Christine Manfield’s Mughlai Chicken

Serves: 4

Christine Manfield‘s Mughlai Chicken is just another brilliant curry from her wonderful book, Tasting India.

It was just luscious, so unique and perfectly executed by Nat. Local Indian restaurant this is not.

Served alongside another wonderful cauliflower and potato curry, we had an old friend over for dinner, decanted a cracking red and had a memorable Saturday night in.

Doesn’t get much better than this.

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
50gm finely sliced white onion
2 tsp minced ginger
2tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
500gm chicken thigh, cut into 2cm cubes
100gm thick plain yoghurt, whisked
300ml white chicken stock
3 tsp mint chutney
50gm finely chopped spinach leaves
100gm spinach puree
2 tsp salt
20 fried curry leaves, slightly crushed
1 tsp ghee, melted

Mint Chutney

100gm mint leaves
75gm coriander leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 small green chilli, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
5 tbsp thick plain yoghurt
2 red shallots, finely diced
2 tsp chat masala
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of chilli powder

Method

Mint chutney

Blend the mint, coriander, lemon juice, chilli and ginger to make a smooth paste. Stir in the yoghurt, shallot, chat masala, salt and chilli powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spinach puree

Blanch spinach leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and chop then puree in a food processor.

Fried curry leaves

Heat some vegetable oil to 170c and fry fresh curry leaves in small batches for 20 seconds

The Curry

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli over a high heat until softened. Add the chicken and toss to combine. Fry for a minute and then add the yoghurt.
  2. When the mixture starts to simmer, add the stock. Bring back to the simmer and then stir through the chutney and spinach leaves. Cook for 10 minutes until the chicken is tender and the gravy reduced.
  3. Add the spinach puree and salt and stir until combined and heated through. Stir in the curry leaves and ghee and serve with steamed rice.

Bulgar with Pomegranate Salad

Bulgar with Pomegranate Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a recipe I pulled from the Weekend Australian Magazine by David Herbert and it is really quite good. I’ve been more hit than miss with his stuff in the past, though as far as a clean, healthy, spring salad goes, this is a winner.

If you haven’t cooked with bulgar, it is worth the effort to find it in your local organics shop.

It is less abrasive than quinoa, healthy, packed full of protein and fibre, and filling. Add the fresh herbs and vegetables and you have a salad that looks great, tastes great and is easy to prepare.

Try it with steak or lamb and you’ll be pleased you did.

Ingredients

150gm bulgar
¾ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
200gm cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Seeds 1 pomegranate
3 spring onions, chopped
Juice, 1 lemon
2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Place bulgar in a bowl and cover with 500ml boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes and then drain well, removing all excess water.
  2. Combine cooled bulgar, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, pomegranate, spring onions and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season well with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour over olive oil and toss well.

Herb-Marinated Rack of Lamb

Herb-Marinated Rack of Lamb

Serves: 4

An easy, spring dinner… that looks a bit fancy and tastes just great, like any rack of lamb is prone to do.

I’d consider doing it on the BBQ next time to get a char-grilled crust going, though as a set-and-forget, see you in 30 minutes number, the oven is just fine.

Served with some twice-cooked roasted baby potatoes and a wonderful salad of Bulgar and Pomegranate.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Pinch or two of dried chilli flakes
Pinch or two of salt
6 tbsp olive oil
2 well-trimmed racks of lamb (8 bones each)

Method

  1. Combine garlic, mint, basil, chilli, salt and oil in a food processor to form a thick paste.
  2. Coat the lamb in the paste and marinate for a few hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 180c; transfer the lamb to a baking tray ad roast for 35 – 40 minutes.
  4. Rest for 5 minutes and slice the lamb between the bones for individual cutlets.

Adam Liaw’s Walnut and Watercress Salad

Serves: 4

This is a really wonderful salad. So good in fact, that Nat wants to bottle the dressing for friends.

The nuttiness of the walnut with the freshness of the watercress and mint is special.

Even the boys hoovered it up.

Sophisticated, clean, healthy and fresh.

A must do.

Ingredients

½ cup peeled walnuts*
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 anchovy fillets (or ½ tsp salt)
1 bunch watercress, picked and washed
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves

Method

  1. Place half the walnuts in a small food processor with the vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard and anchovies (or salt), and process to a smooth dressing.
  2. Toss the watercress, mint leaves and remaining walnuts in the dressing.

* Toast the walnuts – either in the oven or in a pan – until darkened and the skins are starting to flake. In a kitchen towel, rub the nuts together until the skins separate and then in a colander, shake to separate the skins from the nuts.

Tzatziki

Serves: 4

A bit boring I know, though a good, home-made tzatziki is pretty cool.

Low fat – if you do it with low, or zero fat yoghurt – and tasty with pretty much anything you can throw at it. Meat, crackers, vegetables.

No guilt.

Ingredients

1 Lebanese cucumber, coarsely grated
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
200gm low-fat (or fat free) Greek-style yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  1. Put the grated cucumber in a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or more to drain off the excess moisture.
  2. Place the salted cucumber, yoghurt, mint and garlic in a bowl and mix to combine. Season and enjoy for the next few days.

Spaghetti with crushed peas, mint and pancetta

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Beautiful colours.

Serves: 4 – 6

I found this recipe in the 2015 Gourmet Traveller Annual Cookbook.

Having not had pasta for months, I had a real hankering; keen to cook something that wasn’t entirely outrageous and thus setting me back two weeks of walking and running, this recipe was it and what a great recipe it is.

It is one of those nice and simple, nobody is going be upset, Sunday lunch pastas. It’s clean, fresh and children friendly. It certainly looks the part with a big salad or two and some crusty bread.

Yum.

Ingredients

400gm dried spaghetti
50ml olive oil
80gm mild pancetta, diced
¼ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50ml dry white wine
150ml chicken stock
250gm frozen peas
½ c coarsely torn mint, plus extra to serve
Finely grated pecorino pepato to serve

Method

  1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan with a tablespoon or two of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add pancetta and cook until it starts to crisp (3 – 4 minutes). Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender (3 – 4 minutes). Deglaze the pan with wine, add stock and bring to a simmer. Add peas, simmer until tender (2 – 3 minutes), remove from the heat, season to taste and coarsely crush the peas.
  3. Toss pea mixture through pasta, season again if necessary and serve hot with pecorino pepato and extra mint.