Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Turkish Minced Lamb Casserole

Last night I wanted to cook something with Oliver's favourite vegetable - eggplant (aubergine). He loves it and I must admit I enjoy it's somewhat nutty flavour and texture also. With Alexandria still away at camp it was the perfect opportunity as it is definitely not one of her favourite vegetables.

This dish was a little time consuming in preparation but saying that it was definitely worth the effort. The combination of the lamb, cinnamon, allspice and sultanas was savoury and sweet - very inticing and this with the layers of vegetables gave the dish a Middle Eastern flavour.

Turkish Minced Lamb Casserole
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Australia)

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 9

50 grams pine nuts 500 grams lamb mince
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
50 grams sultanas
300mls beef stock (made with stock powder)
cooking spray
2 small eggplants, thinly sliced
4 small zucchini, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cornflour combined with 2 tablespoons water
200 grams low fat plain yoghurt
250 grams low fat ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Heat a large non stick frying pan over medium heat. Add pinenuts and cook for 1 minute, shaking the pan until browned. Remove from heat and cool.

Dry fry mince in frying pan for 4 - 5 minutes, or until browned, breaking up the lumps. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add sultanas, cinnamon, allspice and stock. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile spray another non stick pan with oil and cook eggplant and zucchini seperately for 4 - 5 minutes, or until softened. Add blended cornflour to mince mixture and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and stir through the pinenuts.

Spoon half the mince mixture into a deep oven proof dish. Layer eggplant on top. Spoon over remaining mince mixture. Arrange zucchini and tomoatoes on top in an overlapping layer.

Place yoghurt, ricotta and egg in a food processor and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and tomatoes, spreading evenly to cover. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until set and golden.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creamy Mushroom and Mustard Sauce

It's no secret we eat quite a lot of steak especially chargrilled on the weber but the issue we face is always indulging in our favourite sauces, Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce and Creamy Peppercorn Sauce, all the time. So much so it has got to the point that last night we actually wanted something totally different.

I fancied mushrooms while Noel said he wouldn't mind something with mustard. The two ingredients could easily be put together and no doubt would taste nice. A quick scour of the cookbooks didn't produce a recipe so off I went on my own little tangent and dare I say the outcome was very nice.

A tangy creamy mushroom sauce with a hint of brandy and garlic..... mmmmm and yes it complimented our perfectly cooked steaks well.

Creamy Mushroom and Mustard Sauce

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 3

cooking spray
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/3 cup brandy
2 tablespoons seeded mustard
1 cup water
2 teaspoons beef stock
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons light thickened cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water extra

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and add mushrooms and garlic. Cook over a medium heat until mushrooms are tender and slightly browning.

Add brandy and mustard, cook stirring for 1 minute.

Combine water and beef stock together, mix well. Add to pan, stirring for a further 2 minutes bringing to the boil.

Reduce heat to low, add cream and stir to combine. Mix together the cornflour and additional water together to make a paste. Stir through sauce until well combine and sauce slightly thickens.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Portuguese Grilled Chicken

I know many of you visit us and are probably wondering what is happening with A Dash Of Flavour. We have been very very busy so once again I apologize for the lack of updates on this blog - please be assured we are not abandoning A Dash Of Flavour as this is a passion of ours we just need to work out how to become more time savvy.

Takeaway!! A downfall when one is time poor is the option of getting takeaway. Thankfully we enjoy food too much to resort to McDonalds or KFC, etc but when it comes to the choice of chinese, indian there is some temptation for at least they are "better" options than mass produced fast food. But another favourite of ours is Nandos - mainly just the chicken not the sides. So the chance to recreate this at home arrived this weekend and I must say this may be our answer to avoiding one temptation of take away.

We love cooking half chickens on the weber especially marinated and over the coals. They have such a flavour - the taste of the chargrill and then this marinade, which I must say kept the chicken moist and it was full of fresh flavour from the lemon juice and the fresh coriander.

Last night we used small chickens cut in half but I am sure this recipe would work well with chicken peices or even fillets. Propoints wise this is a high value dinner due to the skin being on the whole chicken which you could remove to reduce points.

Overall a delicious easy dish full of flavour and much cheaper than Nandos.

Portuguese Grilled Chicken

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 14

2 small chickens, cut in half
8 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
2 bay leaves
1 - 2 tablespoon paprika (depending on taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Clean chicken halves and pat dry. Place in a large snap lock bag or deep casserole dish.

In a jug combine remaining ingredients and mix well.

Cover the chicken with marinade ensuring all chicken in coated. Seal bag or cover dish with plastic wrap. Allow to marinade for 1 hour or overnight if time permits.

Light weber or heat bbq grill. Cook for 5 - 8 minutes each side ensuring that chicken is cooked through.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)