05 July 2018

Teriyaki tastiness

Teriyaki chicken is one of my stepson's favs.  If we get sushi, he goes for the TC.  Japanese restaurant, TC.  Stir fry at home (where he chooses the sauce), TC.  So I thought it was about time I made some teriyaki sauce from scratch, rather than the pre-made ones, which we often find a bit too sweet and thick.  

This was a really tasty sauce - it is quite salty, but you can replace a little of the soy sauce with water, or (as I will be doing from now on) use a reduced salt soy sauce.  A friend who has spent quite a lot of time living in Japan suggested adding a dash of mirin - the original recipe also had that as an optional, but unfortunately I didn't have any on hand.  Mirin is a sweet rice wine, similar to (but less alcoholic than) sake.  It has been suggested that a dash of dry sherry is a reasonably substitute.  I don't however keep sherry in our cupboard, so...think I'll just grab me a bottle of mirin - it's in most supermarkets, in the international section.  

We had this with chicken, done in the crock pot.  You could, however, cook it in a pan (probably what I'll do next time).  You can use strips of beef (schnitzel would be good!), or tofu, or just a truckload of vegetables.  Thinking of veges - if you can't find edamame beans (I couldn't find them locally), then Watties do a frozen bean mix - it has yellow beans, snow pea type ones and edamame.  It was perfect for what I was wanting (steamed vege on the side).  However, some larger supermarkets do stock packets of frozen edamame beans.  

3 chicken breasts, cut into strips/chunks
2/3 cup soy sauce (reduced salt preferable)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar will do too)
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated 
2 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp cold water
mushrooms, capsicum, carrot - optional to add into the sauce
veges, steamed - beans, broccoli etc
sesame seeds, to garnish
rice, to serve
  1. Mix soy, honey, vinegar, mirin, oil, garlic and ginger in a bowl until combined. 
  2. Panfry chicken in pan, to sear a little.  Add sauce and cook on medium temp until chicken is cooked through.  
  3. While chicken is cooking, prepare rice and cut up veges.  
  4. If adding any veges directly into the teriyaki (mushrooms etc), do this now.  
  5. Mix cornflour and water together, to make a slurry.  Stir this into teriyaki, and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, or until thickened.  
  6. Serve on rice with steamed veges alongside, sprinkled with sesame seeds.  

18 June 2018

Mozzarella madness

Spaghetti and meatballs.  Mozzarella cheese.  Tasty tomato sauce.  Need I say any more?  I love spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, all those tasty tomato-cheese-pasta dishes.  Meatballs however, are not something I often make.  So when I stumbled on this recipe, from Annabel Langbein, I had to stop and wonder why not?  I mean heck - this is a little parcel of meat-patty-style goodness, stuffed with melty, stretchy mozzarella!  

We made ours with pork mince, and they were amazing.  So tasty, so quick to throw together, and everyone loved them, from Miss 3 through to all the adults.  I'm going to make them again tonight, this time trying lamb mince.  Can't wait!  

400 g mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1/2 - 1 cup freshly grated parmasan (I used a cup because I grate my parmasan using a microplane, which makes it really fluffy.  If you were using a normal grated, half a cup would probably be enough) 
2 tsp dried oregano (makes it taste like pizza!!!!)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
70 g mozzarella, cut into wee cubes (I actually used pre-grated mozzarella, and just grabbed small amounts and had KB roll them into little balls)

1 tin tomatoes 
1 tin pasta sauce (or you can use 2 tins of tomatoes and a good squirt of tomato paste)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chipotle sauce (optional - maybe a dash of BBQ sauce if you don't like any spice)

spaghetti and extra parmasan, to serve
  1. Mix together all the meatball ingredients in a bowl (except the mozzarella).  Set aside until you're ready to cook the meatballs (I made this a day early then left it in the fridge).  
  2. Once ready to cook, preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.  
  3. Mix sauce ingredients together in ovenproof dish (large enough for the meatballs).  
  4. Form about 20 golf-sized meatballs from meat.  Flatten ball in your palm, push mozzarella in centre, and reform the ball around the cheese.  Place in sauce.  
  5. Mix the sauce around and over the balls a bit, pop into the oven.  
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked.  
  7. Serve with spaghetti and extra parmasan cheese.  Buon appetito!!     


15 June 2018

Mongolian beef, round 2

A few years ago I stumbled on a Mongolian beef (or lamb) stir-fry recipe which tasted amazing (and just like the stir-fried meat served at Genghis Khan's in Wellington!).  We threw the stir-fry together again this week and it was as good as remembered.  Added bonus - you can prepare all the veges, and set the meat in the fridge to marinate, hours before you're ready to cook.  

This time around used beef schnitzel, cut into strips, rather than rump steak.  But either is fine.  I also misread my own instructions and mixed the stir-fry sauce ingredients into the marinade.  But that didn't matter - I just used the marinade as the stir-fry sauce.  

500g beef, cut into strips

butter, to fry

1 egg
2 large cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated 
2 tbsp soy sauce (I used 1 tbsp each soy sauce and kecap manis)
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp black bean sauce (or 1 tbsp hoisin sauce, or oyster sauce)
1 tsp five-spice powder

1 onion diced
lots of cut-up veges (I used broccoli, carrot, finely chopped (or grated) beetroot, celery, capsicum, mushrooms)

rice, to serve

  1. Mix together marinade ingredients.  Add beef and set aside (in fridge if prepared earlier).  
  2. Prepare veges.  
  3. Heat butter in large pan until hot.  Cook beef in batches (used a slotted spoon to lift out of marinade - you don't want to pour all the liquid in at this stage 'cause it would just boil the meat, rather than frying it).  Remove from pan to a plate, cook next batch.  
  4. Once meat all done, add more butter and throw veges into pan.  Cook on med-high heat, covered for a few minutes (to allow the broccoli and carrots to steam a bit - or you could have pre-steamed these).  Once veges are done to your liking, remove lid, add meat back in and the sauce (marinade).  Increase heat and fry together for a minute or two.  
  5. Serve with rice.  



Brown-sugar banana cake!!

I get recipe suggestions all the time, as ads etc on social media.  A lot of the time I scroll past without even looking, but every now and again one catches my eye.  This cake was one of those, and I'm soooo glad I stopped to read.  It was amazing!  The original recipe (found here) had a butterscotch syrup drizzled over it (so more of a pudding), but I didn't both with that.  We ate the cake cooled, dusted with a little icing sugar.  It was heaven!!  I had to use the photos from the original website 'cause my cake was demolished before I could get a pic!  Next time I'm going to make the cake as muffins... 

125g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
200g yoghurt (I used a honey yoghurt, but plain is fine too)
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking soda

Icing sugar, to dust
Ice cream, to serve (this would be yum, if you're eating the cake warm!)

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Grease and line a 22cm spring tin (I think mine was actually 20cm and that was fine). 
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and fairly pale (being brown sugar it won't go pale pale). 
  3. Fold in the mashed banana and yoghurt, then the flour and baking soda until just combined. 
  4. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until inserted skewer comes out clean.  If you make as muffins, bake for 15 minutes.  
  5. Remove from oven and stand in tin for 5 minutes.  Serve warm, or allow to cool on cake rack. 

17 April 2018

Ota ika round 3

I've blogged about ota ika before, not long after a trip to Tonga and again more recently.  It's a dish that would be somewhere in my top 5.  So fresh, so refreshing, full of flavours straight from the outdoors.  We had gurnard cerviche (another term for ota ika) at a local restaurant, Fahrenheit (amazing, by the way!), over the weekend, so determined to whip up a batch at home for our Monday-night meal.  

This time we used snapper, but have used gurnard, trevally and tarakihi in the past as well.  The key is to use more lemon or lime than you think you need, and more herbs.  We used a kaffir lime leaf too, finely chopped.  

2 fillets fish
3 lemons, juiced
1 tin coconut cream
heaps of fresh coriander
1 kaffir lime leaf
2 tomatoes, half a telegraph cucumber, 1 red onion, 1 capsicum - finely chopped into salsa

  1. Cut fish into small pieces.  Cover with lemon juice.  Cover bowl and place in fridge for several hours to cure. 
  2. About an hour or 2 before ready to eat mix through all other ingredients.  Return to fridge. 
  3. Serve with extra coriander and some chopped nuts or seeds.  

11 April 2018

Lemon herb butter (for outta this world fish!)

Fish, roast potatoes and steamed vegetables.  A pretty standard early-week dinner staple at our house.  Last night was that night, but I wanted to try something new.  I was thinking of swapping out the crispy roast tatties for some other form of potato dish (maybe rosti?), but in my recipe trawling stumbled upon this little beauty of a sauce from Chelsea Winter.  Lemon, herbs and garlic butter, drizzled all over our snapper.  It was tangy and divine!  I was supposed to fry up some capers too, alongside the fish, but I forgot - will have to make this again next week!!  

Makes enough for 4 people's fish 

50 g butter
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (I used chives, parsley and basil - dill would be nice too)
1 clove garlic, crushed 
zest of one lemon
1.5 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup capers, to fry alongside the fish


  1. Melt butter and cook garlic on medium heat.  Cook for a few minutes, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, zest and half the herbs.  
  2. Drizzle over cooked and plated fish.  Sprinkle with remaining herbs.  

Nek level banana choc chip muffanos

Who doesn't love a freshly-baked muffin?  Banana choc chip and blueberry would be my favs.  Oh, and apple cinnamon.  

These little beauties are a recipe from Chelsea Winter's latest cookbook, Eat, and I was curious to try a recipe which used brown sugar and curdled milk was used (buttermilk would work here in place of the milk + lemon juice).  I'd heard through the grapevine that they were "the best banana choc chip muffins ever!", and they have lived up to that praise!  

Now, what makes these nek level?  I didn't have any choc chips, so used mini M&Ms.  YUMMMMM!!  

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
200 g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence 
2 very ripe bananas
1 cup choc chips (or similar hee hee) 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-bake (or 200 normal bake).  Grease muffin tins (I made 24 mini muffins and 6 normal ones).  Probably would make about 18 normal sized ones? 
  2. Add lemon juice to milk (in a mug, or something non-metallic) and set aside to curdle.  
  3. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.  
  4. Beat eggs in another bowl until smooth.  Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan until just melted.  Add butter, milk and vanilla to eggs and whisk to combine. 
  5. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and whisk to combine - don't overmix it, just enough to combine everything.  Once combined fold through the banana and chocolate.  
  6. Spoon into muffin trays (fill to top).  
  7. Bake for 10 minutes (mini muffins) or 20 minutes (normal muffins) - they'll be slightly golden on top but still nicely soft in centre. 
  8. Once removed from oven leave in trays for 10 minutes before turning onto cooling rack.  Enjoy!!