23 August 2017

winter slaw 2.0

Winter.  Salad.  A misnomer, for some; a blessed break from the monotonous roast and stew, for others (no disrespect or roasts and/or stews, I love them both!).  Winter is a time for warming, hearty meals, so salads tend to either completely disappear from our menus, or at the very least take a back foot.  They're typically lighter, most-often cold, great-for-BBQ fare.  However, this doesn't mean we should ditch salads over the colder months - warm roastie salads, quinoa salads, chicken and bacon caesar salad (yum!!).  Oh - how about a caesar-quinoa fusion salad?  And coleslaw.  Good ol' coleslaw.  

This is adapted from Nadia Lim's 'Winter Slaw' - basically the same, just with a couple of additions (we love beetroot, and the spinach in our garden was going crazy).  This is fantastic with some fried fish, or alongside a homemade burger (last night and tonight's menus respectively).  

Next time I'm going to grate in a little parmasan too...

Makes enough for 5 or 6 people.  

1 baby bok choy, finely sliced (or use entra spinach, beetroot leaves...)
couple handfuls spinach leaves, finely sliced
1 beetroot, peeled and grated
6 brussel sprouts, finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce

  1. Mix sour cream and sauce together. 
  2. Mix all veges together.  
  3. Combine veges and sauce, just before ready to serve. 

03 August 2017

K-lime glaze

Highly fragrant, a little sweet and sticky, and the perfect glaze for salmon, prawns, chicken kebabs... 

6 makrut (K-lime) leaves, central stem removed, finely chopped
2 tbsp coconut sugar, or brown sugar
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
2 tsp hot sauce (I used some harissa as had no hot sauce)
1 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white)
1 tsp sesame oil 
1/2 cup water
  1. Combine all ingredients in small saucepan.  Bring to boil, stirring.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes until starting to thicken slightly.  Makes about 1 cup.  
NB: From Nadia Lim's 'Dinnertime Goodness'.  

cheesy, with a chance of meatballs

These meatballs were taaaaassssty!!  They were a perfect hearty meal for everyone from us adults right down to Miss 2, and the boys in between.  This recipe made a truckload of food (I reckon we could have easily fed 6-7 adults, so froze half of it for an easy meal another night.  Mr 4 really enjoyed helping to make and mix the meatball mixture too, so a good one for kids in the kitchen.  

500 g beef mince 
2 tbsp paprika/ground cumin/ground coriander etc - (I used a Louisiana Creole spice mix with those spices, plus onion and garlic)
1/2 tsp salt 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 
1 tbsp tomato sauce 
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
grated cheese, to top

1 onion, finely diced 
1 tbsp spice mix used in meatballs 
1 tsp salt 
70 g tomato paste 
2 stalks celery, finely chopped 
1 cup green veges, finely chopped (we used some broccoli and bok choy)
1/2 cup red wine (or stock)
1/2 cup stock (beef, chicken, vege...) 
1 tomato, diced (I used a couple tbsp of relish instead)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 

rice, to serve
  1. Mix all meatball ingredients together, except cheese.  Set aside until needed (Mr 4 and I made these in the morning, covered the bowl and put them in the fridge for the day). 
  2. When ready to get dinner going: roll meatballs and fry in large pan (one that can go under the grill, if possible) until browned all over but not cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
  3. Get rice cooking.  
  4. Fry onion in pan.  Add spices, salt, tomato paste, veges and red wine.  Stir for about a minute, then add other sauce ingredients.  Add meatballs back to the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes (at this point you can either carry on, or remove from heat and set aside again, until you're almost ready to eat - so this can, up to this point, be prepared earlier in the day - you'd just need to gently heat through again later).  
  5. Top with cheese and grill for 3-5 minutes, until browning and bubbling.  
  6. Serve on rice with a dollop of sour cream.  

Scrumptious Thai chicken salad

I love coconut in food.  It's a flavour which, I think, both works well with other flavours and as a stand-alone ingredient.  This salad uses both - the coconut milk which is mixed with various other Thai-inspired flavours and the shredded coconut, toasted and forming a major part of the overall meal.  

I found this little harbinger of delight was a recipe found in Chelsea Winter's cookbook 'Scrumptious'.  We altered it a trifle (I had run out of lemongrass, so used some makrut lime leaves instead, and we heated the shredded chicken back through in the sauce it had been poached in, making the overall dish not entirely cold).  Also, we used pinenuts, as Mr 12 is allergic to peanuts, but you could use peanuts, or cashews.  

350 - 500 g chicken breasts (I used 2 large) 
1/2 onion, diced 
1 tbsp sesame (or peanut) oil 
2 tbsp grated ginger 
2 makrut lime leaves, central steam removed and finely sliced (or pound and chop one stalk of lemongrass) 
2 tbsp ground cumin 
400 ml coconut milk

3/4 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 - 3/4 cup pinenuts (or peanuts, cashews...) 
100 g vermicelli noodles 
2 cups chopped bok choy (or pak choy, spinach etc) 
2 carrots, grated 
2 stalks celery, finely chopped 

1 cup coriander, chopped (leaves and stalks) 
1 red chili, finely chopped (optional) 

1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce 
2 tbsp lime juice 
1 clove garlic, crushed 
1/2 tsp sesame oil 
  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat.  Cook onion, ginger, lime leaves and cumin for a few minutes until fragrant.  
  2. Add the coconut milk and chicken, increase heat and bring to simmer.  Simmer gently for about 8 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl with a lid (the chicken and the sauce).  Put in the fridge until needed (this part can be done up to 2 days in advance).  
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl.  Set aside.  
  4. Toast the nuts and shredded coconut in a dry pan.  Set aside when lightly browned.  
  5. Put the noodles and bok choy in a large bowl.  Cover with boiling water and leave for a few minutes until cooked.  Stir to separate the noodles, then drain.  
  6. Bring chicken out and shred.  Return, with the sauce, to a pot and heat through.  
  7. Mix other salad ingredients and coconut/nuts with the noodles.  Serve salad, topped with chicken and garnish with a little extra coriander.  

Chermoula fish

I came across this recipe earlier in the week, in an email from Mindfood.  Their recipes always sound beautiful and would undoubtedly be very tasty, but to be honest I usually just find them a bit too fussy for a weekday meal (after work, who can be bothered with tricky?).  This one however struck me as relatively straightforward.  And it was a fish recipe, perfect for a light, but tasty, Monday-meal.  

Chermoula is a marinade used extensively in North African cooking (particularly those areas along the Mediterranean).  It is traditionally used to season seafood, but can be used as a flavour-base for other meats or vegetables.  This marinade doesn't used cumin, but cumin is, along with coriander, a typical ingredient in chermoula. 

I used a combination of hoki (it was on special) and tarakihi for our meal.  But any firm white fish would do nicely.  Gurnard would be excellent!  

4 fillets of fish (roughly 700 g) 
500 g potatoes, cut into quarters lengthways
1 tbsp butter 
1 red onion, sliced
1 capsicum, cut into thick slices
1-2 tbsp grated ginger 
300 g tomatoes, cut into chunks 
1 cup chicken stock 
1/2 cup large green olives (Delmaine do ones in a jar which worked well)
1-2 limes, cut into thick slices (or 1 tbsp preserved lemon)
crusty bread, to serve (optional) 
coriander leaves, to garnish 

1 cup coriander 
1/2 cup parsley 
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic 
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider)
salt and pepper
  1. Place chermoula ingredients in food processor  and process until all cut up and becoming smooth (I left a few bigger pieces in mine).  
  2. Cut fish into chunks.  Combine with chermoula in a bowl.  Set aside.  
  3. Steam potatoes until tender.  
  4. Heat butter in large pan/pot (it must have a tight-fitting lid), or a tagine (I don't have one, so used a large heavy pot).  Add onion and capsicum and cook for about 5 minutes, til softened.  
  5. Add ginger and tomatoes and cook for further two minutes.  Remove from heat and set tomato-onion mixture in a bowl.  
  6. Arrange potatoes in bottom of pot.  Spoon over half the tomato mixture.  Top with chermoula fish and second half of tomatoes.  Pour oven stock.  Scatter with olives and lime.  
  7. Cover pot with sheet of baking paper and tight-fitting lid (or your tagine's lid) and simmer gently for 10 minutes.  
  8. Serve with warm crusty bread (I used some par-baked dinner rolls).  

NB: Most supermarkets carry pre-mixed Ras el Hanout these days too - I have one in the pantry from Mrs Rogers Premium range, bought at our local Countdown.