All posts filed under: dinner

Durban Indian Meatballs in tomato curry sauce

This is another Durban comfort-food staple. It is often referred to as “lamb kebabs in chutney”. This curry is delicious with roti or rice and a dollop of cucumber raita. I often make extra meatballs and freeze them as they can also be used as an appetizer, just grilled from frozen and served with a  Mint Chutney or Chilli Sauce on the side. These meatballs can also be cooked with borlotti or cannellini beans for an Indian version of the Spanish dish of meatballs and beans in tomato sauce. Adding beans changes the texture of the gravy making it “more creamy” and much heartier than the basic tomato version. Ingredients Meatballs: 1 kg lamb or beef low fat mince ½ onion finely diced 4 cloves garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger peeled 1 teaspoon cummin powder ½ teaspoon turmeric powder 2-3 fresh red chillies chopped finely (can be deseeded for less heat0 1/4 bunch of coriander finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons worth) 1 egg beaten 1 teaspoon of salt To make meatballs: Use a mortar and pestle …

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Durban Style Chicken Briyani

Briyani-Breyani-Biryani…, however you want to spell it, is a traditional feast dish in the homes of Indian families. The accompaniments of Grapes Apple Mint Raita, Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt and Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with turmeric and ginger make the serving of biryani a true foodie experience. This family recipe includes lentils, boiled eggs, spicy potatoes along with the marinated chicken and golden fried onions which combine for a protein and carbohydrate packed pot of deliciousness. Definitely best kept for special occasions! The chicken can be replaced with lamb for an equally wonderful result. This recipe should be started the day before or early in the morning to allow the chicken to marinate in the yoghurt-tomato based marinade which tenderises and flavours the chicken. The time and effort required to prepare this delicious layered rice dish is definitely worth the effort and the leftovers are especially delicious the day after I have organised this recipe with the ingredients and method for each different steps to make it …

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Baked Italian Sausages with red capsicum and onions

As the cooler days approach here in Sydney, this is a quintessential comfort food dish which will warm your heart and soul in true Italian style. Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours (including grilling capsicum) Ingredients 6-8 Italian spicy sausages or merguez sausages 2 red capsciums 2 large onions cut into thickish slices 3-4 tablespoons Olive oil 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped 3 red chillies sliced lengthwise (optional) Handful of fresh basil and parsley Crusty bread Method Heat oven to 150 degrees celcius Place whole red capsicums on roasting tray and place in oven for 35-45 minutes until skin is black and blistering, turn during cooking process to evenly blacken capsicum Meanwhile slice onions, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook onions slowly until just golden Remove capsicum from oven and place in plastic bag, tying up ends of bag. Allow capsicum to sweat inside plastic bag for 5 minutes which will loosen skin. Increase oven heat to 180 degrees celcius. Place sausages in a baking tray, …

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Prawn, fennel and coriander Gow Gee – steamed dumplings

I created these little treats because I was searching for a light, healthy but hot appetiser that would complement an Indian dinner without filling guests up too much. Steaming these dumplings is easy and quick and you can do this just before or as guests arrive which if you want to use these as canapés which works well. The ready made “gow  gee” pastry is easy to find in Asian food store refrigerator section and very simple to work with. You will also need a steaming basket or steamer. I used fennel, ginger, cummin, fresh coriander and ginger to add subtle Indian flavours to the prawn filling. Most steamed dumplings recipes don’t require you to cook the filling beforehand but I decided to so I could roast the fennel seeds and use cooked onion. I didn’t use any chilli in these as I planned to serve with chilli oil on the side. Ingredients 8 large, green or uncooked prawns – shelled, deveined and chopped into medium dice 1/2 onion very finely diced 1 tablespoon vegetable …

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Prawn Caldine with tamarind and ground almonds

This recipe is inspired by Rick Stein’s version with a few adjustments to make it an easy mid-week dish. It is lightly spiced but the addition of green chillies adds a hint of heat. The tamarind water adds a sweet sour component which complements prawns or fish brilliantly. The ground almonds add another dimension and help to thicken the sauce but can be omitted if you prefer. Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 500g fresh or frozen prawns(defrosted), preferably with tails left on OR 500g firm white fish 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tsp cummin seeds 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 1 onion thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger 2 tablespoons ground almonds (optional) 400ml coconut milk 3 tablespoons tamarind water (made using tamarind seeds or concentrate) 4-5 mild green chillies, cut into long strips coriander to garnish salt vegetable oil Method Place peeled (and defrosted) prawns/fish chopped in pieces in a bowl and marinate for 10 minutes or so …

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Thai Red Roast Pork

This is a succulent roast pork recipe that is so easy to make. As well as being delicious thinly sliced and accompanied with cucumbers as a centrepiece of a Thai meal, the leftovers are delicious in Thai Pork Noodle Soup. If you can’t be bothered making it, of course you can buy red roast pork readymade from your local Chinatown. Prep time: 5 minutes Marinate: minimum 2 hours or overnight Cooking time: 50 minutes Ingredients: 1 kg of pork loin fillets 1/2 teaspoon red food colouring 1/4 cup of water 1 tablespoon each of fish sauce, hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine or sherry 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 3 cloves garlic crushed 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder 2 star anise crushed 1 tablespoon sesame oil Coriander to garnish Method Put all ingredients except pork, water and red food colouring in a blender and blend until a smooth paste form Mix red food colouring and water in steel or ceramic bowl Add pork and using gloves massage food colouring, then …

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Homestyle Osso Bucco

As winter approaches here in Australia slow cooked Osso Bucco is a great recipe to warm the soul. Osso bucco is the cross-cut shank of veal featuring the marrow bone. You can use beef osso bucco but they tend to be much bigger and take longer to cook. I really prefer the smaller veal osso bucco. Order from your butcher if you need to. The meat in this recipe is slow cooked until tender and just falling off the bone and the marrow becomes soft and adds great flavour to the sauce. sucking the marrow out of the bones is not elegant but highly recommended! Served with a zingy gremolata, creamy mash and a fresh rocket and fennel salad, this a fabulous one pot wonder dish that will impress family and friends. It is very simple to cook and is economical as well with a short, sharp ingredients list. Prep time: 20 minutes  Cooking time: 2 hours Ingredients: 12 small veal osso bucco (about 1.5kg) 1 cup plain flour for dusting osso bucco 100 grams …

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Spicy Prawn Rice with carrots, peas and mushrooms

This is a delicious combination of ingredients that is lovely as a dish on its own with a yoghurt raita and salad, or served alongside  grilled chicken or lamb. It’s like an Indian risotto but you don’t have to stand over it stirring!  Perfect for entertaining as it can be made ahead of time – it’s even better the day after! It’s also great for a shared spread or picnic as it can be served at room temperature. You just need to allow prep time as there a few steps prior to assembling the dish and cooking in the oven. You can also leave out or reduce the chilli powder and green chillies to make it less spicy. Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour Ingredients: 500g green prawns shelled and deveined 1.5-2 cups basmati rice 2 medium carrots roughly diced 350 grams of button mushrooms roughly diced 1/2 cup of peas 2 large onions sliced in rings 150 grams of butter for frying prawns 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil for frying prawns …

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Review: Super Catch in Meatpacker’s District NYC

Catch is one of the super trendy restaurants in Meatpacker’s featuring all-the-rage Asian fusion in a souped up warehouse like space over 3 levels in the Meatpacker’s district in New York City. With a wide ranging menu, and an expectedly seafood focus, menu decision-making is difficult but the over the top pricing for some offerings helps to cut down the options if you’re not straight from Wall Street. Originally opened by by US Top Chef program winner, Hung Huynh, the menu features Raw Bar with Seafood Towers, rolled, cold and hot selections as well as US “entrees” and extensive sides. Here’s the current Dinner menu We sampled the Tartare Trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna served with American Caviar and a wasabi creme fraiche, Crispy Prawns with a tangy mayonnaise, Chicken San Choy Bow, Wagyu on a Rock and the Charred Cauliflower. We also had a special on the night a “pizza” with figs, proscuitto, rocket and quail eggs and Parmesan which was super good. (The low key lighting makes it a bit challenging for good …

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Boston Legal Clam Chowder

Monday brought a snow storm to Boston and with it the perfect weather for soups and comfort food. We had enjoyed the milder weather over the weekend, making hay while the sun shined and walking the Freedom Trail learning about Paul Revere’s heroic ride to warn the Patriots of the approaching British troops and all about Boston’s contribution to American Independence. But by Monday we were ready to hole up and take advantage of the weather to try out Legal Seafood down at the revitalised Seafront district for their renowned Clam Chowder. We had been assured by locals that despite being an ever expanding chain,the quality of food and service had remained and that this was the best spot to sample Boston’s acclaimed seafood. Located next to the fishermen’s pier and overlooking the harbour, Legal Seafood at the Seafront certainly puts one in the mood for fine dining, although more casual dining is also offered downstairs. This is by no means a cheap eats restaurant but at the same time prices for food and wine …

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Baked Fish with spicy Tahini and onion sauce

This is my take on a traditional Lebanese sauce to go with baked fish. It’s simple to make and the cholesterol free Tahini(sesame paste) sauce I use makes it a much healthier option than cream. The lemony, garlic flavours combine with the nutty flavour of the Tahini and sweet, slightly caramelised onion and spicy chilli into a delicious creamy topping to go with the baked fish. We had it here with a mixed salad including  artichokes which complimented the middle Eastern flavours well. Prep time:  5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients: 500g firm fish fillets like  flathead or snapper 1 lemon finely sliced into rings 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice 1/3 cup Tahini sauce 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic crushed 1 medium onion thinly sliced in half moons 1 large red chilli finely chopped 1/3 cup cold water 1/ 2 teaspoon cummin powder 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional) 1/2 teaspoon salt fresh ground black pepper 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or coriander Method: Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 Farenheit) Line an …

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Steamed Eggplant with ginger

This is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to enjoy eggplant. You don’t often see recipes for steaming eggplant but I can attest to this recipe, especially if made with smaller eggplants such as “graffiti” striped eggplants or the thin Japanese eggplants. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30-40 minutes Ingredients: 2-3 small eggplants small knob of ginger thinly sliced 1 clove of garlic crushed with half a red chillI 2 teaspoons salt Method: Cut eggplant into medium size piece and immediately add salt and place in a colander or strainer over the sink for 15 minutes Meanwhile slice ginger finely, seperately crush garlic and chilli Remove eggplant from colander shaking off excess moisture and place in steaming basket, gently rub some of the garlic and chilli on each pice of eggplant using a teaspoon, then scatter over ginger. steam for 30-40 minutes or until eggplant is tender to your liking  

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Portuguese pork and clam stew with roasted capsicum sauce

We used to have this dish at the Petersham Portuguese Chicken Shop and Restaurant in Sydney before it burnt down in a terrible fire. I have never made it at home but thought I’d try it out for something a bit different. I did a bit of research on the Internet and checked a variety of recipes, some with and without the capsicum paste, before deciding on this version. The stew comes from the Alentejan region of Portugal and is usually served with fried potatoes but can be served with crusty bread or plain rice. Marinating the pork in the milk and wine overnight tenderises the pork and gives it a lovely almost silky texture when cooked. The roasted capsicum paste can be made the day before as well if you want and adds a sweetness and a subtle spiciness that compliments the natural saltiness of the clams. The clams can be replaced by cockles but purging them by soaking in water is important to remove any grit. So, please note the time required for marinating …

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Homemade Borlotti Baked Beans

My six year old neighbour Martin is coming over for lunch today. A few months ago Martin popped in to say hi and I had just taken my homemade baked beans out of the oven. Martin was astounded to find out that baked beans don’t just come out of a can. He was even more intrigued when I showed him the actual raw beans. “They are like nuts”, he said. I gave Martin a small taste of the freshly cooked beans and he loved them. Since then whenever I see him he talks about the baked beans,so I thought it only appropriate that I should make a batch for lunch. Whilst they take time to make, due to having to soak the beans, then twice cook them, the results are so much better than using beans out of a can and the cooking process gives you the opportunity to use herbs and spices to your taste in the sauce. I use Borlotti beans for this recipe, but you can also use white beans or cannellini …

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Amazing Chicken Maryland with tomato, thyme, garlic, and eschallots

The combination of these classic ingredients cooked slowly in the oven creates a succulent chicken dish that is healthy and full of flavour. Of course, I can’t resist adding some chilli for a bit of a kick but it is just as lovely without. You can also add large cubes of potato which absorb the juices as they cook. (You might need to add a bit more stock during the cooking if you use potatoes.) Served with a simple green salad and some crunchy bread to mop up the juices, “amazing chicken”, as our family calls it, is a great staple for weeknight dinners or as a main dish for casual lunches. Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 1hr-1.5hrs Ingredients: 4 chicken marylands or 6 chicken thigh fillets 6 cloves of garlic 1 large tomato cut in large chunks 2 red chillies sliced in half(optional) 8 eschallots Half a bunch of thyme, leaves stripped off stalks Salt and crushed black pepper 1/2 cup chicken stock or water 1/2 cup dry white wine 3-4 tablespoons Olive …

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Salmon En Croute with fennel, dill and chilli butter

This recipe is inspired by Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver who both have very different versions of the classic Salmon en Croute. According to my google search the term “en Croute” refers to food cooked in pastry in the oven, most commonly salmon or beef. For the Salmon En Croute, Rick Stein in his recipe book Seafood Cookbook uses a butter with currants and mace spiced butter filling, whereas Jamie Oliver uses a spinach and watercress creme fraiche filling. As I decided to make this after I had already done the grocery shopping, I thought I’d try a filling with ingredients I had which I knew would go well with salmon. The resulting pastry parcel with a homemade fennel, dill and chilli butter was absolutely delicious seved with a homemade kale,carrot and red cabbage coleslaw with avocado and tomatoes. It was easy to make using store bought frozen pastry and you could just experiment with the type of flavoured butter filling you’d like. I would recommend using some substantial ingredients, like the thin fennel slices I …

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Mussels in Thai Broth

An easy, healthy and delicious main courses or starter – can be served with crispy bread rolls or jasmine rice. Make sure you use fresh mussels. It’s all the better made using homemade Thai prawn stock(see recipe below) but bought fish or chicken stock will do if you are short on time. Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 kg of mussels, beards removed (do not use any broken mussels) 1 small brown onion finely diced 2 cloves garlic finely chopped 2 pieces ginger/fresh galangal finely chopped 1-2 hot red chillies chopped 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 6 coriander stalks and roots cleaned and chopped, leaves reserved for garnish thai basil for garnish 750 ml prawn or fish stock 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Method: Heat oil in large pot that has a tight fitting lid Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sautéed over medium heat until onions are translucent Add coriander, stock, fish sauce and sugar Add mussels, fit on lid and bring stock to boil. Shake pan and …

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Javanese dining in Ubud – Warung Mendez Penestanan

After a wonderful Christmas eating lots of delicious traditional English and Australian food, we are now in Bali for a fortnight of feasting and relaxation up in the hills of Ubud. There won’t be too much cooking but certainly a lot of eating planned. We have been regulars to Bali over the last ten years and can’t help but feel instantly relaxed when we get here through the combination of the warm Balinese hospitality, heat of the tropical sun and diversity and quality of the food. This visit we are staying in the village of Penestanan on the edge of the rice fields, once quite a sleepy part of Ubud but which has now been populated with great cafes and restaurants, spas and villas. We started our first day here lazing by our pool before choosing to lunch at Warung Mendez, a restaurant specialising in Javanese cuisine. From tempting appetisers and soups to specials such as slow cooked goat’s leg and Tempe fried in a special spring onion batter, deciding on what to eat is …

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Pan-fried Scallops on pea purée with crispy proscuitto

Red, white and green. These sweet scallops just pan-fried with a golden brown crust on the bright green pea purée topped with salty, red crispy proscuitto bits are a great Christmas starter or entree. The pea purée can be made ahead of time so it’s easy to assemble just before serving. Prep time: 30 minutes cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients: Pea purée 2 small eschallots finely sliced 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced 2 cups frozen peas defrosted 1/2 cup chicken stock 50g butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and finely crushed black pepper Scallops 16-24 scallops (4-6 per person) Olive oil spray Proscuitto 4-6 slices very thin slices of proscuitto Method Pea purée Heat butter or oil over medium heat Add eschallots and garlic and sauté gently until soft and transparent Add defrosted peas and chicken stock, bring to gentle simmer Cook for maximum 5-7 minutes until peas are tender but still bright green Add salt and pepper to taste Process with stick blender or in food processor until purée forms Pass through …

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