Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken on lemongrass skewers. Not Thai, but sort of.

This recipe, entitled: "chicken on lemongrass skewers" consists of chicken, on skewers, made of lemongrass. Or, put another way, lemongrass skewers with chicken pieces on them.

The chicken is cut into pieces, and the lemongrass stems are cut at an angle and the chicken then forced onto the sharpened stems. I can't be clearer about this. I don't know why I've gone on about it so much already. It's like I'm just digging an ever-deeper hole for myself. I'll stop now.
the chicken. On skewers. Ready to bake.

Then I made a marinade: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, rice wine, some brilliant kaffir lime infused olive oil (from the Kerikeri farmers' market last week), and grated lemongrass, ginger and garlic. And a little honey. The chicken goes in there for about an hour, and then it's removed and put in an oven dish and baked at 160 deg for about 25min. Then the marinade is added back, and the whole thing stewed for another 10-15 min at about 200 deg to reduce.
Half-way there.

Meanwhile, rice is cooked in chicken stock (1 cup rice, 1.5 cups stock, small salt, in a sealed pan to boil, then 7 min simmer and 18 min rest-perfect fluffy rice (thank you Sara for that recipe- it never fails!) but don't take the lid off until you need it, then fluff it up with a fork.)

At last! I found a green mango for my salad: so shredded green mango, shredded carrot, shredded cucumber, chopped coriander, and crushed roasted peanuts, dressed with some more of the kaffir lime oil, sweet vinegar, and fish sauce.
salady salad

The chicken on the skewers is one of LW's favourites, but I think this may be the best rendition of it yet...
and it did taste good!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

seared sesame tuna with spicy salad

We were in Rarotonga 3 weeks ago. It seems like an age away now, but the memory  of the holiday will linger for a while yet.
view, I miss you.

The food was excellent, the seafood especially so, and one of the few dishes I cooked whilst we were there was this one, when we discovered that there was an excellent fishmonger in the small town on the island. However, we also discovered that, unless we went to the shop very early, all the best tuna was sold, and we did end up with a piece that was quite full of connective tissue and not ideal.

We did expect to be cooking quite a lot on holiday, but eating out was very much more relaxing, and surprisingly affordable.

Today, I noticed that the supermarket has some nice looking yellowfin in,
some tuna, earlier today.

so here's the dish I wanted to create:

The salad is Cucumber that's been skinned, de-seeded and finely sliced, then salted and squeezed:

Add to that some grated carrot:

and dress with a south-east asian kind of dressing of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy, wasabe and sugar into which is mixed some crushed toasted peanuts and some fresh coriander.
now that's what I call dressing, 23.

Meanwhile, take the tuna steak and cut, with the grain as much as possible, into large cubes, then coat in flour, then egg, then sesame seeds. This takes a lot of sesame seeds:

Next time, I might do the coating, and then slice the tuna after it is seared. So maybe try that. Learn by my mistakes. Then gloat.

At this point, don't forget to feed the dogs.
mmm. lucky dogs.

So once the sesame seeds have browned in hot oil, but the tuna is still rare in the middle,

serve with the salad. It's lovely.
I was half way through eating this when suddenly, I remembered that I'd forgotten to take a photograph.

I was going to find some green pawpaw or mango to add to the salad, but there was none to be had. I'll do that next time, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mayonnaise no.2


This post is similar, if not identical to LWs lovely blog here. We have been watching the Aussie Masterchef series 2 (no spoilers for who won, we don't want to know!) and were intrigued by the mayonnaise recipe in one of the masterclasses. It uses whole egg not just the yolk, and doesn't seem to have any of the drawbacks of the more traditional version. Here's how it goes:

1 Egg
.25 of a tsp of salt
1 tbs of vinegar (the nicer the better!)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup of oil (whichever your preference- we like light olive oil for this)

an assemblage of ingredients

We used a mini food processor.
a melange

All the ingredients except the oil are blended to a smooth paste, then a quarter of the oil is added,
an intermixing

a pourage

an emulsification

and blended thoroughly. No drizzling required. Then the rest of the oil is added! You'll hear the blender starting to strain as the mayo thickens and lo! Mayonnaise is done!

a result

Blimey! That's so easy, and the result is every bit as good, if not gooder than the finicky yolk-only recipe.

Apparently, the albumen protein acts as an emulsifier and prevents the chances of the mayonnaise splitting. If the result is too oily, add a little warm water.

So there!

Oddly enough, we used this recipe the next day to make some more mayo and IT DIDN'T WORK! Each time the egg mixture (before the oil was added) didn't become creamy despite the simple formula, and when the oil was added it just split from the rest. In the end, we resorted to recipe 1.

So. Has anyone an explanation? I so want this simple recipe to be reliable, but, it seems, it's not!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

fresh pasta, broad beans.

Today's supper is a collaborative effort; LW and me. We have only owned a pasta-machine for the last year or so, so we did think that it was high time we actually used it for something. Even though, as a decorative object, it has much to recommend it.

So we bought Durum wheat flour (a bit expensive; we'll try a good plain flour next time), and off we went. 4 eggs  a pinch of salt and 400g flour in a food processor for a few seconds.

A crumb texture is reached, and, if the recipes we were looking at are to be believed, that's what we want. However, attempts at kneading the mixture to a dough were unspectacular,

and after a few drops of milk were added to loosen the mixture up a bit, we put the whole lot on the Kitchen-Aid, and used the dough hook to do the job. It worked. Then the bowl came loose and we nearly lost the lot. It was very funny at the time, and it'll probably become one of those seminal scenes in a Woody Allen film, but, really, you had to be there.

We ran the dough in small pieces through the pasta machine, and lo! It started looking remarkably like the real thing. In fact, it's really good fun, and I recommend anyone to try their hand at it (but 2 people definitely is better than one for the 1st attempt, I think).

Now the tagliatelle is drying on the clothes pulley and waiting for me to make a sauce.

We have had some broad beans growing over the winter, adding some nitrogen to the soil, and maybe even making us some food. There didn't seem to be a lot of pods, but the winter's been a bit cold and damp, so that's not unreasonable. So we picked them all today, and there was a much bigger crop than anticipated.

They'd all been hiding. Excellent! There was also a wee hidden surprise! A clutch of duck eggs! We knew that the females were going off somewhere to lay eggs, but we couldn't find them. And yet, there they were, hidden in the densest bush of beans.

So the beans are now in a pan with some butter (well, lots of butter) a little water, salt, pepper and garlic.

They will simmer for about 20 min, until only the butter and none of the water remains. Meanwhile the pasta needs a scant 3 minutes to cook:
and the dish is ready:

So. It was wonderful: I know it's a cliche these days of cooking programmes and celebrity chefs to say that all you need is good-quality ingredients, prepared simply and in season, but, in this case it's true! Only 2.5 hrs preparation time and 17 seconds to wolf down. Yum.

Monday, September 6, 2010

veggie (well almost!) cannelloni

I know that some people regard him as a bit of a prat. But if you have ever used any of Jamie Oliver's recipes you'll know that he's pretty much excellent, almost all of the time. I like his enthusiasm, and I'm really liking the "at home" series and book that comes with it. Here's one of his recipes, with (most unusual for me) almost no variation from the printed word.

Cook broccoli and cauliflower florets in salted water for a few min and drain, keeping the liquid. Fry some finely chopped garlic for a few seconds and then add anchovies, (and their oil), some thyme leaves, a crumbled dry chilli, and fry for a few more seconds before adding the veggies and a small amount of the cooking water, and stew slowly for 20 min. Add more of the veggie water if it looks too dry. Keep the lid off for the last few minutes to evaporate any excess liquid off. Season.

Mash the resulting stew to a smooth paste and spread over a plate or oven tray to cool.

Meanwhile, spread a layer of passata over an oven dish with a splash of wine vinegar.

When the vegetable paste has cooled, pipe it into the cannelloni,

and put the filled cannelloni on top of the passata.

Cover the pasta with basil leaves

and then a white sauce made of creme fraiche, grated parmesan and seasoning.

Grate more parmesan over the top and spread some torn mozzarella on top.

Then bake at 190degC for about 40min.

Here's how it looked after baking, all bubbly and delightful:

And here's how it tasted: Superb! The chilli was hotter than anticipated, which certainly was noticed by LW, and I will modify next time I do this dish, but I will certainly cook it again.