Sunday, February 19, 2017

{Just Like Takeaway Butter Chicken}

It's another curry and not only is it the second curry recipe in a row I actually already have a butter chicken recipe on the blog which is one I learnt at a little cooking class I did years ago.

Sarabelles Butter Chicken tastes nothing like a takeaway indian butter chicken but it is adored by everyone I have ever cooked it for and she was a beautiful teacher and it was her family recipe.  

However this butter chicken my friends tastes exactly like a takeaway indian butter chicken, would you just look at that colour.  This makes a big generous pot of curry, plenty to feed 6 or 8 with rice and breads and its dead easy.

...butter chicken
2 tbsp ghee 

1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
1kg chicken thighs, cut into large pieces

1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tbsp mild curry powder
3 tbsp tandoori paste
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup tomato paste
10 green cardamom pods, crushed slightly
1 tin (400ml) coconut milk
1 cup natural greek yoghurt

Heat the ghee in a large cast iron pan which has a lid over medium heat, throw in the chicken thighs and onion and cook gently until just starting to colour.

Now add the curry powder, tandoori paste, tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom pods and seasalt and cook for a few minutes, stirring.

Pour in the coconut milk, yoghurt and half a cup of water and stir to combine.

Pop on the lid and cook on low at a really gently simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove the lid and reduce sauce a little by simmering for another half an hour lidless, serve with rice.

(I like to make it the day before I'm serving it cos it tastes even better the next day)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

{Brocollini and Cashew Curry}

Brocollini curry, I know what you are probably thinking but its really good.  I absolutely love it on its own but if you were getting a bunch of your pals together for a curry night it would be a nice vegetarian option to chuck in the mix.

...the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar
400ml coconut milk
200ml water
½ cup ground roasted cashew nuts
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

...the rest
2 bunches broccolini
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handful thai basil, leaves picked
1 long red chilli, sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, spine removed and finely julienned

For the sauce, heat a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil, once hot pop in the whole kaffir lime leaves and curry paste. Cook for a few minutes or until fragrant. Add the palm sugar the coconut milk and water, and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and stir through the ground cashews, (I smash them up in my mortar and pestle) fish sauce and lime juice. Put aside.

Heat a wok or large frypan and add the olive oil, drop in the broccolini and cook until just tender and starting to caramalise. Pour in the sauce plus the handful of thai basil leaves, stir and warm through. Spoon onto your serving plate and top with the sliced red chilli and julienned lime leaf. Serve with rice. Boom.

Friday, February 10, 2017

{Chocolate Weetbix Slice}

So school is back which is both good and bad.  Bad in that I am back to making lunches each morning and each afternoon I'm informed of what sucked about the lunches.  This slice is a regular lunchbox addition and has never gotten a bad wrap.

4 weetbix biscuits, crushed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup self raising flour
3 tbsp dutch cocoa

50g dark chocolate
180g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

50g dark chocolate
55g butter
40ml milk
1.5 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp dutch cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180. Lightly grease your slice pan and line with baking paper. Crush weetbix into a mixing bowl (fun), add coconut, sugar, flour and cocoa then stir to combine.

Melt butter and dark chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat. Pour over dry ingredients, add the vanilla stir till combined.

Tip mixture into prepared pan and press down to level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack then ice when warm or cool.

To make the icing melt the butter, dark chocolate and milk in small saucepan. Take off the heat add vanilla, let it cool for 5 minutes then stir in the icing sugar and cocoa, whisk till smooth.  Pour over slice and pop in the fridge to set.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

{Spicy Kale, Spuds + Eggs}

This is another of Jays alltime favourite dinners.  He loves kale.  He really loves kale and anything with an egg.  It is a fabulous vegetarian meal, and would also make an cracking brunch, perhaps with some hot buttered sourdough on the side.  

I make it at least once a fortnight if not once a week and I look forward to the leftovers for lunch the next day and I am not a leftovers person.  We currently have in the fridge fried brown rice leftovers full of all the delicious things that go into fried rice and I am not gonna go there.  Spicy kale, spuds and eggs however I go there, I always go there.

...the dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
half a red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 generous tablespoon of chipotile chillis in adobe sauce
1 teaspoon salt
half a cup of water or stock
400g tin of tomatoes
4 eggs
1 cup diced potatoes (1cm dice)
a bunch of kale, chopped finely

persian fetta and freshly cracked pepper to serve

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large deep frypan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft, next pop in the garlic, salt, half the chipotile chilli, tomatoes and water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium high heat, chuck in the diced potatoes and the remaining chipotile chilli, gently fry the potatoes for a few minutes until starting to brown. Add the sauce back to the pan, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Once the potatoes are tender pile the finely sliced kale on top, return the lid and cook for a few minutes till the kale turns bright green and wilts. Stir it through the sauce and use a spoon to make four little holes for the eggs, crack the eggs directly into the warm sauce and cover once again. With the heat on low and the lid on, cook the eggs for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep the lid on for another 5 minutes. This should give you soft yolks. 

Serve with dollops of persian fetta (or marinated goats cheese)and a grind of pepper.

Monday, October 3, 2016

{Honey Joys}

This is here for my boys who love to eat honey joys, they were paying a buck a pop at the school canteen and I said screw that, now they can make them all by themselves for probably about 10 cents a pop, it is messy and annoying but truth be told I am also messy and annoying when I cook.

...the honey joys
4 1/2 cups of cornflakes
120g butter, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
1/3 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases.

Pop the butter, honey and sugar into a large saucepan that will fit the cornflakes, then over medium to low heat, melt the butter stirring to disolve the sugar too.  Take the pan off the heat and add the cornflakes, mix well to combine then spoon the sticky messy mixture evenly into all the paper cases.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

{Roasted Carrot + Black Quinoa Salad}

The weather is on the turn, the days are getting longer and warmer and the blossoms have begun to appear, this is a lovely end of winter salad, its sits on the cusp of the two seasons, its warm and comforting yet light and zesty.  

...the salad
1 cup black quinoa
1.5 cups water
a bunch of baby carrots (or normal carrots cut into batons)
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
bunch of coriander, leaves picked
bunch of mint, leaves picked
a lemon
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
tub of persian fetta

Preheat oven to 200.  Roast the pistachio nuts on a small tray for around 8 minutes.  Til they smell nuttier.

In a large roasting tray combine the carrots, seeds, onion, chilli, cumin, maple syrup, s+p along with a good glug of olive oil, roast for 30 minutes or until starting to turn golden.

Add the quinoa and water to a small saucepan, bring to the boil, pop on a lid and reduce the heat to low, cook for 15 minutes by which point the water should all be absorbed.  Drain into a sieve to make sure.

Remove the vegies from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before tossing them with the quinoa, fresh herbs, juice of a lemon along with a tbsp of olive oil, s+p. Serve with a big generous dollops of persian fetta.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

{Meringue Gelato Cake}

This is classic Nigella, its lush yet easy, its impressive yet foolproof, it is delicious, dead set 100% delicious.

...meringue gelato cake
300ml double cream
30g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp liqueur (I used kahlua)
100g shop-bought meringue nests
raspberries and strawberries to serve

...chocolate sauce
250ml double cream
125g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
1 tbsp liqueur (optional, again I used kahlua)

Line a loaf tin with gladwrap making sure you have enough overhang to fold over the top later.

Whip the cream until thick but still soft. Chop the chocolate very finely so that you have a pile of chocolate splinters, fold them into the cream along with the liqueur and the meringues which you crush into crumble with your hands.

Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the 
gladwrap up and over to seal the top, then get out more gladwrap to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around 8 hours, or overnight.

To make the chocolate sauce pour the cream into a saucepan and add the finely chopped chocolate.  Put over a gentle heat and whisk as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. 

If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream off the heat.
Add the liqueur, still off the heat, and whisk again, pour into a pretty jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to just warm.

To serve, unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a serving plate, cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs. I like to zig-zag a little chocolate sauce over each slice, and add a sprinkle of fresh berries.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

{DadDonalds Burgers}

Jay cooks the burgers in our house and the kids call them daddy-donalds, they are needless to say a million times better than a cheeseburger purchased from that particular establishment. 

...the burger patties
500g beef mince
1 onion, grated
1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan
generous s+p

...the rest
soft burger buns
grated cheese
streaky bacon
sweet and sour gherkins, sliced
tomato sauce
whole egg mayo
american mustard

Combine the burger pattie ingredients in a bowl and then fashion into 4 patties (we usually have some left over that we roll into little meatballs that we cook up for the boys with pasta or chuck on pizzas).

Cook the patties in a splash of olive oil in a frypan on medium heat until golden and cooked through (about 4 minutes a side) cook the bacon along side in the frypan and when you flip the patties add the grated cheese and bacon to the top so the cheese can melt while the other side cooks.

In our house the kids have cheese, gherkins and tomato sauce.  The grown ups have cheese, bacon, gherkins, tomato sauce, mayo, mustard and occasionally cos lettuce.  Serve with oven chips.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

{Fudgy Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Cookies}

My little man made these on his school holidays, they are delicious, rich and fudgy, the kind of cookie you can't possibly eat just one of, the kind of cookie that you can't resist, the kind of cookie you can't wait to bake again x enjoy

...the cookies
250g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 x tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of your best sea salt
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup dutch cocoa
200g chopped dark chocolate (we used 70% cocoa)
extra sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 170.  Line baking trays with baking paper.

Cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, add in the vanilla extract and mix a bit more to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt.

Now add the dry ingredients to the butter and mix to combine, lastly tip in the chopped chocolate and give in one more mix.

Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls, press down slightly and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.  Bake for 15 minutes then allow to rest on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

{Banana + Nutella Bread}

Don't make me any more sandwiches.  I don't like sandwiches he said to me one morning when I innocently asked him what he wanted in his sandwich for school.  Admittedly I had been receiving a lot of returns in relation to sandwiches.  Does he even realise that he has like 100 years of school left?  When do I stop being the chief lunchbox filler?  Does banana bread count as a suitable replacement for a sanger? Well it does in my house. As of today.  This also makes for quite a delicious breakfast, toasted and with lashings of butter, well it is banana and nutella bread after all ... butter seems essential, enjoy with your coffee whilst filling yet another lunchbox.

...the bread
2 large ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup (100g) melted butter
1/3 cup greek yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
1/2 cup nutella

Preheat oven to 180. Line your loaf tin with baking paper. 

In large bowl, squash the bananas with a fork to mash. Change to a wooden spoon and add the eggs, sugar, melted butter, yoghurt and vanilla, stir to combine. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix until just combined. 

In a smaller separate bowl, stir the nutella through a cup of your banana batter.  Now put half the banana batter into the bottom of your loaf tin, flatten it out then add half the nutella batter, flatten that then top with the remaining banana batter, flatten and finish with the nutella batter. Good lord.

With a palette or long knife, reaching to the bottom of the tin swirl the batters together but not too much.  Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

{Lamb, Chickpea + Lentil Soup}

This has to be the best soup I've made all winter, inspired by something I saw in a free food mag given away at our local supermarket I made a few tweaks and its a winner.  Billy and Jay both had two bowls in a row and that makes me a happy cook.

I personally am a sucker for anything you get to dollop greek yoghurt onto, which incidentally I am now making myself along with a vanilla version which the boys eat litres and litres of which was really the reason I started to make my own.  

Now don't get too excited and think I am showing off, I bought an eziyo, and can I say what a fantastic kiwi invention.  The milk powder in the sachets is produced by happy freeranging south island cows, with no added nasties and I can completely vouch for both the full fat vanilla and the full fat greek versions.  I have heard the flavoured sachets are not so flash so have avoided them instead opting to flavour it myself, favourites so far have included cherry jam, homemade lemon curd, maple syrup + bananas, honey, it is all good.  I now pack the wee peas off to school each day with a little tub and its much cheaper than those sachets they sell at the shops and it produces less landfill.  Hmmmmm making yoghurt and reducing landfill, I feel a tie dyed outfit coming on.

Make this soup before winter is out, you will be happy you did.

...the soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
400g lamb mince
tin of brown lentils, rinsed, drained
tin of chickpeas, rinsed, drained
400g tin of diced tomatoes

1 litre of beef stock
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup frozen broad beans, thawed, peeled
juice of a lemon
greek yoghurt
handful of coriander leaves

sea salt + freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring for around 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add the garlic, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and ginger and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until the mince changes colour.

Next pour in the beef stock and tomatoes and add the sultanas, increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Now add the lentils, chickpeas and broad beans and cook for a further 5 minutes or until they are warmed through. Lastly add juice of a lemon and season generously with the sea salt and ground pepper.

Serve with a dollop of greek yoghurt and and sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

{Chocolate + Zucchini Cake}

I am not going to bang on about sneaking vegetables into my children although that is a bonus when it comes to this cake, in our house one of the smalls eats every vegetable under the sun the other eats none.  Yes, none.  Occasionally some brocollini dipped in ketchup but other than that, nada.  So yes I do add them discreetly when the opportunity arises but that is not what this cake is about.  

This cake is just a really delicious, moist, rich and dark chocolate cake.  I think it is also one of those cakes that tastes better the next day.  So bake it and eat some then go to bed, wake up and eat some more, you know, just to test my theory.

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder

50g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into fine splinters
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups firmly packed finely grated zucchini (
about 2 medium zucchini, it is important that you grate it finely)

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
40g butter, softened

Preheat oven to 180. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Pop the sugars, melted butter, vanilla, eggs, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry into the wet until just combined. Now stir thru the finely grated zucchini and the dark chocolate splinters.

Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For the icing combine all the ingredients and whip it either by hand or with your mixer till combined and fluffy.  Ice cake once cool. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

{Chicken Saagwalla}

I found myself gazing longingly at a photograph someone had taken at an indian restaurant.  Little copper bowls filled with colourful curries, I wished, not for the first time that we had a babysitter, must get that one ticked off the list. Then I just decided to make it myself.  What I felt like was the classic saagwalla, made with mountains of spinach and a touch of cream, I made it with chicken and it was divine, exactly what I needed, minus the leaving the house without the kids bit.

...the curry
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 brown onions, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, grated
baby spinach leaves 320g
1 large green chilli, sliced
1 x 400g tin tomatoes 
800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs, 
cut into large chunks
juice of a lemon
sea salt and cracked pepper
2 tbsp cream
toasted natural sliced almonds

Heat oil in a large fry pan, fry onions until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the spices, garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes then add in the tin of tomatoes and simmer for another couple of minutes.

I bought 2 x 160g bags of baby spinach which I zapped in the microwave for a minute per bag. Tip spinach into tomato spice mix, wilt for another minute or so over heat then tip into a deep bowl and use a stick blender to puree (or a blender).
Season chicken with salt. Heat a little more oil in the same pan and fry chicken pieces until golden on each side (do this in two batches).

Add spinach puree to chicken and simmer on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season generously with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, drizzle cream over curry and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve with rice.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

{Slow Roasted Persian Lamb Shoulder + Cous Cous + Labne}

I like to trot this out when I have friends come for lunch, especially my kiwi friends who have a special appreciation for lamb. This lamb is delicious, it has come together over a couple of years and a few incarnations but its pretty much perfect now, lamb shoulder is the only thing I'll have a bar of roasting, no legs for me, its all about the slow roasted shoulder.

The salad is fresh and cuts through the richness of the lamb and the labne is just a wonderful thing to behold. Try this next time you have pals coming for lunch, make the effort to pop it into the oven whilst still in your pjs and they will walk into your home and be greeted by the delicous smell of this persian lamb slow roasting, it smells almost as good as it tastes.

… lamb
2.5kg lamb shoulder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
6 x cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 bunch coriander, chopped finely
2 long red chillis, sliced
sea salt
cracked pepper

 …cous cous
1 cup hot chicken stock
1 cup cous cous
olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper
a lemon
2 lebanese cucumbers, deseeded and chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
tin of chickpeas
bunch of mint, leaves picked
handful toasted pinenuts
danish fetta, crumbled
pomegranate seeds


250g full fat greek yoghurt
pinch of sea salt
1/2 clove garlic grated

pita breads and lemon wedges to serve
Ok so lets start the day before, combine all the marinade ingredients minus the salt and pepper, score the fat on the shoulder and rub in the marinade ingredients, rub it all over, pop it into a glass or ceramic dish, cover with glad wrap and pop into the fridge for 24 hours.

For the labne scoop the yoghurt into a piece of muslin or a chux cloth and rest it in a sieve over a bowl, pop that in your fridge too and let all the whey drain from the yoghurt overnight.

Preheat your oven to its highest temperature, transfer the lamb to a baking dish along with its marinade, season generously with salt and pepper, add 100mls of water to the pan and cover with a double layer of tin foil, seal tightly. Put it into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 170, leave it alone for 4 hours, by then it should be meltingly tender in which case remove the foil and increase the oven temp to 220 and cook until it is sizzling and bronzed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven re-cover loosely with the foil and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Once the yoghurt has drained, you have labne! pop the labne into a serving bowl, stir through the seasalt and garlic, drizzle with your best quality olive oil and a light dusting of paprika to make it look pretty.

Now lets make the cous cous salad, pour your cous cous into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper stir to coat then add the cup of hot chicken stock, cover with glad wrap and put aside for five minutes.

Use a fork to fluff it up and then tip it out onto a large platter. Add to that the rinsed chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, toasted pine nuts, mint leaves, pomegranate seeds and crumbled fetta along with a good drizzle of your best olive oil along with the zest and juice of a lemon, and a generous seasoning of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, toss gently and that's that.

Serve alongside some warmed pitas and lemon wedges.

* some pickled vegies would be nice too, like the ones you get at turkish restaurants.

Monday, June 1, 2015

{Lemon Curd}

Make this lemon curd and do one thing for me, stir it through vanilla yoghurt. Eat it.  You are very welcome.

...lemon curd
9 lemons, zest and juice

(homegrown or organic lemons are best or be sure to clean skins thoroughly)
400g caster sugar
200g of butter, cubed
6 freerange eggs, plus 2 extra yolks, lightly whisked

Set yourself up a big pot of simmering water and grab a large mixing bowl that can rest on it making sure that the bowl doesn't directly touch the simmering water below.

Pop the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar into the mixing bowl and sit it onto the saucepan, stir occasionally until the butter has melted.  Now tip in the eggs, stirring and cook it off for 15 minutes, remembering to give it a stir every couple of minutes.

Take the bowl off the heat and let the curd cool down. It will thicken as it does. Keep on giving it a stir every once in a while.  Ladle your zesty curd into sterilised jars.