Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

When Lance and I were dating, he took me to an Indian restaurant in Vic Park. Both of us particularly liked the Mango Chicken Curry at our local Indian takeaway, and so it was one of the dishes we ordered that night. It was served up in one of those beautiful copper bowls, which was sat on a plate. I accidentally knocked the plate and threw Mango Chicken Curry all over me. ALL over me. Lance just shook his head and laughed. “I can’t take you anywhere!”


That story isn’t hugely relevant to this recipe, but I wasn’t too sure how to start this post and that story came to me. I guess it’s because the Mango Curry is a sweet, fruity and mild curry, and this is too. Lance isn’t a huge fan of banana (unless it is in a chocolate peanut butter smoothie), but he still really enjoyed the fruitiness it added to this curry. The secret is to use ripe, but still ‘hard’ bananas. You don’t want them to break down too much, or be too sweet. The rest of the flavours are just normal curry spices. I don’t know a great deal about cooking curries, I only know I enjoy eating them. So it’s in no way traditional, but it is incredibly flavoursome.


So, if you’re clumsy like I am, and you can’t be taken anywhere, at least you can still have a good curry

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry


Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

2 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 brown onion, diced
thumbsize piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 butternut pumpkin, 2 cm dice
1 chicken breast, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 red capsicum, 1cm dice
1 tin coconut cream

2 firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
to serve
black rice
cashews
chopped coriander leaves
 Heat a large pot to medium heat and place the dry spices in. Cook until nice and fragrant – around 1-2 minutes. Add a good splash of olive oil, then the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring well to coat in the spices. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.


Add the chicken pieces and stir to brown, 5 minutes. Add in the capsicum and pumpkin, the coconut cream and rinse the can out with water (about 3/4 of the tin), adding that to the pot as well. Stir well, then put the lid on and simmer 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is almost cooked through. 


Add the banana pieces in for the last 10 minutes of cooking so they heat through, but don’t completely break down.

Check for seasoning, then serve with black rice and cashews and coriander leaves, if desired





Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

My friends and I like playing a game called “What’s your favourite cocktail” with bartenders when we go out. And, it’s as simple as it sounds. If you don’t have a hankering for a specific drink, then you let the decision lie in the hands of the bartender by asking them to make you their favourite drink. Since the small bar licence regulations changed, Perth has cultivated some of the best cocktail makers and it makes the game so rewarding! Often, they’ll make you the most amazing concoction, not off their lists…just because they love the creativity of it. Mixing different flavours to create something unique. It’s so much fun! A common question back, to make sure they make you something along your taste lines is – what do you normally drink. Fair enough. Giving an Old Fashioned to a Cosmo drinker is not going to make you popular. I have a few different answers, depending on what style of drink I’m leaning towards that night, but my most common cocktail is the Manhattan. A Manhattan is a mix of Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth and a cherry. I am a sucker for that cherry. It’s a punchy, strong drink that relies on the quality of the ingredients, because there’s only a few of them. You can’t hide inferiority behind sweet mixers and sugar syrup. Vermouth has an annoyingly short shelf-life. Once opened, it should ideally be used within a few weeks. Which, for the home bar, isn’t really ideal. But, Vermouth is a form of wine spirit, fortified and aromatized with herbals to get it’s flavour and sometimes hide inferior wine (I learnt all this at one of The Classroom's Spirit Faculty's!). In this version, instead of Vermouth, I use a Muscat. Which is also a form of fortified wine but is more of an after dinner drink than an aperitif and relies on raisoned grapes for it's flavours. 
Monty’s Fine Old Muscat is from my favourite winery – Cape Naturaliste, and it does the job here making this Manhattan a Mont-hattan. This Muscat is aged in oak, and the fermentation is stopped using cognac which gives it a delicious smokiness that really plays well with the rye. For the rye, I've gone for Rittenhouse as it's my go-to "top-shelf" rye.

As a side note - the only martini glass I own is a novelty plastic one I got when I went to see Wicked the musical! Hence the disco photos!


Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan



Monthattan

1 1/2 shots rye whiskey
1 shot Monty's Fine Old Muscat
2-3 dashes Angosturra bitters
maraschino cherry
Ice

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the rye, muscat and bitters. Add the lid, shake then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry (and eat another couple whilst you make it!)

As another side note - this drinks really well with spiced nuts as pictured. But possibly even better with Chilli Lindt Chocolate.


Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole

Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole

Sunday’s whilst generally recovery days after the frivolities that Saturday nights inevitably bring, they’re also prep days for me. With a little bit of time and effort, my husband’s lunches are ready for the whole week and it’s one less thing to worry about day-to-day. He’s graduated from his quinoa biscuits to baked bean casserole. Baked bean casserole became a common dinner dish when we were saving to go on a 2 month trip to the US around 6 years ago. Back then, the only late night shopping was Thursdays, so we’d spend our night grocery shopping and fix a baked bean casserole in 10-15 minutes when we got home, then cook it in the microwave while we unpacked the bags. It was a super cheap, but highly nutritious meal and really tasty. It evolves constantly, depending on what we have in the house. Leftover roast veges are common elements, as is any type of leftover meat. The grain can be changed out too. Quinoa or buckwheat can take place of the rice. Or you can leave that out altogether if you aren’t feeling it.

The recipe below is one of the most common combinations when making it from scratch for lunches. I divide this up into 5x 500mL plastic containers that Lance then cooks in the microwave at work for around 4 minutes on high and eats with corn thins. When I take one to work, I usually have it with some rye toast.


Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole


Baked Bean Casserole

1 425g tin baked beans
1 400g tin chick peas, rinsed
2/3 cup passata
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
1 cup capsicum, finely diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
1 cup zucchini, finely diced
1 cup roma tomato, finely diced
1 cooked sausage, finely diced
1 large red onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
2 ¼ cups water

Put the brown rice and water in a large glass bowl and microwave on high for 24 minutes. Set aside to cool

Heat the olive oil in a frypan to medium heat and add the onion and salt. Fry for 5-10 minutes until translucent and then add the balsamic and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes until caramelized and then take off the heat and allow to cool.

Dice all the vegetables. You want them as small as the baked beans, or smaller. Dice the cooked sausage as small as this as well. Stir together all of the vegetables, the cooled onion mixture, sausages, baked beans and chick peas. Mix the paprika, herbs and passata together, then mix into the rest of the mixture. Finally add the cooled rice and mix very thoroughly. You want it to be completely mixed up.

Divide the casserole into individual containers, then store in the fridge ready for lunch throughout the week.

When ready to serve, microwave for 4 minutes to heat the casserole and cook the vegetables. Serve with corn thins, corn chips or hot toast
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole
Sunday Prep = Work Lunches - Baked Bean Casserole

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream


Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream

I had a dream in which I was at a cafĂ© and I was eating an apple pie with goat’s cheese ice cream. A lot of other random stuff happened in the dream, but when I woke up I had this strong sense of needing to make goat’s cheese ice cream. My mind started churning (not unlike an ice cream maker) and I decided to make the pie to go with it, and as a whole, the dessert was going to be an homage to a cheese platter. I am a huge cheese fan, so I was already drooling over the concept. 

So the ingredients in this pie are all things that you might typically find on a cheese platter, there’s crisp buerre bosc pears, balsamic vinegar and hazelnuts. Then there is three types of cheese – cream cheese in the pastry, a soft stracchino cheese as part of the pie filling and the goat’s cheese in the ice cream. I decided to go with the rustic galette form of tart, rather than a more formal tart or pie – because that’s more what a cheese platter is for me. Rustic. You can change the stracchino out for a sharper style of cheese – I have also made it with an Emmenthal to great effect, or a basic sharp chedder. I like the stracchino best.


This is currently my favourite ice cream. I've made litres and litres of it. It is creamy and rich, with the subtlest hint of tanginess from the goat’s cheese. It’s perfect by itself, and is the perfect accompaniment to the galette. But even if you don’t want to make the pear galette or make the hazelnut dough to go with it – I really urge you to try just the ice cream. Maybe serve it with some balsamic roasted strawberries!


Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream

Goat Cheese Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk

1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey

¼ tsp salt
½ tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
200g goat cheese, broken up into small crumbles


Set a large fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set the bowl in larger bowl of ice water.

Add the sugar, salt, honey and balsamic vinegar to a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir briskly to mix well. The honey mixture will lighten in colour as the sugar starts dissolving into the honey. Turn the heat up to medium. Add the milk, cream and scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pods to the pot. Heat the milk mixture until sugar and honey are completely dissolved and small bubbles start to appear.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and slowly stream in 2 ladles full of the milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. This tempers the eggs and stops them scrambling. Add the eggs/milk mixture slowly to the pot with the milk mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, around 4-5 minutes. Strain the ice cream into the bowl set over the ice water bath.

Add the goat cheese to the sauce and whisk until melted and incorporated. Keep stirring for a further 4-5 minutes to help the custard mixture cool down. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing down onto the surface to stop a skin from forming.

Refrigerate until completely cold – at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. Pour into your ice cream making and churn according to directions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer until hardened, around 4 hours.


Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream

Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galettes

1 cup spelt flour
¾ cup hazelnut meal
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
60g butter cold and cubed
60g cream cheese, cold and cubed
2-3 tablespoons cold water
2 buerre bosc pears, quartered, cored, sliced thinly
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp water
50g Stracchino cheese, as finely sliced as possible
1 tbsp Milk for brushing galettes
2-3 tsps Raw sugar for sprinkling

In a food processor, pulse the spelt flour, hazelnut meal and sugar until combined. Pulse in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Tablespoon by tablespoon, add in water pulse until dough only just comes together. Take out of the processor and form into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for 15 minutes (or the fridge for an hour).

While dough is chilling, combine water, vinegar and brown sugar. Then add the pear slices and stir until coated. Let sit until dough is done chilling.

Preheat oven to 180C

Remove dough from freezer and roll out into 30cm circle or divide dough into quarters and roll out into smaller circles for individual galettes. Place gently on baking trays covered with baking paper. Leaving a 3cm ring on the edge free, cover the pastry with slices of stracchino and top with slices of pear in a swirling pattern. Fold the edges up and over, pinching together to hold the pears in place and form the crust. Brush galettes with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes until crust is golden and pears are softened. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving with the ice cream


Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream
Dream Inspiration - Cheese Platter Pie Hazelnut and Balsamic Pear Galette with Goat's Cheese Ice Cream