Monday, July 11, 2016

Im still here...

Hello. Yes I am still here. You could be forgiven for thinking I had fallen off the face of the earth. In between book projects, my weekly recipe column and two little people under the age of 3, sadly the blogging has fallen by the wayside. But not today!! Here is a seriously belated recipe update. Get cooking and let me know how you get on! Just to prove my commitment I'll be posting a recipe each day this week so keep an eye out. 

Sometimes, I know with absolute certainty that my day will involve leisurewear and soup. Generally, its cold, windy and/or wet outside, and the in-your-face weather of late has provided several opportunities for me to don said leisurewear and indulge my obsession with soup-making.
This number is a bit ramen-meets-laksa-meets-my vegetable crisper, and its not worse off for it. I think you'll echo my sentiments when you get to the bottom of a bowl of this goodness. The soup component can be made ahead of time, and I dare say its better having a few days marinating and developing on your fridge shelf.

Serves 4-6
Leisurewear and soup, the hallmarks of a good winter's day.
Leisurewear and soup, the hallmarks of a good winter's day. 

4 small eschallots, very finely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp excellent quality Thai red curry paste (I used Charmaine Solomon's)
2 tbsp curry powder
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
500ml master stock
500ml chicken stock
3 lemongrass stalks, bruised
5cm knob ginger, minced
4 kaffir lime leaves, deveined, very finely sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp Maggi seasoning
pinch paprika
juice 1 lime
The add ins
200g udon noodles
4 baby pak choy
4 chicken thighs seared over high heat until browned and cooked through, or use 1 breast chicken
1 cup sprouts
¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
Asian mushrooms
Micro herbs to serve
Fried shallots to serve

In a large pot over medium heat, add coconut oil and eschallots and fry until golden browned.
Add red curry paste and curry powder, then cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add coconut milk, stocks, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, sugar, peanut butter, Maggi seasoning and pinch of paprika.
Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes. You want the flavours to develop and the mixture to reduce slightly and take on a creamy sort of consistency.
Add the noodles and baby pak choy and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn out into serving bowls.
Combine the sprouts and coriander in a small bowl, then place a small handful in each bowl. Top with chicken and mushrooms or any other toppings, sprinkle with fried shallots and serve piping hot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A winter fighting spiced soup bowl

Spiced pumpkin soup with brown rice, blackbeans and lime whipped feta
I am not built for cold weather. To me, chill is a fun killer. I know there is skiing, and ice skating and pretty white landscapes and amazing coats and boots but this all glosses over that very banal fact that being cold completely sucks. The only redeeming feature, other than the aforementioned, means long slow cooking in the kitchen, the kind that has wafting amazing roasting type smells escaping through your windows and floorboards. And bowls of deliciousness like this spiced number that is part soup, part hearty soul fortifying meal. Basically as many comfort foods you can find to fit in one bowl with a touch of flu warding garlic and spice.

1/2 Jap pumpkin, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red onions, peeled, roughly chopped
2 sprigs marjoram
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 cup coconut milk
100g adobo sauce
4 cups chicken stock
juice and zest of 2 limes
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup tinned black beans, rinsed
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice

Lime whipped feta
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp yoghurt
160g fetta
Micro coriander leaves, lime wedges and black sea salt flakes to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C. Toss the pumpkin slices, garlic and chopped onion with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking tray and roast until lightly caramelized and tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before adding to a blender with the herbs and spices. Turn out into a saucepan and add the coconut milk and adobo sauce. Add the chicken stock gradually until your desired soup consistency is achieved. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, adding more chicken stock as it thickens. Season.

For the whipped feta, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.

Scoop a 1/2 cup of brown rice into each bowl. Pour soup over the rice, then top with blackbeans, lime whipped feta, and fresh coriander.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spiced Roast Chicken with Cauliflower and Fennel Cream

BBQ spiced chicken, cauliflower and fennel cream

Roast chicken never gets old. Like never ever ever gets old. There are countless variations, flavourings and culinary persuasions to suit almost any cooking requirement. And that’s what I love the most, it can be dressed up and dressed down, there are infinite possibilities and persuasions to this humble concept. Here I’ve incorporated a cauliflower and fennel cream base for a spiced yoghurt marinated chicken; its a hunker down the weather is turning kind of roast chicken. One I’d imagine would go well with a quiet Sunday, a lovely pinot and a Netflix marathon.


Cauliflower and fennel cream
1kg cauliflower, broken into florets
2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2 small onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves
300ml milk
300ml cream

1 organic chicken, cut into 4 pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)
Butter for under the skin
Salt to season

150ml greek style yoghurt
½ onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
15g (3cm piece) ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp each ras el hanout, black lime powder, sumac, onion powder, cayenne pepper
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil

For cauliflower and fennel cream, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower and fennel are tender (12-15 minutes). Using a hand-held blender or food processor, blend mixture until smooth and season to taste. Set aside.

For spiced yoghurt marinade, process ingredients (except oil) in a food processor until a paste forms, then stir in oil. Lift skin of chickens, being careful not to tear and push pieces of butter between skin and flesh. Place chicken in a non-reactive container, rub all over with marinade and refrigerate overnight for flavours to develop.
Preheat oven to 200C. Heat a large cast-iron ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add 2 tbsp oil, then season chicken to taste and cook skin-side down until golden (3-4 minutes). Turn, then transfer to oven and roast until cooked through.

To serve, smear cauliflower and fennel cream at base of plate. Place over chicken pieces. Season with lemon juice. Serve.