Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pizza with Leek, Mushroom & Prosciutto

 Is a pizza really a recipe? I suppose it is, just a really really simple one! I've shown you how to make my pizza dough before, and my pizza sauce so this is really just a collection of toppings that i enjoy! And i hope you will too.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Picadinho de Milho

Picadinho de Milho or Chopped Beef with Corn is a Brazillian dish traditionally served at botequim or pub restaurants. I've also seen several references to the dish being one traditionally made for festivals and other community occasions.

It is a simple dish with few ingredients, and like so many dishes traditional for festivals and gatherings, it is hearty and moreish. As such, enjoy this dish for what it is rather than expecting some sort of high-brow delight from it. It's soul food, enjoy it with rice and a fried egg.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Korean Fried Chicken

Holy frijoles how has nobody ever dragged me out for Korean Fried Chicken before?? This is really a piglet's delight. Succulent pieces of crisp fried chicken tossed in a spicy Korean sauce. The ultimate in finger licking indulgence, i could have polished off the whole lot myself (and almost did!).

Seriously though, this dish is too good not to try. I'm not a big deep frying person as apart from the health considerations there' the hassle with all the oil and the draining and getting it to the right temperature and whatnot. But i can guarantee you that, even if you are a low-use deep fryer like me, these wings will convert you! So long as you don't mind (a lot) of spice!

A note here: traditionally, this recipe calls for gojuchang, which is a Korean chili paste. Unfortunately i couldn't get my hands on any so i substituted with Sichuan Chili Bean Paste and tweaked the sauce to get the right flavour.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sichuan Style Fried Green Beans - Gan Bian Si Ji Dou

I've been craving Gan Bian Si Ji Dou for so long, ever since my friend Eugene visited from Singapore and arranged a catch-up at a Sichuan restaurant in Swanston Street. We ordered copious amounts of food and yet i kept on piling my dish up from the bowl of chewy fried green beans and pork.

In typical Sichuan style, this dish brings together the harmonious taste/sensations of oil, heat and salt which is what i feel makes it so irresistible! If you discipline yourself you can cut the oil down significantly in the dish and make it, well, somewhat approximate a healthy dish (if you squint REALLY hard).

I may have gone a bit overboard with my hankering for spice and salt this week! I'm doing Mapo on Tuesday for my father and Korean Fried Chicken for myself on Wednesday- stay tuned for that one!

Condensed Milk & Sweet Potato Cake

This cake is very Southeast Asian in style. You know those cakes that seem to be a strange combination of custard and cake? This very much fits into that category. Filling and tasty, yet not rich of cloying, it is a perfect cake to share around.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mushroom & Twice Smoked Ham Quiche

Eggs. We eat them. They are delicious. 

Mushrooms. Also delicious. 

Smoked Ham. More delicious

The three baked together? Gimme gimme gimme. I think quiche was one of my favorite foods as a child, hovering around the same place as Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup and Spinach Balls (i was nothing if not a strange child).  Here you can see my recipe for quiche lorraine with a pre-made base. This recipe below just kicks things up a notch. 

Trusty Zucchini Slice

What can one turn to when one has an abundance of eggs? The usual culprits come to mind:
  • omelette
  • quiche
  • zuchini slice
And yes, i plan on cooking them all! This zucchini slice is one of the best i've had. There's nothing fancy about it, nothing out of the ordinary. But i've cut down on the oil in the slice, and the level of flour provide a slightly cakey spongelike consistency that i like.

This may be kind of dagsville for a recipe, but its also delish! Maybe i should call it courgette frittata... :P

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thyme Infused Baked Beans with Chorizo & Twice Smoked Ham

I detest baked beans. Well at least, baked beans that come from a can. Yuk!  An even worse, canned spaghetti. Slimy, salty and detestable, i will not touch the stuff. And don't be fooled into thinking that this is just some food snobbery! I happily sit down to canned soups and even (gasp) canned Bolognese sauce (which i secretly adore shh!).

However, home made baked beans are a thing of fuzzy, comforting joy. Rich and satisfying, with smoky meats and perfectly tender beans, they are something everyone should make on a cold winter's day. This version is perhaps a little extravagant, but you could replace the meats with just ham or bacon and still have a delicious dinner.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Passionfruit Cheesecake Icecream

Yum! Don't you love when a bunch of leftover ingredients sitting around lead to an awesome culinary creation: cue: 1 packet of cream cheese, 1 frozen container of passionfruit curd leftover from sponge cake, and an abundance of eggs (48 to be exact). Put them all together and what does that make: passionfruit cheesecake icecream!

Actually, to be honest, credit must go to my mother. I had originally decided to make passionfruit curd icecream, but it was mum who thought of throwing the cream cheese in there. A family of diabolical geniuses or what!

Country Omelette with Gypsy Ham

I was so excited to be making an omelette this morning, as i haven't made one for years. The lack of a good non-stick pan in the house put the kibosh on that! Thankfully i used some gift vouchers yesterday to go out and get a top notch Anolon one and boy did it work well! The omelette just slid from the pan, so easily, i forgot how much of a boon non-stick coatings can be.

The gypsy ham used for this recipe (and for a couple more coming up) i got from my local deli. Gypsy ham and bacon always intrigued me, with the dark coloring on the outside with the richly pink meat inside. It turns out that gypsy hams are double smoked, enriching the porky flavor of the meat. And it was indeed very delicious.

Now, if you haven't made an omelette before, or need some brushing up on your technique, i recommend that you watch this youtube video of Jacques Pepin. This man is a clear expert in omelette making!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brodo with Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings

So a brodo, it turns out, is a lovely rustic sounding Italian name for a broth. I've heard some tell that a true brodo must contain pasta of some sort, but bah! These dumplings are pasta enough for me.

Looks like i've achieved my holy grail of broth clarity: I had originally made a beautifully vivid yellow, but somewhat cloudy broth. I placed it in the fridge overnight to pull it out only to find that it had become a murky muddy brown!! So i went to trusty google to attempt the fabled egg raft method for clarifying broths. And check it out!! That is some super clear broth there if i do say so myself.

This is a great wintry dish that is light yet filling and satisfying at the same time. Feel free to replace the spinach with 1 cup of frozen spinach to save some time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Passionfruit Curd Sponge

When i was a bit younger (and not too much younger mind you) my grandmother had three specialties that would always set my tummy rumbling: Apple pie, 'cheesecakes' and passionfruit sponge. Unfortunately my nan can't really cook anymore, and i miss her treats a lot.

Nan's apple pie was the most delicious apple pie in the world with a buttery, crumby crust that soaked up the yellow tinged Blue Ribbon ice cream she would lavishly ladle into the bowl.

Her 'cheesecakes' were definitely a family favorite, and i hear reknowned in the shop in which she once worked. I'm not sure where the 'cheese' comes in to these cheesecakes. They were like a jam tart in puff pastry, but with a lid that was of a dense cupcake like mixture. Truly special.

And finally, the passionfruit sponge. Light as a feather, filled with whipped cream, and topped with a passionfruit icing. I could have eaten a whole cake in one sitting (and i and worried that i may have on more than one occasion.)

And so it came, that i thought i'd try my hand at a sponge. But rather than ice with passionfruit i thought i'd go with a curd instead. I am extremely happy to find that my cake is also as light as a feather! I followed recipes and instructions much more closely than usual however, remembering to triple sift the flour and bring ingredients to room temperature.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pork with Cider and Apples

Do any of you out there subscribe to Gourmet Traveller or frequent their website? I'm constantly impressed by their recipe collections, and find them a great resource for the budding amateur chef who wants to make something a little bit special.

This latest dish which came from Gourmet Traveller reminds me of those staple pork dishes that would have been on gastropub menus of yesterday. It seems like these days it's all pork belly and crispy pork bits, but this recipe tramples back over old ground to the reliable pork steak. This is a very rich and hearty winter dish that sticks to your ribs and makes you forget you're desperate for summer...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Green Masala Lamb Chops on a Fennel, Tomato and White Balsamic Salad

This recipe is a twisted variation on one that i found from Neil Perry. This is the first time i've used Neil Perry as an influence for a dish because although i've not been to one of his restaurants, his dishes come across to me as very finnicky (this is not a negative reflection - i just dont have the patience to cook them myself, marvelous though they may be).

There are two things that make this dish so good: Firstly, the green masala marinade brings the lamb to life with fresh herbs and tangy spices, and the fennel seed matches so well with the crisp fennel salad. Secondly, the white balsamic makes the salad stand out. Sure, you could use red wine vinegar, or even regular balsamic. But i encourage you to seek out white balsamic for its slightly tarter but more sublte and simpler flavour to traditional balsamic. 


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