Tempeh and Mushroom Fritters with Pickled Cucumber and Chilli Sambal

DSC_0704DSC_0675DSC_0693DSC_0666DSC_0659I’ve finally escaped the Australian East Coast winter and am lucky enough to again be in the warm and welcoming arms of Bali. It’s been a week now since we arrived and we are finally starting to feel like we are away from it all. Our jobs, families, responsibilities good and bad. I always struggle in the first week to let it all go and allow myself yo relax. I straight away start to come up with ideas and projects and then struggle between the guilt of not getting onto them straight away and allowing myself to have a break.

So, I’ve started slow with a couple of little recipes and shoots this week. All enjoyed by the poolside at the end of the day, so really, not too stressful…..

The local market here in Canggu is great for seasonal and cheap produce, it’s a hectic motorbike ride along a busy road to get there so we always try and get as much as we can carry back. I haven’t had the guts to carry a pumpkin on the bike yet but will sometime soon!

These little fritters were a delicious afternoon treat with some cold drinks and jumps in the pool. You can serve them like this or alongside some rice and salad for a more substantial meal. I used button mushrooms here but shitake would be even better. Corn kernels would also work well. If you can’t find Cassava flour, chickpea flour would be a fine substitute.DSC_0710DSC_0715DSC_0718DSC_0653Recipe

Mushroom and Tempeh Fritters

Ingredients

800g tempeh, chopped into 1cm cubes

10 shallots, finely sliced

500g mushrooms

2 1/2 cups cassava flour

1 lemon, zest and juice

1-2 cups water

2 tsp ground coriander

1 large thumb ginger, grated

4 tbs soy sauce

salt and pepper

Handful fresh coriander, chopped

Canola oil for shallow frying

Method

Combine all of the ingredients, except the water, in large bowl. Add one cup of the water and stir to combine, add the rest of the water as needed, until mixture sticks together but isn’t too wet.

Heat the oil in a wok, about 5cm deep. Test it is hot enough by seeing if a cube of bread turns golden in about 20secs.

Fry heaped tablespoons of mixture, in batches, turning frequently, until dark golden brown. Don’t be put off by how dark they go, they need to cook in the middle. Test one if you need.

Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with samba and pickled cucumber.

Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients

1 small or half a large telegraph cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scraped out and finely chopped

Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup white vinegar

2 tbs white sugar

salt and pepper

Method

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate for at least 20mins, or until needed.

Chilli Sambal

Ingredients

2 brown onions, peeled and chopped

1 whole bulb garlic, cloves peeled and chopped

2 large thumbs ginger, peeled and chopped

10 birdseye chillies

4 stalks lemongrass, white and pale green parts chopped

4 tomatoes, chopped

3 tbs palm sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

juice of 5 small limes

1 tbs fish sauce (optional)

salt and pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust to suit.

Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

 

Vegan Mushroom Pâté

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I had quite a bit of interest on my last blog post for the Vegan Mushroom Bahn Mi, in particular the Mushroom Pâté. It really is so delicious, and easy to do. So I thought I’d post the recipe for it on it’s own, because it was a star!

It’s important to try and find some dried mushrooms, they really add the depth of flavour. If you can’t find dried mixed forest mushrooms, you could use dried porcini or shitake. Serve it with some nice crackers and some pickled vegetables for a beautiful treat alongside some evening drinks.

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Recipe

Makes enough to serve about 8 people as a starter

Mushroom Pâté

20g dried mixed forest mushrooms
3 tbs light olive oil
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
250g mixed mushrooms (I used button and shitake)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup dry roasted walnuts
salt and pepper
3 tsp olive oil spread

Method

Place the dried forest mushrooms in a bowl with 1/2 cup hot water, leave to soak for at least half an hour. Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid. Reserve liquid.
Heat 2 tbs of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms, stirring constantly, until cooked, about 5 to 10 mins. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly.
Place the drained forest mushrooms, cooked mushroom mixture, parsley, walnuts and remaining olive oil in a small food processor, or a bowl deep enough to use a stick blender. Blend until very smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Place into one large dish or 2 small ramekins, smooth the tops and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20mins.
Meanwhile, melt the olive oil spread and add 3 tbs of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Pour on top of the mushroom pate and keep in the fridge to set.

Serve with crackers, pickles etc.

Enjoy!

Kick up the Kaffir

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One of the first cocktails I ever tried making at home was a ‘Yule Mule’, a Christmas spin on the classic Moscow Mule; a cocktail made of vodka, ginger ale or ginger beer and lime juice. I still love this cocktail so much and so decided to try and do my own spin on it. There is no shortage of limes, ginger and kaffir lime up here, some of my favourite flavours. It’s thanks to these fantastic aspects of Darwin that keep me sane while I’m sitting here at 10.30pm in thirty five degree heat, getting eaten by mosquitoes….

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name…think about a mule or donkey and what they are famous for…kicking right? Then add the kick of the ginger and a little bit of alliteration…I think it’s pretty clever, if I do say so myself.

Happy New Year everybody! It’s going to be a cracker!

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Recipe

Ginger and Kaffir Lime Syrup

Ingredients

150g ginger, thinly sliced (no need to peel)

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

juice of 1/2 lemon

Method

In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, combine the water and the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer, on low/medium for about 45mins to an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain.

Keep in the fridge in a sealed jar.

Kick up the Kaffir

Serves 1

Ingredients

30ml vodka

45ml ginger and kaffir lime syrup

1/2 lime juiced

slice of lime, to serve

ice

soda water

Method

Place the ice in a tall glass. Pour over the vodka, syrup and lime juice. Top with soda water and garnish with the slice of lime. Stir.

Cheers!

 

Steamed Artichokes with Mustard Dipping Sauce

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I’ve  always wanted to try this beautiful looking dish but never have due to it seeming much too difficult and fiddly. Well, guess what! It’s so easy and way more delicious and exciting than I had anticipated! It’s a lovely way to get the party started as you will undoubtedly have to explain to your guests that these beautiful flower like vegetables are actually edible, and then how to go about it. It’s hard to explain, and doesn’t sound great when you do, but once you try it with your own mouth you will see why it’s been a popular way to eat artichoke for centuries. I have even seen it described as the lobster of the vegetable world.  The sweet and tangy mustard dipping sauce works perfectly with the creamy artichoke meat and made even better with a crisp, cold glass of white wine in the other hand. Perfect entertaining food as it’s entertaining in itself, delicious, and won’t fill up any tummys too much before anything else you may have in store.

So, to explain how to eat this funny looking vegetable. Once you have steamed it and allowed it to cool a little (see recipe), simply pull away a ‘leaf’ from the artichoke, dip the meaty end in the sauce and then place in your mouth while still holding the end of the ‘leaf’. Then use your teeth to gently scrape away the meat as you pull the ‘leaf’ back out of your mouth. Once you get to the middle of the artichoke you will see a sort of hairy section, this is inedible, discard it. Under this though is the artichoke heart, depending on the age of your artichoke, it may be firm and able to be lifted out and chopped into pieces to eat, or, if it’s an older artichoke, it will be soft and you will need a spoon to scoop it out. It’s delicious!

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Recipe

Serves 4 as a snack

Ingredients

2 artichokes

1/8 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/8 cup honey

2 tbs grain mustard

salt and pepper

Method

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, with a steam basket and lid on top.

Trim the stalk from the artichokes, as well as any dark and dry leaves around the base. Cut off the first 2cm from the top of the artichoke as well.

Once the water is boiling, place the artichokes in the steam basket and steam, lid on, for about 45mins to an hour, or until a ‘leaf’ is able to be easily pulled away.

Remove from the steamer and allow to cool. The artichokes can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

For the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Place in a small bowl to serve alongside the artichokes. Serve with a large empty bowl for the scraps. Enjoy!

 

Cherry Bloody Christmas

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‘Let’s catch up for Chrissy drinks!’ Christmas drinks; so much more fun than regular drinks. Everyone is in high spirits, with impending holidays and feasting with family and friends. Work is winding down, and nobody needs to feel guilty for finding themselves at the pub on a Tuesday afternoon; there’s always time for a Chrissy drink with someone!

I love having cherries around at this time of year, it makes me nostalgic for Christmas time as a child; there always seemed to be a bowl of them somewhere around the house. We bought these from the local market the other day, six dollars for a huge bag; the farmer wouldn’t let me buy half. So, seeing as we were travelling again the next day, I just ‘had’ to use them all up by making these cocktails. The blood orange adds a really unusual flavour as well, but you could replace it with regular orange if you can’t find any. You could also use the syrup to make mocktails for kids, or in ice-blocks, or you could reduce the syrup down even more and pour it over ice-cream. The colour is beautiful and instantly adds a bright christmassy feel to the table. Cheers!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup

300g cherries, pitted and halved

Juice of 3 blood oranges

1 cup caster sugar

2 cinnamon quills

juice 1/2 lemon

1-2 cups of water, depending on how juicy the oranges are

Candied Blood Orange Peel

3 blood oranges

3/4 cup caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 cup water

Cherry Ice-Cubes

12-24 cherries (depending on size of your ice cube trays and how many you want to make)

water

Cherry Bloody Christmas

Serves 1

30ml vodka

60-90ml Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup (depending how strong you want the flavours to be)

Soda water

Cherry ice-cubes

Candied Blood Orange Peel

Method

To make the Blood Orange, Cherry and Cinnamon Syrup, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the simmer and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 45mins, or until cherries have broken down and the mixture is dark red and syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about half an hour. Remove cinnamon quills and push through a sieve, getting as much juice out of the cherries as possible. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

To make the candied blood orange peel, remove the rind from the oranges using a small knife or peeler. Try to get long strips and avoid the white part as it is bitter. Cut the rind lengthways into long thin strips, about 3mm wide.

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Put the orange rind into the sugar water and bring to the simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for about 1/2 an hour, stirring often.

Remove the orange rind and allow to cool slightly. Place a few spoonfuls of caster sugar on a plate and roll the orange rind around in it to dust. Place orange rind in a single layer on a tray and let dry for at least 6 hours.

To make cherry ice-cubes, halve the cherries and carefully remove the pit, try not to destroy the shape of the cherry and leave the stalks on where you can. Place in ice-cube trays and fill with water. Freeze.

To make the Cherry Bloody Christmas, in a glass per-person, place the vodka, syrup, a few cherry ice-cubes and top up with soda water. Decorate the edge of the glass with a few strips of candied orange peel.

Cheers!