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Friday, 30 March 2012

Money Bags with Prawn

Money bags are little deep fried bags of super tasty goodness. You should eat these. Ignore the chicken skin in the ingredient picture though, that was a failed wonton wraper alternative...

1 chicken thigh
350 gms shelled prawns
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a thumb of ginger
1 handful almonds (or other nuts)
1/2 a handful corriander
1 handful basil leaves
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
Wanton wrappers
Oil for deep frying (eg canola)
Sweet chilli sauce

Process the almonds in a food processor and remove. Roughly chop the chicken. Add all of the ingredients except the frying oil, sweet chilli sauce and wonton wrappers into a food processor. Blend them. Spoon 1 tsp onto each wonton wrapper, seal it up. Deep fry them in batches. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Chicken Pie with Tarragon, Chorizo and Asparagus

This sounds difficult and expensive but it was neither. Again I am using tarragon as I have some presently but I think most anything herb wise would work. If you would like an aniseed hit and don't have it, use thinly sliced fennel and some fronds. If not try sage - different taste but would suit. As I only used half a chorizo it was far from overpowering but enough to add just the right amount of depth and porki-ness. The left over puff pastry from the lid I egg washed and sprinkled with more sesame seeds and it was great, sort of like the pie equivalent of extra crackling.

4 chicken thigh fillets in small pieces
1/2 a chorizo in smallish pieces
5 mushrooms quartered and sliced
1/3 head broccoli in small florets
1/3 head cauliflower in small florets
2 cloves garlic roughly minced
1/2 handful fresh tarragon
1/2 sprig rosemary roughly chopped
2 celery stalks finely diced
Good splash of white wine
1 cup stock (I had left over turkey)
1/3 red onion finely sliced
1 bunch asparagus sliced
Salt and pepper
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs plain flower
2 tbs sour cream
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg beaten
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 220C. Add half the oil to a frying pan with the chorizo to a large frying pan and turn up to medium. Fry the chorizo until it has rendered a little and has a little colour then remove to a clean bowl. Increase the temperature to medium high. Add the chicken in 2 batches with some salt and pepper and fry until they have some colour (not completely cooked) then remove to the chorizo bowl. Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the celery and garlic and saute until soft and with no colour. Add in the mushroom, some more salt and pepper and the rosemary (more oil if necessary) and continue to cook until soft and with a little colour. Return the chicken and chorizo and their juice to the pan along with the flour and toss to combine. Continue cooking for 2 or 3 minutes, tossing then deglaze with the white wine. Allow the alcohol to cook out for a couple of minutes then add in the stock, broccoli and cauliflower. The liquid should come up about half way - if not, add more. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the asparagus, onion, tarragon and sour cream. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Check for seasoning.
Pour the contents into a large enough casserole dish to fit. Butter the rim, place on and crimp the puff pastry, cutting away any excess. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds. If using the cut off pastry, repeat with it and place on some baking paper on a tray and stab all over with a fork. Place in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, when the pie or the extra bits are golden, remove and allow to cool.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Warm Potato Salad with Tarragon, Asparagus and Chicken with Soft Egg

Clearly I have some tarragon at the moment. I've not grown it before but plan to now. A mates mum gave me some recently and I have been loving it. This recipe took about 15 minutes, about as long as it took for the potato to come to the boil, cook and then I just combined everything. I was working fairly quickly so maybe give yourself 1/2 an hour. If you don't have tarragon use some sliced basil or maybe some fennel fronds for the aniseed kick. Don't have those either? use something else that you like.

3 medium potatoes in bite size pieces
5 small mushrooms diced
1/3 of a BBQ chicken diced
1 slice bacon diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bunch asparagus in small slices
1 tbs sour cream
1 tbs natural yoghurt
1 tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp dijonnaise
2 or 3 tbs roughly chopped tarragon
4 large eggs
1 avocado diced
Salt and pepper
1 lemon
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 chilli sliced

Place the potato pieces in a medium sized saucepan and cover by about 5cm water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Increase the temperature to high, boil then add in the eggs and cook for a further 4 1/2 minutes. Remove the eggs to cool, drain the potato and allow to steam out (check they are cooked first).
In the mean time heat the olive oil in a large frying pan to medium high and cook the mushroom, garlic, bacon and chicken over a medium high heat. When soft and fragrant, add in the asparagus and tarragon and toss. When you can smell the asparagus cooking, squeeze in the the juice from half the lemon, toss, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary then turn off the heat.
In the mean time, combine the yoghurt, sour cream, mayo, dijonnaise (or some seeded mustard), the juice from half a lemon and some salt and pepper.
Shell the eggs carefully.
In a large bowl combine 3/4 of the chicken mixture, 3/4 of the dressing and all of the avocado. Add in the potato and combine. Check for seasoning and add more of whatever is missing (salt, pepper or lemon). Spoon into a serving dish and top with the remaining chicken mixture. Quarter the eggs and arrange on top, top with the remaining dressing and finish with some chilli slices if desired. Would be nice with some great bread. Kicks bum when cold also.

Tarragon Chilli Prawn Linguine

Good gear and simple. The most annoying part is shelling the prawns but that's the price you need to pay I guess for a decent prawn pasta. I used 750 grams of prawn here for 4 adults and left overs for kids. It was overkill but damn it was good. Nom nom nom nom....

750 gms green prawns, shelled
3 cloves garlic sliced
2 cheeks capsicum in small dice
1/4 Spanish onion thinly sliced
1 chilli finely sliced
4 tbs roughly chopped tarragon
1 handful minced parsley
Juice 1 lemon
1 good slug of white wine
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked pepper
3 or 4 slices grilled prosciutto, chopped
1 packet linguine or similar

Combine the prawns and garlic with 1 tbs extra virgin with some salt and cracked pepper. Cook the pasta. When the pasta is about 5 minutes from being cooked complete the remaining steps. Heat the remaining oil to medium high, add in the prawns and toss about for a minute or 2. Add in the tarragon, capsicum, and chilli and toss about for 2 minutes. Add in the wine and 3/4 of the lemon juice and toss about. Toss in the onion and parsley. Try a prawn to check for seasoning. Drain the pasta and add to the prawn gear, add in half the chopped prosciutto and toss about. Spoon into bowls, top with more chopped prosciutto, a few prawns and a little lemon juice. I served this with some really nice toasted bread. Nom nom nom nom...

Scallops on Sage Potato Slices

A very nice little interlude. Probably about 10 to 15 minutes beginning to end. I imagine small pieces of fish or prawn would also be quite tasty. I also think that maybe rosemary or thyme on the spuds would be great too, maybe bung a little garlic in toward the end or some crumbled prosciutto. Experiment. No photos just yet but I will cook this again soon and add some.

200 gms scallops
1 potato sliced very thinly
1 handful sage leaves
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a lime
Salt and cracked pepper

Combine a fair whack of salt and pepper through 1 tbs of the olive oil in a bowl and coat the potato slices. Remove the potato to a clean plate then run the sage leaves through the oil as well. Press 1 sage leaf onto each piece of potato. Mix the scallops through the oil and leave there until required. Heat the remaining 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frying pan to medium high. When hot (almost smoking) add in the potato slices, sage leaf side down first. Fry until they have nice colour, turn and repeat, remove to a clean plate lined with absorbent paper, patting down the top as well. In the same frying pan place in each scallop (without over crowding) and cook on both side until they have nice colour. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid stewing. Remove a scallop or two to each slice of potato and squeeze over some lime juice. Serve straight away.

This version also had blue cheese and deglazed white wine

Monday, 12 March 2012

Salmon and Persian Feta Pasta with Mushroom

My favourite kind of pasta, cheap and easy. I have enjoyed flavouring stocks with prawn heads or bones or herbs for years and realised I could do the same here with the salmon skin for the pasta water. As it turns out it was effective and a very simple means of injecting flavour with zero effort. I will definitely use this idea again in future.

1/2 portion of hot smoked salmon (reserve skin)
4 or 5 mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic sliced and roughly chopped
 3 tbs marinated Persian feta
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Parsley roughly chopped
1/2 a Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 packet of pasta
Salt and pepper

Place the skin from salmon into a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Heat the oil to medium high in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms, toss until they have nice colour. Add in the garlic and fry with the mushrooms until fragrant. Add in 3 tbs of the pasta water, the feta and lemon juice, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute or two to melt the incorporate the cheese, stir lots. Reduce the heat to very low while the pasta cooks. Shred the salmon with 2 forks. Drain the pasta and add to the mushroom feta mixture along with 3/4 of the salmon and 3/4 of the parsley. Mix through the pasta, check for seasoning and then spoon into bowls. Add some shredded salmon to the top along with some parsley. Top with sliced chilli if desired or some Parmesan. Nice.

Star Anise, Sesame and Corriander Barbecued Lamb

Simple, very few steps, great flavour. I have used about 1/2 of a leg of lamb that I have boned out (the rest went into a stew and I kept the bone to make stock) but a couple of lamb rumps would work equally well. Come to think of it - chicken, pork or dead cow would all work.

1/2 lamb leg boned
2 shallots halved
1 tbs mirin
1 piece lemon grass halved, bashed
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
3 star anise
1 thumb ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs kecap manis
1/4 bunch coriander

Combine the sauces, mirin, oils, star anise, ginger, lemon grass, garlic and spring onion in a large zip lock bag. Add in the lamb, gently rub about a bit (careful not to pierce the bag with the star anise), remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal. Allow to marinade in the fridge for 1 or 2 days, turning a couple of times a day. When ready to use, remove the lamb and reserve the marinade. Heat a BBQ with a lid to very hot, place on the lamb fat side down and reduce the heat to low. Close the lid. Continue cooking turning every five minutes and basting until it feels firmish (about 25 minutes). Allow to rest, slice diagonally and pour over the resting juices.

I served this with a salad made from barbecued potato and broccoli dressed with Persian feta, sliced Spanish onion, a little lemon juice and chopped coriander.