Friday, April 29, 2011

Mustard and Fennel Crusted Pork Chops

Our butcher sells the most incredible free range pork and so it is always on my menu for dinners. This week I had some in the freezer and I had decided to cook a faithful recipe of mustard crusted pork. Then I spotted this recipe for mustard herb crusted pork on For the Love of Cooking and decided to use this variation on the recipe. The pork is coated in a mix of garlic, dijon mustard and crushed fennel seeds. You then dip it in a mix of seasoned bread crumbs, thyme and parmesan ready for baking.

I'm really glad I tried this version as it was incredibly delicious, it has replaced our other recipe :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nigella's Lemony Salmon with Cherry Tomato Couscous and Nigella's Peanut Butter Hummus

Looking for a quick easy dinner this week I turned again to Nigella Kitchen. This recipe for Lemony Salmon is definitely quick. The couscous is prepared with some paprika and ginger. Lemon zest is combined with more paprika and garlic oil ready to coat the fish before cooking in a hot pan. Cherry tomatoes are combined with spring onion (meant to be red), oil and lemon juice. The tomatoes are then mixed through the cous cous along with some coriander, I also chose to add some rocket for extra greens.
Overall a great dish to put on the table. I felt the balance was a little bit out with the flavours, possibly because I added the peppery rocket leaves. But I am a salmon lover and lemon is a fishes best friend!

I also made some of Nigella's Peanut Butter Hummus yesterday to take to our friends house for supper. The concept being to replace the tahini with peanut butter. I wasn't planning on posting it but it was so utterly delicious I just had to let you know!

The recipe is very straightforward, puree rinsed chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, peanut butter, olive oil, salt and cumin. Then blend in some greek yoghurt to get the right consistency. Top with some chopped peanuts mixed with paprika. If your a hummus lover I suggest you try this very unhealthy version!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beef Cannelloni

I have to confess due to our camping on the weekend I did not think ahead about this weeks meals. So when I spotted this recipe for beef cannelloni on Frills in the Hills I decided to make it for dinner. I already have a spinach and ricotta cannelloni recipe I love but I have yet to master the beef version.

Firstly I made some pasta. It is cut into small rectangles and filled with the beef, ricotta, baby spinach and parmesan mixture. I made up a tomato sauce by softening some garlic and spring onion in some olive oil before adding a tin of diced tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano. I let this simmer down and then seasoned.

To assemble I put a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom and added a layer of cannelloni and then more tomato sauce and cannelloni. I topped the whole dish off with some cheese sauce made the way my mum taught me (Melt butter and add some cornflour, mix to a paste before slowly adding milk being sure to dissolve the paste as you go, stir continuously until thick, mix in grated cheese and season). The cannelloni is then baked under foil for 30 minutes and foil removed to brown up.

It was really delicious, the filling was light and tasty and the pasta just melted in your mouth. I do prefer my vegetarian version but I am always looking for interesting ways to cook red meat. The exciting part for me was using freshly made pasta, I have always bought the dried tubes for cannelloni but the fresh pasta made it fabulous.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweet Potato Quesadilla

We had a lovely time camping over the easter weekend, the weather was beautiful and it was even warm enough for a swim. We camped a few hours north of sydney on a little strip of land between the lake and the ocean. Of course I made sure we were well fed with some nutritious and delicious food!

I had extra chipotle sweet potato and black bean filling from my empanadas and so I froze it to take with us. I then used it as a quesadilla filling along with some corn (from a can) and cheese. I also had an avocado but it was so unripe I couldn't use it. I bought multigrain tortillas and after assembling cooked them on our bbq. It was a really delicious lunch and so simple to prepare, although a little messy.

I hope you all had an enjoyable easter weekend also.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chipotle Black Bean Sweet Potato Empanadas

I spotted this recipe a while back on the beautiful blog of Naturally Ella. I managed to find chipotle powder (from Herbies spices, I ordered it online and delivery was very quick). I love sweet potato and my husband always gets excited about smokey flavours, and chipotle is a smoked dry chilli. So this recipe was a must.

Firstly because I bought some dried organic black beans these needed to be soaked overnight and simmered before using.

The dough was really nice to work with and resulted in a fantastic crispy and flaky pastry. The sweet potato filling also has onion, garlic, red capsicum, black beans and coriander. They are all cooked on the stove top ready for filling the dough. As you can see they were not all the neatest of little packages!

They tasted fantastic. I did forget to make or buy any salsa but that would have really added to this dish, even some guacamole. Next time I will be prepared, and there will be a next time :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

This recipe for Italian Meatloaf was from the lovely blog Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice. It reminded me of my mums style meatloaf but an italian version, rather then barbeque (I'll have to share my mums recipe some time -its amazing).

This recipe is full of lovely fresh flavours of tomato, garlic, herbs, parmesan and roasted capsicum (plus all the normal meatloaf ingredients). The meatloaf is then topped with some tomato sauce (I cooked up a tin a diced tomatoes with some onion, garlic and spices) and cheese for baking. I roasted some eggplant, zucchini and carrot to accompany the meatloaf.

It was really tasty, the loaf was really quite light and moist. The italian flavours worked well with the meat and the roasted vegetables. It reminded me of the stuffed eggplant with meatballs dish I cooked a while back.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Donna's Standby Porcini Pasta

Last night I cooked this recipe for Porcini Pasta from Fast, Fresh, Simple - Donna Hay's new show. I had to search for dried porcini mushrooms so it wasn't really a standby dish for me, but maybe some of you have some dried porcini in your cupboards? It was a really quick dish though, well besides that I made my own fresh wholemeal wheat spaghetti ;) Although I did make this in the afternoon and let it sit on the bench with plenty of flour on tea towels for a couple of hours, it still cooked well and tasted fantastic.

The mushrooms are softened in boiling water while you cook the pasta. Some garlic and thyme are fried in some olive oil in then broken up bread added to get nice and golden. You roughly chop the very fragrant mushrooms and also add to the pan. I also chose to add some asparagus. The spaghetti once cooked is put in the pan with a little extra olive oil to mix through. Top with some grated parmesan and there you have a delicious dinner.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chai Porridge for Breakfast, Pide for Lunch

Yesterday we bought some beautiful looking rhubarb and I was keen to eat some as soon as possible. While searching I stumbled upon this recipe for Chai Porridge served with a rhubarb and pear compote at Not Quite Nigella. I really love chai tea and regularly brew up a pot with all the spices so this morning I got some going ready to make some porridge. The chai is a recipe my sister in law gave me for christmas along with all the appropriate spices - a perfect present!

Once brewed the chai is put on the stove with the oats to make the porridge, I used the new multigrain porridge by Uncle Tobys. Of course to accompany this is the compote. The rhubarb is sliced and stewed with some pear and sugar. What a magnificent breakfast, I really loved it. Rhubarb is a recently found love of mine and porridge is always a winner, but to pair it with chai is just genius, it was delicious.

The second part to this post is the pide (turkish pizza) I made yesterday for lunch. I was not planning to post this but I loved it so much I just had to share. As you may remember I made the gorgeous Pumpkin Pide previously and have made it a few times since. This pide followed the same concept but with different fillings. I firstly added braised red cabbage leftover from my pork beer stew, I then topped with roasted sweet potato that had been sprinkled with chipotle powder. I topped with some goats cheese followed by rocket after baking.

The whole thing was really delicious, I made the dough using some freshly milled flour (half wholemeal, half plain unbleached) I bought at the markets, and it was really beautiful to work with and tasted amazing. The filling was a little on the sweet side compared to the pumpkin version which is probably better balanced. But saying that it was still really delicious. Just writing about it makes me want some more!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Butter Chicken

I did it!!!! I cooked an indian style curry that made the cut, it was really delicious and tasted like an authentic dish. It wasn't like the butter chicken you would get in a food court that is very creamy and not much flavour, i think it was a less westernised version!?!. As the sauce cooked you could recognise the aroma, it was spicy and the flavours were quite intense.
I found the recipe on ecurry. The chicken is marinated overnight in a yoghurty spice mixture and then cooked on the griddle pan to enhance all the flavours.
 The sauce is cooked separately and is made up of a few different spices with pureed tomatoes (i used passata) being the main ingredient. The last stage is to put the cooked chicken in the sauce and simmer, a little cream and garam masala are added right at the end.
I was really pleased, it was so delicious and tasted like a complete dish.

Friday, April 15, 2011

'Pig in beer' with braised red cabbage

I spotted this recipe for Autumn "Pig and Beer" and Braised Red Cabbage at Citrus and Candy a couple of weeks ago. It looked so delicious and I knew my husband would be very very happy if I cooked this for him. Actually it didn't appeal to me so much as I don't like beer and I am not a big fan of cabbage. But I wanted to make it with love for my gorgeous hubby :)
It was delicious - i loved it, even the cabbage!

The pork chops are cooked on the stove top for a couple of hours with garlic, bacon, onion, stock, thyme, worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika and, of course, pale ale. Some potatoes are also added towards the end. The red cabbage is sliced thinly and mixed with some apple pieces in a liquid of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and butter. This is then baked with some cinnamon and ground cloves. I also steamed some beans and baked up some crusty wholemeal bread to serve.

What a magnificent dish, the pork was soft and flavoursome, the cabbage perfectly complimented the pork and was sweet and delicious. I will definitely be making it again.
And yes, it made my husband very happy indeed!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Donna's Cheat's Goat's Cheese Souffle with Roasted Beetroot Salad

I am loving the look of many of Donna Hay's recipes from her new show and couldn't resist cooking another. I have been wanting to try goats cheese souffle and I thought this was a good starting point :)

The base is goats cheese (i used Willowbrae from the markets), egg yolks, and cream beaten until light and fluffy. Bread crumbs are folded through followed by beaten egg whites. They are baked for about 25 mintues. I served them with a roasted beetroot salad as suggested by Donna.

I really enjoyed the souffle, so light and melt in your mouth. It went perfectly with the beetroot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nigella's Date Steak

Well I can't say we had a date last night but we did have a delicious steak! This is another of the recipes from Nigella Kitchen. We bought some organic grass fed steak from the markets and decided to cook it Nigella style. This basically meant just simmering up her sauce - brown sugar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, dijon mustard, tomato paste, ginger, garlic and redcurrant jelly, along with the meat juices from your panfried steak.

Well the sauce was really tasty, so much flavour (so little effort) and the steak was juicy and tender. I felt a bit guilty not buying the meat from my amazing local butcher but I kind of wanted to compare, and to be honest I will stick to buying from our butcher. The steak was good but I think our butchers steak is better.

My daughter LOVES a good bone to chew on! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Donna Hay's Chicken Rice Noodle Salad with Coconut Milk Dressing

This recipe for Rice Noodle Salad is another from Fast Fresh Simple, Donna Hay's new show. It really was so simple to prepare for dinner. The rice noodles are tossed with coriander, basil, mint, spring onion, kaffir lime leaves, chicken and chilli (or in my case garnished with chilli so it wasn't too spicy for my daughter!). I also added some snow peas.
The dressing is made from coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.
I really loved it, so light and fresh tasting, easy to prepare - what more could you want?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spiced Pineapple Pilaf

I saw this recipe for Spiced Pineapple Pilaf on foodbuzz a few weeks a go and thought it looked great.
Its a very easy recipe where you cook diced fresh pineapple in spices before mixing through some cooked basmati rice and baking. The flavours were really nice and fresh. I found it not completely satisfying as a meal for dinner but think it would work great as an accompaniment or part of a banquet style meal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Donna Hay's Prawn Fried Rice

This recipe for fried rice is from Donna Hay's new show Fast, Fresh, Simple. Really you can hardly call it a fried rice as it is simply sauteed chilli, spring onion, ginger, prawns and cooked rice. The omelette is cooked with one egg in sesame oil so it is super thin and you can serve the rice in it. As suggested we made up some sauces to serve with it.

The most exciting part of this dish to me was the rice! I found this coral red jasmine (organic and fair trade) at the markets on the weekend and it was a amazing. The omelette idea is very clever and a nice touch. But if you don't have nice sauces to drizzle over this dish it would be very plain.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some snippets of food!

You could say I am obsessed with cooking and there is many dishes that have never even made it my blog. Since my dinner was not all that successful last night I decided to put up some photos of some of those dishes.....

Nigella's mirin glazed salmon 

Fig frangipane tart
 it was not really green - that was a special affect added by my iphone camera!

Olive and Thyme bread 
This was made with olive tapenade, absolutely loved it.

Peach, Praline and Nougat Glacee with brandy snaps
These need to melt a little before they were really enjoyable, the peach cut through the sweetness of the glacee

Lime Curd and Basil Tarts
YUM! - it really works

Hazelnut Baklava 
This was very good indeed for those supersweet lovers 
(and I didn't use anywhere near as much butter as suggested!)

Fig and Soft Pecorino salad

Lentil Curry with Wholemeal Naan
This was last nights not so successful dinner - doesn't taste as nice as it looks!

Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar Crusts
These were really interesting to eat, savoury and sweet at the same time!
Kind of like a cheese and fruit platter :)

Mexican Hamburger Bake with Nigella's bbq mince
Not a big fan of this dish, the mince had the wrong texture

Fatayer Bes-Sabanekh
These were absolutely delicious, recipe here

Also if your interested Willow Bird Baking posted her cheesecake challenge results today,
 check it out here