Charred Avocado, Cucumber, Radish and Chickpea Salad

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Here is a recipe for an impressive but simple salad that would serve well as a nice lunch with some white wine or to take to a barbecue. It’s perfect on it’s own but would also go really well with some grilled chicken or salmon. Crusty bread would also go well on the side.
I used to talk about stuff on this blog about life and inspiration. But, at the moment, I have nothing interesting to say. And I’m sure no-one cares anyway. However, if you do, I’d love some feedback.
Hope you like the salad.

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Recipe
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 avocados
Lemon oil for grilling
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
5 baby cucumbers, finely sliced on a mandolin
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Handful of fresh dill sprigs
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread to serve (optional)
Method
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Cut the avocados in half. Remove the seed and cut each half into thirds. Peel away the skin. Brush the avocado with the lemon oil and place, cut side down, on the hot grill pan. Grill each cut side for about 2 mins, or until blackened lines appear. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard and some salt and pepper in a tightly sealed jar and shake well to combine.
To serve, arrange the avocado, radishes, cucumbers and chickpeas on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the dill.
Enjoy!

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Indonesian Jackfruit and Mushroom Curry with Red Rice, Crispy Tempeh, Green Papaya Salad and Sweet Potato Chips

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Here is another curry recipe using the Indonesian Curry Paste from the last post. If you haven’t had jackfruit before, I strongly suggest you give it a go, especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian, it’s a great substitute for meat. It’s becoming easier to find in Australia, most good asian or indian grocers should have it in cans. Here in Indonesia it’s growing everywhere and most markets sell it by the piece, already cut, which is good because cutting a fresh one can be a very messy, sticky task. Check out my recipe for Smokey Pulled Jackfruit Burgers for another yummy way to use jackfruit.

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Recipe

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Curry

2 tbs sesame oil

1 cup Indonesian Curry Paste

500ml coconut milk

1 litre vegetable stock

4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

2 cans jackfruit, drained

200g chanterelle mushrooms (or any mushroom you like)

Bunch kale, roughly chopped

Bunch choy sum, roughly chopped

Green Papaya Salad

2 cups shredded green papaya

1 chilli, finely chopped

Juice of 3 limes

2 tablespoons palm sugar

1 tsp salt

Handful each of lemon basil, coriander and mint

Crispy Tempeh

1 piece tempeh, chopped into 2cm pieces

3 tbs Canola oil

3 tbs kecap manis

To serve

Cooked red rice

Lime wedges

Sweet potato chips

Method

For the curry, heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium to high heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 1min until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, stock, tamari and jackfruit. Bring the boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45mins, or until jackfruit is very tender and starting to fall apart. Add water during this time if the sauce is becoming too thick and reduced.

Add the mushrooms, kale and choy sum and cook for a further 10mins or until mushrooms and greens are just cooked.

Meanwhile, for the green papaya salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stir well, cover and refrigerate until needed.

When ready to serve, cook the tempeh. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the tempeh and the kecap manis and cook, stirring, for about 5mins or until tempeh is crispy and golden brown.

Serve the curry with the cooked red rice, papaya salad, crispy tempeh, lime wedges and sweet potato chips.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Nasi Goreng with Kang Kung, Chicken and Prawn Sate and Tomato Sambal

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Indonesian people eat rice three times a day. No wonder they are the geniuses behind this delicious dish. You can serve it as simply or as complicated as you like, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, anything goes; just like life in Indo…

I’ve visited Indonesia three times over the past twelve months and am hoping to get back there soon to skip a couple of the cooler months here in Aus. Now that I have explored quite a bit through most of the islands, this time I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a couple of months and really getting to know the place, the people and learn a lot more about the food.

A lot of Indonesian food is cooked using copious amounts of oil and palm sugar, and MSG is common. I’m keen to adapt some common Indonesian recipes into some healthier versions with less oil, less palm sugar and definitely no MSG. There are so many beautiful fresh and tropical ingredients there, it won’t be hard to do.

Here is a recipe for my version of Nasi Goreng with a few yummy things alongside. The Kang Kung (water spinach) dish is definitely one of my favourite Padang choices. To make this dish vegetarian, omit the prawns from the rice, use tempeh for the sate and omit the fried anchovies.

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Recipe (serves 4-6)

Tomato Sambal
Ingredients
1o0ml rice bran oil (or other veg oil)
200g eschallots, peeled and diced
100g garlic, peeled and crushed
100g ginger, grated
400g long red chilled, diced
300g birds eye chillies, diced
2 lemongrass stalks, white and pale green part, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 tbs dried coriander seeds, crushed
60g palm sugar, grated
2 tbs shrimp paste, roasted
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Method
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the eschallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the ginger, chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, and coriander, cook for a further few minutes. Add the palm sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar starts to caramelize.
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and reduced, about 10mins.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Puree the sauce using a large mortar and pestle or blender. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.
Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze.

Nasi Goreng
Ingredients
80ml rice bran oil, plus extra
100g eschallots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
200g cabbage, chopped
300g prawn meat, chopped
1/4 cup tomato sambal, plus extra to serve
5 tbs soy sauce
600g cooked rice, chilled (from 2 cups raw)
100g baby spinach
salt to taste
4-6 eggs
Fried shallots
Crispy fried anchovies
Krupuk crackers (I used ones made from taro)
2 Fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, sliced
Lemon basil
Method
Heat the oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and carrots and cook until soft. Add the prawns and cabbage and cook, until cabbage is soft and prawns are cooked.
Add the sambal and soy sauce and cook for a further few minutes to reduce some of the liquid.
Add the rice and spinach and cook, stirring for a further 5 mins.
Add salt to taste.
Heat extra oil in a frying pan over high heat. Fry the eggs until white is cooked and yolk is still runny.
Serve the rice in a mound (you can use a cup to mould it), top with the fried egg, shallots, anchovies, some extra tomato sambal, krupuk crackers, the tomato, cucumber and lemon basil, and whatever else you choose to serve alongside (I also served Kang Kung and chicken and prawn sate, recipes follow)

Kang Kung (spicy water spinach)
Ingredients
2 tbs rice bran oil
4-6 eschallots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
4 long red chilles, halved, de-seeded, and thinly sliced lengthways
1 birdseye chilli, finley chopped
2 bunches water spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped into 10cm lengths
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs kecap manis
2 tbs soy sauce
salt to taste
Method
In a large wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring, until soft.
Add the water spinach and sauces and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted and reduced, about 5mins.
Add salt to taste.
Serve.

Chicken and Prawn Sate
Ingredients
Rice bran oil
600g chicken thigh, cut into 2cm cubes
12 large green prawns, peeled, tail left on
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs tomato sambal
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs kecap manis
5 tbs palm sugar
Small bamboo skewers
Method
Place the chicken in one bowl and the prawns in another. Add the 1/4 cup sambal, 1/4 cup kecap manis and 3 tbs of the palm sugar to the chicken. Add the 2 tbs sambal, 2 tbs kecap manis and remaining 2 tbs palm sugar to the prawns. Stir each well, cover, and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
Thread about 5 pieces of chicken onto skewers, and one prawn each per skewer with the tail pointing away.
Heat the oil on a grill pan to very hot and smoking. Carefully add the chicken skewers and cook, turning, for about 5-8 mins or until cooked through and caramalized, adding the prawns in the last 3 mins of cooking.
Serve.

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Spiced Eggplant with Savoy, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

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It’s becoming more obvious everyday. I think I finally need to make the move, the one I planned to a couple of years ago but got sidetracked by other travels, it’s time to come and live in London for a while. It’s a weird thing, to want to come and live in one of the biggest and coldest cities I’ve ever been to, but I feel there is so much opportunity for me here, as well as one of my dearest friends, and, when it gets too cold, I’ll just shoot off down to Spain or Morocco and warm the cockles. Anyway, I’ve got a few more months here in Europe, I’m sure I’ll have more of an idea by the time we head back to Australia.

So, we finally got to catch up last night, my dear friend and I. The conversation did not have more than a two second gap in it for about five hours straight. I was so excited to cook for her and wanted to make something wholesome and delicious, but, as it is when travelling, I’m also restricted by the ingredients I can use. Luckily there were some spices in the cupboard here and I was able to find the rest of the ingredients in the endless Middle Eastern grocers lining the main street here. So much pita bread!

If large enough, the eggplants are sufficient on there own as a meal, but we ate them alongside some warmed pita bread, hummus and a quinoa salad. Find the recipe for my favourite creamy hummus here.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favourite food blogs to turn to when I want some inspiration for a truly healthy and wholesome meal. I also made some little chocolate and almond cakes for dessert, completely sugar, dairy and gluten free. They were so delicious! Unfortunately we were too busy eating and talking to think to get any photos by the time dessert came around!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggplant

Olive oil

2 tbs garam masala

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Salad

1 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

400g can puy lentils, rinsed and drained well

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

salt and pepper

To serve, hummus, pita bread, quinoa salad (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and use the tip of a knife to cut a criss cross pattern, about 1cm deep, into the flesh. Drizzle well with olive oil, using fingers to rub all over. Sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper, and use fingers to rub spices into the cuts. Drizzle with more olive oil if they feel too dry. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45-50mins, or until flesh is dark on top and soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, for the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage, for 1min, drain and rinse under cold water. Leave to drain as much water out as possible. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lentils, parsley and dressing and toss to combine.

To serve, place the eggplants on a large serving platter, scatter the salad over the tops and sprinkle with the pomegranate. Serve with sides such as hummus, pita bread and quinoa salad. Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Turkish Lahmacun. Spiced Lentil Flatbreads with Garlic Yoghurt and Pickles.

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I made this dish whilst we were back in Germany, staying with a friend who loves food and loves to eat. It was perfect for me! I had access to her awesome little kitchen the whole time we were there and I had the best time preparing breakfasts, snacks, afternoon teas and dinners for all of us, which, in turn, resulted in lots of lovely hours, sitting around, chatting, eating and drinking. Bliss!

Germany is renowned for it’s Doner Kebabs and there are many (MANY) turkish restaurants. It got me thinking about a dish I had seen, a kind of turkish pizza. I mentioned it to our friend and she said, yes, it’s called Lahmucan, but, she had never been able to try it because it is only ever made with lamb mince and she is a vegetarian. So, I decided to try and make a meatless version of Lahmucan. And, boy did I nail it! The dough was amazingly soft and beautiful to work with, and turned out perfect when baked. The topping was spicy and tasty, especially with a drizzle of lemon and the garlic yoghurt, and the freshness of the parsley and pickles. You have to give this a try!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Dough
7g sachet of yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Olive oil
Spiced Lentil Sauce
Olive oil
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
250g swiss brown or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sumac
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Yoghurt Sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Pickled Radishes
Bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
To Serve
20g walnuts, roughly chopped
Bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Lemon wedges
Pickled peppers

Method

For the dough, combine the yeast with 1/3 cup warm water and allow to stand for 10mins, until bubbles have formed on top.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the egg mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Stir briefly, until just combined. Cover with a towel and rest for 10mins.
Use olive oil to lightly oil a clean work surface and your hands. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for 10secs, gently pushing it away form yourself and folding it back over. Return to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave to rest for 15mins. Repeat this process twice more at 15min intervals. After the last kneading, cover again and leave to rise for an hour.
After an hour, divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust a clean work surface with flour and line two large baking trays with baking paper. With a rolling pin, roll the portions out into 30cm by 20cm rectangles (or whatever shape you manage). Place on the trays and cover with tea towels. Leave to rise for another 45mins.
Meanwhile, make the spiced lentil sauce.
Add the walnuts, the lentils, the mushrooms and some salt to a large food processor. Using the pulse action, process until just finely chopped, try not to turn it into a paste. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, add a tbs of olive oil and add the lentil mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 10mins. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another tbs of olive oil. Cook the onion, stirring, over medium heat, for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, sugar, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the simmer, turn heat to low, and cook, stirring often, for about 10mins, or until thick and fragrant. Add the lentil mixture and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt with the garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir well to combine. Leave in the fridge until needed.
In a medium bowl, combine the radishes with the vinegar, sugar and some salt. Using your hands, massage the radishes with the vinegar. Allow to sit, stirring every so often, for at least 30mins before serving (you can also make these up to 1 day ahead, stored in the fridge).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Drizzle the 4 dough rectangles with a little olive oil. Spread with the lentil sauce, leaving about 2cm around the edges. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45mins, or until lentil sauce is dry on top and the edges of the dough are nice and golden brown.
To serve, top with the pickled radishes, sliced onion, parsley, walnuts, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the yoghurt and the pickled peppers on the side. (I like to just put everything in the middle of the table and let people top their own)
Enjoy!









Peanut Sambal (Sambal Kacang), Tomato Sambal (Sambal Tomat), and Eggplant in Chilli Sauce (Terong Balado)

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Bali. I’m going to keep this short, because otherwise, I could be writing all day about this amazing country. It is a truly beautiful place. Not just the land itself but the people that make it so. They are peaceful, generous and kind beyond words. I hope I can take a little of their calm and humble beauty away within myself when we leave.

It feels fantastic to be travelling again, I learn so much about myself and appreciate my home and my family more with each place I visit. It is so easy to get caught up in the bubble at home, of working and socialising and buying things. I love to be so free and happy with the people  I am with and what I can carry on my back.

So far, the food here is so amazing that I can’t quite remember anything else I would rather eat. I’ve been enjoying a mostly vegan diet and I’m not missing dairy a single bit. I have eaten a small amount of seafood, but look forward to more of that once we go to the smaller islands. We have mostly been eating in the Warungs, small restaurants that serve local dishes for an amazingly low price. I’m so impressed with the amount of different vegetarian meals they offer, and I’m in love with the tempeh here. I’d like to learn how to make it. There are many cooking classes on offer but I think I prefer to experiment on my own with what I have tried and what I have asked people so far. I think everyone makes their own versions of these dishes anyway, without ever having a set recipe.

I got up early yesterday and went to the local markets to buy the ingredients I needed for these dishes that I had tried the day before at a friends’ house. The market had everything I needed, I didn’t need to buy a single thing from the grocery store except for some oil. This fact made me feel I was on the right track. So, here are my versions of some delicious Balinese dishes! May there be many more to come!

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Recipe

Tomato Chili Sambal (Sambal Tomat)

Ingredients

3 tbs peanut oil
5 long red chillies, roughly chopped
6 red cayenne chillies, or birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
10 golden shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs raw sugar

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chillies, shallots, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 5 mins, add some water if it gets too dry. Transfer mixture to a mortar and pestle and add the fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar and grind until a chunky consistency. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
You can use it straight away or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavour will change after a while. I like to let it sit for a few hours before using. Serve at room temperature.

Peanut Samabl 

Ingredients

2 tbs peanut oil
150g roasted peanuts
2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
3 red cayenne chillies, or birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
8 golden shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted, desiccated coconut
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
200ml water

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the peanuts, chillies, garlic, shallots, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 3 mins. Transfer mixture to a mortar and pestle and add the coconut, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper and grind to a thick paste, adding the water as you go.
You can use it straight away or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavour will change after a while. I like to let it sit for a few hours before using. Serve at room temperature.

Eggplant in Chilli Sauce (Terong Balado)

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

4-5 long eggplants
8 tbs peanut oil
2 tbs tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 cups warm water
2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
3 red cayenne/birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
10 golden shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tbs raw sugar

Method

Prepare a large bowl with cold, salted water. Cut the eggplants into 5cm pieces, putting them in the water as you go. Leave them in the water while you prepare the paste.
For the paste, heat 1tbs of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chillies, shallots, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for about 2mins. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with the salt and sugar, and grind to a smooth paste.
Add the remaining 7 tbs of the oil to a clean pan, over medium high heat. Add the drained eggplant and cook, stirring, for about 5mins, or until starting to soften, but not falling apart. Remove the eggplant from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard the remaining oil.
Return the eggplant to the pan, along with the chilli paste and the tamarind water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 3mins, or until thickened slightly and eggplant is fully cooked.
Serve.

Scallops with Lap Cheong and Black Rice

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‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page’ – St Augustine. I’m not really one for quotes but I thought this one was pretty nice, I found it in a Lonely Planet photo Journal I was reading the other day, getting very excited…

It’s only three sleeps now until our trip overseas starts. I’m starting to feel a tiny bit anxious with excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. It’s been a year and a half since my last trip overseas. Oh, except NZ, but that doesn’t really count…

We haven’t made too many concrete plans, leaving our options as open as we possibly can, incase of meeting cool people, and hearing about cool places, etc. I hate the fact that you even have to book flights out of each country that you fly into, just to prove that you are leaving, I mean, I understand it, but it still really annoys me. Customs always freaks me out, even though I know I’m doing absolutely nothing wrong, they certainly have a way of making you feel nervous. After a couple of friends of friends were recently refused entry into Aus due to lack of funds, it makes me even more nervous. But, I’m sure we will be fine, and all of those things just add to the pleasure once you make it to the breathtaking places; where you find yourself, atop a volcano, in front of an ancient temple or amidst a tropical rainforest and you ask yourself, in awe, what am I even doing here? We are so lucky to have the freedom to travel.

I’ve been wanting to make this dish since way back in November when I started working in the fish market. I had never come across scallops in their shells before, and although they were ridiculously expensive, I had to try them, if not just for the taste but for their beautiful shells as well. So, I thought I’d better give them a go before we left Darwin, who knows when we will be back!

Like I said in my last post, the discovery of Lap Cheong (chinese sausage) since we’ve been up here has been a very very good one. We don’t eat much meat but the asian grocers here are amazing and the local, tropical produce, mostly lends itself to asian cuisine, so I’ve learnt to use it for lots of dishes. The flavour is out of this world and you don’t need much, so a packet goes a long way.

This is a great entree dish, or you could even serve it without the rice, as a canapé. Alternatively, bulk out the rice with some more veggies, like a fried rice, and serve the scallops on top. Delish!

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Recipe

Serves 4 as an entree

Ingredients

2 tbs peanut oil

100g Lap Cheong (chinese sausage), finely sliced

12 scallops on the half shell, without the roe, removed from the shell, shells set aside for serving

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

20g butter

2 tbs oyster sauce

200g black rice, cooked to packet directions

2 spring onions

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

4 garlic chives, finley sliced

1/4 cup coriander leaves

lemon wedges, to serve

Cracked black pepper

Method

Prepare a medium bowl with water and ice. Cut the spring onions into 4 cm lengths and then finely slice them lengthways. Place them in the ice water and leave for 30mins, this will help them to curl. Drain. (note, this is purely for aesthetics and doesn’t affect the flavour).

Spread the cooked rice onto a serving platter, or onto 4 serving plates. Arrange the half shells on top of the rice, ready for the scallops. Keep warm. (again, this is just for presentation, you don’t need the shells).

Heat 1 tbs of the peanut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the lap chuong and fry, stirring, for 2mins, add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 1min. Remove from the pan and evenly distribute between the shells.

Add the remaining 1 tbs of peanut oil and the butter, once butter is melted, add the scallops and cook for 1 to 2mins, turn and cook for a further 30secs. Drizzle with the oyster sauce. Place on top of the lap chuong.

Top the scallops with the spring onions, chilli, ginger, garlic chives, coriander, and some cracked black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Banana, Coconut and Date Loaf, Banana, Carob and Walnut Muffins and Banana Jam (All Vegan. Yeah, we had a lot of bananas to use…)

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If you could see where I am sitting whilst writing this, you would surely laugh.

In two weeks time I’ll be swimming in the ocean and drinking ice cold Bintangs in Bali, but in the meantime, I’m sitting here, in my camping chair, in the searing heat, on the side of the free way, with a For Sale sign on the car. This better work….

Once this car is sold, my whole life will be back in my backpack, and man am I looking forward to that feeling! It’s been great having this big car, all equipped to live anywhere on this great brown land, but I’m ready for the backpacker life again! Beaches, jungles, hostels, beers, new friends, old friends, culture, food, art, adventure…the list is long!

Anyway, back to reality for a moment. We found ourselves with a huge bag of bananas last week, all going black very quickly. The chickens don’t seem to be laying as many eggs as they were a few months ago so I decided to try and make some vegan banana treats. They turned out so beautifully, I don’t think I will ever make a banana loaf with eggs again!

Not so sure about the banana jam though, it tastes a little (lot) like something you might feed your baby. But hey, why would you feed your baby something gross!

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Recipe

Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients
3-4 over-ripe bananas, plus 1 to decorate
75g coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g raw sugar
125g white or wholemeal self-raising flour
100g wholemeal plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
50g shredded coconut
70g dates (or other dried fruit or nuts), chopped

Method
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees, celcius. Grease and line a loaf tin (banana leaves work great!)
In a large bowl, mash the bananas (reserving one to decorate). Add the coconut oil, vanilla and sugar, and mix well to combine.
Sift the flours, baking powder and cinnamon into the bowl with the banana. Add the coconut and dates and mix until all combined.
Pour into prepared loaf tin. Peel and cut the remaining banana in half, lengthways. Place, cut side up, on top of the batter and slightly press into the batter.
Bake for 40-50mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin.
Serve warm with banana jam, or topping of choice.
Enjoy!

Variation
Vegan Banana, Carob and Walnut muffins.
Replace 50g of the wholemeal plain flour with 60g of carob powder. Omit the coconut and the dates and add 80g of chopped walnuts, reserving some to sprinkle on top. Bake in a muffin tin for about 20mins.

Banana Jam

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
4 cups bananas, diced
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup water

Method
Combine the diced banana in a bowl with the lime juice.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and the water over medium high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to the simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 2mins.
Uncover and add the bananas with the lime. On medium heat, bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, for about 30mins. At this point, if you want a smooth jam, use a stick blender to blend until smooth, otherwise, just keep cooking.
Cook for another 20-30mins or until jam is nice and thick.
Pour hot jam into sterilised jars.
Allow to cool at room temperature, undisturbed for 24hours before using.

Palak Paneer (my version)

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See under the title of my blog it says, ‘food. experiences. experiments. recipes’… this was one of those experiments. So, please excuse this very unattractive curry. It may be the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen but man was it tasty!

The experiment part was the paneer, and although it wasn’t the first time I had made it, it was the first time I had used it in a curry. It is an incredibly easy cheese to make, but so far I had only used it in pies, and crumbled in salads. When I made this curry the paneer had only been setting in the fridge for a few hours, I think it would have had a better chance of staying in solid cubes if I had left it for twenty four hours, so that’s what I’ve suggested in this recipe. Alternatively you could use store bought paneer.

In the end, it was still really delicious, it just wasn’t the same as I’ve had it in Indian restaurants, but, that’s ok! I didn’t use the traditional spices and cream either, and I added chickpeas, so, maybe I shouldn’t really be calling it Palak Paneer, but, in the words of Kylie Kwong, it’s MY version of Palak Paneer. 😉

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Recipe

You will need to start this recipe the day before

Serves 4

Ingredients

Paneer

2L full cream milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Curry

300-350g spinach (I used a mixture of Brazilian and Baby Spinach)
2 long green chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic (1 roughly chopped and 3 finely chopped)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, julienned, plus extra to serve
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp garam masala
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
300g Paneer, cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve
salt and pepper
Cherry tomato, cucumber and parsley salad, lemon wedges, and brown rice, to serve

Method
To make the paneer, place the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until foamy and steaming. Do not bring to the boil.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. You should see the curds separating from the whey almost immediately. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 15 mins.
Strain the curds and whey through a sieve lined with muslin or a couple of fresh chux cloths. Bring the corners together and twist to push the whey out of the curds. You can also press down on it to really get the liquid out. Unwrap and stir in the salt. Bring together the corners and twist again and press out the last of the whey. Set the sieve in a bowl, place a small plate on top of the paneer, along with a couple of cans of food as weights. The sieve must be clear of the bottom of the bowl to allow any more liquid to drip out from the paneer. Place in the fridge overnight to set.
For the curry, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Place the spinach in the boiling water, press down and cover with a lid. Remove from heat and let sit for 2mins. Strain the spinach and place in the ice water for 5mins.
Place the spinach in a blender, along with the 1 clove of roughly chopped garlic, the green chillies and the ginger. Blend until smooth (add a little water if necessary). Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook, stirring until they begin to splutter, about 3mins.
Add the bay leaves and the onion. Cook until golden, about 5 mins. Add the remaining 3 garlic cloves and the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, about 3mins.
Add the turmeric, curry powder, garam masala and chickpeas. Cook, stirring, for about 3mins, or until fragrant.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the spinach mixture. Heat, stirring, until nearly simmering. Add the yoghurt and stir through. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the paneer and very carefully stir through the sauce, being careful not to break it up too much. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 mins before serving.
Serve with the brown rice, the salad, lemon wedges, extra ginger, extra yoghurt and a nice cold beer.

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