30 July 2011

The boys went out fishing the other day.  Sweet, fresh fish in the middle of winter.  Kahawai!!  Whilst the lads were busy doing their hunter-gatherer best, Alex and I were busy in thge kitchen preparing some bits and pieces for lunch.  She had a recipe for a particularly tasty pumpkin soup, so into the pot the requirements went (with a few additions, of course).  The result was as good as promised, light hints of curry and fresh veges.  Not a lot more to say, really, other than get out your stock pot and get in the kitchen. 

1 kg pumpkin
1 onion, diced
2 cm ginger, diced
1 L chicken stock
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut cream
2 tbsp curry paste
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp cumin seeds
salt and pepper
  1. Peel and chop pumpkin, put into large pot (stock pot is perfect). 
  2. Add all other ingredients and simmer until the pumpkin is cooked.
  3. Puree or mash - we mashed it, because the whizz stick was broken, and I think I preferred this, as it still had a few chunks left in it.  YUM!! 
  4. Serve with toast, or cheesy buns. 

20 July 2011

Honey, I'm home!

The man of the house comes home and the little lady (in her pinnie) has dinner burbling away on the stove.  Picture perfect, right?  Well, maybe if you're watching a 1950s sitcom rerun.  However, stranger things have happened.  Last night this was the picture in our kitchen, only I wasn't wearing a pinnie, I was about to open a beer (for myself) and the dinner burbling away on the stove was pink.  Sort of alters the stereotype eh?  However, dinner's dinner and ours was tasty, pink or otherwise.  Not to mention men wear pink now, with pride, so pink food?  Meh, no problem.  It's food. 

We were having chicken breasts last night, stuffed with crème fraîche and harissa.  In the past we'd used cream cheese, but as we had the fraiche in the fridge, seemed a good idea.  And it was.  It may actually have been better then when cream cheese was used, though tough to tell without comparing contemporaneously.  Suffice to say that either will be equally tasty.  So, all that was needed was something to accompany.  Risotto.  Not a typical side dish maybe, but I felt like rice, and we had veges a plenty to go into it.  What follows is what went into the pink risotto last night, though feel free to change any of the fillings.  Obviously don't change the rice, stock etc, they're kinda key. 
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
small knob ginger, finely chopped
1 and a half cups short rice (aborio)
small glass white wine
1 L vegetable stock
3 small beetroot, peeled
2 leftover sausages, sliced
good dollop basil pesto
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cheese (I used edam)
  1. On high heat fry onion, garlic and ginger in the butter, until softened.  Add the rice and stir to coat.
  2. Pour in the wine (feel free to use more than a small glass, I just didn't want to waste too much!), allow to evaporate.  Once the liquid is reduced pour in the prepared stock. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium now, allowing to simmer away, but not letting the liquid disappear too quickly (the rice needs time to cook, though if you do end up with insufficient liquid and still-uncooked rice, just pour in a little water). 
  4. With your vegetable peeler, peel slivers of beetroot (outer skin removed) into the pan.  When you stir it the whole thing will turn a fantastic pink!  Stir through the sausages (or sliced chorizo), pesto, salt and pepper (or whatever else you wish) and cheese.  
  5. This can be put aside when cooked, to be warmed through again later, if you want to get it all ready, so you can relax before dinner. 

18 July 2011

News of the World - chocolate update

This isn't actually a new recipe - it's an update (and I think an improvement) on the cake from last year's 'Procrastibaking'.  I was asked on Thursday night if I would be able to make a chocolate cake on Friday morning, for a 40th birthday - nothing fancy, just good ol' chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Sweet.  We had chocolate sauce in the fridge (a la ice cream), so into the cake batter it went.  And the icing.  I wasn't sure whether or not it would make a noticeable difference, but it did.  I tasted one of the crumbs which stuck to the tin and chocolate sauce heaven.  So there you go - squirt a decent amount of salsa chocolata into your next festive masterpiece.  Extra extra...

12 July 2011

maimai wonderland

Winter means different things to different people.  To some it means grey hibernation for a few months; for others it signals a season of skiing, apres-ski aperitifs and powdery goodness; to a number it means shooting.  Duck shooting, to be specific.  Now, I'm not a duck shooter - no one in their right mind would let me loose with a gun (not that I'm unwilling to learn how to use one, one day), but I am a friend of food.  So whilst to most of the lads duck shooting equals whisky, cold mornings and talking sh*t with the boys, to me it screams DUCK FOR DINNER!

A friend of ours, James, does duck shooting, hence the duck in the freezer.  Neither of us had ever cooked with duck before (to be honest, I've probably only eaten it once or twice, and usually in a red curry), but knew that it was a red meat, more like cooking a fillet of steak than a chicken breast.  KB marinated the pieces in red wine, soy and honey, with ginger, garlic and possibly some sesame oil.  Oh, and wholegrain mustard, that was key.  Really wicked tang.  Once he was ready to cook it the breasts were seared quickly in the pan, then transferred to an oven dish, to bake (not for too long though, you want it tender, not dried out). 

The duck was served on a bed of mashed kumara and carrot, alongside caramalised onions and stir-fried red cabbage.  On top was a dollop of beetroot and horseradish relish.  Combine in a bowl 2 tbsp horseradish, 2 tbsp balsamic, a glug of olive oil and 4 beetroot, grated.  Nom nom nom.  Give these a whirl - and if duck ain't in your purview, or you just don't fancy it, grab some beef, lamb or rabbit. 

PS: Entree was crayfish, hence the photo below...