Saturday, 10 November 2012

Butter Chicken

This is adapted from Bill Granger's 'Easy' cookbook. I nickname him the 'vain' chef as he constantly mentions his weight throughout the book. In fact he starts this recipe with "I'm too vain..." but it tastes great without all the added cream of a traditional butter chicken curry.

(serves 2)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (I used green)
  • 4-6 chicken thighs, cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of chicken or vege stock or white wine
  • 2/3 cup cashew nuts or almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/3 cup yoghurt (I use Naturalea acidophilus plain unsweetened although Bill uses thick Greek yoghurt which often contains cream so I've gone ultra healthy & it still tasted yum)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • steamed rice (I used black rice which has a lovely sweet taste and went well with this but you can use basmati or brown or rice of your choice) OR cauliflower rice
  • lime wedges & handful fresh coriander to serve
  1. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat and brown chicken pieces quickly on each side, remove & set aside.
  2. Lower heat to medium & cook onion for 6-8 minutes until soft & golden.
  3. Add curry paste & cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring until fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes and stock, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat & cook gently for 10 minutes then add chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely ground.
  6. Add to the chicken & simmer for a further 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  7. Remove from the heat & stir through the yoghurt &,lemon juice.
  8. Serve with steamed rice, dressed with coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. Bon appétit!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Mushroom and Bean Hotpot

This one will not win a beauty contest but the taste is superb especially considering the ingredients are simple and it only takes 30 minutes to cook.

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cups of button mushrooms (or whatever is in season), quartered
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp flour (I use wholemeal but rice or white could be substituted)
  • 1 tbsp mild curry paste or powder
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or  vegetable stock or water)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g beans, drained & rinsed - I use whatever is in the cupboard. I've cooked this with kidney beans, white beans & chickpeas - it's always good
  • 3 tbsp mango chutney - I've started experiencing with other fruit chutney's. Last time I used half mango and half kiwifruit & banana chutney which I bought from a local market from some talented elderly lady. So good!
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander and mint - optional but the fresh herbs do add to this dish
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over a low heat & cook the mushrooms & onion until soft and golden.
  2. Stir in flour & curry paste, then cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the wine/water, can of tomatoes, tomato paste & beans.
  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced.
  4. Stir in the chutney & fresh herbs just before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Honey Roasted Tomatoes

  • dozen small tomatoes, chopped in half or whole cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped (use mostly the leaves & throw a whole sprig or two on top)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • pinch volcanic salt (or salt of choice)
  • freshly ground pepper 
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC
  2. In an ovenproof dish mix all the ingredients together and roll tomatoes until covered. My honey was semi hard so I smeared mix all over the bottom of the dish and let it melt in the oven.
  3. Shake mixture after 10 minutes to ensure tomatoes are coated
  4. Bake for another 10-20 minutes depending on how many tomatoes you are using.
  5. Serve as side dish
I served my honey roasted tomatoes with a green salad and fish cakes (bought from Farro Fresh). Easy Monday :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

French Onion Soup

Nothing like a hearty French Onion Soup in the middle of a very cold July, plus onions are cheap at the moment. If you have time, cook the onions slowly for a good hour or so, just remember to keep an eye on them or they will catch and burn - yes, I learnt the hard way! The more the onions caramelize the sweeter they taste however you can cook the onions within 10 - 15 minutes if you are in a hurry. When I do this method I sometimes turn the heat up high so the onions start to catch (i.e just start to turn brown) then remove from the heat and give them a good stir.

Serves 2
Depending on how long you have to caramelize the onions can take 15 minutes to 1 hour
  • big knob of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 large brown onions, sliced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup red wine or dry white wine (or use extra stock with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar)
  • 3 cups beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped - if you don't have fresh use 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • salt & pepper
  • toasted french bread or bread of choice
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) or your favourite cheese to melt on top of the bread
  1. Peel & chop onions. The chop blade on a food processor makes quick work of this (& less tears).
  2. Melt butter and olive oil in large saucepan over a low heat.
  3. Add onions & cook slowly for 1 hour until brown & caramelized. Don't forget to check the onions don't catch and give it a good stir every 15 minutes or so. If the onions haven't coloured within the hour turn heat up a tad.  If you don't have an hour cook the onions & garlic over a low heat for 10 minutes then add stock, thyme, bay leaves and increase heat to high & cook for a further 10 minutes. Season. Grill the bread as below and viola.
  4. Sprinkle over flour & stir in.
  5. Add wine and deglaze pan i.e stir in all the good bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pan
  6. Add stock, garlic, thyme & bay leaves, salt & pepper & bring to boil at medium heat.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven grill and toast bread on one side, turn over and sprinkle with grated cheese and grill until melted.
  9. Don't forget to remove bay leaves before spooning soup into bowls and top with the bread. Enjoy!

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I use French herbs)
  • 1/2 tsp volcanic salt (or salt of choice)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  1. Peel & crush garlic cloves with back of knife.
  2. Add oil to pan & saute sliced onion & garlic on low heat until soft and caramel looking. Around 30 minutes.
  3. Add herbs, salt, tomatoes & honey. 
  4. Cook on low until simmering.
  5. Blend with a stick blender
I like to serve over fresh pasta with roasted vegetables like pumpkin. I make the sauce in the weekend and use during the week for a healthy, quick meal. Bon appétit!

(Inspired by revive cafe)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Chicken, Green Bean & Broccoli Soup

This is a wonderfully warming soup by Donna Hay which has now become Trevor's signature dish ;)

Serves 4
Takes around 30 mins

  • glug olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes or fresh red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups miso (mix 2 tbsp miso with hot water) - or just use stock
  • 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs, sliced into bite size pieces
  • bag of green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup of pearl couscous
  • fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  1. In a large suacepan, warm oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic, chilli, lemon & onion & cook until onion is soft.
  3. Add stock & bring to a simmer.
  4. Add couscous and cook for around 2 minutes or until couscous starts to get soft.
  5. Add beans, spring onions, broccoli & cook for another 2 minutes
  6. Add chicken & cook until chicken is just done and couscous is soft in the middle.
  7. Spoon into bowls, top with fresh coriander leaves & enjoy! 

(Adapted from donna hay, simple dinners)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chicken & Prawn Wonton Soup

To make a real quick version during the week I buy some frozen dumplings. When I have time I make my own. I don't eat pork so I use minced chicken and prawns instead. Enjoy!


  • 4 shiitake mushrooms - chopped. I used fresh but you can use dried porcini mushrooms. You will need to soak them for 20-30mins, drain & finely chop, keep the mushroom stock and add to soup
  • 100g raw prawns, peeled & finely chopped
  • 100g minced free range chicken
  • 4 water chestnuts, finely chopped (optional)
  • 4 spring onions (or shallots or fresh chives), trimmed & finely sliced
  • 1 free range egg white
  • salt & freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 packet fresh wonton wrappers
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 2 cm piece root ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1-2 lime kaffir leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • 100g pak choi, washed & shredded (or anything 'choi')
  1. Pour stock into a large pot (you want the wontons to move around), add the ginger, garlic & lime kaffir leaf. Bring to the boil then let it simmer while you prepare the wontons.
  2. Mix cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water to make a paste. Or just use water although I find the cornflour helps them stick better
  3. Mix chicken, prawns, water chestnuts, onions, egg white, chilli, mushrooms and season with salt & pepper. Mix well.
  4. Moisten edges of each wrapper then drop about a tsp in the middle of each one or use 2 wrappers per wonton, place tsp in middle and wet edges before placing 2nd wrapper on top. I used a fork to bring the edges together. 
  5. Makes about 26 wontons
  6. Bring stock back to boil, add wontons then simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the pak choi & cook for a further 2 minutes or until the pak choi is tender and wontons have floated to the surface and cooked through.
  7. Serve & sprinkle with spring onions or garnish of your choice. Enjoy!