#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.

Marvellous Mudbrick Vineyard #waiheke #aukland #nz

Had a delicious lunch at Mudbrick Vineyard on Boxing Day after catching the ferry from Auckland on a beautiful day. Scenery and views from Mudbrick Vineyard across the harbour to Auckland are divine as are the vegetable and herb gardens and landscaping in general.

All makes for a stunning setting for lunch.

The menu has a really interesting selection of food with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and the NZ wine is lovely. Servings are very generous ..we tried the charcuterie board, shared antipasto, beef shin, steak, whole flounder and roasted octupus…but there were ten of us! Take a group so you can try more. See photos below.

Loved our visit and highly recommend you try it if in NZ anytime soon.

Kingfish with orange chilli and sesame seeds

Shared antipasto plate – enough for 3 people

Charcuterie board with fillets and terrines
Whole flounder
Delicious roasted octupus

Annie’s Festive #Duck Roll Recipe

My friend Annie has made this beautiful duck roll for a number of years as part of our family Christmas feast and this year I noted down the recipe and took photos as we went.

It is stunning addition to the table and can of course be enjoyed at anytime of the year. The combination of duck, chicken mince, pistachios, cranberries and sour cherries is delicious and looks festive and is quite delicious.

Ingredients

1 duck skin-on deboned by your butcher

450g chicken mince

250g unsalted peeled pistachio nuts

100g cranberries chopped

1 can (400g) sour cherries drained

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Skewers and kitchen twine

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Lay duck flat on a board skin-side down, season skin with slat and pepper

Mix chicken mince with oregano, pistachios, chopped cranberries, season with salt and pepper

Spread chicken over inside (middle part) of duck in an even layer

Stud chicken with sour cherries, about four across, laying evenly in rows “down” the duck.

Roll the duck and secure pulling “skin” across the duck and through the wing holes on the other side

Tie the duck together with kitchen string.

Rub duck sparingly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dusting of dried oregano.

Put duck roll in roasting tin, along with wings and leftover chicken mixture formed into a patty.

Roast for an hour (about 40 minutes a kilogram) and until duck is golden brown.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes then slice into thin slices and place on a serving tray.

Serve with glazed carrots and a green salad for a lovely summer meal.

The best Turkey is a brined Turkey

Our Xmas turkey will enjoy a brining tonight before stuffing and cooking in the bbq tomorrow.

Here’s a link to Nigella Lawson’s Turkey brine recipe….use what spices you have on hand, anything is better than nothing!

https://www.nigella.com/recipes/spiced-and-superjuicy-roast-turkey

Eggplant, anchovy and capsicum #pizza with #basil #veggies

Haven’t made pizza for ages but was inspired by my visit to the Entertainment Quarter markets in Centennial Park in Sydney this morning.

Brought home a beautiful haul of fresh, organic vegetables and thought an (almost) vegetarian pizza as a unique take for football finals food would be a nice addition to the usual sausage rolls and meat pies served at this time of the year at parties around the country. Still pizza though so figure it fits into the genre!

My basket of goodies from the markets this morning.

I started with the pizza dough for the base so it could “prove” for an hour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza is fun to make and is so good when you make it all from scratch.

Prep time: 1 hour cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups of plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water

7g (1 sachet) dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1.5 tsps salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to froth.

Mix flour and salt and place in a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour, add frothy yeast mixture, and oil and mix using a cutting motion using a round edge knife or metal spatula.

When mixture starts to come together, quickly knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Should be a lovely smooth blob with a slight elasticity to it.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it, cover with glad wrap/cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to “prove” and double in size.

Sauce for base

ingredients

2 small ripe tomatoes finely diced

1/2 onion diced finely

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used an equal mix of tomato and sriracha sauce)

1 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add garlic and sauté until just fragrant, add onions and cook gently until transparent, then add mixed herbs, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chilli flakes and white wine and simmer about 5 minutes until wine evaporates, then add water and simmer about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened and tomatoes have softened and created a nice sauce, add more water if necessary to cook more for tomatoes to break up. set aside to cool.

Topping

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 whole red capsicum

4 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion sliced very thinly

8-10 small marinated green olives

Grated mozzarella

Cherry size bocconcini balls

Preparation

Capsicum

Turn on your grill/oven to 250 degrees Celsius on the grill setting. Line a small baking tray with baking paper, prick the capsicum with a fork in a few spots to allow air to escape, place on baking tray and roast in oven until skin is totally blackened…about 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag and knot the top. Set aside to cool, the skin will easily peel off when you are ready. Peel off skin, remove core and seeds, slice into thin strips and set aside.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant thinly and cover with salt and rest for 30 minutes or so, this will remove he moisture and stop the eggplant form discolouring. After minutes, drain away liquid, pat dry and pan fry with olive oil until golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to drain off excess oil and set aside.

Olives

Slice into smaller pieces, removing pits if necessary.

Onion

Slice thinly and set aside.

Bocconcini

Slice 6 cherry bocconcini balls into 4 rounds and set aside

TURN ON OVEN TO PRE-HEAT GRILL to 250 degrees Celsius

ASSEMBLY:

Roll out half the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired size and thickness. Remember the dough will rise a bit in the oven. Lightly flour your pizza pan or baking tray and place your pizza base on that. (You can freeze the other half to use another time)

Spread your cooled tomato sauce over the base.

Sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella sparsely or not so sparsely (up to you) over the tomato sauce, then place eggplant slices evenly around the base, add s shreds of the anchovy fillets, capsicum, raw sliced onion, olives and bocconcini over the base. Add another very light sprinkle of mozzarella.

Cook under 250 degree grill, lowering heat slightly if top looks like burning, lightly cover with foil if necessary to low base to cook and crisp up.

Remove from oven after 15 minutes, scatter with fresh basil leaves and allow to sit for a few minutes. Ready for devouring!