Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Strudels are forever



The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.






"Bond, someone has stolen the Ancient Strudel from the AltStadthaus in Munich." M explained. "The Germans's are frantic"

"Ahh, I would be too if you called London by another name. I do believe M, with all due respect, that Munich is actually Munchen. You really should revisit the Diplomacy 101 course, M. I believe its now available online too." Replied Bond with a little smirk.


"Damn it and confound it Bond." M spat out. "This is Not the time to worry about semantics. I say Potayto, you say Po-tah-to. I say Munich, the Germans say Munchen. I dont really care Bond, not when the Ancient Strudel is missing, Bond" She emphasised the last 'Bond' and James detected a little bit of distaste in the way she spat out his name.

"Well, I'd love to help M, but you see, I have the shingles." Bond replied softly.

"James. You've always been single as far as I've known. And since when did you develop such a terrible lisp?"

"No, No M, No! I've got a case of the Shingles. You know, that chicken pox virus that stays in your system and then breaks out when you least expect it?" Bond explained. "Thats what I've got. A bad case of the shingles."

"Ahhh. I see." M replied. "You've got Shingles. I thought you were complaining about the fact that you are Single..."

"Well, I must admit that I do worry about that sometimes M. I mean just the other day, I was with Marye and she suggested playing doctor... but as soon as she saw my Shingles, she made a beeline for the door. Matter of fact, no one wants to play doctor with me nowadays M, not when I have the Shingles."

Bond caught Moneypenny glancing over at him but then shaking her head. Confound it! Even Moneypenny wasn't giving him the time of day... Blast these damn shingles!

To cut a long story short, it appears that the Ancient Strudel was 'taken' by the Daring Bakers for the May Challenge and was returned in one piece much to the happiness of the Germans.

Fortunately I didnt get struck with Shingles until AFTER I had made the Strudel and I thought it would be a good laugh to write a post related to Bond having the shingles. So with my little Bond lark completed, on to how the challenge turned out.

I have to admit that I had a little trouble with getting the dough tissue thin. I also wasnt sure what the consistency of the dough should have been as I found that even after resting, the dough was rather sticky and it stuck to the tablecloth that I used. I worked in more flour into the cloth and managed to get the dough rather thin - but perhaps not as tissue thin as it should have been. I dont know! Also, it is definitely not easy supporting the dough with your forearms while stretching it. Hairy ForeArms are not a good thing to have!!! Fortunately, no hair was lost in the making of this strudel...


Also, I decided to make one long strudel and two smaller ones. So I divided the dough out and rolled them separately. I also made a mistake for the large strudel. In my haste to get everything done, I forgot to coat the rolled out dough with butter and breadcrumbs. Dummy! I did do it though for the smaller rolls and the pastry was much nicer with the butter on it. The breadcrumbs also helped to separate the layers nicely.



Although the Strudel was tasty and also a lot of fun to make, it wasn't that well received by my taste testers. They all liked it, bit it didn't get rave reviews not requests for more the next day. I ended up eating most of the strudel!



There IS a reason for this that I will explain. You see, The Lovely Wife makes a KILLER apple pie and also a KILLER Apple Crumble. So when you compared this to those two - well, no contest really.




Nonetheless, I am very proud to say that I can now make a strudel - and an authentic one at that. Not those made with puff pastry and sliced in half and sandwhiched with cream and apples!!

Thankyou Coco and Linda for this wonderful challenge - it was certainly a lot of fun!




Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Tips
- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.





Friday, 22 May 2009

Potato Gratin and Cauliflower Gratin



One of my favourite dishes to cook whenever I am stumped for a side dish or if I need to 'beef up' a meal is to make a Gratin. To get a bit technical, culinary wise, a Gratin is usually layers of a vegetable mixed with cream and topped off with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs or grated cheese. The gratin is baked and is traditionally served in its baking dish.



My preference when making gratins is to use potatoes as I love the starchiness of the potatoes and the cream and butter just seem to meld so nicely with potatoes. I also love to top it off with crispy bacon. This is what I do for a Potato Gratin.



Ingredients
6 potatoes thinly sliced
1.5 cups cream
40g butter
6 slices bacon - chopped
150g Cheddar Cheese - grated
Salt
Pepper

Method
Grease a shallow baking dish. Fry the bacon until well cooked - it will crisp a little more in the oven but not much. Heat the cream and butter over low heat until butter is melted whisking to combine. Layer the potatoes in the dish and then pour over the cream between layers. Top with cheese and bacon. Bake in a 190C oven till potatoes are nicely cooked through.



If you prefer a variation on the same these, just substitute the potatoes for cauliflower, or broccoli or any other vegetable you like really. Sometimes I add some garlic to the mix or even fry some onions first and add it in.

This is how the Cauliflower Gratin looks like. I didnt fry the bacon quite as long as I did for the potato gratin and so it turned out slightly less crispy. Still delicious though!



This dish is really simple and yet makes quite a stunning side dish. Enjoy!



Tuesday, 19 May 2009

BBQ Ribs - a definite favourite!




My son loves BBQ Ribs. He first had them when we went to Chillis some time, a long time ago and almost in a galaxy far, far away. The Lovely Wife decided on ordering some BBQ Beef Ribs and my son ended up devouring half of it.

The Lovely Wife seems to have caught my 'disease' of wanting to try to make something that the kids have eaten and enjoyed outside. I'm all for that so when she declared she was going to try and make Pork BBQ Ribs, I clapped my hands in glee!





The recipe is loosely based on Texan Barbecued Ribs from the book A Cooks Tour by Sarah Gates. This is what The Lovely Wife did:


Ingredients
1 kg Pork Spare Ribs
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - crushed and chopped
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp mustard
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
dash of worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt
black pepper
Brandy to deglaze
Method
Preheat oven to 200C. Place the ribs in a roasting pan and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile mix together all the other ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Remove ribs from oven and reduve temperature to 175C. Spoon over half the sauce, covering the ribs well and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the ribs over and baste with remaining sauce and cook for a further 25 minutes. Remove the ribs and pour into a large wok or saucepan. Deglaze the pan with a dash of brandy (or more!) and add into the pan. Stir fry until the sauce is thick and coats the ribs nicely.



The sauce is loosely based on the recipe as The Lovely Wife added more mustard, honey, vinegar and Tomato Sauce till she got a flavour that she wanted. Its all about your own taste buds really so if you try this out, keep testing the sauce till you get what you like. The ribs also let out quite a bit of juices and there was also quite a bit of caramelisation, so the idea to deglaze with brandy and then stir fry again till thick was our own addition to this recipe.




To say that my son liked the ribs would be an understatement. He absolutely loved them!! My son promptly declared them as one of his favourite dishes, if not his alltime favourite!!

These ribs were extremely delicious and it has become a firm favourite in our household. The Lovely Wife sometimes uses the same recipe for BBQ Chicken Wings too.



This dish gives the phrase 'Finger Licking Good' a whole new meaning!!!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Mediterranean Rice Tartelettes - Royal Foodie Joust



It's Royal Foodie Joust time again!! The Royal Foodie Joust is hosted by HRH Jenn, The LeftOver Queen and if you still haven't heard about it or don't know what it is, all I can say is Get With It - this is probably one of the most awesome cyber cooking competitions!

This time around, the ingredients were chosen by the winner of the May Joust - my friend Nuria over at Spanish Recipes and they are:
Bacon
Rice
Tomatoes

Seems quite simple but the difficulty here really is that there are so many options available! My first thought was to make stuffed tomatoes but that would be too simple. Then I thought about a bacon based Briyani but decided that I had already gone along those lines for a previous joust.

What to make, what to make? Then it hit me as I was driving my car.




I remembered a picture I had seen once when I was browsing cookbooks in a bookstore of a tart made with rice. Then I thought of filling the tart with eggplant, mushrooms (gotta have mushrooms!) and bacon and topped off with tomatoes. The picture in my mind looked really good and even though I wasn't quite sure how I would make the tart, I let the picture in my minds eye lead me on!

This is what I did.


Mediterranean Rice Tartelettes - makes 10 tartelettes
Ingredients
1 cup rice
2 eggs - beaten
Salt
8 rashers back bacon - chopped
1 large eggplant - cut into large pieces
3 tomatoes - sliced
2 tsp basil
200g button mushrooms - halved
2 tsp oregano

Method
Cook the rice and let cool. Add in the beaten eggs and mix well ensuring egg is incorporated. Season with salt. Set aside.
Degorge the eggplant by placing the cut pieces in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry bacon till cooked. Set aside
Fry basil and tomatoes together till slightly soft. Set aside
Fry oregano with mushrooms till cooked. Set aside.
Rinse eggplant and then pat dry. Fry till tender. Set aside.

Assembly.
Place rice into tart moulds and bake in a preheated 190C oven for about 15 mins. Place eggplant, then bacon, mushrooms and cover with a slice of tomato. Return to oven and raise temperature to 200C. Bake for another 20 mins. Allow to cool slightly before unmoulding. Garnish with some celery leaves if desired.

The picture I had in my mind had a mushroom half sitting on top of the tomato, but since there was enough mushroom to go into the tarts, I thought it best to keep the mushrooms under wraps!


I was kind of worried as to how to unmould the tartelettes but as they cooled, the tarts pulled in a little and whatever parts remained stuck to the sides were easily removed by sliding a sharp knife in between the mould and the rice. The tarts unmoulded very nicely and kept their shape.

The Lovely Wife had invited her parents over for lunch and so these tartelettes became the appetiser and I had more taste testers that usual. The first tartelette was tasted by The Lovely Wife and she declared it as very good. My son then had a proper tartelette and he enjoyed it immensely. My In-Laws really loved it too and were rather surprised that I had used rice for the tart shell.




I must say that the tartelettes were very delicious too! I think the mix of flavours of tomato, bacon, egpplant and mushrooms complemented each other really well and the rice tart shell gave it a lovely finish. Then again, as Nuria says, anything with Bacon in it is good and I just have to agree with that!



This is definitely something that I will make again although I might vary the fillings. This joust was a lot of fun so thanks once again to Nuria for choosing these great ingredients and of course to Jenn for hosting this great event!


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mutton Varuvel



I grew up with lots of curries. The thing is, I always thought that anything cooked with lots of spices, chilli powder and curry powder was called a curry. It didn’t matter if it was a dry curry or a wet curry. It was all curry to me.

In my later years, when I started to cook in University, my mates and I followed the same rule. Hot, Spicy, Delicous = Curry. No matter if it was wet or dry. It was all curry to us.

The problem with curry started when I got married. You see, to The Lovely Wife, a curry entails lots of gravy, or Kolumbu. So a chicken curry would mean that there would be a lot of curried gravy aka kolumbu. A drier curry with some gravy, but not enough to be considered a curry would be a Peratal. Then a really dry curry would be a Varuvel.

I began to realise though that The Lovely Wife was right – as she quite often is. You see, even the South Indian Restaurants that we have in Malaysia serve their curries this way – Curry, Peratal and Varuvel. And if you only wanted the curry without any meat then it would be Kolumbu. See? Who said Indian food was easy and simple. And that’s only South Indian food… I haven’t started on Northern Indian cuisine and the naming conventions yet!!

The Lovely Wife and I both cook mutton varuvel although our methods and ingredients differ. This dish was made by The Lovely Wife as my little princess has developed a taste for mutton curry - any version, wet, dryish or dry – it doesn’t matter as long as its mutton!



This is what The Lovely Wife did:


Ingredients A

1.5 kg lean mutton or lamb
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 green chillies cut into 3 pieces
1 large tomato - sliced
3 tbsp ground ginger and garlic
3 onions

Ingredients B

2-3 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
2 stalks curry leaves
5 dried chillies
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
2 star anise
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1 Tbsp Dark Soya sauce

Method
cube meat and put in a large pot. Cover meat with water with a little salt. Put in ingredients A and cook till meat is tender. Keep adding water if it dries up and meat is still not tender. Once meat is cooked, keep stirring till mixture is thick.

In a separate wok or large pot, heat a little oil and fry onions. Add in curry leaves, chillies, cinamoon, cloves and star anise. Fry till fragrant. Add in curry powder and chilli powder and cook well. Mix in meat and stir so that meat is well coated. Add in some water if too dry. Keep stirring until mixture is almost dry. Add in dark soya sauce and mix well. Season with salt to taste. Just before turning off the heat, sprinkle over the fennel powder and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.





My version would include some tomatoes and more curry powder and chilli powder but other than that there’s not too much difference although I think my version is tastier!


So after all those years of enjoying my mother’s dry mutton curry and proclaiming it to be the best in the world, I have finally realised that that it is actually a Mutton Varuvel! It doesn’t really matter though as the ‘song’ below explains. It is sung to Billy Joels “Always a woman” and is just a bit of fun to end this post…


A varuvel is dry
while a peratal is wetter
A Curry has gravy and can flood all the rice
They are all hot and spicy and can burn your mouth
Call it whatever you like
But its always a Curry to me……




Monday, 11 May 2009

Roasted C3 = Loge(Carrot.Capsicum.Corn)



Okay, Okay, so mathematically that just doesnt make any sense. I know that. Sorry. Just trying to have a bit of fun. Trying to act smart....

It's a good thing cooking is not as complicated as Maths can be. It's been a really long time since I did any complicated Math and although I did enjoy my Math and Physics, I have to admit it was all rather complicated. Sometime I wonder how I managed to get through my Engineering degree!!



So anyway, having gone off tangent (once again), let me just say that off late, I have become quite fixated with corn. I love the crunchiness, I love the sweetness, I love the taste. I just love it. So any opportunity I have to use it to throw together a vegetable dish, I grab very quickly.

Not too long ago, I posted my Steamed Vegetables tossed in butter and my Snowy Vegetable Combo - both of which featured corn. This is along the same lines except that this time I roasted everything, including the corn.

This is what I did.


Ingredients
Rosemary
Oregano
2 Carrots
2 green Capsicums
1 Can of Corn
Salt
Black Pepper
Method
Cut the capsicum into large pieces
Cut the carrots into strips
Add in the Can of Corn. Toss together with rosemary, oregano and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast in a preheated 200C oven for about 20 mins or till carrots are tender. Some like the carrots crunchy, some like them soft - your choice!




I've always loved roasted vegetables and adding corn to it just gives it that little bit of an extra kick. See how simple this is? If only Math and Physics were just as simple - although when you really think about it, cooking DOES rely a lot on Physics - especially Thermodynamics and Heat and Mass Transfer but I guess I'll leave the analysis of that for another day...


Friday, 8 May 2009

Frittata or Quiche, does it really make a difference?



I've always wanted to make a Frittata although I always wondered what the difference was between them. I know that generally speaking, a quiche has a crust although there are some quiches that don't. I've never eaten a Frittata, let alone made one, so the only thing I had to go by was how they looked in pictures.

A quiche, to me, always looked a little more wet and softer in texture than a Frittata. The Lovely Wife makes a good quiche and I also remember the quiche sold in my neighbourhood Milk Bar in Australia that Joe and Claudette (the owners) used to call an Egg and Bacon Pie. To complicate matters, some people refer to Fritattas as Spanish Omelletes as well...

One thing I've learnt though is that the same thing can be called something completely different depending which part of the world you come from. Case in point is what we call Currypuffs here in Malaysia are known as Empanadas elsewhere and variants of the same include Perogies and I'm sure all sorts of other names in other countries or cultures.


So anyway, I decided I was going to make a Frittata for lunch and I wasn't going to worry to much about whether it was a Quiche, a Spanish Omellete or a Frittata. To me, it was a Frittata and that settled it.
I based this recipe on a combination of recipes from various Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks as well as different recipes found on the web.

This is what I did.

Ingredients
1 onion - chopped
4 cloves garlic - chopped
3 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
3 potatoes
200g Bacon - diced
8 eggs
100ml cream
50g spinach - blanched and chopped
1 red capsicum - diced
1 green capsicum - diced
200g mushrooms - sliced
100g cheddar cheese - grated

Method
Skin the potatoes. Boil potatoes until just tender. Slice into thin slices and set aside. Meanwhile fry the onion, garlic, basil and oregano. Add in the bacon and mushrooms and continue to fry until well cooked. Add in the capsicum and spinach and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Line the base of a 9" cake pan with baking paper. Place a layer of potatoes on the base and cover with half the vegetable and bacon mixture. Place another layer of potatoes and cover with the remaining vegetable mixture. Whisk together the eggs and cream till incorporated and season with salt. Pour over the mixture and cover with grated cheese. Bake in a Preheated 190C oven for about 20-30 minutes till the top is golden and egg has set. Allow to cool slightly before overturning out and removing the baking paper underneath. Flip right side up onto a serving platter.



I placed this Frittata on to a bed of lettuce for effect but it turned out that the lettuce added some nice salad-like crunch to the Frittata. I also served this with basil roasted tomatoes. It might be an idea to place the tomatoes on top of the Frittata after it's been unmoulded rather than serving it as a side.



The Lovely Wife enjoyed the Fritatta although she started the whole debate again about Frittata and Quiche. The kids thought the Fritatta was really tasty although my son felt it was a little eggy.

I liked it not just for the taste but also how easy it was to prepare. I will definitely use this recipe again for a vegetarian version or maybe even add in some spicy sausage for a variation on the same theme.



So Frittata? Quiche? Spanish Omellete? What are the real differences? I'd like to know!!



Wednesday, 6 May 2009

No Rules Stuffed Peppers and the science of Capsicum



When I was in Secondary school, in The Victoria Institution, I did Agricultural Science for 3 years. This involved studying about flora, fauna, vegetables, farm animals and even actually planting vegetables and rearing chickens. All very interesting really!

It was here that I learnt that the scientific name for black pepper is Piper Nigrum and that it comes from the Piperaceae family. Black Pepper is actually the dried fruit which is then known as a peppercorn. White pepper is the same fruit but with its skin removed.


Pepper has nothing to do with the vegetable known as Pepper. See how confusing it can get? That is why I always refer to the vegetable as Capsicum although really, a Capsicum is actually a fruit... just like a tomato is really a fruit. But lets not confuse ourselves further.

The capsicum, comes from the family Solanaceae and is known by various names all over the world. The Chilli is a form of a capsicum as it comes from the same family although what we refer to as capsicums are no where as hot as chillis.

So much for the quick lesson on Agricultural Science. On to the cooking!
I've always liked stuffed peppers and the beauty about stuffing peppers, or for that matter any type of vegetable, is that you can use anything you like. No fixed rules and no fixed ingredients.



No fixed Ingredients but this is what I did!
capsicum of various colours - each colour gives a slightly different taste. I used red and yellow
Salami
Pine Nuts
Bread Crumbs - i usually make my own breadcrumbs by whizzing bread slices in a food processor

Method
Slice the Salami into strips and fry. Set aside
Quarter the capsicum, removing the seeds
Fry breadcrumbs in a little oil until crisp then add in the pine nuts till lightly toasted. Season with salt and pepper
Rub some olive oil over and inside the capsicums. Place in a baking tray.
Stuff the quartered capsicum with the salami, breadcrumbs and pinenuts. Bake in a preheated 190C oven for about 20-30 minutes or till the capsicum is tender. I like mine a little firm and not too tender.




A very versatile dish that makes quite a stunning appetiser. I also like to stuff the capsicum with minced beef, chicken. There's just so much stuff to stuff with!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Chicken Mushroom Casserole


This is one of my favourite dishes to make. Its easy and yet so tasty. I make this fairly often, especially when I want something that is hearty, will fill everyone up but yet simple.

I was quite sure I had posted about this before, but a quick check shows that it has never seen the light of cyber space!!


I made this for dinner the same day that I made the Daring Cheesecake, so I wanted something quick and easy. We had invited Raymond and Priya for dinner as well so The Lovely Wife made a Tuna Pasta Casserole (that is another favourite that hasn't been posted) for our non meat-eating friend.





Ingredients
1 Chicken
1 tsp turmeric
4 garlic cloves - chopped
1 onion - chopped
2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
200 g button mushrooms - sliced
2 carrots - pared and sliced
125 ml cream
Paprika
Black Pepper
Method
Wash and clean the chicken. Rub with some turmeric and then cut into pieces. Fry Black pepper, oregano and basil till fragrant. Add in the onion and garlic and cook till tender. Add in the chicken, mixing well till nicely browned then add in the mushrooms and carrots, cooking till slightly softened. Add in the cream and season with salt and more pepper. Pour into a baking dish and bake in a 180C oven for about 40 minutes or till chicken is very tender. If sauce is too watery, pour back into the pan and add some corn flour diluted with water. Put back into the baking dish before serving. Season with paprika.



This dish is especially tasty with rice but I see no reason that it wouldn't taste just as good with pasta of even with loads of bread to mop up the sauce. All that matters is that the kids enjoyed it and that, to me, is a success in my books!

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