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.