Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chilli Caramel Chicken with Hot and Sour Salad

I managed to pick up the Christine Manfield 'A World of Flavour' little recipe book that came with the newspaper last week. I am now wishing I did buy the whole set as it is an excellent selection of recipes.
This recipe for Chilli Caramel Chicken with Hot and Sour Salad is the first recipe I have attempted. And it was really good. 

The preparation appears complicated on first read but actually it was relatively simple. The chicken breast is rubbed with an oil, salt, pepper and chilli mix before being baked (10 minutes one side, 5 minutes the other). It is then left to rest and cubed.

I prepared a tamarind liquid by simmering tamarind puree and water. I also prepared a sugar syrup by simmering equal quantities of water and sugar.

For the caramel the tamarind liquid, palm sugar, and whisky is brought to the boil. The minced garlic and chilli is added with the lime zest and then simmered until caramelisation starts. Then add fish sauce and whole dried chillies simmering again before adding more whisky and lime juice. The final consistency is like honey. The chicken is added to the caramel and simmered for 5 minutes before also adding some bean sprouts. I served this hot on top of my salad.

The salad dressing consists of lime juice, chilli, sesame oil, fish sauce, sugar syrup and tamarind liquid. It is tossed through the coriander, mint, basil, fennel, shallots, ginger, cabbage, chillies and bean sprouts. 

The chicken was incredibly delicious and was perfectly matched with the crisp fresh salad. I loved it. And will definitely be trying more of Christine's recipes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baked Whole Rainbow Trout

We saw these beauties at the markets on the weekend and could not resist buying them. 

Earlier in the year my husband ordered a whole baked rainbow trout with a lemon sauce at a restaurant and loved it, so we tried to replicate it. Actually he tried to replicate it (I enjoyed a night off - though I have to admit I can't help but get involved!).

Firstly he made a butter with dill, garlic and lemon rind. He pushed this into some slits cut into the fish, squeezed over the lemon juice and baked at 210C for 15 minutes. 

Once they were cooked he used all the cooking juices to make a sauce by simmering it and then finishing with some more of the dill butter.

We served with some crispy potato and steamed veges. The trout was amazing, so soft and moist. The sauce was perfect. It could not have been cooked better.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pizza Campofranco

This recipe for Pizza Campofranco I saw on the blog Sunday's Kitchen. I was instantly taken with this interesting looking layered pizza.

The rich dough is made with eggs and butter, it is left to rise like a typical yeast dough and then divided into three. I actually chose to make half as much as the recipe suggested which resulted in slightly thinner layers in my pizza. 

The pizza is then layered with a rich tomato base (made from tinned tomatoes and onion), freshly grated parmesan, basil leaves, prosciutto and mozzarella. If you check out the original recipe it has excellent step by step photos.

Once assembled I left it to sit for a about 15 minutes, then coated it with egg yolk and baked for half an hour.

It came out beautiful and golden and when we sliced in was cooked perfectly. I really enjoyed it, the rich dough with the classic flavours of tomato, cheese, basil and prosciutto. My hubby though wasn't as taken with it as me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chocolate Delice

A while back I watched Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets. It was a great show and inspired me to want to cook a few different things. The chocolate episode had two recipes I particularly wanted to try and this was one of them, Delice de Chocolate
If you read my blog you would know I don't post many sweet treats, but actually sweets are my favourite. I love to bake and can eat the sweetest things. But I had a baby last year and gained heaps of weight :( so I'm trying to avoid lovely things like this dessert. So far I've lost about sixteen kilos and there is still a way to go until I reach my goal but sometimes you just have to treat yourself!

It is relatively simple to prepare. The base consists of hazelnut praline and bran flakes. The recipe says pre-made praline paste but on the show it says this can easily be made by blending roasted hazelnuts and toffee. I did this but only ended up with powdered praline. So I mixed this with the crushed flakes and then tried microwaving to melt the toffee and make it sticky - didn't really work, so i added a little melted butter and pushed it in the mould (rather then rolling it out). I used an upside down loose bottom tin. I allowed this to set in the fridge for an hour.

The filling is simply milk and cream heated up and slowly added to eggs whilst whisking constantly. Then whisk in the broken up dark chocolate until you have a beautiful smooth mixture. I let this cool for a while before pouring in to my mould. I left this in the fridge for about 8 hours. To release the tart I blow torched the edges of the tin and lifted it off - worked a treat!

To decorate I grated some chocolate on top and made hazelnut toffee drops, lots of fun. Just toast and peel your hazelnuts, make some toffee and then let it sit for a few minutes. Dip in a toothpick studded hazelnut a it will make a lovely toffee string.

I took it to our friends place for dessert. It was very rich and we accompanied it with some much needed vanilla ice cream. An elegant and delicious dessert.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beef Borek

Recently I saw this recipe for beef borek on Spicie Foodie. It wasn't an authentic recipe but more an incorporation of delicious flavours. I basically followed the recipe but did make a few changes along the way!

Firstly I softened some onion, then added garlic and diced red capsicum. I then added the beef mince and browned. I put in some fresh thyme and dried oregano as well as salt and pepper. At this point it tasted a little boring so I googled what spices can be used in borek and then added some sweet paprika and allspice.

Once this is cooled a little I added a line to my store bought 'Fillo' pastry, deciding to make mini boreks. The recipe topped with creamed garlic spinach but I just used some wilted baby spinach. I then added some crumbled marinated fetta. After tucking the ends in I rolled the borek up. This was not a great success and I managed to achieve many cracks and had to do some patching! 

The final result was really moist and delicious, although not so pretty as I imagined, oh well there is always next time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kylie's Wild Lasagne

Another recipe from Kylie Kwong's Heart and Soul recipe book I felt capable of tackling was this one - her Wild Lasagne. We all have our favourite way of cooking lasagne and my version is with very rich tomatoey beef, loads of grilled veges and cheesy sauce. So this recipe is quite different to that.

The preparation begins. Firstly the leeks are prepared and roasted in some oil and balsamic.

I love when tomatoes look like this - its as if we picked them from our garden :)
We bought them at the farmers markets. 
The tomatoes are cooked on the stove top by being layered on top of some onion, leek and garlic and left to simmer.

The silverbeet is sauteed with some butter and garlic, then finished with lemon juice.
The mushrooms are cooked up with some butter and red wine vinegar.

Then of course there is chopped mint and parsley. Pitted and halved green olives. Three types of cheese - ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella. And don't forget the fresh lasagne sheets.

It also layered in an unusual method with the pasta going down first and then in between each layer is different.

The house smelt glorious (although the kitchen was a mess!) and my husband said when he hopped out of the car on the street it smelt really good. And after baking it was truly enjoyed, the flavours were kind of unusual but yet delicious. The mint and the acidity of vinegar really came through. The stretchy mozzarella and the soft ricotta both added amazing texture and taste. The spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes were amazing. The leek I think would have worked better sliced but it still was very tender and delicious.
It took alot of effort to get this in the oven but it was worth it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wattleseed Bread and Bush Beef Stew

Earlier this week I made wattleseed bread. Wattleseed is one of my Barbushco australian native spices. I used this recipe but made one big loaf. It has an interesting smell, I did not find it all that nice, it reminded me of a plant! It is made the same as most yeast breads just incorporating the wattleseed and also macadamia oil.

It baked beautifully, I felt really pleased when I pulled it out of the oven. I cut it while still warm but it had lost its crispy crust, I'm quite new to baking bread so I'm not too sure why, maybe the oil? I served it warm with some honey and although the flavour wasn't amazing it was different and went perfectly with the honey. I kept going back for more. I froze the remainder to serve with my bush beef stew I made yesterday.

To cook the stew I pulled out my slow cooker. The recipe was adapted from the Barbushco recipe booklet that came with the spices. I cubed about a kilo of stewing beef and put in the slow cooker with 4 slice spring onions, 1/2 cup beef stock, sliced ginger, a couple of chopped potatoes, a teaspoon of lemon myrtle ground spice and 2 teaspoons of aniseed myrtle ground spice. I cooked this on low for about 4 hours and then added the 'seasoning'. This was where the recipe turned asian! The seasoning - 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 rice wine, 1 tablespoon hot bean paste, 1 tablespoon dorrigo pepper, 2 tablespoons kecap manis and 2 tablespoons of sweet bean paste. I bought the bean pastes at the asian grocer and realised one of them had MSG, I really should read the labels before buying. I cooked the stew for a further 2 hours. 

I served this up with some beans and wattleseed bread and very tentatively tried it, it was really tasty! The bread worked really well with the interesting flavours of the stew. I wouldn't be cooking it up again in a hurry but I am very happy I did cook it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Mum's Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

Recently when I cooked Italian Meatloaf it reminded me of how much I love my mums meatloaf with bbq sauce. It is a beautiful moist meatloaf baked with a very rich barbeque sauce. It is also made with classic ingredients that you find in most Aussie pantries, such as Keens curry powder and tomato sauce.

The meatloaf is shaped in a baking tray from a mixture of 500g minced beef (or whatever type you like really), 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, 2 onions, parsley, S&P, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tsp curry powder and an egg. I have changed the recipe in that I like to chop up a few veges and mix through as well, on this occasion I added grated carrot and chopped tomato. This is then baked at 180C for 30 minutes. 

In the meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp instant coffee powder, 25g butter and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Bring this to a boil and simmer for about five minutes. After the thirty minutes is up remove the meatloaf from the oven and you may (depending on your mince quality) need to remove the excess fat from the pan. Pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf and bake for a further forty five minutes. In that time baste the meatloaf a few times.

This is a really delicious hearty meal that always reminds me of my childhood. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Braised Chicken with Vibrant Flavours

I was inspired the other day by one of my fellow bloggers Wholesome Cook (via twitter) to pick up my Kylie Kwong recipe book Heart and Soul that has been in my cupboard for a long time but I have never actually cooked anything from it. And wow, when I looked there are so many inspiring recipes, why was it so neglected?

So lastnight I chose to cook the most colourful dish of braised chicken with vibrant flavours. As I prepared and added ingredients I started thinking, this is the weirdest dish I've cooked yet.....

The chicken pieces coated in seasoned flour are browned with some oil and then removed from the pan. In goes ginger, tumeric and garlic. After this is lovely and fragrant, add carrots, spring onion, tomatoes, bay leaves and my extra addition, baby golden beets. Coat the vegetables and then add palm sugar (the recipe says 5 tbsps - I added half of that) and cook until everything starts to caramelise. Add fish sauce (1/4 cup) and bring to a boil before adding preserved lemon, fresh dates, whole chillies, cumin, lime quarters, and my addition of wood ear mushroom (very sadly :( realised I forgot to put them in my seafood dumplings). Next add 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup sherry vinegar ( I added 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar - I just couldn't add that much vinegar). Return the chicken to the pan and simmer covered for 40 minutes.

I served with quinoa. What an interesting dish - the moroccan flavours were the dominant, the sweetness of the sugar and dates, with the sourness of the lemon and lime. I thought it tasted quite strange but actually really loved it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Egg Yolk Rocket Ravioli with Walnut Sauce

This recipe was inspired by the latest series of Masterchef Australia. One of the contestant cooked it as 'green eggs and ham'. I decided to try a version of it.
Firstly I made the pasta. I pureed some rocket with olive oil and mixed this in with the egg to be incorporated through the pasta. Actually the dough had a beautiful texture and rolled out really well.

I bought some pepper goats cheese on the weekend at the markets to use as my base to the egg yolk. I made little wells with it, separated my egg yolks and very carefully put them in. I made six and one of the them must have just broken as I put it down, it still worked fine though as it was only a little leek over the edge.

I cooked them in plenty of boiling salted water until the pasta was just cooked (I check by sticking my finger nail in the pasta, if it goes straight through its done). This was just over two minutes. 

I served them on some crisp baby lettuce with a walnut sauce my hubby made. He melted some butter, softened some garlic and browned the walnuts as well. Squeeze of a lemon and seasoning and it was done.

This was such a success. The yolk was perfect, oozed out when we opened them up. Taking a mouthful of crunchy lettuce with pasta, egg yolk, goats cheese and walnuts was delicious. I might have to make this one again to show off to some guests!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Steamed Seafood Dumplings

Last night we had these delicious seafood dumplings, I was inspired by the recipe I found here at Seasaltwithfood.

I used scallops and green prawns diced up and mixed with ginger, spring onion, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. I put a little as filling in my dumpling wrapper and made little 'hats'. These were then steamed for about eight minutes.
 To make a dipping sauce I mixed soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and chilli flakes. I also steamed some asian greens and carrot.

Showing off her chopstick skills!
They were delicious, the moment you opened the dumpling you could smell the beautiful aroma of cooked seafood. I was especially pleased the scallop flavour dominated, as I am not a huge prawn lover.