Monday, October 31, 2011

{Thai Roast Lamb & Pumpkin Relish}

Our little family loves a sunday roast, I love the familiar smell of it baking away as we go about our sunday afternoon, yesterday all my boys were gardening and I was inside pottering, drinking tea and reading those little magazines that come with newspapers these days, throw in a quick tidy up, a vacuum and a mop of the the floors and I'm ready for my first vino.

The thing about a roast is by the time spring comes around I am pretty sick of roast spuds and gravy so my mission was to find a more summery version. This one is loosely based on something I saw on the telly from the chef at Longrain, it was really good, really really good actually, he of course made his yellow curry paste from scratch, I opened a jar, whatever, I will definitely make it again, the relish which is really a salad is just gorgeous, so summery with a bit of zing from the ginger and chilli, we gobbled it all up with a couple more glasses of pinot and were happy campers.

...the lamb
1 lamb roast (I used a half leg)
2 tbsp thai yellow curry paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 140. With a sharp knife score the lamb and place it in your baking dish, mix the curry paste with the fish sauce and oil and rub it into the lamb. Pop it into your oven and roast for 3 hours, basting a few times. Remove from oven and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

...the relish
100ml rice vinegar
75g castor sugar
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
1 lebanese cucumber, diced
1 small shallot, peeled and finely sliced
1 x 2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
1 long red chilli, seeded and julienned
1 small bunch coriander leaves
300g diced steamed pumpkin

Bring to the boil in a small saucepan the vinegar, sugar, garlic and coriander roots, make sure the sugar has dissolved. Strain and cool completely then add the ginger and chilli. Gently combine the cucumber, pumpkin, shallot and coriander leaves in your salad bowl then pour over the dressing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

{Oatmeal & Raisin Cookies}

Am I really going to talk about the weather? you bet because melbourne drives me crazy, I mean seriously on sunday it was thirty and on monday its thirteen, what the? So its a cold and drizzly monday, I got up this morning and put on shorts, then later added my ugg boots, lucky I'm not going anywhere today.

We've had a mega weekend including work, driving to the country, dinner and a sleepover with pals, our local kids big day out where the boys got to sit in a fire engine and make a slinky apple (I really want one of those machines) a swim at the local pool then home to mates, pizza and the rugby world cup game which just about made me vomit up my mexicana. 

Someone asked me yesterday if I enjoyed the game, no I did not enjoy the game, it was torturous but man am I happy now its sunk in that it's over and we won it. So back to the cookies, I had half a bag of raisins in the cupboard and a hankering to add an apron to my shorts and uggboot combo, so here we are, an altogether american cookie that you won't feel too guilty eating.

...the cookies
175g butter, room temp
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 175. In a large bowl or your mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, then add the egg and vanilla mix until smooth. Sift over the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt give it a whizz then add the oats and raisins and combine them.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and rest it for a bit in the fridge (half an hour) then put teaspoon sized dollops onto a lined baking tray leaving a bit of space between. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, taking them out when they are golden around the edges. Leave them on the hot baking tray for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{Lemon & Lime Cheesecake}

On saturday we had our first bbq of the year with some family over from nz and some family from a few suburbs away, we had a great day, it felt a bit like christmas with people everywhere and Jack squealing in delight as Jays uncle chased him around trying to put a block of ice down his tshirt. 

We ate lots of good food, moroccan lamb with minted yoghurt, kebabs, beautiful bread and salads and to finish it off this beautiful cheesecake. Lucky that it was saturday and not sunday because on sunday we could barely eat with all the anxiety over "that rugby game", talk about blood, sweat and tears (mine !!)

So about the cheesecake it's dense and delicious, I was just happy that it didn't crack when I baked it but then I tasted it, wowsers, most people went in for seconds and that always makes me happy, we said goodbye at the end of the day with full bellies and smiles, bring on this sundays game, lets get this thing done, go the blacks x

...the cheesecake
750g cream cheese, room temp
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest and juice of 2 limes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup cream

...the base
250g digestive or granita biscuits
2 tbsp brown sugar
125g butter, melted serve

whipped cream
zest of a lime and a lemon

For the base, process biscuits and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add butter and process until combined, or do it by hand as I did. Press mixture over the base of a 22cm non-stick springform tin (just line the bottom). Use the bottom of a tumbler to press / smooth the base. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar till smooth, add the vanilla, lime and lemon zests and juice's and combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is just combined. Lastly add the cream and give it a last whizz. Pour the mixture into your tin over crumb base (if you are a bit nervous you can wrap the bottom outside of your tin in foil)

Pop it into the oven for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 150 and bake a further 30-40 minutes or until mixture is almost set. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

To serve dollop with whipped cream (I added some orange blossom water to mine) and the zest of another lemon and lime.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Trotski & Ash Chicken Curry}

I made this wicked 1970's chicken curry that I found over at the always pretty blog Trotski and Ash, this is a bloody good chicken curry, I already know I will make it again and again, I love it when I find a recipe like this, I get so excited to know the next time I have a hankering for a chicken curry I can quickly and happily whip this one up, its almost as good as burmese chicken curry, in fact yup, it is as good, the nutty toasted mustard seeds are delicious, chicken thigh in a curry is to die for and its a beautiful colour, this my friends is a keeper.

...chicken curry
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of mustard seeds
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb sized lump of ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp's of ground cumin
2 tsp's of ground turmeric
2 tsp's of ground coriander1 tsp of crushed chilli (or to taste)
1 tsp sea salt
500g of free range chicken thighs, cut into 4cm cubes
1 400ml can of coconut milk
1 lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat, once hot add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid and wait for them to pop. Once they’ve finished popping remove the lid and add the onion and fry gently until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant then add the spices and stir for a moment more adding a little more oil if you feel it needs it.

Next put the chicken pieces in and cook until the chicken is brown and covered in the spices. Pour over the can of coconut milk and bring to the boil. Don’t be tempted to add water here. Simmer on a low heat for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Right before serving add the juice of one lemon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

{Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting}

My little peas helped to make this cake and they both loved loved loved it, Jack loved it so much he scammed the last piece out of Billy by asking me for it when I just walked in from being at work, I handed it over and as I watched him shove it into his little mouth at lightning speed Jay came in from the garden and informed me that it was Billys piece, waiting for him when he woke up from his nap!! 

Jack didn't even have the decency look guilty, he just laughed cake crumbs all over the table! brotherly love only stretches so far and it would appear that banana and nutella are a deal breaking combination. 

This is quite a big cake by the way, I gave half of it to our neighbours who in return gave me a bottle of delicious NZ pinot !! now that's what I call a good deal, hooray for random acts of kindness.

...the cake
125g butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
2 ½ cups plain flour

...nutella frosting
½ cup nutella
50g butter, room temperature
2 big tbsp's condensed milk (or milk or cream)
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
Line a 23cm-ish round tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamed, while that's happening grab a bowl and combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda then add this to the creamed butter and sugar mixture and combine them.

Next add the mashed bananas, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Gently combine and mix for another two minutes then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for around 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes before popping it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat the butter and nutella until combined. Add icing sugar, a cup at a time until everything is smooth. Add the condensed milk and mix until glossy then spread the onto the cooled cake.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

{Middle Eastern Meatloaf}

My inner bogan loves meatloaf, but the hipster in me needs it to be a bit jazzed up, tick tick. Oh and it needs to taste good and to take a nice photo so I can put it up here tick tick. This recipe is for two which means one is smugly sitting in the freezer waiting to be popped into the oven at a moments notice, major tick AND you don't even have to get your loaf tin dirty you just shape it on baking paper and its totes rustic and there's no washing up tickety tick.

I am pretty stoked with this meatloaf and I just boiled the kettle and made some cous cous and a wee parsley salad to go along with it, easy. The one in my freezer is destined for a pot luck lunch we have coming up because everyone's got a little bit of meatloaf lovin inner bogan in them don't you reckon?

...the meatloaf
50 ml olive oil
3 large onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tin diced tomatoes (or 2 large chopped tomatoes)
3 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup diced dates (or sultanas)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint, finely shredded
1 kg lamb mince
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, lightly packed (or panko)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

...the crunchy top
2 tbsp honey

2 tsp lemon juice
80g slithered almonds or pinenuts

Heat oil in a large fry pan and cook onion, garlic and ginger until soft and pale gold. Add in the tomatoes, salt, spices, dates, tomato paste, honey and vinegar and increase heat and cook until it thickens, then take it off the heat and let it cool completely.

Once cool add it to all the remaining meatloaf ingredients and mix well using your hands, shape into two loaves on a shallow tray lined with baking paper, and bake at 180 for an hour.

Remove from the oven and press the nuts into the top, heat the honey and lemon together and pour over the meatloaves, then bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the nuts are golden.

Cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.