Fish in Indian Crazy Water #fishbroth #crazywater

This an old recipe of mine which I haven’t made in ages but planning for dinner tonight. I have nice tomatoes and lots of fresh herbs so will wing the flavours to create a delicious broth for the fish to poach in, and I might throw in some potato to bulk it up for a Sydney winter’s evening.

Here’s the link to the original recipe https://freespiritfood.net/2015/11/08/snapper-in-indian-crazy-water-broth/

I’ll post photos of tonight’s version later.

Oven roasted #beef #short ribs with corn

These beef ribs were delicious with corn and a spinach and brocccoline salad with quick pickled onions. Inspired by a friend in Brisbane who made them last night!

Prep time: 2 hours Cooking time: 3.5-4 hours

Ingredients:

Beef short ribs, trimmed – about 1kg bone in for 2 people

Spice rub: 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cummin powder, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Homemade bbq marinade sauce: 1/4 cup tomato ketchup, 2 tablespoons smoky bbq sauce, 1.5 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

Salad; Broccolini, baby spinach, 1/2 red onion, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, salt pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil

Corn: corn on the cob, salt, water to cover, salt, pepper and a dob or two of butter to finish

Method:

1. Make spice rub, then massage well into beef short ribs, allow to marinate at room temperature for just on 2 hours (or overnight in fridge but bring to room temp before cooking).

2. Heat oven to 120 degrees celcius

3. Cover roasting pan in foil, then put another layer of foil and place ribs on it, then cover with another piece of foil and crimp edges to create a tented sealed foil package. Place in oven. (Slice half a red onion and pickle in 3 tablespoon cider vinegar)

4. Make bbq sauce and marinade/brush with bbq sauce every hour for 3 hours.

5. Uncover tops of beef, raise oven temp to 200 degrees Celsius, brush with bbq sauce and cook for 1/2 hour to melt fat on top and crisp. While finishing beef boil corn and make green salad, adding drained pickled onions. I used baby spinach and blanched broccolini with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Slow oven roasted beef short ribs

6. For last ten minutes add thyme leaves, and turn on top grill to finish cooking off top layer of fat.

7. rest beef for 10-15 minutes and serve with corn and salad!

Shepherd’s Pie with an Indian Twist #spicysheperdspie #indianpie

This is a spiced up version of an Irish lamb mince Shepherd’s Pie that will warm you up and tingle your tatstebuds.

The addition of spiced fried onions to the mash and curry leaves and spices to the mince mixture adds a touch of India that is a great twist to a winter comfort food staple.

I also added a layer of raw baby spinach that kept its texture and is a great way to make sure your green quotient box is ticked, especially with a nice green salad on the side as well. In fact, with leek, carrots, ginger and garlic, onions, potato, spinach and tomato the nutrition value of this dish cannot be denied!!

This quantity serves 2 so use a small-medium size casserole dish

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1/2 cup diced leek
  • 3 cloves garlic and equal amount ginger and 1 red chilli ground to paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of tomato passata
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Handfuls of curry leaves
  • 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon bark or quill
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 egg beaten for brushing top of mash
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • Extra curry leaves and coriander for garnish
  • Salt

Method:

1. Prepare vegetables for mince mixture. Chop leeks, onions and carrots. Make ginger, garlic and chilli paste.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy based pot, add cumin seeds to flavour the oil, then add leek, onions and carrot and sweat gently until softened. Add ginger, chilli and garlic paste and mix through.

Soften vegetables the add spices and mince.

3. Add turmeric, cummin and chilli powders to mixture and mix through, then add mince, and stir to break up mince and brown it before adding tomato passata, 1 handful of curry leaves and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes or so until mince is cooked and sauce is reduced.

4. While mince is cooking, peel and cut up potatoes into pieces. Place in a pot of boiling water with salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Boil potatoes until tender, strain and then mash them with a dollop of butter and 1 tablespoon of milk, taste to see if additional salt required and set aside.

5. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

6. Slice (not dice) additional onion. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small pan, add cinammon stick, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, other handful of curry leaves, then add onions and fry gently until onions are brown and starting to caramelise.

7. Add half the browned onion mixture the mash and mix through, reserve the other half.

8. Place the mince mixture in a casserole dish, top with spinach leaves, mash.

9. Using a fork, score the top of the mash, then brush with the egg. I add a red chilli to the top for decoration.

10. place in hot oven for 20 minutes until top starts crisping, then sprinkle rest of onions on top and put back into the oven for a further 10 minutes.

11. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander. Serve with a crisp green salad.

Cauliflower and fennel mash #mash #carbfree

Who needs potatoes, when you can have this delicious fennel flavoured silky cauliflower and fennel mash?

Easy as boiling the white part of the fennel for about 10 minutes, adding cauliflower florets and boiling until tender, drain, then whizz with a stick blender, add a touch of butter and salt the serve up.

Delicious with roast pork. I roast a few slices of cauliflower in the pork fat towards the end of the roasting time to top the mash with crispy cauliflower for texture.

Cauliflower and fennel mash alongside roast pork and green beans with fennel tops.

#Keralan #Pork Curry with Coconut Milk and Green Beans

The addition of coconut milk in this curry gives the sauce a creamy texture and a delicious soft spiciness quite different to the sharper “zinginess” of the Indian Green Pork Curry recipe, although there are similarities to marinating the pork in vinegar.

Traditionally it a dish that the Syrian Christians, who eat pork, serve at special occasions. The history of the ongoing “survival” of this group of Christians thought to date back to AD52 in Kerala is interesting. Here’s a bit of background Syrian Christians in Kerala

My version is adapted to use leaner pork shoulder instead of pork belly and only involves cooking for about an hour.

Kerala is also famed for it’s spices including black pepper and tamarind which are widely used in Keralan cooking and I have added to this recipe. If you haven’t used tamarind before here’s a good how to guide Cooking with Tamarind

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time:1 hour

Ingredients:
  • 500g pork shoulder cut into medium sized cubes
  • 2-3 handfuls of green beans
  • 3 cloves of garlic and equal amount of peeled ginger
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of tomato passata or diced tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder or cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (coconut oil would be most authentic)
  • 3 dried chillies (exclude these for a milder version)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Large handful of curry leaves(optional)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 stick of cinnamon bark (1/2 small quill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds(optional)
  • 25g tamarind pulp soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water until dissolved or 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate dissolved in half a cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • Coriander to garnish

1. Put pork into bowl and add black pepper, salt, cummin powder(not seeds), turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add vinegar and tomato, mis thoroughly and set aside for at least 25 minutes.

Marinate pork in spices, salt, vinegar and tomato which help the meat to tenderise.

2. Chop onion finely.

3. Peel garlic and ginger and pound into a paste in a mortar and pestle.

4. Top and tail green beans and slice very finely on an angle.

5. Heat oil in a casserole pot over medium heat, add cummin seeds, dried chillies, cardamom pods, curry leaves and heat until fragrant.

6. Add onions and cook gently until transparent then add fenugreek seeds if using and mix through onion mixture.

Cooking the spices and onions in oil creates a fragrant base for the curry.

7. Add pork to onion mixture and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring regularly until pork is sealed – without allowing to burn or stick to the pot, add some after if needed.

8. Add tamarind water, and 1/2 cup or more of boiling water to just cover the pork mixture and simmer for 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the curry to make sure it isn’t sticking at the bottom and add a little additional water if needed along the way.

9. after 40 minutes, then add coconut milk and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened to a creamy consistency. The pork should be tender and cooked by now. Taste to check if additional salt is needed.

Cook the pork simmering in tamarind water and plain water, then add coconut milk after 40 minutes and green beans at 55 minutes.

10. Add the finely sliced green beans and cook for 5-10 minutes until tender.

11. garnish with chopped coriander and serve with white basmati rice, dhal, mango chutney and salads.

Delicious Keralan Pork Curry with Coconut milk and Green Beans

Moroccan Chicken B’stilla #chickenpie #Morocco with Carrot salad

This is another excellent dinner party dish which is easy to make but takes a bit of preparation. If you are cooking for more than 4 people, then it’s easy to double this recipe to make 2 pies at the same time.

The combination of the chicken cooked in Moroccan spices, icing sugar almonds and lemon zest is mouthwateringly divine.

I cook carrots in with the chicken to make a carrot salad at the same time to serve with the B’stilla. The carrots cooked in the chickeny liquid are delicious when zested up with citrus and ginger flavours. The recipe is at the bottom here.

B’stilla or Pastilla? The real thing in Fes.

The best B’stilla we had was a pigeon version in Fes made with homemade filo pastry at a restaurant called Dar Tajine tucked away in the heart of the Old Médina. https://www.dartajine.com. Dinner there cooked by Salaheddin the Owner and Chef was a really memorable experience – it felt like we were in his home for a family dinner. In Fes they call B’stilla “Pastilla”.

My recipe uses chicken and store-bought filo pastry but tastes pretty delicious as well.

RECIPE

Preparation time including marination:4 hours Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken large thigh cutlets with bone in and skin on
  • 8 large sheets of filo pastry
  • half a bunch of parsley
  • Half a bunch of coriander
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic smashed to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon saffron fronds
  • 4 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup of flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water
Freespiritfood.net B’stilla

Method

1. Place saffron fronds in 1/4 cup of just boiled water and allow to steep. Remove filo pastry from freezer to allow defrost for 3.5 hours.

2. In a seperate bowl mix garlic, ras el hanout, lemon juice(not the zest), salt, saffron and saffron water olive oil and mix well

3. Place chicken thigh cutlets in a big bowl and massage the ras el hanout mixture into the chicken. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

4. Strip the leaves from the parsley and coriander. Keep the stems separately to leaves.

5. Peel and chop the carrot and onion into large chunks.

6. Put the onion, carrots, parsley and coriander stems into a large pot, add boiling water, then chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken for an hour, skimming from time to time.

7. Check carrots during this time and remove from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl after about 30 minutes when they are tender.

8. Remove chicken from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl or plate and allow to cool.

9. Carefully strain cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil it until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup.

10. Shred chicken into a bowl using your fingers, removing the bone and skin. (I wear gloves to do this.)

11. Chop parsley and coriander leaves and add to shredded chicken., along with the lemon zest, 1/2 the cinnamon, the flaked almonds,and the reduced cooking liquid to moisten the chicken.

12. Mix the rest of cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar.

13. Pre-heat oven goes 180 degrees Celsius.

14. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place one sheet of filo pastry flat on it, the brush with melted butter. Add another sheet of pastry on top, brushing with butter and repeat until you have 7 sheets of pastry on top of each other to form the base.

15. Dust the base with some of the icing sugar mixture, then pile chicken mixture in the middle to form a flattish round heap.

16. Sprinkle rest of icing sugar mixture over the top of the chicken. Add an extra sheet of pastry folded in half over the top of the chicken. Then fold over all the pastry from the bottom to form a neat package using melted butter to seal it all together as you go.

15. Turn the parcel over, add a small decoration like a heart cut out of pastry to the centre if you like, brush with melted butter. Place in hot oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

16. Allow to rest for a while, then lay kitchen string across the package to create a ceasing, sprinkle plain icing sugar over it all, carefully remove string and voila your perfectly presented B’stilla is ready to serve. If you have a doily you can sprinkle the icing sugar through this to create the pattern. If that’s too hard just sprinkle the whole thing with icing sugar!

17. Slice and serve with carrot and green salad.

Carrot Salad

Ingredients:

  • Carrots cooked in chicken cooking liquid
  • Handful of chopped parsley leaves
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1/2 finger length of fresh ginger julienned into strips

While the B’stilla is resting, heat your carrots for 1 minute in a microwave,

Add the rest of the ingredients to the carrots, mix through and serve with B’stilla and a crisp green salad.