Friday, July 31, 2009

Savoury mince

This one is an Aussie favourite...
Every Aussie mum has her own recipe. (even my mum, a notoriously and famously bad cook made it. She called it "concoction meat")
Here's my take :

  1. 1 kg beef mince
  2. 1 can diced tomatoes
  3. half a cup of worcestershire sauce
  4. half a cup tomato paste
  5. herbs and spices to taste (I use paprika, cumin, ground coriander, dried rosemary and dried thyme. I use dried because it has a more intense flavour)
  6. 1 litre vegetable stock
  7. 2 chopped onions (I use a Tupperware Happy Chopper. It means that Katharine can help me cook)
  8. 2 cloves garlic, diced
  9. 1 cup frozen peas
  • Fry off onion is a small amount of canola oil.
  • Add garlic, and a splash of water.
  • Add in the mince, breaking it up.
  • Add in the can of tomatoes. Keep breaking up the mince.
  • Add in the tomato paste, and the stock.
  • Add in the worcestershire sauce.
  • Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Add in the herbs and spices, and frozen peas and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until still wet, but not sloppy.
  • Meanwhile, cook some rice, mash potatoes or pasta.

Serve mince over rice.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Warm chicken pasta salad

Having made chicken with chorizo last night, I found myself with a spare chicken.
hate wasting food, so I stripped the bones tonight. I ended up with around 2 cups of chicken, and a bit of chopped, cooked chorizo.
So, here's what I made...

2 cups chopped chicken
120 mL cream
1 teaspoon mild curry paste
5 cups of cooked pasta
1 cup cooked peas and corn kernels, mixed together.
100 g grated tasty cheese

  1. Mix cream and curry paste together.
  2. Pour over chopped chicken and cheese. Stir well.
  3. Add pasta, peas and corn. Stir again.

See how easy that one was? Serves 3.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roast chicken with chorizo

So, today is my 30-somethingth birthday.
I'm making my own dinner tonight, and its made with 3 things I really love. Chicken, chorizo, and mash.
I've taken this recipe, and altered it slightly... no marjoram, canola instead of olive oil, and real sides.

Here's my take...

Slice up the chorizo, and place under the skin as in the other recipe.
Place in the baking tray, drizzle with the oil as in the other recipe.
Sprinkle well with fresh thyme.
Bake for the 1 hr, 15 minutes.

While the chickens are roasting, peel 6 medium to large potatoes. Cut into 1 inch cubes. cook until tender. Mash with plenty of yellow heart attack butter, and cheese. Stir through some chorizo, which you have fried off, diced, and drained well.
Serve the chicken on a bed of mash, and some blanched greens.

EDIT: It was a bit dry. Next time, I think I'll make a butter from paprika, garlic, and chili. That might be a good substitute for the chorizo, with the right flavours, but more moisture

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Super easy pumpkin soup...

  • 1 large butternut squash (or pumpkin of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (mild)
  • 500 mL sour cream
  • vegetable stock

  1. Peel and chop the butternut squash, removing all seeds. Place in a large boiler, and add enough vegetable stock to come to half way up the squash.
  2. Cook until all squash is cooked - firm, but not hard.
  3. Blitz with an emersion blender.
  4. Add the curry paste to taste.
  5. Add sour cream until a smooth consistency, blending as you add the sour cream.
  6. Serve with crusty bread, and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chicken and mushroom risotto

I figured I'd try a recipe card recipe today.
You know the ones. You're walking through the supermarket, and there's a card, with a very nice looking meal on it.
So, here's the one I did for dinner tonight. It is meant to serve 6, but I'd rather guess 2 adults with decent appetites, 2 kids, and a toddler.

40 g butter
3 tbs oil
1 onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - crushed
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbs fresh thyme - chopped
1 bunch asparagus - trimmed
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
600 g chicken - fat trimmed

  1. Place butter and 2 tbs oil in a microwave safe dish. Heat uncovered on high for 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic, stir well and cook a further 3 minutes. Add rice, stir until coated in butter, and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in stock and white wine, cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add thyme, and season (salt and pepper) to taste. Cover with a tight lid. Cook for a further 10 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Cut asparagus into 4 cm pieces, and stir through the risotto with the peas and parmesan cheese. Replace lid, and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil in frying pan, and cook the chicken over a medium-high heat, until golden. Remove to a chopping board, and cover.
  4. Cook risotto a further 2 minutes, slice chicken. Spoon risotto into bowls, and top with chicken.

So. The critique of the dish...
It was dry. Very dry. Next time, I might stir some cream through before serving, or I'd do it on a cook top, simply so I have more control of the fluid/liquid levels.
Also, the thyme was very over powering... I'd probably halve it for next time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Beef Goulash

Beef goulash is one of my all time favourite winter foods. Not that I've had it all my life. My mother is the reason I learned to cook (that is, she can't cook...). So, this recipe is allegedly a traditional Hungarian goulash. I can't remember where I got the recipe from, but it's so damned easy that you don't even really need a recipe for it.

1 tablespoon canola or other flavourless oil
3 large onions, finely diced
2-3 heaped tablespoons paprika (smoked is the one to use in this recipe... its also knows as Hungarian paprika)
1 kg round steak (that's 3 generous steaks)
1 good, home grown, sun ripened tomato (I don't grow my own. I refuse to add a watery tomato to this recipe. So, I substitute a tablespoon of tomato paste)

  • Heat up a heavy based saucepan. Add the oil when the saucepan is hot. Add the onions, and gently saute until transparent. Take the saucepan off the heat.
  • This is very important. If the saucepan is left on the heat, this next step will make the goulash bitter
  • Add the paprika, and stir through. Add the meat, and coat it well with the paprika and onion mix. Put the saucepan back on the heat, and cover the meat with boiling water. Do not over cover it. The meat should be only just covered
  • Bring the meat to a simmer, add the tomato (or tomato paste). Simmer this away for a few hours, until the meat falls apart, and the water has almost evaporated.
  • Serve with buttered noodles, or creamy mash.

Note: I'm making the goulash in a slow cooker right now... I'll tell you how it turns out, 'kay?

Edit: It worked, thou it was slightly wetter than I like.
Next time, oven top+patience

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Breakfast

This mornings breakfast was a Mother's Day breakfast.
Unfortunately, I had to cook it :/

We had French toast (also known as pain perdu or eggy bread), and bacon.
Of course, Miss Fussy (Katharine) decided she didn't like French toast, so she had egg and bacon sandwiches.

So, here's what you do. You need to grill (as in, broil) the bacon. When you're about half way through, you need to mix together 2 eggs per person, with a good dollop of cream, a dash of milk, and salt and pepper to taste.
Dip in a slice of bread. Good bread is best for this, but any bread will do - as long as it isn't starting to grow. By the French name for it, I'd say stale bread works well, though I wouldn't know, because bread never gets a chance to go stale in our house :/
Fry the bread in a lightly greased frying pan, over a low heat, until golden.

Katherine's breakfast, btw, was boiled eggs, mashed with a little cheese, and some cream. This, with bacon on a sandwich, was as close as she gets to French toast.

And voila! A meal fit for Mum!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Salmon, risotto, and snow peas

We'll start with preparing the salmon, shall we?

  • Finely slice a fennel bulb. Fennel has a slightly aniseed-y flavour, which complements fish very well.
  • Julienne a 1 inch (2.5 cm) long piece of ginger. Fresh really is best here.
  • Also, slice a lemon. This doesn't need to be finely sliced. Thick slices are probably better.
  • Place a decent piece of aluminium foil on the bench. Line it with baking paper. Place a thin layer of fennel on the baking paper, cover with 3 slices of lemon. Evenly divide the ginger in half. Place the salmon on the lemon slices, and sprinkle the ginger over the salmon.
  • Wrap the baking paper around the salmon, and then wrap that parcel in the foil, making sure its sealed well.
  • Place in an oven proof tray, and into a preheated, moderate oven. Ignore the oven for now.

Next is the risotto. Risotto is easy to make. It's just time consuming.

  • Finely dice an onion. If you're not going to cheat like I did tonight (I used a carton of creamy mushroom soup instead of actual mushrooms and cream), finely dice the dried mushrooms, and soak in boiling water. Also finely dice some normal mushrooms. This will bring your price down considerably.
  • Now, start with a good tablespoon of olive oil. Add around a tablespoon of butter. ** Melt these together, then add the onion. When that is transparent, add around half a cup of arborio rice. Stir this around until the rice is covered with the oil/butter mixture, and cook it for a bit longer. While its cooking off, add a tea spoon of minced garlic. If you add it when you're cooking off just the onions, it will burn, and make it taste bitter.
  • Now, add a cup of dry sherry, or vermouth. If you don't drink, or have neither, a cup of boiling water will have to do.
  • Once that is almost absorbed (you need to stir it constantly), you add the stock from the mushrooms, or half the carton of soup, which ever way you went. Keep stirring and absorbing until the rice is cooked. If you run out of stock or the soup carton before the rice is done, top it up with boiling water.
  • If you're using mushrooms instead of packet soup, add half a cup of cream, and a good grating of parmesan cheese at the end.

  • While you're doing all of that, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. When its boiling, add a good pinch (okay, several pinches) of salt. Now add the snow peas (also known as mange tout, and bring back up to the boil.
  • Drain it. Do this right before the risotto is almost done.

When the risotto is ready, the salmon will be ready. Plate up the salmon, with the fennel, lemon and ginger, a good dollop of risotto, and a handful of blanched snow peas.

This meal is tasty enough that even my kids eat it, but fancy enough that you can also serve it for a dinner party.
Oh, and the risotto will freeze well if you happen to have any left overs ;)

** Yes, it must be butter. You want it for the taste.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Dinner

I was going to do salmon mornay (that recipe will come later, I think), but suddenly realised my kids hate it.
So, I'll be doing salmon cheesey pasta.

Pasta is a regular side dish in our family, and cheesey pasta is the "default" way to eat it.

  • So, anyways, cook the pasta al dente, but just before it is, add a good handful of frozen peas and corn. When it comes up to the boil, drain well.
  • Add as much grated cheese as you want/can, and then add a can of red salmon. Make sure its chunky, has no bones, and the skin is also gone.
I'll let you know how it went later :)

EDIT: The kids loved it. I'll have to do this one again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chicken in lemon butter sauce

Tonight, we had paillard of chicken fried in lemon and then thickened with butter.
We also had my world famous
chunky mediterranean pasta as a side.
Anyways, recipe follows.

  • paillard of chicken
  • a few good tablespoons of butter
  • juice of 2 large lemons

  1. Heat a large frying pan, spray on enough oil to lubricate.
  2. Place the paillards in gently, and seal well on both sides.
  3. Pour lemon juice over, and after bringing the lemon juice to the boil, add the butter. Reduce heat.
  4. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the sauce over the top, and some kind of mediterranean side dish (pasta, risotto, etc)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

  • Slice one large onion finely
  • Slice 1 kg mushrooms thinly
  • Slice 500g beef thinly
  • Combine 2 tabs sugar with 1 tab mustard powder. Mix with just enough water to make into thick paste
Cook onions off in a deep, heavy based pan (okay. I cheat. I use an electric frying pan. shoot me, and get it done with?)
Add sliced beef. Stir this around until all is browned on the outside.
Cook down until almost no liquid remains.
Add sliced mushrooms.
Cook down until almost no liquid remains.
Add mustard and sugar paste.
Cook down until almost no liquid remains. (It should now be a dark, thick, sticky brown goop coating the meat, onions and mushrooms)
Slowly add 500 mL sour cream. (Add it 1 tablespoon at a time, or it will curdle)
Stir through 5(ish) cups of cooked pasta (1 cup when uncooked. DO NOT add uncooked pasta to this. Please cook that one cup uncooked pasta first)

Serve with warm crusty bread, and freshly blanched snow peas .