Dinner Ideas

Famous Gnocchi Recipe By Matt Moran

Celebrity chef Matt Moran needs no introduction. Since opening his flagship two-hat ARIA Restaurant in Sydney in 1999, the entrepreneur has gone from strength to strength. A highlight was 2012 with the opening of two new venues, CHISWICK restaurant in Woollahra and Riverbar & Kitchen in Brisbane. Oh, and did we mention he was also awarded GQ magazine’s Chef of the Year.

Matt Moran’s Famous Gnocchi

Ingredients

360 g gnocchi

½ butternut pumpkin, peeled

½ bunch sage

30 g pecorino, grated

30 g salted butter, diced

30 ml vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Gnocchi

1 ½ kg pontiac potatoes

150 g plain flour

2 egg yolks

rock salt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. To prepare the gnocchi, spread the rock salt on a baking tray and lay the potatoes on top. Place the tray in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and scrape out the inside of the potatoes. Mash the potato and then pass through a sieve. Combine the flour, eggs and salt with the potato and work into a dough. Roll the dough in a sausage shape (approximately 2cm in diameter). Cut the dough into 2cm wide discs.

3. Add the gnocchi to salted, boiling water. Cook until the gnocchi rises to the surface and then scoop out and refresh in iced water. Drain the gnocchi and then toss with a little bit of olive oil. Peel and deseed the butternut pumpkin and then dice into 1cm squares. Blanch in salted, boiling water for approximately 3 minutes, refresh in ice water and then drain.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and then add in the pumpkin and seasoning. Cook until the pumpkin is caramelised and then remove. In the same pan, add in the gnocchi and caramelise until golden. Season to taste. Stir in diced butter until it starts to turn into a nutty brown colour. Add in the sage and remove from the heat. To serve, arrange the gnocchi and pumpkin on a plate. Drizzle over the nutty butter and then garnish with the sage leaves and freshly grated pecorino.

April 8, 2014

Bahian Spiced Chicken & Beans with Yucca Mash Recipe

This rustic Brazilian chicken and bean casserole features a fragrant seasoning and is topped with your new favourite twist on mash – yucca, also known as cassava.

Serves 10

Ingredients:

Yuca Mash:

900g mashed yuca or cassava*

75g butter, softened

75ml whole milk, warmed

½ tsp McCormick Sea Salt

¼ tsp McCormick White Pepper Ground

Bahian Seasoning (Tempero Baiano):

1 tsp McCormick Cumin Ground

1 tsp McCormick Oregano

½ tsp McCormick White Pepper Ground

¼ tsp McCormick Chilli Flakes  Crushed

Chicken & Beans:

75g butter

675g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5 cm cubes

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 tsp garlicpaste

1 Tbsp  tomato purée

1 Tbsp Bahian Seasoning (Tempero Baiano)

75g  flour

1 litre (1000ml) chicken stock

400g tin black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

225g pitted black olives, chopped

4 tsp McCormick Coriander Leaf

1 tsp McCormick Sea Salt

2 Tbsp  Romano cheese, grated*

Method:

  1. For the yucca mash, bring a large pot of salted water to boil on high heat.  Add yuca, return to boil. (Adding more boiling water if needed to cover the yuca completely).  Reduce heat to medium, boil 30 minutes or until yuca is very tender.
  2. To make the Bahian seasoning, combine all ingredients together in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. For the Chicken & Beans, melt butter in large saucepan on medium-high heat.  Add chicken, cook and stir for 5 – 7 minutes, or until browned.  Add onion, pepper and Garlic.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until vegetables soften.  Stir in tomato purée and Bahian Seasoning, sprinkle with flour and mix well.  Add stock, black-eyed peas, olives, 3 tsp of the Coriander and the Salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently. Spoon into a baking dish. Place baking dish on baking sheet and set aside.
  4. Drain yucca, remove and discard fibrous core from center of each yuca piece using 2 forks.  Gently peel off any other fibrous layers that may cling to yucca, then return yuca to large saucepan.  Add butter and milk and mash with potato masher to form a sticky and chunky purée. Season with Sea Salt and White Pepper, then spoon yuca mash around edge of the Chicken & Beans, leaving the center visible. Sprinkle Romano cheese over the mash.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and cheese is golden brown.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with the remaining Coriander Leaf.

*Cooks tip: As an alternative to Romano cheese try using Parmesan cheese. If yucca / cassava is unavailable try using a mixture of half regular and half sweet potato mash.

What’s your favorite South American recipe?

March 14, 2014

Moroccan Lamb Chops Recipe

Juicy lamb chops are one of our go-to quick dinner ideas, taking no time to cook, and these Moroccan lamb chops with crunchy pistachios and pine nuts, will become a favourite for your midweek dinners too.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Moroccan Seasoning
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
Salt
800g lamb loin chops
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon pistachios
Tomato, pistachio and chickpea salad, to serve

Method
1. Mix the Moroccan Seasoning with the honey, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and salt then brush on to the loin chops. Grill in a pan on each side until fragrant and golden.

2. Toast the pistachios, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and pine nuts in a dry frying pan for 3 minutes, making sure you keep them stirred, and then either crush with a pestle and mortar, or serve sprinkled over the chops.

3. Serve with a tomato, pistachio and chickpea salad. Fresh lime juice

What are your favourite dinner ideas with lamb?

February 11, 2014

Summer Detox Recipes

Now that we’ve shown you how to do the ultimate summer detox, we’ve got some healthy recipes to help you stay on track, including detox smoothies, snacks, delicious low-fat lunches and easy dinner ideas.

Breakfast smoothies

Smooth Berry Mix
½ scoops rice protein formula with spirulina
½ cup raspberries
1 tablespoon chia seeds (soaked for 10 minutes in 1 cup of water)
Honey or agave syrup to taste (optional)

Blend all ingredients together and serve.

Tropical Taster
1-2 scoops rice protein formula with spirulina
½ cup of fresh pineapple cut into chunks
1 cup of coconut water
10 mint leaves

Blend all ingredients together and serve.

Lunch

Brown Rice Salad
½ cup cooked brown rice
½ cup cooked chickpeas
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup green peas
3 fresh asparagus spears chopped
½ carrot chopped
½ cup zucchini chopped
1 small shallot chopped

Dressing
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon coriander chopped
Small clove crushed garlic (optional)
Sprinkle of dried chill flakes

Method
1. Steam the vegetables.

2. Mix with rice, chickpeas and corn in a bowl.

3. Mix together ingredients for dressing and combine with the rice mixture.

4. Serve, with side salad if desired.

Dinner

Grilled Fish and Vegetable Kebabs
1 small fresh fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel)
½ zucchini sliced
½ capsicum cubed
½ onion quartered
6 cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon hummus

Method
1. Mix garlic, oil, lemon juice and parsley in a bowl.

2. Thread vegetables onto wooden kebab sticks that have been soaked in water.

3. Brush fish and vegetable kebabs with oil mixture and cook on non-stick grill/pan. Turn and baste with more oil mixture. Cook until golden brown.

4. Serve with green salad and dollop of hummus.

Snacks

* Brown rice crackers with tzatziki (Greek yoghurt dip)

* Fresh fruit salad

* Handful of walnuts and a piece of fruit

* 200g natural yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

What are your favourite detox recipes?

Recipes by Belinda Reynolds, Nutritionist, Dietician and educator for BioCeuticals.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about supplementing your diet. Make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner.

February 5, 2014

Chicken Salad with Beans and Peas Recipe

Michelle Bridges shares an easy chicken breast recipe from her new cookbook Superfoods that doubles as one of your new go-to midweek dinner ideas. It’s healthy, full of incredible flavours and leftovers make a great next-day lunch.

Just the one superfood in this recipe, but so many other good things alongside it. The mixture of peas and beans gives heaps of fibre and iron, while the chicken gives a meaty texture without overloading the calorie count. Add the delicious dressing and you’ve got one hell of a tasty salad.

Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

Serves: 2
Prep: 15 minutes. Cook: 10 minutes. Calories per serve: 380

Ingredients
250 g skinless chicken breast, trimmed
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray
100 g green beans, trimmed
100 g snow peas, trimmed
½ cup (60 g) frozen peas
¼ cup (70 g) no-fat Greek-style yoghurt
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
½ garlic clove
400 g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Method
1. Season the chicken with black pepper. Lightly spray a char-grill pan with olive oil and heat on medium–high. Cook the chicken for 4–5 minutes each side or until lightly charred and cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes, adding the snow peas and frozen peas for the last 2 minutes. Drain and cool in iced water. Drain.

3. Process the yoghurt, mint and garlic together until smooth.

4. Thickly slice the chicken. Arrange the beans, peas and chicken on a serving plate. Drizzle with the dressing.

What’s your favourite chicken breast recipe?

superfoods

February 5, 2014

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Recipe

Michelle Bridges shares on our favourite comfort food dinner ideas: classic cauliflower cheese with a healthy, low-calorie twist.

Cauliflower and cheese – what a flavourful combination. With the addition of broccoli, you get a double whammy of cruciferous goodness as well. The cheese provides protein and calcium, but use a low-calorie version to avoid too much fat.

Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

Serves: 2
Prep: 10 minutes. Cook: 45 minutes. Calories per serve 388

Ingredients
700 g cauliflower, trimmed and broken into large florets
1 large head broccoli (300 g), trimmed and broken into large florets
2 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups (500 ml) low-cal milk
1 cup (120 g) grated low-cal cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
mixed salad leaves, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

2. Steam the cauliflower over a large saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 4 minutes or until just tender. Place in a 5-cup (1.25 L) capacity ovenproof dish.

3. Meanwhile, combine the cornflour and 1⁄4 cup milk in a jug. Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Whisk in the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until the sauce boils and thickens. Stir in half the cheese until smooth. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the cauliflower and broccoli. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cayenne. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

4. Serve with the salad leaves alongside.

What’s your favourite comfort food dish?

superfoods

February 4, 2014

Lamb and Asian Greens Stir Fry Recipe

Stir-fries are one of our go-to quick dinner ideas, and we love this Michelle Bridges recipe from her new cookbook Superfoods, ready in under 30 minutes!

I’m a huge fan of stir-fries. They are quick to prepare, adaptable so you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand, and the cooking method means they are not drowning in oil. Here I’ve used gai lan, but you can substitute ordinary broccoli as well; just cut it up quite small so it cooks through quickly.

Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.

Serves: 2
Prep: 15 minutes. Cook: 10 minutes. Calories per serve: 421

Ingredients
75 g dried pad thai rice noodles
1 teaspoon peanut oil
250 g boneless lamb loin, trimmed and thickly sliced 1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli), cut into chunks, leaves and stalks separated
100 g snow peas, halved on the diagonal 5 spring onions, cut into 5 cm length
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
3 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 egg
sliced fresh red chilli, to serve

Method
1. Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok on high. Stir-fry the lamb, in two batches, for 2–3 minutes or until browned. Set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium–high. Stir-fry the gai lan stalks and snow peas for 2 minutes. Add the spring onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the noodles and sauces and stir-fry until the noodles are well coated. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and crack an egg into the middle. Cook, stirring the egg, for 1 minute, then return the lamb to the wok with the gai lan leaves and stir-fry until hot and the leaves have just wilted.

Tip: When stir-frying Asian greens such as gai lan, choy sum or bok choy, separate the leaves from the stalks and only add the leaves at the end as they take no time to wilt.

Variation: For a vegetarian version, replace the lamb with 200 g firm tofu, cut into cubes (407 calories per serve).

What’s your favourite stir fry recipe?

superfoods

February 3, 2014

Italian Beef Rissoles Recipe

Looking for new beef mince recipes? Italian beef rissoles are one of our go-to easy dinner ideas, and the leftovers make delicious Italian paninis (both for you and the kids’ school lunch boxes!).

Serves: 4 (plus leftovers), makes 12 rissoles
Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients
800g lean beef mince
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1cm slices
500g jar tomato pasta sauce
50g parmesan cheese, grated
Steamed green beans, baby carrots and broccolini, to serve

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Combine the beef mince with oregano and garlic. Form into 12 beef rissoles, then chill for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat a chargrill to high. Brush the eggplant slices with 2 tbsp of the oil and cook, turning regularly for 2-3 minutes or until well coloured. Line the base of a large roasting dish with the grilled eggplant slices.

3. Brush the beef rissoles with the remaining oil and chargrill for a minute on each side or until well coloured (beef rissoles don’t need to be cooked through). Place the beef rissoles in the roasting dish on top of the grilled eggplant slices, cover with tomato pasta sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the beef rissoles are cooked through and the cheese and sauce are bubbling. Serve with steamed green beans, baby carrots and brocollini.

pananis

Turn leftovers into lunch: Italian rissole paninis

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Halve the leftover beef rissoles and place in crusty Italian Panini rolls with spinach leaves, tomato and cucumber slices.

What are your favourite beef mince recipes?

January 30, 2014

Rosemary Lamb With Balsamic Roasted Vegetables Recipe

Get two meals out of one of our favourite dinner ideas: succulent rosemary lamb becomes lamb pita pockets for the kids’ school lunch boxes the next day.

Serves: 4 (plus leftovers)

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
1kg whole lamb rumps (about 4-5), trimmed of fat
2 red capsicum, cut into wedges
1kg pumpkin, cut into wedges
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 1⁄2 tbsp olive oil
250g haloumi cheese, cut into 2cm pieces
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp rosemary leaves, chopped
1⁄2 cup basil leaves
Green salad, to serve

Method
1. Take the lamb out of the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 180oC. Toss the capsicum, pumpkin and red onion with 2 tbsp of the oil and spread on a lined baking tray, cooking for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Add the haloumi pieces to the tray and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Bake the vegetables and haloumi for a further 15 minutes or until the haloumi is golden brown.

3. Place a large frying pan over a high heat. Rub the lamb with the remaining oil and cook for 2 minutes on both sides or until browned (lamb does not need to be cooked).

4. Rub the browned lamb with rosemary and place in a roasting dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

5. Slice the lamb and serve with roasted vegetables, haloumi and basil leaves. Serve with a green salad.

lambpita

Turn leftovers into lunch: Homemade lamb pita pockets

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Split 2 wholemeal pita pockets and spread with hummus, sliced lamb, sliced tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce.

What’s your favourite leftover recipe?

January 29, 2014

Zucchini, Chilli and Herbed Ricotta Pasta Recipe

This high protein, low carb pasta recipe is one of our favourite dinner ideas for when the fridge is empty but you still want a delicious dinner.

Cooking time: 20 min

Serves 4

Ingredients

375g Vetta Smart Pasta High Protein Low Carb Penne
2 tbsp olive oil
400g (approx. 3 large) zucchini, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red chilli (seeds removed), finely chopped
Pepper and salt to taste
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g fresh ricotta
4 tbsp fresh herbs chopped (parsley, chives, mint)

Method
1. Cook pasta according to packet directions in a large pan of salted, boiling water.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large fry pan on medium heat. Add zucchini, garlic, chilli and lemon zest and stir fry until golden for about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice.

4. Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid and return pasta to the pan.

5. Stir through the zucchini mix with cooked pasta, adding the reserved liquid if needed.

6. Combine the ricotta, lemon and herbs and set aside.

7. To serve, place pasta on each plate with the ricotta mix divided equally on top.

What are your favourite empty fridge dinner ideas?

January 28, 2014

Baked Beans Jaffle Recipe

What’s more Australian than a jaffle? You just can’t beat a baked beans jaffle – it’s one of our favourite Australia Day weekend dinner ideas! Funny man Dave Hughes shares his  fool-proof baked beans jaffle recipe.

I’m busy and I know you are too. You probably don’t even think you’ve got time to read this recipe, but you do, cos it’s quick. Part of my business is I’ve got three kids who start demanding fun at the crack of dawn. Here’s the way to keep them happy (and healthy) first thing in the morning. It’s my patented SPC baked bean jaffle.

The brilliance of this recipe is that idiots like me can nail it. It’s actually impossible to get it wrong if you follow my simple instructions.

Step 1:  Open the can by pulling the ring pin with the pointer finger of your right hand.

Step 2:  Use bread with a 7.6 mm thickness.

Step 3: Cover every square mm of bread with the only major brand of Aussie grown and canned baked bean on the market.

Step 4: Put other slice of bread on top.

Step 5: Carefully place the masterpiece in progress in jaffle maker.

Step 6: Close jaffle maker and turn on.

Step 7: Wait.

Step 8: While waiting, think about how tasty and easy to prepare the only major brand of Aussie grown baked bean on the market is, then whisper ‘good on you SPC’.

Step 9: When the little light turns green whip open that metal joy maker.

Step 10: Whip it out, bang it on a plate. And enjoy five minutes of peace while the kids savour your genius.

What’s your favourite jaffle recipe?

January 27, 2014

Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

Chef Adam Humphrey of Sydney’s Restaurant Arras and Arras Too shares an easy dinner idea using leftovers from the beautiful OzHarvest Cookbook. Australia’s most celebrated chefs including Matt Moran, Neil Perry, Maggie Beer and George Calombaris share their favourite ‘food rescue’ recipes.

This is a dish my mother used to cook for my brothers and me when we were young and she needed to feed us cheaply and with minimum fuss, using left over bread and other pantry items. 

From the OzHarvest Cookbook, RRP $60

Serves 4

Ingredients
10 slices stale bread, crusts removed (use the crust for crumb)
50g butter
50g mustard, preferably English mustard
350ml full cream milk
50ml cream
2 eggs
Pinch cayenne pepper
100g leftover hard cheese, grated (plus extra for topping)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Variation: In between the layers of bread, place in any left over ham or mushroom or vegetables or herbs that you have.

Method

1. Grease and ovenproof dish enough to hold approximately a litre.

2. Butter each slice of bread both sides with the butter and the mustard, and then cut in half triangularly. Lay one layer of the bread across the bottom of the dish.

3. Heat the milk and cream in a pan with the bay leaf ensuring it doesn’t boil. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs until well broken down and pale in colour. Immediately add the hot milk mix and whisk until well combined, add in the grated cheese and whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

4. At this stage, add in any extra items (ham, vegetables etc) in between the layers of bread. Ensure that the top layer is finished with the bread. Pour over the cheesy custard mix gradually – If you have time, “feed” the pudding over a period of a few hours with the custard.

5. Top with the extra grated cheese, mixed with the crumbs.

6. In a 180°C oven, bake the pudding for approximately 40 mins until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.

7. Once cooked, let rest for a couple of minutes before serving. Serve with left over salad. This pudding is even great the next day too.

What’s your favourite leftover recipe?

January 20, 2014

Authentic Malaysian Curry Laksa Recipe

When that laksa craving hits, nothing else will do! Masterchef contestant and Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador Billy Law shares his authentic Malaysian laksa recipe, one of our favourite easy dinner ideas. Make a batch of the laksa paste and it will last in the fridge for about 10 days, perfect for your next laksa craving.

Laksa lemak or curry laksa is a coconut-based curry noodle soup well loved by many Malaysians. This dish is a perfect winter warmer but also great during summer when your tastebuds are dying for some fresh, spicy flavours – slurp up the steaming hot noodles with the coconut curry broth and know you haven’t fully enjoyed this dish if there aren’t any beads of perspiration on your forehead, although you can take the spice factor down a notch to suit your taste. And keep some napkins handy to avoid splashes on your shirt!

Preparation Time: 30 mins. Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 L water
500 g raw prawns, peeled and deveined, reserve the prawn heads
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
400 ml coconut cream
200 g fried tofu puffs, halved
2 stalks curry leaves
450 g fresh hokkien egg noodles
200 g dried rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained
200 g bean sprouts
salt to taste

Laksa paste
5 cm piece galangal, peeled and chopped
5 cm piece turmeric, peeled and chopped (or 1 tablespoon ground powder)
250 g French shallots, peeled
10 garlic cloves, chopped
20 dried red chillies, seeded then soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften (less if you don’t like it too hot)
6 large fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped
10 candlenuts
50 g dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes then drained
2 Tbs belacan (dried shrimp paste), toasted
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped

Method

1. Pour water into a large stockpot and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, add the chicken and let it cook for 20 minutes. Reserve the stock, remove the chicken, set aside to cool, then shred the chicken into small pieces.

2. Meanwhile, put all the laksa paste ingredients in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.

3. Heat oil in a wok on medium heat, fry prawn heads for a minute, then add laksa paste and fry for a further 15 minutes. When it’s done, the paste should be dark brown and a layer of red oil will separate from the spices.

4. Tip everything in the wok into the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Pour in coconut cream, season with salt, add curry leaves and fried tofu puffs, then lower the heat and let the soup simmer until you are ready to serve.

5. Half fill another large pot with water and bring to the boil. For each serve, grab a small handful each of hokkien noodles and rice vermicelli, and a few prawns. Put them into a wire mesh strainer or a sieve and dunk the noodles and prawns into the hot water for 1 minute. Drain and shake off any excess water, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top the bowl of noodles with bean sprouts and chicken then ladle the hot laksa broth along with a few tofu puffs over the top.

What’s your favourite Malaysian dish?

January 15, 2014

5 Easy Christmas Leftovers Ideas

Leftover cheese plate? Ham? Mince pies? I’ll admit it – I think Christmas leftovers are even better than Christmas lunch! I also don’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen after spending half the day in there on Tuesday! Here are my 5 go-to tricks for turning Christmas leftovers into something special – and no waste!

Leftover cheese plate? Turn it into cheesy flatbreads

Take a large naan or pita bread and spread slices of cheese from your leftover cheese plate. Dot with pesto or caramelised onions, sprinkle with fennel seeds and bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped coriander. Cut into wedges and serve.

Leftover ham? Turn it into lentil and ham soup

Today we all need a little nourishment after all that gluttony. Grab that tin of lentils sitting in your pantry, tip it into a large pot with a chopped up carrot and celery rib, and add small chunks of leftover ham (and the ham bone if you have it). Top with a little water or leftover stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Just the thing to get you through the next few days.

Leftover mincemeat or mince pies? Turn it into Christmas ice cream

Mince pies are great the first day but pretty stodgy by today, so take a tub of ice cream out of the freezer for 30 minutes to soften up, then crumble up your leftover mince pies (or half-empty jar of mincemeat) and stir it through the ice cream. Put back in the freezer to harden up – it’s even better the next day when the ice cream has had time to infuse with all those Christmas flavours.

Leftover bubbly? Turn it into white sangria

I know, leftover bubbly? It shouldn’t exist but I found a few near-empty bottles this morning and decided to turn it into refreshing sangria. Pour any leftover bubbly or white wine into a pitcher and top with chunks of fruit – cherries, apples and oranges are fantastic in sangria! Add ice and enjoy!

Leftover roast potatoes? Turn it into Spanish tortilla

There’s always a few roast potatoes that don’t get snapped up. Slice them up, get a oven-proof pan on medium heat with a good glug of olive oil. Warm the potatoes up in the oil, then add 5-6 eggs, lightly beaten with plenty of salt and pepper, to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 8 minutes, until the base has cooked. Meanwhile heat the grill. Put a plate over the pan and carefully flip the tortilla out, then slide back into the pan. Place the pan under the grill to cook the top, about 5 minutes. Slide out from the pan and cut into wedges. It’s delicious hot or cold, served with a dollop of mayonnaise.

What’s your favourite Christmas leftover recipe?

December 27, 2012

Christmas Recipe Ideas: Peppermint Truffles

Get the kids involved on Christmas morning making these irresistible peppermint chocolate truffles to serve with coffee or a glass of eggnog.

Ingredients

250g pure cream (not thickened cream)

275g dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g butter

20ml (1tbs) Queen Natural Peppermint Extract

crushed pistachio nuts

cocoa powder

Method

1. Pour cream into a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.

2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add all chocolate and stir until melted and combined.
Add butter, stir until melted. Add peppermint essence, stir until combined.

3. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

4. Line a tray with baking paper. Place spoonfuls of chocolate mixture on tray.

5. Dust your hands with crushed pistachio nuts or cocoa powder, and gently form spoonfuls into balls. Roll each ball in either nuts or cocoa powder.Refrigerate until firm. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

What’s on your Christmas menu?

December 24, 2012