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Archive: Mar 2014

Cheesey bacon and egg cups

Cheesey bacon and egg cups

Sometimes one has to have some fun with food, especially at breakfast which can get very tedious.
These are a lot of fun and really tasty
bacon
eggs
Seasonings of your choice
grated sharp cheese (optional)

On medium heat, fry the bacon on a skillet until lightly browned on each side, but still pliable.
Make sure it doesn’t get crispy because it will continue to cook in the oven and it needs to be able to bend in side the muffin tins.
Drain the bacon on paper towels and let cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the muffin tins with the bacon slices. To make it easier, line the tin with the meat side on the bottom and the fat side on the top.
Cover the bottom of the muffin cup with a piece of bacon, then sprinkle it with some grated cheese.
Crack an egg into each cup. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice, salt and pepper. (You can also sprinkle some more cheese over the top at this stage, or leave the egg visible.
Bake until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Loosen from the cups and remove. Enjoy!

The classic British shrimp cocktail sauce

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I can hear some of you saying “Huh? Why a recipe for this?” Well, having lived in the US for 17 years, I feel the need to post this recipe, as a shrimp cocktail sauce here is a very acidic, tomato sauce, rather than the smooth, creamy, tangy sauce I was brought up with in New Zealand and the UK. Do try this very easy recipe, and simply boil a bunch of good sized shrimp in advance until just cooked, leave to cool and serve with this divine sauce and some shredded lettuce or curly lettuce underneath.

Serves 6

Cocktail sauce ingredients
1 cup of best quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
2 tsp Worcester sauce
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 drops of hot sauce
2lbs cooked medium sized shrimp, peeled and tails intact as it’s easier to pick them up.
lettuce shredded or curly lettuce like frisee and lemon wedges for serving

For the cocktail sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Toss in the shrimp and toss around in the sauce till they are coated.
Arrange the shredded lettuce in attractive glass dishes and put a pile of the sauced shrimp on top of the lettuce.
Garnish with a dusting of paprika and a wedge of lemon.

There! Now I feel better already!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thai ginger lettuce wraps

Thai ginger pork lettuce wraps

 

This is a really easy dish to make and can be such fun to serve with a big platter of sturdy small lettuce leaves and a big bowl of the spicy, gorgeous Thai ginger pork.
Stick it in the center of the table, whether for starters or a main course and everyone can help themselves. It certainly cuts out the formality of dining with guests. Very low carb and inexpensive to make too

Serves 3 – 4 but can be easily doubled.
3/4 lb ground pork (you can use dark meat turkey, if you don’t eat pork)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp grapeseed oil, or canola oil
One 8 oz can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
24  Boston Bibb lettuce leaves, baby romaine lettuce leaves or a small lettuce leaf strong enough to hold the meat filling.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and 1 tbsp of the grapeseed oil. Mix well.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil until shimmering.
Add the ground meat mixture and stir fry over high heat, breaking up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro and remove from the heat.
Spoon the ground meat mixture into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates.
To eat, spoon the meat onto the lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

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Ultimate roast potatoes


You will never need another recipe after making these!  A polenta crust and cooking in duck fat ensures the roast potatoes are perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside

Serves 6
4lbs  potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
8 tbsp duck fat
5 tbsp polenta grains

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Parboil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until slightly tender when tested with a knife.
Drain well, return to the pan and cover with the lid.
Shake the  pan fairly vigorously to roughen the outsides of the potatoes.
Spoon the duck fat into a large roasting tin and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the fat is hot and melted.
Sprinkle the polenta over the potatoes and toss to coat (this will make them extra crispy). Carefully tip the polenta-coated potatoes into the roasting tin and turn gently to coat in the hot duck fat.
Roast for about 45 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.

 

 

 

 

Middle Eastern Hummus

Middle Eastern Hummus

Everyone needs a good recipe for hummus and as soon as you make it, you’ll wonder why you spent so much money buying it!

1 cup of good quality chickpeas (soaked overnight in twice the water volume and a pinch of baking soda)
or, if time doesn’t allow to soak, use a good quality tin of cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds (roast in a frying pan until fragrant)
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste with a little salt
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
About 6 fl oz of good olive oil
** You can also add some fresh chopped chili for more flavor

Place the soaked chickpeas in a large pot and fill with fresh water, cook for about 45 to 60 mins until they are tender. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Place the chickpeas, cumin seeds, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of reserved cooking liquid in a food processor. Add about 3 fl oz of the olive oil and process, for a minute. Then add extra olive oil and cooking liquid to this mixture to get a smooth consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste

Oil Packed-Tuna, Avocado, White Bean, Almond and Arugula Salad

This almost doesn’t need a recipe, but the combination is so delicious and healthy, I had to post it.

Serves 4 and makes about 1/3 cup dressing
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
honey
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 oz baby arugula
1/3 cup of lightly toasted slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (white kidney beans)  canned is fine.
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
6 oz olive oil-packed tuna (preferably line or poll caught)
4 oz crumbled Greek feta cheese
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and diced small

Whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic, Dijon, a pinch of salt and a couple of twists of black pepper in a small bowl until well combined.
Add honey to taste and slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined.
Taste and add more salt, pepper or honey if desired.
* The dressing can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
Arrange the arugula in a salad bowl and top with the beans, quinoa, tuna, feta, almonds and avocado.
Drizzle with half the dressing and serve, passing the additional dressing on the side

Orange scented halibut with fennel, orange, red onions and oregano

This is the loveliest, simplest and lightest summery dish. I have modified this recipe which originally came from Rachel Ray. The Sicilian flavor combo of orange, red onion, oregano and fennel is such a stunningly tangy combination with the sauteed fish.

Serves 4

4 (6 ounce) halibut fillets
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp plus some for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Grated rind of 2 oranges, keep the rest of the orange for the warm salad part of the recipe
3 to 4 medium bulbs of fennel, quartered, core removed and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, or two smaller ones, thinly sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar, a couple of splashes
A good handful of Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves.

Heat the oven to 450 F
Drizzle the olive oil over the fish and season with the salt, pepper and grated orange rind. Let the fish sit in the marinade to soak up the oils of the grated orange zest while you prepare the oranges.

Peel the oranges as you would a melon; cut off the ends, stand them upright and cut the pith in thin strips from top to bottom. Cut the orange across into thin slices.

Put about 3 or 4 tbsp olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the halibut and sear on one side for about 5 minutes.
While it is searing, preheat another skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to the pan, about two turns of the pan, then add the fennel and onions, season well with salt and pepper and cook 5 to 8 minutes until seared and beginning to soften.
While the fennel is cooking, turn the halibut and sear for about 3 minutes.
Put the frying pan with the halibut into the top of the hot oven for about 4 minutes while you’re finishing off the fennel dish and plating it.
Add the vinegar to the fennel mixture and give the pan a shake. Remove from the heat and toss in the orange slices, the parsley and oregano. Mix together gently.
Adjust seasoning and serve it on dinner plates topped with the halibut.

60 second aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to die for

This is the most wonderful garlic aioli, and all you need is a platter of crudites (raw vegetables) and bread and you have a fabulous starter for a crowd.
It is highly recommended to purchase a stick blender like this one;

Then all you need is;
3 large whole cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
4 eggs, at room temp
2 to 2 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt

Get a tall glass jar and put in the garlic halves and the 4 whole eggs.
Now, add your stick blender and sit it on the bottom of the jar, over the ingredients and turn on.

Very gradually, add the olive oil in a steady stream, keeping the stick blender on all the time.

You will end up with a gorgeous thick garlic mayonnaise. Now put in the lemon juice a tsp sat a time, sprinkle in a little salt, blend with the stick blender, and taste until it’s the perfect flavor for you!

Cheesy, crispy baked cauliflower tots

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These are an absolute winner as a starter or a snack and even children love them, not realizing they aren’t tater tots!
This recipe makes about 24 small tots and is modified from a recipe on “Kaylin’s Kitchen” a terrific food blog.

1/2 large head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese (preferably not the packaged pre grated stuff)
1/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (again, not pre grated, preferably)
2 tbsp almond or plain flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp your favorite seasoning blend, like Spike or Montreal etc
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Spray a mini muffin tin with non stick spray
Cut away the leaves of the cauliflower, but use most of the inner core part for the recipe.
Coarsely chop the cauliflower, place in a microwave proof bowl, cover with cling film and microwave for 2 minutes on high so that the cauliflower is slightly soft.

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Quickly take off the cling film and let the steam escape, and if you see any water in the bottom of the bowl, put the cauliflower into a colander to let the water drain off.
Put the steel blade in the food processor, add the cauliflower and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped but still slightly chunky. (Be careful you don’t end up with a puree!) Drain out any water from the bowl of the food processor.

 

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Put the finely chopped cauliflower into a bowl and add the grated cheese, parmesan cheese, flour, salt, seasoning blend and ground pepper.
Stir until the ingredients are really well combined. Add the egg and stir until the ingredients are mostly coated with egg. Don’t be tempted to add any more egg!
Using a “one tablespoon scoop” or a steel one-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out rounded spoonfuls of the mixture and place in the min muffin tin.
Bake for 15 minutes then carefully turn each tot over in the muffin tin and bake for another 15 minutes or until the tots are nicely browned on both sides.
Serve these hot and straight from the oven while they’re still crispy

 

 

Coconut curry poached fish

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What could be nicer than a tender piece of fish poached gently in a mildly spiced Thai curry broth?
Gorgeous!

Serves 4
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste ( or you could raise it to 2 1/2 tbsp if you like spicy hot)
3 cups coconut milk
2 Keffir lime leaves, stalk removed and finely sliced
2 thick stalks of lemon grass, trimmed of the coarse outside stalk and the tender interior chopped finely
4 halibut or sea bass or cod fillets
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
Hot cooked rice or spiralized zucchini to serve the fish on.

Heat a 12 inch straight sided skillet over medium heat until very hot, then add the coconut oil and swirl the skillet to coat.
Add the chopped red onion, lemon grass and Keffir lime leaves and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until it is soft.
Then add the curry paste and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the paste is fragrant.
Stir in the coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
Once the coconut milk comes to a boil, stir well, season the fish fillets on both sides with a bit of fine grain sea salt, then carefully add the fillets to the skillet.
Spoon some of the broth over the fish then cover the skillet and turn off the heat.
Let the skillet stand until the fish is opaque and firm to the touch (9 to 12 minutes).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a platter and tent loosely with foil to keep it warm.
Return the skillet to the stove and bring the coconut curry to a simmer over medium heat.
Let the sauce continue to simmer for about 4 minutes, so that it reduces slightly, then stir in the lime juice and fish sauce and remove the skillet from the heat.
Put a mound of hot rice on the bottom of 4 wide rimmed shallow bowls, place the piece of fish gently on top and ladle the sauce around the fish
Serve immediately.