Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quesadilla

Today was a day of making up stuff that I've had before but never looked for a recipe for.  For lunch we had quesadillas.  We have no bread or anything much in the house, so I went looking through the freezer and found some tortillas/burritos.  Also found some pizza sauce.  And there was mozzarella in the fridge.  So I added some ground cumin, some chilli, cinnamon, and dry coriander to the sauce.  In the bench-top oven for a while, yum yum yum!

My own satay

I am so stoked!  I made the best satay sauce ever tonight.

1T honey
1T smooth peanut butter
1T chunky peanut butter (100%Nutz)
Squeeze of soy sauce
1t tumeric
2t cumin seeds
Some chilli
Little water to make it into a sauce

Then I just slathered it all over some chicken, popped them in the frying pan, then added some coconut milk to the left over sauce and poured it into the pan with the chicken once it had browned on both sides, added some carrots and broccoli and covered it.  Then after a while we added some coconut milk because it was getting dry.  It was YUM.  YUM YUM yum, and even Mum liked it.  :-)

Smitten Kitchen

I refound this site while organising the links that have been piling up on my bookmarks toolbar.  And right away I signed up for the RSS (I've only just downloaded an RSS reader, which started this bookmark clearing exercise) because the recipes and the site look lovely.  First thing I found that I really want to try is Grape Focaccia with Roemary, but we don't have any grapes at the moment.  Hopefully next weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cook Yourself Thin

I've been watching this show on and off this year.  The only reason for the 'off' is because of the stupid time and day it's on - not at prime time (like the repeats of the Simpsons and Fresh Prince and Friends... etc etc) and not during the week.  So I decided to go have a look at the website.  It has all sorts of yummy recipes, but more importantly, it has a lot of ideas for how to replace certain ingredients with other, healthier, calorie-reduced ingredients to make food that is yummier because you know it's better for you.  The first recipes I'm planning on trying are Red Velvet Cupcakes and Sweet and Sour Pork Chops.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tarte Chocolat Caramel

From Chocolate and Zucchini (book).

Caramel Filling:
90g brown sugar
1T honey
1/2t salt [we didn't use this, as usual]
80g crème fraîche or double cream [we used regular cream and it didn't work]
30g unsalted butter [we used regular butter, and didn't put in the salt]

Ganache:
280g bittersweet chocolate
240g crème fraîche or double cream

Refrigerate base (sweet pastry) for at least 30 mins, then bake for 20-25 mins at 180C until golden.  Cool on a rack.

Put brown sugar and a tablespoon of water in a small heavy-bottomed pot, and melt the sugar slowly over medium-low heat.  Move the pan around to ensure even melting, but don't stir.   When it turns light amber (avoid overcooking as this will result in a bitter taste) [this is where Mum thinks I went wrong - I really did add the honey the moment I saw amber, because I was scared of overcooking it, though I maintain it was using regular cream] add the honey and mix.  Add salt and cream, stir til blended, remove from heat, add butter, and stir to combine.  Pour the hot caramel into the pie crust evenly [I tilted the pan around so that it went up the sides as well].  Refrigerate for 40 mins [at the very least].

Make ganache by pouring the boiling cream over the chocolate half at a time, leaving to stand and then mixing after each addition.  Pour the ganache over the caramel and put back in the fridge for an hour [we left it over night because after a few hours it was still too sticky to cut].

Chocolate and Zucchini - Book

Chocolate and Zucchini, by Clotilde Dusoulier, is based on her food blog.  I think the blog is better, but it's nice to have a book in your hands to cook from, rather than running back and forward to the computer or having a piece of A4 printing paper that always seems to get wet, dirty, and smudged.  We've tried two recipes from it:  the Gâteau au Yaourt and Tarte Chocolat Caramel.  Before the book goes back to the library (which is any day now because it's either due or coming up due and it's already been renewed!), we're going to try the Gâteau Chocolat Framboise too.  The yoghurt cake was really yummy, not as yoghurty as I had expected or hoped for, but it was dense, rich, moist, and sweet.  The chocolate caramel tart didn't go so well.  I think this is because Mum convinced me that our regular cream is the same as double cream for Americans/Europeans.  This is not the case I think.  So the caramel didn't set, and the chocolate ganache only just did after a night in the fridge.  I think I screwed up the ganache because I didn't let the cream boil, but I'm always scared to let milky things catch.  The pastry tasted good and was really crispy, but it flaked a bit too much and was a little hard around the edges (from being in the fridge?), meaning a lot of it ended up staying in the pie dish stuck to the sides.  I really want to try it again, and get it right by using crème fraîche for the caramel (I've never used this ingredient, so we'll see how it goes) and boiling the cream like I'm supposed to for the ganache.

Chocolate and Zucchini blog can be found here.

Starter

Today I am going to restart my starter.  For a while there I was going okay, following the instructions, feeling confident as I watched the 'little yeasty beasties' grow and bubble away happily.  And then I thought "Oh..  did I actually let that double as I was supposed to?"  And I started having doubts.  I had been measuring the volume from the side of the measuring cup I was using for holding the growing baby, but suddenly doubted that I had recalled the level from the previous day correctly.  "So," I thought, "let's carry on as if I did it right, and see how it goes".  But before I could, I noticed some pink gathering around the sides of the cup where little bits of starter had been left from mixing, and my heart sank - the one thing they said on the website about starters was that if it got pink stuff on it, it was a goner.  So, I have thrown it away, two days before I could have used it.  Today I am starting again.  This time it will work, I know it.  I am keeping it away from the light from the window and from the extra heat from the microwave and bench-top oven, because it may have been that that tipped the balance of power from yeast to bacteria.  The recipe is below, from The Fresh Loaf.

Day One:  1/3c rye flour, 1/4c water
Day Two:  1/4c unbleached high grade flour, 1/8c water (add)
Day Three:   1/4c unbleached high grade flour, 1/8c water (throw out half then add)
Day Four (or when starter has doubled, whichever comes LAST):  1/4c unbleached high grade flour, 1/8c water (throw out half then add)
Day Five (when starter has doubled):  1/4c starter, 3/4c unbleached high grade flour, 1/2c water (put into new container)
Day Six, and beyond:  See website above

This tutorial is great because it has pictures and it's main vibe is "Don't Panic".  The starter was going really well, so I'm 99.9% certain that it was chance/me that made the thing fail, and not this cool recipe.  I got the flours from Bin Inn, because that way I didn't have to buy a huge bag of rye flour just to use only a small amount.  In fact I think I will be getting stuff from Bin Inn more now because you can choose how much you want to buy, so things wont go stale/off before you use them all up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicken Pilaf

Cooked Fri 15 Oct, 2010, for Julie-Anne

From Healthy Food Guide Magazine, Oct 2010

2 Spring onions
2T grated fresh ginger (we used about 2t mashed from a jar)
1T soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (we used about 2t mashed from a jar)
750g chicken thighs (we used about 600g, and it seemed to be about the right ratio chicken:rice for our taste)
[we didn't use mushrooms, but it says 500g, thickly sliced]
1c long-grain rice
3c chicken stock (that's two of the small boxes - we only had one and topped it up with water, and it was fine)
2T sweet chilli sauce (we didn't have this, so I put in a squeeze of chilli and about a t of sugar)
1T fish sauce
1c frozen peas

Chop spring onions and cut chicken into chunks. Mix chicken, spring onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger to coat, then brown in a pan (a big sauce pan is good, we used the electric frying pan and it was too big, especially as we didn't eat it the second it was ready - it would have started to dry out, but we added a little water and then piled it up on one side of the frying pan and turned the heat way down). Take the chicken out put the rice, stock (and/or water), fish and chilli sauces, bring to the boil, covered, then simmer for 10mins. Put the chicken back in and cook again for 8-10 mins (we didn't need this much time as the chicken and the rice cooked faster). Add the peas and let them warm up.

Chicken and broccoli

300g chicken
2t red curry paste
350g broccoli
1/4c water
1/2c coconut milk
4 spring onions
1t soy sauce

Heat oil in a sauce pan, add chicken and paste. If the paste sticks, don't worry, it will lift when the liquid is added. Add water and coconut milk once the paste has become fragrant, then simmer 2mins. Add broccoli, cook 3-4mins, til broccoli starts to soften. Add spring onion and soy sauce before cooking for another minute. Serve with rice, could possibly serve with noodles too.

We don't have this healthy food guide in hard copy, we got it from the website. Trying tonight with just veges, so adding cauliflower and carrots instead of chicken.

AMENDED:   Not including the chicken seems to make the sauce hotter, perhaps the chicken absorbs some of the spices?  So if looking to keep the same heat, add less curry paste.

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