June 12, 2013

Wontons / gyoza / dumplings

Call them what you will, but these tiny mouthfuls of pork and spice goodness are amazing.

This is how I make them. Simple and easy with ingredients you most likely already have.

1 pack gowgee wrappers
300g pork mince
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 carrot, grated
2 tablespoons minced garlic/3 cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons minced ginger or equivalent fresh ginger
2 tablespoon chinkiang vinegar
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
couple of drops of sesame oil

dipping sauce:
3 tablespoon kecap manis (dark soy)
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon chilli oil
good crack black pepper

mix all the ingredients for the gyoza together in a big bowl.
place one teaspoon of the mixture onto one gow gee wrapper. use a little water to stick the edges together.
keep going until you have made them all!

cooking options: steam, boil or fry.
I personally llike to steam them to cook the meat and then fry them just to get them crispy, but they taste just as good steamed. i guess it depends on what kind of texture you like and how you're serving them.
Cooking times for each option:
Steam for about 10 minutes.
Fry for about 4 minutes each side
Boil for about four minutes.


June 9, 2013

Curried pumpkin and chickpea patties

I've always been a fan of chickpea patties, but then something happened that changed it all. I accidentally put curry powder in once instead of cumin. Mind blown. I can't believe I didn't try this out earlier (on purpose).
SO here is my recipe that I made up for this batch - it makes about 16 quite huge round balls. 
You could also use this recipe to make big, flatter burger patties - I did this last week and it was amazing. I served it in big fresh rolls with salad and a raita - I'll pop the recipe for that at the bottom. 

About 500g pumpkin - peeled and diced into even sized pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 red onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 egg
about 1 cup breadcrumbs
1.5 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried coriander 
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli (leave this out if you want)
1 tablespoon diced garlic (fresh or from a jar)
Decent cracking of ground pepper

Boil the pumpkin until soft. 
Mash pumpkin and chickpea in together. until relatively pureed. Chunks are ok though. 
Put everything in  a big bowl and mix together until well combined. Add a little more breadcrumbs if it's too wet. 
Roll the mixture into balls or flat patties depending on what you want.
Put them on a plate or tray in the fridge for about half an hour to let them set and get the flavour a bit more developed. 
Cooking - either in a frypan or in the oven.
In a frypan, use a little oil to stop them burning, and cook slowly until brown and crispy on the outside. 
In the oven, grease a tray with a little spray oil. Cook for about 15 minutes at 180C, then flip them over and cook for about 10-15 or until browned.

Done! These taste great with raita, a basic tzatziki - which is just as follows: 
1/4 cup plain greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon garlic (Fresh or from a jar) 
1/4 Lebanese cucumber, grated (then squeeze all the moisture out)
small handful fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper, to season

March 31, 2013

Spicy Mexican beef tortilla lasagne

Another great, easy and relatively quick Mexican dinner. 

This recipe is for a lasagne, but for the times when I don't have any tortilla sheets I just mix it all up together, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top and bake it like a casserole. All the flavours are there and it tastes awesome. 

2 cups cooked rice
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chilli, sliced
400g rump steak, cut into small cubes
Beef stock (about ½ cup)
For the sauce:
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 garlic clove, crushed
1 or 2 chillies, depending on how hot you like it
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Grated cheese
Four large tortillas
Put all the salsa ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, simmering for about 15 or 20 minutes – it should be thicker but still able to be poured.
To prepare the meat, mix it in with the onion, garlic and chilli in a bowl. Heat a little oil in a frypan and cook until the meat is browned. Stir in the rice and beef stock, seasoning with salt and pepper.
In a round casserole dish, layer the meat and tomato mixtures. I like to put a tortilla on the bottom, but you could start anywhere. Put a little meat mix on top of the first tortilla, then the tomato mix, then a little grated cheese, then repeat until it’s all gone.
Cook in a preheated 180C oven for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Chicken fajitas

While we’re on the Mexican train, fajitas are a close second to the Chicken and Rice Burritos in our house.
It’s pretty simple – for those new to cooking Mexican from scratch, some of the ingredients might sound a bit weird, but just go with it! 

3 chicken breasts
Grated rind and juice of two limes
2 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (skip this if you don’t want it too spicy)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 onions, diced
3 capsicums of varying colour, sliced
Eight tortillas
To serve with:
Tomato, onion, basil salsa to serve
Sour cream

Slice the chicken breasts into strips
Mix up the lime, oregano, caster sugar, cayenne and cinnamon – put the chicken in here and mix well. Leave to marinate for half an hour.
If you’re planning to heat up the tortillas in the oven, preheat the oven now, and wrap the tortillas in foil. Pop them in when you start cooking the chicken. If you prefer to use the microwave, you can wit until the chicken mix is nearly done.
After the half an hour of marinating, heat a frypan with a little oil and cook the chicken for about five minutes, then add the onions and capsicums. Cook for another four or so minutes until chicken and veges are all cooked.
It’s ready to serve – the chicken mix in the tortillas with sour cream, guacamole and salsa – any combination of these, as simple or as complex as you like.

Burritos with chicken and rice

Mexican food is pretty much the latest fad everywhere we go. Hipster bars are popping up all over the country. And since I find forking out $12 for a taco to be a bit excessive (especially when my man could chow down quite a few) I got myself a good Mexican cookbook and starting making a few recipes up.
The first thing I realised is – Mexican food is awesome! It’s fresh, has heaps of herbs and spices, and can be prepared super fast.
This recipe is one that has quickly shot to the top of the favourites list.


1 cup cooked rice
2 chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 capsicum, diced
12 mushrooms, chopped
8 tortillas
Optionals for serving: grated cheese, sour cream, mashed avocado

Put the chicken breasts in a saucepan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Once cooked, lift it out of the pan and allow to cool on a plate.
Preheat the oven to 170C
Meanwhile, in a frypan, heat a little oil and add in the onion, cloves, garlic and oregano, frying for three minutes. Stir in the capsicum, mushrooms, rice and tinned tomatoes, and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
Wrap the tortillas in foil, and place in the oven  for about five minute, or place in the microwave for about a minute to soften.
Shred the chicken using two forks, then add it into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the centre of each of the tortillas, folding both sides over the middle, ten folding over the remaining two sides to form a square-ish block. Use a toothpick to secure them in place. (NOTE: If you like things a bit cheesy, add a bit of grated cheese inside the tortillas and it’ll be all melty.)
Pop each of the tortillas on a tray as you make them and place them in the oven, keeping them warm.
Serve with the sour cream or avocado – also goes well with just a simple salad.

Tuna patties

These are a really good thing to make for lunches - I usually make them at the start of the week for my boyfriend, and then they last a few days for sandwiches or to go with salads. They can be frozen or they last in the fridge for a few days. 
This recipe makes about 12 decent sized patties.

2 potatoes
½ sweet potato
3 spring onions, chopped
½ cup frozen peas
1 tin tuna in springwater, drained of liquid
1 egg
¾ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons milk
Good crack of pepper
Optional herbs.. parsley, basil, oregano etc… (although it tastes just as good without them!)


Preheat oven to about 180C. Lightly oil an oven tray.
Peel and chop the potato and sweet potato in similar sized chunks.
In a saucepan, boil the potatoes.  When it’s boiling, add the peas.
After about 10 minutes, test the potatoes – you want them to be soft, and easy to mash.
Strain the potatoes and peas. Mash in the saucepan, adding the milk and butter.
In a big bowl, place the spring onion, egg, tuna, breadcrumbs and any herbs and pepper. Add the mashed potatoes and stir well to combine. You may need to add a bit more liquid or breadcrumbs depending on the texture.
Roll the mixture into big flattened patties, and place on the oiled tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 10 or so until golden and crispy.

February 25, 2013

Carrot-apple muffin - healthy, gluten-free

In a bid to stop eating the mounds of chocolates that land on my desk daily, I am trying out some new healthy recipes. Some *actual* healthy recipes for food that I actually want to eat instead of freddos and milky ways.
This week, inspired by my gluten-lactose-sugar avoiding friend and colleague, I made up this recipe for some yummy muffins.
It could be altered in a massive way – different vegetables, nuts, seeds. I’ll include some notes at the bottom…

This makes about 18 medium-big muffins at about 150-160 calories each.

80g butter, melted
6 tbspn brown sugar
2 tbspn honey/golden syrup
4 tbspn fat free plain yoghurt
2 eggs
¼ cup water (or milk if preferred)

1 cup gluten free plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn each cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup walnuts
½ cup oats
2 grated carrots
1 grated/finely chopped apple

Preheat oven to 180C, prepare muffin tin with liners.
Mix together the first six ingredients.
Stir through the flours and spices, then gently fold through the vegetables and rest of chunky ingredients.
You want the consistency to be a bit lumpy cos it is muffins and not cupcakes, so you don’t want it to be smooth.
Spoon into muffin tins, cook for about 20 minutes or until browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Instead of the carrot/apple combination, you could use bananas, zucchini/cacao, banana/carrot, plain apple – pretty much anything.