Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Chicken and Vegetable Curry
Serves 6

2 tbspn vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup thai red curry paste
600g chicken thighs, sliced into 2cm lengths
800g cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
150g green beans
1 cup peas
1 tbspn lime juice
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/4 cup chopped mint
200g natural yoghurt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft, then add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until all sides of the chicken are sealed. Add the tomatoes and stock, break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked. Add the beans and peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, coriander, mint and natural yoghurt - stir to combine.

Serve with steamed rice.

Cooking, Slings and Nappies

Yesterday was a wonderful day at home. I spent most of the day cooking and cleaning - basically just nesting. I also did some online ordering for bubs and got a great sling from Etsy from babeagogo, 24 fitted nappies and 6 inserts from a seller on ebay, and some bamboo fitted nappies, PUL covers and wool covers from babybeehinds. I can't wait for all of my purchases to arrive :).

Now to the recipe from today, my french inspired meal...

Beef Braised in Red Wine
Serves 6

1.5kg beef casserole steak, diced
2 brown onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1cm thick slices
2 celery sticks, cut into 1cm thick slices
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
8cm strip orange peel
750ml dry red wine
2 tsp olive oil
4 bacon rashers, chopped
4 cups beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Place the beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, thyme, orange peel and red wine in a large glass bowl, stir to combine. Cover and marinated in the fridge overnight.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion, carrot and celery to a bowl, reserve the marinade. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until lightly golden. Transfer the bacon to a heatproof bowl.

Brown the beef in 4 batches and transfer to the bowl. Add the marinade to the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming the surface occasionally. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes.

Return the bacon, beef, onion, carrot and celery to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake in the oven for 2.5 hours. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to a heatproof bowl and bring the marinade to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes to reduce the marinade by half. Return the bacon, beef, onion, carrot and celery, add the tomato and parsley and stir to combine.

We had this with some nice home made bread - very tasty!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Busy busy busy

I feel guilty for not putting up a post for so long - but it has been rather busy around the house lately. First of all my mum came over last Saturday and put in a mammoth effort to finish the curtains for the nursery, here is how they turned out...

Quite cute if I don't say so myself! The next day I had a good friend (Vivi) and her partner (Caesar) over for lunch. I made a yummy lasagne with salad and crusty bread, and then for dessert an orange and poppy seed syrup cake. It was great to catch up over a nice lunch and have a good conversation. Then later that day we had some surprise guests - Mat's parents came to stay after their long caravan trip in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. And this is pretty much the reason that I haven't posted for so long - my mother and father in law stayed for the week so I didn't get much of a chance to pop on to the net.

This week has gone flying past as Mat and I have been quite busy, not only have we had the parents over, but we also had our antenatal class on Tuesday, went out for drinks and dinner on Wednesday and then Friday I had an annual leave day to get my hair cut and give a talk at my mum's school on being pregnant. I also bought some supplies for lino printing from an art and craft shop - so now I have to think of what I want to print and give it a go!!

Luckily there isn't too much planned for the weekend so I can get some relax time in. In fact I think the only thing I do have planned is to finally meet one of my online friends in person for lunch today - so I better get a move on and get ready!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Easy Beef and Lentil Curry

At the end of a tiring day at work it is good to home and cook something nice and easy. This is a really simple, yet tasty curry that always goes down a treat.

Beef and Lentil Curry
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil
500g beef (any cut will do), cubed
1/3 cup curry paste
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 1/2 cups beef stock
400ml coconut milk
1/4 cup coriander, chopped

Heat half the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef and half the curry paste, and cook until the beef is browned. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and remaining curry paste, and cook until the onion softens. Add the lentils, stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Return the beef to the pan and simmer for a further 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped coriander.

Serve with jasmine rice and pappadums.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Corned Beef

This is more just a note to myself - to remember how to cook my corned beef...

Corned Beef with White Sauce

1 tbs brown sugar
12 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tbs vinegar

White Sauce
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp seeded mustard

First rinse the silverside under cold water. Put the silverside in a deep saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaf and vinegar. Simmer the beef - 40 minutes for each pound of meat. Allow to cool in the liquid.

To make the white sauce melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and whisk to combine. Gradually add in the milk, whisking as you go until the sauce is thickened. Add the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Nesting and Muffins

This weekend I have been nesting like crazy. Washing all of bub's towels, blankets, sheets, wraps and clothes. Ironing all the tiny little body suits (soooo cute) - and tidying up the nursery. I've also gone on a mad cleaning spree, which has made me incredibly happy. Nothing like a lovely clean and tidy house - especially the kitchen, I love having a super organised kitchen. Unfortunately the weekend is over now - back to work tomorrow. But for now enjoy the recipe for yummy carrot and almond muffins...

Carrot and Almond Muffins
Makes 12

5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 tsp orange rind, finely grated
5 small carrots, peeled, finely grated
200g almond meal
1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and put muffin cases into a 12 muffin tray. Use an electric beater to beat the yolks, sugar and orange rind until thick and creamy. Add the carrot, almond meal and self raising flour and stir until well combined. Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Fold through half of the egg whites into the carrot mixture until just combined. Fold the remaining egg whites into the carrot mixture. Divide the mixture amongst the 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes - or until a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Birthday Time!!!

Well it is a bit of a late post but it was my birthday last week - I am now 26 years old!! It was a really good birthday this year, I had all of the family call me at work, it is always nice to know that everyone is thinking of you on that one day a year. My bosses at work also took me out for a pub lunch - can never so no to that on a Friday afternoon, the rest of the work day was quite lazy while we all tried to digest our lunch. That night we had a booking for 20 at the Vietnam restaurant on Addison Road in Pennington. The banquet was divine - excellent, excellent, excellent food there. It was also great to catch up with all my friends from uni and old work place.

I was also extremely spoilt this year ...
I got some lovely flowers from my best friend ...

Hubby got me this great print from kozyndan ...

That will be going straight into the nursery. Hubby also got me three great books on some of my favourite artists - Tattoo Darling by Angelique Houtkamp, Scarygirl: Art by Nathan by Nathan Jurevicius (oh and by the way my maiden name is Zakarevicius so I feel like I have a connection with Nathan :P) and Fushigi Circus, Second Edition by Mark Ryden. Now I am feeling all inspired again to get into some art and craft work - just need to stop procrastinating!!

Parsnip and Bacon Soup

Parsnip and Bacon Soup
Serves 5

1 tbs olive oil
4 bacon rashers, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
500g parsnip, cut into 2cm pieces
500g potatoes, cut into 2cm pieces
1/3 cup thickened cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and cook until the onion is soft. Add the stock and the water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add the parsnip and potato and simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Blend the soup mix until smooth and return to saucepan. Heat the soup over a low heat. To serve ladle soup among bowls and drizzle the cream over the top. Sprinkle some extra thyme leaves on top if desired.

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Chicken and Mushroom Stew
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
700g chicken thighs, chopped into 3cm cubes
4 bacon rashers, coarsely chopped
200g mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2 tsp thyme
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
300g risoni
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
10g butter

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, transfer to a plate. Add the bacon, mushrooms and garlic to the pan, and cook until the mushroom is tender. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add in the stock and wine and cook until the mixture thickens. Add the chicken and thyme, simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Stir in half the parsley and season.

Meanwhile cook the risoni, in the last 2 minutes add the peas. Drain, return to the pan and stir in the butter and remaining parsley.

Serve the chicken stew on top of the risoni and pea mixture.

Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake

Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake
Serves 4-5

1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
750g pumpkin, coarsely chopped
200g bacon, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup basil pesto
500g packet of potato gnocchi
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup water
350g fresh ricotta
1/3 cup grated cheese

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, rosemary, pumpkin and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the pesto, gnocchi, pasta sauce and water. Transfer to an ovenproof dish (10 cup capacity), top with ricotta and grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 celsius or until cheese is golden.

Moroccan Lamb

Moroccan Lamb on Rice
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tbspn moroccan spice mix
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
4 large lamb chops
2 tbspns fresh coriander, chopped
200ml natural yoghurt

Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until the onion softens. Stir in the moroccan spice mix.

Add the rice, stock and water - and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and cook the lamb until tender. Combine the fresh coriander and yoghurt in a bowl.

To serve divide the rice among 4 plates, top with a lamb chop and put a little yoghurt dressing on the side.