Cauliflower & Coconut Curry

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Using vegetables that are in season is one of the best ways to keep your grocery costs down.  This curry although I’ve called it Cauliflower curry can also have chicken or fish and if you are looking for something vegetarian or vegan friendly just add mushrooms or squash, both would work well.  This is quite a light curry, is very quick to make and doesn’t need a huge pantry of spices.

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Cauliflower & Coconut Curry
Serves 4

1/2 cauliflower (florets
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tbs cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 fresh red chillies, chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs soft brown sugar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2tbs garam masala

Optional:
6 chicken thigh fillets or 400g whole button/brown mushrooms or squash or fish equivalent

Instructions:

If using chicken start by cutting the thighs into bite sized chunks.  Heat the oil in the pan and brown the meat.  Set aside for later

Add a little more oil and using the same pan cook the chopped onion until golden.  Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and quickly stir through the onions (be careful not to burn the garlic).  Continue stirring and add the chilli powder, turmeric and sugar.  Once combined add the tin of tomatoes and coconut milk.  Stir well and add the cauliflower (and chicken, fish, squash or mushrooms). Simmer until the cauliflower and other ingredients are cooked through.

Just before serving stir through the garam masala and add the spinach.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Cooking time: Less than 30 minutes

 

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Chorizo Sausage, Potato and Egg Bake

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It’s not quite a curry, but it does contain chilli; hopefully you’ll let me off! This is a really simple budget friendly, midweek meal.  Very hearty and easily ready in 30 mins.

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Chorizo Sausage, Potato and Egg Bake

Serves 4
Cost per serve: AUD $3.50

4 medium waxy potatoes (chopped roughly)
6 fresh chorizo sausages (sliced)
1 brown onion (sliced)
1 small jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 green capsicum pepper (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  While oven is heating up, prepare all the ingredients as listed above.  Place the roughly chopped potatoes into a microwave proof dish with a lid, with 1/4 cup of water and blast for 6 minutes or until just cooked. Set potatoes aside.

While the potatoes are cooking you can start browning the chorizo and onions in an stove top/oven proof dish (or separate if not available). Once the chorizo is browned add the jalapeno, thyme, garlic, capsicums and tomatoes.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the potatoes.  Mix through before making 4 wells in the chorizo mixture and then cracking 1 egg into each.

Place the dish in the oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Can be served with salad, cooked veggies, rice or pasta.

Slow Cooker: Thai Red Curry

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Yesterday I thought I’d try making Thai curry a bit differently.  Would cooking it in a slow cooker work? or would the coconut milk curdle?  It turned out brilliantly!  Sorry I don’t have a photo of the finished dish, I rushed home from work and was famished, so gobbled it down before I remembered to photograph it.  This may not be an authentic cooking method but it was so simple and exceptionally tasty.  There is also no reason why this needs to be chicken, it could be veggie or beef or even fish – Great!

Thai Red Curry Paste

Serves 4 – Cooking time 4hrs in Slow Cooker on Auto

4 dried red chillies
3 fresh long red chillies
1 tsp ground white pepper
1/ tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
4 cloves of fresh garlic
1 tbs finely chopped lemongrass root
1/2 cup of fresh coriander with root
1 small brown onion roughly chopped
1 tsp galangal powder
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1/4 tsp salt

Step 1:  Blend together all the above ingredients to form a thick paste, try not to add water, because we don’t wan’t this to be too runny.

Slow Cooker Step

2 chicken breast fillets diced (sliced beef or veggies or tofu??? don’t ask me I don’t cook with it)
2 kaffir lime leaves sliced thinly
1 400m can coconut milk
1/4 cup of chicken/vegetable stock
2-3 cups of veggies of your choice (pumpkin, zucchini and mushrooms)
1/2 tbs of brown sugar or palm sugar
1-2 tbs of fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil

Step 2:  Preheat your slow cooker on the hot setting for 15 mins and then add the curry paste, coconut milk, sliced kaffir lime leaves, chicken and stock.  Stir and set your slow cooker to auto.  I cooked mine for 4 hrs (my slow cookers low function doesn’t seem to cook, so didn’t want to try.)  After 3 hrs add in your vegetables and stir, I used pumpkin, zucchini and mushrooms that all have a quick cooking time and high water content.  After 4 hrs stir through the Thai basil, sugar and fish sauce to taste.  Serve with jasmine rice.

****this had quite a spicy chilli heat, but if I wasn’t cooking for the family I would have liked it to go just a bit hotter.  Maybe 1 more dried chilli****

Lamb Tikka Masala

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tikkaIdeally I would make this in the Tandoor oven so it has a nice charcoal flavour, but knew I wouldn’t have time to oversee the cooking, so opted for a conventional oven approach.  This isn’t a authentic Tikka Masala recipe, just my experimentation.

Lamb Tikka Masala

Serves 5

Shoulder of Lamb
1kg fresh tomatoes
7 green cardamon pods (bashed)
1/8 tsp ground mace
2 cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger grated
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
2 tsp fresh chilli sambal
1 1/2tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp runny honey
2 tsp sugar
100ml cream
50g ghee
1/2 tsp tandoor food colouring
1 onion sliced
fresh coriander leaves

Marinade:
200ml natural set yoghurt
2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground fennel
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbs fresh ginger grated
1/2 lemon (squeezed)

Step 1:  Marinade the Whole Shoulder of Lamb overnight or at least 2hrs. Prick the lamb with a skewer to help infuse the flavour. When cooked cut the meat off the bone in large bite size pieces, those will be added to the masala sauce. This can be done ahead of time or prior to cooking the sauce.

Step 2:  Slow roast the marinated lamb 25 minutes per 500g at 180C on a tray with a roasting rack, so all the fat can drip away.  I personally cover my roasts and then leave to brown in the last 20 minutes.

Step 3:  The Masala Sauce.  First we need to quarter the tomatoes and sweat down to a pulp along with the cardamon pods and mace.  Set aside to cool when cooked.  While resting the tomatoes, in a new pan gently fry the garlic, ginger and fenugreek seeds for a minute in ghee or oil.  Add the sambal, chilli powder and stir through. Add the pre-cooked lamb pieces and continue to heat gently.

In a blender liquidise the tomatoes then using a sieve strain the tomato mixture straight onto the lamb, this will remove the seeds and will leave a smooth and silky tomato sauce.  Increase the heat of the lamb to gently bubbling for 5 minutes and add the garam masala, sugar, honey.  While waiting for the lamb mixture fry the onion slices until golden. Finish off the lamb by stirring in the cream and topping with fried onions and coriander leaves.

Stick People: Art Series

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I have finally completed my Stick People Art Series in support of my son’s World Challenge Trip to Nepal.  All the images were inspired by the journey they will take and have a colour theme of the Buddhist prayer flags.  The aim is to evoke, happiness, friendship, peace and teamwork!

Success

Friendship

Growth

Growth

Challenge

Challenge

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Peace

Peace

All paintings are acyrlic on single thick canvas and will also be printed as a set of gift cards. I hope you enjoy them!

Friendship
50.8 x 60.9cm
Cost: AUD$85

Growth
50.8 x 60.9cm
Cost: AUD$85

Challenge
50.8 x 60.9cm
Cost: AUD$65

Mindfulness
61 x 30cm
Cost: AUD$65

Peace
61 x 30cm
Cost: AUD$65

Gorkhali Chicken

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Adding to my Nepalese recipes, I tried making Gorkhali Chicken a dish I have just about every time I visit a Nepalese restaurant.  This is a really simple recipe and lends itself wonderfully to some great fusion cooking ideas.  Left overs, although there are rarely any in our house, would be delicious for a lunch wrap with salad and yogurt dressing.

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800g Chicken Thigh Fillet (quartered)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 onion chopped
1 tbs chopped ginger
1 long red chilli chopped
1 cup tinned chopped tomatoes
2 cups of mixed capsicum (roughly chopped)
5 whole dried kashmiri chillies
1 tbs runny honey
fresh coriander
ghee/oil
salt & pepper
water

Marinade:
1 tbs cumin powder
1 tbs turmeric powder
1 tsp schezwan pepper
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs hot chilli sauce
1 tbs garlic paste
1 tbs fresh ginger

Directions: Prepare the chicken and marinade for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.  Grill the chicken pieces until slightly charred and set aside.  In a large wok or fry pan heat the ghee/oil and add the chopped onion, cook until golden, then add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute.  Add the capsicums, cumin, tomatoes, honey and grilled chicken and cook until the capsicums soften slightly.  Water can be added to give a little more sauce to the mixture. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice or flat bread.

 

Water Series: Turbulent Water

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Wow it has been 2 years since I picked up a paintbrush and it felt like it!  My paintings definitely are a window into my soul and completing a painting that was started many years ago was truly a frustrating experience.  My vibe isn’t the same and my intention was completely different.  However, I persevered and worked hard until my iPod ran out of charge and SnowPatrol stopped playing.  It was time to stop, reflect and accept I was finished.  The piece may not have the precision or same tender loving care bestowed upon it as my previous Water Series paintings, but I do quite like it, for its hectic battle.

Turbulent Water 7th July 2014

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Turbulent Water
Acrylic/mixed media on canvas
Size: 75 x 60 x 4cm
Cost: AU$215

World Challenge Fundraising

Himalaya Art Series: Ice Field

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World Challenge Fundraising – Artwork No. 4

After a day of freezing temperatures and the resin setting before I had a chance to do anything, today I cranked up the heating, creating a whole new host of problems! Runny resin on a small scale such as this or some of the other even smaller items I worked on is very tricky and there isn’t a lot you can do to control it.

Ice Field

Ice Field

Ice Field
Glass Coat on Resin
20.3 x 20.3 x 4cm
Cost AU$30.00

Lamb Poleko

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I thought about using the tandoor oven to cook this one as it would have given an authentic chargrilled flavour,poleko” meaning to grill in Nepalese, sadly I didn’t have time today.  So lets just say this is a slightly different take on Sunday roast inspired by the Nepalese dish Lamb Poleko.

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2.2kg leg of lamb (boned, butterflied, keep the bones for roasting)

Step 1 Marinade:  Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender and rub all over the lamb, leave to marinade overnight in the refridgerator

1 tbs hot curry powder
3 tsp schezwan peppercorns
1 tsp chilli powder
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 tbs chopped fresh ginger
2 tbs tomato paste
2 large fresh tomatoes
3 tbs honey
pink himalayan rock salt

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Step 2:   Chop up the mango into small pieces, grind the peppercorns and star anise and add to the mango along with the coriander. Rub all over the marinated butterflied leg of lamb and then tie into a roast shape with cooking string. Reapply marinade and set the meat down on top of the saved bones in a roasting dish (this will allow the fat to drain and not saturate the lamb) Cover the lamb.  Place in a low oven 140 C for 2 hrs and then remove the lid (tin foil) for the final 30 mins to allow the meat to brown.  I cooked my lamb for 3 1/2 hrs and even on this low temperature I think it was a little to long, so I have adjusted the time.

2 cups of frozen mango (fresh if possible)
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp schezwan peppercons
1 star anise
1 cup chopped fresh coriander

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I served my lamb with riata, lemon and coleslaw and paratha’s

 

Tomato Chicken Tarkari

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Hey I’m back with some more curries.  I have lots of planning to do, as my son is doing the World Challenge to Nepal, so guess what I’m cooking up lots of Nepalese dishes for Nepalese food night fundraisers!  I have the tiniest oven and no entertaining space, so this is going to be a serious challenge!

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Tomato Chicken Tarkari
Serves 4

1kg Chicken thigh fillet, diced
3 Medium onions, chopped
6 Large tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp fenugreek dried seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
3 dried Kashmiri chillies, chopped
3 small bay leaves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
5 fresh long red chillies
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs bran oil
2 tbs mustard seed oil
Pink himalayan sea salt
Fresh coriander to garnish

First prepare the chilli paste.  Place the fresh red chillies, garlic, ginger, ground cumin and ground coriander in a blender and whiz in to a chunky paste, you may need to add a little water.  Set aside.

Place the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl (or zip lock bag) and combine the ground black pepper, ground turmeric and salt.  If you are wondering why not add the turmeric to the chilli paste, it is because it will stain your blender and will be almost impossible to get clean again.

In a large pan heat the bran oil and fry the fenugreek seeds until they brown, then add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dried red chillies and bay leaves. Fry until the seeds release their aroma and begin to hop about. Now add the mustard seed oil and then the chopped onions and fry until brown.  Add the chilli mixture, mix well and reduce the heat for a minute or so.

Add in the chicken pieces, coat them well in the spice mixture and brown.  Finally add in the tomatoes and stock and simmer for approximately 30 minutes with the lid on. Cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid off to reduce the stock to the desired consistency.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice

Preparation Time:   15 minutes
Cooking Time:            45minutes
Serves:                            4-5 people