Monday, November 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - November 26

Only 3 meals to plan this week! Actually, after a big weekend, I'm kinda glad..

Clear the fridge pizza
Fish parcels and roast veggies
Simple pasta

Happy Monday! Hope the election (or at least Australian Idol) went your way.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Pod! Cooking Broad Beans

OK, the title was a gratuitous pun. But I really did pod half a kilo of broad beans. In my new tradition of trying weird and wonderful veggies from the farmers market, I bought a whole heap of the lumpy pods. I'd never tried cooking them before, and I've probably only eaten them once or twice.
After some brief internet research, I discovered that they needed to be podded, blanched and then possibly shelled. Which was a soothing activity to do in the early evening.
I ended up with surprisingly small pile of beans. I only peeled the big ones - partly because that was what the instructions said, and partly because I am lazy. Limes and Lycopene had some useful info. In the end, I blanched some flat beans, and steamed some asparagus, and called the whole thing salad. Dressed with extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper and lemon juice, it was a nice dish that said 'Yay for summer!'

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Raclette: Fun with cheese

I bet you don't know what raclette is! I think of myself as a confirmed foodie, but when a BIG package arrived from the post office, I had no idea what it was. It looked a little bit like a tiny barbecue, and in fact, Ryan was excited at the idea of barbecue accessories. (boys are weird. who knew barbecues could have accessories??)
For an official definition, with explanatory pictures, look here. Ours came from Raclette Australia, and was a wedding present from my sisters. Thanks ladies!
I think our friend Aaron described it best. He said 'You mean a cross between fondue and teppanyaki?"
It's an electric grill that sits in the middle of the table, and everybody can cook things on top. Meanwhile, there are individual pans underneath, in which you can melt cheese and other goodies.
We didn't wait long to try it out, with a little help from our friends. This is the before picture, with all the yummy things we wanted to grill and melt.
It's traditional to pour your melted cheesy goodness onto roasted potatoes.
We ate a lot of potatoes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - November 19

After a slight hiatus caused by too many dinners out, and too many trips for work, Menu Plan Monday is back! So with no further ado:
- Stuffed Capsicums
- Veggie Tofu Curry
- Quiche
- Spicy salami pasta
- Broad Bean soup

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Butter Chicken Soup

This is my entry for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge. It's hosted by $40 a week this time, which also makes a great theme. I haven't been cooking much lately, but I knew immediately which cookbook I needed to dust off.
Ryan gave me Everyday Smart Food for the Family for my birthday last year. Like all the Destitute Gourmet books, it's about really clever food that's affordable. It doesn't have as many pictures as I like, so I don't turn to it often for inspiration. However, every single recipe I've tried has been a winner. This challenge had me trying a few new ones, like veggie samosas - but this soup was the winner. It's spectacularly good, has a very authentic flavour, and is rich without being heavy. I may have been over-generous with the chilli though. Our chilli powder is very hot.
Butter Chicken Soup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large, boneless chicken breast (or equivalent weight of boneless thigh meat) marinated
1 Tbsp butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Can tomatoes, chopped without losing the juice
3 Cups chicken stock
1/4 C basmati rice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp plain flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup cream
Natural yoghurt and fresh coriander to garnish
Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Cut the meat into small pieces or slice thinly and mix into the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the soup, melt the butter in a medium suacepan and add marinated chicken and chopped onion. Stir constantly until chicken is sealed and the onion is soft. Add the dried spices and ginger, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock.
When simmering pour in the basmati rice, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix together the tomato paste and flour and whisk this, a little at a time, into the soup. Add the brown sugar and cream, and season to taste. Serve in soup bowls with a dollop of natural yoghurt and some chopped fresh coriander. Provide torn-up naan bread for dunking.