Saturday, June 25, 2011

Massaman Curry Paste

I like knowing, whats in the food I'm cooking, right down to the spices and quality of oils, so I prefer to make everything from scratch, including sauces, pasta sauces, dressings and now I'm venturing into curry pastes.
I visited the local Asian supermarket to get some of the ingredients and I could have spent ages in there just browsing, foreign supermarkets are fascinating. whether here or when I'm travelling I love spending a few hours checking out all the different products.

so last week I made a massaman curry paste. I tried to use as many of the whole spices as I could, the pre ground ones just don't produce the same flavour.

Massaman curry paste:

1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
1 tablespoon cardamon seeds

toast in non stick pan over low heat for about a minute, gently shaking regularly. Grind in spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. set aside.

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
3 cloves of garlic
3 chopped shallots
1 tablespoon of chopped galangal
7-9 dried chillis, soaked for at least 5 hours in water (discard seeds before soaking to lessen the heat)then chop.
1 tablespoon shrimp paste (wrap in tin foil, and place in a pre-heated oven for 3-5 minutes).

put all ingredients into a bullet blender or use a stick blender with the ingredients in a bowl blend until it forms a fine paste. store in a jar or plastic container in the fridge for use.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Basil seared tuna

I bought a nice lookign piece of yellow fin tuna yesterday.  I've only started eating fish again in the last few months.  I can't eat tinned tuna, I'll never eat that stuff again.  But a tuna steak.. if its good.. can be delicious.  This is what I did with it.

Serves 2
350 - 400gm tuna fillet/steak
handful of fresh basil leaves
good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
4 baby roma tomatos - I used kumatos

Cut tuna steak into batons, about 2.5cm square set aside on clean plate
put 4 tablespoons of olive oil into small bowl, half a teaspoon of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, then finely chop half the basil and stir into olive oil mix.  pour mix over batons and pat coating all over.
Heat non stick frypan over high heat.  put batons in for approx. 20seconds on each side (all 4 sides) then remove from pan to rest.
using same small bowl, mix another 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic clove finely chopped, the rest of the basil finely chopped, more salt and pepper and chop up the tomatos then stir it all together.

slice the tuna with a sharp knife and place on plate, drizzle tomato mix over the top and serve with a fresh green salad or steamed greens.

I cooked mine a little longer than I would have liked.. but it still tasted heavenly.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 12 Christmas Cookies

The Finale!

for the finale I wanted to make a sweet platter.  so I chose 3 I have been wanting to make.
Caramelised Pecans
Raspberry Marshmellows

Candy Cane truffles

Caramelised Pecans
125gm Pecan halves
50g ground hazelnuts
50g caster sugar
1 egg white (or 1 reconstituted egg white if you are concerned about salmonella)
225g sugar
65ml water

mix hazelnuts, caster sugar and egg white to form a paste.
Using a little of the hazelnut paste, sandwich together two pecan halves.
put sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, increase heat and cook until the syrup turns golden, keep watch of this as I burned my first batch. 
drop pecans into syrup one at a time and lift with fork or candy dipper and put in baking paper to cool and harden. 
Store in airtight container for up to 4 days.

makes 35

Raspberry Marshmallows
600gm frozen raspberries - defrosted
7 gold strength gelatine leaves, softened in water for 5 minutes
375gm caster sugar
150ml water
55gm egg white
snow sugar for dusting (if you can't find snw sugar, use a combination of icing (confectioners) sugar and cornflour.

strain raspberries to get 150ml of juice, heat till luke warm, squeeze gelatine of water and put in raspberry juice and set aside.
combine caster sugar and water and simmer till it reaches 121degrees C, when its about 110degreesC, whisk egg white until soft peaks form.
add raspberry to sugar mixture and stir.  keep the whisk in the egg whites and pour hot raspberry sugar mixture in a steady stream into egg whites, beat for 15 minutes.
spoon into baking tray lined with baking paper and dusted with snow sugar.  smooth top of marshmallow mix and dust with more snow sugar, set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.

Turn marshmallow onto board and dust with more snow sugar.  (marshmallow could be wet but should hold its shape.  cut with hot knife into preferred sized squares and dust all sides with snow sugar. 
keep in airtight container for up to 5 days.

makes about 30 or more if you cut them smaller!  makes alot though!

Candy Cane truffles
125ml double cream
150gm white chocolate
25 gm crushed candy canes
40g icing sugar

Place cream and broken up white chocolate into saucepan over low heat, stir for 4-5 mins till chocolate has melted, set aside to cook
whisk cream mixture till thick and chill for 3-4 hours.
add crushed candy canes, add to chocolate mixture, drop teaspoons onto a place and chill for another hour.
roll truffles in icing sugar and between hands into neat balls.  chill for a further 2 hours before serving.  keeps up to 4 days

makes 20

Week 12 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week 11 Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Panforte

•Coconut Oil, to grease
•100g whole macadamias or hazelnuts
•100g whole blanched almonds
•1 Tblsp Cacao Nibs
•4 Tblsp Coconut Flour
•2 Tblsp Tapioca Flour
•2 Tblsp Raw Cacao Powder  (or a good quality cocoa powder)
•1/3 cup sultanas
•½ cup mixed peel or chopped glace apricots
•1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
•1/4 cup coconut oil

•1 tsp ground cinamon
•1 tsp ground coriander
•1 tsp mixed spice
•70g Raw Dark Chocolate
•½ cup agave syrup or maple syrup
•1 Tblsp rapadura sugar

Bake nuts in a pre heated oven (approx 180C) for 5 mins until lightly browned.  Reduce heat to 160C.  Brush a cake pan with coconut oil and line bottom with baking paper.
Place roasted nuts in a large bowl. Add dried fruits, coconut oil and cacao nibs - stir to combine. Sift over the combined flours, cocoa, and spices - stir to combine.

Place chocolate, agave syrup and rapadura in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts.

Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 112°C or ‘soft ball stage’ (If you don’t have a thermometer, drop 1 tsp of syrup into a glass of cold water. If the syrup becomes a soft ball it’s at soft ball stage).

Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the fruit mixture and, working quickly, stir until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until just firm. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Dust with snow sugar or confectioners sugar when cool.

Week 11 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week 10 Christmas Cookies

that means.. yup - that means its just 3 weeks till Christmas!  yay!!!

today.. another gluten free treat, since I'm in the tropics this time of year, something to celebrate this fabulous warm weather! 

Lime coconut cookies

1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
150gm softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon  zest
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water

Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees C.

Mix coconut flour, rice flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl beat the sugar, butter, eggs, lemon and lime zest, lemon and lime juices and water. Mix in flour mixture until well blended.
Shape dough into small balls and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. lightly flatten.
Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, dust with icing sugar.

Week 10 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week 9 Christmas Cookies

Now these tasted good, if not a little sweet, but I had to cook it longer than the recipe called for (I've increased it below), These are delicious and chewy and would be amazing with ice cream for dessert while still warm.  I added both macadamias and freshly roasted chestnuts, but don't put in chestnuts, they turn out a bit too hard, and not a good crunchy hard like the macadamia.  These are definitely going in to my Christmas cookie gift boxes! 

Chestnut Macadamia Brownies *gluten free

225gm butter
120gm bittersweet/cooking chocolate
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup chestnut flour (sifted) *not water chestnut flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted macadamias

Preheat oven to 180c. Grease brownie pan. Microwave chocolate and butter for approx 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, set aside to cool. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale; add vanilla. Fold chocolate mixture into eggs and sugar until well combined. Sift in chestnut flour and baking powder and fold gently into batter, mixing until just blended. Fold in macadamias. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Week 9 Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Friday, November 19, 2010

mmmm Bloody Mary

oh the perfect breakfast drink for those warm summer weekends..

so I didn't have it for breakfast, its 3pm though, and the bottle of v8 was staring at me! 

1.5 shots vodka
1 dill pickle, cut lengthways in quarters
1/8 fresh lime
freshly ground pepper
hot sauce/tabasco
V8 original or hot and spicy

place ice in glass, pour over vodka, add pickle, pepper, hot sauce, squeeze lime and leave in rind, top with V8 for the perfect spicy Bloody Mary thats almost good for you!