Thursday, January 28, 2010

I want some too!

Unfortunately, I haven't been in the kitchen this week so I have nothing exciting to post - The HG has been taking care of all the cooking which has been very nice!  As much as I love being in the kitchen, it's good to have a break occasionally to renew the enthusiasm!

No food pics, but here is our dog, sulking in the door-way because I sent him outside while we were eating dinner!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tamarind Chicken Drumsticks

The HG bought some chicken drumsticks at the supermarket and instead of doing my usual honey/soy/sweet chilli style marinade, I decided to have a go at something new with my new favourite flavour, tamarind.

These drumsticks were delicious for dinner but even better cold the next day for lunch - great picnic food!

Tamarind Chicken Drumsticks
8-10 chicken drumsticks
4-5 T tamarind paste
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 t ground star anise
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1.  Mix all ingredients together and then rub over the chicken and leave to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours.

2.  Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked and juices run clear.

I served the chicken with a rustic, chunky guacamole, which worked nicely with the tartness of the chicken.  It is also worth noting that the tamarind paste I used, was bought made up in a jar - possibly the 'bricks' of tamarind that you rehydrate to make your own paste are stronger in flavour?  As I'm new to using tamarind I'm not sure if there is a difference in flavour or not.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sumptuous Scallops!

An amazing thing has happened this week... the sun has been out three days in a row!  The, previously unheard of, warm weather made my husband desperate for a dive and we dashed out of our respective offices at 5pm on the dot last evening and made for... an undisclosed location.  While I sat basking in the sun, book in hand, my 'hunter/gatherer' husband (hereby known as "The HG") went in search of Kiamoana.


The HG got the legal limit of some of the biggest, juciest scallops I have ever seen!  Not bad for 45mins in the water.

The last lot of scallops The HG brought home, we cooked in their shells (after they had been cleaned and gutted) with garlic and butter on the BBQ.  This time we decided to wrap the muscle (white part) in streaky bacon and cook on the BBQ and just do the roe (orange part) in the shells with garlic and butter.  I cannot tell you how delicious this was!  Very rich though.  We served the scallops with potatoes mashed with creamcheese (my favourite mash!).

To cook the roe (and some of the smaller whole scallops) in the shells, The HG first melted the butter and garlic in the shells on the BBQ and then added the meat to it.  The scallops cook in only a few minutes.  The bacon-wrapped meat went straight onto the hotplate, the bacon protects the scallops from becoming tough and overcooked, and took slightly longer to cook.

Wags got very excited about licking the shells clean after dinner!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Look at my beans!


These beans are quite tough and need to be well cooked.  I steamed them for 6-7 minutes (much longer than I would ever steam other fresh veg!) and then when cooled, made a simple bean salad with them.  In the salad I used some canned butter beans and chickpeas, finely chopped red onion, red pepper and flat leaf parsley, and dressed it with a basic lemon juice/olive oil dressing.  Delicious and refreshing!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Daring Cooks January Challenge: Pork Satay

I finally completed the January challenge for the Daring Cooks last night - only four days late...

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

The Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay can be found here.  Satay is not my favourite food of all time however I enjoyed the challenge as it forced me to cook something I never had before AND I discovered Tamarind which is now my new favourite flavour!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You win some and you lose some...

But lately I seem to have been having more loses than wins! 

Last week I had some strawberries that desperately needed using up, and I decided to make muffins with them.  I also had some natural yoghurt that was nearing the end of it's life and decided to adapt the recipe to include that too.  The strawbs were quite old and dry so I cooked them down in some sugar first - so far so good, they came out just the consistency that I wanted and I thought I was on a roll.  I should have left it at that but no, I had to play around with the batter recipe to include the yoghurt.  Big mistake.  While the muffins looked beautiful, they were dense and heavy as rocks!

So, after quite a list of failures (you really don't need to know about them all) I was quite pleased with myself last night when I made this bastardised version of a ratatouille to go with the pork steak we had for dinner.  In the end this turned out more like a warm vegetable chutney than a ratatouille and the flavours, with the slight sweetness from the wine and paprika and heat from the chilli worked beautifully with the pork.  not to mention the lovely colours on the plate!

Warm Vege Chutney
1/2 red capsicum
1/2 yellow capsicum
1/2 large red chilli
1/2 red onion
1 large zucchini
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c red wine
1/2 c thick tomato juice
1 T tomato paste
1/4 t sweet smoked spanish paprika
handful chopped flat leaf
parsley and basil
2 T olive oil

1. Chop capsicums, chilli, onion and zucchini into bite-sized pieces.  I used half of a large red chilli and left the seeds in, which gave the chutney just a hint of mild heat.  Heat oil in saute pan and lightly brown veges.
2.  Finely chop the garlis and add to the pan, along with the wine.  Allow the wine to bubble and reduce slightly and then add the tomato juice and paste.  I had the tomato juice left over from a can of whole peeled tomatoes that I used earlier in the week.
3.  Cook for five to ten minutes so that veges are soft but not mushy and the sauce has thickened and reduced.  Stir through the paprika and herbs and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and you're good to go! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's been a highly relaxing, enjoyable break over the Christmas/New Year period.  I have lurched from one delicious meal to the next without breaking stride and somehow managed to fit in morning and afternoon teas, nibbles and drinks as well!  To me, Christmas is all about good food, shared with good people which is certainly how I spent my holiday!

My husband and father-in-law are keen divers and fishermen so our holidays usually include an abundance of seafood and over the last 10 days I have been spoilt with fresh Crayfish, Paua (Abalone) and Blue Cod, along with all the usual Christmas goodies.

Stand out highlights of my holiday include trying Kina roe for the first time - it was cooked in a risotto, so fairly tame compared to the traditional Maori way of eating it raw, but delicious none-the-less!  A Boxing Day picnic of fresh Paua cooked on the beach (augmented with some bangers!).  A particularly lovely evening spent with friends over roast lamb.  Freshly picked raspberries with cream and home-made mini meringues... heavenly!  And, coming home to see how the garden had fared in our absence to find six huge, beautiful, perfect brocolli ready to be eaten!

THE most exciting thing that happened to me this Christmas though, was receiving Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion!  I have lusted after it from the moment I first saw it in my local bookshop and after dropping several hints to my husband, I actually had to come right out and make a specific request as I was terrified my extrememly subtle hints would be lost on him!  He scored bonus points too for getting me a Chef's Torch, which I have been harping on about with absolutely no subtlety whatsoever, for over a year!

Paua and Sausages cooking on the beach

The Cooks!


Our dog, Wags, was intrigued by the crayfish!

Our Broc!