All posts tagged: chilli

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 …

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

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 …

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Fish Briyani with Tomato Chutney & Turmeric Rice

This Fish Briyani is based on a recipe from my Aunty Vimala who inspired my interest in cooking when I was young. I can still vividly recall the enticing smells of spices cooking and the delicious flavour combinations that came from her kitchen. I wrote this recipe down, taking notes as she made it, when I last visited South Africa in 1997. The spicy tomato chutney, fresh herbs, sweet caramelised onions and lightly fried fish combine to create a more-ish, layered fish dish that is delicious on its own or with youghurt, mango or mint chutney and pickles to the side. This is a lovely dish to serve as part of a buffet lunch or dinner as it is actually nicer warm, rather than piping hot, and even better the next day. Don’t put off by the number of steps and spices, it really is a matter of making each of the components seperately and then combining into the completed layered dish. Once you’ve done the prep it’s just a matter of putting it in …

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Mussels in Thai Broth

An easy, healthy and delicious main courses or starter – can be served with crispy bread rolls or jasmine rice. Make sure you use fresh mussels. It’s all the better made using homemade Thai prawn stock(see recipe below) but bought fish or chicken stock will do if you are short on time. Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 kg of mussels, beards removed (do not use any broken mussels) 1 small brown onion finely diced 2 cloves garlic finely chopped 2 pieces ginger/fresh galangal finely chopped 1-2 hot red chillies chopped 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 6 coriander stalks and roots cleaned and chopped, leaves reserved for garnish thai basil for garnish 750 ml prawn or fish stock 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Method: Heat oil in large pot that has a tight fitting lid Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sautéed over medium heat until onions are translucent Add coriander, stock, fish sauce and sugar Add mussels, fit on lid and bring stock to boil. Shake pan and …

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14 Top Ubud Restaurants & Warungs

We’ve just arrived home in Sydney from Ubud after a wonderful 2 weeks there. I thought I’d share our favourite restaurants from this trip, including some old favourites and new finds while it was all fresh in my mind. When we travel we like eating like the locals do, whilst also trying out the gastronomical stars. This trip to Ubud we did just that, eating at some great local warungs and places like Mozaic, Hujane Local and Spice Gastrocafe. We also tried on this trip to go to a few places that are off the beaten track of the main Ubud streets, so this is quite an eclectic mix! Here’s an overview of  our favourite places for breakfast, lunch and dinner: Melting Wok Our absolute favourite place for dinner. There is also always a warm welcome from owner Geraldine and the team at Melting Wok who excel at great service and being hospitable. Geraldine is French and her husband Phillipe is Laotian and these cultural influences are evident in the  delicious main courses and desserts. …

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Review: Bali Asli Fishing and Cooking Class experience

This is the second cooking class experience that I have done through Bali Asli, which is based up in the hills of East Bali overlooking Mt Agung. This time we chose the Fishing Experience package that combines a morning boat trip departing at 8am from White Sand Beach, near Jasri village and out into the surrounding bay. We were picked up from Turtle Bay Hideaway and driven right down to White Sand beach where a local fisherman was waiting for us with his Jungkung(traditional Balinese outrigger fishing boat). We were pushed out into the water by a number of other fisherman and soon were speeding along to our first fishing spot as the sun climbed higher into the sky over the glistening waters. We were given substantial hand reels and bait to use in our endeavours to catch fish, but despite trying a number of spots we only managed to catch one small fish which we threw back. The currents were really strong, swirling the waters in the bay, which our local expert told us was “no …

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Review: Smorgasbord of Indonesian specialities at Hujan Locale

Hujan  Locale in Ubud is the latest offering in Australian chef and entrepreneur Will Meryck’s “chain” of contemporary Asian restaurants in Bali, including Sarong and Mama San in Seminyak. Tucked away in Jalan Sri Wedari, off the main street – Jalan Raya Ubud, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Singapore ore Vietnam colonial interior, featuring a mix of wood, bamboo, tiles and even a chandelier. The warm, inviting interior is filled with diners the night we visit. Bookings are highly advisable. We asked for a table upstairs which gets the through breeze and views over the street to one side and a Balinese family compound on the other. The menu features a diversity of dishes inspired by the various regions of the Indonesian archipelago with most ingredients supplied by local farmers. It is a smorgasbord of Indonesian delights and uncompromising in it’s inclusion of chilli and spices, so would not recommend if you don’t like spicy food. We choose the Pig Ear’s served with sambal spiced aioli and a crackling and the Gorengan or “fried platter” …

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2015 in review

Here’s the completed “Year in Review” post! Happy New Year!! As we start the new year I thought I’d reflect on the first six months of my Free Spirit Food blog. It’s certainly been very interesting starting this blogging journey and I was amazed to receive my “annual report” from WordPress telling me that there had been almost 5,000 views since June 2015 – apparently almost the equivalent of four full New York subway trains! My aim when I started was to get to 100 followers by the end of the year and as we enter the new year I would like to say thank you to the 105 people who find my recipes and reviews of interest. Some of you are friends and family, but the majority of you are from around Australia and the world with very informative, interesting and beautiful blogs of your own. I wanted to say a special thank you to my most loyal supporters and give their great blogs a plug: From the family table What’s Bec Cooking My little …

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Bali Review: A real Babi Guling experience at Warung Ibu Suna, Kedewatan

Having set out at 7.30am to do the Campuhan Ridge walk in Ubud before the sun got too hot, we decided we would have breakfast/brunch on the way back to Penestanan. The walk starts from stairs near the Campuhan Bridge that take you down to the river bed where you negotiate crossing over rocks to more stairs that lead up to the impressive temple on the other side, and the actual start of the “trek” up the ridge. We were lucky to have the aid of a makeshift bamboo “bridge” to get us across. The walk itself up the ridge affords stunning views across valleys on both sides. After about 3km of rolling hill climbs, you reach the village of Tegallalang with it’s rice fields and then walk another 4kms or so through the village of Kedawatan towards Jalan Sangiangan, the main route into Ubud. This stretch involves very steep hill walks between Tegallalang and Kedwatan and we certainly worked up a sweat and an appetite! Just as we leaving Kedawatan heading towards Ubud, we …

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Snapper in Indian “Crazy Water” Broth

This dish is based on the Italian inspired recipes by Marcella Hazan and Neil Perry for “fish in crazy water”. Having previously made and enjoyed Neil Perry’s recipe, I had found the original light broth reminiscent of the texture of the South Indian soup known as Rasam that often accompanies meals. This version is of my own creation and includes the distinct aniseed flavour of star anise and the fruity sweet-sour flavour of tamarind. You can also easily play around with the combination of herbs and spices to suit your palette. This dish is perfect to serve with blanched spinach for a light and healthy dinner. Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 55 minutes Ingredients: 2 large snapper fillets with skin on 3 large, very ripe tomatoes 3 cloves garlic 3 red chillies 1/2 tspn sea salt small handful coriander leaves small handful mint leaves 1.5 tsp tamarind concentrate or 2 tspns tamarind juice 1/2 tsp turmeric 2 star anise 60ml olive oil 900ml water Method Place tomatoes in bowl of boiling water, then peel …

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Spice Temple Cooking Class – Sydney Seafood School

On a cold and drizzly Monday night in Sydney I ventured down to the Sydney Fish Markets for a cooking class at their Seafood Cooking School. They offer a big variety of courses often featuring well known Chefs and I’d booked in to the class by Head Chef Andy Evans from the Neil Perry restaurant, Spice Temple. Both Andy Evans and Neil Perry have travelled extensively in regional China, and Spice Temple features their especially created recipes featuring regional Chinese cooking with a  spicy kick! The amphitheatre at the Seafood School was full of enthusiastic foodies and the class started with Andy outlining the order of proceedings and the menu. We were each given a booklet with the 3 recipes we would be making: Tuna with Blackened Chilli Dressing, Prawn and Peanut Relish and Spanner Crab Omelette with Oyster Sauce. The high tech set-up in the amphitheatre which has video screens displaying what is happening on the kitchen bench and stove makes it easy to watch the cooking demonstrations. It’s almost like watching a cooking …

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Lamb and spinach curry with lime

This is my version of lamb and spinach curry which is fresh and zesty through the addition of mint, coriander and lime to the traditional lamb and spinach combination. It goes really well served with rice or naan/flatbreads, and a side salad of tomato and cucumber. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 50 minutes Ingredients: 750g diced lamb 1 bunch fresh English spinach, cleaned, washed and chopped finely 250g packet of frozen spinach defrosted 1/2 bunch mint – leaves only 1/2 bunch coriander – chopped 2 tablespoons ginger and garlic crushed paste 1/2 lime cut into thirds, other half reserved 2-3 red chillies, left whole 1 onion finely diced 1.5 tomato chopped 1 tspn salt 1 tspn cummin powder 1/2 tspn chilli powder 1/2 tspn turmeric 2 pieces cinnamon 4 cardamom pods 1 tspn cummin seeds Handful curry leaves 3 tbspns vegetable oil Method Heat oil in large heavy based casserole pot Add cinnamon, cummin seeds, curry leaves and cardamom pods and cook until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spices Add onions and …

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Thai flavoured chicken and vegetable noodle soup

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather with the flu and the only thing I felt like eating was a light but flavoursome chicken soup. This version of chicken soup combines Thai flavours like galangal and lemongrass with fresh green vegetables and poached chicken and is full of goodness but omits the traditional coconut milk which often features in Thai chicken soups like Tom Ka Ghai. Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour Ingredients Poached chicken and stock 4 thigh chicken fillets on the bone, skin and fat removed 1 carrot peeled and chopped in large pieces 4 celery stalks chopped in large pieces Large knob of fresh galangal peeled and chopped Large knob of fresh ginger peeled and chopped 1 stalk lemongrass bruised then chopped roughly 4 cloves garlic 4 stalks spring onions chopped roughly 1 red chilli chopped 2.5-3 litres water Soup 1/2 brown onion sliced finely 2 handfuls of honeysnap peas 5 button mushrooms sliced thickly 1 stalk bok choy finely chopped 4 cloves of boiled garlic retained from the stock …

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Spicy shredded chicken salad

This is a light, healthy salad that is spiced up with some fresh chillies and chilli oil. Use the leftover herbs and vegetables in your fridge for the poaching to add flavour to the chicken. The leftover Singapore style poached chicken is perfect to use for this salad. Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 2 chicken thigh fillets, fat removed 1/2 brown onion 1/2 carrot leftover aromatics e.g fennel pieces, celery, coriander stalks and/or ginger 4-5 cups water 3 tablespoons Mint leaves and coriander chopped 2 green chillies finely chopped 2 cups watercress leaves salt and pepper 2-3 teaspoons Asian Chilli oil 1/2 a fresh lime Method Bring water to boil with aromatics Add chicken and reduce heat to medium to allow chicken to poach for 20 minutes Meanwhile chop mint leaves, coriander and chillies Shred chicken with 2 forks Add still warm chicken to watercress, mint, coriander and chilli. Add 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid and mix through Season well with pepper and salt to taste Drizzle with chilli oil and a squeeze …

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Singapore-style Poached Chicken and Chicken Rice

This recipe is inspired by the delicious chicken rice we had at Loy Kee Restaurant in Singapore recently. It seemed to me that it couldn’t be that difficult to replicate the tender and delicious poached chicken at home so I did a bit of reading and compared a number of recipes to come up with this easy to make version. Whist there are few different components involved if you want to have an authentic chicken rice meal with sauces and bok choy, none of it is difficult or complicated. I also found that the leftover chicken was delicious for a shredded spicy chicken salad like the one we made at Spirit House Cooking School when we visited Yandina, Queensland about  a year ago. You can find my version here Simple shredded chicken salad In fact, I would now use this method to make delicious poached chicken just on it’s own to use in chicken salads and/or sandwiches. You could vary the poaching ingredients, if you didn’t want the Asian ginger, garlic and spring onion flavour, but …

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Kamsila’s Chilli Sauce with apricot jam, garlic and mustard seeds

This is my cousin Kamsila’s recipe which I wrote down on my last visit to see my family in South Africa in 1997! It has stood me in good stead ever since. It is perfect to add that extra chilli bite when served alongside samosas, meatballs, or as a chutney with roast meats. It’s quick and easy to make but best if you soak the chillies and garlic in vinegar overnight. Lasts for up to 6 weeks stored in the fridge but is usually long gone by then in our household. The recipe does use Indian pickling masala which combines chilli powder, salt, fenugreek, mustard seeds,nigella seeds,turmeric and asafoetida. Easy to buy pre-packaged at an Indian grocer or spice shop. Prep time: marinate overnight, then 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients 50g fresh red chillies stalks removed 5 cloves garlic 1 cup white wine vinegar 400g apricot jam 750mls good tomato sauce 1 tsp oil 2 tspns “pickling masala” 1 tspn black mustard seeds Small handful of fresh curry leaves Method Soak chillies and …

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Pondicherry Prawns with zuchinni, preserved lemon and herbs

This is an unusual recipe hailing from Pondicherry, originally a French colony in Tamil Nadu, India. Pondicherry is truly unique with French style street signs, French colonial architecture and police that wear French style Kepis. We loved our visit to this special part of India, staying at the UNESCO world heritage ward winning Hotel De L’Orient. The restaurant at the hotel, Carte Blanch, is atmospherically set in the open air atrium of the hotel and features a special menu of creole cooking combining Tamil spices with French flavours. Recently flicking through Rick Stein’s India recipe book I found this recipe inspired by a meal he had at the hotel. I’ve adapted it using fresh green Australian king prawns and a slightly different mix of spices, spring onions and some green chilli. The use of preserved lemon gives the dish a fresh tangy flavour and the mixture of thyme, rosemary, basil and coriander is delicious. An excellent dish for entertaining as you can prepare all the ingredients and stir fry it just before you serve. Prep …

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Black bean Dhal with ginger, chilli, onions and tomato

This rich and delicious Dhal is made with black beans stewed with ginger, dried chillies, tomatoes and then finished with fried onions and spices. A great accompaniment with other vegetable curries and eaten with rice or naan or rotis. I use canned black beans which you can find in the Mexican section of the supermarket. The key is long, slow cooking adding stock or water until the mixture takes on a thick, soup like consistency and the beans have broken down. Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5-2 hours Ingredients 1 can black beans 1 large piece of ginger, peeled and cut in 2 pieces 3-4 dried red chillies 1 large tomato cut into large cubes 500ml Salt reduced chicken or vegetable stock 500ml water Salt 1 tspoon cummin seeds 1/2 tspoon Turmeric 1/2 tspoon Chilli powder 1/2 tspoon cummin powder Handful curry leaves 1 small onion sliced 1 tspoon ginger and garlic paste 50g butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Chopped coriander for garnish Method Bring water to boil in a medium-large saucepan Strain …

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Healthy Chicken and zucchini meatballs

These chicken and zucchini meatballs are quick and easy, light, fluffy and healthy. They can be teamed up with a spicy tomato sauce, wrapped in a flatbread with salad or enjoyed as a canapé with a dipping sauce of your choice. Prep time: 25 minutes  Cooking time: 20-25 minutes Ingredients 400g chicken mince 2 small zucchini peeled and grated 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 1 tsp cummin powder 2 red chillies very finely diced, seeds removed 1.5 tsp ginger and garlic crushed Handful coriander chopped 4 spring onions white and green parts finely chopped 1/2 tsp Salt Method Pre-heat oven to 150’degrees celcius Line a baking tray with baking paper Mix all ingredients and chill in fridge for 15 minutes Form meatballs and place on baking tray Cook until golden for 20-25?minutes Serve with dip and wedges of lemon Makes about 15-20 meatballs

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