Friday, September 22, 2017

Pork Pad See Ew - หมูทอดดูเอล

Thank God for Friday night Fake-away.... it doesn't get better than this dish nor can it get any easier to create this Thai style noodle dish at home.
Firstly let me tell you that this meal is such an easy one to prepare, cook and put on the table in under 30 minutes or so and your family will thank you for an amazing dish that actually took you minimal effort.  In fact I am pretty certain that they will think that you organized Thai Take Away.
Pad See Ew is a standard lunch fare among Thais and is very popular dish in Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. The soft, chewy rice noodles pan fried with pork, Chinese broccoli and a soy sauce mix, it is easy to understand why it is a comfort food for many.

The simple ingredients in this dish are readily available combined make for a really light noodle dish that is refreshing but yet very filling.  Using pork mince was quick and easy and actually not as stodgy as larger meat pieces.  The tartness of the fresh lime juice combined with the saltiness of the fish sauce and the sweetness of the kecap manis kept the dish fresh and vibrant.

I really urge you to give your family the opportunity to try this meal - you won't regret it.

Pork Pad See Ew - หมูทอดดูเอล
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Weeknight One Pot Cookbook)

Serves: 4
SmartPoints per serve: 11

200 grams dry rice noodles, think
1 tablespoons canola oil
500 grams lean pork mince
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
1 whole fresh red chilli, thinly sliced
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1 bunches gai lan (Chinese broccoli), coarsely chopped
2 individual green shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons lime juice
2 cup bean sprouts
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cups fresh coriander
1 medium fresh lime, wedges
chilli flakes, if desired

Prepare noodles following packet instructions or until just tender. Rinse under cold water. Drain.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil and heat for 20 seconds. Stir-fry mince, garlic, ginger and chilli, breaking up lumps, for 7–8 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Reheat wok over high heat. Stir-fry egg for 1 minute or until just set.
Add gai lan and shallots and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add mince mixture, kecap manis, fish sauce, juice, sprouts, carrots and noodles and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through.
Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander and serve with lime wedges.  If desired, sprinkle with chilli flakes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti Boscaiola

Pasta I think is one of the Universal words which translates instantly to "comfort food" and never ceases to please anyone in any given mood or frame of mind.  No matter who you are, where you come from and what your nationality I can honestly say that I have never ever met anyone that does not like pasta.
In our house, it goes without saying that it is a favourite - whether it's served with a thick meat sauce or a creamier delicate sauce, no matter what shape or size it comes in, if it's layers upon layers, etc.  I could go on but which ever way it's served here its always a hit.  Tonight was no exception. 
I have actually been unwell for a wee bit with this dreaded flu that is sweeping Australia.  Many people are in hospital and some have actually lost their lives due to the deadly strain.  Thankfully I was administered some very strong antibiotics, steroids and some liquid codeine as soon as I felt bad however I was bed ridden for nearly four days.  I am still battling a horrid cough, but glad to say I feel there is an end to it coming closer.  While I am still weak and aching I actually returned to work today (thankfully as being bed ridden was doing my head in) and for the first time since last Thursday I cooked dinner.  Anyways enough about me. 
Tonight's dinner, Creamy Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti Boscaiola is based on one of our family favourites, Penne Boscaiola.  It is definitely the perfect comfort meal – creamy, jam packed with vegetables, chicken and bacon laced with hint of cheesy sweet chilli…. mmmmm!!  It's not a traditional Italian style pasta using Asian sweet chilli sauce but it works and I would urge you to try it. 

A perfect week night wonder as it’s very easy and quick to prepare and cook not to mention devoured almost instantly.

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti Boscaiola
(Recipe adapted from WW Heavenly D’Lites Cookbook)

Serves: 6
375 grams spaghetti
cooking spray
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 chicken fillets, fat trimmed and thinly sliced
150 grams middle bacon, fat trimmed
1 red capsicum, sliced
150 grams button mushrooms, sliced
375 ml can Carnation Light and Creamy Evaporated Skim Milk
 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
150 grams baby spinach leaves
freshly ground black pepper
80 grams finely grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in pan of boiling water following packet instructions until just tender.  Drain.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray.  Cook the chicken, stirring, until browned. Remove to a plate lined with absorbent paper.

In the same pan cook the onions, garlic and bacon until onion is soft.  Return chicken to the pan. 

Add capsicum and mushroom and cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes until capsicum begins to soften. 

Add the milk and chilli sauce to the pan.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

Stir through the pasta, spinach and half the parmesan cheese until mix through well and spinach just wilted.

Serve with remaining parmesan cheese.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Chicken Jalfrezi

Curry is always a regular on our menu. I think this all stems back to when my mother was pregnant with me, where the regular haunt for dinner with my father was a Chinese Restaurant called Jim Hongs.  My mam's meal of choice was curry throughout her pregnancy and then surprisingly (or not) during both my pregnancies my husband had to stop and pick up a Beef Vindaloo on a weekly basis. It will be very interesting if this somewhat traditional craving gets passed on the my next generation.
Both the kids have been raised eating foods full of spices and herbs - more importantly they have eaten foods that have rarely come from packet mixes or premixed jars.  They do not understand the importance of this, hopefully one day they will.
As you all may have guessed by now if I can make something from scratch I will definitely give it a go.  Sometimes it doesn't taste the same or even look the same but seriously it's all about the experience and the copious amounts of laughter within the House of Murray when a "failure of sorts" occurs.  Normally it's edible but hey there have also been times that it hasn't been.  Maybe I should do a post on the things that go wrong just so you can all cash in on the enjoyment as well.  That's a thought for another time though.
My unemployment period is coming to an end as I have secured a role with another large company that is within the construction industry. Somewhat I am saddened by this but on the other hand I am really looking forward to the new challenge ahead that will come with the new role but it will mean back to cooking quick mid week wonders for week night dinners and sticking to the menu  planner. 
For my birthday I was given a book called The Curry Kitchen from my sister in law and to be honest it's a book that I haven't but down yet.  It's got sticky notes all through it for all the different curries I want to try cooking.  The really exciting thing about this cookbook is that the majority of curries actually are made from scratch.
Jalfrezi is always on Indian menus and is probably one of the quickest Indian curries to make.  It typically involves frying pieces of unmarinated meat, fish or vegetables in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce.  A traditional Jalfrezi can range in heat from medium to very hot especially for those recipes that use fresh chillies.  This recipe wasn't overly hot in taste as I did tone down the amount of chilli I used.
With it's tomato base you could really taste the cumin and coriander which surprisingly is added later in the cooking process.   Along with some butter or ghee if you have it available which gave it a little creaminess.    We served this simple yet super quick curry with plain steamed rice, Mint Raita and freshly cooked poppadum's.

 Chicken Jalfrezi
(Recipe adapted from The Curry Kitchen Cookbook)
Serves: 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 kilogram chicken breast fillets, diced
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 - 1 teaspoons chilli powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
2 x 400 grams can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 2 minutes or until they start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add the chicken, turmeric, chilli and salt.  Fry gently, turning the chicken often and ensuring that the onion mix does not stick to the pan.
Pout in the tomatoes, stir and simmer, covered, over a medium heat for 20 minutes.  Uncover, and simmer for another 10 minutes and let the liquid evaporate to the desired thickness and consistency.
Add the butter or ghee, cumin, coriander, ginger and half the coriander leaves.  Simmer for another  5 -  7 minutes.
Serve garnished with the remaining coriander leaves.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe).