Friday, 30 August 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week -leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see. 

Joining with Amanda @ Soulemama

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Stir-Fried Pork Fillets with Honey and Ginger

 A few months ago an opportunity arose where we considered shifting back to the UK for a period of time for work.  A decision one way or the other had to be made within about 24hrs as an American company was interviewing in London almost immediately.  Within such a short space of time my world was turned upside down (literally) considering all aspects, what to take, what to leave in storage, accommodation, pets, family etc. etc.  I even took a long hard look at all my cookbooks, thinking that if I were to pack anything what would it be. Without hesitation I made an instinctive decision on a book I really couldn't do without, Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking.  We cook from this book at least once a week, and I always need it cos I can't remember the measured ingredients to hardly any of the dishes off by heart.  Not that they are difficult but I just haven't mastered the little intricate ingredients that just make the flavours work so wonderfully together.  I think I can get by cooking most things by instinct but somehow Chinese dishes just elude me.  Hence if I had to grab a book and run this would be the one.
This recipe serves 4 with steamed rice. If possible marinate the pork overnight for a better flavour. Something I never seem to remember.
Ingredients for Marinade
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons shao hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons finely diced ginger
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Main Ingredients
600g pork fillets, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 spring onions trimmed and cut into 4 in lengths
1 red capsicum sliced thinly
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 limes, halved.

What to do.....
Combine pork with marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer
Add half the marinated pork and stir-fry for approx 30 seconds
Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in wok add remaining pork and repeat process above
Return reserved pork to the wok with spring onions, vinegar, soy sauce and water.
Throw in the capsicum and fry for another minute or until pork is just cooked through and lightly browned.

 Serve with steamed rice with limes on the side ready for spritzing over the pork!

We love our Kylie
We decided the timing was not right for us to up stumps and leave, so my cook book collection is still loved and safe for the time being but this book of Kylie's is perfect to join with Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe Challenge "grab and run"for August.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Banana Breakfast Ring

I have been watching the inaugural Great Australian Bake Off, sadly we are now nearing the end.  This  TV show has ignited a baking revival in all sorts of nooks and crannies, even at the man's workplace, where lovely bakes have been turning up for morning teas. Somehow (I will kill that man!) I have been entered into a Banana Cake Challenge! I am very fond of banana cake, but have not actually made one myself.  Even worse, is the fact that a couple of his colleagues claim to bake the best ever banana cakes!
So the first cake arrived at work last week baked by the  Operations Manager Tony who hails from “The Motherland” and is a dab hand at Banana Cake....... (his recipe to follow)....this received a reserved mark of 8/10, (a touch harsh I thought). Sadly not a crumb was brought home for me to taste.
I started to trawl the books for a recipe.  My goodness the pressure was on.  Unfortunately, I wasn't very enthused by any I found, I was looking for something special, but decided to give Nigella's Banana Breakfast Ring a go for starters. Its simple, requiring no equipment to speak of, just a bowl and fork, with ingredients I had to hand, my sort of cooking.

450g (3 medium) bananas
60ml olive oil
3 eggs lightly beaten
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
200g caster sugar
325g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

How to do it.....
Preheat oven to 180C (gas mark 4) 160C fan forced
Oil a 24cm/ 1.5 litre cake ring (I floured mine too - I am always nervous it won't turn out)
Mash bananas in a bowl,
Add the oil,
Add beaten eggs, lemon juice and zest,
Whisk everything together
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda together and fold into mixture
Pour into oiled tin and bake for 30mins or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
Let the ring sit for about 5-10 minutes before turning out.

This cake makes 8-10 slices.

This is not the "show stopper" I was looking for. 
So a couple of other recipes will need to be sourced and tested. 

Click here for details
It is however, a lovely little plain cake, nice and light in colour and texture, 
with a nice crumb - to coin a Bake Off phrase.   Easy to prepare, quick to cook -nothing fancy. It can be drizzled with maple syrup or honey.

Nigella says it is a perfect breakfast slice and I would have to agree with that.  Gently banana-ish and not too sweet.  Smeared with butter, perfect with a cup of tea.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Bolognaise Sauce (Meat Sauce for Spaghetti)

Perennial Basil
When grandchildren come to visit I let them choose what they would like to eat for dinner. I could put money on it everytime, a favourite with them all is Spaghetti Bolagnaise, and they choose it without fail.  I am guaranteed to have happy full children as they all scrape the plates and ask for seconds.  However a couple of them do not like some ingredients I put in my sauce - like onions (essential)and fresh basil. They become forensic detectives picking out the smallest pieces that cannot be detected with the naked eye! Rather than leave anything out, this week I made my vegetables and herbs invisible.  All were wizzed to within an inch of their lives before being added to the minced meat.

500g minced beef
2 onions
1 tin chopped tomato
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic
splash of worcester sauce
1 oxo cube (beef stock cube)
basil leaves (fresh or dried)
1/2 cup water (or red wine for adults) more if necessary to prevent the sauce from drying out.

I don't use any added salt or sugar as the tinned tomotoes and stock cube have enough for childrens palates.

What to do..........

Put meat into a pot/pan and brown the meat stirring ocassionally for 10 mins
In a blender/food processor wiz the onions, garlic and basil
Add the tinned tomatoes and blend
Pour this mixture on to the browing meat in the pan
Add all other ingredients and simmer for approximately 45 mins.

not an onion in sight

Do not let the mixture dry out. Add extra water if required. 
This sauce can be made ahead of time and freezes well.
Serves 4.

homemade spaghetti see here

Joining this month with Karen from Lavender and Lovage featuring herbs.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Roasted Corn on the Cob - so simple!

I do buy Corn on the Cob but not often, as I hate preparing it. I hate pulling off those silky threads after the outer green sheath has been removed, before dropping it into boiling water, I always boil my corn.  I even have a corn boiling pot! For some reason it always makes me impatient, so I either buy pre-prepared in a pack or tinned or frozen.  But this week the corn cobs were so cheap I just had to stop and fill my basket.

I had never roasted corn before, although I have always been meaning to pop them onto the BBQ in the summer, as the kids love them (but I have not even got around to doing that!)

So here is my first attempt at roasting and they turned out perfect and so simple.  Wash the outer in case there is dirt, place in a preheated oven (straight on the rack/self) at 180C for 30 minutes and hey presto perfect corn.  And the best part is when you peel back the green sheath the silky threads mostly peel away at the same time. How easy was that! And I was perfectly calm! Does anything make you impatient in the kitchen?