Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Malaysia & Thailand

Jared and I just returned from 11 glorious days in Malaysia and Thailand.  It was amazing.  Even more amazing than I expected it to be - and I had pretty high expectations.  We stayed at The Club in Malaysia and at The Katathani in Phuket.  Both were so fancy.  We were waited on hand and foot and it wasnt busy at all so it felt like our own private paradise.  The food was also to die for.  I loved the smells and there was so much choice!  They even offered fabulous western food which I also had my fair share of.  I have come home about 5kg heavier!!!!   Unfortunately, Jared got food poisoning somewhere in Phuket.  We're thinking the muscles he ate on day 2 were the culprit and they kept us in the hotel room for 3 days.  But that is when I discovered room service!!  In the end when I would call for MORE room service, the guy on the end of the phone said "wow - you order more!????"  And they needed to ask me to start putting my used room service trays outside the hotel door so they could collect them.  Obviously they were running out because I had them stacked to the ceiling in our room. 

Here are a few photos of our amazing food experience:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lamb & Red Wine Stew

This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's Ministry Of Food.  I'm a big Jamie fan.  I have 6 of his cookbooks, BUT - I do find that when I cook his recipes, and follow them TO THE LETTER - they rarely turn out looking like his.  But that day changed when I won his latest book in a competition.  Ministry Of Food is for those of us who have never cooked or have very limited cooking skills.  All the recipes are very basic but of the 3 or 4 I've cooked so far, they have all turned out perfectly and so full of flavour!  This is the third time I've cooked his Lamb and Red Wine Stew and it is definitely not the last.  It is so full of flavour, rich and comforting.  I prepared it tonight on a wet and windy night with roast potatoes; and between Jared and I, there were no left overs!  And the best thing about this recipe is that all the ingredients are in the cupboard - there's no need to head to the store.

2 sticks of celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
Warrick Grove Olive Oil
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
500g diced stewing lamb
500ml red wine

Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks.  Peel and roughly chop the onions.  Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop.  Put a pot on medium heat.  Put all the vegetables rosemary into  the pot with 2 lugs of oil and fry for ten minutes.  Add the lamb and flour.  Pour in the wine and tinned tomatoes.  Give it a good stir then season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil.  Put the lid on and simmer slowly for two and a half hours.  Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering.  When done, your meat should be tender and delicous.  Remember to remove the rosemary stalks before serving and taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.  Serve with roast potato or mash potato or your favourite vegetable.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Garam Masala Chicken

There are two parts to this post.  Firstly let me introduce you to our new cooking machine.  It's the Cookwell Convection Oven.  Jared's Gran and Pop gave it to us as an early Christmas present.  We've been meaning to use it for weeks and Sunday was the day.  I must admit that at first I was sceptical.  I have an oven. A crappy, old, slow oven that still measures in Farenheit, but a working oven none the less - so I didn't really see the point in pulling out this huge machine and all its gadgets.  Jared believes I'm scared of change.  Like an old person being sat in front of the internet for the first time, I've had the same reaction to the Cookwell Convection Oven.  And I think he was right because now that I've used it I think it is fantastic!  The meat cooked perfectly, was so moist and tender inside while crisp and crunchy on the outside.  Because it sits on the bench and has a really bright light - we could watch our food go from completley raw to mouth watering brown and crisp.  And it CLEANS ITSELF!!!!  I'm sold!

So the dish we decided to make was Garam Masala Chicken.  I saw it in Delicious Magazine and had been meaning to make it for about six weeks.   I found it so simple and really enjoyable to roast all the spices then reduce them to a fine powder with my mortar and pestle.  The raita was delicious and I'll definitely be making it my standard raita recipe from here on in.  Plus, it's quite a healthy dish.  At worst the naan bread isn't great for you carbswise and maybe the chicken skin - but I'm pretty happy with its "healthiness".

Garam Masala Chicken
Serves 6

16 cardamom pods, bruised, husks discarded, seeds reserved
2 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
2 tsp black peppercorns
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cinnamon quills
5 cloves
6 free range chicken marylands
45ml Warrick Grove Olive Oil
Warmed naan bread to serve

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways, seeds removed, diced
1 tomato, seeds removed, chopped
1 small red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh coriander
1 tbs chopped fresh mint
215ml natural yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of paprika

Place the cardamom seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves in a non-stick fry pan. Dry roast over medium heat for about 2 mins until fragrant, then allow to cool.

Place all the roasted spices into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder.  If using marylands, cut the chicken thighs and drumsticks away from each other.  Rub with the olive oil.

Coat the chicken pieces in the garam masala spice mix and marinate, covered, for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack set inside a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes to one hour.

Meanwhile, make the raita by placing all of the ingredients and 1/2 a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a bowl and mixing until well combined.  Set raita aside until required.

Serve the chicken with warm naan bread and raita on the side.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Jared and I were invited to a BBQ last Sunday.  We were asked to bring a salad.  I spent the morning browsing through my cookbooks and nothing was jumping out at me.  Plus I wanted something simple as I had had a few too many drinks the night before and my brain wasn't capable of anything fancy.  But at the same time I wanted to impress....   Then I remembered seeing a recipe on Sathya's Kitchen Adventures that had caught my eye - Buttermilk Ranch Dressing!   I'm a big big fan of Ranch dressing.  I always go for it at the Hogs Breath Cafe, Subway and at Billy Baxters.  Ranch Dressing is absolutely my favourite dressing and this recipe seemed simple!  So I made it and it was fantastic.  So delicious and creamy and all it needed was a green leafy salad - nothing fancy but the dressing was so full of flavour. 

The huge bowl of green leafy salad with the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing was a massive hit at the BBQ and the bowl was empty when I went to collect it.  Plus, the recipe makes plenty so we had it on our salads for the next two evenings.   This recipe is a winner!

1 cup full fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
buttermilk (to desired consistency)

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup italian flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
lots of ground black pepper
dash of tabasco

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon salt into the garlic and with a fork, mash the garlic and salt into a paste.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the buttermilk. Stir.  Add buttermilk until you have the desired consistency.  Taste and season.  Chill for a few hours.  Serve on a green leafy salad.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gourmet Curried Egg Sandwiches

I've always been a fan of curried egg.  I'll happily make a huge bowl of it and eat it for lunch.  Then my auntie Chia introduced our family to her Gourmet Curried Egg Sandwiches.  They are to die for and so moreish and satisfying.  The photo really doesn't do this sandwich justice but I took it first thing in the morning before rushing off to work. 

Jared loves them and I often make them for him to take for lunch at the office.  His co-workers have noticed how great they look so I've started sending Jared to work with 3 gourmet curried egg sandwiches.  One for himself, one for his boss and one for his co-worker and best friend, Richard.  I love feeding Richard because he always emails me through a review of what he's just tasted.  This is the curried egg sandwich review: 

Subject:  Lunch
OMG. It’s tough for something to actually taste better than you remember as well as better than it looks, but that nailed it. The subject title of lunch doesn’t encapsulate the culinary experience that is eating that sandwich. Happy for you to paraphrase that in the intro of your book. Remember it’s the execution of a dish and not the origin that’s important. Maybe the book could be called. “Nail that dish”.

5 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons keens mustard powder
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup dessicated coconut, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon spring onion sliced
salt and pepper
3/4 cup baby spinach leaves
Thick slice wholemeal bread

Lightly toast the coconut.  Boil the eggs, let them cool then mash them up in a bowl and add all the other ingredients.  You can add more or less of anything - do it to your preferred taste.  Serve on baby spinach in gourmet bread.


Monday, November 2, 2009


My best mate and fellow blogger Sathya hosted a Bollywood Party on Saturday night to celebrate her 31st birthday and her new home.  The party was fantastic.  It was on a balmy night and it was so relaxed and the food was TO DIE FOR.  She made this for sweets and at the end of the night I decided F**K it and ate about 400 of them!  Sathya has received a few abusive messages letting her know how evil those little balls are!

Besides the sweets, the curries were also amazing, and the pakoras and samosas!  And the Punch! Wow! My contribution to the party was 2kg of Raita and a big bowl of mint chutney.   When I was making this chutney, which I'd never made before, I was very nervous.  Sathya knows a lot about Indian cuisine so I didn't want to let her down.  I had visions of the lonely chutney sitting on the side of the table and no one going near it; but in actual fact everyone was forced to try it as plates and plates of pakoras and samosas circled the party with my mint chutney in the middle.  And thank the Lord - I received compliments!!  So here is the recipe.

Mint Chutney
1 cup packed mint leaves
4 spring onions, chopped
1 small green chilli, with seeds
1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon yoghurt
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt.

Blitz the heck out of it in a blitzer.  And thats it!  Apparently it goes brown overnight so you'd want to make it fresh for the occasion.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pink Ribbon Day

It was Pink Ribbon Day on Monday to raise money for breast cancer research.  My work held a huge morning tea with a pink theme.  I made these cupcakes.  Everyone did a fantastic job and we raised well over $1000.00.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gourmet Steak Sandwiches

I was recently buying meat at our local butcher and they had recipe cards on the counter. This recipe was one of them.  I had it stuck on the fridge for quite a few months before I decided to make it.  I served it with home made hot chips and it was a hit with Jared and our neighbour Steve on a Saturday afternoon.  I made them again yesterday and we're about to have the leftovers again today!

I changed the aioli quite a bit.  The recipe asks for 6 cloves of garlic and 1.5 cups of olive oil.  I found it was way too much of both.  So the recipe below is what I did:

4 pieces rump steak, malleted flat
600g brown onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 thick slices of bread

2 egg yolks
2 cloves crushed garlic 
1/4 cup Warrick Grove Olive Oil
Juice 1/2 lemon

Slice the onions thinly and cook slowly in butter for 20 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and continue cooking for another ten minutes until they are a rich brown colour.  Turn up the heat and add the balsamic vinegar.  Cook for a few minutes until the vinegar has evaporated.  Set aside.

Season the rump steak with salt and pepper and sear  on both sides on high heat.  Spread the aioli generously on both sides of the bread.  Then on one slice, place some rocket, then the steak and lastly the onions.  Top with the other side of the bread.  Cut in half and serve.

Beat the egg yolks with the crushed garlic until the yolks are pale and thick (about 5 minutes).  Gradually add the olive oil, beating well after each addition.  At the end, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maud's Ginger Apricot Crunch

This is another recipe from my new favourite cookbook The Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Liz Harfull. She kindly sent me a signed copy and I am now an avid follower of her blog The Blue Ribbon Cookbook

This slice was made by Gwen Smart of Maitland and is named after her mother Maud.  There wasn't a photo of the slice so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I absolutely loved the flavour but I wasn't too sure about the texture.  It was very biscuity and almost crunchy, but then would have the chewy texture of the chopped apricots.   I think next time I'd cut the apricots even finer.  But the ginger flavour was delicious.  Ginger Nut biscuits remind me of my nana and they are the best for dunking in a cup of tea.  (Next to Yo-Yo Biscuits).

125g butter
1/2 cup (125ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup
375g ginger nut biscuits, crushed finely
60g pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped finely
16 dried apricots, chopped finely

Grease a 24cm square pan with cooking spray and line with baking paper or alfoil.

Place the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth.  Bring teh mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.

Place the biscuits, nuts and apricots in a bowl.  Pour over the condensed milk mixture and stir until well combined.  Place the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake

I don't like cauliflower at all.  It's probably my least favourite vegetable; but I had it in the fridge becuase I got it into my head that I was going to do some "3 day, lose 5kg diet".  The diet lasted all of about 12 hours and the cauliflower was still in the fridge waiting to be used.  The only way I've ever eaten cauliflower and half enjoyed it was in a bake, covered in cheese and crumbs and broccoli and anything else that can disguise its boring taste!  So I did just that - Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake.  And it was actually really yum.  I totally overcooked the veg, so I'll know for next time to chill out on boiling it for 10 minutes.  But I think cauliflower will become a regular visitor in our fridge!

4 cups broccoli florets
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tin condensed cream of chicken soup
80g grated cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dry basil, thyme or marjoram, crushed
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs

In a large saucepan cook broccoli and cauliflower, covered, in a small amount of boiling lightly salted water for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are almost crisp-tender.  Drain well.  Remove brocolli and cauliflower from pan, set aside.

In the same saucepan cook one onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the soup, cheese, milk and herbs.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until bubbly and cheese melts.  Stir in cooked broccoli and cauliflower.  Transfer mixture to a small casserole dish. Toss together the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Sprinkle over vegetable mixture.

Bake uncovered in a 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Ritzy Chicken Nuggets

Jared first made these nuggets on Christmas Day last year when we had lots of friends over at the end of the day.  They were gone within minutes.  He made them again soon after but tried to recreate them as chicken shnitzels for dinner.  They weren't as good.  So we've been saying every since then that we must make the nuggets again.   And yesterday that time came. 

There was a plan for a few of Jared's mates to come over after golf for some drinks.  I didn't think it would happen as we'd all been out the night before and none of us were very tidy.  But just in case, I made them.  I didn't get to marinate the chicken for two days, I only did 4 hours, and to my delight it made no difference.  In the end everyone bailed on coming for drinks so Jared and I were lucky enough to eat them all to ourselves.   They really are unreal and really easy and an absolute hit.

2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cups Ritz cracker crumbs

In small lots, place the chicken breast pieces into a freezer bag.  Bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is quite thin, and then take it out and slice into about 6 to 8 slices. Repeat with the other chicken breast. This is easiest done with scissors.

Put the slices into a freezer bag with the buttermilk and leave in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 2 days.

When you are ready to cook them, heat the oil in a large frying pan.

Tip the cracker crumbs into a wide shallow bowl, and then shake off the excess buttermilk from the nuggets and dip them in the crumbs. Coat them well before lying gently in the hot oil, and cooking for about 2 minutes or so a side until they are golden brown. Transfer to a kitchen towel on a plate to blot the excess oil.

Alternatively, you can lay the crumb-coated chicken nuggets on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. They can also be frozen once marinated and crumbed. If cooking from frozen, add 5 minutes to the oven cooking time.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate Maple Slice

I was up in Clare spending the weekend with my nana recently  (check out the view from the lounge room) and I decided to do some baking.  I've always been a fan of the chocolate caramel slice but I've never bothered to make it because you can buy it anywhere and one caramel slice tastes just like the next.  That is why I chose to make this Chocolate Caramel Slice because it has something different.  Maple Syrup and Scotch Finger Biscuits. 

They were pretty damn tasty.  My only point would be to make sure you don't eat them straight out of the fridge.  Let them get to room temperature before devouring them.  So much more flavour and so much more enjoyable.  I brought a whole batch home to give to the neighbours but I think Jared and I scoffed them all to ourselves over a few days.

Here's what I did:

2 x 250g packets Scotch Finger biscuits
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
250g butter, chopped
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
300g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pouring cream

Grease a 5cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) roasting dish or slab pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.

Place biscuits, in a single layer, in pan to cover base (break to fit, if necessary). Process remaining biscuits to fine crumbs.

Combine maple syrup, sugar, butter and condensed milk in a heavy-based, non-stick saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until butter melts. Increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture comes to the boil. Boil, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in crushed biscuits.

Pour mixture over biscuit base. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just set.

Place chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium (50%) for 1 1/2 minutes or until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over chilled slice. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into fingers. Serve.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Olive Oil Anyone?

This oil belongs to my parents who live in Clare.  And I'm not being biased when I say it is the greatest olive oil I've ever tasted! Here is their website.  Warrick Grove

Anyone is welcome to purchase this oil, either through me or from my parents website.  You won't regret it!


Our New Blog

You may know me from http://www.thebakerandthecurrymaker.blogspot.com/  

Sathya and I have decided to spread the love and have two separate blogs.  You can find Sathya at http://www.sathyaskitchenadventures.blogspot.com/

And I have decided to team up with the love of my life, Jared - who is a sensational cook - so I figured why not post both of our cooking feats. 

Enjoy.   x


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thai Pork Balls

These little beauties are delicious. It's one of Jared's recipes that he just pulled out of nowhere. He didn't have a recipe, he just threw different flavours together, which is a skill I'm slowly learning. I'm always a stickler for wanting a recipe to follow. We made these on a Saturday afternoon when I had a huge craving for McDonald's and the last thing I wanted was a healthy Asian dish. But in the end I ate nine balls!! And the next day we flattened down the 3 that were left over and turned them into hamburgers with a big crusty roll, some rocket and the dipping sauce. We gave my mum the recipe to try and its now one of her regular dishes.

The dipping sauce can be made up of your favourite Asian style sauces but we are completely addicted to the sauces made by the Lloyd Brothers and always try to use them. Here's their website: www.lloydbrothers.com.au

Pork Balls
1kg pork mince
Spring Onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 chilis, chopped
zest & juice of one lemon (lime if you have it)
1.5 teaspoons minced lemongrass
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 egg
1 bunch of coriander chopped
1 cup bread crumbs

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup Wild Lime Chili & Ginger Sauce
1/4 cup Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all the above ingredients together and roll into balls (or hamburgers). Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle with some left over coriander. Serve with the dipping sauce and some rice on the side. If you have made them into hamburgers, serve with your favourite roll, fresh rocket and some dipping sauce.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Peppermint Slice

Jared and I went to Clare to stay with my parents for the weekend. Mum had a cookbook of Blue Ribbon Winning recipes! The prize winner from every country town in South Australia had featured. I chose the Blue Ribbon Peppermint Slice to recreate. And it tastes sensational. I can see why it received first place. I gave Jared a piece on the drive home from Clare and he said, "in all seriousness, this is quite possibly the best slice I've ever eaten!" I cant help but agree.

Since making the slice and deciding to buy the cookbook I found it in I have discovered the author has her own blog! The Blue Ribbon Cookbook. Check it out!

I also brought the slice to work and fed it to a friend of Jared's and this is the feedback I received: "have just eaten the slice. However the word eaten really doesn’t sum it up. It was more of a whole cuisine experience or a culinary journey. For god sake don’t ever make it again as Jared can’t possibly exercise more than he already does and he will make Jabba the hut look like a supermodel after 6 months of that. Of course I’ll be running again soon and could probably get away with a piece that size every 3rd day. Thanks".

I had to double the filling and I also used 75g more chocolate than in the recipe. The recipe below is what I did.

125g butter
200ml sweetened condensed milk
250g milk biscuits
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

2 cups icing sugar mixture
80g butter melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
3 drops green food colouring (optional)

200g dark cooking chocolate
30g copha

To make the base, melt the butter and condensed milk in a saucepan. Crush the biscuits and mix with the cocoa and coconut. Pour over the butter and condensed milk mixture and mix well. Press the mixture into a slice pan (about 20 x 30cm) lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge and chill well for an hour.

To make the filling mix together the icing sugar, butter, milk, peppermint and food colouring. Spread evenly over the chilled biscuits mixture and put it back into the fridge to set.

To make the topping, melt together the chocolate and copha. Spread the chocolate evenly over the filling and allow it to set before cutting the slice into squares.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tunesy Morns

I never ate seafood growing up. Even now I only eat whiting. But I ALWAYS ate Tunesy Morns. Our family lived for it. I always stared through the oven door at the golden crust on the top asking mum "is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?". I love my tunesy morns.

When Jared and I first started dating I cooked it for him one night and he hadn't eaten it since his mum made it for him as a boy. He was well excited - and to top things off, he says my Tunesy Morns is the best he's ever had!! I've never shown him how to make it because that way he'll never leave me!

I have however, shared it with both of our neighbours and we all enjoy tunesy morns evenings regularly.

70g butter
3 heaped dessert spoons plain flour
1 litre milk
2 x 400g cans corn kernels
2 x 425g cans tuna in brine/springwater
Grated cheddar
Freshly grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the flour and using a whisk, stir it around and let it sizzle for at least three minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and pour in half the milk. Whisk quickly to remove lumps. Add the rest of the milk and return to the hotplate. Bring the milk to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Once the sauce begins to bubble add the drained corn and tuna. Stir well and add S&P to taste. Wait until it begins to bubble again and pour into a ceramic dish. Cover the top with the grated cheese and parmesan. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of the cheese.

Cook in the oven for at least half an hour, or until it is brown to your liking. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chocolate Brownies

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe for brownies that are on the dessert menu at Fifteen. They look amazing in his cook book so I baked them on a cold Sunday afternoon as dessert after a Roast Lamb lunch.

When they first came out I thought they were a failure because I'd taken them out too early. The entire centre was still really runny. It was more like a runny pudding when we ate it. I was so disappointed, although the flavour was UNREAL. I left them out over night and in the morning it had set! Exactly the way it was supposed to. I had perfect chocolate brownies. The entire tray was eaten within hours. I'll absolutely be baking these again. Such a decadent, moreish treat. And the orange zested creme fraiche was a sensational addition and created such a good balance between the rich chocolate and zesty sour tasting cream.

250g unsalted butter
200g best-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken up
150g chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)
80g coco powder
65g plain flour sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
350g caster sugar
4 large eggs
zest of one orange
250ml creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a 30cm rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the nuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate and nut mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray; and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don't want to overcook them so, you don't want a skewer to come out clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche mixed with some orange zest.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chicken Korma

I won a copy of Jamie Oliver's Ministry Of Food cookbook. It really does have some fantastic recipes in it and they're never difficult because they were designed for those of us who have never really cooked.

I've heard many people say that Jamie Oliver's Chicken Korma recipe is bland and not that great - but after some investigating and reading a few forums I think it's actually his original, fancy recipe that people dislike; because this Ministry of Food Chicken Korma is DELICIOUS. Jared and I have cooked it and recooked it several times and it never lets us down.

800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
2 medium onions
1 fresh red chili
1 thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
olive oil
a knob of butter
290g jar of Patak's korma curry paste
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
2 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g natural yogurt
1 lemon

Cut the chicken into approximately 3cm pieces. Peel, half and chop your onions. Halved and finely slice the chili. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Drain the chickpeas.

Put a large casserole type pan on a high heat and add a couple of glugs of oil. Put the chicken thighs into the pan and brown lightly on all sides for five minutes. Push the chicken to one side of the pan. Stir in the onions, chili, ginger and coriander stalks with the butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn't catch and burn but turns lovely golden. Cook for around ten minutes. Add the korma curry paste, coconut milk, the drained chickpeas and dessicated coconut. Half fill the empty tin with water, pour into the pan and stir again. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 mitues with the lid on. Check the curry regularly to make sure it isn't drying out. Add a little extra water if necessary. Remove the lid and cook down at a simmering heat for another 25 mins. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Serve with rice. Add a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt and scattered coriander leaves. Service with lemon wedges for spooning over.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Day Breakfast

Jared is golf obsessed. He plays several times a week and really is exceptionally good at it! I like to feed him a big hearty breakfast Sunday mornings before he heads off to the golfcourse for his day of comp golf.

Laura taught me this recipe. I once slept at her place and woke up to this for breakfast! I think I probably had too many wines the evening before so this would have put the fire out for sure!

I've been making it ever since and Jared is a massive fan of it!

8 rashers of short cut bacon chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped spring onion
5 eggs
1 dessertspoon butter
50ml milk
1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
Worchestershire sauce (or your fav breakfast sauce)

Chop the bacon into small squares and fry in a frypan. Meanwhile chop up the tomato and spring onion.

Whisk together the egg, milk, butter and half the parsley to prepare to scramble the eggs. Season to taste.

Add the tomato and spring onion to the bacon once the bacon is crisping up. Scramble the eggs.

Make the toast. Spread with butter. Arrange the scrambled eggs on the toast and top with the bacon, tomato and onion mix. Sprinkle with left over parsley. Season with salt and pepper and as much Worchestershire as you like.

Serves 2


Saturday, May 30, 2009

I'm Back! With Spinach & Ricotta Dip

It has been 20 long months since I posted on the Baker & the Curry Maker and a lot has happened in that time! I have a perfect new man, a funky new home, a new exciting job and a brave new hairstyle plus a few new gorgeous friends. I've been itching to get back into the blogging lately. I almost made it back last weekend with a lemon slice but I was staying at my parents place in Clare and didn't have my camera. And so this is my returning recipe.... Spinach and Ricotta Dip.

I've had this at morning teas at work a few times and I actually get frustrated when staff bring it along. I want to pick it up and take it back to my desk where I can devour it all myself. This week another pesky staff member brought it in and I decided to make one all of my own today so I can sit in the comfort of my lounge room and inhale it. I so badly didn't want to share with my boyfriend that I made him one all of his own also!

It's simple and always a hit!

300g Ricotta
500g Frozen chopped spinach
100g Danish Feta
300g Sour Cream
1/3 cup chopped chives
30g Spring Vegetable Soup Mix
Freshly Ground Pepper
Cob bread

Squeeze and discard all liquid from thawed spinach. Place into a large bowl. Add ricotta, feta and sour cream. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add chives and dried soup. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Mix until well combined.

Using a serrated knife, slice a 3 to 4cm-thick slice off top of loaf. Set aside. Remove soft white bread from centre of loaf to form a bread 'bowl' and use this to scoop out the dip. Spoon spinach and ricotta mixture into loaf. Serve immediately.