Wednesday, January 28, 2015

409/1038 - Unpeeled sweet pepper salad

For those who are still holding on to the original, orange version of The Cook's Companion (hi Mum!), this post is for you! 

We were having fried halloumi for dinner and I was seeking a quick and fresh salad to serve alongside. My little family LOVE capsicum and so I was pleased to find this little gem. The recipe no longer exists in either of the rainbow versions of The Cook's Companion, and I only found it because I decided to trawl my challenge spreadsheet for ideas rather than flipping through the book, which can be a cumbersome exercise given its size.  

There are still eighteen recipes from the first edition and nine recipes from the second edition that I need to complete - none of which made it through to the latest publication. These include:

From the orange version: 
  1. Avocado mousse
  2. Cornflour batter
  3. Preserved cherries
  4. Fennel marinated fish
  5. Slow-roasted leg of lamb with dried beans
  6. Ham and ricotta stuffing for lamb
  7. Lime lover's punch
  8. Michael Boddy's sweet lime pickle
  9. Chinese noodle soup with pig's liver
  10. Pink grapefruit and campari granita
  11. Mechouia - Tunisian roasted vegetable salad
  12. Traditional roast leg of pork
  13. Potato drop scones
  14. Rhubarb muffins
  15. Traditional sage stuffing for goose, duck or turkey
  16. Sweet potato and prawn fritters
  17. Autumn salad with red and yellow tomatoes
  18. Smoked tongue with red pepper sauce
  19. Unpeeled sweet pepper salad (Tick!)

From the second edition:
  1. Whole cabbage stuffed with pork, liver and capers (I love the sound of this one!)
  2. Rosie's chicken dinners (a dish for the dog in your life)
  3. Marieke's chocolate cake
  4. George's chocolate nut cake
  5. Green salad with walnuts, grapes and verjuice
  6. Marieke's nectarine or peach tart
  7. Dany's tripe
  8. Michael's turnip dumplings
  9. Yabby salad with walnuts and potatoes

So now there is one less "old" recipe to complete. It was interesting that this recipe sees boiling water poured over the capsicum, which is then left to sit for thirty minutes. We regularly eat our capsicum lightly steamed and I suspect the result would be similar, and also a little faster done my way.

This salad went well with fried halloumi, and I liked it, but it wasn't one of my favourites. At least it was pretty! x

Friday, January 23, 2015

408/1038 - Caramel

My youngest and I had the house ourselves last night and so we decided that a bit of decadence was in order. 

We got our movie organised and set to making some popcorn and Stephanie's caramel to pour on top. I was of course aware that Stephanie's recipe for caramel sounded very much like the recipe I use for toffee and so was not at all surprised that the result was a very sticky and eventually very hard popcorn coating!

It was so yummy though and we managed to get through half of our crunchy stash before calling it quits.

Eddie Murphy, caramel popcorn and alone time with my youngest.

Fabulous x

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

407/1038 - Grilled coriander pepper chicken

I am not very good at buying presents for my husband, but a couple of years ago I outdid myself in the surprise stakes. The main reason my gift giving is stunted is because my husband and I tend to buy whatever we want, whenever we want it. So for us, gift giving is about those things that we have not got around to purchasing or simply haven't thought of yet!

Some months prior to Christmas he had purchased a cast iron chiminea, which quickly became our favourite place to roast potatoes and marshmallows. I found out that that there was a barbecue /pizza oven attachment that could be purchased and voilĂ ! his Christmas present was sorted. 

We have since had so much pleasure from this gift, from pizza nights to wonderful barbecues such as this. Tonight's chicken was dissected by me and smothered in a lovely mix of pepper, coriander, garlic, salt and lemon juice. The recipe specified lime juice but unless we are planning to drink Coronas I rarely have limes to hand. I can vouch that lemon juice is also fabulous!

The result was incredible, with the chicken meat remaining moist and the skin turning fabulously dark and crunchy. The boys were more than impressed and through mouthfuls of chicken, my husband I were caught giving one another small nods of approval across the table.

Even better is the stock I am currently making with the remainder of the carcass.

Risotto tomorrow night methinks x

Saturday, January 17, 2015

406/1038 - Chicken breasts with almond sauce and guacamole

If you own a thermomix, or even a decent blender, this recipe is an absolute snap to make. The trick is to put the almonds in first and grind them to make almond meal. Then add all of the other ingredients (except the stock) and blend to a paste. 

When poaching the chicken I did find the times stated in the recipe to fall well short of the cooking time required. So much so that I ended up pulling out the fillets, slicing them and returning them to the pot to finish. 

Once the cooking was finally complete, we were a very happy little family. The poached chicken was lovely and moist, and the sauce...that sauce! Simply fabulous. The baked potato with guacamole finished the meal off beautifully, providing a salty and textural contrast to the wonderfully smooth chicken. 

I am thrilled that we have both leftover chicken and sauce; it will certainly be a race to the fridge tomorrow morning! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

405/1038 - Polynesian raw fish salad

Holidaying with friends for the last couple of weeks, I was enjoying being an occasional cook. Having four adults in one house meant that all tasks were casually rotated, and we each had a number of turns sitting around having a quiet drink and being waited on. 

One of the things I did enjoy doing was keeping the house stocked with fresh bread (and biscuits and cakes). Without my KitchenAid on hand, it was interesting to discover that I preferred the texture of the finished bread when it was kneaded by hand, rather than by a dough hook. Now that we are home I have continued to make my bread by hand and am more satisfied with the result. Go figure! It appears technology is not always the best option. 

On a day that was absolutely roasting, I decided that a cold dinner was in order and went shopping for some lovely fish to satisfy this recipe. I marinated it with lemons rather than limes, preferring to save the limes we had on hand to flavour our Coronas. I am fairly sure my priorities were in the appropriate order...

With chilli in the mix and served alongside fresh tomato and coriander, this was a refreshing and wonderfully cool dinner. 

...and the beers went down quite well too x

The magnificent view from our balcony

Thursday, January 1, 2015

404/1038 - Onion and blue cheese pizza

New Year's Eve for our family was a gorgeous evening spent with friends, both old and new. 

We decided that pizzas were an easy dinner solution that would be fun to create as we socialised. Two of us prepared pizza dough, my trebled mixture billowing out of the pot in the first prove. 

The pizza toppings were many and varied, my second favourite being a hot and spicy variety with sausage, capsicum, chilli and dollops of fiery habanero tabasco sauce. The chilli fan in our midst, plus my heat loving son, gave it a hearty thumbs up. 

My number one favourite by far though was this onion and blue cheese pizza. I spent a few hours in the middle of the day caramelising the onions until they were brown and sweet. Paired with blue cheese, all this lovely creation was crying out for was a handful of rocket, but sadly we were rocket-less on this occasion.

Rocket deficiency aside, our last night of 2014 was filled with champagne, plenty of pizza, laughs galore and an ocean view. Not sure it gets any better than that.