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Thai Green Curry with Chicken

14 Mar

Dinner was tasty tonight, so I thought I would share the recipe for this easy Thai Green Curry.

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That photo is not even “styled”, you know? I plated up, and it just looked that awesome. I snapped a quick shot on my phone, just in case it tasted any good. And it did that too. 🙂 I didn’t have any Thai basil in the house (it’s an aniseed flavored purplish coloured basil) so I left that out. And despite usually enjoying spicy food I also left out the green chilli too. We served it with rice (it’s hiding underneath the curry), and it was delicious just like that!

Enjoy.

This recipe is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly: The Complete Book of Modern Asian

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Lamb Korma that will make you nod your head.

6 Mar

There is not much that will quieten me down. I’m a talker. I talk a lot. I talk in my sleep, I talk under water and I know its uncouth, but I definitely talk when I’m eating. But – if you ever see me close my mouth while chewing, point calmly and repeatedly at my plate (This thing! This thing right here!!), and nod my head up and down, you know you’re on a good thing.
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My brother in law passed up the offer to come over for dinner last night. Silly, silly bro-in-law. Haha! Because I found a Korma that had me exclaim out loud, “I’ll never get take away Indian again!” And while that of course was probably a hyperbole or just plain untrue, this Lamb Korma was easy, and stop-the-press kind of tasty. Seriously, make this. Make it this week. 🙂

Tip of the week: Unless you are fancy (ooh la la) and have bought blanched almonds, you’ll need to remove the skins of normal almonds before you grind them up. Blanching almonds is easy. Put them in boiling water for 60seconds (ONLY!), drain them into a strainer and rinse them under cold water, pat dry with paper towel. Squeeze one end of the almond and it will shoot out of its skin happily. It will also shoot across the room if you are pointing it haphazardly around. You have been warned. 😉

We served this with rice, papadums and flatbread. And the yoghurt went really well with it. Even my husband, who is not a fan of yoghurt at all, ate quite a bit with his dinner. Enjoy!! 🙂

By the way: When you read the recipe below, it calls for “Ghee”. Ghee is clarified butter. You know when you melt butter, and there is a clear part and a cloudy part? Ghee is a whole jar of the clear part only, which you can buy in the “Indian section” of your supermarket. (You get the Korma paste in that section too.) BUT – You could use oil or butter instead and it wouldn’t make that much difference at all.

This recipe is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly: The Complete book of Modern Asian recipe book.

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Butter Chicken Curry

14 Feb

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This is one of those delicious dinners that you really don’t want to show the recipe to the people you make it for. There is no pretending that this is a healthy dinner, it is BUTTER chicken after all. It is, however, gosh darn tasty and it’s really pretty easy. You do need to be organised with the marinading before hand though, but after that it’s pretty much a one bowl wonder. Try not to let the list of ingredients intimidate. Half of them are thrown in a bowl to marinade the chicken, the other half are thrown in a pot to bubble away in.

Tip of the day: My sister-in-law wanted to make this, but didn’t have all the spices. She was over at our place anyway, so I just quickly popped one “measure” of all the needed spices in a ziplock bag for her. It gave me an idea for the future. So last night when I was making this for dinner, I kept a small ziplock bag nearby, labeled “Butter Chicken marinade spices”. As I was putting teaspoons of spices into the bowl, I put equal amounts into the bag. I’m hoping that being able to pull this pre-prepared spice bag from the pantry will make the process even quicker for next time. Fingers crossed. 🙂

We serve this with rice, nann bread and/or papadums.

Another quick tip: Spread papadums out on a dinner plate, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute, no oil needed. Done. 🙂

This recipe is from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks: COOK

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Kaffir Lime and Nutty Rice Salad

10 Feb

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Tasty and quite easy, this salad is a nice change from my usual greenery based salads. I find it serves well on its own for lunch, or for dinner with a side meat of choice. Tonight we went with honey, soy and sesame chicken cooked under the grill in the oven, and that worked a treat.

This recipe is from the Woman’s Weekly: Salads cookbook.20140211-062651.jpg

Pete’s Potato Wedges

20 Nov

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Looking for something new to do to spice up your roast potatoes?

What’s in it?

  • Potatoes cut into wedge shaped pieces

PLUS

  • Fresh Rosemary from your garden 😉 – chopped finely
  • A clove of garlic – chopped finely
  • Cumin (whole seeds or ground is fine. We use either, depending on what is in the house.)
  • Tonight we also added Cajun Pepper too, just to spice it up a bit. You can left this out if you prefer.
  • Sweet Paprika – one teaspoon
  • Olive oil (more than you want to admit to… glug glug glug)
  • salt
  • pepper

Par-boil the cut potatoes in boiling water. We cooked for two people tonight and 8 minutes on the stove did the job. You can of course skip this par-boiling and go ahead and whack them straight in the oven, it just takes longer.

While the potatoes are par-boiling, prepare and mix all the rest of the ingredient in a small bowl. It should be a sloshy liquid, not a paste. See my note about using fresh rosemary here.

Drain the potatoes and let them sit for a bit. All the water needs to evaporate. I like to spread them out over the oven tray to let off some steam in their own space. I’m about to use it (get it dirty) for the baking anyway, so no loss.

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Here is another tip. You already dirtied the saucepan par-boiling the potatoes, so why not use it again now, instead of another mixing bowl. Can you tell I’m not a fan of washing up? 🙂
SO – pop the now “dry” par-boiled potatoes back in the saucepan and pour the liquid spice mixture over the top. Mix together. You can use a spoon, but I find getting in there with your hands gets a better result.

Lay the spiced potatoes out on the same oven tray as before, spreading them out as much as possible. Pour any extra spice mix over the potatoes on the tray.

Cook in the oven until crispy as, bro. 🙂 Yum!

Seasonal Note: There are many varieties of potato that grow throughout the year in Australia. So that’s good news! 🙂 Eat up!

Basil Pesto Awesomeness

23 Oct


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 I love basil.

I love it, like *flicks fringe* SO MUCH.   🙂 haha.

One of my favourite ways to eat it is as fresh pesto. It is great on hot fresh pasta, but also delicious served on its own as a dip. This is my recipe, cutely refereed to by my sister in law, Emma, as “Hey Pesto”. 🙂

Often if I have a large bunch of basil in the fridge that I haven’t got around to using, this is what I will do with it, so that it doesn’t go to waste.

What’s in it?

  • Basil (Heaps more than you think you will need. Handfuls and handfuls. Fill up the blender/processor, blend it up and then add more again.)
  • Olive oil (A good couple of generous glugs. More oil than you want to admit to your friends is in it when you serve it to them.)
  • Pine nuts (large handful) – I use cashews a lot of the time. They are cheaper, and taste just as good in this.
  • Parmasen cheese
  • Garlic, chopped  (one clove, although sometimes we use two, but we really like garlic.)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Admittedly, rather than being able to give you specifics on the process, this is one I make from tasting it as I go. Bottom line though – Add all the ingredients into the processor, or blender (either work fine), and blend the bergebers out of them. Taste and add more of various ingredients until you like what you taste. I know when I have it right because I go from making my thinking face, to it making me smile and nod my head. You just know. It will be more basil, more parmesan and more oil than you are expecting. Go easy on the oil at first and add it in as needed. If “something” is missing, but you are just not sure, give the salt and pepper a go.

This night I cheated and used store bought packet spaghetti (shock horror, I know!) But it was still delicious. 🙂 Leave a little (very little) bit of the  starchy “pasta water” in with the pasta when you stir in the pesto. This will make it creamy.

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A Seasonal Note: In Australia basil is in season in Spring and Summer. Just a little something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

Jamie’s Smash

20 Oct

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This is (our bastardised version) of one of Jamie Oliver’s quick meal ideas. We use it A LOT. It is, as he would say, “proper tasty”. We have his 30 Minute Meals book, but I couldn’t find it in there. We pulled this from his tv show.

What is in it?

  • 1 – 2 Potatoes halved or quartered
  • 1 – 2 Sweet Potatoes halved or quartered (or sometimes we use pumpkin, depending what is in the house.)
  • A handful of chopped Feta Cheese
  • A handful of chopped fresh coriander (The coriander really makes this recipe. We have a friend who doesn’t eat coriander and we replace it with parsley when they come to dinner. It really is not the same, but it does the job.)
  • Chilli (Fresh is best, but when we do use dried chilli we chop some red capsicums very finely and add them in too.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Cook the potatoes. Jamie cooks his potatoes (both kinds) in the microwave in a bowl covered in cling wrap. We just boil them and drain them (drain them well).

Meanwhile, “dress the board”. This is an expression Jamie uses when he serves things on a “rustic” wooden chopping board. Drizzle olive oil over a large board, add salt and pepper. Chop the coriander, fetta, chilli roughly. They will get more chopping later.

After the potatoes are cooked through put them on the “dressed” board, on top of the other ingredients. Using a large knife chop the potatoes mixing through the ingredients. Use the flat side of the knife to flatten the potatoes and flip the underside ingredients to the top. Leave some large chunks throughout. It is a smash, not a pureed mash.

Serve immediately. It goes cold really fast.

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HOW TO: Make fresh pasta

13 Oct

Here is a link to a video of how I make fresh pasta.

What’s in it?

  • 200 grams of plain flour (plus extra to use during process)
  • 3 free range eggs

A Tip on cooking fresh pasta:

Whether you are cooking it fresh straight after you have made it, or whether you are pulling your fresh made pasta from the freezer (it freezes excellently UNCOOKED) this tip is the same.

Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to water and get it boiling. The olive oil stops the pasta from sticking together. The salt adds muchly important taste. Remembering that it is not a processed food with salt added at the factory to preserve it for a 100 years on a shelf.

Once the water is boiling add your pasta. As you stir and separate the pasta with a fork, watch it. The water will stop boiling for a little bit. Once it returns up to the boil, then your pasta is pretty much ready to be strained. Obviously this takes longer with the frozen pasta, but the same rule applies.

You will know if you have over cooked your fresh pasta because you will be eating a sloppy mess of unpleasantness. Try not to overcook it, it makes me sad.

It should only take a few minutes  and the correct result should be silken pasta that you bite into and think, “Oh man. Seriously? THAT is what pasta is supposed to taste like? All those years!! All those wasted years!!”

No pasta maker machine? No problem.

Never fear, roll the dough out with a rolling pin or (dare I suggest) a wine bottle. 😉 And then simply cut strips with a sharp knife. Wide strips work really well.

Quiche: If I can do it, you can

7 Oct


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This was my very first attempt at making quiche. I read several different recipes and in the end, I sort of used a combination of them. I went with a Feta and Spinach combo, because let’s be honest, I’m such a fan of those two hanging out together. And I have to say, it was pretty tasty. I will definitely try making quiche again. I have heard that people use a lot more eggs than most recipes I saw called for. Thoughts? Opinions? Helpful quiche based tips?

Really I guess I’m asking you guys if you have a tried and tested quiche recipe you could share in the comments below? I’m yet to have one to recommend.

NEWSFLASH! Ravioli: It should not taste like cardboard

7 Feb

I’m always disappointed when I order ravioli at restaurants and you just know they have tipped it out of a frozen packet.

NO! Rah! Grr!

It’s not hard to make, and you CAN taste the difference!! Fresh ravioli is silky and soft. It melts in your mouth. The filling should be a feature, not just that, a filler.

Here is my fresh ravioli I made in the afternoon, awaiting my friends arrival for dinner. They are drying out a little on a chopping board. This helps them hold their shape when they are plunged into the boiling water.

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Here is the recipe I “base” my ravioli filling on. It is from the “Vegetarian: More than 150 Family Recipes” cookbook. Mostly for this one I throw stuff together in a bowl and taste test until its right though. I substitute Feta, instead of Ricotta (just a personal preference) and I use whatever fresh herbs I have around. Note also that this is not the method I use to make pasta, although I’m sure it would be fine. You can view how I make fresh pasta here.

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Edit: 22/10/12
Here is another I made last night. Roasted pumpkin (with salt, pepper and olive oil), mashed with nutmeg. Feta and parsley on top.

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Killer Salad, yo.

20 Dec

This one has become known as, “Sam’s Big Salad”. It’s actually one of the more healthy things I make. This one was for a christmas gathering, so it is HUGE. I works just as well for small lunches. I make it in layers, because I hate when you serve salad and miss out on all the good bits.

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What’s in it?

  • Rocket
  • Baby spinach
  • Mixed lettuce leaves
  • Carrot, peeled thinly
  • Baby tomatoes, halved
  • Pumpkin, cut into small pieces and roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Avocado, in small pieces
  • Red capsicum (blanched for 30 seconds just to soften it slightly)
  • Pine nuts, toasted
  • Cashews, toasted
  • Feta cheese, cubed
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil/balsamic/ranch dressing (whatever floats your boat)

What to do:

It’s a salad and you’re not an idiot. 🙂 Pretty sure you can figure it out. Have fun layering tasty delicious foods. 3 layers is good.

Seasonal Note: There is merit in knowing a little about the so called “fresh” foods we consume. What we really need is to start learning about (what our grandparents knew about) is when foods are actually in season, not just when the shops are selling them. In doing this we can begin to buy foods seasonally, ingest actually happy foods, and start to take back some of the control from the big chains. Just something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

A guide for this recipe: (for Australia)
Avocados – all year
Capsicums – are in season in Summer
Carrots – Summer, Autumn, Winter
Pumpkin – Summer, Autumn
Tomatoes – Summer, Autumn
Spinach – Winter, Spring, Summer
Lettuces – Summer, Autumn

So I’m thinking perhaps this is a “Summer/ Autumn salad”. 🙂 I’m learning in all this too.

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