Smokin’ Risotto

Feb14SalmonRisotto1

Here is the recipe for the risotto I mentioned, that I made the IKEA bread to go with. It is adapted from a recipe in Woman’s Day magazine, that I came across whilst flicking through mags at the hairdresser recently. I still had the Huon hot smoked salmon from Tasmania that I won on Valentine’s Day, so the recipe caught my eye.

If you haven’t got access to hot smoked salmon, just poach/steam some fresh salmon fillets in the microwave instead, and flake them into the rice mixture.

This risotto is amazing! I mean it. Complete and utter melt-in-your-mouth perfection that just comes together in a moment of pure food delight.

Salmon & Pea Risotto

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 small red chillies, finely chopped

2 cups arborio rice

½ cup white wine

5 cups chicken stock

¾ cup frozen peas, thawed

¾ cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed

3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1 lemon – zest and juice of

250 gms hot smoked salmon fillet (or equivalent cooked fresh salmon fillet, skinless)

cracked pepper, to taste

optional – shaved fresh parmesan cheese

In a large, deep pan (a wok is good), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and chillies and saute, stirring, for 2 minutes until softened.

Add rice, stirring to coat, and saute for 1 minute.

Add the wine and then the chicken stock, gradually, stirring constantly as the liquid absorbs into the rice. When all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked (15-20 minutes), add remaining ingredients and fold through until gently heated.

Top with a sprinkling of shaved parmesan if desired, and serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4-6 depending on what you have with it – it is quite filling.

Feb14SalmonRisotto2

Happy Fooding!

Anyone For Bröd?

Feb14Brodmix1

I went to IKEA last week. This was a momentous occasion for me, because despite 4.5 years living here in Perth, and driving it past it frequently, this was my Very First Visit at the only WA IKEA store. I have been to IKEA in Victoria and South Australia, but many years ago.

Although I didn’t actually buy any furnishings, we did take a lot of photos with our phones, of things we want to go back and get when we move in to the new apartment shortly. It was exciting! Also very, very crowded – 5 minutes before opening time when we arrived, there were about 200 people waiting outside for the doors to open. Lots of people with kids too. Ugh. Once the place opened, however the crowds thinned out pretty quickly (yay for childminding and a ball pit!), and moving through the store was actually fairly painless.

I bought a silicone pot stand thing, a jar of herring roe (mmmmmmm) and at the last minute picked up a carton of Brödmix Flerkorn to try. I am a sucker for all things bread-related, especially dense, dark, chewy, thick, grainy chunks of bread, that have soooo much more flavour than dreary white bread.

I can’t believe how simple this bread was to make! It’s like pancake mix – just add water, shake it all up, pour, let it rise and then pop it into the oven. I really expected it to be a bit of a flop, although online searching turned up a LOT of big fans of this bread mix, all over the world.

Feb14Brodmix2

The loaf came out quite heavy, and the edges were very crunchy – I thought it might taste very dry – possibly I left it in the oven for 5 minutes too long I think – a lesson for next time but of course it depends on the oven, and shortly I will be trying to get used to my lovely new one :) Inside, however it was perfect – nutty, moist and VERY moreish!  It was perfectly suited as an accompaniment to risotto, made with the Huon hot smoked salmon that I won on Valentine’s Day :)

I have to go back to IKEA soon (yes, I HAVE to, right???) to buy a couple of the things that we earmarked the other day……I shall definitely be going back to the Swedish food market section, for more delicious Brödmix.

Happy Fooding!

Charming Chicken Pie

Using dishes available

Using dishes available

When I first moved out of home, I had quite a glory box stashed away – linen, lots of pottery, fine bone china, kitchen odds and ends etc. I also had a few cookbooks – not many, as I had not done much cooking apart from at school, and didn’t know how much I would come to enjoy playing around with food later on. This was pre-Internet too (wow, I cannot imagine going back to that!).

One of the cookbooks I had was a small, slim hardback, a pocket sized book almost, containing chicken recipes. It was part of a set, and I think I had 3 or 4 different ones. I can’t remember much about the books, but I do know that my chicken pie recipe came from this time, and was one of the first successful recipes I actually cooked in my new “adult” life. For many years it was a staple in my house, and I later adapted it to make a vegetarian version by just leaving out the chicken and putting in chunks of carrot, potato, pumpkin or whatever else I had lying around.

This week I decided to make a chicken pie for the first time in about 4 or 5 years. The only trouble was, as I am in between houses (move part 1 down, move part 2 coming up in about 10 days’ time!) and most of my kitchen stuff is in boxes, I have limited baking dishes at hand – and my favourite pie dish is not at hand! I am trying to use up what is in the fridge/freezer this week, and I had two sheets of shortcrust pastry to use, but they don’t quite stretch to fit the larger-than-pie-dish I had available. I ended up just improvising and making the shape of the pie slightly freeform (that’s all the rage now anyway, right?) within the dish. I was a bit worried the filling might ooze out during cooking, but in fact it worked out really well and was totally delicious.

Freeform is trendy...

Freeform is trendy…

Conveniently using a store-bought cooked chook, this pie is great cold the next day, and also reheats well.

I did blind-bake the underneath pastry sheet this time, but if short of time I don’t always bother – it depends how you like your pastry, and I don’t mind mine a bit soft and raw underneath (and yeah, I did used to nick bits of pastry and raw sausage meat when Mum was making sausage rolls, as a kid).

I also had to place a square of foil over the centre after the first 10 mins or so, or else the pastry would have burnt.

Served with eggplant skewers

Served with eggplant skewers

Chicken Pie

1 barbequed chicken

2 sheets frozen puff or shortcrust pastry, thawed

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

2 button mushrooms, finely chopped

½ green capsicum, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

⅔ cup milk

1 ¼ cups chicken stock

cracked pepper, to taste

beaten egg, to glaze

Line a greased pie dish with 1 sheet of pastry. Optional – bake-blind for a few minutes until puffed up slightly.

Pull the meat from the cooked chicken, discarding skin/bones. Depending on the size of the chicken you will probably need about ⅔ of it, so put the rest aside to use in something else.

Chop the chicken meat and place in a dish with the mushroom, capsicum, celery and parsley. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add flour, stir well to break up any lumps and cook until bubbling. Add the milk first and then the chicken stock, gradually, stirring constantly to form a smooth sauce. When all liquid is incorporated, fold the chicken mixture through the sauce and gently combine over low heat for a minute or so.

Pour chicken mixture into pie dish. Top with the second sheet of pastry, press down to seal edges, and glaze with beaten egg.

Bake in 200C oven for approx 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed up and golden brown. If the pastry puffs up too quickly and starts to burn, cover with a square of foil over the centre.

For vegetarian version – leave out the chicken and instead, add chunks of vegies of your choice – if using hard vegies like potatoes, partially steam for a couple of minutes in the microwave first before adding them to the sauce. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

Serves 4-6 depending on appetites and what you have with it.

Happy Fooding!

 

Crazy For Cauliflower

Feb14Cauli1

I do like cauliflower. A lot. It doesn’t have to have cheese/white sauce on it or be anything too fancy, and I adore it as cauliflower rice. So the idea of roasting a cauliflower whole, slathered in a yoghurt/spice mixture, was something I could not resist trying when a friend shared the post on facebook recently. You can find the recipe here at PureWow blog.

This was very easy and smelt fantastic when cooking. I’m using an unfamiliar oven at the moment, whilst in my temporary home for a few weeks, and I wasn’t sure how it would go – it did start to burn on the top so I covered it with foil for the last 10 minutes.

The result was pretty good (apart from a pan with the bejeezus burnt out of it because I didn’t think to put baking paper underneath, and the yoghurt mixture kind of dripped down the sides like icing on a cake!), but I do think it needed something more. Maybe a type of gravy or some extra yoghurt, or a drizzle of lemon juice/EVOO would have given it a finishing touch. It was cooked beautifully without being soggy, which surprised me after such a long cooking time.

Feb14Cauli2

This would be well worth trying with broccoli too, I think! We had it with very easy Honey Baked Chicken, for a simple Sunday night lazy meal, as we’d already been out for lunch with friends at Edgecombe Bros winery in the Swan Valley. We had shared platters of delicious local nibbles, and tasted wines – a very relaxing way to spend a Summer Sunday afternoon!

Feb14Edgecombe2

Happy Fooding!

A Valentine’s Win!

My goodness, life has been crazy since Christmas…..which is why you haven’t heard from me for over a month! As well as socialising and work, I sold an apartment in Adelaide and have bought an apartment here in Perth. I’ve moved temporarily last weekend, as my rental lease was expiring, and I move again in 3 weeks’ time, to the new apartment. Life is full of good things, but with packing, paperwork, moving etc I have actually not done a huge amount of cooking, with very little experimenting of anything new. Most of my kitchen stuff and appliances are currently in boxes, so I am making do with basics. There has been a lot of takeaway pizza and Indian food in my life recently!

I am really looking forward to moving in to a new place, hopefully for a longer time than I’ve lived in any one place in the last 11 years, and unpacking ALL of my gorgeous dinnerware, baking dishes, gadgets etc – a lot of which has actually stayed in the box during the last 2 years and not seen the light of day. My partner and I are hanging out to do some real entertaining, once we’ve moved in, unpacked and worked out what new pieces of furniture will suit the apartment. It is also conveniently located close to the Swan River, and 5 minutes walk from our favourite pub!

Anyway, I did have some Valentine’s Day excitement on Friday. About 2 weeks ago, I entered one of those Facebook competitions where you have to like the page and make a comment. The comment question was, describe your favourite picnic spot. The prize was a salmon picnic “hamper” from Huon Aquaculture, a premium salmon company in beautiful Tasmania.

I described my favourite picnic place as Mt Franklin in Victoria – it is a beautiful, serene spot in the middle of an extinct volcano bowl. Haven’t been there for a few years as I live on the opposite side of the country these days, but it will always be somewhere I love going back to.

Imagine my surprise last Wednesday when I saw on fb that I had WON! Not only that, but as it was a Valentine’s Day prize, the intention was that I receive the hamper by the 14th – no mean feat considering the mail between the East and West coast of Australia is generally not know to be super fast. The team at Huon, however pulled it off, and on Friday afternoon I was delighted to have a parcel delivered to the door:

Feb14HuonHamper1

Inside was two packets of smoked salmon, salmon pate, a packet of crackers, some gourmet chocolates, a bottle of Tasmanian Home Hill bubbly, and a picnic rug. All my favourite things and all for ME!

Feb14HuonHamper2

My day had started with roses and chocolates in bed, and I was also taken out for a surprise Valentine’s dinner at The Naked Fig, where we enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal and of course some champers.

All in all, a pretty special day with me being totally spoilt from start to finish. And I still have my yummy picnic goodies to enjoy :)

Happy Fooding!

Spicy Chicken

Jan14Spicy Chicken

I had this delicious chicken dish at my aunty’s house whilst in Melbourne over Christmas, and immediately had to try it myself when I got home. It did not disappoint, and was fabulous served with a light and refreshing Cucumber & Dill Salad and some steamed broccolini.

Jan14Cucumber Dill Salad

This salad was amazing! I did it exactly as the recipe stated, and bought a piece of Danish feta to sprinkle over the top as I thought this would be a great addition to the flavours of cucumber, dill and zucchini – however, I completely forgot until we’d finished eating, that the feta was still sitting in the fridge waiting to be used! Oh well, I’ll try that idea next time, as I fully intend to make this salad again.

You can use whatever chicken pieces you like – I love drumsticks, and they’re great for picking at cold the next day. This would be a great picnic dish too.

My quantities are double the original, so increase/decrease accordingly as you see fit!

Aunty Helen’s Spicy Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil

8 chicken drumsticks

Spice Rub:

2 tsp salt

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp ground pepper (I had a jar of ground pepperberries so used that)

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp curry powder

2 tsp dry mustard powder

Sauce:

6 tbsp mango or lemon chutney

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

a splash of white wine

Combine spice mixture and coat chicken in it (I placed it all in a plastic bag to shake it around easily). Leave for at least 1 hour (overnight is good) in the fridge.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken on all sides. Place in a casserole or baking dish.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Spoon over the chicken pieces.

Cover with foil or lid and bake at 180C for 40 minutes.

Remove foil/lid and cook, uncovered for a further 20 minutes.

Jan14Chicken & Salad

Happy Summer Fooding!

Summer Simplicity

Jan14 Quorn Meatball Fajitas

Well, Christmas has come and gone yet again….hectic, relaxing, busy, overindulgent, exciting, lots of pressies, and overall gone in a flash! I was away in Melbourne for Christmas week, but didn’t have to do much cooking, just some nibbles to take to my brother’s (cashew & lentil balls, which we discovered are brilliant dipped in guacomole!).

Leading up to Christmas I went to a masquerade ball, then spent 4 days in the Margaret River wine region down South, eating lots, tasting wines and generally chilling out. Then NYE was HUGE – a “bling” themed party at a pub – and so was NY Day, with a trip to the Perth Cup annual horse race for frocking up and yet more champagne drinking, in a very relaxed atmosphere with friends. My feet are still sore from all of the dancing in high heels that I’ve done over the last few weeks!

Dec13Ball6

Now we’re sort of back to normal, although a lot of people are still on holidays as are the school kids, so Summer holiday mode is definitely the thing of the hour. It is very hard to be motivated to go to work I can tell you.

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With a maximum temperature of 39C today, food that is suitable for hot weather and not a lot of hot appliances is the go, and this throw together vegetarian fajita dish fits the bill perfectly. I just made this up and it worked really well!

Quorn Fajitas

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large brown onion, cut into wedges

8 button mushrooms, cut into thirds

400 gm pkt Quorn frozen meatballs

1 pkt fajita seasoning mix

¼ cup water

splash white wine

splash soy sauce

125 gms fresh bean shoots

tortillas and Greek yoghurt to serve

Heat olive oil in wok or frypan; add meatballs and toss for 2 minutes.

Add onion and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add seasoning, water, wine and soy sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add bean shoots and simmer for a further 1 minute.

Serve wrapped in tortillas, with yoghurt as desired.

Serves 2

Happy Summer Fooding!

 

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