Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Penne Amatriciana

I was very excited today, cause I had a parcel to pick up from the post office and I knew exactly what it was. A couple of things I have been wanting for ages. After I had bought my kitchen aid food processor the next things on my list were a dutch oven and a cast iron grill pan. I went with chassuer over creuset though, as creuset is twice as expensive and the only difference I can see is the lifetime warranty.

So here are my two latest kitchen additions!

And here is my helper in the kitchen! More like he just lies right in the middle of the kitchen.

So I had as my plan to cook a Penne Amatriciana for dinner and thought what better way to christen my new pot!

I love tomato based pastas and this one is so easy as it doesn't take too long to make the sauce at all and then you just mix all the cooked pasta through it.

First fry up some onion. You can use either brown or red, I had a red onion, so I used it.

Then add the garlic and the bacon (you can use either bacon or pancetta here)

Once the bacon has fried for a bit add the tomato paste and 2 tins of tomato and some chilli flakes

These are my favourite tins of tomatoes to use at the moment. They are from the wonderful place called aldi.

Then you simmer it for as long as you like. I like to add in about a tablespoon of sugar here too and some salt and pepper to taste, cause I like the sweetness.

Then you add in the cooked pasta and some fresh parsley. Serve with some grated parmesan.

Penne Amatriciana

1 Onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g Bacon, diced
1 Tbs Chilli Flakes
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
2 Tins Diced Tomatoes
Penne Pasta
Fresh Parsley

1. Add some olive oil to a pan and add the diced onion. Cook for a couple of minutes

2. Add the garlic, bacon and chilli flakes. Cook until the bacon is browning.

3. Add the Tomato paste and diced tomatoes and simmer for about 20 mins. Add sugar, salt and pepper to season. While this is cooking you can boil the pasta.

4. Drain the pasta and toss through the sauce. Add the parsley. Serve with some grated parmesan.

I usually serve mine with a simple salad of rocket and avocado.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ayam Bali

This is a really easy recipe that is really tasty. I usually use chicken in the bone, but I find them really hard to find at the moment. Even at the markets where they have a chicken shop, the only thing you can usually buy on the bone is drumsticks. I used to buy chicken thigh cutlets all the time, but can never find them now :(

So this time I just used thigh fillets cut up, which is still good, but doesn't beat meat on the bone. I know I should probably use a whole chicken and cut it up, but I am always scared that I will make a big mess of everything.

All you need to do is blend some of the ingredients to make a paste, fry that off and then add your meat of choice and other ingredients and leave it to simmer. I will serve this with some stir fried Asian greens as well, which goes really well with it.

I made a bit of a mistake while making it. I put 2 tablespoons of sambal in it rather than 2 teaspoons, so i thought it was going to be really spicy, but it wasn't bad at all. So if you like your food a bit spicier I would increase the amount of sambal you use.

Ingredients for paste

Blend them all together - I have a mini bowl in my food processor which works very well for this.

All blended!

Stir fry to cook out all the spices

Add chicken and other ingredients

Ready to eat!

Ayam Bali
Balinese Fried Chicken

4 Chicken portions (or 500gm thigh fillets)
1 Onion
2 Garlic cloves
4 Kemiri nuts (candlenuts)
2½ cm fresh Ginger
250 ml Coconut milk (ayam brand is the best)
1 tbs Kecap Manis
2 tsp Sambal Ulek (add more if you like spice)
1 tsp soft brown sugar

1. Puree the Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Kemiri and Sambal Ulek in a blender or pestle.

2. Heat some oil in a large, deep frying pan and brown the chicken on all sides for about 10 mins. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Stir-fry the puree for 5 min. in the same frying pan. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.

4. Add the chicken and simmer for 30 min. until tender. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lamb Cutlets with Couscous and Ratatouille

I was watching Poh's kitchen the other day for the first time in ages. I always seem to miss when it's on, so I have only seen a few shows out of the season. You can watch the episodes online at the show's website too, so I need to catch up on the ones that I have missed out on. I am hoping to get her cookbook soon cause I love the way it is presented and want to try a lot of the recipes.

On this episode she had her friend Emmanuel who seems to feature a lot on her program. Poh cooked this delicious pork dish and he cooked a slow cooked lamb dish with a side of couscous and ratatouille. I haven't cooked much with couscous before and I don't know why, cause it's such an easy grain to cook with and you can do so many variations with it. Although in the recipe on the website it doesn't specify the exact amount of water to use and I ended up using too much and had to start again.

The couscous is delicious and so light and pairs very well with the ratatouille and lamb. I didn't cook the slow cooked lamb, but used some lamb cutlets that I got from Aldi (which were sensational) and marinated them in some olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and rosemary for a few hours. The marinade was delicious and gave the cutlets a nice crust from the caramelisation of the red wine vinegar.

Couscous Salad - Adapted from Poh's Kitchen Website

200g Couscous
2tbs Olive Oil
1 Green Capsicum - diced
1 Lebanese Cucumber - diced
2 Tomatoes - flesh and seeds removed and diced
2 Shallots (I forgot to add these) - diced
2 Lemons (I think I used only 1 as mine was quite big) - juiced
1 Small bunch of Coriander - chopped

1. Put the couscous in a bowl and add olive oil, salt and pepper, and just enough boiling water to cover it (don't add too much otherwise it will become claggy). Leave for about 10 minutes for the water so soak up.

2. Fluff up the couscous and add all the other ingredients and then season to taste. So easy!

Ratatouille - Adapted from Poh's Kitchen Website

1 Brown Onion
2 Garlic Cloves - sliced finely
1 Red Capsicum
1 Small Eggplant
1 Zucchini
Tin of crushed tomatoes
2 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Chopped Parsley
100ml Vegetable Stock

1. Dice all the vegetables in chunks (My favourite way of dicing vegetables!)

2. Add some olive oil in a pot/pan and saute the onion for a minute and then add the garlic

3. Add the capsicum for a few minutes and then add the eggplant and zucchini.

4. Finally add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

5. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

The weather in Canberra has been pretty hit and miss lately, although it's finally starting to get warmer and stay warmer at the moment. I made this the other night when I was wanting something healthy, fresh and fast for the warmer weather.

I used a Bill Granger recipe which I found on the lifestyle food website, you can find the recipe here.

I made a few changes to mine, I used coriander instead of basil, and I pulled apart a cooked chicken and used that instead of poaching chicken. I found that the dressing needed a bit more sugar too, but I like my dressings sweet!

I don't like to add the chicken to the salad mix either, cause then you can regulate the amount of chicken each person gets.

Serve it with rice to make it a substantial meal. Very easy and delicious!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chinese Chicken Hotpot

During the week I love to make quick easy recipes that are tasty. I have a few Donna Hay books, but haven't cooked too much out of them, although this book I have cooked a few things from.

I found this recipe for a Chinese chicken hotpot and thought it sounded healthy and easy to make, but didn't know how good it would be, so I didn't take any photos. When we sat down to eat it I was amazed at how all the flavours worked so well together and thought it was delicious.

So I thought I definitely have to make this again and take pictures, and so I did!

The first time I made the stock with Vegeta and the second time with the Chicken flavoured version of Vegeta. Definitely preferred it the first time, so if you are planning on using powdered stock, use Vegeta!

Also in the recipe the only vegetables it says to include are snow peas, but I added in some bok choy as well, so that it had more vegetables, and it worked very well.

Very good recipes in this book and very easy

Most of the recipes are for 2 people as well, which is good for us being a 2 person home. Although this recipe could easily feed 3, or maybe 4..

Ingredients for the chicken part of the dish

Mixture for topping all ready to go - this is what makes the dish. I would make double quantities of this.

Everything in the pot ready to be dished out.

Ready to eat with a dash of Sriracha about to go on it!

Chinese Chicken Hotpot - Adapted from Donna Hay's No Time to Cook

2 1/2 Cups of Chicken Stock
3 Slices Ginger
3 Cloves Garlic, bruised and peeled
1 1/4 Cups Jasmine Rice
3 x 140g Chicken Thigh Fillets
100g Snow Peas, trimmed
Asian Greens (such as bok choy or gai lan)
Soy Sauce and Sriracha Sauce to serve

Onion Ginger Dressing
1 Green Onion trimmed and finely sliced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

To make onion ginger dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine stock, ginger and garlic in a medium pot and bring to the boil. Add rice, return to the boil. Top with the chicken and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 10 minutes over low heat.

Remove pot from heat, add the snow peas and asian greens and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Spoon over the onion ginger dressing, sauces and serve.

Serves 2 (It can serve 3 people really well).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sanurs Balinese Restaurant

Sanurs is a fairly new restaurant located in Belconnen by the lake where there are lots of other restaurants.

I have been meaning to go to this restaurant for a while. I have heard lots of good things, but was always a bit wary cause lots of places I have been to in Canberra that people have recommended, have not been as good as they make out to be. I needn't have worried here though, as the food was beautiful. Some of the best Indonesian food that I have had.

I made the booking for 7:30, but someone was running late.... so I rang up and changed it to 8pm. When we got there though it was packed and our table wasn't ready, so we went down the road for a drink and when we came back we were good to go.

One thing that I did not like was the tables were very close to each other. Next time I book here I am going to specify a table near the window, cause they had no other tables around them.

We started off with a mixed platter for 2 - $17.90, which was huge, and everything was delicious on it. The satay sauce was very tasty and the spring rolls were some of the best I have tasted.

These were the spring rolls - very good!!

On the left are the beef satay sticks and on the right are battered prawns

Corn Fritters - also very tasty

For mains I knew that I wanted to get beef rendang before we came, as I love the dish and hadn't had it for ages. When it came out I knew it was going to be good and it was delicious. The beef was so tender and it was a very good serving size.

Beef Rendang - $17.90

We also wanted to get a Nasi Goreng of some type (they had 3 options). So we went for the Nasi Goreng Sanur. This included Fried Chicken, more beef satay, fried egg, acar, and tomato and prawn crackers. Those crackers were awesome as well. Such a crunchy texture.

Everything on this plate was delicious. I can't wait to go back and try a lot more of their dishes cause everything was so good. Definitely want to come with more people too, so we can order more things. Two thumbs up from me!

Nasi Goreng Sanur - $17.90 (just realised all our dishes were the same price...)

From a different angle

Sanur's Balinese Restaurant
Shop 1, The Boardwalk
114 Emu Bank, Belconnen
Ph: 6162 1688

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shanghai Noodles

You will see a theme in a lot of the food that I make, and that is I cook a lot of Asian food. I love it so much as the flavours are always strong and it's so easy to cook. Stir Fries are always wonderful cause you can add whatever vegetable is in season or on special and it always works with the flavours.

I made this really nice garlicky hoisin beef stir fry the other night, but I came over with the worst headache that I just couldn't take any photos and just wanted to get the dish cooked and then lie down. I will definitely make and picture it again though, cause it's a winner.

I saw this dish on this wonderful food blog and thought it looked really tasty and simple. While my photos are nowhere near as good as hers, the flavour was still delicious. Something to make on a night when you don't feel like cooking too much.

I used one of those papaya shredders, that you get from Thailand, to try and julienne the carrots and cucumber, but it didn't quite work out that well. I think I will use my mandolin next time.

Grated Ginger and Garlic

The Sweet Bean sauce, which took me ages to find (I still don't know if this is the right one to use, but it worked very well)

My attempt at grating...

The minced pork getting ready for frying

Ready to eat!

You must try this dish. It doesn't look like anything special, but you will be pleasantly surprised!

Shanghai Noodles - Adapted from Almost Bordain

500 g Shanghai noodle
2 tbsp sweet bean paste (more if you prefer stronger taste)
500 g minced pork
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dark sauce sauce
1/2 cup water
1 carrot, thinly shredded
1 cucumber, thinly shredded

1. Heat a wok or frying pan with oil. Add pork mince and stir fry until brown. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry together with the pork mince until fragrant.

2. Add sweet bean sauce, dark soy sauce and mix until combined.

3. Add 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and then lower heat to a slow simmer until sauce is thicken. Add sugar to taste.

4. Cook the noodle according to packet instructions. Drain and put into four individual serving bowls.

5. Divide pork mince into 4 equal portions and pour on the noodle.

6. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and garnish with shredded carrots and cucumber.