food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘recipe

mexican beef skewers

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From Chef Gabriel Gambou of Arrecife Restaurant in Colima, Mexico, this recipe was published in The Taste of Mexico by Patricia Quintana. Tender barbecued beef skewers are served with a rich and dark sauce made with cascabel chillies (shown here with refried black beans).

For the beef, use strips of sirloin or hanger steak, preferably with some fat marbling for tenderness. Thread the beef onto skewers, alternating with onion and green peppers if you wish. In a mortar and pestle crush 1-2 cloves of garlic with some salt, add freshly ground black pepper and ground cumin to taste and combine with ¼ of a cup of vegetable oil. Brush the oil mix onto the meat skewers and leave them to rest in the fridge while you prepare the sauce. For the sauce, fry 6 dried cascabel chillies in some oil until fragrant. Drain and soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roast a whole tomato by heating a dry griddle or heavy pan and cooking the whole tomato until the outside is charred. When the chillies are softened, drain them and keep the soaking liquid. Remove and discard the seeds and place the flesh into a blender or food processor. Add the roasted tomato, ½ a white onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 2 bay leaves and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add a little soaking liquid and blend until you have a good consistency. Cook this sauce in a little oil until the onions and garlic no longer taste raw. Season with salt and a little sugar to taste.

To cook the beef, brush with a little more oil and some clarified butter and cook on a barbecue, turning regularly, until the beef is to your liking. Serve with corn tortillas and other accompaniments such as re-fried beans, guacamole and fresh salsa.


Written by michelle picker

March 14, 2018 at 10:58 am

ginger braised duck

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Classic Vietnamese flavours, lots of ginger and a little chilli make this braised duck truly tasty.

Use duck legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. Start by browning 6 pieces of duck in some hot oil for a few minutes. Slice a generous amount of ginger into fine slivers and add it to the duck pieces. Continue to fry until the ginger is fragrant. Now add 1½ cups of hot duck or chicken stock, 3 teaspoons of oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons of Thai fish sauce and 1-2 teaspoons of Sriracha chilli sauce. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered over low heat for 1-1½ hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is still enough liquid. When there is hardly any liquid remaining and the duck is tender and falling from the bone, add some finely shredded carrot, green beans and cabbage. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables are just cooked. Serve with steamed rice.

Written by michelle picker

February 21, 2018 at 12:37 am

gluten free raspberry and lemon cake

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Don’t wait for your celiac friends to come over to try this amazingly delicious cake. No gluten means the mixture can’t be overworked and mashed potato makes the cake really moist. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Heat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Butter and line a deep 20cm (8″) round cake tin. Beat 250g (8¾ oz) of caster sugar and 200g (7 oz) of softened butter together until light and fluffy then gradually add 4 eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in 175g of ground almond meal, 250g (8¾ oz) of cold mashed potato, the zest of 2 lemons and 2 teaspoons of (gluten free) baking powder. Spread  half of the mixture into the tin, dot with some fresh or frozen raspberries and cover with the rest of the mixture, levelling the top. Bake for 40-50 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning onto a wire rack. For the glaze place a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add 80g (2¾ oz) of raspberries, 80g (2¾ oz) of sugar and the juice of 1 lemon. Warm through for 4-5 minutes until the raspberries have softened and the sugar has dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve. With a small stick blender or a mini food processor add ⅛ of a teaspoon of xanthan gum, preferably while blending. This will thicken the raspberry glaze immediately. When the cake has cooled pour the glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides a little.

Written by michelle picker

February 14, 2018 at 12:24 am

warrigal spinach

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Warrigal spinach, is a bush food native to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Chile and Argentina. Captain Cook ate it aboard  the Endeavour to prevent scurvy and Joseph Banks took it back to England to cultivate.

The plant is drought resistant, thrives on neglect, self seeds and grows so fast that it can be harvested in a few weeks. It’s flavour is similar to spinach and it can be used in much the same way as it’s namesake. Like spinach it contains oxalates which can be removed by blanching. Try it in a pie with feta, in fritters, cannelloni, dumplings or a pesto. Here is a simple stir-fry for an Asian meal.

Wash and dry the Warrigal spinach and finely dice 2 cloves of garlic. Heat some oil in a wok until very hot and briefly add the garlic before adding the Warrigal spinach. Cook, stirring, until the stems are cooked and not too tough. Add some dried chilli flakes to taste and season with salt and ground white pepper. Serve hot.

Written by michelle picker

February 7, 2018 at 12:53 am

steamed fish with spicy sauce

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Here’s a spicy Sichuan-style sauce for any white fish.

This recipe is for 700g (1½ lbs) of fish fillets. Make a slurry of 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and set aside. Finely chop ½ an onion and mince 1 clove of garlic. Finely chop a few shiitake mushrooms and ¼ of a red pepper. Into a small bowl measure out 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, 1 tablespoon of Doubanjan (spicy Sichuan bean paste), 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce, ½ teaspoon of sesame oil, ½ a teaspoon of sugar, and ground white pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside. Prepare some chopped coriander (cilantro) and spring onion greens for garnishing. When you’re ready to cook the sauce, heat a wok to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another minute. Now add the prepared sauce ingredients and ½ a cup of water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat while you prepare the fish. To steam the fish, place it in a shallow bowl and season with a little soy sauce. Place the bowl into a steamer over boiling water and steam until the fish is cooked through and flaking apart. Use a slotted spoon to remove it to a serving plate. Reheat the sauce and add the cooking liquid from the fish. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch slurry until it coats a spoon. Stir in another teaspoon of oil to finish and pour the sauce over the steamed fish. Garnish and serve with steamed white rice.

* recipe adapted from this recipe.

Written by michelle picker

January 31, 2018 at 12:41 am

mint chocolate and pistachio cake + fresh mint ice cream

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A wonderful combination of dark mint chocolate, crumbly biscuit and crunchy pistachios takes this hedgehog-style cake to the next level. And fresh mint ice cream is the perfect addition. Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi for the cake recipe and to Deborah for making it! The ice cream recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.

For the cake soak 100g (3½ oz) of sultanas in 2 tablespoons of rum for 30 minutes. Line a 28cm x 18cm (11″ x 7″) baking tray or glass dish with greaseproof paper. Set a large heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and add 100g (3½ oz) of mint-flavoured dark chocolate, 200g (7 oz) of dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate (both roughly chopped into 3cm pieces), 100g (3½ oz) of golden syrup, 120g (4¼ oz) of unsalted butter cut into 2cm (¾”) cubes and ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water or the mix will get too hot and split. Heat and stir for two to three minutes until melted and combined. Add the sultanas and their soaking liquid, 170g (6 oz) of roughly broken digestive biscuits and 75g (2½ oz) of roughly chopped pistachios and mix until everything is well coated. Transfer it into the lined tray and smooth the top. Sprinkle with an extra 25g (¾ oz) of crushed pistachios and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Cover the tray and refrigerate for two to three hours. When set, cut into strips and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold. For the mint ice cream measure 2 cups of milk. Take out 2 tablespoons of the milk and make a slurry with 6 teaspoons of cornflour (cornstarch). Heat the remainder of the milk in a saucepan with 1¼ cups of heavy cream, ⅔ of a cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of glucose (in Australia I use this in place of light corn syrup). Bring to the boil and allow it to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cornflour slurry. Stir, return to the heat and allow to thicken. In another bowl whisk 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Pour in the hot milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Now tear a bunch of fresh mint leaves into the hot mixture and cool the mixture down in an ice bath. When the mixture is cold strain out the mint leaves and freeze with an ice cream machine, sorbetiere or even over ice and salt. If you have flexible silicone moulds, transfer the nearly set ice cream into them for ready-to-serve portions.

Written by michelle picker

January 24, 2018 at 12:35 am

noodle salad with cucumber and poppy seeds

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Another delightful salad from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam OttolenghiTart apple, cooling cucumber, pickled onions and fresh herbs. What a great combination.

In a small saucepan combine 60ml (2 fl oz) of cider vinegar, 30g (1 oz) of caster sugar and 60ml (2 fl oz) of water. Bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar has dissolved and continue to cook for a few minutes to reduce by one third. Finely slice 1 red onion and finely julienne a 5cm (2″) piece of ginger and place them in a small bowl. Pour the hot liquid over them and allow to pickle for 1 hour. Meanwhile, break 150g (5 oz) of flat rice noodles into 15cm (6″) pieces and place them in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes. When the noodles are soft drain them and put them in a large serving bowl. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of oil and allow  to cool. Blanch and drain 200g (7 oz) of edamame beans, core and slice 1 sharp green apple into thin wedges, de-seed and julienne 2 red chillies, roughly chop 10g (⅓ oz) each of fresh mint and tarragon and cut 2 large cucumbers in half lengthways, scooping out the seeds and cutting them into thin long strips. Add all the prepared vegetables and the pickled onion and ginger to the noodles. Add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, some more vegetable oil, 1½ teaspoons of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Toss well and serve.

Written by michelle picker

January 17, 2018 at 12:17 am