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Review: Super Catch in Meatpacker’s District NYC

Catch is one of the super trendy restaurants in Meatpacker’s featuring all-the-rage Asian fusion in a souped up warehouse like space over 3 levels in the Meatpacker’s district in New York City. With a wide ranging menu, and an expectedly seafood focus, menu decision-making is difficult but the over the top pricing for some offerings helps to cut down the options if you’re not straight from Wall Street.

Originally opened by by US Top Chef program winner, Hung Huynh, the menu features Raw Bar with Seafood Towers, rolled, cold and hot selections as well as US “entrees” and extensive sides. Here’s the current Dinner menu

We sampled the Tartare Trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna served with American Caviar and a wasabi creme fraiche, Crispy Prawns with a tangy mayonnaise, Chicken San Choy Bow, Wagyu on a Rock and the Charred Cauliflower. We also had a special on the night a “pizza” with figs, proscuitto, rocket and quail eggs and Parmesan which was super good. (The low key lighting makes it a bit challenging for good blog photos.)

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Tartare trio of salmon, hamachi and tuna with American caviar at Catch NYC

All the food was deliciously fresh with well balanced flavours and very reminiscent of Australian Asian-fusion cooking which we had been missing in our 3 weeks of travel in the US. The atmosphere and supercharged vibe however is definitely 100% NYC!! It is like having a great meal in a nightclub. Afterwards we wandered up to Level 3 rooftop bar for views over the Manhattan skyline. A great place to really feel you are in the Big Apple that’s for sure! Make sure you book.Visit Catch NYC

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Rooftop bar at Catch in NYC

Review: Posh Indian at Bombay Club Washington DC

The Bombay Club is right in the heart of Washington DC’s executive quarter, just a few blocks from the White House. Frequented by American Presidents and Hollywood stars this is not your everyday Indian restaurant. It was rated by GQ India as the third best Indian restaurant in the world. (Read full article http://www.gqindia.com/live-well/food/7-best-indian-restaurants-across-globe/ ).

Intrigued by what we had read and heard about the restaurant we saved it for our last night in DC and we were not disappointed.

From  the plush padded seats, starched linen tablecloths and the tinkling from the pianist in the corner, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Raj-era exclusive club.

For entree we chose the highly recommended Spicy Duck Kebabs- Minced duck, chilies, ginger, nutmeg and garam masala and the Dum Ka Shrimp marinated in black pepper, saffron, yogurt, cardamom. The kebabs were divine and spicier than we expected which to us bode well that the Bombay Club hasn’t “dumbed” down the spicing for Western palates too much. The prawns were more subtly flavoured and delicious too.

For mains we ordered an “unabashedly Indian curry” – Lamb vindaloo and Bhindi Do Piaza (okra), Dhal Makni, naan, basmati rice and lemon chutney. The lamb vindaloo was redolent of the aged vinegar, onions, chilies, cinnamon and cardamon it is cooked in with a perfect balance of tanginess and spicy warmth. The Dhal Makni is cooked for 16 hours and it tasted smoky and rich, like it had been cooked overnight in the tandoor. The okra is cooked with pickled onions, tomatoes and chilli and was an ideal vegetarian accompaniment to our meal, along with one of the best pickled lemon chutney I have ever tasted. Wish I could get the recipe for that!

Treating ourselves to dessert, we loved the Gulab Jamun served with cardamom gelato and the mango kulfi.

The entire meal was one of the best Indian epicurean experiences we have ever had and I would highly recommend eating at Bombay Club if you live in or visit DC. Here is the link to their website for more pictures and information http://www.bombayclubdc.com

 

 

Soulful style at Marvin in Washington DC

Marvin’s is a very cool bistro, bar and nightclub in Washington’s happening “U street corridor” on 14th Street NW. Established in 2007, the food is inspired by Marvin’s Gaye’s travels to Belgium and southern “soul” food he grew up with in America. The decore is contemporary but comfortable, making you feel instantly at ease. Understandable why it is such a favourite with the locals.

 

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Marvin restaurant inspired by Marvin Gaye

We had come to eat like the locals so started off with Chicken fried oysters and Shrimp ‘n Grits. The oysters were fried in a spicy batter and came with a remoulade, mayonnaise. They were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside making for a delicious contrast. The Shrimp had been cooked in tangy spices and were served with cheesy grits, jus from the shrimps and scattered with toasted almonds. (Grits are small broken corn grains that when are well are creamy almost like polenta.) The flavours from the shrimp enlivened the grits and made the dish extremely more-ish!

For entrees (mains) we chose the Pepper Crusted Hanger steak with green beans, shiitake mushrooms and  bordelaise sauce and Chicken and Waffles which was served with gravy, syrup and collard greens. I never thought I’d ever be caught eating waffles for dinner but I have to say the pairing was divine, especially with the sweetness of the accompanying sauces and the bitterness of the collard greens. The steak was very Belgian French in style, spiced with pepper and cooked perfectly to medium rare as requested.

Once again we had no room for the tempting dessert menu but I took a photo so you can see the delicious choices on offer.

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Dessert Menu at Marvin in Wsahington DC

After dinner we wandered upstairs to catch some tunes on the rooftop deck which was filled with a hipster crowd enjoying the cool sounds from the DJ.

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Excellent evening of food and entertainment. Plan to spend longer than you expect.

Boston Legal Clam Chowder

Monday brought a snow storm to Boston and with it the perfect weather for soups and comfort food. We had enjoyed the milder weather over the weekend, making hay while the sun shined and walking the Freedom Trail learning about Paul Revere’s heroic ride to warn the Patriots of the approaching British troops and all about Boston’s contribution to American Independence.

But by Monday we were ready to hole up and take advantage of the weather to try out Legal Seafood down at the revitalised Seafront district for their renowned Clam Chowder. We had been assured by locals that despite being an ever expanding chain,the quality of food and service had remained and that this was the best spot to sample Boston’s acclaimed seafood.

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Located next to the fishermen’s pier and overlooking the harbour, Legal Seafood at the Seafront certainly puts one in the mood for fine dining, although more casual dining is also offered downstairs. This is by no means a cheap eats restaurant but at the same time prices for food and wine are excellent value for the quality and style.

We chose a Deloach Sonoma Pinot Noir, which little did we know at the time of ordering, was developed especially for Legal Seafood to go with their seafood centric menu.

Dinner started on a high note with the complimentary amuse Bouche sent by the chef.

The Clam Chowder certainly lived up to it’s reputation and was deliciously creamy – you can taste the sea in the freshness of the seafood ingredients. As a starter it is certainly filling but not heavy. Beautiful free breads were served at the beginning.

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For mains we tried halibut (rarely found in Australia), and of course lobster. The halibut was served with couscous,roasted fennel and aioli. And the lobster came with a parsnip puree, steamed kale, and one slow cooked beef brisket rib. Both entrees(mains) demonstrated a sophisticated approach to balancing flavours and tastes that “legitimised” for us Legal Seafood’s word of mouth referrals and food critic approvals.

The dessert menu was very tempting but we couldn’t fit it in so we settled for chocolates instead.

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A must try on you next trip to Boston.

St Patrick’s Day at The Roger and Molly’s Bar NYC

Arrived in New York after 26 hours of travelling from Sydney at 4.30pm on St Patrick’s Day.

We were staying at The Roger, a boutique hotel on the Corner of Madison and East 31st, in the area still known as Nomad(north of Madison park). I remember staying in mid-town years back when I visited New York and it is certainly changing with many more trendy bars and restaurants and a much more vibrant and a far less grungy atmosphere.

The rooms are very spacious by New York standards and ours even had a seperate walk in wardrobe. Anyway, impressed as we were with our digs, we wanted a true New York Irish experience to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. After some quick online research, Adrian suggested Molly’s Bar about 15 minutes walk down in Gramercy, on 287 3rd Avenue just down from East 23rd st.

 

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Queues to get in at Molly’s Bar in New York on St Patrick’s Day

The tiny bar,established in 1960 and known to be New York’s most authentic Irish bar in New York, with sawdust on the floor and a log fire, was packed to the rafters with New Yorkers of Irish descent and every other descent celebrating St Pat’s Day – raucously! As loud as it was, we got there around 8.30pm and managed to avoid any queues and even to get a booth. Somehow  the noise seemed to diminish when we sat down and it was still fine to talk and enjoy our delicious meal of Irish favourites – corned beef served with cabbage, vegetables and mash and of course, Irish Lamb Stew.

We knew we were in the US of A when the gigantic main  courses arrived, but just like the noise, the size of the dishes diminished when we tucked in! Both meals were delicious and served with complimentary traditional Irish Soda Bread. (Excuse the poor quality of the food pics but it was pretty dark in the booth!) Accompanied by Irish Harp Lager and a delicious glass of red wine from Washington State. Prices for meals and drinks are reasonable and tallied up to about $80 including tip for 2 of us, without an entree(appetiser) or dessert, but including more than 1 round of drinks!

Great green atmosphere on St Pats Day but I think it would be just as much, or even more fun, on a normal evening.

 

Lamb curry pot pies

C’mon weekend so I can try out some new recipes like these little pot pies!

add some butter

Lamb curry pot pies 2

After the whirlwind that was the past week, I need major comfort food to indulge in. Enter lamb curry pot pies. They may be small, but they’re packed with meaty curry goodness with a delicious puff pastry pie crust to round it off. Come on weekend … let’s lounge around.

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Baked Fish with spicy Tahini and onion sauce

This is my take on a traditional Lebanese sauce to go with baked fish. It’s simple to make and the cholesterol free Tahini(sesame paste) sauce I use makes it a much healthier option than cream. The lemony, garlic flavours combine with the nutty flavour of the Tahini and sweet, slightly caramelised onion and spicy chilli into a delicious creamy topping to go with the baked fish. We had it here with a mixed salad including  artichokes which complimented the middle Eastern flavours well.

Prep time:  5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
500g firm fish fillets like  flathead or snapper
1 lemon finely sliced into rings
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Tahini sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium onion thinly sliced in half moons
1 large red chilli finely chopped
1/3 cup cold water
1/ 2 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or coriander

Method:
Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 Farenheit)
Line an ovenproof dish with baking paper and place lemon slices on base
Season fish with salt and pepper, cummin and chilli flakes if using

 

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Seasoned fish on bed of lemon slices

Pour over 1/3 cup lemon juice and reserve the rest for sauce
Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Place fish in oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until starting to become golden but do not overcook

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cook onions with chilli and half the garlic

Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan, add onions and cook until transparent, then add half the crushed garlic and the fresh red chilli and cook slowly for about 10 minutes until onion starts to caramelise slightly. Remove from heat.

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Ingredients for spicy tahini sauce

In a mini food processor, place tahini sauce, rest of garlic, 1/3 cup lemon juice,some salt, pepper, cold water and whizz until thickened and pale.
Place pan with onions back on heat, add tahini sauce mixture and heat through. When warm add parsley or coriander, mix through and remove from heat.

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Tahini sauce thickens and goes pale when processed with other ingredients

Remove fish from oven and place fillets on serving dish or individual plates, spoon over sauce and serve with salad. Crispy Lebanese bread or plain rice would go well with this too.
Serves 2

Curried Lemon Butter Prawns (Sh.

This looks delicious!

Food & Beverages Recipes 365

by #recipes #yum #food
recipes yum food

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Steamed Eggplant with ginger

This is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to enjoy eggplant. You don’t often see recipes for steaming eggplant but I can attest to this recipe, especially if made with smaller eggplants such as “graffiti” striped eggplants or the thin Japanese eggplants.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
2-3 small eggplants
small knob of ginger thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic crushed with half a red chillI
2 teaspoons salt

Method:
Cut eggplant into medium size piece and immediately add salt and place in a colander or strainer over the sink for 15 minutes

Meanwhile slice ginger finely, seperately crush garlic and chilli

Remove eggplant from colander shaking off excess moisture and place in steaming basket, gently rub some of the garlic and chilli on each pice of eggplant using a teaspoon, then scatter over ginger.

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Place eggplant in steamer and rub with garlic, chillies paste and scatter over ginger

steam for 30-40 minutes or until eggplant is tender to your liking

 

Cardamom Cream Cake

Doesn’t this look good? Might do some baking tomorrow!

MyYellowApron

IMG_2010While my blogger friends are all over displaying these fabulous desserts for Valentine’s day, I was indecisive about what/how to bake. Oh! The pressure. I almost zeroed down on baking a Red Velvet Cake and nothing says Valentine’s day like Red Velvet Desserts. Right? But then I decided against it. I am going to reserve baking a decadent red velvet cake for the late summer/early fall time and I would love to share a funny story behind my first time baking a red velvet cake.

Now coming back to what-to-bake, I thought of trying this recipe that I had stumbled across a few months back in New York Times – Cardamom Cake. First I thought I would follow the recipe to the T, but the control freak that I’m, I ended up modifying a bit here and a bit there to give it a personal touch. The outcome was great however. The taste of…

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Quick Coconut Sambal

This sambal is a delicious spicy, sweet accompaniment to all sorts of Indian meals. Traditionally made with freshly grated coconut, I just use desiccated coconut which I first “rehydrate” a bit by soaking in coconut milk(from a can). If you are a coconut fan, then you will find this pretty more-ish.

Very nice as a side as part of an Indian brunch with Mild Potato CurryRed Lentil Dhal and  Wholemeal Roti

Prep time: 30 minutes  No Cooking required

Ingredients:
1.5 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup coconut milk for soaking
1 green chilli chopped
1 small eschallot or spring onion chopped
1/2 a finger length of ginger chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Method
Soak desiccated coconut in coconut milk for 25 minutes or so
Drain coconut milk from desiccated coconut, pressing down well, reserve coconut milk
Put rest of ingredients into a food processor or spice grinder and blend to a coarse paste, add a teaspoon of the coconut milk to loosen slightly and whizz briefly.
Serve

Mild Potato Curry

This mild potato curry is quick and easy to make. Recently on a rainy Sydney day we were in the mood for an Indian breakfast, or more accurately brunch, so I made this accompanied by my Red Lentil DhalEasy Wholemeal Roti and Coconut Sambal. The resulting meal took us straight back to the streets of India  where these types of vegetarian combinations are favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This Potato Curry is also a good staple side dish that can be whipped up quickly and is particularly nice with grilled fish.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 medium size potatoes peeled and cut into smallish cubes
1 onion diced
1 tomato cut into large chunks
8 curry leaves (optional)
2 cloves garlic and same amount of ginger crushed into paste
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of water
coriander to garnish

Method
Boil potatoes first for 10 minutes in salted water(1/2 tspn salt) to which you have added 1/2 teaspoon of the turmeric powder. The potatoes should be almost cooked, but not too soft and they will be a beautiful golden colour from the turmeric in the water.

Drain potatoes in a colander and set aside.

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and add cinnamon stick, cummin seeds, curry leaves if using and mustard seeds and fry until mustard seeds start to pop. Be careful not to burn, remove from heat if necessary and add onions.

Cook onions over medium heat until transparent, add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute.

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Add to tomato, chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon, turmeric 1/2 teaspoon salt, cummin powder and mix through until spices just start to change colour, add potatoes and gently coat with onion spice mixture then add water and simmer until reduced and potatoes are tender and almost breaking up (about 5 minutes).

Garnish with coriander and serve.

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Indian breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

Steamed Pumpkin with salted black bean sauce

This dish is inspired by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry’s Spice Temple cookbook which features the recipes from his well known Sydney restaurant. Spice Temple features spicy regional Chinese cooking inspired by Neil Perry’s travels and his love of Chinese food.

The combination of the sweet steamed pumpkin with the salty black bean sauce and slight spiciness added by the dried chillies makes for a great vegetarian side dish. It’s a perfect accompaniment to pork, like the Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad, or would be nice with grilled lamb cutlets too.

The Chinese ingredients in this recipe are worth adding to your pantry if you don’t already have them as they are commonly used in other Chinese dishes, especially Sichuan dishes.

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The black beans used here are not to be confused with normal canned black beans which are not fermented. Rather theses are salted and fermented black beans that form the basis of the salty seasoning used in Chinese dishes such as “beef in black bean sauce”. Don’t use readymade black bean sauce which is available in jars, but seek out the dried salted beans which come in plastic packets and found in Asian grocery shops.  That way you know exactly what’s going in your sauce and can control the saltiness and texture of the finished product.

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Salted black beans, Shaoxiang wine and Chiankiang black vinegar

The Chinese ingredients in this recipe are worth adding to your pantry if you don’t already have them as they are commonly used in other Chinese dishes, especially Sichuan dishes and will keep for months.

Note: the difference in the cooking time below will be due to how long your pumpkin takes to steam to tender. Different types of pumpkin and stage of ripeness will affect the time.

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Ingredients:

1/4 piece, about 500g peeled pumpkin chopped into medium size pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic and same amount of ginger crushed
3 tablespoons salted black beans
2-3 dried chillies
2-3 teaspoons white sugar (depends on tasting for salty sweet balance)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon Chiankiang black vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
coriander or sliced Spring onions to garnish

Method
Steam pumpkin for 25-35 minutes until tender. I use a steamer basket over a wok.

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Steaming pumpkin

About 20 minutes into steaming, heat oil in seperate pan over medium heat.

Add dried chillies – broken in half, ginger and garlic paste and fry until just changing colour
Add black beans and stir fry gently until you can smell their “salty fragrance”
Add the sugar, Shaoxiang wine and simmer gently until the liquid has almost evaporated

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Pour in stock, soy sauce, black vinegar and simmer for 8-10 minutes until black beans have plumped up, some of them may have burst a bit, and the sauce will be thickened. mix through sesame oil.

Put pumpkin in serving dish or platter, pour sauce over the top and scatter with coriander or spring onions.

 

 

Crispy Asian Roast Pork Belly Salad

This is a delicious way to eat pork belly with crunchy crackling and moist roast pork tinged with the flavours of Asia – soy sauce, coriander, chilli, and hints of black vinegar. All it really needs is some steamed greens and jasmine rice on the side for a complete meal. It would also be a very good pre-prepared dish made for sharing or as part of a buffet.

i have read many very different techniques for getting crunchy crackling but I just stick to the simple method of keeping the pork uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two and then drying with a cloth and rubbing the scored skin with generous amounts of salt before putting into oven. (Seems to work every time for me.)

And, as most of the prep and cooking time is just drying out the pork in the fridge and then roasting in the oven, you can get on and do other things without too much fuss.

Prep time: 2.5 hours  Cooking time:2 hours
Ingredients:

750g boneless pork belly, with skin scored both ways into cross-hatch
2 tablespoons soy sauce for marinade
2 tablespoons salt

Salad
half a bunch coriander chopped
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 eschallot or half a red onion very finely sliced
2 tablespoons Chiangkiang black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method
Dry out pork belly uncovered in fridge for at least 1 hour or even overnight
Put soy sauce on a plate or in a flat dish and carefully place pork, flesh-side down on top of sauce, taking care not to get any soy sauce on the skin – leave to marinate for an hour

Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius

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Pork marinating in soy sauce

Remove from marinade and carefully place on baking paper lined baking dish/oven tray.

Wipe skin once more then rub salt thoroughly into skin and in between scoring

Place pork in oven, and cook at 200 degrees celcius for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 170 degrees and cook for a further 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn heat to maximum using the top grilling element to grill the pork until crackling starts to crisp up, about 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pork at this point as the skin can burn easily.

Meanwhile, chop coriander and chillies and slice onion finely,and set aside.

Remove from oven and rest about 25 minutes until medium warm, then cut into cubes, trying to keep crackling and meat connected where possible.

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Crispy roasted pork belly

Mix herbs, onions and chillies with black vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cut pork into cubes along the scored “lines”

Layer the pork with the herbs mixture, drizzling the dressing over the pork.

Serve with steamed greens and jasmine rice. I also like steamed pumpkin with salted black bean sauce with it and I promise to post that recipe soon.

Serves 2-3 with other accompaniments.

image Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad with steamed greens and pumpkin[/caption

Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney

This crunchy, spicy mint and coriander chutney, which is almost like a pesto, goes brilliantly with grilled meats, prawns and fish. It is a great accompaniment for any Indian meal, Aussie BBQ or just spread on toast! I have also used it as a chutney with cheese and biscuits.

Easy and quick to make, it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Best to bring to room temperature before serving.

Traditionally made by roasting and then grinding the peanuts, I cheat and use super-crunchy peanut butter which works very well to bind the herbs into a pesto like texture.

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:
1 bunch mint – leaves removed from stalks and washed well
1 bunch coriander – with roots removed, washed well and chopped into large pieces
1-2 red chillies chopped into large pieces
2 cloves garlic and equal amount of ginger crushed to a paste
1 medium onion finely diced
1 medium ripe tomato finely diced
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cummin seeds
1 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons super-crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Method:
Whizz coriander, mint and chillies in a food processor until finely chopped

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Mint, coriander and chilli chopped finely in a food processor

Heat oil in non-stick frying pan, add cinnamon, cummin seeds and mustard seeds and cook until mustard seeds pop, but be careful not to burn

Add onions and cook slowly over medium-low heat until translucent

Add ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes and a pinch of salt and fry with onions until soft and slightly caramelised

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d garlic with onions and spices

Add mint, coriander and chilli mixture and heat through

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Add mint, coriander and chilli to tomato onion mixture

Just as leaves start to change colour, add peanut butter and mix through as it starts to melt, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat

Allow to cool slightly so peanut butter firms up again, then serve warm or at room temperature as an accompaniment.

 

Portuguese pork and clam stew with roasted capsicum sauce

We used to have this dish at the Petersham Portuguese Chicken Shop and Restaurant in Sydney before it burnt down in a terrible fire. I have never made it at home but thought I’d try it out for something a bit different. I did a bit of research on the Internet and checked a variety of recipes, some with and without the capsicum paste, before deciding on this version. The stew comes from the Alentejan region of Portugal and is usually served with fried potatoes but can be served with crusty bread or plain rice.

Marinating the pork in the milk and wine overnight tenderises the pork and gives it a lovely almost silky texture when cooked. The roasted capsicum paste can be made the day before as well if you want and adds a sweetness and a subtle spiciness that compliments the natural saltiness of the clams. The clams can be replaced by cockles but purging them by soaking in water is important to remove any grit.

So, please note the time required for marinating the pork and purging the clams below.

Marinating time: 8 hours or preferably overnight
Purge clams: 2 hours soaking in water to remove any grit
Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 1. 5 hours (including roasting capsicum)

Ingredients:
Roast Capsicum Sauce:
2 medium size red capsicums
8 cloves of garlic unpeeled

Pork Marinade
500g pork belly rind removed and cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 cup milk
1/2 cup wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 tspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 tspoon salt

Stew:
4 eschallots thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vermouth or dry sherry
1/2 cup capsicum paste
1-1.5 cup chicken stock or water
1 kg of clams soaked in water for 2 hours, washed and drained
1/2 bunch of thyme tied with kitchen string
500g marinated pork belly removed from marinade and patted dry on kitchen towel
chopped parsley to garnish

Method
Marinate pork belly pieces in milk, white wine, peppercorns, salt and bay leaves mixture overnight or at least 8 hours

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Marinate pork overnight

Cover clams with cold water and soak for 2 hours, changing water a few times to remove grit

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Drain clams after soaking for 2 hours in water

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius and roast whole capsicums and unpeeled garlic cloves sprayed with olive oil until capsicum blisters and starts to blacken, after 25 minutes raise heat to maximum to blacken capsicum if necessary, turn capsicums through roasting process. Remove from oven and place capsicums, not garlic, in a plastic bag and tie a knot in it. The heat from the capsicums will create a little steam bag and make the skins peel off easily when you take them out. Skin, reseed and chop the capsicum flesh. Peel and chop garlic. Blitz capsicum and garlic in a small food processor to create a paste.

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Heat half the oil in an non-stick frying pan and fry pork pieces on high heat to brown on all sides. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

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Fry pork to brown

Heat other half of the oil in a heavy based casserole pot, then add eschallots and garlic and cook slowly until onions are translucent.

Add pork and 1/2 cup capsicum paste, vermouth or sherry to onion mixture in pot and place in oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.

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Stew pork in oven for 30 minutes uncovered

Add clams, stock and thyme. Cover pot and put back in oven for 15-20 minutes or until clams open.

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Add clams, stock and thyme

Remove thyme, garnish with parsley and serve with potatoes, rice or bread and a crisp, green salad.

Serves 4

Okra, corn and tomato fry

If you don’t like or haven’t tried okra because of it’s reputation for being slimy, then this recipe will surprise. Dry frying the sliced okra before sautéeing  with tomato, onion, garlic and corn removes the slime and produces a tasty vegetarian side dish that is healthy and a delicious side dish served with green salad leaves and grilled pork or fish. Okra is full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin K.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 2o minutes

Ingredients:
1 onion thinly sliced
1 large tomato chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
10-12 medium size okra , washed, dried, stalk cut off and sliced lengthwise in half
200g of canned  corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Cajun spice
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves stripped from stalk
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
finely chopped parsley to garnish
Optional: baby spinach leaves or lettuce to serve with

Method
Heat non-stick fry pan over a high heat, add okra cut side down until it browns and the sticky gel emitted dries up. Cook on cut side only. Remove from pan and set aside. (You will need to was pan before using again).

Heat oil in pan then add onions and cook slowly until translucent
Add crushed garlic and sautée for 1 minute
Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper or just the Cajun spice if using latter, and mix through onion and garlic
Add tomatoes and thyme and a splash of water and cook until tomatoes just start to break up (5 minutes)
Add okra and corn kernels and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring gently from time to time to prevent sticking

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Add okra, then corn to tomato and onion mixture

Taste okra to see if it needs additional cooking time, should be still slightly crunchy.
Garnish with parsley, serve on bed of spinach or lettuce with grilled fish or pork cutlets

Homemade Borlotti Baked Beans

My six year old neighbour Martin is coming over for lunch today. A few months ago Martin popped in to say hi and I had just taken my homemade baked beans out of the oven. Martin was astounded to find out that baked beans don’t just come out of a can. He was even more intrigued when I showed him the actual raw beans. “They are like nuts”, he said. I gave Martin a small taste of the freshly cooked beans and he loved them. Since then whenever I see him he talks about the baked beans,so I thought it only appropriate that I should make a batch for lunch.

Whilst they take time to make, due to having to soak the beans, then twice cook them, the results are so much better than using beans out of a can and the cooking process gives you the opportunity to use herbs and spices to your taste in the sauce.

I use Borlotti beans for this recipe, but you can also use white beans or cannellini beans. Cooking the beans with a ham hock adds a smoky sweetness, but is not essential.

Prep time: 8 hours soaking + 10 minutes  Cooking time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients

Soaking:
2 cups dried Borlotti beans
water to cover

Boiling
soaked Borlotti beans
water to cover
1 small ham hock
1 onion studded with 4-6 cloves

Baking
1 onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic finely diced
Shredded ham from hock
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbspns tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves stripped from stalks
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tabLespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tspoon salt (or to taste)
2 tspns crushed black pepper

Method
Soak beans overnight or for at least 8 hours covered in plenty of cold water
Drain beans and place in large soup or casserole pot
Cover with water, at least 10cm above beans
Add ham hock and onion studded with cloves
Bring to a boil then cook on a slow bubbling boil for 1-1.5hours or until beans are just tender (length of time depends on freshness of beans so check to see if they are cooked earlier or need longer. Mine cooked really quickly this time so broke up a bit, but were still fine in end dish)
Beans should be tender but still holding their shape, a few might break up
Remove ham hock and shred meat, removing skin and gelatinous bits
Drain in a colander and set aside

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Boiled and drained Borlotti beans

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius
In a large casserole pot that has a tight fitting lid, heat oil, then add onions and cook slowly until transparent
Add garlic and shredded ham bits and cook until garlic looks golden
Add beans, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, tomato paste, worcestshire sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and and thyme and bring to a boil
Cover with lid, then carefully place in oven
Check after half an hour and remove lid if it is looking too watery
Bake in oven for 2-2.5 hours until sauce has thickened

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Boiled and drained Borlotti beans

Serve on toast for breakfast, lunch or dinner – delicious with avocado slices and a squeeze of lemon

Amazing Chicken Maryland with tomato, thyme, garlic, and eschallots

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chicken marylands with tomato, thyme, garlic, eschallots and chilli ready for oven

The combination of these classic ingredients cooked slowly in the oven creates a succulent chicken dish that is healthy and full of flavour. Of course, I can’t resist adding some chilli for a bit of a kick but it is just as lovely without. You can also add large cubes of potato which absorb the juices as they cook. (You might need to add a bit more stock during the cooking if you use potatoes.)

Served with a simple green salad and some crunchy bread to mop up the juices, “amazing chicken”, as our family calls it, is a great staple for weeknight dinners or as a main dish for casual lunches.

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 1hr-1.5hrs
Ingredients:
4 chicken marylands or 6 chicken thigh fillets
6 cloves of garlic
1 large tomato cut in large chunks
2 red chillies sliced in half(optional)
8 eschallots
Half a bunch of thyme, leaves stripped off stalks
Salt and crushed black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
Parsley to garnish

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Heat oil in large frying pan and brown chicken marylands on both sides to a golden brown colour

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fry chicken marylands until golden brown

Remove chicken and place in a flat,deep casserole dish in one layer
Add eschallots and cloves of garlic to frying pan and fry to create a caramelised finish to eschallots and garlic cloves
Remove from oil and spread over chicken in casserole dish
Add tomato, chilli, if using, and thyme leaves to chicken
Sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper
Pour over stock and white wine
Place dish in oven uncovered to cook until chicken is tender, onions and garlic cloves are cooked and liquid is well reduced.(at least 1 hour)
Turn up oven to max or to top grill for about 5-10 minutes, to further brown and crisp up the top of the chicken
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so before serving with salad and crunchy bread to mop up juices

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Make sure you have crunchy bread to mop up the amazing chicken juices

Serves 4

Persian Layered Rice Pilaf

This layered rice pilaf from foodieonboard.com looks different and delicious! Must try it sometime.

Foodie On Board

 

Persian Layered Rice Pilaf Persian Layered Rice Pilaf

It’s a birthday cake…it’s a cheesecake…it’s…what is it???  Well, it’s a Persian Layered Rice Pilaf and I’ve had my eyes on this recipe for over a year now. I finally had the occasion to make it last weekend and I’m happy to say it was a success.  The cookbook I found it in had no photograph, but the description sounded so lovely that I had to try it. It is a very unusual dish and I guarantee your guests will be intrigued and more than a little bit impressed! You could pile each of the pilafs individually on a large platter or layer them, like I did and then sprinkle them with chopped pistachios.  It makes a beautiful accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, or kabobs.  The recipe comes from Mollie Katzen’s, Vegetable Heaven.

Ingredients:

 3 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained

5…

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