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Spicy Roast Chicken with lemon and onions

This roast chicken is spiced up with an indian marinade and perked up by the lemon and onions that it is stuffed with. Perfect for any occasion from Sunday lunch or simple weeknight dinner. Delicious with roast potatoes, a crisp green salad and a crispy white wine!

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours
Ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken (approximately 1.5kg)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tspn salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 springs of thyme
1 lemon cut into quarters
1 onion cut into quarters

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Pound garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle.

Make marinade by mixing together chilli powder, turmeric powder, cummin powder, salt, crushed garlic and oil in a bowl.

Pat chicken dry, rub inside of chicken with ¼ of the marinade. Place a few springs of thyme inside the chicken, then stuff with equal amounts of the lemon and onions. (Save any leftover onions and lemon)

 

 


Truss the chicken tying together chicken legs with kitchen twine. I also use small metal skewers to close the cavity but this is not essential.
Rub the outside of the chicken with rest of marinade.

Line roasting pan with baking paper.
Lay a “bed” for the chicken with the rest of thyme sprigs, place chicken on thyme.
Throw in any leftover lemon or onion if you have any.

Roast chicken in oven for approximately 1.5 hours, checking to see if cooked by inserting skewer in the thickest part of thigh. If the chicken is cooked the juices will run clear with no sign of pink.

Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lemon and onion and  discard before carving.Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Fried eggplant and pea curry

This curry is delicious with grilled lamb, fish or chicken or as a main served with dhal, rice and roti for a vegetarian meal.

Frying the eggplant pieces before putting the curry together makes the eggplant melt like butter in your mouth.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

1 large eggplant cut into cubes
1 onion diced finely
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tomato chopped into medium chunks
2 cloves garlic and same quantity of ginger pounded into a paste
Salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cummin powder
1 tsp cummin seeds
Handful of curry leaves
6-8 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Optional: 2-3 green chillies left whole but split down the middle (remove seeds for milder outcome)
½ cup of water
Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

Method:
Place eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for at least 30minutes. This allows draw some of the bitter juices from the eggplant rather than it all going into the curry sauce.


Drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towel before placing in a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon each of turmeric, chilli powder and cummin powder and mix well to coat.
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat, then add eggplant in batches frying until golden on the outside but not overcooking. Drain eggplant on paper towel and set aside. Repeat until all your eggplant is fried. (The eggplant will absorb oil so you might need to add a tablespoon or so more to fry all the pieces.)

Once eggplant is all fried, wipe pan clean, then add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat. Add curry leaves and cummin seeds to the pan and heat through to flavour oil.

Add onion and cook until transparent, then add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then add tomato, and the rest of the powered spices (i.e ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp cummin powder), the green chillies if using and ¼ cup of water. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat until tomato starts breaking up, adding more water if needed to prevent mixture from sticking to pan.


Add in eggplant pieces and peas and gently mix through the spice mixture. Cook for 2 minutes until peas are cooked to your liking.
Remove from heat, garnish with coriander, serve and enjoy

Durban Indian Meatballs in tomato curry sauce

This is another Durban comfort-food staple. It is often referred to as “lamb kebabs in chutney”. This curry is delicious with roti or rice and a dollop of cucumber raita.

I often make extra meatballs and freeze them as they can also be used as an appetizer, just grilled from frozen and served with a  Mint Chutney or Chilli Sauce on the side.
These meatballs can also be cooked with borlotti or cannellini beans for an Indian version of the Spanish dish of meatballs and beans in tomato sauce. Adding beans changes the texture of the gravy making it “more creamy” and much heartier than the basic tomato version.

Ingredients
Meatballs:

1 kg lamb or beef low fat mince
½ onion finely diced
4 cloves garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger peeled
1 teaspoon cummin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 fresh red chillies chopped finely (can be deseeded for less heat0
1/4 bunch of coriander finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons worth)
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon of salt

To make meatballs:
Use a mortar and pestle to pound ginger and garlic into a paste.


In a large bowl, add mince and all other ingredients, including ginger and garlic. Add beaten egg last.
Mix well with your hands (I use disposable gloves), then form into medium size balls
Place on baking sheet lined with baking paper, put extras into a plastic container for freezing.
Heat oven to 170 degrees celsius and cook for 20 minutes or until just browned on the outside, cook for 5-10 minutes if serving as an appetiser. Taste test to see if cooked through so the meatballs don’t dry out too much.
If using from frozen, heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius, place frozen meatballs on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cook as above. They might take slightly longer as they are cooking from frozen.

Tomato Curry Sauce

Ingredients:
1 onion finely diced
2 large fresh ripe tomatoes diced
1 handful of curry leaves
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
2 sticks of cinnamon (preferabley cinnamon bark available in Indian grocers but quills are fine if not)
3 cloves of garlic and equal amount of fresh ginger peeled
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups chicken stock
Coriander to garnish
Vegetable oil

Method:
Heat vegetable oil in medium size heavy based pan which has a lid
Add cummin seeds, curry leaves and cinnamon sticks and heat gently until fragrant
Add onions and cook gently until transparent
Add ginger and garlic and heat through
Add all powdered spices: chilli powder, turmeric, cummin powder, salt and sugar and mix through for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring to avoid tomato mixture burning.

Add 1 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat and then simmer for 15 minutes, adding more chicken stock as required to make sure the tomatoes break down but don’t stick to the bottom. (*See below if you want to add borlotti or cannellini beans to your curry)


After 15 minutes, add the meatballs which have been cooked for about 20 minutes in the oven, add any juices from the baking sheet and more chicken stock or water to just cover meatballs and tomatoes.


Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until tomatoes have broken up and a thick curry sauce is created.
Serve with hot rotis or white rice and cucumber raita.

Note:
Durban Indian Meatballs and Borlotti Beans Tomato curry.

For this version of the meatballs, add 1 can (400g) of borlotti beans or cannellini beans to the tomatoes after they have been cooking for about 5 minutes, add an additional ½ cup of chicken stock, and simmer mixture for another 15 minutes before adding the meatballs.

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Chili con Carne

I was going to,post my own recipe for Chilli Con Carne but Ronit’s has tequila in it which has have to make it better! Great looking recipe…can’t wait to try it! Thanks Ronit!!

Tasty Eats

Chili con Carne Ronit PensoChile con carne is one of my favorite cold weather dishes. Over the years, I came up with the following recipe, that became my go-to recipe, but even this one keeps evolving.

View original post 706 more words

Spice up your life!

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide have a special place in their hearts for spicy foods, and it turns out that these foods don’t only taste great, but provide wonderful health benefits as well. Although everyone prefers a different level of spice in their foods, it doesn’t actually matter how much your food […]

via 6 Health Reasons To Eat Spicy Foods More Often — Our Better Health

Durban Style Chicken Briyani

Briyani-Breyani-Biryani…, however you want to spell it, is a traditional feast dish in the homes of Indian families. The accompaniments of Grapes Apple Mint Raita, Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt and Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with turmeric and ginger make the serving of biryani a true foodie experience.

This family recipe includes lentils, boiled eggs, spicy potatoes along with the marinated chicken and golden fried onions which combine for a protein and carbohydrate packed pot of deliciousness. Definitely best kept for special occasions!

The chicken can be replaced with lamb for an equally wonderful result.

This recipe should be started the day before or early in the morning to allow the chicken to marinate in the yoghurt-tomato based marinade which tenderises and flavours the chicken. The time and effort required to prepare this delicious layered rice dish is definitely worth the effort and the leftovers are especially delicious the day after

I have organised this recipe with the ingredients and method for each different steps to make it easier to follow, as well as providing a shopping list at the end to help you get all the ingredients you’ll need.

Chicken and Marinade

1 large onion sliced
50g butter and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 stalks of curry leaves stripped from stalk
4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
1 can of chopped tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger
1.5 teaspoons chilli powder
1.5 teaspoons of cummin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
About 1.5 kg of chicken with or without bones – I use a mix e.g 3 chicken thigh cutlets with bone or 3 chicken drumsticks as well as 4 chicken thigh fillets cut into large chunks

Step 1: Marinate Chicken
Heat oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan, add curry leaves and fry until fragrant, then add onion and cook gently until brown and caramelised. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then pound the onions and curry leaves in a mortar and pestle to break up onion and create a rough paste.

In a separate bowl add the chicken, yoghurt, tomato, pounded onions, ginger and garlic, and rest of spices. Mix well and allow to marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Step 2: Boil Eggs

3-4 eggs
Hard boil eggs, shell and halve
Set aside

Step 3: Par-boil Rice

2.5 cups of basmati rice
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt
5-6 cups water

Add water to large pot and bring to boil with turmeric and salt
Add rice and cook for 8-10 minutes until par-boiled only – do not overcook at this stage or rice will go mushy when cooked in oven.
Drain rice in colander and set aside

Step 4: Par-cook Potatoes

2 large potatoes peeled and cut into medium size chunks
½ tspn chilli powder
½ tspn cummin powder
½ tspn turmeric powder
½ tspn salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add potatoes to bowl with spices and 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to help coat potatoes evenly in spices

Heat rest of oil in a non-stick frying pan, add potatoes in small batches if necessary, frying potatoes until the outside of the potatoes are fried and an outer “skin” is created. Potatoes will not be cooked through but remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Set aside

Step 5: Lentils

2 cans of brown lentils, drained
Set aside

Step 6: Onions for topping

1 large onion cut into thin slices
50 g butter and 1 tablespoon oil

Fry onions gently in butter and oil until golden but not brown
Set aside

 

Step 6: Cook Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
1.5 teaspoons of cummin seeds
5 green cardamon pods
2 sticks of cinnamon (preferably cinnamon bark)
1.5 cups of water/chicken stock
Marinated chicken

Heat oil in casserole dish or large heavy based pot, add cummin, cinnamon and cardarmom pods and fry for 1 minute until fragrant taking care not to burn spices

Add chicken mixture to pot and simmer, stirring so it does not stick to bottom until chicken is sealed

Add 1 cup of water, cover pot with lid and simmer slowly for 25 minutes checking that the mixture isn’t sticking – add a bit more water if necessary. You want a fairly dry resulting mixture as the base for the briyani.

Skim the excess oil off as you go.

After 25 minutes, remove chicken from heat and set aside.

Step 7: Assembly

Handful of Fresh torn Mint leaves
50 g butter
Handful of chopped Coriander
1 cup of water

Prepared Ingredients:
Cooked chicken
Partially cooked potatoes
Hard boiled eggs
Lentils
Par-boiled eggs
Fried Onions
 

Heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

In a large casserole or crock pot begin to assemble the layered briyani:

Place 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the bottom of the casserole pan

Sprinkle bottom with 1-2 handfuls of lentils

Add the chicken mixture over the lentils using a slotted spoon to minimise the amount of liquid from the cooked chicken that this transferred to the briyani

Add a layer of lentils on top of the chicken, then a layer of rice (3/4 cup), sprinkle a few mint leaves over the rice

Place potatoes and eggs over this layer and sprinkle a few mint leaves over the potatoes and eggs

Place rest of rice over the potatoes and eggs and sprinkle with some water.

Cover the pot with foil to “to seal” the mixture then place lid on top of foil

Place in oven for 30 minutes, then push small knobs of butter into the rice at intervals, sprinkle with more water if rice on the top is drying out. You can check the progress of the cooking of the potatoes by inserting a long spoon vertically into mixture and carefully removing a sample of the dish. The rice and potatoes are the best to sample to determine how much longer you need to cook the briyani – I generally find it will require another 30 minutes at least.

After a total of one hour, check on the briyani again and add the reserved fried onions over the top of the rice and place back in oven for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the briyani from the oven and allow to rest for at least half and hour before serving.

To serve, dish out onto a platter ensuring there is a representation of all the different ingredients, sprinkle with chopped mint or coriander leaves.

Serve with accompaniments such as Indian Pickles,  Grapes Apple Mint Raita, Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt and Red Lentil Tarka Dhal  .

Shopping List

Here’s the list of ingredients to use for the Durban Style Chicken Briyani recipe:

  • 1.5 kg chicken – 3-4 thigh cutlets with bone and skin and 4 thigh fillets
  • 2 cans brown lentils
  • Tub of plain yoghurt
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1-2 cups Chicken stock (or water)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 150g butter
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Curry Leaves
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Chilli Powder
  • Cumin Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Cumin seeds
  • Green Cardamom pods
  • Cinnamon bark (available at Indian Grocers) or quills
  • Salt

Durban-style Lamb and potato curry

Another great family staple especially for cooler months.

freespiritfood

The smell of curry leaves frying in oil with spices and onions is one that always transports me to the kitchen of my Aunt Vimala. Even though it was a regular occurrence in our own home, there was something very special about staying over at Uncle Pat and Aunty Vim’s with all the cousins. She was a wonderful cook and inspired my love of cooking. This traditional lamb and potato curry is a staple in many South African Indian homes and now in the homes of my family and many friends in Australia.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time:1.5 hours
Ingredients
800g diced lamb, preferably lamb chump chops with fat removed and diced so that there are some small bones but plain diced lamb can be used too
3 teaspoons ginger and garlic ground together into a paste
1 large brown onion diced finely
1 tomato chopped
1/2 bunch coriander…

View original post 372 more words

Baked Italian Sausages with red capsicum and onions

As the cooler days approach here in Sydney, this is a quintessential comfort food dish which will warm your heart and soul in true Italian style.

Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours (including grilling capsicum)

Ingredients
6-8 Italian spicy sausages or merguez sausages
2 red capsciums
2 large onions cut into thickish slices
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
3 red chillies sliced lengthwise (optional)
Handful of fresh basil and parsley
Crusty bread

Method
Heat oven to 150 degrees celcius

Place whole red capsicums on roasting tray and place in oven for 35-45 minutes until skin is black and blistering, turn during cooking process to evenly blacken capsicum

Meanwhile slice onions, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook onions slowly until just golden

Remove capsicum from oven and place in plastic bag, tying up ends of bag. Allow capsicum to sweat inside plastic bag for 5 minutes which will loosen skin.

Increase oven heat to 180 degrees celcius.

Place sausages in a baking tray, add a little water to moisten and allow to roast for 25 minutes.

Whilst sausages are cooking remove one capsicum at a time and remove skin, cut through and remove seeds and core. Slice capsicum into thick slices and set aside, repeat for second capsicum.

Remove sausages from oven, add garlic, chillies if using, onions (with cooking oil) and capsicum, toss ingredients gently through and put back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked and nicely browned.

When done, add fresh basil leaves and parsley and allow to cool slightly before serving with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of red.

Prawn, fennel and coriander Gow Gee – steamed dumplings

I created these little treats because I was searching for a light, healthy but hot appetiser that would complement an Indian dinner without filling guests up too much.

Steaming these dumplings is easy and quick and you can do this just before or as guests arrive which if you want to use these as canapés which works well.

The ready made “gow  gee” pastry is easy to find in Asian food store refrigerator section and very simple to work with. You will also need a steaming basket or steamer.

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I used fennel, ginger, cummin, fresh coriander and ginger to add subtle Indian flavours to the prawn filling. Most steamed dumplings recipes don’t require you to cook the filling beforehand but I decided to so I could roast the fennel seeds and use cooked onion. I didn’t use any chilli in these as I planned to serve with chilli oil on the side.

Ingredients

8 large, green or uncooked prawns – shelled, deveined and chopped into medium dice
1/2 onion very finely diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tspn fresh ginger crushed to a paste
1 tspn fennel seeds
1/4 tspn cummin powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
Water and pastry brush
20 gow gee pastry wrappers
chilli oil or sauce to serve with dumplings

 

Method

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat

Add fennel seeds and fry until fragrant but take care not to burn

Add onion and fry until transparent, then add ginger and cumin powder and sauté for half a minute

Add prawns and a pinch of salt and sauté for just a minute or two until they just turn pink.

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Remove the prawns, add coriander, mix through and set aside in a bowl to cool completely.

 

Take one gow gee wrapper at a time and place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle, brush edges of pastry with a little bit of water, fold over pastry pleating and pressing together the edges to seal completely. Repeat until all the filling has been used. Makes approximately fifteen to twenty dumplings.

Lightly oil steamer basket and place dumplings in it spaced without touching each other. Place steamer over boiling water, cover and steam for ten to fifteen minutesIngredients until wrappers are translucent and tender.

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Serve with chilli oil or sauce to the side.

Irish Sourdough Soda Bread

This looks like a great recipe for Irish Soda bread to go with my Irish Lamb Stew compliments of the intriguingly named Mouth Brothels blog….

It is St. Patrick’s Day and the most Irish bread I know is soda bread. Basically a bread made from baking soda, buttermilk, salt and flour, it was long a staple of thrifty homemakers. Soda bread is a quick bread with little kneading or rise time, so by adding my sourdough starter, I basically quadrupled […]

via Sourdough Rosemary Soda Bread — Mouth Brothels

Irish Lamb Stew for St Patrick’s Day

This is an old family favourite stew made extra delicious by the addition of crispy fried bacon and the use of white pepper. I love lots of fresh thyme in it as well.

Perfect way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day no matter where you are in the world🍀🍀🍀

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Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients
5-6 lamb neck chops,with some of the meat cut into smaller chunks off the bone
1 tspn salt
1 tspn black pepper
1 tspn white pepper
½ cup flour
½ cup water
Vegetable oil and butter
4 cloves of garlic crushed
2 onions sliced into thickish rings
Chicken stock
2 carrots chopped into medium size chunks
2 desiree potatoes chopped into quarters
Half a bunch of thyme leaves stripped from stalks
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine

Method
1. Place bacon in frying pan and cook until crisp and fat has rendered into pan
2. Put lamb, salt, black pepper and flour into mixing bowl and coat lamb evenly
3. Brown lamb in batches on high heat in frying pan – might need to add butter to pan which helps brown lamb when bacon fat runs out
4. Once finished with frying pan deglaze it by adding a cup of water and keep pan juices aside
5. Place a thin layer of oil in the casserole pot, then add garlic and half the onion and sauté until onions become golden and transparent
6. Add bacon pieces, lamb, white pepper, thyme and bay leaves to casserole pot and cover with wine, deglazed pan juices and chicken stock – simmer for 40 minutes-1 hour.
7. Taste to see if extra pepper and/or salt is needed
8. Add potatoes, carrots and rest of onion to lamb and simmer for 20-25 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender
9. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve with irish soda bread

Indian Spiced Crab with crispy wafers

This makes a delicious canapé served with crispy thin wafers or mini pappadums on the side. Also be perfect on betel leaves if you can source them. Buying the pre-packed  crabmeat makes this a very quick and easy recipe to make. I made this recipe up on Christmas Day and it received good reviews from the family so thought I would share…unfortunately no end product photos!

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 x 400g/500g tub of crab meat (available from seafood shops or supermarkets in Australia) – fork through crab meat to break chunks up
1 onion finely diced
1 tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste (2 cloves garlic and equivalent ginger ground to a fine paste)
2 sprigs of curry leaves removed from stalk
1/2 cinammon stick (preferably cinnamon bark)
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
1 red chilli finely diced (can be omitted)
1 tspn black mustard seeds or nigella seeds
1.5 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
salt to taste
Handful of coriander leaves, very finely chopped

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Method:
Heat oil in non-stick pan over medium heat
Add cinammon bark and curry leaves to flavour oil until curry leaves stop spluttering
Add onions and cook slowly (sweat) over medium heat until translucent and tender
Add ginger and garlic paste and sautéed for 1 minute
Add mustard seeds, chilli and cummin powder and let heat through for 1 minute
Add crabmeat and cook through for 3-4 minutes to allow crab to absorb spice flavours – – continue to break up chunks into crab flakes
Taste to see if salt required
Remove curry leaves and cinammon stick
Add very finely chopped coriander leaves and mix through
Serve in bowl with a spoon with crackers on the side or make up individual serves by placing a spoonful of the crab mixture on each cracker

Christmas Turkey Stuffing

A reminder of the family stuffing recipe!

freespiritfood

It’s been a very busy lead up to Christmas so there hasn’t been much time to post recipes but there has been a lot of cooking going on! We have already celebrated Christmas with family  in Melbourne and Sydney. And the now the requests are coming in for the ham glaze and turkey stuffing recipes are coming in so I thought I’d share with everyone.

This stuffing recipe has been in my family forever and I don’t know where it originated from. It doesn’t have fruit or nuts in it but the carrots and onions add sweetness and the finely chopped chicken liver adds texture and an almost gamey flavour. White pepper is essential and adds a tangy spiciness quite different to black pepper.

I use the stuffing in full turkey roast, turkey breast roll and also whole chicken roast. Highly advisable to make a seperate dish of it in…

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Review: Sassy Sarong still going strong in Seminyak, Bali

Recently some foodie friends of mine visited Seminyak on a week long rest, relaxation and fine dining tour. When I requested their top 3 picks they admitted that despite trying many of the hot newcomer restaurants they felt that Will Meryck’s Sarong restaurant in Jalan Petitinget was still their top choice for the food, service and atmosphere.

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After very many years of visiting Bali I have been to Sarong on quite a few occasions including having a great time here on New Year’s Eve 2013. We had stopped in to Seminyak for a few days on this trip to stop in to some of the great restaurants by the coast before heading to Ubud – of course Sarong was also top of our list to go back to. We booked ahead via their website which is easy to do and highly recommended because it fills up quickly even in the low season.

We arrived to met by their traditional warm welcome and we’re seated in the beautiful garden. The warm interiors and gorgeous lighting throughout creates a magical setting for evening dining in particular.

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Sarong does great cocktails and I couldn’t go past the Refreshing Raspberry Mojito to begin and we ordered a bottle of D’Arenberg Shiraz to go with dinner. Wines are expensive due to taxes and in this case the wine was almost half our bill but was worth it to complement the great food.

For entrees we couldn’t go past the betel leaves with raw tuna and the signature pork belly with Sichuan pepper and a divinely Tamarindo and tamarind chutney. Knowing the generous size of the mains we settled on the stir fried chilli prawns with an interesting sauce featuring curry leaves and Indonesians flavours and the Bebe Madura – twice cooked duck with Balinese sambals. For a bit of green alongside, we chose sautéed green beans with Sambal Olek. (Unfortunately no room for dessert!)

 

Needless to say the sassy sauces and variety of cooking techniques used for this variety of dishes, along with super fresh ingredients and herbs all combined with trademark Sarong service resulted in another wonderful dining experience at Sarong. If you haven’t been there yet – it is a must do on any visit to Seminyak!

Thanks to Sarong Bali for the great images from your Facebook page and website http://www.sarongbali.com

 

Review: Ji whizz in Canggu, Bali

We were recommended to try the newly opened  at Ji Restaurant at the Hotel Tugu in Canggu by a friend so took a taxi from Seminyak for the roughly 35 minute trip, depending on traffic for dinner.

Arriving at Hotel Tugu in Canggu, we were immediately impressed by the truly special setting created by the huge Garuda statue and furnishings in the hotel lobby. The restaurant and bar are situated next to the Hotel Tugu whose owners have an amazing collection of Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian antiques and collectibles which feature in their hotels and venues.

We started with cocktails on the rooftop bar overlooking the busy beachside bars of Canggu with glimpses of the ocean over the rooftops, watching the sun setting as we sipped on our literally smoking CoCo Sexo cocktails, a delicious mixture of pineapple, rum and coconut juice served in coconut jars over dry ice. The bar area is eclectically decorated with beautiful artisan lights and plantings with indoor and outdoor seating.

Ji restaurant itself is housed in a 300+ year old Chinese temple that the owners transported to Bali and rebuilt, filling it with an amazing collection of antique prints and photographs, sculptures and statues. The restaurant furnishings are also suitably matched to give an overall ambience that transports you to another era. Ji means temple in both Chinese and Japanese.

The menu features Japanese fusion cuisine, with beautifully presented fresh sashimi and sushi platters, tempura, noodles and soups. We loved the succulently crispy tempura prawns and the “melt in your mouth” Angus Kobe beef tenderloin served with tangerine. The seaweed salad with crab and thinly sliced fennel was a perefect balance of sweet and salty and was dressed for success!

This restaurant is definitely not a “try hard” in either the food or decore departments – it’s the real thing, good value for the experience and highly worth the visit to Canggu. The Hotel staff called us a car for the return trip and we were already dreaming of our next visit on the drive back to Seminyak.

Prawn Caldine with tamarind and ground almonds

This recipe is inspired by Rick Stein’s version with a few adjustments to make it an easy mid-week dish. It is lightly spiced but the addition of green chillies adds a hint of heat. The tamarind water adds a sweet sour component which complements prawns or fish brilliantly. The ground almonds add another dimension and help to thicken the sauce but can be omitted if you prefer.

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

500g fresh or frozen prawns(defrosted), preferably with tails left on OR 500g firm white fish
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cummin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 onion thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic and equivalent amount of fresh ginger
2 tablespoons ground almonds (optional)
400ml coconut milk
3 tablespoons tamarind water (made using tamarind seeds or concentrate)
4-5 mild green chillies, cut into long strips
coriander to garnish
salt
vegetable oil

Method
Place peeled (and defrosted) prawns/fish chopped in pieces in a bowl and marinate for 10 minutes or so in white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

If using tamarind seeds, soak a handful in 1/2 a cup of boiling water, or mix 1 tspn of tamarind concentrate with 3 tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.

Dry fry cummin seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in a frying pan until just fragrant over medium heat, taking care not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before grinding to a fine powder. Add turmeric powder to spice mixture.

Grind or blend ginger and garlic together to  a paste.

Slice onions and green chillies finely.

Heat oil in a pan and add onions and cook until onions start going translucent, add ginger and garlic paste and ground spices and mix through stirring until fragrant, then add coconut milk, tamarind water, ground almonds(if using)and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

Drain the moisture from the prawns/fish, then add them to the coconut milk mixture with half the sliced green chillies, cook for 5-7 minutes until the prawns are pink and just cooked or the fish is cooked through.

Garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice.

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noodle Soup with Thai Red Roast Pork

The weather in Sydney this weekend has been awful with very high winds and torrential rain. It feels like winter has really arrived. Of course this  is perfect weather for heart warming soups, roast and casseroles. What a great excuse for comfort food!

This soup is a perfect antidote to winter blues and just as good in summer as it has a light chicken stock base. You can really season this to your taste and leave out the fresh chillies if you prefer a less spicy option.

You will need Thai Red Roast Pork for this recipe which will extend your preparation time if you are making yourself and not “cheating” and buying it at your closest Chinese BBQ store. Same goes for the chicken stock – of course homemade is always nicer but if you don’t have time or any frozen in the fridge then store bought is fine. It is good to fry the finely chopped garlic to  a crisp; and also roast and crush the peanuts, so that is out of the way before you assemble the soup itself. Once you have these key ingredients in hand, everything else is a breeze.

Prep time: 15 minutes    Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2.5 litres chicken stock
300g of roast red pork thinly sliced
50 g bean sprouts
4-5  iceberg lettuce leaves very finely sliced
200g dried egg or rice noodles (I use fine egg noodles)
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, depending how salty your stock is
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and fried to a crisp
1-2 fresh red chillies chopped (optional)

Garnish:
choppped coriander leaves
2 sping onions finely sliced
dried chilli flakes
roughly chopped roasted peanuts

Method
Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a small non-stick frying pan and fry garlic until golden and crisp, take care not to burn. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain. (I make extra fried garlic to use as a garnish as well.)
Dry roast peanuts in a frying pan, then crush roughly in a mortar and pestle or roughly chop
Slice lettuce leaves, coriander and spring onions finely. Keep seperately.


Bring stock to a boil, then bring to a simmer. Add pork, sugar and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, then add noodles and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until tender. Add fresh chopped chillies at this point if using.


Taste to see if additional fish sauce needed
Add fried garlic, bean sprouts and lettuce.
Immediately turn off the heat and serve in deep soup bowls and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with other garnishes to the side.

Thai Red Roast Pork

This is a succulent roast pork recipe that is so easy to make. As well as being delicious thinly sliced and accompanied with cucumbers as a centrepiece of a Thai meal, the leftovers are delicious in Thai Pork Noodle Soup. If you can’t be bothered making it, of course you can buy red roast pork readymade from your local Chinatown.

Prep time: 5 minutes Marinate: minimum 2 hours or overnight

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
1 kg of pork loin fillets
1/2 teaspoon red food colouring
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon each of fish sauce, hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine or sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
2 star anise crushed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Coriander to garnish

Method

Put all ingredients except pork, water and red food colouring in a blender and blend until a smooth paste form

Mix red food colouring and water in steel or ceramic bowl

Add pork and using gloves massage food colouring, then marinade into meat, cover with plastic wrap

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Set aside in refigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight

Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees celcius

Put pork on roasting rack and keep marinade for basting

Cook pork for 10 minutes to create a “crust”, then lower heat to 180 degrees and baste regularly with marinade, cook for another 45-50 minutes at least. Check meat to ensure it is cooked – Be careful not to cook too long as it will dry out.

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Serve warm after resting for 10 minutes, then slicing. Goes well with sliced cucumber and Thai sauces or use in stir fries and soups.
Serves 4-6

Homestyle Osso Bucco

As winter approaches here in Australia slow cooked Osso Bucco is a great recipe to warm the soul. Osso bucco is the cross-cut shank of veal featuring the marrow bone. You can use beef osso bucco but they tend to be much bigger and take longer to cook. I really prefer the smaller veal osso bucco. Order from your butcher if you need to. The meat in this recipe is slow cooked until tender and just falling off the bone and the marrow becomes soft and adds great flavour to the sauce. sucking the marrow out of the bones is not elegant but highly recommended! Served with a zingy gremolata, creamy mash and a fresh rocket and fennel salad, this a fabulous one pot wonder dish that will impress family and friends. It is very simple to cook and is economical as well with a short, sharp ingredients list.

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
12 small veal osso bucco (about 1.5kg)
1 cup plain flour for dusting osso bucco
100 grams unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions diced finely
2 carrots diced finely
2-3 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
3 stalks celery diced finely
400g of canned diced tomatoes
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
salt and black pepper to taste
half a bunch of parsley finely chopped
Fine zest of 2 lemons preferably microplaned or vey finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large heavy based casserole pot, big enough to fit the osso bucco and other ingredients in.

Roll the osso bucco one by one in flour and then brown well in the butter, doing this in small batches and adding more butter to pot until all the osso bucco is browned. remove from pot and set aside.

Add olive oil to pan, heat and then add onions, half the garlic, carrots and celery, Cook gently until onion is golden and soft.

Add the osso bucco to the pot, then tomatoes, white wine and chicken stock. Add 1 tspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1.5-2 hours until osso bucco is tender. If required carefully remove osso bucco from sauce and allow sauce to reduce to a tick gravy consistency, then return osso bucco to sauce and reheat before serving.

While osso bucco is cooking prepare parsley, lemon zest and half the garlic and mix together with a pinch of salt. This is the gremolata for sprinkling on  the osso bucco when served.

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Homestyle osso bucco with gremolata and creamy mashed potatoes

Osso bucco is great with creamy polenta, risotto to mash. I serve it with a sharp green rocket and baby spinach salad with finely shaved fennel – all gorgeous Italian inspired flavours that compliment the rich main course perfectly.

 

 

 

Loving my Liebster Award

Thank you to Remya of The Unique Medley for my Liebster Award nomination. Remya’s blog really does feature a unique and diverse medley of Indian, Mexican and Chinese recipes inspired by home cooking. This is my second Liebster Award nomination and I am undertaking the challenge this time to share some information about myself and help promote the blogs that I follow that I really enjoy.

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THE OFFICIAL RULES OF THE LIEBSTER AWARD

If you have been nominated for The Liebster award and choose to ACCEPT it, write a blog post about it in which you:-

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!

ELEVEN ANSWERS TO ELEVEN QUESTIONS

  1. What inspired you to start a blog? My friends and family often asked me for my recipes and it is a great way to share my cooking and eating adventures with them and others around the world.
  2. What would you consider as your greatest strength? Resilience -being able to weather tough times and make the most of the good times
  3. If you won the lottery what would be your first reaction? I would probably cry with joy
  4. What is your most essential kitchen appliance? Why? The mini spice grinder my son Nick gave me one Christmas. It is grinds up wet and dry spices quickly and is easy to clean and doesn’t take up a lot of space in the cupboard!
  5. What would your dream job be? Being a full-time food and travel blogger!
  6. What’s your favourite fruit? Bananas
  7. Have you ever helped out an injured animal? Yes, an injured cockatoo (Australian bird). I moved it off a busy road on my way to a formal dinner and called animal rescue service to come and assist it.
  8. Who was your favourite teacher at school and why? My English teachers – because I always loved reading the books and creative writing.
  9. Do you like vanilla or chocolate cake? Chocolate of course!
  10. Which fictional character do you wish was real? President Jed Bartlett in West Wing – because he would beat Donald Trump in an election
  11. Who is your role model? Nelson Mandela

ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I love playing scrabble
  2. I have dual citizenship – South Africa and Australia
  3. Swimming is my favourite form of exercise
  4. I love the beach and ocean
  5. I am passionate about my AFL football team, the Sydney Swans
  6. I am  always planning my next overseas trip
  7. I love researching restaurants and food experiences
  8. I would like to have more creative pursuits like art
  9. I enjoy helping others to learn and develop
  10. I used to enjoy designing and making my own clothes when I was at school
  11. I love the House of Cards TV series

MY FIVE BLOG NOMINATIONS

  1.  Tasty Eats
  2. Foodie on Board
  3. Chey Chey from the Bay
  4. Elderflower and Rum
  5. Gastronomy Singapore

MY QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES

  1. What inspires your blog?
  2. Where is your dream location to live?
  3. What is your favourite food?
  4. How do you relax?
  5. What is your favourite holiday location?
  6. What is your all time favourite movie or book?
  7. Can you speak another language other than English? And if so, which one/s?
  8. Do you own a pet and if so, what is it’s name?
  9. Where  was your first house?
  10. Who taught you how to cook?
  11. What and where is your favourite restaurant?

Thanks for all the great blogging you all do! I look forward to seeing your responses😀