Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oysters Kilpatrick

At the moment we are getting some nice oysters here in Melbourne from across the Tasman and they are also at a good price. Needless to say with them being on an "extra" special the other day and Noel's birthday, we purchase not just one dozen but two!!


Personally I prefer to eat them cold, especially Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing, but my mam likes them cooked. So deciding to do one dozen the way I like them and for the first time I made Oysters Kilpatrick with the other dozen. I must say very very easy to put to together and cook.


I actually have to say that the easiest way I have found to cook or even prepare oysters for topping them is to use a pattycake tin - this allows me to individually stand the oysters the best I can considering the shells are all shapes and sizes. It's not the prettiest way to serve them mind you but it gets the job done!!



Oysters Kilpatrick

Makes 12
Points per serve: 0.5

1 dozen oysters
1 rasher of bacon, fat trimmed
1 tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce


Clean and rinse oysters. (I find it easier to remove them completely from the shells, rinse and drain in a sieve and then return them to their shells.)


Finely dice bacon rasher and sprinkle evenly over the oysters. Top with the Worchestershire sauce again dividing evenly amongst the oysters.


Place under a hot grill for approximately 5 minutes.


Serve immediately.


Here is my mam enjoy the oyster feast along with a glass of wine!!



Chicken Provencale

Last night I wanted to make something nice and suited to the cold weather we are starting to experience here in Melbourne. Winter is finally setting in so as you know so is the comfort food. The nice Warm dinners whether they be casseroles or soups or roasts.... yum!


This is an easy chicken dish which combines ingredients that Provence is famous for. It is full of olives, tomatoes and capsicum - typical Medditerranean flavours. Serve with mashed potatoes or plain pasta as these are great to mop up the juices just as nice crusty bread would.... what better for a cold winter's evening?



Chicken Provencale

Serves: 8
Points per serve: 7

1 red capsicum, quartered and deseeded
1 yellow capsicum, quartered and deseeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teapsoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 chicken chops, excess fat trimmed
2 brown onions, halved and cut into wedges
125ml (1/2cup) white wine
1 x 660 ml bottle passata (tomato pasta sauce)
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme
80 grams (1/2cup) pitted black olives


Place capsicum, skin side up, under a preheated grill cooking for 8 - 10 minutes or until skin is charred and blistered. Transfer to a plastic bag, seal and set aside for 10 minutes. (This will help to lift the skin off the capsicum). After 10 minutes remove the skin from the capsicum and cut the flesh into thick strips.

Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Season the chicken chops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add 4 peices of chicken at a time and cook for 3 - 4 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to large casserole dish and continue with remaining 4 peices of chicken.

To the same frying pan add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions are golden. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. Add the capsicum, passata, stock and thyme.

Pour sauce over the chicken and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the olives and serve.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nice Chicken

Okay so I haven't posted for a little while now and while I don't want you to think that we haven't been eating (mind you that might just do my waistline some good) we haven't been cooking anything special or out of the normal! Noel has actually been on kitchen duty this week (you all know by now that he's cooking is great too) as he has been on holidays with the kids. We have been really busy and so we even had a help yourself night and a UFO night! No we were not sitting on the roof watching for visitors from another planet - UFO meaning Unlabelled Frozen Object. One finds these in the depths of the freezer not amongst the stars!!
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Another reason for the absence (no, there hasn't been another injury in the house) is that I wasn't a happy camper this last week or so as my camera broke!! I tried using the camera on my Nokia E71 mobile but that wasn't any good either. It was okay but not good enough I thought so off Noel and I went to buy a new camera on Saturday... nothing flash but enough for what I, I mean 'we' require and it's quite good. Its a Samsung ES15, have a look here.
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Okay so that's the story and now onto last nights dinner.... which Noel did cook (as I spent most of the day up the football club). Geez he's good to me......
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Okay so I know it's a strange name and not very descriptive except for the fact that it is indeed 'nice' chicken and that's the only name we have known this dish as even when I was a young child and my Mam was cooking it. My Mam is a fantastic cook as was my dad!
3It originated as a pork dish in a chinese cookbook owned by my mam. The original recipe is called Spicy Shredded Pork. She cooked it once with chicken and I don't think the recipe has been the same since. There has of course been a couple of alterations to the original recipe and it was quickly named 'Nice Chicken' by all of our family.
6But this is the way it gets cooked now by Noel and myself. It even gets the tick of approval from Mam so it must be okay. In fact, Mam arrives on Wednesday and when she reads this blog she will be very dissappointed that we cooked before she got here!
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Nice Chicken
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Serves: 4
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2 eggs
60 grams cornflour
500g chicken breast, skin removed and diced
oil for deep frying
250 grams mushrooms, sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
1 x 225 gram can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce salt reduced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
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In a bowl mix eggs and cornflour together into a smoot batter. Add chicken to the bowl and mix to combine.
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Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan. Cook chicken in batches until almost golden but not fully cooked. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Allow oil to cool before removing from wok reserving 1 tablespoon.
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Heat remaining oil in wok or frying pan. Add mushrooms and chicken to the wok and stirfry for 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts and spring onions, stir fry for another 1 - 2 minutes. Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Add combined sauce to wok and toss for another 2 minutes or until chicken is well coated with sauce. Serve immediately.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Biscuits

My children love helping to make these Easter Egg Biscuits. There is actually no baking involved as we buy premade Arrowroot biscuits. These biscuits are plain flavoured and oval shaped, therefore much resembling an egg! Not only is the decorating left to the imagination of the individual, but they are a novel gift to give at Easter instead of shop bought Easter Eggs.


Easter Egg Biscuits

Makes: 64

2 packets Arrowroot biscuits (or any oval shaped plain biscuit)
1 x 250 gram block of white cooking chocolate
1 x 250 gram block of milk cooking chocolate
1 x 250 gram block of dark cooking chocolate
sprinkles and decorations of your choice

Place biscuits on baking racks.

In a bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water, melt each chocolate one at a time. Once melted cover each biscuit with chocolate using a spatula. Continue with other chocolates.

Sprinkle and decorate each biscuit as you wish. Allow the chocolate to set before serving (although my kids like eating the biscuits while the chocolate is still runny!!)

From all of us at
the House of Murray
we hope you all have
a very Happy Easter......
These are our Easter gifts to our family and friends this year.... definately a little bit of love in each bag!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing

I have only started eating oysters in the last couple of years. Prior to that I couldn't even stomach the thought due to their looks and texture - let's face it they are not the prettiest thing in the food chain!!
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Having only tried eating oysters a few of the traditional ways, such as Kilpatrick, Mornay or Oysters Natural and being somewhat satisfied with them of course we naturally had to start experimenting with flavours. Some recipes came from cookbooks, some googled and some just made up, like this one.
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A very Asian influence but such a nice burst of flavour, this recipe is very simple especially since the oysters are not cooked and served chilled.
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Oysters with Vietnamese Dressing
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Serves: 12
Points per serve: 0.5pts
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1 dozen oysters
2 tablespoons Kecap Manis (Indonesian Soy Sauce)
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
juice of 1/2 large lime (approx 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 spring onion finely sliced
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Clean and rinse oysters, refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Mix all ingredients except for the oysters in a small bowl or jug and refrigerate until ready to serve oysters.
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Before serving, divide dressing evening between oysters in their shells. Serve immediatey.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chille Con Carne

Finally we had the dish that has been on my mind for 2 weeks now. I have been really craving a good bowl full of Chilli Con Carne so tonight was the night. Much to my delight it cured my craving for something Tex Mex.
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This recipe definately had the right taste that I wanted in this comfort food and to relief of my children's tastebuds it's actually not that hot in taste - if you wanted to add more chilli powder in the beginning I am sure you could do so if you wish. I prefer to have the option of chilli flakes and jalapeno peppers on the table for the individual to add as desired.
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Of course to ensure my cravings were completely satisfied I made a huge pot full, enough to freeze into individual meals for lunch or a quick dinner.
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Chille Con Carne
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Serves: 12
Points per serve: 6pts

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cooking oil spray
1.2kgs gravy beef or casserole steak, fat trimmed and diced
2 large brown onions
4 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 packet (15g) taco seasoning
1 large green capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 large red capsicum, deseeded and diced
5 x 425 gram cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
2 x 425 gram can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups cooked rice, to serve
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Preheat oven to 160 deg C (if using). This dish is lovely cooked in a slow cooker also.
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Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add beef in batches. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate. If using a slow cooker put into dish. Continue with remaining beef until all cooked.
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Add onion, garlic and spices to the frying pan and stir until fragrant approximately 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, capsicum and water until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
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Pour into slow cooker, if using. Mix through the red kidney beans and cook on high for 3 - 5 hours or on slow 7 - 8 hours.
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Otherwise return beef to frying pan and heat. Pour into large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid. Stir in kidney beans and bake in the oven for 3 - 4 hours or until beef is tender.
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Serve with steamed rice and other condiment you like, such as sour cream, grated tasty cheese or even jalapeno peppers if you want some extra heat!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

I have already posted a recipe for Cauliflower Au Gratin (Cauliflower Cheese as it's known in our house) and thought I would just share another variation with you that is also a hit at our house.
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I actually like adding broccoli to the Cauliflower Au Gratin for several reasons. Firstly it adds another vegetable to the plate, which is always a bonus! I am sure all you parents would agree with me on that plus. Secondly, I find the green and white colour combination appealing not to mention that both vegetables compliment each other. And thirdly, my personal reason, is that the broccoli stays warm while you are eating it!! I am not a fan of broccoli served by itself on the plate as it goes cold quite quickly.
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As with the Cauliflower Au Gratin, this is a fairly easy recipe unless you have trouble with the cheese sauce. If the sauce is lumpy, too runny, or too starchy the recipe just doesn't come together. So just take a little extra effort and time while making the sauce to ensure you get the correct result.
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Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin
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Serves 8
Points per serve: 2.5
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cooking spray
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
45g butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 cups skim milk
60g grated tasty/cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
ground white pepper
salt
1 slice white bread, made into fine breadcrumbs
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Preheat oven to 180 deg C..Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray..
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Cut the cauliflower into medium, even sized florets. Place in a large microwave proof dish, add a little water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 - 8 minutes or until florets are beginning to become almost tender. Remove from water and arrange in casserole dish so all florets are in a single layer. Repeat with the broccoli and when placing in the casserole dish mix amongst the cauliflower.
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Make cheese sauce by placing the butter in a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine into a roux for approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth. Place over a medium heat, still constantly stirring add dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir until mixture starts the thicken. Remove from heat and stir in 30g of the cheese. Pour cheese sauce over the broccoli and cauliflower florets evenly.
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Combine breadcrumbs and remainder of cheese. Sprinkle over the broccoli and cauliflower and spray top evenly with cooking spray.
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Place in oven and cook for 30 - 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling. Serve immediately.

Honey, Mustard and Whiskey Glazed Pork Cutlets

I set about trying something different with Pork Cutlets as I have really over done the Sticky Pork Cutlets recipe and needed to cooked something different for fear of the family revolting at the dinner table.
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So several cookbooks later and using my new found friend, Google, I came across a recipe which took my eye. After reading and reading, a few ingredient swaps here and there, I came up with Honey, Mustard and Whiskey Glazed Pork Cutlets.
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Honey, Mustard and Whiskey Glazed Pork Cutlets
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Serves: 6
Points per serve: 5
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6 trim pork loin cutlets
4 tablespoons Jack Daniels or other Tennessee whiskey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teapsoons finely grated orange rind
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
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Place pork in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Combine whiskey, oil, mustard, honey, thyme, orange rind and orange juice in a bowl. Pour over pork. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavours to develop or longer if time permits.
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Remove pork from the marinade but reserve marinade. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
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Preheat a barbecue or chargrill on high. Add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
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Divide the pork among serving plates. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crumbed Calamari

Since starting on my journey of blogging in the foodie world I have read about so many different ingredients. Some are readily available here in Australia, some take a little searching for and others are just not here so it has become a bit of a mission for me to locate them (or something remotely similar) all so I can try recipes from other Foodies.
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Finally I have found the much talked about Panko Breadcrumbs in our local supermarket and strangely felt a little excited buying them. Can you actually imagine getting excited over breadcrumbs? Well I can now!!
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Panko Breadcrumbs are Japanese and are so crunchy when cooked making the eating a wonderful experience. The texture of the Panko is more delicate than the run of the mill breadcrumbs and definately much better however I don't think you should throw away the other breadcrumbs as I feel that you couldn't use Panko to coat everything.
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So since I found the breadcrumbs I thought I had better try them and what a coincidence I just happened to have some calamari on hand....
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Crumbed Calamari
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Serves: 4
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500g calamari tube, washed, dried and sliced into rings
2 tbs plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup oil, for shallow frying
lemon wedges, for garnish
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Ensure calamari is cleaned and dried before starting. Place the egg into a medium sized bowl and the Panko Breadcrumbs into a seperate medium sized bowl.
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In a plastic bag add the calamari rings and the flour, shaking until all the calamari is dusted with the flour.
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Dip each ring into the egg and then toss into the Panko Breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray and continue with remainding rings. Lay remaining rings in a single layer, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I find this helps the breadcrumbs to stay on the food while frying).
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Heat oil in a frying pan (or deep frying if you prefer to use). Cook the calamari rings in batches for around 3 - 4 minutes turning over once, draining on paper towel once cooked.
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Serve with lemon wedges and tartare sauce, or even Garlic and Spring Onion Mayonnaise or Seafood Cocktail Sauce.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Barbecue Chilli and Honey Lamb

This is a recipe that I must say I have wanted to try ever since I saw it's picture in a Weight Watchers Cookbook many moons ago, I only bought the cookbook in 2002. I told you it was many moons ago!!
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I must say that my favourite meat is lamb, not only for the taste but for it's versatility and I love experimenting with different marinades, flavours, etc, and trying different ways of cooking with it. Obviously no-one can beat a lamb roast (mmmm) but lets face it you cannot eat a roast everyday! Saying that I am sure that there are actually people who cook - I would have to say personally I am border line.... a roast is surely very very tempting!
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Somewhat an Asian inspired marinade although it uses some very common ingredients, it was very easy to prepare and the aroma that comes from the barbecue/grill once the meat is in contact with the heat is fantastic.
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Barbecue Chilli and Honey Lamb
Source: WW Recipe Collection 2002
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Serves: 4
Points per serve: 3.5
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4 x 125g lean lamb steaks
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon seeded or wholegrain mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed chillies or sambal oelek
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
coriander, chopped for garnish if desired

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Place lamb steaks in a shallow dish in a single layer. Combine all remainding ingredients in a jug and mix well. Rub the marinade intgo the lamb and refrigerate for 2 hours.
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Barbecue or grill the lamb on both sides until tender. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 2 - 3 minutes prior to serving. Sprinkle with chopped coriander for garnish if desired.
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As you can see we enjoyed some fresh egg noodles and some stir fry vegetables with the lamb. I should have taken a close up of the lamb but we were too busy eating it!! I would say that this marinade would also be wonderful on chicken and I will be trying that in the near future.

Chilli, Ginger and Garlic Scallops (Scallops ala Noel)

Although Noel is definately the master chef of this creation I have the pleasure of being privileged to blog about it!! And yes I feel very special indeed.
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This dish is intense with flavour but enough to not overpower the delicateness of the scallops. I have been told to also say that it's the use of fresh ginger, garlic and chillies that make the dish and you would not get the same flavour from the jar variety of each ingredient. And as usual with most asian stir fry dishes ensure that you have all of your ingredients prepared so you are ready to "Wok and Roll"!!

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Chilli, Ginger and Garlic Scallops
Recipe Source: Noel
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Serves: 2
Points per serve: 3
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500g scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red birdseye chillies, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 thumbsize peice of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon water
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Clean and rinse scallops. Individually pat dry scallops on paper towell (especially if using frozen scallops as this helps eliminate any extra water).
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Add oil to a wok and heat over high heat. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic. Stirfry for 1 minute. Add spring onions, red capsicum and broccoli. Stirfry for 2 - 3 minutes.
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To the vegetable mixture add scallops and toss over high heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until scallops are turning whiter. Add the teriyaki sauce and combine cornflour and water. Continue to stirfry until sauce thickens. Serve immediately.