Thai Chicken Risotto

This was one of the first dishes that really wowed me in taste, texture and uniqueness; Thai chicken risotto. I started putting together a cook book a couple of years ago and this was the first recipe i worked on. It is so damn good. The chicken is extremely succulent,  (don’t over cook it when you’re first browning it, only lightly colour the surface, you don’t want it to dry out, it has plenty of time to cook through in the oven). It’s also important to closely watch the times of cooking or resting, it will be crucial to the end result.

Best thing to do with this dish is plan leftovers around it so when you go out to buy ingredients you’re only getting specific items. A lot of them are pantry staples so you shouldn’t really need to buy much. I just had to buy the chicken thighs and rice yesterday which cost me all up $8. It made 5 servings too and that was with us going back for seconds for dinner. Good family meal or leftovers for lunch the next day. Another pro tip thanks to my Dad, if you’re happy to buy Coles or Woollies brand chicken get them from the deli, they will be way cheaper than the prepackaged stuff that’s there for complete convenience. Sure you might have to take a ticket but you will save a few bucks. Buy double, split it up and freeze the rest for another day’s use!

I also highly recommend having a kaffir lime tree at home. If you like to cook Thai food you will save heaps, both in time, money and frustration of not having this important element for your dishes.

I made the red curry paste myself earlier in the week. I hadn’t made my own for a while. I even managed to get Thai shrimp place from a joint in town! No galangal though, ughh, elusive to me, especially fresh and juicy. It’s on my list to grow though. Store bought paste is fine, i have been using it for years.

This recipe comes from the below link. Again, use what you have on hand. I included frozen peas last night, i thought they were way better than the beans i had used in the past. Little pops of flavour and there are more of them scattered throughout the bowl.

The prep can take some time but just do it bit by bit, keep looking at the recipe so you don’t miss any steps or ingredients, once everything is prepped and chopped it comes together very easily.

Thai Chicken Risotto

Thai Chicken Risotto thanks to delicious.

This Saturday was the ‘Bollywood beach markets’ in Woolgoolga. I was thinking we’d really see some great Indian stalls from the heavily cultured community but was very disappointed by what was there! The beach was nice though 🙂

Instead i am going to make some bases tonight and cook pizza haha, no worries, haven’t made homemade pizza in a long time. Till next time.

Woolgoolga beach
Disappointing markets 🙁

Red curry of prawns and potato

I’ve made this curry a few times now and it’s exceptional. It’s a one wok dish too!

The herbs really highlight this red curry, stirred through just before serving, add to that the fresh, fiery chilli thrown in at the beginning of the cooking process? It lingers wonderfully on the pallet.

The recipe says to cook the potatoes for about 10minutes until soft but i’ve found each time that it takes longer. Put a lid on the wok or saucepan so the sauce doesn’t evaporate and cook the potatoes until soft when pricked with a sharp knife. At that point add the prawns to cook for the final couple of minutes. I also added shredded kaffir lime leaves because they’re just so fantastic.

Don’t forget to serve in warmed bowls, you want that curry to stay hot, tastes so much better that way!

That time is upon us!

And if you have leftovers, as with most curries, they’re often better the next day as was the case here.

Red curry of prawns and potato.

 

A couple of corn recipes

The famous corn on the cob; we’ll buy them for a BBQ first and foremost. Roasted over the coals until the kernel’s start popping, served with lashings of butter. Now, don’t get me wrong, i love them served this way, but it had me thinking when Ange bought some for me to use. Time for something different?
When i need some ideas or recipes i always go to www.taste.com.au.

First night we tried this Mexican corn on the cob, a wonderful looking and sounding side dish. Smoked paprika is mixed with some mayonnaise, a fiery spice mix to sprinkle over the cooked corn, grated Parmesan and a squeeze of lime. Now, what would go with this? I’m a bit hot on chicken schnitzels at the moment and i figured they would go nicely with the mayonnaise.

It was a sensational combination, something completely different for that mid week meal. Pretty simple too. You could buy your schnitzel if you didn’t want to make one, but from experience a made one? Can’t beat it.

Mexican corn on the cob.

Just a brilliant new way of serving corn.
Just a brilliant new way of serving corn.

The next night was tuna and corn quesadillas. Another simple yet different meal. Instead of tinned corn i just microwaved our two remaining cobs for 4 minutes and stripped off the kernels.
You’ve seen me post up quesadillas many times in the past, (on Instagram, Facebook, @mejulesok), a great way to use up any left overs but also giving you a simple, easy dinner and here is no exception.

Tuna and corn quesadillas.

Firstly make your mixture for the filling.

Fast and easy mixture done. Time for cook!
Fast and easy mixture done. Time for cook!

Place your tortilla in the pan and top with the mixtures and shredded cheese. Place remaining tortilla on top and cook until golden, oozing and crisp.

Clean and simple cooking.
Clean and simple cooking.

Served here simple chips and salad.

Close up! ;)

Close up! 😉

Think outside the box with your favourite ingredients and mold them to fit into the cuisine or combination of your liking. You’ll be surprised. 🙂

Kung Pow Chicken

Wow, it’s been a while! My little page, so neglected. Oh well, here we go again. Seems it goes on hiatus whenever i get side tracked by something else hehe.

I have only cooked this once before, a couple of years ago, actually i think it might of been the page’s 1st or 2nd post? I do not know why it’s taken me so long to do it again! It’s a bit fiddly getting all the steps done and prepared but it all comes together quite quickly at the end. Just read and prepare each stage of the recipe and you will not get flustered at the end when everything is going into the wok.

It’s got some unique ingredients, such as black vinegar and chilli bean paste but they can be found easily in an Asian supermarket.

Get all the little recipe steps organized in little bowls. It saves a heap of stress later!
Get all the little recipe steps organized in little bowls. It saves a heap of stress later!

Kung Pow Chicken. It has the numbing sensation from the Sichaun peppercorns and hits that spicy note with the dried chilli’s and chilli bean paste. A nice rich sauce, succulent pieces of chicken with the crunch of peanuts. It really is an amazing dish. Serve with rice.

Serving shot was a bit 'messy'.....
Serving shot was a bit ‘messy’…..

You’ll wake up the next day excited for leftovers!

This is the recipe i used.

http://www.seriouseats.com/…/real-deal-kung-pao-chicken-rec…

Mussels with garlic, chilli and kale

I posted this to Instagram the other night and have been wanting to share this recipe and dish with you all.

You’ve heard me say it many times how good mussels are. Not only are they good for you, they’re tasty, (some will disagree!), cheap and sustainable, we don’t use them enough.

It seems the simpler the recipe the better for these guys.

This one blew my socks off, so simple but a flavour that will have you nodding your head in approval.

Heat a tbs of oil in a wok or large saucepan over high heat. Add 3 chopped garlic cloves and chilli’s, (depending on how spicy you like it you can reduce the chilli) and cook for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add 250ml vegetable stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add 1kg cleaned mussels and a large handful of kale, removing the leaves from the tough stems. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times to make sure the kale is submerged in the stock. Before serving, stir through 1/4 cup chopped parsley.

Pour into a large, warmed bowl. This is important as you want to keep the stock hot. Spoon onto warmed plates and devour.

Mussels and stock

 

Served with chips here but you could also just eat with fresh, crusty bread.

Mussels and chips

The kale really gave the stock an extra depth of flavour and with the chilli also letting its presence felt this was sensational, i couldn’t stop spooning for more soup.

You could even remove the mussels from their shells and serve as a small soup for a starter.

Forgive the dodgy phone photos! 😉

Mussels with garlic, chilli and kale.

Twice cooked beans with pork and XO sauce

An old favourite of mine with simple ingredients, just a little prep and a few minutes cooking time. Perfect for that week night dinner where you’re short on time but still wanting a tasty meal. If you’ve got some pork mince sitting in the freezer you get the added bonus of a cheap meal.

I recommend buying some dried Shiitake and black fungus, also known as wood ear or cloud ear mushrooms. Soaked in a little boiling water they can bulk out a meal and add that little extra flavour and texture, great in stir fries like this. Just a packet of each costing a few bucks will last you a long time 🙂

Serves 2.

Dried Shiitake and Black Fungus mushrooms.

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1 tbs light soy sauce.

4 of each, dried Shiitake and Black fungus mushrooms, chopped, (about 10grams dried).

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Prep done :)
Prep done 🙂

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Combine the soy sauces, rice wine, sugar, cornflour and pork in a bowl, then set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.

Blanch beans in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry (it is essential beans are completely dry before frying).

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the beans for 2-3 minutes until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Twice cooked beans

Add the garlic and chilli to the wok, and stir-fry for 30 seconds over high heat until fragrant. Add the pork mixture to the wok and stir-fry for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Add the XO sauce and stir to combine. When just about done stir through the beans to warm through and serve on warmed plates with extra XO sauce.

Twice cooked beans with pork & XO sauce————————————————————————————-

A very smooth dish, soft pork mince, with crunchy beans. XO sauce gives it a bit of spice along with the chilli. This is a nice recipe to bring out and surprise your friends or family with. Something different that will introduce you to new flavours! After that the XO sauce will become a fridge favourite, it definitely is here 🙂

This original recipe is from taste.com.au. Twice cooked beans with pork and XO sauce.

🙂

Another incarnation from another cook!
Another incarnation from another cook!

 

 

XO prawns and snow peas

With a handful of ingredients, minimal prep and hardly any cooking time this recipe was perfect for a hot and windy Monday.

I was eager to get XO sauce back on the menu. Stir fried with juicy prawns and crunchy snow peas this simple dish would have ample flavour, spice and texture. Fabulous XO prawns tonight!

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Serves 2.

12 large green prawns, peeled, deveined.

1 tsp peanut oil.

80g snow peas, trimmed, sliced in half on an angle.

1tbs XO sauce, (i use Lee Kum Kee).

1/2 tsp cornflour, combined with 2 tbs of chicken stock.

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The wine wasn't part of the recipe ;)
The wine wasn’t part of the recipe 😉

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Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back about halfway through and pressing open with the flat side of a knife.

Heat a wok over high heat and drizzle the oil around the edge. Add prawns, season with a pinch of salt and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until prawns start to turn pink.

Add the snow peas and stir-fry for a further minute. Add XO sauce and toss through for a further minute or until the prawns are just cooked and snow peas are tender but still crunchy.

Drizzle over the cornflour mixture, a little at a time, while tossing to combine for a final 30 seconds. Transfer to warmed plates and serve immediately.

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Get all your prep done, get that wok smoking and off you go, tossing, turning, scraping, ahhh the smell as each ingredient is added! Luckily it only takes a few minutes cook, it’s torture.

Beautiful meal, the prawns were succulent, the rich, salty, spicy sauce with crunchy snow peas.  Ange was pretty wrapped, she’s not usually one for the rich, salty dishes but she was thumbs up in this case.

You could use any greens really, whatever you have available, just cut them into appropriate sizes. XO sauce is quite versatile so having a tub in the fridge can be used with a variety of ingredients!

This recipe was from delicious magazine 131

 

Indonesian Mapo Tofu

If you read the introduction to last night’s burger (here), i spoke about having to cater some meals to the other people you’re cooking for, in my case my wife. This is one of those times, unlike last night.

Angela had been giving me subtle hints about this dish for weeks now and remembering how good it was the first time i cooked it i knew i could bring this recipe out again at an opportune time that would satisfy my wife’s cravings but also appeal to mine.

I distinctly remember how good this tasted the first time. I would definitely cook it again and now after the second time, it’ll be again and again, with emphasis on ‘and’.

The word ‘tofu’ will scare most people and automatically turn them off a recipe. I just don’t understand why. Funny thing is i used to be one of those people, but the more i have it and the more you let it shine the more you will love it, trust me. Give it a go and this recipe will ‘wow’ you.

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I’ll do the full recipe, serves 4-6

2-1/2 tbs peanut oil.

8-12 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced.

2 tbs finely grated ginger.

1/2 tsp ground chilli powder.

350g pork mince.

500g firm tofu, drained & cubed.

3tbs soy sauce.

1/2 tsp ground white pepper.

1 tsp caster sugar.

1 tbs cornflour.

1/2 cup water.

1tsp sesame oil.

2 green shallots, sliced.

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Lots of garlic and ginger. Yummosta
Lots of garlic and ginger. Yummosta

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Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Saute the garlic, ginger and ground chilli powder until lightly browned and fragrant. About 30-60seconds.

Add the pork and saute another 2minutes. Add the cubed tofu, gently stir-fryin until well mixed. Lower heat to medium high.

Add soy sauce, white pepper and sugar, simmer for another 5minutes.

Mix cornflour with the water and add a few tablespoons to the to wok. Cook, making sure to lift and fold the tofu gently, you don’t want to mash it,

Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and slice shallots. Toss and serve.

Be gentle :)
Be gentle 🙂

The quote from the Dina Yuen’s, Indonesian Cooking, ‘the tofu should be silky soft, how the hint of heat from the chilli powder and white pepper should barely tingle the back of the palate and how just a touch of aromatic sesame oil was needed to round out the delicate flavours of the dish’. It’s like poetry. Not sure my dish is that poetic but it tastes great and i encourage you to give it a go 🙂

IMG_9744

A cheap, healthy, tasty, filling meal. What more could you want?

Hold that thought, i know what you’re thinking but that’s a story for another time 🙂

 

East-meets-west greens with kimchi.

After a long weekend of BBQ’s, bacon and eggs for breakfast it was time for a change of scenery. Hills of greens tickled my fancy and with the addition of an Asian dressing and always welcome kimchi this dish was perfect to break the meat eating weekend.

A fabulous side dish for guests, this recipe has the crunch, heat, texture and colour to dazzle diners.

You can make the dressing in advance and with store bought kimchi this dish is ready in minutes.

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Serves 4

200g gai lan or choi sum, stems and leaves separated.

200g green beans, trimmed.

200g asparagus, trimmed.

100g frozen peas, thawed.

1tbs sesame seeds, toasted.

1/4 cup kimchi, thinly sliced.

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Green is the colour of the day :)
Green is the colour of the day 🙂

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Dressing.

2tbs extra virgin olive oil.

1tbs each of oyster sauce and rice vinegar.

2tbs soy sauce.

1tsp caster sugar.

1 tsp sesame oil.

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For the dressing, place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Cook all greens in a large saucepan of simmering salted water for 3minutes or until just tender, then drain and arrange on a serving platter.

Spoon over the dressing and scatter with sesame seeds and kimchi when serving.

Dished up now time to serve up.
Dished up now time to serve up.

A nice change of pace from your typical week night meal. So quick to prepare but oh so tasty. Highly recommend not to mix the kimchi in with the greens until you serve it on the plate, i think it’s good to keep the flavours separate so they don’t combine together.

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This recipe is from delicious magazine 142 🙂

 

Lamb and Harissa Pizza.

This pizza has always been my number one gourmet pizza. Sure i adore some of the classic styles but this one just tops the list for texture and flavour. Spicy lamb, crispy base, fabulous cheese and the zesty topping.

Since i’ve started making my own bases i’ve never gone back to store bought ones. It’s definitely more work but you get the thickness and size you want and it’s certainly a lot cheaper.

Firstly, let’s do the bases.

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Makes 2 pizza bases.

1/2 tbs dry yeast.

1/2 tsp caster sugar.

1/2 cup lukewarm water.

1&3/4 cups flour.

1/2 tsp sea salt flakes.

1/2 tbs olive oil.

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Add the yeast, sugar and water to a bowl, mix to combine. Set aside for 5mins to bubble and foam.

Add your flour, salt and olive oil to a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture and with floured hands combine to form a dough. Bring dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4mins.

Place in a bowl and top with a damp cloth and leave in a warm spot for 30mins to rise.

Once dough has risen, take a clump and roll on a floured surface to the thickness and size of your liking. Top with your tomato paste or whatever base sauce you’ve chosen and add topping!

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Our pizza canvas.
Our pizza canvas.

Toast your pine nuts for the salad. Grate your cheeses, prepare your lemon zest and juice. Chop some parsley, organize your lamb and harissa in a bowl and combine.

Sensational colours and ingredients.
Sensational colours and ingredients.

Cook the lamb mix on a medium heat for about 5-7minutes, breaking up lumps, season with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat.

It's smells gud.
It’s smells gud.

Sprinkle some cheese over your base, add the lamb mince and then add more cheese.

IMG_9612Place your pizza on a tray lined with baking paper or pizza stone and cook in a pre-heated oven or BBQ for 15-20minutes depending on the thickness of your base. Pizza stone is the only way to go for me now. You can put the stone in the oven but i love making my pizza on the BBQ if i have the time.

Meanwhile make your salad.

Serve pizza with the salad on top and enjoy. It has a fabulous spiciness to it and with the zesty, crunchy salad on top with those soft and roasted pine nuts it really is a fantastic pizza.

IMG_9616The first two pieces won’t last long so soon after you’ll be making your second pizza whilst still remembering how good the first one was 🙂

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Salad.

80g baby spinach.

1tbs olive oil, lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Zest of half a lemon.

40g pine nuts, toasted.

Seasoned slightly with salt and black pepper.

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1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan.

250g lamb mince.

1tbs harissa paste.

salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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tomato paste for the base.

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This is a Donna Hay recipe 🙂