Monday 23 July 2012

Spaghetti with crab, lime & chilli

Well, it has been some time since I made something from Bill's Sydney Food. I will admit though that I did make this several months ago and just hadn't gotten around to blogging about it. I had actually made this recipe before but refused to blog about it that time as I made it with canned crab meat and while it tasted okay it was pretty awful looking. The tinned crab meat is not something that I would be buying again. Since that time I discovered that I can buy tubs of fresh crab meat shredded in the supermarket and I was really impressed with it so I was happy to blog about it this time. 

I did really enjoy this so much. Which is probably why I persisted in finding decent crab meat to make it again. It is lovely and tangy with just the right amount of heat but I guess that is dependent on how much chilli you put in. This is definitely one that I would make again. It is wonderfully zesty and reminds me so much of summer.  

Spaghetti With Crab, Lime And Chilli

Serves: 2
150g Crab Meat
Juice & zest of 2 lime
Juice 1 lemon
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
1 small chilli, sliced (I used some chilli flakes as I didn't have a fresh chilli)
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
200g Spaghetti, cooked and drained
Place crab, lime and lemon juices, lime zest, garlic, parsley, spring onions , chilli, sea salt and pepper in a bowl and stir in olive oil to combine. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Toss pasta into crab mixture and serve.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Pineapple & Cardamom Upside Down Cake

I love to cook and I love to bake. That is probably obvious since I have a foodie blog. While I get a lot of chance to cook meals, hey everyone's got to eat, baking is a different story. Living on my own means that I have to eat what I cook. There is only so many cakes, muffins, slices or desserts that one woman can eat. So whenever I get invited to dinner to a friend's house I always take something with me. This was one of those times. 

I have actually made this cake before and think that it is just wonderful. I find that upside down cakes can have a tendency to be too sweet. However the cardamom in this one seems to cut through the sweetness wonderfully. Although I will admit that I have reduced the sugar in both the topping and the cake. My friends and their children just loved it. I love it too, so much so that I didn't leave the leftovers but brought them home for me. Lol Although after feeding 3 adults and 3 children there wasn't that much left. 

Pineapple & Cardamom Upside Down Cake
  • 70g brown sugar
  • 40g soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 tin pineapple piece in natural juice, drained (you wont need the whole tin so keep the juice)
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
Combine brown sugar and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased, round, 20cm cake tin, spreading evenly. Arrange pineapple pieces on top of brown sugar mixture.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and cardamom into a mixing bowl. Add caster sugar, stir and make a well in the centre. Melt butter with golden syrup and cool slightly. Pour into the well with eggs and milk. Beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture over pineapple pieces and bake at 160 C for about 45minutes - 1 hour or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cover with foil if cake browns before it is cooked through.
Stand in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Marsala Pork with Fennel

On to the second of the pork recipes made last week with the pork scotch fillet that I defrosted. After searching around the Taste website for something to make with them I decided on this Marsala Pork with Fennel recipe. I used the remaining 3 pork scotch fillet steaks in the fridge for this recipe. I did make some changes. I reduced the sauce down until it was quite syrupy. In fact I think that I could have taken it down a little further to make it a bit sticky and thicker. I added about 2 tsp butter as the end of reducing the sauce to add a bit of extra richness, it probably wasn't needed but I enjoyed it. The pork was tender and the sauce had just the right amount of sweetness to it. The only change I would make next time would be to add a little slurp of cream to the sauce instead of the butter.

I made a number of changes to the fennel part of the recipe. I had a large fennel in the fridge so I used that and sliced it up. I didn't have any of the yellow squash so cut a zucchini into thick wedges. I also added half and onion thinly sliced and sautéed until soft before adding the fennel. Finally I added some canned cherry tomatoes which I squashed up. I really enjoyed this side dish. I sometimes find that the fennel flavour can be strong and overwhelming but this was quite subtle and I really enjoyed it. However, I think that without the onion and tomatoes I may have found the flavour different. I liked it my way. 

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Caramel Dumplings

There are some recipes that are definitely winter recipes. I always make more stews, soups, and roasts in the winter. Mulled wine and mulled cider are something that comes to mind as winter recipes. Plenty of dessert recipes are winter recipes as well. Puddings, pies, crumbles, poached or baked pears and baked apples are all winter desserts as far as I am concerned. 

This is a winter recipes. I have been making this since I was about 10 or 12 years old. The original recipe was from and old Women's Weekly recipe but I have changed it a little bit over the years. Mainly reduced the sugar as it was a bit sweet for me. I also reduced the flour a bit as I always found that it was a bit dry. I always end up with too much of the dumpling mixture left over anyway. This would have to be one of the desserts that I associate with a specific time of year and it really is a good one. 

Caramel Dumplings 

1 c flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
pinch salt
1/3 c caster sugar
30 g butter
1 tsp vanilla 
1/3 c milk 


30 g butter 
1 c brown sugar
pinch salt
1 1/4 c water 

Combine flour, baking powder salt and sugar. Rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Combine milk and vanilla an then add to flour and mix until just combined, if it is a bit dry add a little more milk.
In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter.  Add brown sugar, salt and water and bring to the boil. 
Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the sauce and then place the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Serve with cream or ice cream.

Monday 16 July 2012

Stuffed pork scotch fillet with mustard & hazelnut red cabbage

Continuing on with my fridge/freezer/cupboard recipes. This was a top of the head recipe one night when I wasn't really sure what to make. I had some pork scotch fillet in the freezer which I had defrosted to make another recipe which I:-

1. Couldn't be bothered making; and
2. Lost interest in wanting to eat it.  

So instead I put it in the fridge until I could decide what to make. I ended up making two recipes one night after the other. The first was to stuff one of the steaks with a feta & sun-dried tomato stuffing. It was very good. I also used a quarter of the red cabbage which I had in the fridge to make a side dish. I also had a roasted sweet potato with garlic butter and some steamed broccoli. 

Stuffed pork scotch fillet

1 pork scotch fillet steak, approximately 2cm thick
small piece of feta cheese, probably about 10 g, (I used a danish-style feta) 
2 semi-dried tomato halves, finely chopped 
1 tbsp grapeseed oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. 
Cut a pocket into the side of the steak making sure not to go all the way through, Use your finger to open it up a bit further. 
Mix feta and tomatoes together well and season with pepper. (The feta is salty enough so don't add salt) Using your fingers stuff the feta mixture into the cavity in the steak. 
Heat oil in a oven-proof fry pan over a medium-high heat then brown the pork for 1-2 minutes on each side and then place the whole pan in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until cooked through. 

Mustard & hazelnut red cabbage

1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced 
1 tbsp butter 
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Heat butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add cabbage and sauté. Place a lid on the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until cabbage starts to soften but still has some bite. Add the mustard and stir well and continue to cook for a minute. The add hazelnuts and stir to combine and serve immediately. 

Sunday 15 July 2012

Millet Porridge

Have you ever bought something that you had absolutely no idea what to do with but you just think that it is really interesting and you might find something to do with it one day? I have a bunch of stuff in my cupboards like that. The millet was one of those purchases from a little Asian supermarket near a friend's place in the city. I actually got quite a few things that time, most of which I haven't used yet. Oh well, that is what this is all about. 

I had previously made a quinoa porridge, that I wasn't all that keen on, so I thought that I might be able to use millet. I had a bit of a google on how to cook the millet and then came up with the best way to made it into a porridge. I really enjoyed it. It had a slightly nutty flavour to it. However it also gave me an opportunity to use some of the maple extract that I purchased recently. So I also had this wonderful maple flavour to it. My first portion was way too big so I ended up only getting three portions out of the recipe but I think that it would easily serve 4 with the addition of fruit. It re-heated easily in the microwave with a little extra milk. 

Millet Porridge

1 cup millet 
1 cup water 
1/3 cup milk 
1 tsp maple extra (I think I used that much) 

Place millet in a sieve and rinse with water to remove any dirt/dust/debris and then put in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until water is almost absorbed and then add the milk and extract. Continue simmering while stirring until the mixture thickens.
Serve with fruit, nuts and a bit of extra milk if desired. (I had banana and pecans). 

Saturday 14 July 2012

Cake Decorating - Thomas the Tank Engine

I had the honour of making a special cake for a wonderful little boy's second birthday. The little man in question is quite the fan of Thomas the Tank Engine so it was quite obvious that should be what his cake should be based around. I even had some ideas before his mother (my very good friend) asked me to make a Thomas cake. I was away on holidays for the week prior to the party so didn't get the chance to make exactly what I had imagined in my head. I had wanted to make my own Thomas figurine to go on the cake but I knew that I wouldn't have time to get it done and set before the party so while away I purchased a Thomas engine. 

The cake was, of course, my standard chocolate cake. However this time I baked it in two separate 20 cm cake tins. I then sandwiched the cake together with creme patisserie and covered in green buttercream. For some reason the buttercream was very dry going onto the cake. It was lovely and creamy in the bowl but just wouldn't cooperate for icing the actual cake so it certainly wasn't as smooth as I had would have liked. However I was very happy with the rest of the decorations. 

The birthday boy was very happy with it and happily drove Thomas over the grass on the cake. LOL. 

Friday 13 July 2012

Pantry Tuna Pasta

Well, I decided that it was time to clean out some of the food in my pantry, fridge and freezer. There is just so much food in my house. I worked out a menu plan for 3 weeks which wouldn't require me purchasing anything except a few vegies. The only other things I need to buy are milk and assorted cat food and litter. Oh and I just finished the last of my 3 almost finished bottles of laundry detergent so will need to buy some of that. 

This was a really, really easy meal to toss together and everything was already in my house. I got to use up one of the 9 types of pasta in my cupboards, oops, as well as some of the tuna in the house as well. I actually made pasta dishes like this a lot as they are quick, easy, cheap and tasty. I don't really have quantities for this it is just a matter of however much I want on the day. If you don't have flavoured tunas then just add some lemon, pepper and a little slosh of oil

Half packet of shell pasta (or other shapes you have on hand) 
1 small tin tuna in zesty vinaigrette 
1 small tin tuna with lemon & cracked pepper
4 slices pickled jalapenos, chopped (or a dash of chilli flakes)
a few capers, chopped
sliced black olives
a few semi-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips
parsley, roughly chopped 
grated parmesan, to serve

Cook pasta until done to your liking. Drain but retain a small amount of the liquid on the pasta. Stir in all other ingredients. Season with salt & pepper if you need (I didn't). Serve topped with parmesan. 

See, quick and easy and oh so tasty. :-) 

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Delicious July 2012 - Ginger chicken with coconut rice

 There is so much to make from this issue of Delicious magazine. I really wasn't sure where to start. I must admit that it was the first time in a while that I was immediately taken with about 8 recipes from the one issue. Usually on the first scan I can only find 1 or 2 and then find more when going back. 

I really want to make the apple, pecan & gingerbread loaf. I know a couple of people who have made it already and said how wonderful it is. I would love to make the cannoli cupcakes but I really don't have anyone to feed them to. So I will probably have to pass that recipe by. There is a brioche cake that looks absolutely fabulous. The brioche is baked in a springform tin and then sliced in 3 layers and filled with cream & strawberries. I think that I might make the brioche in my 10 cm springform tins and then I can have individual ones and freeze them. 

I am intrigued by the mushroom sformato. I am not really sure how to describe it. Some sort of soufflé sort of thing I guess. The only way that I will know is to make it I think. There is a ham hock soup that I will be able to use my christmas ham bone in. However the bone is too big for my pot so I will have to take it down to my butcher and see if he will cut it in half for me. I also really want to make Rick Stein's Lamb karahi. I guess that I am going to be busy this month. 

First up I decided to make the Ginger chicken with coconut rice. I was away from home visiting friends and made this for them one night. I was very pleased with the chicken. It had great flavour although I think it would have benefited from a longer marinating time. My friends didn't have fish sauce so I used soy sauce. I wasn't impressed with the rice though. I would have thought that the rice would be cooked in the coconut milk not cooked in water and then the milk added. As far as I was concerned it just made the rice gluggy. I wouldn't do it that way again. 

Ginger Chicken with Coconut Rice

10cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup (35g) chopped salted peanuts, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 chicken marylands
1 1/2 cups (300g) long-grain rice
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut milk
Combine the ginger, garlic, lime zest and juice, fish sauce, sugar, peanuts and 1 tbs oil in a large bowl. Coat chicken in the marinade, then stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat remaining 1 tbs oil in a non-stick, ovenproof frypan over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook, skin-side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 1 minute. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook rice according to the packet instructions. Drain, then stir through the coconut milk. Serve with chicken and extra peanuts.