Monday, July 24, 2006

Catching up.. more Ricotta Hotcakes and Moroccan Lamb Parcels

Catching up on posting this week. Alv's wireless router broke down last weekend and he hasn't replaced it. Which is an inconvenience to me because he refuses to move from his computer so that I can do some blogging. I usually do my blogging on the laptop in the dining room, now I can't even surf! So I'm trying to catch up at work in between lunch breaks and just after work.

Ali: I'm not dying w/o the net just yet. I get to use it sometimes.. :) At least not as bad as Ange heheh :P

More on Ricotta Hotcakes

Back to Ricotta Hotcakes, I had the left over hotcakes for dessert/supper that night. :) Zapped it in the microwave for about 1 minute, topped with a large dollop of Sara Lee French Vanilla Ice cream, zapped up left over carribean chocolate sauce from a recipe courtesy of Cook Sister and drizzled with some maple syrup.

This was the only decent photo I could get before the ice cream slid off the hotcakes. :D

Moroccan Lamb Filo Parcels w/ Mango Chutney

I have been wanting to make something with filo pastry for a while now. Having had something similar at Magic City in Camberwell (paid $12 for 2 pieces I might add), I was pretty sure I could make a whole lot more for $12. I found a recipe for Spicy Lamb filo parcels in my AWW Cocktail Food book the other day and decided that it sounded similar enough that I can substitute the spicy bit for the Moroccan flavour.

500g of Lamb Mince
2 tbsp of Moroccan Spice mix (I used Masterfood's Mild flavour)
2 cloves of garlic
1 small onion diced
80g of pine nuts (toasted)
2 spring onions chopped

*filo pastry
*butter/cooking spray for filo pastry
*oil for stir frying the filling
*S&P if required
*Mango chutney for dipping

  • Heat oil and fry garlic and onions until fragrant. Add Lamb mince and Moroccan spice and cook until the sauce from meat evaporates (I didn't want my filo pastry to be soggy, so I cooked it til the sauce was almost gone)
  • At this point, I turned off the gas and added the pine nuts and spring onions and mixed them all up and left it on the pan to cool. The AWW recipe says to add the pine nuts in whilst cooking the lamb mince, but I wasn't sure that I liked the idea of my pine nuts being a bit on the soggy side, so I just left it til the end.
  • When the filling has cooled down, start wrapping! I only used two layers for my triangles (and 2 tsp of filling per parcel) because I didn't want too much filo pastry but since I was doing triangles and they were going to be folded over and over again I figured it would be just nice. I wouldn't recommend trying to do up the parcels whilst the filling is hot, you might just end up with soggy filo. (eek..)
  • Here's where it becomes sketchy, bake in the oven at 180 degrees until golden. I was busy trying to churn out the parcels and not waste and filo pastry that I didn't really pay much attention to the time. I just looked over the shoulders a few times. I'd say approx 10mins.
  • Serve with Mango Chutney.

You can make the filo parcels in whatever shapes you like but I made mine in triangles because I thought it might be easier to handle. The results kind of turned out like samosas instead but hey, Alv loved it! Which is always a plus!

Had to do it in two batches though, only did half on Saturday night because you could make THAT many. I estimate that I probably made about 40. Froze the rest and even had some for lunch at work on Monday.

My verdict: A little bit moroccany, a lil bit crunchy and tastes exactly like the ones at Magic City! (if not better ;) ) Never going to order that there ever again!

Bill says...

Bill says,
"Ricotta Hotcakes for Breakfast and;
"Seafood Stew for Dinner"

I had a big 'Bill weekend' the weekend before. Bill for Breakfast and Bill for Dinner. The only reason why we didn't have Bill for lunch was because we went out :)

I've had my two Bill Granger books for a while now and have barely used them because we usually eat out on the weekends and there's not really much point trying to cooking something from a cook book on a weekday when all you want to do after work is go "home, eat, shower and vege-out."

Although I suppose his recipes are so simple that you can do it on a weekday too.

Anyway, stayed home Friday, Saturday and Sunday and decided that I would make use of all these books that I have bought but never really used unless an occasion arises.

Breakfast on Saturday

Surprisingly, I woke up early. (Early by my standards is before 11am. hahah) So since I had intended to make breakfast I chose to make these Ricotta Hotcakes w/ Honey Comb butter that are in Bill's Sydney Food for me and Wholemeal pancakes from Simply Bill for Alv. With a twist, I didn't do the Honey Comb butter because I didn't have any ingredients for them (kinda forgot about it when I went shopping) and I substituted the wholemeal flour with plain flour because we didn't have any and Alv (being the fussy eater that he is) doesn't like wholemeal anyway.

Ricotta Hotcakes

1 1/3 cups ricotta
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs separated
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
50g of butter

1. Combine ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a bowl (mix well).
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt until just combined.
3. Beat eggs white in another bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Combine flour mix and ricotta mix.
5. Fold in egg white into batter in two separate lots.
6. Heat some butter in the pan and place 2 tbsp of batter onto the pan.
7. Cook until the top of the mix starts to bubble and flip over gently.

*Should make about 8 or 9 hotcakes depending on the size.
*I halved the recipe and got 4 hotcakes of about 2 1/2 tbsp per hotcake.

Serve w/ Honey Comb butter and banana slices or if you're lazy like me, just serve with maple syrup

Bill's version

My lazy version. :)

The verdict: Yummy.. light, fluffy and delicious w/ the maple syrup. (Note to self: Buy some better quality maple syrup)

Monday Night Dinner

Monday night, the non-prawn-eating-housemate wasn't having dinner. Great opportunity to indulge in my favourite seafood.. PRAWNS yumm... Decided to make this seafood stew that we saw in Bill's Sydney Food.

Seafood Stew

12 Prawns
24 Mussels
24 Scallops
24 Pipis
*I estimate that it's about 250g - 300g if you think it's weird asking the fish shop to count it for you. Pipi's aren't in season at the moment so I just doubled the scallops and prawns instead.
1 - 400g can of chopped Tomatoes
4 vine-rippened tomatoes chopped
1 tsp of orange zests
1/4 cup of white wine
2 - 3 cloves garlic crushed
2 small chillis chopped
1 medium onion diced
2 tbsp chopped Parsley
1 tbsp sliced Spring onions for garnish
*EVOO for frying onions
*S&P to taste

1. Clean seafood and set aside
2. Heat oil in a medium sized stock pot and fry onions, garlic and chilli until fragrant.
3. Add wine and let it boil before adding in tomatoes (can and fresh), parsley and orange zest.
4. Season to taste and simmer in a medium fire for 25-30mins
5. Add in mussells and stir to combine, cover and simmer for approximately 5mins.
6. Then add in the pipis, prawns and scallops and stir until their cooked.
7. Remove any mussells or pipis that are still closed.
8. Serve with spring onions and garlic toast.

^For garlic toast, simply blend 1/4 cup of EVOO w/ 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and slather onto bread slices. Sprinkle with salt before toasting/baking until crisp or to your liking.

The simmering pot of sauce.. mmm

The garlic toast

The end result

The verdict: It was nyeh... nice. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good, but it felt more like Tomato soup with Seafood than a Seafood Stew. But still nice and hearty for a winter soup. Too bad about the pipis.

My only gripe with this recipe is that if I was a real amateur-by-the-book-cook when it comes to cooking (ok, I'm still an amateur, but living away from home for last 3 1/2 years have thought me something) I would be wondering why list salt in the ingredients for the soup when you didn't specify what it was for? and what about pepper??

Ok, I'm being stupidly critical, but I just thought it was a little poorly written and I was just a tiny bit disappointed in the instructions because I know that if I told Alv to make it and just follow the instructions, he would forget about seasoning it.

A&A: I hope you don't criticise me for the lack of clear instructions. LOL. It's a bit hard since I'm doing this from the top of my head and it was two weeks ago that I cooked this. Then again, I doubt you guys will make this anyway. But Ali, just in case you're really hanging out for something 'Bill' you can always start with this. Heheh..

I actually made two other things: one from Simply Bill and one from Bill's Sydney Food but unfortunately they were so "normal" in the scale of 'wowness' I didn't bother taking any photos and am not even going to bother mentioning it now that I think about it.

- Ji endo -

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Green is the colour tea :)

  • Take two of your favourite baking/cooking/drinking ingredients:

  • Combine with butter, egg yolk, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and a bit of baking powder.
  • Divide mixture into 3 portions.
  • Shape it into your favourite/preferred shape
  • Bake it in the oven for a while
  • And you get....

Sounds pretty damn easy doesn't it?? Except... it only took me the whole afternoon to do it! and to top it off.. I burnt the chocolate ones :'(

Saturday, 8th July 2006, Bethany (Alv's little niece) turned a whole 10months old! (I'm so Jealous! The lil bub's so cute!) His bro invited us over for dinner... whether it was just a lil nice celebration or just a get together since his mum was away. Anyway, I felt like we were imposing and free loading off them again (because it's not the first time we've been over to their place for dinner) so I decided to bring "something" along for after dinner.

Since it was just going to be a quick one, I decided against a heavy/full blown dessert. It's hard to have long dinners and such with a baby around since they have to follow a strict routine: ie. dinner at 6pm, bethany's bath after dinner, all tucked in before 7:30pm etc etc. Bethany's begining to realise/notice things and would not go to sleep if she knows there are visitors around.

I have been wanting to make something with the rest of my matcha green tea and have been craving butter cookies, I thought: why not make matcha butter cookies.. better yet, why not make butter, matcha and chocolate butter cookies.. yah!!

So I googled for a butter cookies recipe (was too lazy to look into my collection of cookbooks) and settled on one that would make about 6 dozens from (I think). Sounds a lot, but I figured that I would make: one lot for Jerome and Deb, one lot for me and one lot for Kathy (my boss who drove me to work every day for about 6 weeks when I was on crutches earlier this year). Been wanting to say/give a thank you present for a while but wasn't sure what to get her. So 6 dozens would work out just fine, 2 dozens for each lot and 2 dozens each of butter, matcha and chocolate cookies. yumm...

Why did it take a whole afternoon? Well.. I didn't start til about 2ish, had to mix the initial lot of butter cookie dough and then divided it into three portions (one for each flavour); and shape it into square logs and refridgerate it for about 30mins so that it would be firmer and easier to cut.

Then the oven (gas and fan forced) kept stuffing up, even though I had turned it on, the fire kept going off and I didnt realise it until after the first lot of cookies went in that the oven was not working. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we had to be at J & D's at 5:30pm. By the time the last lot went in it was close to 5:00pm and as I was pressed for time I turned the temperature up a bit and left it on for a bit longer than intended. Big mistake because I ended up over baking and burning the chocolate cookies. *bawl*

I have to say though, the sweetness of the butter cookies really contrasted with the matcha and chocolate cookies. The matcha cookies had a 'hint' of sweetness but was very 'green tealicious' kind of reminded me of these 'green tea snowball' things I bought from Uzu at Caulfield a while back. Except those snowball things were a bit harder, the size of a big malteser and had icing sugar all over it. Meanwhile the chocolate cookies tasted like dark chocolate cookies. Yum yum.

In the end, decided to dust a bit of icing sugar on the matcha and chocolate cookies to sweeten it up a bit. Saved another disasterous baking session! *phew*

Saturday, July 08, 2006

QED No. 3 and Friday Night Movie Club ... NOT

TGIF!!! Sigh.. End of another week. Yay!!

I love Fridays. Not that I hate work or anything, but sometimes I wish that I only work four day weeks and have 3 day weekends. That would be nice. :)

Friday's usually eat-out night but Alv was tired, so he wanted to go home for a n ap before we went out for a movie. Pirates of the Carribean 2 (Dead man's Chest) opened on Thursday night and fans of Ms Keira Knightley wanted to watch it on asap. *rolled eyes*

I suppose since we're not doing anything else we might as well watch it. But sometimes I just don't understand why it can't wait. Must be a guy thing LOL. The movie wasn't til 9:45pm and since we couldn't agree on where to have dinner and Alv was tired we decided to head home first so that Alv could take a nap and I'd figure out something for dinner.

Friday Night Movie Club, is not really a movie club. Seems lately that it's only Flim, Alv and I that have been going to the movies or dinner or what not when things are organised through our usual spam list. Party poopers.

I digress. Anyway, I'm suppose to be on a low carb/low fat diet since I can't really do much exercise until my stoopid foot heals. Yep. It's been 6 months and the foot is still stuffed. All because I forgot to tape my ankle for that stoopid training session that should never had been held and all for watering the silly plant. Bah. I can almost hear Alv telling me off for being careless. I've been on my fat ass doing nothing for the last 6 months and have started to feel like I'm spilling out of my clothes, so since I can't do nothing about the exercise, I thought that I could do something about my food intake instead. Hah.. how wrong was I!

Since I've had all the things I was not suppose to have this week like: pasta and rice, I thought I might as well top it off with bread and potato. ROAR! Sigh.. it's so hard trying to be healthy and watching the carbs. What better way to top off a great week than a Club Sandwich! (I would like Fries with that thanks!)

I love a good club sandwich. The last time I had a club sandwich was at Hard Rock a few months ago. Nyeh, it wasn't that great. Come to think of it, don't remember whether I've had any good Club Sandwiches out in the cafe lands? Maybe I should send an email to Matt Preston at The Age and ask if he knows where the best club sandwiches in Melbourne are? Da ne?

ps. Pirates was really good. Alv reckons it's the best movie this year. But he probably thinks so b/c of KK. :p Johnny Depp Rocks Arrrr! LOL

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stuffed up chicken

What happens when you accidentally use Cayenne Pepper when marinating your "Cajun Chicken" for your Cajun Chicken Caesar?

  1. You start choking when the chicken's being pan fried and start wondering whether it's time to throw out that old frying pan that looks past its time. (because you think it's the toxic from the worn out teflon)
  2. Get out of the kitchen and leave your boy friend to keep frying that toxic stuff
  3. Chuck a tanty and yell at your bf to turn on all the exhaust fan in the house
If you were me on Monday, you'd be picking option d. ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Monday night, didn't finish work til 7 and by the time I did all the food shopping for dinner and got home it was about 7:40pm. Exhausted from a hard slog at work and late Sunday night (coz we went to watch Coldplay LIVE @ Rod Laver Arena, then went for supper and didn't get home til 12:30am or so), Freezing because the heater's not fixed (YET) and Starving because I hadn't eaten since my last snack at 4 (or was it 4:30pm); I got everyone to help out with the cooking because we were all on the verge of starvation.

Mish fry the bacon, boil the eggs, Alv bring me the 'Cajun' spice from the pantry etc etc etc..

Lesson #1: Do not get anyone who is not familiar with kitchen to get you a spice from the pantry.
Reason: There are so many bottle of spices in there you never know what might happen.
As you can probably figure out by now, I ended up putting Cayenne Pepper (EXTRA HOT) instead of Cajun into my chicken. I put loads of them too because:

a) Cajun spice has a bit of salt in it, so I figure if I put enough of it, I don't have to bother with any S&P.
b) I was hungry (I think this needs no more explanation)
c) Everyone was complaining of hunger (nothing worse than 'kids' complaining that they're hungry)

I only realised it was Cayenne Pepper when I was putting stuff away all the while Alv was still frying away, me = choking.. in tears..

Sigh, so I was slap dash with the cooking on Monday and the chicken was so spicy that we couldn't eat it. I've got a pretty high tolerance of spicy dishes, but even I couldn't eat it! Felt like it would be a waste to toss everything, we glad wrapped it and stuck it in the fridge.

So for last night's dinner, I bought a packet of those stir fry sauces from Continental (Honey Soy, Ginger and Tamarind) and re-fried the chicken w/ red capsicum, spring onions and the sauce. I was hoping the tamarind would tame it down a bit but fat chance. The chicken was still spicy but it was still edible.
Lesson learnt: Never be slap dash with "looking at labels!"
Today, when someone asked me what I was having for lunch.. for some reason I blurted out "Stuffed up Chicken". I guess that pretty much fits the description.

I think the next time I'm running late I'll just tell everyone "Maggi Mee for dinner". At least that way I won't be choking to death and in tears...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

QED Idea No. 2 - Garlic Prawns w/ Linguine

Hey Ali & Ange, too bad Cath is a C, or you guys can be AAA.
Here's another QED Idea.
I just had it for dinner last night.. Yumm
Sounds a bit mean, but I always look forward to when Mish can't have/is not having dinner. Why is that you say? I say: It's because she doesn't eat PRAWNS! When we first moved in and I found out that she doesn't like prawns I was like... WHAT??!! How can you not eat prawns!? They're like so yummmm!!! To which she replied, "hate peeling them and don't like the taste/texture?" The only thing from the 'prawn family' she'd eat is lobster. (Go figure). So I have since been deprived of prawns.. I only get to eat them on special occasions like:
  • When we go out for dinner
  • When I go back to Mum's for dinner
  • When I'm not cooking for Mish, like when we had "Dinner at Flim's"
  • On designated, 'Mish not eating dinner' nights.
Finally, last night was 'Mish not eating dinner' night. (hasn't happened for a while, Mish you need to go out for dinner more often hahahah) So we had Garlic Prawns pasta for dinner. Oishii!!
Ali: I adapted this from one of your favourite cook book: Bill Granger's Bill's Food - Garlic Prawns.

Can't remember exact amounts, but you'll need the following (obviously)

Bill's Original Recipe:
  • Prawns - approx 500g (coz I like loads of prawns in my pasta and so does Alv)
  • Parsley - approx 1/4 cup, chopped (more if you like)
  • Garlic - I used 3, Bill's recipe uses 5 (I tried it with 5 once, I had gastro for 3 days)
  • Olive Oil - I use 1/2 cup, Bill's recipe uses 1 cup (and I think Bill used EVOO)
  • Chilli - 1 (more if you think Ange can take it hahah)
My Extras:
  • Onion - 1, chopped
  • Chilli Oil - to taste (I used the Japanese one, taste better)
  • Pasta - as much as you want to eat. (I used Linguine here, but I prefer Angel Hair because it's less 'filling' and it cooks faster. Alv doesn't like Angel Hair that much, he said it's not filling enough *rolled eyes*)
Do it Like So:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Clean the prawns and place them in an oven proof dish.
  3. Boil your water for pasta -- duhhhhh
  4. Chop up Chilli, Garlic, Onion and Parsley
  5. Heat up the oil til it's hot hot hot
  6. Add Chilli and half the amount of chopped Garlic into the pan.
  7. Add the Chilli oil and just fry the Garlic til it's fragrant.
  8. Remove from stove and pour over the prawns in the oven proof dish.
  9. Spread the rest of the Garlic and Parsley on top of the Prawns.
  10. Season to taste with S&P
  11. Wrap foil onto the dish and place it in the oven for about 15-20mins.
  12. While the Prawn cooks in the oven you cook your pasta.
  13. When the Prawns are done and Pasta's done mix both together and wa lah.. Garlic Prawn pasta.
Big Tip: I suggest scooping the prawns on to the pasta and then drizzle with the pasta with as much of the oil from cooking the prawns as you wish. Otherwise, if you mix everything together the dish might get a bit too oily.

Ps. No photo of satisfied customer this time. He was too busy watching Friends (yes, THAT Friends) and setting up his microphone for warcraft.