Monday, May 28, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - May 28

Still eating our way through our bulk lamb purchase. This week it's the roast. We are also using the three small butternuts that we bought last week, and oddly, forgot to eat.

Lamb Roast with lots of vegetables (including pumpkin).
Pumpkin and Feta Pasta
Souvlaki Wraps
Fish. I'm not sure how yet, but I'm sure there will be pumpkin.
Pizza. From scratch, of course. Maybe with pumpkin.
Quiche. Can you put pumpkin in quiche?
Chicken with Butter Beans

Happy Monday everybody!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Layered Shepherds Pie

I am one of those odd people that plans to have leftovers. Most of our leftovers go straight into lunch-size containers and into the freezer, so we never have to buy our lunch at work. Sometimes though, I plan leftovers to be eaten in another meal. Lamb roast becomes lamb fritters or Greek souvlaki wraps. Roast chicken becomes chicken risotto, which becomes arancini. (yum!)
For this Leftover Tuesday, it's a bit different. We bought a whole side of lamb a month ago. I made stock with the bits I couldn't identify, but I rescued all the meat that got boiled up. Sounds appetising, I know. But this meat is so tender, it deserved to be rescued. And Leftover Tuesday was a good excuse to use it. This recipe would work equally well with any leftover roast meat, or chicken, I think. I'm sorry it's such a loose recipe, but it doesn't really need a lot of measuring. Trust yourself!

Layered Shepherds Pie
Dried shittake mushrooms
An onion and a clove of garlic, diced
Left over meat, chopped as finely as you can
Tomato paste, soy sauce, vegetable stock powder (whatever seasonings you like, really)
Assorted root vegetables (I chose 4 small potatoes and a renegade beetroot. The beetroot had somehow escaped from being roasted earlier in the week)
Two big leaves of silverbeet (leftover from Ryan's spinach and ricotta
Milk and butter for the mash
Grated cheese

Boil the kettle and soak the mushrooms. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes (and beetroot) and put them on to boil. Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic, stirring until the onion is soft. Add the lamb, just to heat through. If you have any other vegetables to add, now is the time. Capsicum or tomato (finely diced) would be good.
When the stuff in the pan is all heated through, throw in the mushrooms with their soaking liquid. This is the base for the gravy, so add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste, a dash of soy sauce, and any other herbs or flavourings. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, then take it off the heat.
When the potatoes are soft, drain them and mash. Adding the beetroot made for a funky pink version, and added some depth of flavour. Chop the silverbeet finely and then steam it briefly (just until it darkens in colour slightly).
Finally put it all together - the meat at the bottom of a casserole dish, topped with the silverbeet, topped with the mash and then cheese on top. Heat in a medium oven until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Thanks for hosting this Pam!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Chilli Chocolate Muffins - Muffin Monday 3

We got pretty excited when the third Muffin Monday was announced. The first one had started an Iron Chef competition here. The second one resulted in very green Green Tea Muffins. This time we are going spicy!
Ryan and I decided to experiment with Chilli and Chocolate. The trick is making it spicy, without making it inedible. Chilli syrup seemed like a good starting point. And we were encouraged by Clotilde's Chocolate Chilli Bites. Ryan went first with a chocolate chip style muffin, but we weren't brave enough with the chilli's. Mine were much richer, with much more bite. We hope you enjoy!
Ryan's Chilli Choc Chip Muffins
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa
3/4 Cup milk
100g melted butter
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons chilli syrup (we could have added a lot more)
3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients together, then stir into the dry ones, with the chocolate chips. Stir until just combined (or as little as possible). Spoon into muffin tins, and cook for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. The muffins are cooked when they spring back from a gentle touch.

Rich Chilli Chocolate Muffins
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Paprika
150g Dark Chocolate
100g Butter
1/2 Cup Chilli Syrup
1 Egg
Sift together the flour, cocoa and paprika. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stir well and allow to cool slightly. Mix the egg and chilli syrup into the chocolate mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins and cook for 20 minutes at180 degrees Celsius. Makes around 12 muffins.

Chilli Syrup
4 birds eye chillies
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup water
Bring to the boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chillies and cool the syrup. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Simple Beef Curry

I love slow cooked beef - stews, roasts or curries where the meat is falling-apart tender. This is one of my favourite ways to cook it. It creates a really mild, really succulent beef curry. There's a picture of it here.

Simple Beef Curry
Curry Paste (this time I used Thai Green Curry Paste - tandoori or penang are good too)
Stewing Beef - chopped into pieces
Coconut Milk

Heat the curry paste with some oil in a small pot. When it's fragrant, add the beef, and saute until it's browned all over. Add the coconut milk (I usually use a whole can) and if it isn't enough liquid to cover the beef, add some stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Simmer, uncovered, until the beef is tender. Stir it occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking.
This is a pretty flexible recipe. I often add a potato or a carrot to it, once the coconut milk has gone in. I haven't had a bad batch yet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Simple in-a-hurry Chickpea Curry

Ryan and I both like curry. We will happily eat any sort, Thai, Indian, Fijian, Ethiopian or Somali (just some of the taste sensations available in Canberra). But sometimes you have to cook them up yourself.
Curries make great frozen lunches, so usually we do two or three big batches and freeze the leftovers. This week we made a chickpea curry, a mixed-lentil dhal and a hybrid green beef curry. Don't worry, I haven't been cross-breeding livestock. But I used the green curry paste in ways that no self-respecting Thai chef would admit to. It's the chickpea curry I'm going to share today, because it's the easiest one to make.

Simple Chickpea Curry
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1 red chilli (you can leave it out if you like)
1 red onion
1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 big handfuls of spinach (or silverbeet)
2 Tablespoons sour cream (or cream)
squirt of lemon juice

Heat the cumin seeds in a frying pan until they are aromatic. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan, then add the chilli and onion. When the onion is soft, add the chickpeas. When the chickpeas are warm, throw the spinach on top. Put the lid on, and let the spinach wilt a little before stirring it through. Add the cream and lemon juice, stir through and serve.

How easy is that?

Menu Plan Monday - May 21

I have given up forever on Tidbit Thursday.
Apart from the cute name, it just didn't fit in with my life. Menuplanning on Monday makes a lot more sense in our house.
So here is a renewed Menu Plan Monday:

  • A big curry cook up (dhal, chickpea curry and a green beef curry)
  • Spinach and Ricotta Canelloni (as inspired by the Australian's Weekend Magazine)
  • Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
  • Roast Chicken Thighs with Roast Vegetables
  • Creamy Fish Pasta
and... something with lamb.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Ryan!

After all the eating out, it was nice to have dinner at home. With cake of course!

This is a cherry ripe mud cake from the Women's Weekly Kitchen. And now ours : )

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm still here, just not cooking

Just apologising for not posting. We have a houseguest, and it's been busy at work, and we are attempting to buy a house. All in one week.

So instead, I'm going to post a list of blogs I love to read:
At My Table - his descriptions of mushrooms are even better than pictures.
The Great Big Vegetable Challenge - go Freddie!
Morsels and Musings - the first food blog I discovered. and I'm still hooked.
Milk and Cookies - beautiful photos.

Meanwhile, our beautiful houseguest has cooked us a beautiful meal. Lambchops with asparagus, green beans and sweet potato mash. Yum. And Ryan made bread and butter pudding with white chocolate and raspberries. There may be pictures.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Taste of Yellow - Prawn Laksa

I saw this event hosted by Barbara at Winos and Foodies and I thought I needed to support it. Not only is cancer awareness a good cause, but Barbara is doing this in conjunction with the Live Strong Foundation, and I've just finished reading Lance Armstrong's biography. Besides, Barbara is from Western Australia, like me!
My yellow food is prawn laksa. Laksa is any curry soup with a coconut base, so it isn't always yellow. But we get a great, yellow laksa paste from the Kingston markets, so mine is nearly glowing.
Yellow Prawn Laksa
Heat some peanut oil in a wok, and add some curry paste. I usually use around 2 big tablespoons, because we like it hot. When the paste is sizzly and aromatic, add a chopped onion, and any other hard vegetables you have handy. I added a carrot. Stirfry until nearly cooked, then add a couple of cups of chicken stock and a can of coconut milk. When it comes to the boil, throw in some rinsed bean sprouts. When it returns to the boil, add some raw prawns. As soon as the prawns are pink, take off the heat and serve.
If you are a hungry carb-loading person like Ryan, pour the laksa over some cooked rice noodles. Or if you are grumbling about your weight (like me) eat it by itself.
The proper topping would include fresh chopped coriander, chopped peanuts, fresh chopped chilli. But I was hungry.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lamb Fritters - another way with left overs

I've been putting off writing this post, because I couldn't figure out the recipe. I know I must have used one, I'm just not sure which.
Anyway, fritters as the title suggests, are a great way to use up leftovers. Just chop it small, add to batter, and fry.
First you need the batter. It doesn't really matter what's in it, as long as it's a bit thicker than pancake batter.
Donna Hay's basic fritter batter:
1 cup SR Flour
2 eggs
20g butter
1/3 cup milk
salt and pepper
I've made them with plain flour before, and with chickpea flour. Once the batter is whisked and de-lumped, add your chopped things. Corn kernels and spring onion are traditional. We chose left over roast lamb, green capsicum and some mushroom. Any vegetables would work, provided they aren't too runny.
Heat some oil in a frying pan, and then fry the batter, a quarter cup at a time. The fritter is ready to turn when bubbles appear on the surface.
Make sure you eat them warm!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tasty Tidbit Thursday!

This is a short list this week because we are eating out Friday and Tuesday. Tuesday is budget night - part of the weirdness that is Canberra.
Chili con Carne
Tofu & Shitake Stirfry
Prawn Laksa
Lamb Chops and veggies
Bruchetta Pasta

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Three ways with cauliflower

Maybe I give the impression (with the menu planning and all) that I always know what I'm going to cook, and vegetables never get abandoned to the back of the fridge. Well, yesterday I threw out half a kilo of grapes, and faced the dilemma of a whole dinner's worth of cauliflower. We made cauliflower soup earlier, and it was ok but not worth writing about. I should have taken a picture of the cauliflower though, because it was HUGE. A few days after the soup, Ryan made cauliflower cheese. But there was still a heap left.
Where would I be without the BBC recipe search? The answer was cauliflower curry. I was looking for a dry, spiced cauliflower sort of thing. But the one I ended up with was pretty good.
So here are three ways to use up a very large cauliflower.
This isn't the recipe we used (I don't think we used one) but it looks awesome.
This was a great recipe because it didn't require anything that wasn't already in the cupboard. It was very photogenic too, unlike the soup.
Cauliflower Cheese
Does this need a recipe? Steam or microwave the cauliflower until just tender. Make white sauce, add lots of cheese. Pour white sauce over cauliflower, add more cheese (and maybe something crispy, like crispy bacon or cracker crumbs) and then grill until golden.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My husband cooks!

Ryan and I cook very differently. I am brilliant at throwing things together to a deadline, with an emphasis on comfort food, and veggies. Ryan loves trying new, complicated recipes, the more spectacular the better - and it always looks beautiful. When I went to a late gym class last week, I came home to a surprise four course dinner.

How could I not love him?
Chilli fried Prawns. Yum.
Blue cheese fritters. I still don't know how he managed to cook these so perfectly. They were deepfried, but not greasy at all. Magic. And gooey cheesiness inside. That's parmesan cheese on top.
The main event - chicken pot pies! They had a tomato based sauce, not creamy, and it was really good.
I was way too full for dessert, but I ate my poached pear anyway.
Heaven. There was even cream.