#Vietnamese inspired Stuffed Squid with spicy sauce #stuffedsquid

Vietnamese inspired braised stuffed squid with pork, noodle and prawn filling

I had some large frozen squid tubes so was googling around to see how to use them imaginatively.

Found inspiration in a range of Vietnamese stuffed squid recipes like this one Braised Stuffed Squid and Vietnamese Stuffed Calamari.

Didn’t have any dried mushrooms but did have frozen prawns so chopped them finely to add some texture to the stuffing.

Turned very well and made for an easy dinner. This dish would work well look great as part of a buffet spread as well. This recipe serves 2-3 served with rice but can be easily multiplied for larger groups.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large squid tubes or 4 smaller tubes
  • 100g pork mince
  • 4 small prawns shelled, deveined, diced finely
  • 4 spring onions, finely diced and white and green parts kept seperately
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 20g cellophane/vermicelli noodles soaked in hot water until soft
  • 2-3 red chillies finely chopped (deseed for less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes diced
  • 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar or 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons or so of roughly chopped fresh mint and coriander
  • 1/2 fresh lime

Method:

1. Defrost frozen squid tubes and frozen prawns until completely thawed.

2. Soak noodles in bowl of hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain. Cut into small pieces/short lengths.

3. Make pork stuffing, place minced pork in a seperate mixing bowl with ½ tsp salt and knead until smooth. Then garb small handfuls of the pork and slap or throw them against the sides of the bowl until tender and almost looks like a paste. Then add prawns, garlic, half the chopped chillies, half the chopped green part of the spring onions,1 teaspoon palm sugar or 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, noodles and combine well.

4. Stuff the squid tubes leaving some room at each end to allow mixture to expand. Make one or two small slits across the top of the squid tubes to allow air to escape. Secure ends with toothpicks and skewers.place in steamer over a pan of simmering water and cook for 15-20 minutes or until filling is firm and cooked and squid tubes are tender. (I steamed the leftover stuffing alongside the squid to not waste it)

5. Heat vegetable oil in frying pan, Then add tomatoes, rest of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, white part of spring onions, rest of the chillies, fish sauce and stir fry. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes have softened. Remove the sauce from the pan to a seperate bowl.

6 Add squid to same frying pan without cleaning pan after removing the sauce. Cook, turning carefully, for 5 minutes or until squid is light golden amd covered in pan juices.

7. Slice squid into thickish rounds, spoon over remaining sauce from the bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and mint and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with steamed rice or present on a platter on a bed of lettuce or watercress as part of a buffet or shared main.

Vietnamese inspired stuffed squid

#Lamb Curry #Filo Pie with #Kersik #Coconut crumbs

We are trying to cut down on carbs again so trying to come up with ways to have curry flavours without eating rice or breads.

This recipe is inspired by Morrocan B’stilla, replacing the filling with Indian flavours and replacing the almond cinnamon icing sugar sprinkle traditionally used in the Morrocan version with Kersik, a Keralan coconut crumb mixed with cinnamon and cardamom powder.

Basically, you first make a dry curry with desiccated coconut and then bake it in a light filo pastry crust. The result was a delicious crispy package with spicy slow cooked lamb filling.

Defrost Pastry: 2 hours Prep time: 20 minutes cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 7 sheets filo pastry
  • 4 lamb chump chops, bone in, cut into bite size pieces (reserve bones to use in curry)
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced into half moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, equal ginger and 2 red chillies pounded into paste (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick or piece of cinnamon bark
  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 dried chillies
  • 1 star anise
  • Handful curry leaves (oprtional)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cummin powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinammon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder(optional)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter slightly cooled

Method:

1. Remove filo pastry from fridge to bring to room temperature allowing 2 hours.

2. Prepare onions, ginger garlic chilli paste and cut up lamb.

3. Heat oil in heavy based casserole dish, add cummin seeds, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves and cook over medium heat until crackling stops. Take care not to burn spices.

4. Add onions and cook slowly until golden and just starting to caramelise.

5. Add ginger,garlic, chilli paste and mix through onions cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute.

6. Add turmeric, chilli and cummin powders and mix through to distribute evenly and just heat through.

7. Add lamb, 1/2 teaspoon salt, dried chillies and 2 tablespoons water to stop sticking and coat lamb in onion spice mixture. Slow lamb to seal, stirring from time to time for 2-3 minutes.

8. Add 1.5 cups of hot water or chicken stock to just cover lamb. Simmer with lid on over low heat for 30 minutes, checking regularly to ensure it isn’t sticking.

9. While lamb is simmering, toast the coconut until golden brown in a dry pan, taking great care as it will burn quickly if not constantly shifted and stirred. Allow coconut to cool slightly.

10. Add 1/2 the toasted coconut to the lamb and mix through, add more water or stock and cook for another 15-20 minutes until lamb is very tender and liquid is reduced.

11. Taste to see if additional salt required, this is unlikely especially if you are using chicken stock with salt in it.

12. Clean, chop coriander and mint. Melt butter and allow to cool slightly.

14. Remove lid and reduce mixture until liquid almost totally reduced, leaving only a moist coating on the lamb. Then mix through coriander and mint.

14. Transfer lamb to a plate to cool, remove dried chillies, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods(if you want and can find them). I just leave them in! PRE-HEAT oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

15. Whilst lamb is cooling, mix cinnamon powder and cardamom powder with remaining toasted coconut, pound together in a mortar and pestle, making a fragrant mixture to layer between the pastry sheets.

16. Take one sheet of filo pastry, lay horizontally, brush with butter and lay another sheet on top and repeat with another sheet. After 3 sheets, brush the next one with utter and add a sprinkling of the Kersik coconut mixture. (4 filo sheets in total horizontally)

17. Layer a sheet of filo vertically across the middle of the horizontal stack, brush with butter, sprinkle with coconut mixture and repeat with 2 more sheets. (3 filo sheets vertically in total)

18. Add the lamb mixture in a neat even pile in the middle section where the base is made up of 7 sheets of filo.

19. Fold the horizontal section over from right to left, taking some of the vertical section over to create a straight edge, brush with butter, sprinkle with more coconut if you have any left, fold the left side in and repeat with remaining sections of pastry to create a neat rectangular parcel.

10. Place the parcel face down on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush with remaining melted butter.

11. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

12. Remove, sprinkle with remaining Kersik, allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into wedges to serve with salad, and raita.

Simple Roman #Lamb

Simple delicious Italian dish that transports me back to trattorias in the back streets of Rome. Fresh, honest food, cooked with love!

We’ve been enjoying the Spring weather and trips to our local markets here in Sydney …the vegetables at the markets are so much fresher and much more interesting than supermarkets.

We are lucky despite lockdown to have Paddington markets and EQ markets nearby, within our 5km lockdown zone. A long way from Rome but inspiration to recreate some of the memories of times gone by.

These photos are from dinners reviewed here Divine food in the eternal city at Da Enzo and La Pentolaccia

So my humble Roman Lamb recipe truly pays back by transporting us to wonderful times of international travel and many visits to Rome.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time:1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • 6 lamb chump chops on the bone, fat removed and cut into chunks or 750g lamb shoulder, fat removed and cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4/5 sprigs of fresh thyme(optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon coarse chopped rosemary
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  • 4 anchovy fillets coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Chop meat, heat oil to almost smoking, then brown in batches, adding 2 chopped cloves of garlic along the way. I use a non-stick frying pan and then transfer to a small casserole dish. ( beware this will turn your smoke alarms on if you don’t use fans/open windows!)

3. Place lamb and garlic in a casserole dish with a lid. Sprinkle with salt, lots of black pepper, thyme and flour.

4. Meanwhile deglaze the pan in which you browned the meat with 1 cup of white wine, then pour the wine and pan juices mixture over the lamb.

5. Put casserole dish in oven with lid on for 30 minutes.

6. While lamb is roasting, put rest of garlic, rosemary and anchovies into a mortar and pestle and pound into a smooth a paste as you can. Add the wine vinegar and mix vigorously to creates an emulsion.

7. After 30 minutes, remove lamb from oven, pour over the rosemary emulsion and mix through well.

8. Put lamb back in oven with lid off for another 30 minutes until fully cooked through and browned on top.

9. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve with sides such as #Cipollini Onions #agrodolce or Roman #Cauliflower? #Broccoli? Or a simple rocket and parmesan salad.

Clam and Scallop Chowder

Memories of our time in Boston when we enjoyed Clam Chowder and other delicious seafood …reviewed here Legal Seafood

The weather in Sydney and the purchase of a bag of Cloudy Bay Clams from St Peter’s Fish Butchery in Oxford St inspired me to try to recreate it at home. Not all seafood outlets sell clams in Sydney so you might need to shop around to get them. (Subject to lockdown orders of course!)

After trawling the internet for clam chowder recipes, I cobbled together a few ideas into this recipe which turned out to be delicious.

Watch out because it is more filling than you would expect with just clams, scallops and 1 potato. You won’t need much more than a small bowl, a salad and maybe a crispy bread roll. Leftovers the next day were good though! Recipe would be fine for starters for 3-4 people.

You can’t really go wrong with the combo of cream, white wine, butter and seafood!!

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 600g clam/Vongole in shells
  • 250g scallops chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 leek finely diced (white part only)
  • 1 stick celery finely diced
  • 1 bacon bone (ask butcher)
  • 4 slices bacon, rind removed and finely chopped
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium size waxy potato finely diced
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups of cream!
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Method

1. Put clams in large pot, add bacon bone, cover with water bring to boiled, then lower heat and put lid on for 10 minutes or so until clams open.

2. Meanwhile dice all ingredients and keep separately aside. the smaller you dice everything the more “delicate” the end product will be!

3. Remove bacon bone. Strain clams from stock through doubled up paper towel, reserving stock for chowder.

4. Allow clams to cool. Reserve Clam stock.

5. Rinse pot, add bacon and fry until fat renders and bacon is crisped but not brown. Add butter, diced leeks and diced celery. Cook slowly for 5 minutes until leek and celery soften, stirring to stop the mixture sticking.

6. Add potatoes, add the bacon bone back in, mix through, then add white wine to deglaze pan and allow to bubble away for 5 minutes until wine is reduced to about half, making sure potatoes don’t stick.

7. Add 2-3 cups of the clam stock to just cover potatoes, also the thyme and bay leaves and cover, simmering for 8-10 minutes until potatoes are cooked and tender. Add additional clam stock if required.

8. Remove clam meat from shells while mixture is simmering, throw away any unopened clams. Finely dice clam meat. Dice scallops if you haven’t done so as yet.

9. Remove bacon bone. Add clam meat and scallops to mixture, add cream and simmer for 5 minutes until mixture is well heated through. Fish out thyme and bay leaves.

10. Garnish with pepper and chopped parsley and serve.

Three Chilli Seafood Curry

The combination of dried chillies, whole red chillies and chilli powder makes this curry sound fiercely hot, but it’s not unless you eat the while chillies.

It’s actually a great way to cater for all levels of spice lovers, because the curry itself is quite mild – but the chillies are there for the hot heads as well who want to eat them!

A quick and easy mixed seafood curry to spice up your weeknight dinner line up.

You do need a well stocked Indian Spice cupboard though so check the ingredients..although the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves are optional, but they an extra layer of add deliciousness if you have them.

Ingredients:

  • 200g flathead or white fish fillets cut into pieces
  • 100g squid rings
  • 6 medium size green prawns
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 4 dried chillies left whole
  • 2 red chillies stem cut off but left whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds(optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Handful of curry leaves(optional)
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind pulp or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Coriander and diced red onion for garnish

Method:

1. Heat oil in heavy based saucepan with lid.

2. Add fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds if using, dried chillies and heat through until just fragrant. Be careful not to burn.

3. Add onions , red chillies and curry leaves and cook gently until onions are translucent.

4. Add ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric and cumin powder and mix through until fragrant.

5. Add seafood, scatter over salt, and mix through to cover in spices. Add tamarind pulp, yoghurt and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer.

6. Simmer gently with lid on for 8-10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through.

7. Check that tamarind has disintegrated and remove any chunks if necessary.

8. Garnish with coriander and diced red onion and serve with plain rice and a cucumber raaita.

#Mustard #parmesan and #rosemary encrusted rack of #lamb

This was a delicious quick dinner tonight. This like a crumbed roast with no carbs. The addition of a bit of beaten egg to the coating mixture makes sure the lamb has a lovely parmesan, mustard and rosemary “crust.” Quick and easy dinner any night of the week or looks impressive for dinner part.Great with a nice salad or add roast potato or chips if you like.

Prep time: 10 minutes cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb (5-6 cutlets)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon or mild English mustard
  • Handful of fresh Rosemary leaves stripped from stem
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove crushed or minced
  • Salt and black pepper

Method:

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius

2. Heat non-stick saucepan on stovetop, sprinkle rack of lamb with salt and crushed black pepper and drizzle with olive oil

3. Brown lamb on all sides in pan, until nice brown colour achieved

4. Line baking pan with baking paper.

5. Place lamb rack on baking pan.

6. Mix mustard, rosemary leaves and 4 tablespoons of the beaten egg.

7. Smear mustard mixture thickly on all exposed part of the lamb rack.

8 sprinkle with half the parmesan.

9. Cook in oven for 20 minutes.

10.remove from oven, a sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan, then return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes.

11. Check that meat is done to your liking with a meat thermometer 71 degrees for medium rare is how we like it.

12. Remove lamb from oven, allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.

13. Serve with salad and roast potatoes or chips.