Thursday, November 16, 2017

Curtis Stone's Sausage and Asparagus Pasta

In another delve into the supermarket magazines, I chose to make Curtis Stone's pasta with sausages and asparagus from the October 2017 Coles magazine.  As a disclaimer to my comments, I am not a huge pasta fan or a huge sausage fan.  So, you may ask, why did you choose to make this?  Well, because it sounded quick and easy and a good thing to make to  take to work for lunch.

Don't get me wrong - this pasta was OK, and I think it got better as the week went by.  I think part of my indifference to it stemmed from the sausages that I used (Woolworths beef, garlic and rosemary sausages; sacrilege, I know, when the recipe calls for Coles Beef Oregano and Parsley Sausages). I think plain old beef sausages would have been better.

If pasta is your thing and you like sausages, then this would be a great quick and easy dinner.

The recipe is as follows:

1 tablespoon olive oil
500g beef sausages (I am agnostic as to which ones you use)
2 chopped cloves garlic
1 1/3 cups passata
250g large spiral pasta
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces
20g grated parmesan

Remove the sausage meat from the casings and break into small chunks.

Heat the oil in a frypan and cook the sausage meat until golden brown.  Add the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant.  reduce the heat and add the passata.  Simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until the passata reduces slightly.

While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta according to the packet.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the asparagus. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Add the pasta and asparagus to the sauce and toss to combine, then add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the sauce to thin it out.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TWD - Brown Sugar Tart

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I made Brown Sugar Tart.  As described by Dorie, it is like pecan pie filling without the pecans plus bacon.

As Dorie also mentioned, this tart is sweet - super sweet.

The jury is out for me on this tart.  I didn't like it while still slightly warm - it was very egg custardy at that stage.  Once cold or room temperature, this tart was OK, although the bacon in it was not my favourite thing.  You need something to take away from the toothe-aching sweetness of the filling, but I am not sure that bacon is my preference for doing so.

This one was also not a favourite with the punters at work, and a few forlorn pieces were still left when I headed for home.

To see what the others baked this week, and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Curtis Stone's Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

I am sometimes  lost for inspiration as to what to cook.  If left to my own devices, I could slip into a routine of my fallback stir fry, roasts and grilled meats.  For that reason, I love getting the supermarket magazines and flicking through for ideas before I shop for the week.

The October 2017 Coles magazine has a very yummy recipe for stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and vegetables by Curtis Stone.  I wasn't quite sure about this recipe when I chose it as it uses chicken mince (not one of my favourite things generally), but the combination of flavours and textures transforms the chicken mince into something delicious.   Curtis says that the chilli garlic (siracha) sauce is optional, but for me, it made the dish.

This dish is quick and easy to make, and uses sauces that I already had in the pantry.

To make it, you will need:

1/4 cup oyster sauce
 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon siracha sauce
150g pad thai noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g chicken mince
120g sliced button mushrooms
1 carrot sliced into matchsticks
1 thinly sliced brown onion

Whisk the sauces and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small bow, and set aside.

Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for ~ 5 minutes, rinse under cold water and drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frypan or wok.  Cook the mince in the pan until browned, breaking it up as you go. Transfer the mince to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and when the  oil is smoking, add the mushrooms, carrot and onion and stir fry until the mushrooms are tender.  Stir in the chicken mince and the sauce, and combine well.  Toss the noodles through the mixture and stir until heated through.

Serve in large bowls garnished with chopped spring onions (if desired).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fish Curry with Ginger and Turmeric

The dish in the photo to this post may not look like much, but it is one of the most delicious fish curries I have had in a long time.

The recipe comes from the Woolworths magazine for October 2017 (p80).  I have made a number of fish curries with coconut milk which seem to taste like coconut.  This curry uses Greek yoghurt instead, and all the other flavours shone through.

The original recipe did not include any vegetables other than onion and chilli; I added frozen vegetables to the curry to make it more of a one pot dish.

The use of curry powder gives the curry a pleasant kick of flavour.

To make this curry, you will need:

750g skinless barramundi fillets (I used half this amount!)
200g Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 crushed cloves of garlic
3cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tablespoon oil (I just used olive oil, recipe says coconut oil)
1 sliced brown onion
1 tablespoon curry powder (I used Keen's mild)
2 sliced green chillies (I used just one)
coriander to serve (optional)

Cut the fish into large chunks.  In a large ceramic bowl, combine the yoghurt, turmeric, garlic and ginger.  Coat the fish with the yoghurt mixture and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a fry pan or wok.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  (Also add 1 cup frozen vegetables here if using.) Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute.  Add 1/4 cup water and stir well.

Add the fish and marinade to the pan, and bring to a simmer.  Scatter over the chillies, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Garnish with coriander (optional), and serve with brown rice (and steamed asparagus for me!).

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TWD - Kerrin's Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

This month, our first recipe pick from Dorie's Cookies is Kerrin's Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I know that Mardi will be pleased - she has consistently voted for these for months.

These cookies are "multigrain" because the recipe calls for whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour and kasha.  Mine are a little less multigrain, as I subbed the buckwheat flour for the cornmeal that we had to buy for Dorie's recipes a while back, and I subbed the kasha for ground almonds.  The reasons for these substitutions are practical - use up what you have and don't buy even more packets of  unusual ingredients to languish in the pantry with the existing ones.

Despite my substitutions, these cookies were delicious.  I accidentally made a full batch, but they will not go to waste.  They are simply delish!

To see what the other cookie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shannon Bennett's Famous Raspberry Cheesecake

Tim is a huge fan of raspberries and white chocolate, so when the cover of this month's Delicious magazine featured a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake recipe from Shannon Bennett, I knew that I had found Tim's birthday cake.

This luscious creation had a base of crushed Anzac biscuits. I could only find school lunch box packs of Anzacs, so I opted for ginger nuts instead. I also halved the raspberries because hey, raspberries are expensive! Otherwise I followed the recipe, with lashings of cream cheese and sour cream, combined with melted white chocolate and bejewelled with fresh raspberries.

I made myself a mini cheesecake so I could try it too.  As expected, this cheesecake is scrumptious!

If you are a fan of raspberries and white chocolate or just love cheesecake, then this recipe is definitely worth making.

The mini!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dinner by Heston, Melbourne

For Tim's birthday last week, I took him for lunch at Dinner by Heston.  As you can guess, Dinner by Heston is a restaurant associated with Heston Blumenthal.  It is situated on Level 3 of Crown Towers in Southbank, Melbourne.

The entrance to Dinner by Heston is a long dark passage.  At the end is what looks like a black wall, but just when you think you won't get in, that black wall slides back to reveal the interior of Dinner by Heston.  We were greeted by two friendly staff members, one of whom showed us to our table.
Shortly afterwards, we were greeted at our table by a French sommelier, from whom we ordered two glasses of French pink sparkling wine.
A short time later, a waiter brought over this lovely dark bread with a delightfully chewy crust:

There was a five course tasting menu ($160 per person), but we decided to go with main and dessert from the a la carte menu.  All of the dishes are inspired by a particular historical time.

Tim ordered the roast duck breast with beetroot and chard from the 1600s ($58):

I ordered the roast quail with confit butternut pumpkin, pumpkin puree, spiced crumb and chard ($56) from the 1860s:

These meals looked deceptively small, but were very filling.  The quail was soft and melted off the bones - no need to "chew the bones" to get all of the meat.

For sides ($14 each), we ordered the carrot with caraway, which was beautifully sweet and caramelised, and a favourite of mine:

and the green beans with almonds:

We drank glasses of shiraz from the extensive wine list to accompany the mains.
Next came dessert.  Tim went for the lamington ($32): 

This lamington was not made of cake and coconut - the centre of the lamington was a creamy smooth mousse filled with raspberry jam and resting on a chocolate ganache foundation, and covered with grated milk chocolate:

I went for the signature dessert, the Tipsy Cake:

This was a lovely buttery brioche, swimming in a boozy "tipsy" sauce, with roasted pineapple on the side.

We skipped the coffee as there were no flat whites or cappuccinos =- we didn't understand the coffee menu at all.

The meal finished with a complementary chocolate pot each:

The service at Heston was friendly and efficient.  I loved the "steam punk" atmosphere, the fact that I was seated where I could see the kitchen staff cooking through the viewing window, and that we had a window table with an expansive view of the Yarra River.

Dinner by Heston was a special experience which I enjoyed very much.

Dinner by Heston
Level 3 Crown Towers
Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006