Friday, December 17, 2010

Chicken Korma - curry my children will eat!

I cooked Jamie Oliver's Chicken Korma tonight, from his Food Revolution book, amazingly it was a hit with the whole family - 2 and 4 year olds included! And it was on the table in 30 minutes from start to end.

I use a Patak's Korma Paste which is very mild and I skipped the chilli, although you could remove your kids portion at the end and add it then. It was still very flavoursome.

I added sweet potato, mushrooms and zucchini to the curry so I didn't have to do vegies on the side. The kids had frozen peas and corn added to theirs (their staple vegetables - I hope they contain every vitamin children need!).

Chicken Korma
This is the full Jamie Oliver recipe, paraphrased. To simplify, you could easily leave out the ginger, almonds, coconut... But I recommend trying the full version once, as the flavour and texture are great! Also add whatever vegies you have on hand, or serve steamed alongside.

800g chicken thigh fillets (or breasts, but I prefer thighs), chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 green chilli (optional), finely chopped
4cm ginger, grated
small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked and stems finely chopped
400g tin chick peas, drained
vegetable oil
20g butter
1/2 c. Korma curry paste (Patak's is good)
400ml can of coconut milk
small handful of sliced/flaked almonds
2 tbsp desicatted coconut
To Serverice
natural yogurt

Heat a frypan or casserole pan on a high heat and add a lug of oil. Fry the chicken till just golden. Set aside. If using breast, skip this stage.

Add the onions, chilli, ginger, and cilantro stalks with the butter. Cook for around 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and fry for 2 more minutes until aromatic. Add coconut milk, half your sliced almonds, the drained chick peas, coconut, the chicken and half a tin of water.

Simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes with the lid on. If too dry add more water. If too runny, remove the lid and boil to thicken.

To serve
Serve with rice. add a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt dolloped on top, and sprinkle over the rest of the sliced almonds. finish by scattering over the coriander leaves, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Slow Cooker Variation
You could easily follow the recipe up till after the korma paste is fried, then throw the lot in a slow cooker for a couple of hours, not too long though as is doesn't need much cooking.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken followed by Toffee Oranges

We had a family of 4 over for dinner and I cooked teriyaki chicken followed by toffee oranges.
The oranges were so good there was bowl licking going on! They really are delicious, I used to make them years ago and don't know how I forgot about them. You just pour hot toffee over orange slices and it dissolves to make a yummy sauce leaving behind some crispy toffee. This dish is also partly an excuse to eat King Island Creamy Indulgent Yogurt!

My Mum did a Japanese cooking course in the early 1990s and my whole family are still using the recipes. This teriyaki chicken is fantastic, it tastes like what you get in the restaurants and nothing like what comes out of a bottle.

You need mirin and sake for this recipe. These are both Japanese alcoholic beverages made from rice (though mirin is never drunk and is only used in cooking). Mirin is stronger and sweeter than sake. Sake can be used as a substitute for mirin (with an added pinch of sugar), and vice versa. If you cannot get a hold of either, you can use sweet sherry or Chinese shiaoxing wine or dry white wine at a stretch.

Mirin is easy to buy, they sell it at Harris Farm among other places. Sake is a bit harder to get, Essential Ingredient sell it although it is much cheaper at any asian supermarket in a city. If you are not a regular Japanese cook for the first time try and get some mirin and use it to replace the sake.

Teriyaki Chicken
serves 4
750g chicken thigh fillets, or steak scotch fillet - or enough to feed your family
1/4 chinese cabbage, sliced - enough to cover a plate
¼ C soy sauce
¼ C sake
¼ C mirin
1 tbsp sugar

Place the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and reduce by about one third.

Heat a frypan and lightly grease with oil. Add the meat and pan fry on both sides; quickly for the beef, longer for the chicken. Add the teriyaki sauce, it will bubble up. Continue to cook and turn the meat once or twice to coat with sauce as it continues to reduce, until thick and sticky. If you want your steak rare, keep an eye on it, take it out when done and keep the sauce bubbling if not thickened.

Slice the meat into fingers and place on chinese cabbage on a serving plate and pour the sauce over.

Toffee Oranges
You could serve this with any number of things besides yogurt - cream, icecream, panna cotta, cake...
serves 4-6
4 oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/2 - 1 cm thick slices
350g caster sugar
1/2 C water
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
3 tbsp liqueur - whiskey, drambuie, grand marnier... (optional)
vanilla yogurt to serve - King Island is my favourite

Place orange slices in a shallow dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoons of the liqueur.

Place the sugar, water, cinnamon, star anise and 2 tablespoons of the liqueur in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes until golden WITHOUT STIRRING, brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals.

Immediately pour the caramel over the oranges and set aside for 2 hours, by which time some of the caramel with have liquified to make a sauce, leaving some shards of toffee.

Serve with vanilla yogurt or anything else that takes your fancy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chilli con Carne in the SC followed by Chocolate, Raspberry, Meringue Semi-freddo

Last night I had 5 lovely people over for dinner. The menu was Chilli con Carne served with corn chips, avocado and lots of sour cream. Followed by dessert of semi-freddo (a soft icecream, literally translates as half-frozen) with chocolate, raspberries and meringues - we all had seconds!

Yesterday was a work day, so I nicked home at lunch and put dinner on in the slow cooker; an enormous pot of Chilli con Carne - I filled my 6.5L slow cooker pot! Its not traditional but I like to include vegetables in the chilli, because who really wants to eat them on the side, except avocado of course, they cook down and you dont notice them. I have given you a recipe for half of what I cooked because that is well and truly enough for a family. But you can do what I did and cook double, feed 7 adults and 2 children and still have dinner for another night in the freezer. My kids love this without the chilli, particularly because they get to have chips for dinner!

When I got home from work I quickly whipped up the semi-freddo. I got it in the freezer at about 6pm and it was perfectly almost frozen at 8:30 when we wanted to eat it. If you prepare it earlier in the day, just put it in the fridge to soften awhile before you want to eat.

Chilli con Carne with Hidden Vegetables

I have given instructions for the slow cooker and the stove top. This reheats well and freezes well - a versatile meal as the accompaniments are easy!

1 tbsp olive oil
800g beef mince

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch ground cardamom
1 red capsicum, seeded and finely diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 sweet potato, diced
600g canned chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cocoa
400g canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup water (if cooking on the stove)
To serve
corn chips
cheese, grated
avocado, mushed
sour cream
jalapenos in a jar
corn on the cob is nice if you want more vegies

Heat half the oil in a large frypan and break up half or all of the mince beef into the pan, keep stirring it and breaking it apart as the meat browns, I use two wooden spatulas at once to do this. Depending how big your frypan is, it is probably easier to do the mince in two batches. When just browned but not all cooked, scrape into the slow cooker or onto a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the frypan and fry the onion and garlic until it begins to soften. Add the coriander, cumin, and crushed cardamom pods and stir well. You can add the chilli now, not at all or at the end after you have taken out the childrens serves. Add the capsicum, zucchini and carrot and cook until softened.

Slow Cooker
Add the vegie mix to the slow cooker. Add the sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste, kidney beans and cocoa stirring to make a rich red sauce. Turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4.

If you don't have a really big frypan with high sides you will need to change to a bigger pot now. Add the beef back into the vegies. Add the sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste, kidney beans, cocoa and water stirring to make a rich red sauce. Simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. At this point you can cool and freeze the chilli, or just keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve
Put the chips in a flat oven proof dish and sprinkle with cheese and jalapenos (or just on half to keep everyone happy) and cook in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Put everything on the table and let everyone help themselves!

Chocolate, Raspberry and Meringue Semi-freddo
This recipe is inspired from one by Jamie Oliver. You can really add any flavourings you like - use your imagination. The meringues give it a really great texture!
Serves 6f

(sorry I forgot to take a picture before we devoured it!)
5 eggs

2 tbsp sugar
500 ml cream
100g chocolate, grated OR 1 lg packet Maltesers, bashed until broken
3 handfuls meringues, broken into large pieces
2 handfuls raspberries, fresh or frozen, chopped

Separate the eggs. Whisk the whites until they form very stiff peaks Whisk the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy.

In another bowl, whip the cream until soft. Now add the chocolate/Maltesers, meringues, raspberries, egg whites and yolks to the cream. Gently fold in until everything is mixed together. Put it into a flattish dish or container and freeze for about 2 hours - by this time it will be semi-frozen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pulled pork on bread rolls

I made the pulled pork from this post, back in September again. I did it exactly the same with great results.

Actually that is not true, I was getting it ready the night before and my Mum rang half way through. So of course I multi-tasked.... I was sprinkling paprika all over the meat when I smelt something funny and realised I had the curry powder tin in my hand - OOPS! For the record, curry powder washes off meat quite easily. I cut the skin off the meat, sprinkled with the spices, put in a freezer bag, poured a bit of sauce over to marinate and left in the fridge overnight, with the rest of the sauce in a jug. The next morning all I had to do was pour it all in the slow cooker and turn on.

This time I served it American style on fresh bread rolls with avocado, mayo, tomato and lettuce. The meat from the sauce soaked into the bread - yum! And I remembered to take a photo. The kids thought this was very funny and made me take a photo of their dinner too but I won't share those ones with you, not a pretty site, my 2 year old loves the meat!