Thursday, June 14, 2012

lamb kofta recipe

  • I remember watching MasterChef a few years back and they made this lamb kofta. I always forget to make it, and now I've forgotten the original recipe, but this is a classic. Simple, cheap and tasty - what's not to love?

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, use your hands to squish everything through. 

Roll into sausage-like shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper in the fridge for around 30 minutes. This helps them keep their shape when cooking.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan until nearly smoking, and cook these, turning regularly until they're all brown and yummy looking. Give them space, you might need to cook in two batches or more. When cooked, place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Serve with warmed pitta bread (I use Jamie Oliver's method: wet a large piece of baking paper, squeeze, and place the pitta bread in the middle folding over so it's all enclosed. Heat in a moderate oven for around 10 minutes. They'll be a little crispy on the outside, soft on the inside). I also like to serve these with homemade tzatsiki (plain yoghurt, garlic, grated cucumber and squeeze of lemon) and a salad made with tomato, fresh parsley or baby spinach, and diced tomato. Hello.

Addendum: okay, I cooked these tonight and I was feeling totes lazy so I simply put them on an oven tray, at 200 degrees centigrade, for around 15 minutes, turning once. They were AWESOME. I'm cooking them this was in future.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

quick cassoulet recipe

Now there are many, many people who'll tell you about the most authentic recipe for cassoulet, mainly dependent on which region in France they're from. Some things stay the same: there's white beans, sausage and meat. Others change. This is a very quick version which serves to ensure a tasty, high-protein  meal is on your table in under an hour. I'll give the three-day version a shot some day, but for now, I'll go with this.

This recipe is based on the version I saw created at SandBar Newcastle Beach on its Friday night series: three dishes, two worlds, one night. A chef gives tips, serves up three courses from Europe, with matching Australian wines. We went to the opening night - The Pyrenees - sensational. Planning on visiting at least a few more - including Paris, Loire Valley and maybe The French Riviera.

Anyway, here's my dish:

2 tins of white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin tomatoes, crushed
500g firm thick sausage (such as Toulouse sausage - but I used Mr Beak's Chorizo available from Woolworths - awesome)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g rindless bacon, diced
a few stalks of fresh thyme
a couple of bayleaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
a sloosh of white wine
some vegie stock to thin out the sauce
Breadcrumb topping: 1 cup fresh sourdough crumbs mixed with 2tbsp of fresh, chopped parsley and two cloves of crushed garlic.

Sauté the onion, bacon and garlic in a heavy-based pot. I used my le crueset bistro pan. Remove and set aside. Sauté the sausage until browned all over, remove from heat and slice into one inch slices on the diagonal. Return the onion to the pan and add the beans, tomatoes, paprika, a good sloosh of wine. Stir it and add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with vegie stock if needed to taste. Add the sausage and top with breadcrumb mixture. Add to a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is all golden and gorgeous.

Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

For variation you can add some cooked duck or chicken, pieces of pork or any meat you fancy - the sky's the limit. This was so good my husband's requested it a week after I last made it, and my 12-year-old bean-lover gobbled up every mouthful.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

quick chicken schnitzel recipe

One night I was trying to think of what to serve for dinner when a seven year old who's allergic to dairy came to dinner. I decided to try chicken schnitzel - it was a hit - and one I bring out every now and again to enthusiastic response. Here's what you need. This serves four, depending on the size of the chicken breast and how thinly you flatten it.

2 chicken breasts, sliced down the middle lengthwise, any excess fat or other erky bits removed.
plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs (these japanese breadcrumbs are delish!)

After slicing the chicken breasts in half, place on a cutting board and pound out to about 1/2 cm thick using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Do it gently, moving around the breast to flatten.

Start by dipping in the flour, covering both sides well, and dust off excess.

Then dip in the beaten egg.

Finally, dip in the panko crumbs. Plain panko's yum, but you can also add grated lemon zest, chopped fresh parsley and garlic to pump up the flavour {this is gorgeous on pork cutlets}.

Place about 1cm of oil in a frypan. I like to use olive oil for the flavour. Wait until it's hot enough to brown a breadcrumb in seconds, then add the schitzel. Don't overcrowd, I usually cook one at a time. Cook for around 2 minutes, or until brown, then turn over and repeat. When browned, place on an oven tray and put in a 180 degree oven for around 5- 10 minutes. It depends how hot your oven is, and how thick your schnitzel is, but you want them cooked through.

Serve with mash, vegies or salad and a wedge of lemon or lime.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

simple shepherd's pie recipe

My daughter loves shepherd's pie, and will often request it when asked what she'd like on the meal plans. My father-in-law's also a fan, so it's a go-to recipe in this house. Simple too. Here's how I cook it. I usually use lamb mince, but if I've had a lamb roast and have leftovers I'll chop up the lamb meat. Delish. When lamb mince isn't available I'll use beef mince and call it cottage pie.

500g of lamb mince
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp of dried herbs
a teaspoon of worchestershire sauce
250g beef stock
2 bayleaves
3 - 5 large potatoes, cooked and mashed with butter and milk (and salt)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

First of all, gently fry the onion and carrot in a little olive oil, slowly, until it's really tender. Remove from pan and add mince and brown. Add vegies and stir. Then add stock, herbs, sauce, and diced tomotoes. Add a couple of bayleaves and salt and pepper to taste. Now, bring to the boil, then turn it down and simmer for 30 mins.

While this is simmering boil up the potatoes then mash them with a little butter and milk. You want a nice, firm mash for this. Add salt to taste.

Keep testing the mince. I add a little extra sauce and salt and pepper depending on whether it needs it or not. I'll sometimes add a little vegemite (!) or a splodge of tomato sauce if the flavour needs souping up.

Pour this into a pie dish, making sure you remove the bay leaves. Now, gently dollop the mash on top, you want a nice coverage of at least 2cm thick. I then use the tines of a fork to draw pretty patterns on the top to make a nice crispy, fluffy texture.

Bake in a moderate oven for around 30 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Serve with steamed greens and corn on the cob. Maybe with a piece of crusty bread to mop up any leftover sauce.