#Garlic #Pepper encrusted #steak with brandy cream sauce

On a gloomy, wet evening in Sydney our home cooked steak dinner was warming and delicious!

#Stellar Chicken Marabella, #chicken

Yottam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook Simple has some great recipes but sometimes not so simple in terms of quickly getting some of the specialist ingredients which might not be in your pantry.

However I have found that they are simple enough to understand the flavours being created and to play around with them using ingredients on hand to still create delicious meals.

For example his chicken marabella recipe calls for date molasses and dates….I substituted dried apricots and pomegranate molasses which I had in the cupboard which worked well.

The chicken can be marinated overnight to develop the flavours more and or just for 15 minutes.

The quantities can also easily be adapted if you are cooking for more than 2…or if you want to serve as part of a buffet shared style meal.

Prep time: 10 minutes Marinating time(optional): 15 mins-12hrs
Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

2 chicken Marylands skin on (thigh and drumstick still joined)
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of fresh picked oregano leaves
2 tbspoons red wine vinegar
2 tbspoons olive oil
50g pitted green olives
2 teaspoons capers and 1 tbspoon of their juice
3 tbspoons chopped dried apricots (about 100g)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and black pepper
Oregano leaves to garnish

Method

1. Score each piece of chicken 3 or 4 times to the bone.

2. Place in a bowl and add all the ingredients except the wine and molasses and gently mix along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of black pepper

3. Marinate for as long as you can …overnight if possible but not essential

4. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius in fan forced oven

5. Spread the chicken on a high sided snug baking dish that allows the marinade to surround chicken. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over chicken. (I lined my baking dish with baking paper to prevent the marinade from creating too much of a mess to clean up!)

6. Cook chicken in oven for 45 minutes, basting a few times through cooking process. You want the chicken to get golden brown and be cooked until juices run clear.

7. Sprinkle generously with fresh oregano leaves to garnish.

Serve with salad and accompaniments of your choice, goes well with cous cous lr with crusty bread as the sauce created with the marinade and chicken juices is delicious.

Serves 2

#Indian Spiced Roast #Pork Belly

I usually just make a simple roast pork belly seasoned with salt and pepper, and then jazz it up like in Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad or serving with a tasty side like braised Italian.red cabbage.

Last night I decided to try adding some Indian flavours by using a sea salt rub and spicy paste, then roasting over a bed of dried chillies, using a similar technique technique to Indian Hunters Style Roast Lamb, but not needing any extra ghee or oil.

The fat from the roasting pork “fries” the dried chillies and curry leaves underneath releasing a smoking, spicy flavour into the pork. There is hardly any fat or oil left when the cooking process is complete as the chillies absorb all the oil.

The resulting pork was slightly spiced and went deliciously with my Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal and a crispy, crunchy Shredded Brussel Sprout and Green Bean salad.

Prep time: 2 hours including marination cooking time: 2 hours

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
600g boneless pork belly with the skin scored (Ask your butcher to do that)

Sea Salt Rub
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Garlic Spice Paste
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil

For Roasting:
15 dried red chillies
2 stalks of curry leaves

Method:

Combine sea salt rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Crush garlic with table salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle.

Combine garlic spice paste ingredients in a seperate small bowl

Place pork skin side down on a board.

Pierce meat side of pork with a knife to make lots of little “holes”.

Rub garlic spice paste thoroughly into the meat side of the pork.

Turn pork over.

Pat top of pork (skin side) as dry as you can get, and then rub half of the sea salt mixture into the skin and scored surfaces.

Place pork in fridge uncovered for 1-2 hours or overnight to dry out.

Heat oven to 220 degrees celcius on fan force.

Line a roasting tray that the pork can fit snugly into with foil, then baking paper.

Break dried chillies in half and lay with the curry leaves on the tray in area that pork will be placed on.

Remove pork from fridge, pat top dry again and rub rest of sea salt mixture into the skin side. place pork directly on the bed of dried chillies and curry leaves.

Place in oven to roast for 30 minutes at 220 degrees then reduce heat to 170 degrees for another 1 hour and 20 minutes. Pork should be just cooked by now with juices running clear.

Turn on grill or turn up oven to highest heat to finish off the crackling, watching carefully so the skin puffs up more but doesn’t burn

Remove pork from roasting pan, brushing off all the chillies and curry leaves from the underside, then allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, before sticking into thinking pieces to serve.

Serve with sides such as Pineapple, coconut and chilli sambal or Roasted Cauliflower, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

Thai style Sweet potato noodles and #beef #stir fry, #sweetpotatonoodles

We are trying to cut down on carbs and have been experimenting with the great range of vegetable products now available in supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths in Australia) to replace noodles and rice such as zucchini spaghetti, cauliflower rice and sweet potato noodles. Now you don’t have to even make them yourself.

This stir fry combining the sweetness of the noodles with thinly sliced beef and Thai flavours of fish sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, white pepper and chilli with capsicum, carrots and spinach was delicious. The sweet potato noodles were an excellent replacement for rice noodles.

Ready in under half an hour, it’s a great option for a quick, healthy weekday meal.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely sliced
1 small carrot diced
1/2 red capsicum diced
1 packet fresh sweet potato noodles (250g)
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Handful of coriander chopped
400g beef sliced for stir fry
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 teaspoons Thai red chilli paste OR
2-3 cloves garlic and 3 red chillies crushed to a paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Coriander leaves and slices of capsicum to garnish

Method:

1. Heat oil in wok over medium heat, add chilli paste and stir fry for 1 minute, add carrots, capsicum and onion and stir fry for 2 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Add beef, oyster sauce, fish sauce, white pepper and sugar and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until beef has all beef seared.

3. Add sweet potato noodles and spinach and gently mix through taking care not to break “noodles” and cook for 2-3 minutes until noodles are just al dente. Add chopped coriander and stir through beef mixture.

4. Squeeze over juice of 1/2 lime, if seasoning is to your taste and adjust if necessary.

4. Garnish with coriander leaves and capsicum slices and serve in bowls.

Roasted Cabbage “Steaks” with cheese and onion topping

I had never thought of doing this before nor had I tried it anywhere but I can guarantee that roasted cabbage steaks is now going to be firmly on our regular menu at home.

Slice the cabbage into thickish slices, keeping the stalk intact to hold the steak together, cut a bit off the ends so the ends can lie flat.

This first time I basted the “steaks” with a mixture of garlic, chilli and olive oil and roasted them until crispy for half an hour or so at 200 degrees Celsius, then topped with grated cheddar and finely sliced onions and grilled the tops until the onion was cooked and cheese well melted.

Absolutely delicious and a great substitute for carbs with dinner.

I am already thinking about other basted and toppings for future versions.

The legend of “Avocado Picasso”, #Miros, #Ubud

The Avocado Picasso salad at Miro’s Garden Restaurant has reached legendary status in our family due to the fact that it is only available on the menu during the avocado season in Ubud and none of us have been able to try it despite very numerous visits to this Ubudian dining institution over many years.

It doesn’t help that the definition of the “season” for avocados in Bali is a little bit vague, with most sources claiming it is between August and November when it is drier here. It has unfortunately been more unusual for us to be visiting here during those months due to work commitments at this time of the year. Hence, the availability of the Avocado Picasso to us at Miro’s has been scarce.

Somehow this time, despite it being late January, we lucked in. Holding our breath we asked the gorgeous Balinese waiter if it was “on” and we were delighted to hear it was! (We actually immediately messaged our family back in Australia to alert them to it’s existence!)

The simple description on the Miro’s menu “Avocado salad with Balinese Spices” belies the delicious flavours and presentation of the actual dish. The colours are indeed evocative of an abstract Picasso painting.

Delicious creamy avocado combined with tomatoes, lettuce, a sprinkle of parsley and crunchy fried shallots, drizzled with the most delicious dressing of young fresh coconut milk mixed with a touch of Balinese Bumbu(spice mix). It must be the complexity and sophistication of Miro’s Bumbu that adds a touch of Balinese magic into this salad.

I am definitely going to try to recreate it at home so that we can keep the legend alive outside of the Avocado season in Bali.

I am not sure if the Avocado Picasso at Miro’s was inspired by the lyrics in Modern Lovers song “Pablo Picasso” (later sung by David Bowie) but I know in our case there a few family members turning the colour of an avocado because we got to Miro’s for this divine salad first!

Well the girls would turn the color
Of the avocado when he would drive
Down their street in his El Dorado
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare

Modern Lovers, Pablo Picasso 1976

We teamed up the Salad with the consistently great Corn Fritters and Ayam Goreng for a lovely dinner in the beautiful traditional Balinese house compound and garden setting of Miro’s which has been in the same family for five generations. If in Ubud then it’s a wonderful place to enjoy lunch or dinner and a great favourite with travellers from far and wide. I just hope you get to try the Avocado Picasso when you visit!

Miro’s Garden Restaurant is on the corner of Jalan Raya Ubud(Main Street) and Jalan Bisma. http://mirosgardenrestaurantubud.blogspot.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral