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Archive for July, 2009

Locky”s chicken curry with spinach sauce from Fruitman Sam

25 Jul

I just cooked a delicious chicken curry. It was amazing and so easy to make.

All the vegetables were from my small fruit and veg box ($44) I got from Fruitman Sam.  I don’t think these photos do the box justice. It was massive and packed with a variety of fruit and vege’s. The toffee apple was cute. Brett gobbled that up pretty quick. We might struggle to get through it all in a week. 

I got the recipe from Friutman Sam’s weekly newsletter which also included some nutritional info and cooking tips for some vege’s. I modified the recipe slightly though. It said to use lamb and cook gently on low heat for 1 hour. Not being a red meat eater I used chicken thigh’s instead and cooked it over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. I’ll definately be making this again soon. 

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 bunch of spinach
2 medium turnips (or 2 medium potatoes, or 2 medium swedes)
500g lamb, cut into 2cm cubes
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala

Directions

1. First make the spinach sauce. Chop the spinach, and cut the turnips (or the potatoes or Swedes) into smallish dice. Place both into a steamer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the turnips are soft. Put the cooked spinach and turnips into a food processor or blender and blend until it’s a puree. Set aside to use in step 4.
2. Heat the oil in a frypan and cook the onion and ginger until it softens and starts to turn golden. Then add the chilli, turmeric, salt and garam masala and cook 1 minute more, stirring all the time.
3. Add the diced lamb and cook over medium heat until it changes colour (at least 5 minutes, preferably 10). Then turn the heat as low as possible, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let it cook gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. By this stage the lamb will be tender. Now, stir in the spinach sauce, let it warm through for 5 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to combine flavours. Serve with rice.
Note: you can substitute chicken pieces for lamb, if you like, but cut the cooking time to 45 minutes. 

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  1. Comparing to the cookbook
 

My first high tea

21 Jul

On Sunday I hosted my first high tea. I was so excited and have been making a list of things to make for a few weeks but I had to be ruthless and cut a few things out since I’m not Wonderwoman and wanted to enjoy the afternoon instead of still making things when my friends were here. So I started my preparation on Friday when I made 2 dips. Spicy red pepper hummus & beetroot dip. I blackened a red capsicum over a gas flame then put it in a plastic bag to cool before peeling the skin off.  I added this with a good shake of chilli powder to a hummus recipe from taste. I used a beetroot recipe I found in Super food ideas (Aug, 09). A magazine from one of my ‘showbags’ from the good food and wine show. My trusty food processor that my girlfriends gave me for my 30th helped me to make these tasty dips. Thanks girls. Awesome present! I served the dips with some bagel crisps (also from the good food and wine show) and some healthy carrot and celery sticks. 

To kick off the afternoon I also used my beautiful olive serving dish that my sister got in Spain (thanks Daz) to serve some olives marinated in herbs and garlic, (yep also from the good food and wine show).

A high tea is not complete without high tea towers. I had to convince Brett that they would be an investment in our future. Myer had Maxwell Williams towers on sale for $30 from $50 so I was sold and had to get 2.

 

My savoury towers consisted of ‘Putting on the Ritz egg sandwiches’, cucumber mint tea sandwiches, Chicken and lime crunchy salad cups & pea pakoras with minty yoghurt.

My dessert towers included sticky date pudding with toffee sauce, merry berry tarts, caramel tarts with chocolate ganache, chocolate cigars and chocolate ricotta mousse.

The chocolate cigars turned out alot thicker than on Masterchef so I couldn’t lay them across the mousse cups. The chocolate ricotta mousse cups didn’t fit on the towers but I just prettied one up with some mixed berries for this photo.

So this is where I sourced my recipes:

Putting on the Ritz egg sandwiches

Cucumber mint tea sandwiches

Chicken and lime crunchy salad cups  by Donna Hay in the Sunday Magazine

Pea pakoras with minty yoghurt – Good food magazine, July 09

Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce by Donna Hay in the Sunday Magazine

Merry berry tarts – Christmas Coles magazine 2008

Caramel tarts with chocolate ganache – Delicious Nov 07

Chocolate cigars – Masterchef

Chocolate ricotta mousse by Donna Hay in the Sunday Magazine

 

My favourite lil creation was the caramel tarts with chocolate ganache. Sooooo delicious and easy too. I used Nestle’s Top’n'Fill caramel, which is near the condensed milk in Coles. The ganache was easy to make too. I simply melted some chocolate in a bowl over hot water and mixed in some cream. I have a confession to make. I used store bought frozen pastry cases. Next time I will have to use my food processor to make the pastry…. Although I think it’s time to start eating healthier…. only 5 months to go until our wedding.

 

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Chocolate Connections in W2

16 Jul

When I say hot date and chocolate I know what you are all thinking…. a family size block of dairy milk chocolate, Brad Pitt and a ‘Zoolander’ DVD showing on your ‘Playstation’ consol. But I’m actually thinking back to a real chocolate adventure, with chocolate provided by ‘Artesian du Chocolate’, Westbourne Grove, London and company with non other than, well renowned food critic Dan. Her depth of knowledge within culinary finesse as witnessed in food blogs such as ‘noredmeat.com’, a now popular source of information on food, gives all of us food junkies places to withdrawal to subside our food cravings. In this case she provided a suitable partner to challenge chocolate to a duel. It was unsure who would come out on top. All I had known is that we would eat all the delicious chocolates put in front of us and that we would attempt to walk out afterward.

To justify the magnitude of the experience and show how the event has created a moment within history I will help you to imagine the taste, setting and the presentation of this unforgettable chocolate. However for the sake of your chocolate understanding, I recommend getting out there and trying the chocolate first hand.

From our first step within the store, leaving the busy street in Westbourne Grove, we were presented by a tranquil and fantastical chocolate world. Not to be mistaken for scenes out of ‘Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory’, nature and chocolate actually became one to instil foundations of its origins within my mind. Subtle images of South American tropics that nurture the essence of chocolate that is the cocoa bean helped us to relax into the environment. Wall to wall displays of chocolate did not detract from the clinically clean yet comforting surroundings. Replica chocolate block tables were a fantastic touch, not surprisingly, with a big bite carved out of one. This was an arena of entertainment for two highly excited young ladies keen to get in touch with their chocolate bond.

Greeted with menus and helpful assistance from the employees we were able to push our adventure in the right direction. The task was not difficult for us as we already knew exactly what we needed. The ‘Chocolate Tapas Platter’ was the only option for chocolate divas such as Dan and me! Later we decided it was crucial to have some cocktails as a side dish. We opted for the ‘Chocolate Martini’, served in a coconut shell surrounded by ice, and the ‘Cupuacu Margarita’, served chilled and dipped in cocoa. Waiting for the chocolate treats was worth every second. Within moments a beautifully displayed ‘Chocolate Tapas Platter’ was strewn onto the table and if the waitress hadn’t have retreated quick smart then we would probably have devoured her hands just to prise every last smidgen of chocolate. The platter consisted of many fine varieties of chocolates with different fillings and various percentages of cocoa giving a range of sweet and bitter chocolates to ravish the taste buds. Whilst the cocktails were a nice side dish and helped to keep the chat flowing, it was little distraction against the determination to fill as much of our bodies with chocolate as possible.

The question you might ask… what was the favourite piece? Was it the gooey filled chocolate cake, the rich flowing chocolate fondant for dipping cherries, banana and grapes, the decadent chocolate brownie or the irresistible salted caramel ice cream? The answer is hidden within the fact that every bit of chocolate was shared very evenly between two unwavering girls who didn’t want to miss out on their split. With never ending excitement and stories of other chocolate experiences it would be hard pressed to beat this dating establishment with just a guy and his DVD.

Finally, ‘la pièce de résistance’ was contained within varieties of specialist couture collection chocolates placed in small edible bundles on the platter, and also available in well presented gift packages around the shop. Just some of the miraculous flavours ranged from thin discs with fresh Moroccan mint, pralines and liquid salted caramel to amorphous shaped chocolates containing orange rind, violet and the all special ‘South Sea and Tahiti Pearls’ that encase the liquid cocoa within an exquisite pearl casing. It beats the old quality street mix your friends would buy you for helping them to find a matching handbag for their new red dress.

Just when you think you have had enough chocolate you stand up to leave and can’t help but be mesmerised by all of the fantastic gifts and production methods on show. A flat screen TV was showing the process of making large blocks of chocolate and a small rotating spool showed the chocolate being turned and rotated. Shelves of boxed chocolates provided great gift ideas to be taken home for any friends or lovers that might have missed out on the real experience. These items continued to diverge to novelty gifts in the form of chocolate eggs and even a high heeled chocolate shoe.

If you have ever contemplated a relationship with chocolate and have yet to venture past the odd ‘Mars Bar’ or even ‘Ferrero Rocher’ then you need to visit one of your closest stores. Or if you can’t manage the complete experience of the tasting shops then at least try to get a hold of a block online!

Indulge and you will be in love….

http://www.artisanduchocolat.com

81 Westbourne Grove London W24UL

Opening hours:

Monday-Thursday from 10am to 7pm

Friday and Saturday 10am to 8pm

Sundays  from 11am to 5pm

Artisan du Chocolat on Urbanspoon

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ARTISAN du CHOCOLATE…LONDON

15 Jul

The story of an epic chocolate voyage to come…

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