23 March 2017

'tis the season

Summer is salad season.  We're into Autumn now, but fortuantely the weather is still smiling, the garden's still growing, and salads are a mainstay of the dinner table.  The thing I love about a salad is that you can use virtually anything you like - leafy salads, salsa salads, coleslaw, grated beetroot, roast vege salad, hot, cold, nuts and seeds...  

KB made a really tasty concoction the other night with garden-fresh goodies - spring onion, beetroot, capsicum, cherry toms, herbs and a drizzle of oil and lemon juice.  My point - enjoy the salads while the produce is plentiful, 'tis the season!

14 March 2017

laksa soup

I love laksa.  I've blogged about it before.  Last night I tried a different recipe, using a ready-made laksa paste, and less coconut cream (instead of 60:40 stock:coconut it was more like 80:20).  It was good - tasty, filling and with that delicious laksa aroma, but to be honest, not as good as the original.  Why am I telling you this?  Partly to share the photo, and give someone a bit of mid-week meal inspiration, and partly purely to share my opinion - less is not more, with coconut.  More is good.  More is great.  So, red curry or laksa paste, lemon or lime, three things I have learnt after last night's meal - don't reduce the amount of coconut; don't omit the lemongrass and coriander; and 50 g of vermicelli rice noodles would have been sufficient!  (I used 100 g, and whoa, that was one solid soup!).  

Winner winner, chicken dinner - kids' meal inspiration

Kids meals.  Dinnertime.  It's really hard sometimes to branch out with kids and their evening meals.  Partly because kids tastes change almost as frequently as their favourite toys, partly because at dinnertime they're getting tired, and partly because let's face it - it's 5 pm and being creative just ain't top of the pops at that time of day.  I make our kids some wicked lunches - they look awesome, they're full of craftily disguised vegetables and the kids devour them.  Evening meals, not so much - it's usually a variation on a well-used theme.  Something they'll enjoy, which is vege-full, and not tooooo messy.  But every now and again you see something that inspires, a recipe or a photo and you think - hmmm, I could totally whip that up and I think the kids would be into it.  The rainbow pizza recently was one such inspiration.  Flicking through some recipes on Nadia Lim's Food Bag website yesterday put forth another one - and this is one which the whole family would enjoy, so whether you have littlies eating at 5, or a whole whanau sitting down a little later, this is a winner (and yes, it is a chicken dinner!).  Maple-drizzled kumara and orange salad with crumbed chicken and lemon mayo, yummmmmmm.  (NB: Photo came from website - I forgot to take one.  But mine totally looked as awesome as that).  

1 medium kumara (about two fists side by side)
maple syrup (real stuff, if you have it)
1/2 head broccoli
1 orange
1/2 telegraph cucumber
1/2 baby cos lettuce (or similar - baby spinach)
1 lemon 
olive oil
500 g chicken breasts
2 tbsp cornflour (or normal flour)
1 egg
panko crumbs (mix crushed cornflakes through, if you have them, for added crunch.  I didn't have any though and plain panko was absolutely crunchy enough)
1/4 cup thick mayo (Pams American or Best Foods are good options)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius (fan bake).  
  2. Cut kumara into roughly cm chunks and place in roasting dish/baking tray.  Drizzle with syrup and roast for about 20 minutes - toss and turn them once, to ensure even cooking.  
  3. While kumara is cooking steam broccoli florets and prepare the rest of the salad - orange and cucumber cut into chunks, lettuce into large shreds.  Once kumara is cooked toss together with a juice of half a lemon and a little olive oil.  
  4. Cut chicken into tender-sized strips (or into smaller chunks, if you'd prefer more nugget-style).  Dredge through flour, dunk in egg and then coat with panko.  
  5. Cook chicken in batches, in hot butter or oil, for 2-3 minutes on each side.  
  6. Mix juice of other half lemon with mayo.  Serve chicken alongside salad with lemon mayo dipping sauce.  Easy!!!  

03 March 2017

zucchini fritters with a secret weapon

We love corn fritters in our house, but at this time of year it's another vegetable which is going crazy in the garden and filling up the fridge - zucchini.  Zucchinis make a fantastic fritter, and when I saw a recipe for a corn fritter with ham and mayonnaise (in the fritter!) I thought yum, that'll work with the zucchinis and bacon we have in the fridge!!  

1 cup grated zucchini (well-drained)
1 cup bacon, chopped into small pieces
finely sliced spring onion
3 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup mayonnaise (thick mayo is best)
herbs + spices, to your preference 
butter, for frying

  1. Mix together all ingredients, except butter. 
  2. Fry in hot pan, in batches, until all cooked.  
  3. Serve with dipping sauces (sweet chili, BBQ, sour cream...) - good hot OR cold!