Cooking

Herein some successful recipes. I have personally cooked and taste-tested all of these and if you can’t find something you like here then you are hard to please.

Lamb with Cous Cous, Incredible Pesto, Vegetable Pie, Homus,Vegetable Lasagne, Cheese, tuna and tomato ricebake, avocado mango and prawn salad, chocolate mousse, key lime pie, black bean dip, salsa, guacamole, honey lime salad dressing, mexican salad, mini drumsticks, salad dressings, southwest vinaigrette, champagne honey vinaigrette, moroccan fish, tabouli

Lamb with Cous Cous and Grilled Veggies

My thanks to Karyna for this one. Karyna had a group of us over for dinner last week and we feasted on this. I liked it so much we had it again a some days later with friends of ours.

Ingredients

  • Boneless Leg of Lamb, Butterflied and marinated in herbs, lemon & garlic (can be bought ready to cook in some specialty butchers)
  • Cous Cous
  • 1 -2 heads of Garlic (optional)
  • Cumin
  • Butter (couple of Tbsp, melted)
  • Selection of Vegetables such as Red Capsicum (definitely need to include this one),
  • Red Onions, Asparagus, Zuchinni, Eggplant or whatever takes your fancy.
  • Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Coriander, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  1. To roast garlic, cut tops off whole heads and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and cook in a really hot oven (200 – 250 degrees) for about 45 minutes until the inside are brownish and soft. Once done, take them out and keep wrapped in foil until needed. If you are cooking corn, you can do this at the same time. Corn will take about 20 -30 minutes, when almost done, turn the oven down for the lamb and the corn will finish cooking.
  2. Cut up vegetables (except red capsicum) into slices about ½ – 1cm thick and prepare for the grill by skewering (soak skewers in water for 15 minutes first so they don’t burn on the BBQ).
  3. Put oven on or turn down to a low heat (about 120 – 150 degrees), then BBQ the lamb until rare-medium rare in the center. Cover the lamb with foil and put in the oven to rest and finish cooking while you cook the vegetables.
  4. Grill red capsicums until charred on all sides and they are beginning to get soft. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 4-5 minutes before peeling the skin off and slicing into strips.
  5. While you are waiting for the capsicums to cool, cook cous cous according to package directions. Toss the remainder of the vegetables with some olive oil, salt and pepper and grill on the BBQ.
  6. Once the veggies are done, cut into smaller pieces (I usually cut the zuchinni sticks, asparagus and slices of red onion in half).
  7. Combine roasted garlic (just squeeze it out of the skin), melted butter and cumin and combine with the cous cous and stir until fluffed.
  8. To the cous cous add the grilled veggies, most of the coriander and most of the feta cheese and toss to combine everything. To season, add salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon juice, splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. Sprinkle rest of cheese and coriander on top and serve with lamb.

CORN – coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt, seasoned pepper, whatever you have in the cupboard that sounds good, wrap in foil and cook about 30 minutes in hot oven.

Incredible Pesto

This stuff is a knockout at parties – your guests will say you are a genius! Last time I made this for a party it was all gone within half an hour (acknowledgements to Garth Ainsworth for this one) .

  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil (enough to hold in two hands)
  • 3 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 125 gms grated parmesan cheese
  • About 1 cup olive oil

These quantities are rather approximate and can be varied within 20% or so.

  1. Strip the leaves off the fresh basil and ram them all into a blender, together with the garlic cloves, half the cheese and the pine nuts. Add about half the olive oil and blend, gradually adding more oil as required to make the blender work the basil and garlic into a creamy paste. You will need to operate the blender carefully, by pulsing the power, then pushing the basil into the blades with a plastic spatula with the power off before pulsing the power – repeat enough times to do the job, gradually adding enough oil as you go. If you aren’t careful with the blender, you’ll end up with bits of chewed-up plastic from the spatula throughout your pesto which is not nice.
  2. When the pesto has reached a creamy consistency add the remaining cheese and blend briefly – not too much (a few seconds). The idea is to have the second lot of cheese retain some of its grated consistency with the result of a bit of “texture” in the final blend.
  3. Put this in the fridge for an hour or so – it needs to “mature” for a while to allow the flavours to escape. It actually tastes better next day.
  4. Serve with slices of baguette, cracker biscuits etc. Or stir a teaspoon into salad dressing, bolognese sauce or add to anything with tomatoes in it.

Vegetable Pie

  • 2 cups diced peeled pumpkin
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 cups diced peeled potato
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 250gm grated cheddar cheese
  • Bacon strips to add on top (this is optional)
  • You will need a fairly large baking dish.
  1. Turn on the oven to warm it up to about 180 degrees centigrade (about half way around the dial).
  2. While the oven is warming up, combine the pumpkin, onion, potato and peas into a microwave proof dish with cover and microwave on high until vegetables are just soft enough to spear with a fork. Do not add water, as there will be sufficient moisture in the vegetables and you need to have them dry out a little anyway. This should take about 15 minutes – it is a good idea to stir the dish of vegetables gently about half way through the process so they cook evenly. If you don’t have a microwave oven you can steam the vegetables in a saucepan until just soft – this will require adding a few tablespoons of water though.
  3. When the vegetables are cooked, drain and add the can of red kidney beans to the vegetables and stir them in gently – try not to make the vegetables too mashed up. They should still retain their basic cubed shape.
  4. Use kitchen paper to wipe margarine over the inside of the baking dish – use plenty so things don’t stick when you bake pie. Now add alternate layers of vegetable and cheese, finishing off with plenty of cheese on top. Put the pie in the oven and bake it until lightly brown on top (about 30 minutes).
  5. When cooked, put the pie on the stove top to cool down for about 10 minutes (this allows it to set a little – tastes better that way).
  6. The bacon can be fried and served on top of the pie for added taste. Yummmm!

Homus

  • 1 cup of raw chick peas
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 4 large lemons
  • Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  1. Soak the chick peas in water overnight (to make them swell and soften). Drain them. Put them in a microwave proof dish and cover them again with fresh water. Put the container with its lid on in the microwave oven for 10 minutes on high, then 10 minutes on medium high. (The actual time can be more, just make sure they are well cooked – its impossible to overcook chick peas!). If you don’t have a microwave oven just boil them for at least 1/2 an hour, or until nice and soft.
  2. When they are cooked, drain the chick peas and put them in a blender together with the 3 peeled garlic cloves and a rounded teaspoon of salt.. Blend everything together, adding sufficient juice from the lemons for the blender to make the peas into a thick creamy paste. A little water and olive oil may be added if necessary for more fluid to make the paste the required consistency.
  3. When all the ingredients are blended, add the tahini and blend briefly again. The tahini will stiffen the mixture a little and you may need to stir it in with a bit of manual help as well.
  4. Pour into a serving bowl, scraping out the blender bowl. Clean the bowl and lick your fingers! Add a sprinkle of paprika and a dribble of olive oil for a garnish. Let it cool in the fridge. Then eat it with cracker biscuits, cheese or whatever you like.

Vegetable lasagne

  • One large eggplant
  • Half cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 large can chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1 chicken or beef stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain white flour
  • 600 ml milk (approx)
  • 250 gms grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 packet instant lasagne pasta
  • A large baking dish.
  1. Turn on the oven to pre-heat it to about 180 degrees centigrade.
  2. Remove the stem and seeds from the capsicums and chop them into pieces about 1 cm square. Combine the carrot, onion and capsicum in a saucepan with about a desert spoon of oil or margarine and lightly fry it all until the vegetables start to go soft. Add the can of tomatoes and crumble the stock cube into the mixture. Let this mixture simmer until the moisture has reduced and becomes fairly thick – sauce like. Add enough salt and pepper to make it taste savoury (about ½ tsp).
  3. While the above mixture is simmering, cut the stem off the eggplant and slice it into slices about ½ centimetre thick. Lightly toast the slices under the griller until they go brown. Put them aside on a plate.
  4. Make a white sauce by melting the margarine in a saucepan and adding the flour to make a thick paste. Heat the paste in the saucepan until it froths a little, but don’t let it burn. Over medium heat, gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the white sauce is about the consistency of cream (no lumps please!). Put this aside.
  5. Grease the baking dish with kitchen paper and margarine. Spoon out the vegetable mixture to form a thin layer on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the grilled eggplant on top of this, then a layer of grated cheese and several tablespoons of the white sauce on top of that, finishing off with a layer of the lasagne pasta. Repeat these layers (three times is good) until ingredients are all used or the baking dish is full. Finish off with a layer of cheese and white sauce.
  6. Bake the lasagne until golden brown on top (about 40 minutes).

Bon appetite! Goes well with a glass of red wine.

Cheese, tuna and tomato ricebake

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 dessertspoons chopped green capsicum
  • ½ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 can of peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large can tuna, drained
  • 250 gms grated cheddar cheese
  1. Fry onions until tender.
  2. Add capsicum and rice, tomatoes, waster, tuna. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally and allow to cook until most of the moisture has evaporated.
  4. Layer tuna mixture and 2/3rds of cheese in a baking dish, beginning and ending with tuna. Bake in moderate (180 degrees) oven for about 40 minutes. Add remaining cheese on top and return to oven for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

(for the following, acknowledgments to Karyna for the recipes)

Salad with Avocado, Mango and Prawns

  • ½ Avocado Per Person
  • ½ Mango Per Person
  • ½ Baby Cos or Butter Lettuce Per Person
  • 6 – 10 Medium or Large Tiger Prawns Per Person
  • Mustard Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  1. Rinse Lettuce and tear or cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Peel and Slice Mango and Avocado
  3. Peel Prawns.
  4. Toss dressing with lettuce and serve on individual plates, then add avocado, mango and shrimp to each plate and drizzle with a little extra dressing.

ALTERNATIVE – to use as a side salad with grilled meat or fish, dice avocado and mango instead of slicing. Substitute diced cooked bacon (allow about 2 slices per person) for shrimp. Combine all ingredients in a big salad bowl and top with roasted macadamia nuts.

Chocolate Mousse

Note: Must make mousse at least a couple of hours ahead of time to allow to set

  • 250g (9 oz) good quality chocolate, chopped (use chocolate with a high percentage cocoa solids such as Lindt or Belgian chocolate)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) milk
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract (not essence)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 375ml (1 ½ cups) cream

For Topping

  • Berries or fruit and / or additional whipped cream
  1. Place chocolate, milk and vanilla in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until the chocolate is just melted, stirring regularly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  3. Whip the cream in a bowl until soft peaks form, then fold through the chocolate mixture until just combined.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a large, dry, clean stainless steel bowl until soft peaks form.
  5. Using a large metal spoon, fold through chocolate mixture in two batches.
  6. Divide into six 1 cup serving dishes.

Key Lime Pie

Note: Must make pie at least 8 hours ahead of time to allow to set

For Crust

  • Crumbs from 10 Graham Crackers (2 1/4“ x 4” crackers)*
  • blend crackers in blender to get crumbs, should end up with about 1 ¼ cups of crumbs
  • 2 Heaped Tablespoons Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted

For Filling

  • 1 2/3 Cups Sweetened Condensed Milk (almost 2 cans)
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2/3 Cup Key Lime Juice (also called Mexican or West Indian Limes)

For Topping

  • 1 Container Thickened Cream, well chilled

1. MAKE CRUST

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl until combined well, then press mixture evenly into a buttered 9” / 4 cup glass pie plate.

Bake crust in the middle of oven for 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.

2. MAKE FILLING AND BAKE PIE

While crust is cooling slightly, whisk or blend together condensed milk and yolks. Add juice and whisk uncombined well (mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven for 15 minutes. Cool pie on rack (filling will set as it cools), until it reached room temperature, then chill, covered, for at least 8 hours, up to 1 day.

3. MAKE TOPPING

Just before serving, whip cream with electric mixer until it holds stiff peaks. Cover pie with cream. Slice and serve.

Note: I suggest not adding sugar to the whipped cream, the pie is already very sweet and adding sugar to the whipped cream makes it too sweet.

* Graham crackers are available from Five Star Foods in Crows Nest and David Jones Food Hall in the city

Black Bean Dip

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ medium white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 1/3 Cup Medium Salsa from jar
  • ½ teaspoon hot chilli powder (add more if you like it hot!)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15oz) Can of Black Beans, Drained
  • ¼ Cup shredded reduced-fat cheese
  • ¼ – ½ Cup chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of ½ lime

1. Heat oil in a non-stick saucepan.

2. Sauté Onion & Garlic about 4 minutes until tender.

3. Add Tomato, Salsa, Chilli Powder, Cumin and Black Beans.

4. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes until thick, stirring constantly.

5. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher.

6. Add cheese, coriander and lime juice.

Salsa

  • 4 large Roma Tomatoes, Diced (any tomatoes will do, but Roma are the best)
  • ½ large White Onion, Diced
  • ½ medium Green Capsicum, Diced (very fine)
  • ½ Jalapeno Pepper (small green pepper), minced
  • ¼ – ½ Cup chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Garlic Salt & Seasoned Pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon of each)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding garlic salt and seasoned pepper to taste.
  2. If possible, let set for at least 1 our before serving to allow flavors to combine.

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocadoes
  • ¼ – ½ Cup chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of ½ lime, or more
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Garlic Salt & Seasoned Pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 medium sized tomatoes, diced (optional)
  1. Mash Avocadoes in a bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. If possible, let set for at least 1 our before serving to allow flavors to combine.

Honey Lime Salad Dressing

  • ¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¼ Cup Oil (olive or canola)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Jalapeno Pepper, minced (about ¼ – ½ medium sized pepper)
  • ¼ – ½ Cup Chopped Fresh Corriander
  1. Combine all ingredients except coriander in a jar and shake, or combine in blender.
  2. Add coriander just prior to serving.

MEXICAN SALAD

Make Bean Dip, Salsa, Guacamole & Dressing.

Combine 1 Can Black Beans (Drained) & 1 Can Sweet Corn Kernels (Drained). Pour some of the salad dressing over the mix and let stand an hour or more.

Grill Chicken, Steak or Shrimp with Taco Seasoning.

Combine Salad Dressing with Chopped Baby Cos or Regular Cos Lettuce.

Top Lettuce with Corn/Bean Combo, Grilled Meat, Salsa, Sour Cream, Bean Dip, Guacamole & Grated Cheese.

Alternatives

Substitute sliced avocado for guacamole.

Substitute crumbled feta for regular cheese.

Mini Chicken Drumsticks

  • About 1 kilogram of mini chicken drumsticks or chicken wings
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small red chilli peppers, chopped very fine
  • ½ bunch coriander, chopped
  • Sea Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
  1. Toss chicken with sea salt and roast in baking dish for 30 minutes.
  1. Combine lemon juice, honey, garlic and chilli.
  1. After 30 minutes cover chicken with honey lemon mixture and turn to coat.
  1. Cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until chicken has a nice golden brown color, turning chicken to coat again during this time.
  1. Remove from oven and mix coriander in with chicken and serve, drizzling sauce over the chicken.

Salad Dressings

  • MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
  • 100 ml Olive Oil
  • 2 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 1 Lemon)
  • 1 Heaped Tsp Dijon Mustard (or more if you really like mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp Cream (milk will do in a pinch)
  • ½ Tsp Sugar
  • Fresh Cracked or Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  1. Add the 2 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar to 100ml Olive Oil in a measuring cup.
  2. Add Lemon Juice until you have approx. 150 ml of liquid.
  3. Add Mustard, Cream, Sugar and Pepper.
  4. Whisk or preferably blend in a blender or with hand blender until combined.
  5. If you like Mustard, add more once you have blended all the ingredients and tasted first.

SOUTHWEST VINAIGRETTE

  • ¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¼ Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Jalapeno Pepper, minced (about ¼ – ½ medium sized pepper)
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Cumin
  • ¼ – ½ Cup Chopped Fresh Corriander / Cilantro
  1. Combine all ingredients except Corriander in a jar and shake, or combine in blender.
  2. Add Corriander just prior to serving.

CHAMPAGNE HONEY VINAIGRETTE

  • 100 ml Olive, Canola Oil or Hazelnut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Juice
  • Champagne Vinegar (about 2 – 3 Tbsp)
  • Honey to taste
  • Fresh Cracked or Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  1. Add the Vinegar to 100ml Olive Oil in a measuring cup.
  2. Add orange juice, then add Champagne Vinegar until you have approx. 150 ml of liquid.
  3. Add Honey and Pepper to taste.
  4. Whisk or preferably blend in a blender or with hand blender until combined.
  5. f you prefer a creamier dressing, add about 1 Tbsp of Cream.

Moroccan Fish (or whatever meat you want to use)

  • Meat – fish, chicken, whatever (recipe called for 6 x 200g fillets of white fish)
  • 2 small zuchinni – sliced
  • 1 large red onion – sliced
  • 1 green or red capsicum (or combination of both) – sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 250 ml Verjus (or a combination of stock, water & a dash of wine)
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh removed and sliced into very thin slices or diced
  • green or black olives, pitted

Chermoula

  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parley
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp ground Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 100ml lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 250ml olive oil (pref. extra virgin)
  1. Make the Chermoula by combining all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Rub Chermoula into meat and leave to marinate for 2 hours, or whatever time permits.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees or set electric frypan to medium (for frypan initially turn up high once all ingredients are in pan, around setting 11 to get things going, then turn down to about 6).
  4. Scatter vegetables over the bottom of the baking dish or frypan, cover with the Verjus then lay the meat on top of the vegetables.
  5. Cover tightly with foil (if baking) or lid (if using electric frypan) and cook for 10- 15 minutes (baking will take a bit longer) until meat is cooked and vegetables have softened, basting once or twice during cooking.
  6. Garnish with preserved lemon and olives and serve with cous cous.
  7. Enjoy!!


Tabouli Recipe

  • 1 cup burghal wheat (aka cracked wheat)
  • 2 cup chopped parsley (continental parsley is my preference)
  • 2 finely chopped medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 finely sliced shallots (aka spring onions)
  • 2 cups chopped mint
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Cover the burghal wheat with plenty of water and allow it to soak for a few hours to soften. Drain the wheat and gently squeeze it semi-dry in a clean tea towel. Combine the chopped parsley, mint, tomatoes and onions with the wheat. Gently stir the olive oil through the mixture. Add lemon juice – sufficient to create enough moisture for a dressing, but avoid drenching the tabouli with it. Season to taste with salt and cracked pepper.

Eat immediately, as it is best fresh and will not last more than a day.

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