All posts tagged: foodie

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 …

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Spicy Prawn Rice with carrots, peas and mushrooms

This is a delicious combination of ingredients that is lovely as a dish on its own with a yoghurt raita and salad, or served alongside  grilled chicken or lamb. It’s like an Indian risotto but you don’t have to stand over it stirring!  Perfect for entertaining as it can be made ahead of time – it’s even better the day after! It’s also great for a shared spread or picnic as it can be served at room temperature. You just need to allow prep time as there a few steps prior to assembling the dish and cooking in the oven. You can also leave out or reduce the chilli powder and green chillies to make it less spicy. Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour Ingredients: 500g green prawns shelled and deveined 1.5-2 cups basmati rice 2 medium carrots roughly diced 350 grams of button mushrooms roughly diced 1/2 cup of peas 2 large onions sliced in rings 150 grams of butter for frying prawns 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil for frying prawns …

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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 …

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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.   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 …

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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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Pan-fried Scallops on pea purée with crispy proscuitto

Red, white and green. These sweet scallops just pan-fried with a golden brown crust on the bright green pea purée topped with salty, red crispy proscuitto bits are a great Christmas starter or entree. The pea purée can be made ahead of time so it’s easy to assemble just before serving. Prep time: 30 minutes cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients: Pea purée 2 small eschallots finely sliced 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced 2 cups frozen peas defrosted 1/2 cup chicken stock 50g butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and finely crushed black pepper Scallops 16-24 scallops (4-6 per person) Olive oil spray Proscuitto 4-6 slices very thin slices of proscuitto Method Pea purée Heat butter or oil over medium heat Add eschallots and garlic and sauté gently until soft and transparent Add defrosted peas and chicken stock, bring to gentle simmer Cook for maximum 5-7 minutes until peas are tender but still bright green Add salt and pepper to taste Process with stick blender or in food processor until purée forms Pass through …

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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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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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Lamb and potato curry

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 including stalks 2 pieces cinnamon bark 5 cardamom pods Handful of curry leaves removed from stalks 1.5 teaspoons cummin seeds 1 teaspoon turmeric 1.5-2 teaspoons …

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The spirit of sharing: foodie adventures from far and wide

I started my blog in the spirit of sharing my foodie adventures with likeminded people. Free Spirit Food is inspired by my travels and (mainly) foodie adventures including reviews of cooking classes, markets and restaurants. Having spent my early childhood in South Africa I grew up surrounded by the smells and taste sensations of my extended family’s delicious Indian cooking. I also took for granted our weekly Sunday roast dinners or sampling traditional African food. Then when we moved to Australia my horizons expanded to Italian and of course Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese delights. My travels have also fanned the flames of my interest in cooking and exploring the tantalising flavours of the world. I hope my recipes, reviews, tips and tales will inspire you to try some new foodie adventures at home and afar. Shanthini image

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