Tuesday, 25 September 2012

massamun curry

I often wonder if I ate enough potatoes I might actually turn into a chip; chips are amongst my top five of favourite foods. Lately though it's been eating and cooking a lot of Thai food and well, for the moment I haven't quite turned Thai yet and you know what, I've discovered its one of those foods which you don't get sick of cooking. Adding to our repetoire is this scrumptious Massamun Beef Curry;  and yep it does have a sprinkling of potatoes in it to satisfy those potato cravings!

Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a saucepan and lightly brown 2 finely chopped shallots for 2-3 minutes. Add 2tbsp massamun curry paste and 50g roasted unsalted peanuts and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add 500g diced chuck steak and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 400g coconut milk, 150mL chicken stock, 2 tbsp fish sauce and 40g brown sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meat gets tender. Add 150g diced potato, 1 sliced onion and 2.5 tbsp of tamarind puree and cook for another 6 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Adjust to taste with extra fish sauce, sugar and tamarind puree.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with shredded kaffir lime leaves and chopped chilli.

There'll be one day when I'll actually make my own Massamun curry paste but for the moment I'm more than happy to buy the pre-made ones from the supermarket. In this instance, I've used the Valcom branded one and it tastes pretty good (being the first one I've tried and all). Have to say curries reheat and taste even better the next day so I was more than happy to sit behind my desk at work the next day and gobble this one up!

Monday, 24 September 2012

marion grasby's thai basil & chilli stir-fry

It's rather handy having a supermarket near work. In my case, it's Coles and more often than not on a lunch time, you'll find me in there browsing the aisles topping up my snack stash at work or picking up last minute dinner items which yes, I ever so casually forget to buy on the weekends. Anyway, it's healthy to get away from the work desk at lunch time and doing your home grocery shopping is a good form of stress relief!

If you read my blog, you've probably seen a handful of posts from me for Marion Grasby's packet Thai food. On this particular wander, they had them going for $5 each (from the usual $6.99) so I grabbed another two to try.

I've found these packet mixes are great for those days when you want a quick, lazy dinner that doesn't require much effort. All the sauces/packets in the box are labelled in order of when they should go in. This one even comes with jasmine rice and the only things you'll need is some meat and vegies.

Dinner is served in about 20 minutes, that includes all the prep work.

The boy and I both cook up a rather mean stir fry these days (practice makes perfect!) so found this packet mix almost a little quick to make. It's bizarre; somehow or other we got past that barrier of not wanting to cook and we're all that much better for it. Still a big fan of Marion though and well, you need to reward yourself with some lazy days in the kitchen to enjoy cooking on the whole.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

japan city @ top ryde shopping centre

I'm loving the warmer weather at the moment; welcome spring! Time for some lighter foods to embrace the warmth and sushi is generally my food of choice. Nestled as part of Japan City at Top Ryde Shopping Centre is a sushi/tea shop which is perfect when you're after just a small bite to eat.

Spicy Tuna Roll for the chilli-seekers.

Our sushi set that ended up coming with both green tea and miso soup. You're meant to only get one of the two but must have been our lucky day and we got both!

And that's me, pretty chuffed when it comes to all things food.

There's only half a dozen tables so get in quick if you want to try it out. There's free wifi for those who want to settle down with their laptops and for everyone else, you're also sitting inside the Japan City store so a spot of shopping is rather tempting whilst you eat. Unfortunately, there's not much else on the menu except for sushi but the sushi is quite good!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

tagliatelle with prawns & chilli

The boy and I have been doing a lot of cooking lately; it helps us save a little money and means we're eating a bit healthier so win-win. Some days it's a bit of a struggle, especially after work and we're both tired but getting past that barrier and just making that effort to cook goes a long way. If you were to ask me for my top three cookbooks for the home-cook, these would be Hamlyn's '200 Thai favourites', Annabel Langbein's ' Free Range in the city' and Nigella's 'Nigella Express'.  For a quick, wholesome and plate-licking delicious pasta dish, look no further than Nigella's taglietelle with prawns and chilli.

Defrost 200g frozen uncooked peeled prawns. Cook 250g tagliatelle according to packet instructions. Heat 2 heads of chopped garlic and 20mL oil in a large pan and fry 4 spring onions and 1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes for a couple of minutes, then tip in 200g sundried tomatoes (including the oil), and then add the defrosted prawns. When both have warmed through, add 125mL white wine and let to bubble up. Add in 50g spinach leaves and stir until wilted a little. Drain the pasta when ready, reserving 125mL or so of the cooking liquid, and toss the drained pasta in the chilli-prawn pan.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve. And if you're hungry, you'll be like the boy and me and gobble all this up.

One word - amazing! We used up our bag of frozen prawns which mum had given us when we moved out. She'd bought them from Costco and I can certainly vouch for them. Have been hunting down for a replacement bag but all the other supermarkets seem to be selling frozen cooked prawns; perfect excuse for a trip to Costco methinks.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

thai style tofu fried rice

It was actually dad who bought me my first Annabel Langbein cookbook; I didn't think much of it at the time and in fact, the book probably sat on my shelf for a good couple of months before I actually opened it up. The first time I used one of her recipes was after reading about Annabel on another food blog and it was the story about her that got me to give the recipes a go (she's from New Zealand and her career in the food industry has spanned more than two decades). Trust me, I haven't turned back. Since moving out, the boy and I have been cooking our way through Annabel's 'Free Range in the City' cookbook which offers a wide selection of everyday meals and we have yet to find a bad recipe!

This recipe for Thai style tofu fried rice requires some day old rice so best to cook a bit more rice the night before (otherwise you'll probably get a sloppy fried rice if you use fresh boiled rice).

Place 300g sliced tofu in a bowl with 1 tbsp soy sauce and stir to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and fry tofu on high heat until lightly browned. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 sliced capsicum, 2 thinly sliced spring onions and 1 red chilli and sizzle for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Lightly whisk 2 eggs and 2 tsp fish sauce together in a bowl and add to the pan, keep stirring. Add 3 cups day old rice, 2 handfuls of chopped bok choy and 2 tbsp soy sauce and cook until heated through (about 5 minutes). Add 2 tbsp toasted peanuts and 2 tbsp chopped coriander.

As Annabel puts it, makes enough for some today and some left over for tomorrow.

This recipe is absolutely amazing! A few bites in and you'll find yourself wanting more - something about the chilli and the fish sauce which gives this recipes a real tang to whet the appetite. I have a whole load more recipes from Annabel to post but out of all the ones we've tried so far, this is probably my favourite. If you get around to trying this recipe, let me know what you think!