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    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    Spinach Two Ways

    Spinach Two Ways
    Creamed Cauliflower and Spinach - Perfect Side Dish 
    and
    Fish Spinach and Pasta Bake

     I was multi-tasking
    Cooking up for the next couple of days, these dishes have things in common, so I cooked them at the same time

    Two dishes using Spinach, one as a side dish and the other a full meal
    One using fresh Spinach, one using frozen
    AND by the way...both delicious
    Enough of each, to freeze for later maybe
    These little Spinach balls are great
    I always have frozen spinach, peas and corn in the freezer
    So useful
    The Bake is a good family dish
    So lets attack the Cauliflower dish first 
    This is a side dishes…I paired it with Pan Fried Fish
    But equally good with Grilled Lamb or Beef
    Gluten free too
    It is quite rich, very creamy but slipped down really easily

       Bag of fresh baby spinach
       1 small cauliflower head [cut into florets]
       1 small onion [diced]
       1/2 cup • shredded mozzarella [plus a little more for on top]
        2 tbsp • cream
        1 tbsp • butter [plus a little more for sautéing the onion
        1/2 tsp • nutmeg
        pinch of ground cloves
        salt and pepper


    Bring a medium pot of water to the boil.
    Once it boils rapidly,
    add the cauliflower florets and boil for about 10 minutes till tender
    When the cauliflower is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop the florets into a food
    processor.
    Blitz the cauliflower until smooth with the cream and butter.
    Season with salt and pepper.
     While the cauliflower boils, sauté the onion in a little bit of butter until soft 
    then add the spinach, nutmeg and cloves and cook until wilted.
    Now mix the cauliflower, spinach, onion and cheese together,
    Adjust seasoning if needed, and scoop into a cast iron pan or small baking dish.
    Place in a 180C cook for about 10 minutes
    Then to finish off
    Slide under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown.
    I forgot to put the cheese on top. It was good but would be better with it
    Meanwhile, at the same time  I made a Fish, Spinach Pasta Dish
    Baked in a Cheesy Creamy Béchamel Sauce
    This has a light citrus flavour, due to marinating the fish
    The top, after it bakes is so crunchy and yummy
    Very easy to pick those crispy bits off before you serve
    and I did!!!

    For 4 people
    300 gms Pasta cooked  Penne or shells
    3 cups of prepared Béchamel Sauce
    1/2 cup grated cheese

    1 onion finely diced

    1 tablespoon butter

    8 Balls of Frozen Spinach thawed and all juice squeezed out
    300 gms Hapuka/Groper or any other meaty fish, Monkfish could work
    Zest and Juice of a lemon
    2 Tablespoons of Olive oil
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated Cheese for topping


    First
    Sauce onion in a little butter
    Set aside

    Make Béchamel Sauce

    150 gms butter
    120 gms flour
    1 tsp mustard
    Sea salt and white pepper
    1 bay leaf
    6 peppercorns
    3 cups milk

    Make a roux.
    Melt butter in pan
    Add flour and seasoning and mustard
    Mix well to cook flour out
    Heat milk with bay leaf and peppercorns
    Strain and add all at once to roux.
    Whisk well and cook till thickened
    Add cheese
    Set aside

    Fish
    Cut fish into 1.5 cm cubes
    Place in an non metallic container
    Add Lemon zest, juice, Olive oil and S & P
    Marinate for about 30 minutes just to start the cooking process
    Cook pasta to manufacturers instructions
    Drain and set aside
    Place onion, béchamel and thawed spinach into a large container
    Add pasta, Mix well
    If it is too dry just add some more milk
    mix well, best to be quite thin, the pasta will absorb the sauce

    Place in an oven proof baking dish
    Cover with Grated cheese
    1/2 into the freezer
    Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden on top
    The Crispy bits are so good

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017

    Egg Fried Rice - Easy Peasy

    Usually when I cook rice, I frequently cook too much… not quite enough for another meal though
    So this time I decided to cook more...on purpose
    Enough leftovers to freeze for another day or maybe
    THEN
    In lurking your freezer, is an almost "instant meal"
    You just have to cut up some vege
    Saute them
    Add some eggs
    The Rice 
    Voila
    Dinner
    Don't worry too much about quantities particularly for the Vege
    But rule of thumb

    3 tablespoons rice bran oil
    2 cups cooked rice approx
    4 eggs
    2 Tablespoons Grated ginger
    2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

    As much Vege as you want  chopped fairly small
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Some chives and spring onions for garnish


    Add oil to large hot pan 
    Add chopped vege
    Season with S & P
    Saute for 3-4 minutes, you want to retain some crunch

    Meanwhile add Soy Sauce and Ginger, to eggs in a bowl and whip together
    Pour over vege
    Mix well and as it start to scramble
    Throw rice on top
    Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes till piping hot

    Throw chives and spring onions over the top
    Serve

    Thursday, March 02, 2017

    Ginger Chicken with Spicy Roasted Cashew Nuts - What a Great Combination

    I have been cooking more chicken recipes over the last couple of months,
    than almost... in my entire life...Reason being...my darling husband didn't like chicken
    So I would just skip over all those wonderful ideas
    Push them aside and find other food to cook
    Things have changed...so Chicken in all forms, is back on the Menu
    For some reason my local supermarket didn't have any Sambal Oelek
    So I used Sriracha Sauce, I love Sriracha Sauce

    By the way these Spicy Nuts are perfect to have with drinks
    Once again Bon Appetit provided this recipe. Attributed to Rick Martinez
            1 cup salted, roasted cashews, divided
            5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
            5 teaspoons Sambal oelek or Sriracha Sauce, divided
            Kosher salt
            1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch pieces
            1 large onion, chopped
            Freshly ground black pepper
            2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
            1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
            2 cups (or more) milk
            2 teaspoons white wine vinegar


            Cooked rice (for serving)




    Coarsely chop ½ cup cashews.
    Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat.
    Cook chopped cashews and 1 tsp. sambal oelek, or Sriracha stirring occasionally,
    until nuts begin to toast (yes, you’re double-toasting them), 3–5 minutes.
    Scrape into a small bowl, season with salt, and set aside.
    Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in same pot over medium-high heat.
    Cook half of chicken, stirring occasionally,
    until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a small bowl.
    Repeat with remaining chicken and 2 Tbsp. butter.

    Cook onion in same pot, stirring occasionally,
    until translucent and just tender, 5–8 minutes;
    season with salt and pepper.
    Add ginger and remaining 4 tsp. sambal oelek and cook, stirring occasionally,
    until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
    Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.
    Stir in flour to coat and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute.
    Add milk and remaining ½ cup cashews; gently simmer,
    adding milk to thin if needed,
    until sauce is the consistency of heavy cream and chicken is cooked through,
    about 10 minutes.

    Season with salt and pepper, then stir in vinegar.
    Serve with rice and top with reserved spicy cashews.

    I find that Coleslaw with a touch of sweetness e.g. grated apple is excellent with Curries
    This particular Salad pictured below... does contain Chicken, I made it for lunch the other day
    But the basic ingredients for Coleslaw remain the same

    I wont specify quantities
    It's up to you

    Thinly sliced Cabbage
    Thinly sliced celery
    Yellow pepper cut into julienne strips
    Chives chopped
    Grated apple... skin and all
    Mayonnaise, Preferably home made
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Just mix everything together 


    Check out a really good so so simple recipe here  
    Really easy to make, just use your blender, take the pain out of making good Mayo

    New Take on Tacos

    So once again looking for Cheap and Cheerful, Nourishing, Tasty, Kid Friendly Food
    Consequently, I didn't add a lot of chili powder to the food
    Bit tough on smaller mouths
    I was inspired by a recipe, I found on the Bon Appetit site from Wes Avila, Guerrilla Tacos, Los Angeles

    They may not recognise it as their recipe
    But the base is there
    Apparently they call the meat sauce Picadillo
    I like that, so I will too
    I should have bought more Taco Shells
    All wolfed down so quickly

    Ingredients
    8 Servings
    Picadillo
            1 tablespoon vegetable oil
            600 gms hamburger Mince
            1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
            ½ medium red onion chopped
            1 shallot, finely chopped

            ½ red pepper chopped
            Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
            Chili powder as much as you like
            1 teaspoon ground cumin
            1 teaspoon garlic powder
            2½ cups chicken broth


    Salsa And Assembly
            4 plum tomatoes
               ½  medium red onion sectioned
               ½ red pepper cut into 3
            3 garlic cloves in school
            1 red chili
            2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
            Kosher salt
     

    Sour Cream Sauce for Topping       
            ½ small shallot, finely chopped
            1 cup sour cream
            2 tablespoons chopped chives
            2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
            1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


    A packet Hard taco shells, 
    Grated cheddar, and cilantro
    Avocado mashed with some S & P, lemon juice and little garlic 
    (for serving)

    Preparation
    Prepare vege
     I like to par cook the potatoes first, just zap them in the micro wave for about 2 minutes
    Picadillo
    Heat oil in a large skillet over high.
    Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon,
    until browned all over but not totally cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
    Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
    Reduce heat to medium and cook potato, onion and shallot, in same skillet, stirring often, until tender 6–8 minutes;

    season with salt and pepper.
    Sprinkle in chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder and cook,
    stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Add broth and beef along with any accumulated juices.
    Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits,
    until liquid is evaporated and potato is tender, 12–15 minutes;
    season with salt and pepper.
    Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and let sit until ready to serve.

    Salsa
    Heat oven to 200C
    Place Tomato, chili, garlic cloves, onion red pepper on a baking sheet
    Toss with a little olive oil
    Roast about 8-10 minutes

    Remove and cool a little
    Take off the skins from the pepper tomatoes and chili
    also remove seeds from chill
    Put everything into a blender making sure you scrape all the juices from the pan
    Blitz to make a sauce
    Sour Cream for Topping
    Whisk shallot, sour cream, chives, and lemon zest and juice in a small bowl;
    season with salt.
    Spoon warm picadillo into shells.
    Top with cheddar, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of lemon sour cream

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    Mad about Zucchini Noodles

    During my grain free cooking project, I came across  Zucchini noodles
    You may have noticed!!!
    Browsing through the recipes, that come into my mailbox every morning
    I found this on the Epicurious Site
    So here is another version of the fabulous Noodles, it is also a version of Ratatouille
    Served with Lamb once again
    Perfect match
    Once again another Gluten Free recipe

    It seems like a bit of work but it’s worth it
    You can prepare earlier it's good at room temperature
    I have changed the original recipe.
    The noodles were supposed to be served raw
    I wasn't happy about that so I lightly sautéed them
    Also I cooked the egg plant in batches
    Half with the tomatoes
    The second half I cooked separately, to get a different look
    I loved adding the raw cherry tomatoes at the end
    Nice colour and texture

    Ingredients
    2 medium zucchini made into noodles
    2 teaspoons sea salt

    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon honey 

    Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
    3/4 cup basil leaves

    5 tablespoons olive oil divided
    2 garlic cloves think sliced
    1 egg plant cut into quarters and sliced  divided into two

    2 large tomatoes quartered and seeds removed
    10 cherry tomatoes halved
    1/4 cup pitted olives I used green

    First make the noodles
    place them in a sieve and salt them
    Leave them for about 10 minutes
    Squeeze out the liquid and set aside

    Then make the dressing
    Whisk Lemon juice, honey, pepper 1/2 cup basil sliced, 3 tablespoons olive oil 
    and pinch of sea salt
    Set aside
    Prepare the eggplant and large tomatoes
    Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of Olive oil in a pan over gentle heat
    Cook garlic gently until it turns golden brown
    Remove with a slotted spoon and add to dressing

    Increase heat to medium heat and add eggplant and the first lot of tomatoes
    Stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is browned and cooked through
    The tomatoes will soften
    Season with S & P and transfer to a bowl and cover with the dressing

    Add a little more oil to the pan and brown the rest of the eggplant, don't forget to make sure it cooked right through
    Raw eggplant  NO!!!
    Add to the rest, along with the cherry tomatoes and the olives
    Finally throw the Zucchini Noodles into the pan and toss them around for 2-3 minutes
    just to soften

    Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
    Add to the rest,
    Toss and throw the remainder of the basil on top
    I can see a Frittata coming up with the leftovers

    Monday, February 27, 2017

    Dress up The Sausage - Some Apple and Some Wine

    Sausages, cooked in the same pan as apple halves, throw in some wine to make a sauce
    Of course, serve with mashed potato and yes...peas

    Simple as.
    Nice idea this and it was wolfed down by both my guest and I
    Found the idea on Epicurious attributed to Alison Roman from Bob Appetit

    Of course as one usually does…I changed it to suit what was in the fridge
    Alison suggested to serve with Watercress
    Very pretty but not as good as Mashed Potatoes and Peas, in my book
    (Also I didn't have any watercress !)
    I used Angus Beef Breakfast Sausages which as it turns out were Gluten Free
    So another Gluten Free Meal for those interested


    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 sweet apple per person, halved through stem ends
    400 gms sausages
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

    Frozen Peas Thawed
    Mashed potatoes


    Preparation 
    Heat oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add apples, cut side down, and cook, turning occasionally,
    until golden brown, 5–8 minutes.
           
    Prick sausages with a fork, add to skillet with apples, and cook,
    turning occasionally, until browned, 10–12 minutes.
    Add wine and vinegar to skillet.
    Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened (liquid should coat a spoon),
    about 4 minutes.
    Add thawed Peas and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper to taste
    Serve over mashed potatoes…with pan juices spooned over.
    Looking a little amateurish but very tasty