat some oil in a large fry pan over a medium high heat. Cook chicken in batches until sealed and starting to brown. Remove and set aside. 
Add onion and capsicum to pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until starting to soften. Return chicken to pan cook until chicken is done. 
Serve in warmed tortillas topped with grated cheese & yoghurt.