Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Indonesian Satay Chicken Curry

Well there is no secret that curry is somewhat a staple in the Murray household so when I came across this recipe I had to put it on the menu this week.
One of the highlights of this recipe is that you actually make the base paste yourself rather than using a shop brought jar one.  There is something so much nicer make it from scratch rather than using the premix with all the preservatives and at times, lots of hidden sugar and salt. However, saying this, if you prefer you could use purchased rending curry paste instead of making your own. 
This curry had plenty of flavour and I loved the combination of the spices, the fresh coriander and the lime juice.  It made my taste buds dance.
While it was enjoyed next time I make this dish, which I presume will be soon, I will definitely make some changes,  I would use chicken thigh fillets instead and reduce the amount of stock as I found it had too much liquid and wasn't a thick curry.  I think a lot of water came from the pumpkin.
Indonesian Satay Chicken Curry
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Everyday Wholefood)
Serves: 4
SmartPoints per serve: 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
500 grams lean chicken breast fillets, fat trimmed cut into 3 cm pieces
1/3 cup Indonesian Satay Curry paste (refer recipe below)
2/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup light coconut milk
400 grams pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon wheat-free tamari (Japanese Soy Sauce) or soy sauce
150 grams snow peas
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
lime wedges
Heat oil in a large wok or saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken, stirring for 5 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to a plate.
Cook curry paste, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add stock, coconut milk, pumpkin, lime juice and tamari.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. 
Add chicken and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Add peas and simmer, uncovered until vegetables are tender.  Stir in coriander and serve with lime wedges.
If desired serve with rice adding 4 SmartPoints for 1/2 cup.
 Indonesian Satay Curry Paste
(recipe sourced from Weight Watchers Everyday Wholefood)
Makes: 3/4 cup
Smart Points per tablespoon: 0
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 fresh curry leaves
1/2 red onion
1 lemongrass stalk, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cm piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons water
Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Cook coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and curry leaves, stirring, for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Process spice mixture in a small food processor or blender with onion, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime juice, sambal oelek, peanut butter and water until smooth and combined.
Store curry paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.  It is great for chicken, fish and vegetable curries.
 If using premade Rendang paste the smartpoints value per serve of the curry would be 5.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oven Baked Leek and Prosciutto Risotto with Gummy Shark

I have had it in my head for the last few weeks that I wanted to make a risotto.  Sadly, as Masterchef Australia has labelled risotto the "death" dish of their competition, I have to say every past attempt that this has been my "death" dish also.  Death obviously not from dying but from failing to create the dish as intended.  Determined as usual I decided to give an oven baked version of risotto a try in hope to put all my epic failed attempts of cooking one of our favourite dishes behind me.
There is nothing better than a plate/bowl full of creamy soft rice that is full of flavour especially when it's home cooked.  Risotto, originating in Italy, can be served as an entrée, main or even a dessert and while there are an abundance of traditional recipes its a dish that can be made using what ever ingredients you have available.

As I planned to serve this risotto with some thick gummy shark fillets I wanted I knew that I wanted something that was bold enough to compliment the fish but not overpower it's flavour.  A balanced combination of leek and prosciutto with a hint of tarragon and some sweetness from the corn kernels made this risotto a perfect partner for the tender gummy shark which was laced with a hint of smokiness.

I challenge anyone who is, like me, haunted by past failed attempts to give this oven baked method a try - you won't be disappointed.

Oven Baked Leek and Prosciutto Risotto with Gummy Shark
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Food You'll Love)
Serves: 6
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 leek, finely sliced
80 grams prosciutto, fat trimmed, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
250 grams Arborio rice
150 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
150 grams corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 x 200 gram pieces gummy shark or fish of your choice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
cooking spray
4 tablespoons reduced fata thickened cream

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Heat oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat.  Add leek and prosciutto and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp and leek has softened.  Add garlic and tarragon and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add rice, tomatoes and corn and stir to combine.

Add stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.  Cover and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until rice is just tender.

Meanwhile sprinkle fish with paprika.  Lightly spray a large non stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium high heat.  Cook fish for 4-5 minutes each side or until just cooked through.

Remove risotto from oven and stir in the cream.  Serve fish with risotto.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Italian Sausage and Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

There is nothing quite like a quick late night snack.... we had been busy all week and when it was finally the weekend - and being Saturday night I thought I would treat us with one of our favourite treats... JALAPENO POPPERS!!!
Jalapeno Poppers have become a regular feature in our house.  Both hubby and I love jalapenos and experimenting with different fillings.  There are so many different varieties of these unbelievable tasty morsels - just Google you will be surprised.  I loved the idea of putting sausage and cheese together to give these some meatiness but not take away from the jalapeno itself.
These tasty yet sometimes hot nibbles are just what the doctor ordered.  Tonight we tried filling them with Italian Sausage and creamy cheese.  Very simple ingredients but an abundance of flavour.  The Italian Sausage filled with fennel, garlic and chilli made it easy as I didn't have to add anything else to the mix except for the cream cheese and some grated parmesan.
Trust me these did not last long... didn't even make it to a fancy platter!! OOPS!!

Italian Sausage and Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
(Recipe adapted from A Taste of Home)

Makes: 40
500 grams Italian sausages
cooking spray
250 grams cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
20 large jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook the sausage until no longer pink; drain.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese; fold in sausage.

Line two large baking trays with baking paper. 

Spoon about 1 tablespoonful into each jalapeno half.  Place on baking tray in a single layer.

Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until filling is lightly browned and bubbly.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Prosciutto, Thyme and Brie Pizza

As you all know having fun in the kitchen is one of my greatest pleasures in life.... so it's only natural I love coming up with different pizza toppings when we decide to have homemade pizza for dinner.  Sadly my husband has to deal with my indecision every single time. 
He is bombarded with "Do you think these flavours will taste good? What about putting these two items together?" along with "I just don't know what I want this time?"... he gets so frustrated with me.  The last time it was decided to have pizza he sent me a text early in the morning telling me to start thinking what topping I wanted on my pizza!!!

Tonight I decided to try some very basic ingredients but ones that were bold on flavours.  Prosciutto and Brie both salty on their own but the smoky pork complimented the creaminess of the cheese.  Of course the thyme just laced it perfectly and with the addition of a few vegetables made this one of my favourite pizzas......

Prosciutto, Thyme and Brie Pizza

Serves: 4
One serve of Noel's Pizza Base or pizza base of your choice
cooking spray
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 brown onion, sliced
100 grams button mushrooms, sliced
50 grams thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces
100 grams brie, sliced
3 - 4 springs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
50 grams of fresh rocket leaves

Preheat pizza oven or oven to 220 degrees C.

Spray pizza tray with cooking spray.

Stretch pizza dough on to the pizza tray or place pita bread on the pizza tray.

Spread tomato paste all over the base.

Top with tomato, onion, mushrooms and prosciutto. Place brie evenly over pizza and sprinkle with thyme leaves.

Cook in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and vegetables are cooked through.

Serve topped with fresh rocket.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)


Margherita with Onion and Chilli Pizza

While there is only two of us eating pizza tonight we both like to come up with our own creations and always make two pizzas.
Noel tends to try and keep his toppings basic but I have to say that they are always full of flavour and super yummy.  Adding onion, chilli and oregano to his Margherita put such a different spin on the good old cheese and tomato pizza that everyone loves.
I do have to admit one thing though - my man is getting really good at making pizza bases.

Margherita with Onion and Chilli Pizza

Serves: 4
One serve of Noel's Pizza Base or pizza base of your choice
cooking spray
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 brown onion, sliced
1/2 bunch of fresh basil, leaves removed
8 bambino Bocconcini balls
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat pizza oven or oven to 220 degrees C.

Spray pizza tray with cooking spray.

Stretch pizza dough on to the pizza tray or place pita bread on the pizza tray.

Mix tomato paste with garlic.  Spread tomato paste all over the base.

Top with  onion and basil leaves. Place Bocconcini evenly over pizza and sprinkle with chilli flakes and oregano.l

Cook in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and is cooked through.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sticky Asian Beef Ribs

Slow cooking means a lot of different things to different people.  I guess their biggest bragging right is that this way of cooking provides busy people with easy meals to feed their family.  Sometimes you just throw anything and everything in to the vessel and pray that it tastes nice when you get home from work.  Other times the recipe is made with precision following a recipe. 
This was definitely the later - following a recipe and it's techniques.  Not the easiest of slow cooker dishes, considering it takes several days but well worth the effort.  It pays off and you will not be disappointed.
When it comes to cooking with meat I know that slow cooking will produce meat that is generally melt in your mouth or fall apart on the fork.  These Sticky Beef Ribs were exactly that.  Just lifting off the bone and considering the size of the ribs (the thickness of the meat) every mouthful was so tender and mouth watering,
Flavour wise - Asian infused with elements of sweet, salty and chilli... OMG!!!  I could have eaten plate after plate.

Sticky Asian Beef Ribs

(Recipe adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
Serves: 6 - 8

2 kilos beef short ribs
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
2 cups brown sugar, divided into two
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 star anise
2 large red chilli, sliced
2 cups water
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves
2 large red chilli, extra, sliced
1/2 cup chopped raw peanuts

Mix the soy sauce, 1 cup of the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, garlic, ginger, star anise and chilli in a bowl and then marinate the beef ribs in the marinade for 1 hour. Drain the ribs, reserving the marinade for cooking.

Put the ribs straight into the slow cooker vessel. Mix the marinade with the 2 cups of water and add to the ribs. Cook on low setting for 8 hours.

Once cooked allow the slow cooker vessel to cool. Place in fridge overnight.  The next day, skim the fat off the top and reheat and serve with rice if you don't want to make the glaze.

If you are making the glaze, take 500ml of the liquid to make the glaze and place in a saucepan and heat with the extra cup of brown sugar and rice wine vinegar-taste and add salt if needed. Reduce down to a syrupy glaze. Heat the ribs in about 1 cup of the liquid and then brush with the glaze.
Serve garnished with sliced chilli, coriander and chopped peanuts. 

If desired also serve with steamed rice.

Visit Not Quite Nigella for different slow cooking options.