Friday, February 26, 2010

Goan Beef Curry

Goa is India's smallest state, located along the western coast. The main ingredients used to flavour the local dishes are chilli's, spices, coconut products (shaved, oil, milk, etc.) and vinegar. While fish and rice are generally considered the diet staples, I've used beef in this recipe.

Goan Beef Curry
(Serves 4)

1 tspn fennel seeds
6 cloves
1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds
1 dried chilli
3 tspn ground coriander
3 tspn ground cumin
1/2 tspn ground black pepper
1/2 tspn ground cardamom
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn white vinegar
800g diced beef
1 tspn ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece of ginger, grated
375mL coconut milk

In a mortar and pestle, bash the fennel seeds, cloves, fenugreek seeds and the dried chilli to create a fine powder. Mix this with the coriander, cumin, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon, then mix the spices with the white vinegar to form a dry paste.

Sprinkle the turmeric over the beef and rub it in.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pot or pan and gently fry the onion over medium heat until it begins to brown. Then add the garlic and ginger. Let it sizzle for a minute to take away the rawness and infuse the onion, then add the beef and brown it (that means cook it until the outside just begins to brown, it shouldn't be cooked all the way through.) Season with salt to taste.

Add the coconut milk and bring the curry to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 45 minutes. (If the curry is still quite liquid, simmer with the lid off the pan until it has dried out. If it begins to look too dry whilst cooking, add a small amount of water and stir it into the curry well.)

Serve the curry on top of a mound of freshly steamed basmati rice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Veal saltimbocca

Are you, your partner or your kids meat and three veg type people? Does Monday equal steak and three veg? If it's Thursday, it must be pork chops and three veg...

Do you ever get a little bored and feel like jazzing it up? Just a teensy tiny little bit?

Well, here's how!

Veal saltimbocca (or you can easily substitute veal for chicken or pork) is a very easy, very quick, very Italian dish. It contains six basic ingreadients and will only take ten minutes to prepare and cook.

Veal Saltimbocca
(Serves 4)

4 thin veal steaks
4 slices of prosciutto
8 sage leaves
Olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp butter

Lay each veal steak out on your benchtop then lay two sage leaves on the centre of each steak. Take a piece of prosciutto and wrap it around the steak and sage leaves (this will stop the leaves from burning.)

In a large non-stick pan, heat some olive oil and pan fry the steaks for a couple of minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

Remove the steaks and add the wine to the same pan. Scrape up any steak residue from the bottom (it will add extra flavour) and simmer for a minute or two until the wine has reduced a little. Add a dollop of butter, let it melt, then spoon it over the veal saltimbocca.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Honey Cardamom Biscuits

Honey, in its purest sense, is an energy source for bees. Lucky for us, its lovely sweet stickiness is a beautiful way to liven up biscuits, cakes and slices. It helps to bind dry mixtures and add a natural organic sweetness.

All different types of honey will vary in flavour. This is because bees will only visit one type of flower on each visit, thus beekeepers will choose a site for the hives dominated by one specific plant species to produce a specific type of honey.

In Australia, the most common varieties of honey are red gum and eucalypt. Although for this recipe, I have used local unprocessed Badgingarra honey.

Honey Cardamom Biscuits
(Makes 30)

200g unsalted butter
150g caster (superfine) sugar
3 tbsp honey
250g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
80g ground almonds
2 tspn ground cardamom

Preheat your oven to 170C/325F and line two baking trays with baking paper (or greaseproof paper).

Sif the flour, baking powder and cardamom into a bowl then stir in the ground almonds.

Over medium heat (or in a microwave) melt the butter, sugar and honey. After a minute or two, the sugar will dissolve (and you won't be able to hear the sugar crystals scraping along the bottom of the saucepan when you stir the mixture!)

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Roll small balls of the mixture (about three quarters of the size of a golf ball) and place them onto the baking trays. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand then bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes. They will turn a lovely golden colour when they're ready. If they still look pale after 15 minutes, leave them in the oven a little longer.

Let the biscuits cool on the trays for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. The point of this is that the biscuits will be meltingly soft when they first come out of the oven, if you try to move them without letting them cool a little first, they will fall apart when you touch them.

These biscuits keep extremely well (about 10 days!) in an airtight container or biscuit jar.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maple Sausages with Mustard Mash

This is a quick and easy snag recipe from my Delicious: 5 Nights A Week cookbook (available from

The maple sauce makes the sausages sticky sweet - but make sure you use real maple syrup, not the cheaper maple flavoured syrup. The onions caramelize and become soft as butter. And to mop up all that maple sweetness is lovely, fluffy, buttery, mashed potato given a lift by adding in seeded mustard.

This recipe is so quick and easy and guaranteed to be a winner with the kids.

Get the recipe here: or consider buying the Delicious cookbook if you love leafing through recipes which are perfect for an easy mid-week meal.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian Potato Cakes

In India, potato cakes or patties like these are usually served as a snack or part of a light lunch or breakfast and often served with chutney. The patties can be served hot or cold but personally, I prefer them hot.

While I made these as finger food for a party, the next time I make them I'll probably make larger patties and serve them with some pan-fried fish and salad to turn this into a main meal.

Aloo Ki Tikki
(Makes 25)

500g potato
100g canned chickpeas, rinsed
150g fresh or frozen peas
Vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tspn chilli paste
1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground corinader
1/2 tspn garam masala

Peal and chop 500g of potato then boil it with the chickpeas until tender (be careful not to overcook it, as potato becomes waterlogged and unpleasant quite quickly.) Mash the potato and chickpeas well.

Blanch the peas briefly in boiling water then add them to the mashed potato and stir the mixture gently (so as to not mash the peas.)

In a non-stick pan, add a little vegetable oil and saute the onion until it has softened. Add the ginger, chilli paste and ground spices and fry for a minute to release the aroma of the spices. Mix this into the potato and add salt to taste.

Get a golf ball sized portion of the potato mixture and shape into a pattie. Fry in an oiled non-stick pan for 3 minutes each side, or until golden and crispy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicken Chasseur

Chicken chasseur is a classic French dish. Chasseur means "hunter's sauce" as it was once a dish to slow-cook game meats such as rabbit, chicken, pheasant or venison.

The sauce itself is rich (but not stodgy) and begs to be mopped up by copious amounts of mashed potato or crusty bread. The main ingredients used to flavour a classic chasseur sauce are mushrooms, onions or shallots, white wine and herbs, although occassionally tomatoes (or tomato paste) is used.

Chicken Chasseur
(Serves 4)

800g chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
50g butter
Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
150g field or button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tspn dried tarragon
1/2 tspn dried parsely

Heat the butter and a small amount of olive oil (which will stop the butter from burning) in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they begin to brown a little. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until they too begin to soften.

Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and stir until it has combined with all the ingredients. Add the white wine, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir well. Bring the chasseur to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the tarragon and parsley to the chasseur and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off to reduce the sauce to a thick gravy. (If the gravy is too thick, you may add a little water to thin it slightly.)

Serve the chicken chasseur with mashed potato and steamed vegetables or fresh crusty bread and a side salad.