Sunday, 31 August 2014

Baked Lemon & Parsley Fishcakes

There are only so many ways you can cook fish and they all seems pretty much the same.  If I even try and use the word 'fishcake' in my house, eyes start to roll. But not anymore.  Why you ask?  Here is my take on, fishcakes that are BAKED as opposed to fried, and I don't use any potato in them.  This makes them rather attractive for the waste-line, which is where my current focus is - and they have an awesome, delicious crunch to them.

You can use any kind of firm white fish for this, I like Cod or Hake. If you don't know anything about fish or want to be a little more adventurous in your choice, here is a great site to visit to get fish-educated

Okay, so this is rich coming from me the 'non-mayo' lover.  There are 2 reasons I smear a little light mayonnaise on the top of each fishcake.  Firstly it keeps it moist when baking and secondly, it allows the crunchy topping to stay exactly where it should be.

This recipe is suitable for 4 foodie lovers

500g Cod, skin removed
500ml fish stock
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp spring onions, chopped
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp chutney (optional)
1 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp lemon rind, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp LIGHT mayonnaise
2 slices brown bread, stale
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Zest 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Add fish and stock to a saucepan and bring to the boil until fish is tender
Drain liquid and transfer fish to a food processor
Add breadcrumbs, spring onions, chilli sauce, chutney, coriander, paprika, rind, garlic salt & pepper and process using the pulse action
Divide the mix into 8 portions and mould with wet hands into fishcakes
Top each with mayonnaise evenly spread on one side
For the topping crunch: Mix bread, parsley, lemon zest and juice  to the processor and whizz until mixed
Add generous amounts of topping to each fishcake and pat lightly into the mayonnaise
Bake at 180'C until top is lightly brown and crispy

Enjoy ... as we will be doing shortly to end a lovely weekend.
             ~ Michelle ~

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Potato, Pesto & Green Bean Salad

The coals are burning down beautifully for the 28-day matured rib-eye steaks that are busy marinating. I have tried all sorts of marinade ... those with beer, wine, tomato sauce and other.  The best I have come up with is really simple, as it seasons and salts at the same time.   Add 2 Tbsp soya sauce and 1 Tbsp fish sauce (yip, fish sauce, and don't drop it on the floor - you will be sorry) to a deep flat bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, mix well and  add steaks.  Marinade for min 20 min and max 2 hours at room temperature.  Turn once or twice to coat both sides.

Okay, back to what to serve on the side? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE potato salad, but hate 'death by mayonnaise'. I did find in the store the other day a mayonnaise that claimed to be 'lighter than light', but it tasted like plastic - so not an option for me the non- mayo lover.  Mmm let's turn up the volume on flavour and keep the calories down (besides the potatoes) to an all-time low.  How about a potato, pesto & green bean salad?

~ ~
I like to use new baby potatoes for two reasons really; - firstly to keep the delicate skin on for added flavour and secondly, when you cut them in half there is a wonderful contrast between the creamy white flesh and the rustic skin. Red potatoes or any potato variety that is recommended for making chips also works very well, just cut them into quarters to keep it bite size.
Use a flavoursome mushroom!  If you don't have brown chestnuts, shiitaki works just as well.  White button mushrooms are a no-go ...they are about as interesting as cardboard - tasteless and chewy.  My favourite shelf-herb at the moment is dried tarragon. French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but if you don't have any, no worries, it is optional here.

This recipe is easy and suitable for 4 foodie lovers.

1kg baby potatoes (skin on)
250g green beans, top, tailed and cut into 1 inch lengths
1/4 cup store-bought green pesto
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried Tarragon (optional)
1/4 cup spring onions, finely sliced
5 brown chestnut mushrooms, sliced, no stalks
2 Tbsp good olive oil
Parmesan, shaved

Steam potatoes until tender and leave to cool
Steam beans until just tender - they still need to be nutty and bright green
Toss the beans whilst still warm in a bowl with pesto
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and season with salt, pepper and tarragon
Add dressed green beans, spring onions, mushrooms and olive oil and toss lightly
Sprinkle with some Parmesan

I like to serve this at room temperature, but it is also awesome served warm.

Time to go and BBQ, enjoy a glass of Chardonnay and catch up with my hubby on what he's been doing all day in his office!

          ~ Michelle ~

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hearty 'French Onion' Meat Soup

Hearty 'French Onion' Meat Soup

Julia Child would be horrified with what I did with her classic recipe of French Onion Soup in Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.  

My efforts started out rather classical, but I felt more like a thick and hearty, tummy warming soup with some meat, risotto a few other things along with the onions, which made 'classical' go pear-shaped from there.

In order to cut down on the cooking time by almost 2 hours and still to get the onions to develop a deep, rich flavour, I added a tablespoon of sugar allowing them to caramelise.  The more traditional way would be to cook the onions slow firstly in butter and oil and then on a slow simmer in some stock. Sorry, didn't do this one either ... definitely pear-shaped!

I have used Shiitake mushrooms, cause I love them, but you can really use any flavoursome mushroom you like - that does not include a button mushroom which really offers little flavour all the way round!

This is suitable for 4 - 6-foodie lovers  

Olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup shallots, small dice
2 tsp fresh ginger, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, small dice
1 Tbsp flour
2 cups Shiitake/Chestnut mushrooms, large dice
1 tsp brown sugar
500g sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked risotto
1/4 cup sherry
3 tbsp soy sauce
300ml beef stock
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce

Heat a generous glug of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat
Add onions, shallots, ginger, garlic and flour and sauté for 10 min on medium
Add mushrooms, sugar and beef and sauté on high for 7 min
Add water, risotto, sherry, soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil
Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 min until meat is tender and liquid is thick
Stir in worcestershire sauce at the end and serve

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Balti Butter Chicken


Who doesn't love Indian Food? Needing a break from the obvious Korma ... then this one is for you. It is a mild, creamy curry, traditionally stir-cooked Balti style in a kadhai pan.  
And what in heaven's name is a kadhai you ask?
It is a type of thick, circular, deep cooking pot used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nepalese cuisine, similar to a wok really, just with steeper sides.  

If you don't have a kadhai, and most if us don't ... use a wok, it works just as well. 

This is suitable for 4-foodie lovers  

5 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1 tsp Garam Masala
800g chicken breasts, cut into stir-fry pieces
2 Tbsp coriander powder
1 tin good whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt
50g chopped almonds (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp turmeric
1 curry leaf, finely chopped
4 Tbsp cream
2 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin

Heat butter and oil in a kadhai or wok
Sauté onions, garlic, ginger and Masala together
Add chicken and coriander and stir on high heat until browned
Add tomatoes, yoghurt, almonds, salt, sugar, turmeric and curry leaf and cook on a medium heat for 20 - 25 min or until tender and sauce has thickened
Lower heat, add cream, coriander, cumin and cook for a few minutes
Serve on rice with traditional curry sides 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Spicy Sweet Coated Nuts

Eat | Love | Play ... with food 
This is a quick and easy something to do and is fabulous with a glass of wine, in a salad or even sprinkled over some vanilla ice-cream.  I like to use Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, but you can use anything really.  The secret is the egg white, which helps the seasoning and sugar adhere and it also adds an extra glazed finish.  This stores well in an airtight bottle for up to a weeks but can also be re-crisped in the oven for 3 min.  This make 2 cups.

1 egg white
2 cups assorted UNSALTED  raw nuts
1 tsp garlic seasoning
1 tsp smoked Paprika or chilli powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180'C
Line a large baking sheet with baking paper, oiled
In a bowl whisk egg white until foamy
Add nuts, seasoning and sugar
Toss and coat all over
Smear nuts on baking sheet in a single layer
Bake for 10 min, tossing once or twice
Remove from oven and allow to cool

Cheers, time for a glass of wine.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Greek Lamb Shish Kebabs

If you have ever been to Greece, you will know that long after the memories of the holiday, you will never forget the destination for its wonderful food.  It is all about meat, garlic, ripened tomatoes, onion and other fresh produce from the lands.  And of course everything is served with a Greek salad and tzatziki on the side.

I have been inspired today to make some Lamb Kebabs.  I had a great idea to use mint sauce as appose to fresh mint and lemon - but it would seem I left that behind in the store, so to the former we go.

600g lamb neck, 1 inch cubed
Fresh mint for garnish

For the marinade
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1 shallot, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. For the marinade - mix all in a large bowl and stir through well
  2. Add lamb cubes and mix well
  3. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 4 hrs or overnight
  4. Preheat grill to high
  5. Thread lamb onto 4 - 6 wooden  skewers (pending size) soaked in water for 15 min
  6. Grill for 10 - 12 min until cooked through, turn occasionally

Garnish and of course serve with tzatziki and a little Greek salad on
the side

απολαμβάνω (enjoy!)