#merry #moroccan #christmas

Our family is away at a holiday house where most of us have gathered together for a week of festivities and relaxation together.

The week we have been balancing spoiling ourselves with eating well.

Tonight’s menu focussed on Moroccan themes once again using some tried and tested recipes and adding some new!

Also with the limitations of a holiday home pantry, some ingredients are substituted but the overall outcome was just as good. That’s how family cooking should be.

Menu:

Cauliflower and orange salad

Tonight was a great example of how ingredients can be mixed and matched , depending on what you have on hand catering to to different tastes e.g no coriander, and still having lovely meal.

Chicken B’stilla
Couscous with zuchinni and carrot

Old #Tapas favourites at new beach house #morningtonpeninsula

Lovely days settling into our #airbnb beach house at Koonya Beach in Blairgowrie, on the edge of the Mornington Peninsula National Park at the very southern tip of Victoria. This is a very special part of Australia.

View from point overlooking Koonya Ocean Beach, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Today we went for a walk to Koonya Ocean Beach which is the nesting site of endangered birds and visits form wild seals. The coast is rugged and stunning with swim warnings along the way. After our walk we felt we deserved a lazy tapas lunch on the deck and a lazy afternoon, made extra special with time spent with our love,y new 6 month old granddaughter.

Lovely relaxing times in the lead up to Christmas.

Surveying the beauty!
Wild seal resting!!!

Here are some photos and recipe links for old favourite Tapas dishes and menu for lunch!

Tapas lunch

Menu included:

Prawns with chilli and garlic

Catalan chickpeas with spinach and raisins

Roasted capsicum with tuna filling

Potato and onion tortilla

Fried chorizo

Caperberries and olives

Cheese Plate with Manchego and delicious nectarines…

Oven crisped Baguette to sop up the prawn juices!

A lovely relaxed meal conducive to siesta on the deck!

Counting ourselves lucky: lunch at #Abacus #Prahan #melbourne

First plane trip in more than 12 months today, travelling from Sydney to Melbourne. Masked up all the way but that was a minor inconvenience considering how lucky we are to be able to travel to (most places) within Australia (at the moment).

Got a warm welcome at the Como MGallery Hotel #comomgallery before heading down Chapel St until we spotted Abacus and headed in for lunch. Had read about the all day dining in #broadsheet and the food certainly rates a mention. Here’s a link to their lengthier review https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/south-yarra/cafes/abacus

The Ballarat breakfast featuring Toulouse sausage and pig cheeks from a special butcher in Ballarat was accompanied by a beautifully poached egg.

All day brunch, as well as a short but good main section featuring octopus, fish of the day and steak. Exactly the type of good cafe lunch we were seeking.

Steak with chimchurri
Prahan mural cnr Chapel amd Elizabeth St’s

With cool vibes, lots of indoor greenery and large windows opening out onto the Chapel st sights and sounds(bit more subdued than normal but still buzzy) Abacus is a great stop during Prahan shopping or as a destination cafe!

Abacus
Abacus greenery

Red #Kidney Bean #Dhal

I substituted the black beans with a can of red kidney beans and added 1/2 a cup of red lentils about an hour into the cooking, adding extra water to stop it from sticking along the way.

The outcome was delicious and I’d recommend playing around with this recipe with beans and lentils of your choice. can’t go wrong really!!

Here’s the original recipe with black beans.

https://atomic-temporary-94611410.wpcomstaging.com/2015/09/06/black-bean-dhal-with-ginger-chilli-onions-and-tomato/

#Vietnamese #cabbage roll #soup with fish balls

I learnt how to make this soup at the fabulous cooking class in Hoi An Mrs Vy’s Cooking Class (my review).

This is my version which features a prawn and carrot filling, fish balls and puffed tofu.

It is a light but filling meal and very healthy.

Prep time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 10-12 green prawns shelled, I used frozen prawns
  • 1 carrot (3/4 grated and the rest cut into thin discs)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1/4 bunch of coriander
  • 2 tablespoons fish suace
  • 1/2 savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch of spring onions
  • 10 Pre-made small vietnamese fish balls – available in most Asian supermarkets.
  • fried tofu puffs
  • 2 litres chicken stock (homemade if you have)

Method:

1. Cut the core of the cabbage out being careful not to break leaves.

2. Carefully “peel” the cabbage leaves off one by one keeping them as intact as possible. Trim the leaves, removing the tough stalk and so the leaves are of as equal size as you can. Save the trimmings for your broth.

3. Bring a pot of water to boil and then submerge the cabbage leaves in the water, bringing the water off the boil so the leaves gently simmer until soft but still intact. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and douse the leaves in iced water, then allow to drain.

4. Cut the spring onions just above the white part, and then put the left over green stalks intact into the cabbage boiling water until they soften. Drain and allow to cool.

5. Chop up the prawns finely.

6. Mash up the garlic, white part of the lemongrass (about 2 teaspoons worth), chillies and some of the coriander leaves in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. I add a bit of salt to help this process. You can whizz in a small blender if you like.

7. Finely grate 3/4 of the carrot. Thinly slice the leftover white part of the spring onions.

8. in a bowl mix the prawns, garlic chilli paste and 1 tbspoons of fish sauce — mix vigorously – I use gloves – to mush together the prawns and the paste, then add sliced spring onions, grated carrot judging the quantity to have about 2/3 carrot to prawn in the mixture.

9. Add the leftover lemongrass, coriander stalks, leftover grated carrot, cabbage trimmings to the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes while you make the cabbage rolls. This adds sweetness and nutrients from your leftover vegees into the stock.

10. Dollop a teaspoon or two of prawn mixture on a cabbage leaf and , bring in the edges first, then roll to close into a secure neat parcel using the green spring onion stalks to tie them together.

11. Strain the chicken stock and put back into the pot, bring to a simmer again, add the other tablespoon of fish sauce, then add carrot discs and cabbage rolls, simmer for 5 minutes, then add fish balls, simmer for another 5-8 minutes and then finally add tofu puffs, additional coriander leaves to garnish, Taste the broth to see if additional salt is needed.

12. Serve in soup bowls and add fresh chopped chilli to spice it up if you like.

Chicken with Leek, Peas, Dill and Chilli

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s chicken traybake recipe

Here’s a link to the original recipe: https://www.today.com/recipes/nigella-lawson-s-chicken-pea-traybake-recipe-t127442

I have tweaked it to add a hint of chilli and replace the vermouth with dry white wine. My recipe also takes into account just cooking for two and cooking with our larger Australian leeks. The dill, garlic and chilli flavours somehow seep into the chicken and the peas and leeks are so yummy cooked in the juices of the chicken.

This is such a fabulous weekday, no fuss but delicious and different combination. After this first try I have to say it will definitely not be the last.

Thanks Nigella for the inspiration.

Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken thigh cutlets or thigh fillets – skin on
  • 1 kg bag of frozen peas
  • 1 leek
  • 4-5 stalks of dill with extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

1. Pre-heat fan forced oven to 200 degrees celcius

2. Empty bag of frozen peas into flat casserole dish or oven tray that will fit chicken on top snugly

3. Slice leeks into thickish rounds

4. Pound garlic and 1 chilli into a paste in a mortar and pestle,adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to help.

5. add 3/4 of the garlic chili paste, the leeks and dill torn into pieces to the peas

6. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the peas, add white wine, and mix all the base ingredients thoroughly

7. Rub leftover garlic chilli paste on chicken

8. Place chicken on top of peas and drizzle minimally with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt

9.Place in oven for 15 minutes or until skin starts to turn golden

10. Remove from oven and push peas down and mix peas around, removing chicken for a moment if needs be, so peas are slathered in the liquid and juices.

11. Roast in oven for further 45 minutes until chicken is cooked and most of the liquid is evaporated and peas are soft and juicy. Peas will lose their “greenness” but it‘s worth it, trust me!

12. Serve chicken garnished with extra dill, with peas on the side and accompany with a green salad and with or without roast potatoes for a delicious dinner

5.