Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thai Red Duck Curry with Pineapple & Lychees


Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons red curry paste
250ml chicken stock
270ml coconut cream
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar
1 small red capsicum, seeded and chopped into 2cm pieces
¾ cup chopped fresh pineapple, cut into 2cm pieces
½ cup fresh or canned lychees, halved
10 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 duck breasts, trimmed
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons whole Thai basil leaves
½ teaspoon finely shredded Kaffir lime leaves
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Method
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the curry paste and stir fry for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock, coconut cream, fish sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Add the capsicum and cook for 2 minutes then add the pineapple, lychees and tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the duck breasts for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel. Cover and keep warm. (Rest the duck)
  3. Thickly slice the duck. Stir lime juice through red curry mixture and divide among serving bowls. Top with duck and sprinkle with basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves. Serve with rice.
Notes & Tips

You can substitute duck breasts with ½ Chinese barbecue duck. Remove skin and bones, shred the flesh and place on an oven tray. Place in a 180°C oven and cook for 10 minutes or until duck is warmed through.

To help release the fat from duck breasts, prick skin all over with a fork before adding to the pan.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

I love a good curry- it's sweet, rich, spicy and warming to the belly. Making curry from scratch makes the best tasting curry but if you don't have the time, using a good brand of pre-made curry paste and coconut milk can still taste just as good.
Curry is also great to prepare the night before to allow the flavours to build up and intensify. Just make sure that when you reheat it, do it slowly so that you don't allow the coconut milk to boil or you'll end up curdling it- which is what happened to mine when I made this curry for a family dinner on Xmas day! It doesn't affect the flavour too much but doesn't make your curry look very attractive since you'll have small uneven lumps floating on the surface.


Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1kg boneless & skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
400ml coconut milk
250ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 small baby eggplant- halved lengthways, cut into 2cm pieces
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped or 1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 small broccoli, trimmed, cut into florets or 100g beans, topped
50g baby corn- halved lengthways
Sliced red chilli, Thai basil leaves & finely shredded kaffir lime leaves to garnish
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Method
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over a high heat, add onions and cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in curry paste and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken, basil, lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, add all the vegetables and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce is thick. Serve garnished with chilli, basil and kaffir lime leaves. Serve with steamed rice
Notes & Tips

Depending on the brand of curry paste you use it can vary in heat and flavour intensity. I've used anywhere between 1 tablespoon to half a jar! It depends on how hot you like your curry and how familiar you are with the brand you use. Experiment until you find the right one for you.
I prefer to use the Maesri brand green curry paste but it's very, very hot! So use no more than 1 tablespoon if you like your curry mild.

Make ahead tips:

If making the curry the night before, do not add the lime juice until right at the end when ready to serve
Add the chicken and vegetables during reheating to keep chicken moist and vegetables crisp
Reheat the curry over a low temperature to avoid coconut milk from curdling

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken & Sweet Potato Pasta Salad


Ingredients

600g sweet potato or pumpkin, chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
400g spiral pasta
½ bbq chicken, shredded
1 punnnet, cherry tomatoes
50g baby spinach leaves
40g (1 mini tub) Philadelphia cream cheese 
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place sweet potato, olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender and lightly golden. Remove and set aside. Allow to cool.
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to packet instructions or until al dente. Drain and return to pan. Add the chicken, tomatoes, sweet potato and baby spinach leaves.
  • Spoon the salad into a serving bowl then toss over the cream cheese, mustard and extra virgin olive oil.  Serve warm or cold. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taj Indian Masala

North & South Indian Thali $13.90

I have wanted to visit this place for a while since every time I walk past the restaurant I can see many Indians eating inside- makes me think- this place must be authentic!

I finally got the chance when Hubby and I stopped by this place after watching a movie. We were on our way back to the car when we spotted the restaurant was still open so we decided to venture in and try the thali. We ordered one North Indian and one South Indian thali- this was a great way to try all their different curries, condiments/sauces and breads. I loved the variety that was presented to us as well as the quality & quantity of food. I found it all very delicious and quite spicy! I'd love to try the other dishes on their menu if I'm in the area again.

Located in Parramatta Westfields, this small takeaway restaurant is opposite Coles supermarket.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Glazed Lamb Rumps

Recipe from Coles Magazine, November 2012 issue, page 44

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
8 lamb rump steaks
¼ cup maple syrup, plus extra to serve (optional)
200g green beans, trimmed, blanched

White Bean Mash

2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method
  1. To make white bean mash, process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat on low.
  2. Mix together oil, garlic and rosemary. Rub over lamb. Heat a large frypan on high and cook for 2-3 minutes each side, for medium, or  until cooked to your liking. Pour over maple syrup and swirl to coat.
  3. Serve lamb steak with bean mash and green beans. Drizzle over pan juices, serve with extra maple syrup, if using.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pesto Chicken Pasta

Coles Magazine November 2012 issue, page 38

Ingredients

350g penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g grape or cherry tomatoes
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and chopped
190g basil pesto
300ml light cooking cream
1 cup frozen peas
shaved Parmesan, to serve

Method
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to packet directions, or until al dente. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep frypan, and cook tomatoes over medium heat for 2-3 mins, until just softened. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Reheat pan and cook chicken in 3 batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Return all chicken to pan, add pesto, cream and peas. Stir to combine, and bring to just boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
  3. Drain pasta and add to pan, along with tomatoes. Turn gently to combine. Serve with shaved Parmesan.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pork Cutlets with Mango Salad

Recipe adapted from Coles Magazine November 2012 issue, page 18

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 small red onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 pork cutlets, fat trimmed
1 large or 2 small mangoes, diced
80g Four leaf Salad Mix

Dressing:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon finely grated ginger
pinch salt
pinch brown sugar

Method
  1. Combine in a small food processor onion, garlic, spices, lime juice and oil (until smooth paste). Rub over cutlets, and marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat a char-grill pan, barbecue grill or fry pan on medium-high. Cook cutlets for 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place dressing ingredients in a small screw top jar and shake to combine.
  4. Arrange mango and salad leaves on serving plates, drizzle with dressing. Serve with pork.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gumnut Patisserie


My new job involves a lot of travelling. Occasionally I'm in Bowral and I like to stop over at the Gumnut Patisserie to have some morning tea since they have so many amazing sweet cakes on display. Today I tried a hazelnut layered cake and my colleague tried the Opera Gateau. 


This cake has layers of hazelnut mousse and apricot jelly, on top of a hazelnut biscuit base. The mousse is very light and the cake tastes absolutely delicious. The many different textures within these layers of cake make it a taste sensation for the mouth


My colleague ordered an Opera Gateau which was also delicious and rich tasting. Lots of chocolate, coffee & cream!

My coffee (latte) was so-so, a bit too watery for my liking and no creamy frothiness. I've also tried their quiche which tasted nice but unfortunately the pastry had gone soft.

I've heard the pies and sausage rolls are also good but I have yet to try them. Will add an update to this post next time I order one to try.

All in all, if you happen to be in Bowral, Gumnut Patisserie is a really nice place to visit and grab a slice of cake to savour. They've won many awards for their pastries and cakes and I must say, the quality and taste of the 2 cakes I've sampled so far is really impressive. Looking forward to trying some more the next time I'm in Bowral!

Fruit slice & Passionfruit cheesecake


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Short Soup with Dumplings (Cheat's Version)

Recipe from Coles Magazine, October 2012 issue, page 43

Ingredients

1L chicken stock
¼ cup soy sauce
1 cup water
2x 200g pkts Crazy Dragon Dumplings
1 cup shredded wombok
3 spring onions, sliced

Method

  1. Heat stock, soy and water in a saucepan on high, until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Add dumplings and cook according to packet directions.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir through wombok. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced spring onions.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chilli Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Pea Mash

Recipe from Coles Magazine, October 2012 issue, page 20

Ingredients

5 long red chillies
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 lamb cutlets, French Trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1/4 cup extra
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g frozen peas
3/4 cup chicken stock
¼ cup chopped mint
1/3 cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus wedges to serve

Method
  1. Finely chop 4 of the chillies. Place in a shallow bowl with breadcrumbs, toss to combine. Place flour in one bowl and egg in another. Coat each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg and then breadcrumb mixture, pressing down to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make pea mash. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan on medium. Cook garlic for 30 seconds. Add peas and stock and simmer 4-5 minutes, until tender. Cool slightly. Process pea mixture and mint in a food processor until smooth. Return to a clean saucepan and stir on low heat, until warm.
  3. Thinly slice remaining chilli and mix together with mayonnaise and lime juice.
  4. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frypan on medium. Cook cutlets for 2-3 minutes each side, for rare, or longer to your liking. Serve with pea mash, chilli mayonnaise and extra lime wedges.
How hot?
Chillies vary in heat, but removing the seeds may lessen the heat intensity. If you want a milder effect, halve chillies lengthways and remove seeds before chopping. Wear gloves when handling chillies, or wash hands well after.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicken Provencale

Spend a night in Provence with this French classic, rich with wine and the Mediterranean flavours of olives, tomatoes and roasted capsicum.

Recipe adapted from Australian Good Taste Magazine, May 2009 issue, page 8

Ingredients

1 red capsicum, quartered, deseeded
1 yellow capsicum, quartered, deseeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5kg chicken thigh pieces, excess fat trimmed
2 red onions, halved, cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup white wine
400g tinned tomatoes with herbs
1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup pitted black or kalamata olives
Mixed salad leaves or mashed potato, to serve

Method
  1. Preheat grill on high. Place combined capsicum, skin-side up, under grill and cook for 8-10 minutes or until charred and blistered. Transfer to a sealed plastic bag. Set aside for 10 minutes (this helps lift the skin). Remove the skin from the capsicum and cut the flesh into thick strips.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the capsicum, tomato, stock, bay leaves and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in olives. Serve with mixed salad leaves or mashed potato
Notes & Tips

Use pre-bought char-grilled capsicum instead to save on time

Freezing tip: Cool at the end of step 4. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge.
Serving tip: For extra sides, serve mashed potato and crusty bread for mopping up the juices.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Exotic Lamb Cutlets

Recipe adapted from Woolworths Fresh Magazine, Issue 79, September 2012, page. 18

Serves 4

Ingredients

¼ cup tandoori paste
¼ cup Greek yoghurt
12 lamb cutlets, French trimmed
(600g roast mixed vegetables- onion, pumpkin, potato, carrot)
2 tablespoon oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon ginger, grated
½ cup water
400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
150g green beans, cut into 5cm lengths
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
50g baby spinach
lemon wedges, to serve

Method
  1. Combine tandoori paste and yoghurt in a bowl. Add cutlets and turn to coat well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (better overnight).
  2. Meanwhile, chop onion, potato, pumpkin and carrot into smaller pieces (3cm). Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Add vegetables and water, stirring to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until nearly tender. Add chickpeas and beans and cook over medium high heat until liquid has evaporated.
  3. Heat a barbecue grill or char-grill pan over medium high heat. Cook cutlets for 4 minutes each side until golden.
  4. Stir cherry tomatoes and spinach into vegetables. Serve cutlets with vegetables and a wedge of lemon.
Notes & Tips

You can also cook this recipe using other cuts of lamb: lamb forequarter chops or lamb mid loin chops

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Veal Osso Bucco with Cannellini Beans

I love Gary Mehigan's recipes from TV show Masterchef Australia. I've been meaning to try out this recipe for quite some time and finally got the chance to cook it this weekend. Thankfully, this is one of the easier recipes to cook and it's absolutely delicious! Packed full of flavour and perfect to eat on a cold Winter's night.

Recipe adapted from Masterchef 2011, Masterclass 

Ingredients

1.5kg veal osso bucco
½ cup plain flour
50ml olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
¼ bunch parsley stalks, leaves picked and roughly chopped, stalks reserved
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
250ml white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
zest of 1 lemon
400g tin crushed tomato
2 cups veal or beef stock
100g dried cannelini beans, soaked overnight or 100g tinned cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

To finish

Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt
½ bunch parsley leaves, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 loaf crusty bread, thickly sliced

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C.
  2. Season meat with salt and pepper and toss in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add meat and pan fry until caramelized then remove meat from pan and set aside to a plate. Reduce to medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, carrot, reserved parsley stalks and garlic to pan, cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes then deglaze pan with wine.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients including the meat to pan. Cover with a lid and cook in oven for 1½-2 hours.
  5. Remove lid, cook for a further 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  6. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle with cracked pepper, sea salt, chopped parsley and lemon zest.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.
Notes & Tips

If using tinned cannellini beans, add when almost ready to serve

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Easy Lamb Cutlets


Recipe adapted from Coles Magazine

Ingredients

500g potatoes (par boiled)
500g frozen baby carrots
olive oil spray
16 lamb cutlets
3 tbsp mint sauce
2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
250g frozen green beans

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Arrange potatoes and carrots in a baking dish. Spray with oil and bake for 20 mins. Reduce heat to 200°C.
  2. Sear lamb cutlets in batches, in a hot non-stick frying pan, until just brown on each side. Arrange over vegetables and brush with mint sauce. Scatter rosemary sprigs over dish.
  3. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes to cook the meat. 
  4. Serve with green beans, cooked according to packet directions.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Portuguese Custard Tarts


Ingredients

2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
225ml cream
150ml milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 sheet puff pastry

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a twelve hole (80ml capacity) muffin tray.
  2. Put the eggs, sugar and cornflour in a pan and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.
  3. Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain the custard into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the puff pastry sheet in half, put one half on top of the other and set aside for 5 minutes. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end and cut the pastry log into 12 x 1cm rounds. 
  5. Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out until each is 10cm in diameter.
  6. Press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  7. Brush the top of tarts with sugar syrup glaze (optional)

To make sugar syrup glaze:
Ingredients

4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons cornflour
5g gelatine powder

Method
  1. In a small pan, add water, sugar, cornflour and gelatine powder. Whisk all together thoroughly until no lumps remain and all the cornflour and gelatine has dissolved.
  2. Over medium heat bring to a boil and boil all ingredients 3 to 4 minutes, stirring consistantly. Remove from heat. Cool for 3-5 minutes. (Do not cool for longer then 5 minutes, or your glaze with set).
  3. When glaze has slightly cooled, using a basting brush or a silicone basting brush, lightly brush a coat of sugar glaze over each tart until all is covered. Can repeat if neccessary to get the desired shine look or consistancy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Egg & Onion Stir Fry

Growing up, this was one of my favourite dishes that I would love to eat. It's very home-style and makes a great side dish.


Ingredients

5 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, sliced half moon
spring onions, chopped (optional)

Method
  1. Whisk eggs, water, sugar and salt together in a bowl then set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and fry until soft and translucent
  4. Add egg mixture, cook for a few minutes then turn off the heat to allow residual heat to cook through the eggs. Garnish with spring onions

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake Recipe

Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Oriental Dinner Party Cookbook, page 15

Ingredients

2 eggs, room temperature (70g each)
½ cup caster sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
60g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
¾ cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method
  1. Sift the flour and bicarb of soda into a small bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whip the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until thick.
  3. Stir in milk and butter; whisk in the sifted flour and soda until incorporated.
  4. Line an 18cm bamboo steamer with a sheet of grease proof paper, pour mixture into steamer.
  5. Cover, place steamer over wok or pan of boiling water, cook over high heat 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  
  6. Turn cake onto wire rack. Serve warm.
Notes & Tips

This cake is best served piping hot from the steamer. If a bamboo steamer is not available, an aluminium steamer can be used instead.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Strawberry Mousse

Strawberries are back in season, so time to make a light, fluffy and creamy strawberry mousse for dessert.


Ingredients

2 x 250g punnets strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon strawberry essence (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup pure icing sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon gelatine
200ml thickened cream
1-2 drops red food colouring (optional)
3 egg whites

To decorate/serve:
Extra strawberries, halved or quartered (depends how big they are)
100ml thickened cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
a few sprigs mint leaves

Method
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine strawberries, strawberry essence, lemon juice and icing sugar and process until smooth. Strain into a large bowl and discard seeds. 
  2. Meanwhile, whip the cream until slightly thickened/soft peaks form. Set aside. 
  3. Combine water and gelatine in a small heatproof jug. Whisk until gelatine dissolves and liquid becomes clear. Add to strawberry mixture. Stir through well.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of cream to strawberry mixture. Whisk gently until well combined. Fold through remaining cream. Add a few drops red food colouring if desired.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold through strawberry mixture until well combined. 
  6. Wet moulds with water. Spoon mousse into 6 x ½ cup capacity glasses or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set.
  7. To decorate the mousse: Use an electric mixer to beat cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. 
  8. Place the cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle and pipe on top of the mousse. Arrange a strawberry and some mint leaves next to the cream.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Easy Chow Mein

This is a dish that I like to cook when I'm short on time and energy. Very quick and easy to prepare.


Ingredients

  • 350g packet fresh Singapore noodles (3 pkt)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  •  cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g chicken or pork mince
  • 2 cups frozen peas, carrot, corn mix

Method

  1. Place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 2 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Using a fork, separate noodles. Combine stock, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a jug. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large, non-stick wok over high heat. Add oil. Swirl to coat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  3. Add frozen vegetables and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until just tender. Add stock mixture and noodles. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until heated through. Serve.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Super Dish Chinese Restaurant

Super Dish Chinese Restaurant in Cabramatta is a great place to get tasty and authentic Chinese food that is good value for money. Service is also very quick and prompt. 

Preserved Egg and Lean Pork Congee $8.50

Hubby and I normally come to this restaurant to have congee. Living in the south west of Sydney, there are not many places that make a good bowl of congee so it's nice to have a place to go to locally and not have to travel all the way to Chinatown. The serving sizes for the congee are pretty big and generous.
Braised Rice Vermicelli in Singapore Style $12.00

Super Dish Chinese Restaurant also has a few Yum Cha dim sims to pick from their menu. I've tried Prawn Har Gow and Chicken Feet ($6.80 per dish). Both were very nice and tasted very authentic. The prawn har gow dumpling skin is thin and translucent with plenty of prawn meat filling whilst the chicken feet dish has  good balance of flavours.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favourite Italian desserts. It's a little time consuming to make but the effort is so worth it :)



Ingredients

4 eggs, separated (room temperature)
½ cup caster sugar (sifted)
250g mascarpone cheese, softened
1/3 cup coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
½ teaspoon coffee essence
200ml thickened cream
4 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 cups warm water
2 x 250g packets or one 500g packet of sponge finger biscuits
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Method
  1. Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a mixing bowl, and whisk on high speed with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and on a medium speed, whisk until it starts to thicken.  Be sure not to over mix as you may split the mascarpone.
  2. Add the liqueur and coffee essence and mix until just combined.
  3. Wash and dry beaters. In another bowl, whip cream to firm peaks. Fold into mascarpone mixture. Wash and dry beaters.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Combine coffee and warm water in a shallow dish, stirring until coffee dissolves. Using half the biscuits, dip biscuits quickly one at a time in coffee, turning to coat. (Try not to soak your biscuits all the way through.  There should still be a little portion in the middle that has not been soaked in the coffee). Place, in a single layer, over the base of a 6cm-deep, 18cm x 28cm (base) baking dish.
  6. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over biscuits to cover. Sprinkle with a little of the cocoa powder. Repeat layers with remaining biscuits, coffee and mascapone mixture. Cover and refrigerate for minimum 4 hours or for a better result, overnight.
  7. Dust top with cocoa powder just before serving.
Tips for when making Tiramisu: 

If you have a coffee/espresso machine, use it instead of the instant coffee powder. I didn't have one so just used strong flavoured instant coffee.

Be careful to not soak the biscuits in the coffee for too long or they'll go soggy.

The flavour of the tiramisu is more intense if you leave it overnight and it sets better.

Dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder just before serving or the cocoa powder will settle into the cream.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Banana Cake


Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
315g (1 cup) caster sugar
1¼ cups mashed overripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
100ml buttermilk
225g (1½ cups) self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 banana, extra, to decorate 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon powder, to decorate
Fresh lemon juice, to brush

Ingredients – Cream cheese frosting

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 20cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to grease. Line the base and side of the pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 2 minutes or until well combined. Add the buttermilk and process until combined.
  3. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda, and process until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Shake the pan to settle the mixture. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes to cool slightly, before transferring the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the cream cheese frosting, place the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Place the cake on a serving plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake.
  6. Lightly dust the cake with sifted ground cinnamon powder.
  7. Peel and thinly slice the extra banana. Lightly brush 1 side of each slice of banana with lemon juice. Arrange the banana slices, lemon juice side up, around the edge of the frosting to serve.
Notes & Tips

Buttermilk substitute: Place a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup regular milk. Let stand for five to ten minutes. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake

I made this blueberry cheesecake as part of a dessert for EPIC youth camp a few weeks ago. 

Ingredients

Base:
200g biscuit crumbs
50g unsalted butter, melted

Filling: 
200ml thickened cream + 1 tablespoon icing sugar

1 tablespoon gelatine powder 
3 tablespoon boiling water 

500g light cream cheese (softened at room temperature) 
60g caster sugar (sifted) 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
250g blueberry puree (strained) 

Topping: 
4-5 tablespoons blueberry jam 

Method

Line base of 20cm/8" spring form cake pan with cling wrap or baking paper. Toss biscuit crumbs into melted butter and press firmly onto base of cake pan. Chill in the fridge 30 minutes.


Whip cream with icing sugar until firm peaks. Cover and keep chilled.


Place the boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatine and use a fork to stir until the gelatine dissolves. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.


Meanwhile cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon juice together until smooth and creamy.


Add the warm gelatine solution to blueberry purée and mix well.


Add blueberry mixture into cheese mixture and combine till well mixed. Fold in the whipped cream.


Pour cheese mixture onto cake base and chill for about 4 hours or overnight.


Spread the blueberry jam over the top of the cheesecake 45 minutes before serving.




Lemonade Scones

Learn the secret to light and fluffy scones so that your next afternoon tea will be perfect! 



Makes 24 scones

Ingredients

3 cups self raising flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1 cup of cream
1 cup of lemonade
milk, to glaze

Method
  1. First preheat your oven to 220°C. It’s important to have the oven preheated to give the scones that immediate heat burst which will create a lighter scone.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the cream and lemonade.
  3. Mix with a round bladed knife (like a butter knife) using a cutting action until mixture comes together. 
  4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth and pliable. It’s important to knead very lightly, as heavy, long kneading develops the gluten in the flour and creates denser, heavier scones. 
  5. Pat dough to a 2cm thickness. Avoid using a rolling pin as this is too heavy for scone dough. The trick to scones is to be as light handed as possible.
  6. Dip a pastry/scone cutter into flour to help prevent it from sticking, and then gently press on the dough to cut scones into rounds. Don't twist the cutter, or the scones may not rise evenly.
  7. Arrange scones side by side and just touching, on a lightly greased tray. This will keep the sides straight and even as the scones cook. 
  8. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk for a glaze, or sprinkle with extra flour for a softer finish.
  9. Bake the scones on the top shelf of the oven for an instant blast of heat. Bake for 10 to12 minutes or until scones are golden and have risen.
  10. Gently tap a scone to check if it’s cooked through. If it’s ready, it should sound hollow.
  11. Turn hot scones out onto a clean tea towel - this helps keep the scones soft.
  12. Serve warm with butter or jam and cream.
Notes & Tips

Use a little icing sugar or caster sugar (approx. 1 teaspoon) to eliminate the "floury" taste sometimes associated with scones.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sweet Potato & Caramelised Onion Quiche

Recipe adapted from Australian Good Taste Magazine, August 2005 issue, page 59

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
280g orange sweet potato (kumara), peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 sheet (27 x 27cm) ready-rolled frozen quiche shortcrust pastry, just thawed
185ml (3/4 cup) thickened cream
3 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil (or basil paste)

Method
  1. Line a round 22cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry and trim any excess. Use a fork to prick the base. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.  
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until onion caramelises. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  3. Cook the sweet potato in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain well. 
  4. After pastry has rested, cover the pastry base with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Place tin on hot baking tray in oven. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights, rice or beans. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. 
  5. Cover pastry base with caramelised onion and top with sweet potato. Whisk together the cream, egg and basil in a jug. Pour into pastry base. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and set. Serve with, mixed green salad leaves or coleslaw.
Notes & Tips

To freeze (for up to 3 months): Set aside for 1 hour to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to cool completely. Label, date and freeze.
To thaw: Place in fridge for 12 hours.
To reheat: Preheat oven to 180°C. Remove plastic wrap. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until warm.

If you don't have any pie weights, not to worry! You can freeze the pastry in the tin for 15minutes instead of chilling it in the fridge since freezing pastry in the tin removes the need for 'blind baking' with baking paper and weights 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Steamed Fish Parcels

A wok and a steamer is all you need to make this healthy dish. For a low-fat dinner that is ready in a flash, look no further than this delicious and easy-to-prepare steamed fish.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Xiao Xing wine)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 (about 200g each) firm white fish fillets
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into matchsticks
2 shallots, trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
4 Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 long fresh red chilli, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced
1 lemon grass stalk, thinly sliced
a few sprigs of coriander

Steamed Asian greens, to serve
Coconut rice, to serve

Method
  1. Combine the wine, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil in a shallow dish, add the fish and marinate for at least 20 minutes. 
  2. Cut out four large squares of non-stick baking paper. Top with a piece of fish and sprinkle with ginger, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, lemon grass and coriander. Drizzle approx. 2 teaspoons of sauce over fish.
  3. Fold the ends of each square around the fish to enclose and form a parcel (or use kitchen string to tie up the parcels).
  4. Steam the fish in a bamboo or metal steamer for 10-12 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Arrange fish on serving plates and sprinkle with extra coriander, shallots and chilli, if desired. Serve with steamed Asian greens and coconut rice
Notes & Tips

Steam in banana leaves instead of baking paper to impart a beautiful fragrance

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lamb Shanks in Cranberry Sauce

Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas Magazine, July 2003 issue, page 49

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 lamb shanks, French trimmed
20g butter
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons plain flour
1½ cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
275g jar whole berry cranberry sauce
¼ cup fresh rosemary sprigs
mashed potato, to serve
steamed green beans, to serve

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based, fry pan over high heat. Cook shanks for 5 minutes on each side or until brown on all sides. Remove to a large casserole dish and arrange the rosemary sprigs around the lamb shanks.
  2. Reduce heat to medium then add butter, onion and garlic to fry pan. Cook for a minute or so then add flour and cook for another minute. Slowly add wine, stock and cranberry sauce then bring to the boil. Pour sauce over lamb. 
  3. Cover dish with foil, transfer to oven and bake for 3 hours. Remove foil, reduce oven temperature to 120°C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until shanks are tender. 
  4. Remove all the lamb shanks to a plate then pour the sauce from the casserole dish into a pot and heat over high heat for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  5. Serve lamb shanks with cranberry sauce, mashed potato and beans.
Notes & Tips

If you have a slow cooker, cook on high for 3.5 hours

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Citrus Semolina Syrup Cake

 Recipe from Super Food Ideas magazine, November 2003 issue, page 50


Ingredients




2 oranges 

3 lemons

250g unsalted butter, softened

2¼ cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
5 eggs
2 cups semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
200g ground almonds
¼ cup orange juice or Grand Marnier (see note)



Method
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 2 litre-capacity, 26cm (top) gugelhopf (ring) pan.
  2. Finely grate rind of 1 orange and 2 lemons. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, 1¼ cups of sugar, rinds and vanilla together until light and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add semolina, baking powder and almonds. Mix gently to combine.
  3. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Shred rind from remaining orange and lemon. Juice fruit. Combine juice, remaining sugar and Grand Marnier or orange juice in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until syrup comes to the boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
  5. Using a skewer, pierce holes in surface of warm cake. Pour three-quarters of syrup over cake. Add shredded rind to remaining syrup. Stand cake in pan for 15 minutes before turning onto a plate. Spoon over remaining syrup, serve the cake in slices with a dollop of crème fraiche.
Notes & Tips

Semolina is coarsely ground durum wheat. You'll find it in the health food section of your supermarket.

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavoured liqueur. Substitute with orange juice for a non alcoholic version


Choc Chip Banana Muffins

Recipe from Fresh Living Magazine, September 2004 issue, page 7

Makes 12

Ingredients

60g unsalted butter
2 cups self-raising flour
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup milk
2 eggs, room temperature
2 ripe bananas, mashed (approx. 1½ cups)
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a medium muffin tray (12 sections) with paper cases. Melt butter in a small saucepan or heat-proof bowl in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. 
  3. Using a whisk, lightly beat milk, eggs and butter in a jug. Add to dry ingredients, along with mashed banana. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Don't beat the mixture or the muffins will be tough. 
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm on top when lightly touched. Leave in the tray for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicken and Zucchni Stir Fry


Ingredients

450g chicken thigh fillets, cut into strips
2 tablespoons corn flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 small zucchini, cut in half and thinly sliced (unpeeled)
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
50ml white wine
1-2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method
  1. Coat the chicken strips with cornflour. Heat up the oil in a wok over high heat and fry half the chicken strips. Once the meat starts turning golden in colour, remove from the work and set aside covered. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  2. In the same oil, cook the zucchini briefly.
  3. Add chicken and ginger to the zucchini. Cover with wine and stir through.
  4. Sprinkle chicken stock powder and cook for a few minutes. Just before serving drizzle with sesame oil. Serve with steamed rice.
Notes & Tips

An easy way to cut chicken strips thinly is to freeze the meat lightly and cut. Then ensure it is completely thawed out prior to cooking.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Panfried Salmon on Garlic Mash and Green Beans


Salmon is considered to be one of nature's superfoods as it is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. Just two serves per week provides the recommended intake of omega 3 which research has shown is beneficial for heart health and a range of diseases & conditions.


Ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baby capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup olive oil

4 salmon fillets
250g steamed green beans
extra virgin olive oil, for dressing
Garlic Mash, for serving

Method
Combine extra virgin olive oil together with lemon rind, juice, capers and season to taste. Season salmon fillets and pan fry in hot olive oil for 2 minutes on each side until golden on the outside but still slightly pink in the centre. Dress beans with extra virgin olive oil and season. Serve salmon on garlic mash drizzled with caper and lemon oil and accompanied with beans.

Garlic Mash

800g potatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup hot milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place potatoes and garlic cloves in a large saucepan and cover with cold salty water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes for 20 minutes or until very tender but not falling apart. Drain and mash potatoes and garlic together with milk until smooth. Season to taste.
Notes & Tips
To heat milk, pour into a microwave-safe jug or cup. Heat, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH (100%) power or until hot. Using milk instead of butter and cream makes this a healthier potato mash.
For really smooth potato mash, use an electric mixer to mix for a minute and then pass mash through a drum sieve, gently pushing with the back of a wooden spoon.


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