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Showing posts from December, 2010

Machbous ala dajaj

*This is a delicious spiced chicken and rice Middle Eastern dish - it is not spicy, but it is very savoury!*

Serves 5-6

2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon Baharat (see recipe here)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 chicken, about 1.5kg (3lb), cut in pieces (I used just chicken breast to save on bothering with bones!)
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I didn't bother peeling)
1/2 teaspoon powdered Loomi (dried lime), or grated lemon zest
3 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods
3 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a deep heavy pan, gently fry onion in ghee/butter until translucent and beginning to brown.  Stir in Baharat and tumeric and cook 2 minutes longer.
Add chicken pieces and turn in onion mixture over medium heat to brown lightly.  Add tomatoes, Loomi/lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom pods and salt, stirring well to combine.
Add water, cover and …

Baharat

Baharat is available in Middle Eastern markets and specialty spice stores, however if you can't get it for whatever reason, this recipe is very easy to put together and can be used for multiple recipes. 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (I halved the recipe - makes plenty if you're not going to use it terribly often)

4 tablespoons ground black peppercorns
2 tablespoons ground corriander seeds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cloves
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons paprika

Purchase the freshest possible ground spices.  Combine and store in a tightly sealed jar in a cook, dark place.  Use within 6 months.

Pollo alla Toscana

This is a Tuscan-style country chicken dish; it is absolutely delicious!  I served it with corn on the cob and this bread (below), and it was a really good accompaniment!  As usual, I altered the dish a little, by leaving out the mushrooms - because none of us are big mushroom fans in our household.

Serves 4.

20g (0.70oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling chicken stock
1.5kg (3.3lb) chicken (I used just chicken breast rather than a whole chicken - less fuss - and I had a bit less than this on hand; it was still great!)
50g (1.75oz) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150g (5.3oz) button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
425g (15oz) can tomatoes
425g (15oz) can tomato puree

Place porcini mushrooms in heatproof bowl, cover with boiling stock, stand 30 minutes.  Drain mushrooms, reserve stock, chop mushrooms.
Cut thighs and legs from chicken.  Separate legs and thighs.  Cut wings from chicken.  Using poultry shears or sc…

Pane, Cipolla e Pomodoro

This is a very delicious tomato and onion bread.  It makes quite a good sized loaf, but keeps well overnight in an airtight container.

Tomato Filling
4 medium ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium red Spanish onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used a bit less dried as I couldn't get it fresh)

Bread
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm milk, approximately
1 egg, lightly beaten

Tomato Filling - prepare first.
Peel tomatoes, remove seeds, chop flesh (I didn't peel the tomatoes but I removed the seeds).  Heat oil in pan, add onions and garlic, cook, stirring, until onions are soft.  Add tomatoes, cheese, oregano, cook stirring, 5 minutes.  Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are softened, stirring occasionally.  Cool.

Bread
Sift flour into large bowl, add yeast, sugar, salt and 1/3 cup of the tomato filling; mix well.  Sti…

Honey Mustard Glaze

This delicious glaze can be used on chicken or beef or pork.

Use on up to 1.8kg (4lb) of meat.

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion (1/2 cup), chopped
1 cup honey
1/3 cup white vinegar
225g (8oz) country-style Dijon mustard (I used ordinary Dijon)
2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh if possible)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Melt butter in saucepan until sizzling; add onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until onion is tender (6-8 mins).
Stir in all remaining ingredients.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, untill mixture comes to a full boil (6-8 mins).
Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until sauce thickens slightly and flavours blend (8-10 mins).  Remove from heat.

Begin cooking meat; when almost done, brush glaze over (about 1/4 cup of glaze) and grill for 10-15 minutes.  Turn and repeat glazing process and continue grilling for another 10-15 minutes (until meat is tender).
Serve with remaining glaze.

*Adapted from Taste of America.

Khao pad gai horapa

This Thai recipe is a chicken and Thai basil fried rice.  I didn't have all the ingredients, so I substituted some out, and it was REALLY delicious - all of us enjoyed it, even the children.  It's not difficult to make, but there are a few hints that will make it even simpler... 
One of the secrets to making great fried rice is that the rice must be cooked and cooled prior to making the recipe - the easiest way to do this is to cook it and spread it on a tray with baking paper underneath and absorbent paper over the top before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  This will cause the rice to not only cool off, but dry out, also.
Another secret to great fried rice is that it must be stir-fried over very high heat as quickly as possible.  In order to do this, prepare all ingredients before beginning - before you even heat your wok.

Serves 4.

1/4 cup peanut oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh long green thai chilies, seeded, chop…

Ropa Vieja

This Mexican recipe is a thick meaty stew.  It is delicious, even to a person who is not usually a fan of Mexican spicy foods.  "The trick lies in cooking the meat until it is almost falling apart, then teasing it into shreds with two forks.  Prepare the meat first."  I didn't have any steak on hand, so I used ground beef, and it was very tasty like that!

Serves 4-6.

1kg (2lb) chuck steak, cubed (or ground beef)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water or beef stock
1 can (or 500g/1lb fresh) tomatoes

Bring meat to a boil with all other ingredients except the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer over very low heat for 2-3 hours (using ground beef shortens this time dramatically as it only needs to simmer until the ground beef is cooked through).  After the first hour, add the tomatoes: they should simmer with the meat for at least 45 minutes (even if you use ground beef - this is to make the flavour better).  Meanwhile, prepare the followi…

Delectable Mini Donut Muffins

*This recipe is from here on Allrecipes.com.  Even though it is just a muffin recipe, it is amazing how much these donut muffins really do taste like donuts - only better!!  WARNING:  these are so delicious, you might find it hard to stop eating them!!*

Makes about 24.

1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup margarine (or butter), melted
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted  [I found I needed more than this]
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini-muffin cups.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the baking powder and flour until just combined. Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about half full.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup of melted butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar …