Feeling refreshed and recuperated after our long summer break, the boys are now back at school and my mind can finally refocus a little on my dear Gather and Graze. I hope you’ve all been well over the past few months and may I (somewhat belatedly) wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year.
This recipe has been a popular one with our family through the summer time, though I can certainly picture us eating it year round, as the flavour is simply too good to set aside as a seasonal dish. Continue reading →
Our youngest son went from eating all manner of pureed vegetables when he was an infant, to almost a complete aversion to them when he became a child. It’s only recently that we’re seeing a gradual shift in his mind state when it comes to the consumption of vegetables. There’s not quite a sense of joy just yet, as he takes a mouthful, but we’re getting there… it’s a start! Continue reading →
A quick little post to share a delicious, yet fast and easy chicken dish that we enjoyed a couple of nights ago. So much to love about sticky, finger-licking chicken thigh fillets that take only a few moments to prep and about half an hour to cook! These will be fabulous when the kids go back to school in a couple of week’s time and I’m looking for those fast mid-week meals once again!
Both adults and children alike enjoyed the hit of chilli, though feel free to reduce the amount of chilli sauce if you prefer a little less heat. Recipe inspired by and adapted from a Bill Granger recipe.
1 Tablespoon (Chinese) Chilli & Garlic Sauce (or feel free to use a plain chilli sauce and add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger (Grated)
½ Teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1kg (Approx 8) Free-Range Chicken Thigh Fillets (trimmed of any excess fat)
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
In a large mixing bowl place the hoisin, chilli and soy sauces, the lemon juice, honey, ginger, garlic and Chinese Five Spice. Stir until well combined, then add the chicken and allow to marinate for about half an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray with foil.
Place the chicken pieces onto the lined tray, spooning any sauce left in the bowl over the top of them and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes (or until cooked through). Remove to a serving dish and scatter with the toasted sesame seeds. Perfect on a summer’s evening, served with a crisp white, some steamed jasmine rice and a crunchy Asian-style cabbage salad… or some lightly steamed greens.
Yesterday afternoon I spent a very pleasant hour or so sorting (and at long last, filing!) an ever-growing pile of recipes that have been ripped out of cooking magazines over the years. Often there are only a few recipes inside that truly appeal, so with each move we’ve made around the country or world, I’ve found it difficult to justify the continual packing and unpacking of so many magazines… plus I’m loathe to stack them onto our bookshelves, which quite honestly deserve a finer quality of literature. For the most part though they are all recipes that I would still like to try out at some stage in the future and finally having them in some sort of order will make this much more achievable.
The following recipe was one of the first that I sorted. It was immediately placed to one side with intentions of making it sooner rather than later. In fact it was made much sooner than I’d anticipated – that very same night! So quick and easy to make, yet beautifully fragrant, light and healthful. The whole family enjoyed this one… I prepared a little steamed jasmine rice to have on the side, to soak up some of the delicious broth at the end. We’re already looking forward to the next time this lovely dish graces our table! It came from a Delicious Magazine… a Valli Little recipe, I think… I adapted it very slightly, in that I didn’t panfry the salmon and prawns separately (who wants to wash up an extra frypan?!) but instead poached the salmon and prawns in the broth… it worked beautifully.
2-3 Tablespoons Laksa Paste (taste and add the extra tbsp if too mild)
400ml Can Coconut Milk
125ml/½ Cup Free-Range Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (I used dried ones)
4 Salmon Fillets (about 125g each)
12 Raw Prawns (Peeled and Deveined, tails left intact) or Cooked Prawns if you prefer (which will just need warming in the broth for a minute or so before serving)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
100g (approx 4-5 each) Snow Peas (Blanched for 2mins in boiling water, then drained)
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro Leaves (for Garnishing)
In a large deep frypan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the paste and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Now add the coconut milk, stock, sugar and kaffir lime leaves. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the salmon fillets to the broth and allow them to poach for 4-5 minutes (covering the pan with a lid). Then add the prawns and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Pour in the lime juice and fish sauce and remove from the heat as soon as the salmon and prawns are cooked to perfection.
Divide the seafood and snow peas among 4 shallow bowls and then pour over the broth and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve immediately as is, or with a side of steamed jasmine rice.
* In future I think I’ll toss the snow peas into the broth at the same time as the prawns, rather than boiling them separately in yet another saucepan… LOVE a one pot dish!
** Purchase the best Laksa paste you can find – it’s worth it. Or even better, make your own if you have the time.
Our evenings have begun to cool off. Evidence that Autumn is well and truly on it’s way. Rain in it’s various shapes and forms has been welcomed, regardless of whether it bucketed down like there was no tomorrow or drizzled finely in silver threads (as it’s doing right now). It’s brought a shade of green back to the landscape that is so much more pleasing to the eye than the brittle straw-brown that we’re all too used to in this part of the country. Summer has been harsh, as usual, yet we’ve made it through and slip fluidly into the delights of Autumn, without even a second thought.
During this change of seasons (welcomed perhaps in both hemispheres), a warm appetiser such as the one to follow can be a truly wonderful thing. Full of flavour and the perfect size for nibbling on between sips of chilled white wine. Or beer… they would certainly go well with a pale ale as well.
My offering for Angie’s Fiesta Friday extravaganza this week are these scrumptious Thai-infused appetisers – the perfect party food to share with friends at The Novice Gardener… or nibblies for a family of four on a cool drizzly afternoon!
75g/¾ Cup (Seaweed or Plain) Rice Crackers (crushed in the food processor)
1 Large Clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
1 Thumb-size Piece of Fresh Ginger (finely grated)
2 Shallots/Scallions (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Coriander (finely chopped)
1 Small Red Chilli (finely chopped and seeds removed)
1 Free-Range Egg White
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
¼ Teaspoon Sesame Oil
A few good grindings of Black Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
Vegetable Oil (for frying)
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and using a spoon (or your hands) mix until well combined. Roll mixture into balls (approximately 3cm in diameter).
Place enough oil into a medium-sized frying pan to be able to shallow fry and place the pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot enough, fry the chicken meatballs in batches, turning them all the time for even cooking. When they are golden brown (and cooked through), remove to a plate lined with some absorbent paper to sit for a few minutes.
Serve while warm/hot with some sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
Notes on Cooking:
The crushed rice crackers can always be substituted with bread crumbs (panko would be my preference).
I know that we’re not out of the woods yet… our spring has a fickleness about it, that is known to throw us back into wintery weather with little warning, at any given time. We’re still a few weeks away from predictable warmth and sunshine.
Rather encouragingly though, this past weekend has seen us while away the lunch hour outside on our back deck with a rather different style of food than in the months gone by. No more of the heavy, comfort-giving winter fare. With the onset of spring my body seems to unsurprisingly be craving the freshness and lightness of salads, grilled meat and fresh fruit.
Thinly slice the cabbage, fennel and spring onions. Dice the capsicum. Chop rather roughly the coriander (including the stalks) and also the cashew nuts. Combine all these ingredients together in a bowl and toss through as much of the dressing below as required. Top with a few extra chopped cashew nuts.
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
¼ Cup Mirin (or Rice Wine)
1 Tablespoon (Salt-Reduced) Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
Thumb-size piece Fresh Ginger (finely grated)
A good squeeze of lemon juice
A couple of grinds of Sea Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Sweet Chilli Sauce (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until completely combined. Adjust the amounts of soy sauce and lemon juice, as required.