Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Peanut Curry

Ok, so this has been a long time coming. I hope it is worth it though when you dig into this tasty peanut chicken curry, which I served with rice, homemade raita and papadums (YUM!)

I am a complete sook when it comes to chili so this is a super mild curry but if you like it hot, then go for gold cut back on some of the added yogurt.

300g Chicken breast cut into smallish chunks.
1 Can coconut milk (I use light but it is up to you)
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 Generous tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 Cup chicken stock – I like to have this on hand in case it starts to turn into a gooey mess. The stock just thins it out with taking away from the flavour.
¼ Cup natural yogurt (this is what I add to cool it down so if you are after a hotter curry skip this step)
1 Onion chopped
Handful or roasted unsalted peanuts

In a large skillet or wide base saucepan cooked chicken until golden brown.
Add in onions and cook for a few minutes.
Add in curry powder and peanut butter and cover mixture.
Now pour in the can of coconut milk.
When mixture is a nice smooth constancy add in peanuts and allow simmering for 20 minutes stirring every now and then. If it begins to thicken up too much add a little stock.
Now taste to see if you need to add the yogurt. And stir well. Even if you like it hot I recommend you still add a little yogurt, as the bitterness is a nice contrast to the creamy peanut butter.
To serve put the curry over some hot boiled rice and other condiments.

Serves 4 and is really good the next day or two!

2 Tasty and Easy Starters

Super Onion Dip
We had some lovely friends around for a lunch on Saturday to catch up before they head off for what sounds like an awesome holiday. I was thinking about what starters to serve that were easy to prepare and remembered an onion dip that I had tried at our housewarming. I had tried this one to please Luke who given the choice from all sorts of lovely fresh dips or a Kraft French Onion Dip would sadly go for the latter. While I did not want to serve something like this to guests I did want to please the boy and prepare an onion dip to be all others. The recipe is more of a formula which makes it super easy to double or triple for big groups. I highly recommend you give it a go at your next gathering.

50/50 Sour Cream & Greek or Natural Yogurt
( for 4 people I used roughly 1 cup of each )
2 onions finely chopped ( 1 for every cup of dip)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ( 1 for each onion )
¼ packet French onion soup mix

Mix yogurt, sour cream and French onion soup mix together. Add more soup to taste if you wish.
Put mix back into the fridge.
Heat oil in a frypan. If you are increasing quantities you will need a saucepan than will allow onion to cover the base of the ban in a thin layer.
Add onions and coat all in the hot oil.
Reduce to a medium heat.
Cook onions until dark golden brown stirring frequently so they don’t catch. This can take roughly 30 minutes.
When onions are a nice rich colour ( you know they are ready when you start to see slightly black bits appear ) remove from heat.
Mix them into the yogurt/cream mix. When the hot onions hit the cold dip they go lovely and crunchy.

Serve with lovely toasted pieces of Turkish bread.

Thai Style Meatballs
The other starter I wanted to serve was Thai Style Meatballs. I had made these a few nights earlier and put them into a stir fry which was very tasty. When thet are cooking the sauces create a caramelised layer and they are super moist and tasty.

400g Pork Mince
1tbsp Soy sauce
1tsbp Sweet soy sauce (Kapis Manis )
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp dried basil flakes (don’t worry if you don’t have any, It is for looks more than anything else)

Mix all ingredients well.
Roll into small balls and place on tray.
Once all are rolled place in the fridge for about an hour.
Cook on a BBQ at medium heat. They can also be done on a frypan but the BBQ adds a wonderful flavour.

Serve with various dipping sauces including soy or sweet chilli.

Makes around 25.

Wontonlicious! – Pork Mince Wontons

You may have noticed I have a love for dumplings. They are just so versatile!
As promised I am going to share my pork mince wonton recipe with you. Luke doesn’t like pork, even though he is more than happy to eat ham and bacon, so I just didn’t tell him what was in it until after he ate them. He said they were fantastic!

I make enough to make 6 wontons each. You can serve this with the broth that I have shared in previous recipes.

50g pork mince
50g sausage mince ( you can buy this EVERYWHERE, usually near the mince )
2-3 Drops fish sauce
1tbps soy sauce
½ Tsp sesame oil
½ Tsp garlic
12 wonton wrappers (I used round ones here but any will do)

Mix all ingredients together
On a clean sheet of baking paper lay out all wrappers.
Have a glass of water handy.
Put a dollop of mixture into the center or each wrapper. Roughly the size of a 10c piece.
Wet edges of wrapper using the water and your finger. This will body the wrappers together.
Fold in half and gently push down around the meat to get all air out.
If you like, you can now pleat the edges of the wrapper. If this sounds all too hard don’t bother.
Bring water to boil in a saucepan.
Put all wontons into the boiling water. Once they float, cook for a further 2-3 mins. As they are meat you need to make sure they are cooked unlike my veggies dumplings where all ingredients are already cooked you are just cooking the wrapper.

Serve with noodle soup.


Cupcake Delight

I will start this story a little bit before the current fad of cupcakes.
A few years ago tea came back into vogue in a huge way. Shops like T2 were sprouting up offering varieties that had not been heard of before. The ritual that is tea making was entering homes all over Australia. Along with this new craze came loves such as High Tea and sure enough that led to cupcakes. Recently a whole market has opened up for the intricate, delicate, sugar filled treats. Shops dedicated to supplying kitchen tools to create these masterpieces are packed full of customers and cafes and bakeries are all stocking the ready-made variety. Having been classed as a girly girl at times it was rather fitting that I quickly and whole heatedly embraced these two new fads. My kitchen is full of cup and saucers, many tea varieties and all the accessories you could possible want to have a perfect afternoon tea. While I do love to cook and bake I equally enjoy going into a shop and staring at the glass display cabinets until I decide which cupcake is for me. So I grabbed the opportunity to buy some of these delectable treats when planning my menu for a lunch with friends.

I had often bought cupcakes from The Cupcake Factory, which is in Drummoyne, for various work functions. So, when Luke and I made the move to the area I was delighted to find that this small shop was a very short drive up the road.
They have a range of categories from classic, decadent to the indulgent and also include a selection of minis*. $18 bought us 4 large and 4 minis. They looked spectacular in my Wheel and Barrow cake display stand and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. While I highly recommended this pint size store to you all there is no doubt that there would be a shop near you to offer a tasty sugar hit.

If you are after a special event cupcake or cake I also recommend Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes. I had my 21st birthday cake made by Elisabeth and her team and it was not only delicious but the most beautiful Jasper inspired tea pot cake I have ever seen! A definite wow factor!

So finally, I invite you all to share any places that you recommended for good cupcakes. I look forward to reading them!

Happy treating!

* On my most recent visit, as Luke and I were entering a farther and his son were leaving. On out way back to the car we saw the little boy sitting on a bench with his dad holding the little cake with both hands, eating it with such care. It was a very cute scene.