Chicken in a coconut sauce (kukupaka)

This is the Indian chicken dish that has been on the menu for a week or so now. I planned to cook it Tuesday, but the chicken went off, then again Thursday, the ‘feeling flat’ day, but didn’t. I almost rode the dish off thinking i would not get around to it. Yesterday i saw some fantastic Saskia Beer chicken merrylands so that rejuvenated my motivation to cook it. I actually had something else planned for today but forgot to take it out of the freezer so with plenty of time to prepare and cook i finally got this out of my system πŸ™‚


I removed the skin from the chicken, (don’t worry it won’t go to waste ), cut a few slices into the thigh and leg of the chicken. Mix 1tsp each of finely chopped green chilli, ginger, garlic and a pinch of salt then rub into the chicken, making sure to rub the marinade into the slices. I let this marinate for a couple of hours but should be for at least an hour.

Post-marination and ready to start cooking.
Post-marination and ready to start cooking.

Pre-heat oven to 200degC and cook the chicken for 40-45mins, check Β that it’s cooked, i put mine back in for another 5mins, but we have a crappy oven ;[

While the chicken is in the oven get the sauce going.


Heat 3tbs of olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat, 20cm was a perfect size for this.

Rice cooking and onions frying.
Rice cooking and onions frying.

I’m also serving this with a cashew nut and curry leaf rice so it was tricky. 5mins here, 2 mins there, 10mins where? Tests your drunken concentration haha, good practice right? πŸ˜‰

Fry up the red onion for about 5mins until it starts to brown, i turned mine up a little for that to happen. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, cook for another minute or so, stirring. Add the tomato and cook until soft, about 3mins. Now add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and salt, continue stirring. Mix in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. On a medium-high heat let this rapidly boil until the sauce thickens a bit, a few minutes. Add the chicken and spoon the sauce over and let it heat through. Now back to the rice!


I heated up 1/2 tbs of olive oil and added brown mustard seeds until they start to pop then add the cumin seeds and curry leaves, 15 seconds later add the cashew nuts, salt and stir until the nuts turn golden then add the rice and mix together ensuring all the ingredients are mixed well together πŸ™‚

Ahhh just about done, phew :)
Ahhh just about done, phew πŸ™‚


I saw this dish being cooked on Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation one day, then feeling like cooking some Indian i looked through that same cook book and stumbled upon this dish. After deciding that was what i wanted to cook i realized it was from the episode i saw.

Fabulous dish though, great ingredients, wonderful flavour. You get little hits of things here and there, you can imagine.

Ange and I are both in the kitchen today with a French duo, she’s on main and i’m on dessert. Should be interesting! πŸ™‚

Nice little picture from the markets this morning.

Ahh beautiful Sydney :)
Ahh beautiful Sydney πŸ™‚

Grilled fish with carrot salad and soy dressing

Ange and I couldn’t decide who was going to cook Friday night. First it was me, then her, me again, you get the drift. In the end i put my hand up and i searched for a fish recipe with some Japanese flavours.

As always Japanese style dishes look easy enough on paper but it’s the preparation which always catches you. In this case slicing the carrots and cucumbers with a vegetable peeler and then thinly slicing them. Monotonous but it has to be done πŸ™‚ Also added some thinly sliced nori and ginger for that extra texture and taste, and shallots also sliced thinly length ways.

I figure every piece of carrot sliced is one less in the pile so don't stop :)
I figure every piece of carrot sliced is one less in the pile so don’t stop πŸ™‚

I toasted up some sesame seeds for that extra crunch and presence Β  along with the essential dressing.

If you’re a sauce/dressing junkie like me you’ll appreciate this.

2tbs mirin, 1tbs soy sauce, 1tbs sesame oil, (use less if the dominance is too much for you, i did 1/2 and added more to taste, as they say, ‘can add but can’t take out’), 1tbs peanut oil, crushed garlic clove. Put all the ingredients into a screw cap jar and shake to combine.

I also prepared some rice and stirred through some Furikake seasoning.

I cooked the blue eye trevalla in a cast iron grill against my wisdom so it stuck to the pan! I should of used the non-stick fry pan, oh well, too late now. I tried to be as careful as possible to turn the fish over. It was so delicate and fell to pieces, eeeek! Anyway, it still tasted succulent and amazing πŸ™‚

I love pickled ginger so also served some of that on the side. Love my condiments πŸ˜‰

Friday servingProbably not how the Japanese would serve it but what do you expect from a primitive cook? πŸ™‚

I spooned the rice into little bowls to mold them, fish and carrot salad side by side, sprinkled the toasted sesame seeds, shook and served the dressing and also pickled ginger on the side. I don’t usually go back for seconds but i sure did on this one. Not only that but i was drinking the dressing out of the jar once we had finished, just need a longer tongue ;(

Looks good hey? :)
Looks good hey? πŸ™‚

Off to the Pyrmont markets today. Wonder what we’ll pick up this time. Enjoy your Saturday! πŸ™‚


Fried rice

Foggy start to the day in Sydney on Wednesday which means it is going to be a warm day and that’s how it turned out. I had plans to do an Indian chicken curry but i changed my mind.

A beautiful foggy morning in Marsfield.
A beautiful foggy morning in Marsfield.

I felt a bit flat heading home from work, busy day and very hot so didn’t really feel like cooking what i had in mind. Angela had spoken a few times about fancying fried rice and when i thought about leftovers we had in the fridge it was a good choice. Simple, fast and above all, tasty.

Time to throw it together.
Time to throw it together.

I had some snow peas, red cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, shallots, ginger, garlic and speck left over so i chopped it all up and stir fried them all together with some cooked rice, dried chilli’s and roasted peanuts. 2 tbs of soy sauce, 1tsp of fish sauce and 1tsp of caster sugar added then stirred to coat. Cooked a fried egg in a separate frying pan and served with some coriander and Japanese 7 spice mix.

Lots of colour, texture and taste.
Lots of colour, texture and taste.

I always enjoy using items for multiple meals so got a bit of a buzz out of this. Tasted amazing too. Yeah yeah, the egg looks messy on top but they’re very unforgiving once served wrong! It’s all about the taste right?? πŸ˜‰

Jerk steak with cornslaw

I’m working my way through a Delicious magazine and seeing how many recipes i can get on the table. This is number 4 πŸ™‚

It’s a really great marinade.

2tbs Worcestershire sauce, 2tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1tbs brown sugar, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1tsp of ground allspice, 1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, chilli powder and ground ginger, 1tsp of dried thyme. Season with salt, mix all these ingredients in a bowl then add the steak and marinate for at least 30mins.

Cook the corn in boiling water for 5mins, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool then slice off the kernels. 1/4 red cabbage sliced, a carrot, sliced into small matchsticks, or anyway you want really if that takes too long haha, i sliced some snow peas finely that we had left over. Chop a good handful of parsley leaves. Add the zest and juice of a lemon to the bowl, season well with salt and pepper and add the mayonnaise and then combine ready to serve.

Cook the steaks on a hot chargrill or BBQ to your liking. I found that the rumps i bought were quite thick so depending on the thickness of your steak control the heat of the pan accordingly.

Fresh looking which tastes as good as it looks.
Fresh looking which tastes as good as it looks.

Don’t forget to rest your steak under some foil for 5minutes after cooking. It’s an essential part of cooking meat πŸ™‚


Carrot cake

Another dish from the Delicious magazine and this time it’s some baking. I always look forward to baking somewhat simple cakes and this is definitely one of them. The recipe itself is quite easy it’s just the preparation that takes the time such as finely grating three carrots. I don’t mind πŸ™‚

Finally finished grating all that carrot :)
Finally finished grating all that carrot πŸ™‚

Beat three eggs, 175ml sunflower oil and 180g of brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in three finely grated carrots and the zest of one orange. Sift in 180g of self raising flour, 1tsp bi carb soda,Β 1tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg and finally add 1/2 cup of chopped toasted walnuts, stirring gently to combine. I greased and lined a 23cm baking tray and cooked in a 180degC preheated oven for about 40-45mins,

Ahhh, cooled and ready to eat :)
Ahhh, cooled and ready to eat πŸ™‚

I made some candied carrot for the top. Cup of caster sugar and 2 carrots, peeled and this time i grated them coarsely. I did one batch that you see on the cake now and with the leftovers i let reduce further for about 30mins for a more intense flavour πŸ™‚

Ok, now the ‘guess that thing’ question from Facebook.

It’s a Jujube hah, bet you had never heard of them? Neither had i until i saw them on Landline a few weeks ago and then i saw them yesterday over at Chatswood. Have the texture and taste of an apple. Very interesting.





I’m fascinated by wine making and every time i go wine tasting i learn more and more. Yesterday we went and tasted about 30 French wines from a variety of regions such as Bordeaux, Sancerre,Β Β and a place new to us, Cairanne.

There’s always a little gem or something that appeals to you when you go wine tasting and this wine and its story were ours.

Apparently wine making in France has certain rules in yield, naming rights, (a good example is Champagne), and a word i had to look up, appellation.

AnΒ appellationΒ is a legally defined and protectedΒ geographical indicationΒ used to identify where theΒ grapesΒ for aΒ wineΒ were grown.

Certain appellations determine what you can yield per hectare. The broadest level of appellation is Cotes du Rhone which has the least stringent level, then it goes to Cotes du Rhone Villages which become more strict.

And then there is Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne. This appellation is awarded to vineyards who make exceptional wine in the commune of Cairanne.

Hope i am not boring you but it’s so interesting to me! If you want to read more check out.

Rows of French.
Rows of French.
She's very photogenic ;)
She’s very photogenic πŸ˜‰

Now we have to sort through an extensive list of French wine and decide what we can afford, (not much), hah, probably a good thing anyway πŸ™‚

Not only did we have a fantastic wine to watch some utterly crazy Game of Thrones but Angela also made the best Spaghetti Bolognese i’ve ever had. She said to me during the week, ‘find a spag bol recipe for me to cook Saturday’, i didn’t have time and i was almost going to call my Mum for her recipe as she makes the ‘best’. Oh well, it all worked out good in the end.

Double yummy
Double yummy


Braised Goat with tortillas

We have a new butcher in the Woolies at Macquarie Centre and if you’ve seen them you know they supply pretty good quality meat. We swung around the long way to check it out, walking slowly past when we both suddenly came to a stop, we look at each other and say, ‘goat meat!’. It’s pretty hilarious when you can imagine all the other amazing stuff they had, but we’re like that. At $7 a kilo you can’t go wrong.

This is Angela’s staple goat dish. She’s done it a few times and we always have the three dried chilli’s used in this recipe for that reason.

Angela’s workbench πŸ™‚

I love the smokiness of Mexican dried chillies. The three above are guajillo, ancho and New Mexico. The stems and seeds are discarded then torn into pieces and soaked in boiling water for 20mins. Drained reserving a little of the water then processed with the garlic, dried oregano, onion, cinnamon and reserved water.

Cooking the chilli paste until fragrant.
Cooking the chilli paste until fragrant.
Seasoned goat well and browning in batches.
Lovely goat pieces.


Season the goat well with salt and brown in batches stirring occasionally then transfer to a plate.

Add the chilli paste and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Mmmmmm.

Return the goat to the pan with the bay leaf, red wine vinegar and 500ml of water. This is brought to the boil then heat reduced to low, covered and cooked for an hour. Lid removed and left to cook for a further hour, man it was a late meal haha.

What a wonderful colour.
What a wonderful colour.

While we’re impatiently waiting for the goat to cook i’m on margarita duty. Not your average margarita mind you πŸ™‚

The black lava sea salt : ‘it’s initially white and then activated with charcoal from volcanic areas in Cyprus which turns it black’. Β The finger limes are from Mum and Dad’s place.

Black lava salt and finger lime margarita
Black lava salt and finger lime margarita

When the goat is tender it’s left to cool before shredding the meat from the bone. Some of the cooking liquid is reserved and then that is mixed with the shredded meat.

Ange’s side dishes were a slaw of sliced snow peas, capsicum and cabbage, some sour cream mixed with chopped chipotle chilli and adobo sauce and the third was simply some red onion and coriander.

Colour colour

tiempo para comer
tiempo para comer

Off to a French wine tasting this afternoon, yewwww!

Angela is cooking again tonight, think she wants to get some things out of her system seeing i tend to hog the kitchen these days. πŸ˜‰




Kung Pao Chicken

You know it’s funny; when i was doing Italian month there were so many Italian foodie shows on TV , then i did a couple of Moroccan meals and Moroccan Food Safarii came on. Last night after having dinner this new show i’ve been watching each Thursday night came on; Exploring China : A Culinary Adventure. In this episode they were in the Sichuan province and in Chengdu.

Ok, where’s the link? I’ve had this chilli bean paste in the cupboard for ages and always had it in the back of my mind, (it was also in the back of the cupboard), which was part of the reason i chose to cook Kung Pao Chicken. They showed how it was made, the fermentation times, pretty amazing. They also focused on cooking techniques, which i used in this dish, along with ingredients such as leeks, shallots, soy sauces and finally on the Sichuan Pepper, or flower as the lady called it.

It was very cool to not go from watching to cooking it because of any inspiration you might of gotten watching something but unusually cooking not knowing much then almost instantly a show comes on highlighting all you had just done.

All ready to go :)

All ready to go πŸ™‚

I read the recipe countless times, making sure everything was set up so there was no stalling during cooking.

Ahh the smell of stir fry in action. Smoking up the oil, adding the peppercorns and dried chillies for that 15 seconds really gets up your nose.

Most of the ingredients are cooked separately then all thrown in at the end and tossed together to coat. I was thrilled with this dish, you can find countless recipes with different variations. This one had 1 or 2 tbs of Sichuan peppercorns, luckily i went for 1 tbs as the numbing sensation we had was very intense πŸ™‚ Wrapped. Wish i had more leftovers for lunch today πŸ™

Ignore the messy presso. My mouth was watering and just wanted to get stuck into it ;)
Ignore the messy presso. My mouth was watering and just wanted to get stuck into it πŸ˜‰

Chilli bean paste can keep for years. I’ve had mine for 18months at least and the used by date is 2015. You can buy 50g bags of Sichuan peppers in Asian supermarkets for about $2.50.

Paste tastes nice straight out of the jar.
Paste tastes nice straight out of the jar.


Angela’s in the kitchen tonight with not your average Friday night dinner. Happy Friday! πŸ™‚