Asian, Healthy, Poultry

Steamed Chinese Chicken with Ginger and Shiitakes

Serves: 4

This is one of the simplest, most effective, tastiest dishes you can cook.

And the most healthiest.

Read through the ingredients and you’ll understand why you are almost obliged to serve it with some steamed rice… because otherwise, there is almost literally nothing there.

Which is not to say it is subtle, though it is delicate.

Thank the rice wine, sesame oil and ginger for that.

I promise you will cook this again and again and you will never be bored of it.

Brilliant.

Ingredients

4 x 150gm chicken breast fillets
Salt and white pepper
1 ½ tbsp Chinese rice wine
8cm piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
6 small dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, stalks removed and sliced
1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots
1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan), chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
Spring onions, thinly sliced to serve
Coriander leaves to serve
Steamed Jasmine rice

Method

  1. Slice the chicken on an angle (1cm slices) and combine with the rice wine, salt and plenty of white pepper in a bowl. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Place chicken, overlapping onto a heatproof plate. Scatter ginger and mushrooms over the chicken.
  3. Place in a bamboo steamer and steam for 8-9 minutes or until cooked. (If you have a multi-level steamer, place the carrots and chopped broccoli on a plate on top of the chicken for the last 3 minutes of chicken cooking time until just tender; otherwise, blanch in boiling water.)
  4. Divide chicken, carrots and broccoli among serving plates. Drizzle oil on top and scatter with onion and coriander. Serve with steamed rice.
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BBQ, Beef, Italian

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Salsa Dragoncello (Steak Florentine with Tarragon Sauce)

Serves: 2

I am a big fan of dressing up steak and we generally have at least one steak butter on hand for a moorish dinner of steak and potatoes. (You simply cannot go past Café de Paris butter if you are new to it all!)

This recipe is a step up and really is the center of a wonderful meal.

Any number of sides you could serve from chargrilled asparagus with chilli and toasted sesame seeds, a potato gratin, a green salad or all of the above.

However you do it, this will get Saturday lunch talking and kick off an afternoon of wine, laughter and promises you’ll never keep.

I can’t wait.

Ingredients

1kg piece porterhouse steak on the bone (T-bone with loin attached)*
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (with extra to brush)
1 tbsp each chopped thyme and rosemary
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Salsa dragoncello
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 slices day-old ciabatta or sourdough, crust removed, torn into 2cm pieces (makes 1 cup)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
6 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 ½ tbsp baby capers, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Heat your grill on a high heat.
  2. For the salsa: Halves the eggs and scoop out the yolks (you don’t need the whites for the dish). Place the yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  3. Place the bread in a separate bowl with the red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of warm water. Mash together until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the egg yolks, tarragon, anchovy, capers and oil and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. For the steak: Brush the steak with the extra oil and season with salt. Reduce the the heat of the grill to medium-high and then cook steak for 15 minutes each side for medium rare. (If using an alternative cut, cook until medium rare.)
  5. Whilst cooking, place thyme, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a shallow dish with freshly ground pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Place the cooked steak in the dish, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes, turning once.
  6. To serve, cut steak away from the bone on either side, then slice the fillets. Spoon some of the salsa on top and serve with a drizzle of the resting juices.

 

*Ask your butcher ahead of time for this.

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Vegetarian

Curtis Stone’s Corn and Bacon Muffins (with Herb Butter)

Makes: 12

I am a sucker for savoury muffins though apart from my popular Spinach and Feta Muffins, it would seem the house has a sweet tooth.

Therefore your decision to cook this particular muffin recipe really will come down to whether you like savoury muffins or are all-in the sweet camp.

If you are like me – and Curtis Stone – you should pass GO, collect $200 and have these baking tonight.

Because if you’re like me, you’ll agree they are really great, savoury muffins.

(Like muffins should be.)

Ingredients

350gm smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
2 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh yellow corn kernels (cut from a cob)
⅓ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

For the herb butter
115gm softened unsalted butter
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. In a large pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat for about 8 minutes until brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels and reserve the bacon drippings.
  3. Grease 12 muffin cups/tins with some of the reserved bacon drippings.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cayenne pepper to blend. In a separate large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and the remainder of the bacon drippings to blend; stir in the bacon, 1 ½ cups of the cheese (leaving ½ cup), the corn kernels and the chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just blended.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the greased muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  7. For the herb butter: combine the butter ingredients. Use immediately on the muffins or form into a log on some baking paper, roll and twist and refrigerate.
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Healthy, Moroccan, Tagines

(Amazing) Moroccan Couscous

Serves: 4

Couscous is not something I have ever paid too much attention to when cooking a tagine or whatever it might be.

(The exception being Jamie Oliver’s Couscous Stuffed Roast Chicken where the couscous is the star of the show.)

My usual approach – couscous, olive oil, hot chicken stock, currants and maybe some slivered almonds – has been unceremoniously described by Nat – at its worst – as “glug”.

A criticism I’ve accepted because as I said, I’ve never paid too much attention to it: especially when a cracker of a tagine is ladled on-top.

This recipe affirmed what I have always known about couscous and that is that it can be so wonderful – even on its own – when shown the time. It can be much more than just a ho-hum base to a great tagine and it can certainly be much more than just glug.

To point, this couscous blew Nat away and she agreed it was tremendous.

In fact, I recall her saying something to the effect that it was the best couscous she had ever had.

Make the effort and do this. It is bloody amazing, light and wonderful tasting…. and turn-around your detractors in their steps.

Ingredients

450ml chicken stock
200gm couscous
½ red onion, finely diced
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
60gm dried currants
Handful whole almonds, roasted
80gm butter, diced
2 egg yolks, beaten
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Over a high heat, in a medium-sized pot, bring the stock to a boil.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and season well.
  3. When the stock is boiling, pour it over the couscous mixture, give it a stir and cover with glad wrap. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Uncover and gently run a fork through the couscous to fluff it up. Check your seasoning and serve.
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Italian, Pork, Stew

Rosenstrach’s Pork Shoulder Ragu

Serves: 6

Bit of a no brainer this one.

Some weekends call for a ragu. A slow roasted pork shoulder ragu.

Where of course, the longer you cook it, the better it is.

And there you have the Rosenstrach’s pork shoulder ragu: one I found online and one that nailed the note the moment we served it.

It is simply an excellent, down-the-line, rich, warm, wholesome, screw-you ragu. With a glass of red and a green salad at the side… this is as good as things get.

Cook it the night before and serve at a dinner party the next day.

Cook it the night before and serve it on the couch on Sunday.

Cook it whenever you want and eat it whenever you want.

However you do it, this is a winter win.

Ingredients

1 ½kg boneless pork shoulder
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
80gm butter
2 cans tomatoes (800gm)
1 cup red wine
5 sprigs fresh oregano
Small handful of fennel seeds
1 tbsp hot sauce
Pappardelle
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c. Liberally season the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the olive oil and butter to a large, heavy saucepan over  medium heat until the butter melts. Add the pork and brown on all sides: around 10 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel and hot sauce and bring to the boil. Cover and put in the oven.
  4. Braise for 4 hours, turning every hour or so and adding more liquid (water and wine) as is needed. When the meat is literally falling apart, remove, break apart and return to the pan. Cook until thickened and back the seasoning.
  5. Serve on the pappardelle with plenty of parmesan and parsley on top. And plenty of red wine at the side.
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Pork

Porteno’s (Christmas) Porchetta

Serves: 8

This is a wonderful Argentinian recipe from Porteno, an equally as wonderful Sydney restaurant.

I’m not sure how you could go wrong with this one: pork belly, chilli, herbs and plenty of cooking time. Go further and over a high heat on your grill, crispen the skin even further for 15 minutes once you’re done with the oven.

Even better than the night before, the pork is incredible on a roll the next day with a bit more of the chimichurri, butter and some of the crackling.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy this one though at the very least, you would be mad not to do this at Christmas during that crazy time between Christmas Day and New Years.

This is what it is all about.

Ingredients

3 – 4kg pork belly, deboned, skin on
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fine salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
Extra fine salt

Chimichurri
1 cup flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup coriander (loosely packed)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Method

  1. For the pork: Start preparing the pork belly the day before cooking. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the fennel seeds, salt, chilli flakes, peppercorns, garlic and rosemary together to make a paste. Rub the paste on the inside of the pork belly.
  2. Roll the pork belly lengthways and using butcher’s twine, tie the meat at 2 ½cm intervals to hold it together. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. Remove the porchetta from the fridge and uncover. Season with fine salt all over the skin. Leave for 1 to 2 hours to draw out the moisture. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the salt.
  4. Heat the oven to 150c. Place the porchetta on a rack inside a baking tray. Put in the oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Increase the heat to 200c for 15 minutes to crackle the skin.
  5. For the chimichurri: Pulse the ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
  6. Serve the pork with the chimichurri.  
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Asian, Mince, Pork

Sticky Asian Meatballs

Serves: 4 – 6

This David Herbert number is as simple as it is wonderful.

And it is pretty simple.

We also sauteed some bok choy with chilli sauce, black bean, sesame oil and soy and all together, it was a hit.

Even the boys loved it.

It is a departure from our Sunday tradition of cooking all afternoon, though it’s a departure I am happy to live with after an especially busy weekend.

Ingredients

1kg pork mince
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Steamed jasmine rice to serve

For the sauce
⅔ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into balls, place on a tray and roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk sauce ingredients together.
  4. Serve the meatballs on rice, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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