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CHORITZO AND CHICKPEA BURGERS

October 6th, 2009 No comments

At the moment I am really into lentils, beans, and chickpeas. This is a great quick and somewhat healthy mid-week meal. Use the freshest bakery bought buns you can get, and good quality cured choritzo sausages.


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SUMAC COATED FISH WITH GREEN BEAN, LENTIL AND PARSLEY SALAD

October 6th, 2009 No comments

We do not eat enough fish. Whilst as school I used to work in the seafood department at a supermarket, and after seeing how many days thawed fish fillets were put out on display, tarted up with plastic parsley and at night we would put is all back in the chiller ready for the next day. So because of this, I cannot buy fish from supermarkets, and only like the freshest fish (preferably caught by myself on mums boat Zinkwazi). Fish is also a lot more expensive than other meats (unless you catch it yourself). Here in Perth we have one of the finest fishmongers Kailis Bros just down the road and on Sunday I picked up some <em>red throat emperor</em> fillets for this recipe. Sumac [wiki] is not an ingredient I have used before, but I picked some up a few weeks ago to try, and this recipe was a first attempt. Sumac is very lemony in flavour and works well with fish, and is available form Middle Eastern shops or delicatessens.


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PORK & FENNEL SAUSAGE ROLLS

September 20th, 2009 No comments

Last night we went to a dance night at the local hall up the road, and it was a bring-a-plate type thing, and I made a batch of these.

Sausage Rolls-2
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TUNA & MUSHROOM PASTA BAKE

September 17th, 2009 2 comments

As kids, my brothers Greg, Doug and I would spend endless summer holidays on Lemara, my Grandpa’s yacht which was moored at Richards Bay in northern Natal, South Africa. We would swim, fish off the bow, and go on day-trips to Pelican Island, a small island at the entrance to the harbour.

I remember on one trip to Pelican Island with Grandpa; we went for a walk leaving our gear on the shore, and upon returning we discovered a troop of monkeys rummaging though our food supplies. Grandpa had a sling-shot (the local South African Term is a Katty), he loaded it with a big stone and fired at the monkeys, hitting one square in the head, and as they were fleeing he hit another smack on his bright blue bum.

Back on Lemara, Gran would always cook up a hearty supper, and being three small growing boys needing to replace energy from the activities of the day; we must have eaten a lot, and I am still amazed at how Gran fed the three of us from the small galley. One of my favourites was Tuna Bake. This is a mixture of several recipes and I think I have recreated the delicious cheesy tuna flavours that Granny served up.

Tuna & Mushroom Pasta Bake-1

300g spiral pasta
40g butter
1 onion, chopped
2tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2tsp vegetable stock powder
zest of 1 lemon
fresh ground black pepper
2 cups grated tasty cheese
1 425g can tinned flaked tuna in springwater
200g large flat mushrooms, chopped
panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Boil pasta to packet directions until just cooked. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a medium pan and sauté onion until soft. Stir in flour and cook; stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Heat until mixture simmers and thickens. Remove form the heat and stir in stock powder, pepper, zest and 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

Combine cheese sauce, tuna (including the springwater), drained pasta and mushrooms in a large oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle with a generous layer of panko crumbs, a layer of the remaining cheese, and then a thin layer of panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and crispy on top.

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BUTTER CHICKEN

June 7th, 2009 2 comments

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Butter Chicken is an important meal for our family. On Parnell Road, in Auckland there is a little restaurant called Oh Calcutta. Mark and I used to live down the road from here in 2001, and this is when we discovered Meena’s (the owner of the restaurant) version of Butter Chicken. This is unlike any I have ever had, and has a rick creamy tomato soup-like sauce with chucks of grilled tandoori chicken, we never eat it with rice, it is more like a soup and we simply eat it with naan bread.

Oh Calcutta has become a favourite with our family, when Mark was commuting to Whakatane to Auckland, he would regularly order a take-away butter chicken, in fact he was such a regular that they got to know him by name. After we moved to Australia and had been away for a few years, when we returned Meena recognised Mark, and knew exactly what he was going to order. Oh Calcutta has been the favourite restaurant of choice for birthdays, leaving parties, welcome home dinners, we even had out pre-wedding dinner there. I remember one night ordering the butter chicken, and I exclaimed that the butter chicken is better than sex, one of the petite waitresses overheard this, and said “perhaps you have not found the right woman yet”, if only she knew.

This recipe has been a bit of a collaboration between Greg and myself, Greg and Natasha visited us for a couple weeks on their way to London, and Greg showed us his version of the recipe, which was very good, and probably the closest I have ever had to the famed Oh Calcutta version, the key ingredient he used was Ferns butter chicken paste, this is available from good Indian stores, and Greg found a place in Fremantle that sells it here. After Greg and Natasha left for London I headed back to NZ to see my family for a few days, and of course there was a welcome home dinner at Oh Calcutta, this time I tried very hard to work out the flavours in the dish, and I worked out that the tomato flavour is very similar to tomato soup. I noted this down, and as soon as I got home I set about trying to recreate this delicious meal. Now, I never expect to be able to match the dish exactly to Oh Calcutta, and I would not want to, this restaurant is a special place, and will always be a favourite, but I would be happy with a 9 out of 10 match, for me to have more frequently than once a year when I visit NZ, and this is what we have archived.

Tandoori Marinade
500g chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
200g natural yoghurt
3tbs Ferns butter chicken paste

Butter Chicken Sauce
2 tsp cumin seeds
15 cardamon pods, lightly crushed (greener cardamon is best)
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
2 punnets ripe mini tomatoes, or 3-4 ripe roma tomatoes
1 tbs Ferns butter chicken paste
1 tbs raw sugar
1 can condensed tomato soup (500g)
500ml milk
100ml single (pouring) cream
2tsp extra ghee
plenty of naan bread (we use frozen naan bread from out local Indian supermarket)

Tandori Marinade
Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces, trim any excess fat and give this to your cats. Combine the yoghurt with the butter chicken paste, add the chicken and combine well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat grill or barbeque to a high heat, and cook the chicken pieces until slightly charred, and drain off any excess liquid.

Butter Chicken
In a large heavy based pan toast the cumin, cardamon and cinnamon. Once toasted fish out the cardamon and lightly crush the pods further to extract the seeds, discard the husks. Pound the cumin and cardamon in a mortar with a pestle until smooth. In the same pan add ghee or oil, butter chicken paste, spices, cinnamon quill, and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are very soft and well cooked, about 10 min. Add the sugar and cook for a further 2-3 min. Discard the cinnamon quill and add the tomato mixture to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Return the tomato mix to the pan, and add can tomato soup, and 1 can of milk. Stir in the grilled chicken and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat, try to prevent the sauce from boiling.

At this point taste the sauce regularly, it will still be a bit spicy, so add the cream until the taste is right, add it slowly, you can always add more but if you add too much it is difficult to get it back. You may also need to add a smidgen more sugar. I guess the tasting is the most important part to tweak the final flavour, but add any extra ingredients slowly in case you over-flavour the sauce.

Melt the extra ghee, and brush the naan lightly, cook the naan in a hot oven for a few minutes until warm. Serve the butter chicken with the naan and enjoy.

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CALAMARI FETTUCCINE

May 21st, 2009 No comments

This is a new recipe that we picked up from the May 2009 edition of Delicious Magazine (page 61 for those playing at home). I made it a couple weeks ago and it was divine, and I tried it again last night and is was fantastic again. this is sure to be a new favourite in our house. I have never cooked with squid before really, I know if is yummy, and love salt and pepper squid, I just guess that is reminds me of baiting hooks on Zinkwazi or something. I have tried this with both fresh and frozen squid, and both work well, but of course try get fresh squid if possible.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium sized red chilli
1 tbs chopped coriander leaves (plus extra sprigs to serve)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
200ml dry white wine
2 (500ml) cups fish stock
2 squid tubes, cleaned
500g fettuccine
lemon wedges to serve

Cut the squid tubes in half and then cut the flat halves into 3cm square pieces. Place each piece on a choppin board with the outside of the squid facing down. On the bias score 2mm strips into the squid, not cutting all the way through, do the same in the opposite direction to create a hatched pattern. Set the squid aside.

Heat half th oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Add garlic, onion and chilli and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add herbs and cook for further 3-4 minutes until onion is golden. Add tomato paste and cook stirring for 2 minutes or until the tomato paste deepens in colour. Degalze the pan by adding the wine and allowing it to reduce for 3-4 minutes. Add the fish stock the season with sea salt and freshly gound black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in a separate fry pan over medium-high heat. in 2-3 batches cook the calamari until golden. I find that adding it skin-side down helps, and the hatch pattern scored into the calamari causes them ro roll up into cute little twists. Drain the cooked calamari on a paper towel.

Add calamari to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes over a medium-low heat for 30 minutes until calamari is tender and sauce is reduced.

Meanwhile cook the fettuccine according to packet instructions in boiling salted water. Drain, then return the pasta to the pan and stir though 2-3 spoonfuls of the sauce. Divide the pasta among bowls, top with a generous spoonful of sauce, then serve with coriander and lemon wedges.

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DIRTY RICE

May 12th, 2009 1 comment

This is a rich rice dish, like a pilaf. Cooked with chicken livers and pork mince, and the Creole base of onions, celery and capsicum. It’s a one-pot spicy dish found throughout the south of the USA. More often than not New Orleans cooks would use lard, but I this version uses Ghee. The ‘dirty’ in the recipe name comes from the brown look that the rice takes on. The ratio of mince to livers can be adjusted to taste

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300g pork mince
300g chicken livers, cleaned and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
1 small onion finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, cored and finely chopped
1 red capsicum, cored and finely chopped
1 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained
500ml chicken stock
few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
tabasco sauce to taste
Small bunch parsley, finely shopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Sauté the pork mince in a non-stick frying pan until browned then add the livers and continue cooking gently until they are no longer pink. Tip off any excess fat and set the meat aside.

In the same pan melt the Ghee, then add the onion, celery, capsicum and garlic. Stir over a gentle heat for about 4 minutes until softened.

Mix the meat and vegetables together in a large ceramic oven-proof dish, then add the rice, stock, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and a little salt. Cover with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes, give the mixture a good stir, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is soft.

Remove the bay leaf, season with salt, pepper and Tabasco and stir in the chopped parsley.

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POTATO SALAD

March 30th, 2009 1 comment

Tato Salad

This salad is great for barbeques, and every time I make it I am asked for copies of the recipe. The secret ingretient is the brand of mayonaise- I only use Best Foods Real Mayonaise. This brand can be tricky to get in Australia because it is not available in supermarkets, continental deils usually have it. In New Zealand Kato makes a great mayonaisse, this would be my second preference. Whenever I have tried store-bought potato salads, I always find the ‘tatos are undercooked and al-dente, I like them to be very well cooked and soft. My mum is an expert of the different varieties of potatoes, I generally just go for the ones that have purple skin and creamy yellow flesh, and use them unpeeled in this recipe.

Ingredients
8 large potatoes, washed and cubed
½ jar best foods real mayonaise
¼ cup shelled pistacho nuts
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 finely sliced spring onions
1 lime

Method
Boil the potatoes unti they are very soft, drain. Gently mix in the nuts, red and spring onions, and mayonaise. Squeeze lime juice over the salad and garnish with extra nuts or onion. This can be served warm, or made ahead and chilled.

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BLUEBERRY FRIANDS

March 22nd, 2009 4 comments

Friands [wiki] are very popular in NZ Cafés, but they have not really taken off in Australia, and are seldom available, however in Perth the David Jones Foodhall sells them. There is a strange tradition in Perth where on your birthday you have to take in cake, which is odd because on your special day you have to wake up an hour earlier and spend the morning baking, in NZ and the East coast the usual tradition was a pub lunch or with your workmates. Anyway this is what I took into work yesterday, they went down a treat. Be careful not to overfill the cups with mixture- nobody likes a muffin-top.

Ingredients
180g (6oz) unsalted butter
6 eggwhites
200g (7oz) icing sugar, plus extra to dust
60g (2oz) plain flour, sifted
120g (4¼ oz) almond meal
200g (7oz) fresh or frozen blueberries (or any raspberries, bilberries etc)

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Use a little butter to grease a 12 hole friand pan.
Lightly beat eggwhites in a large bowl until frothy. Sift in icing sugar and flour, then stir in almond meal. Add melted butter, and blueberries, stir in until just combined, then spoon into pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, turning tray halfway, until tops are golden and springy to touch.
Stand for 5 minutes, then turn onto a rack to cool slightly. Dust with icing sugar.

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