Showing posts with label Royal Foodie Joust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Foodie Joust. Show all posts

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:

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
1 cup rice
2 eggs - beaten
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

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.

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!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Food Flag for Royal Foodie Joust

This month's Royal Foodie Joust is kind of different. Rather than 3 food ingredients, we were given the challenge of using colours! Red, Green and White.

Since these are the colours of the Italian Flag, since Jenn, The Queen is Italian, since I love pasta so much and since the kids wanted pasta for dinner last night, this is what I came up with - a Pasta Food Flag!

The Lovely Wife is away so when the Kids and I went shopping for groceries, I already had the gears in my head clicking away. I decided on spinach pasta for the green, a creamy chicken and mushroom sauce for the white and at first I contemplated making a tomato based sauce for the red. Then I thought, rather than have two sauces lets do something else for the red.

The more we walked around the supermarket, the more convinced I was that only one sauce was needed. I do so very like how tomato complements a cream sauce and gives it a zing with every bite. That's when I decided that for the red part of the flag, I'd use cherry tomatoes, roast them with some basil and layer them on top to finish the flag! And that is just what I did.

4 cloves garlic - chopped
1 large onion - chopped
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
400 g Chicken Fillet - cut into large cubes
8 slices bacon rashers - chopped
200g Portobello Mushrooms - sliced
150ml Cream
100g Cherry Tomatoes
2 tsp basil

Sautee the onion and garlic with the basil and oregano. Add in the bacon and cook well. Add the chicken and cook until done. Add in the mushrooms and continue to cook until the juices of the mushrooms are released. Add in the cream and allow to simmer. Season with salt and black pepper. If you want the sauce thicker, thicken with a little corn flour dissolved in water.
Manwhile, half the cherry tomatoes and place face up in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with basil. Bake in a 200C preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

To serve, arrange the spinach pasta, cream and tomatoes in the shape of the Italy Flag!

So there you have it. The dish turned out rather delicious and since The Lovely Wife missed it, the kids and I decided to share this creation with my parents who were more than pleased with this dish.

So now, please rise and stand at attention as we sing Il Canto degli Italiani, the Italian National Anthem......

I'm also entering the dish to Presto Pasta Nights, conceived and hosted by my dear friend Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

RFJ Winner - Most Unique Interpretation!

I almost missed taking part in the February Challenge and it's a good thing I got my act together and made these Fusion Vol-au-Vents. Why? Because I won a prize at the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, the Leftover Queen!

Our Queen introduced some new rules and from now on, there are THREE chances to win at the Joust. The three categories are: Best Overall Entry, Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation of ingredients.

I'm very honoured to have won under this category and I have to thank all the members of the Royal Foodie Joust who voted for me. For full details of the ingredients involved and how I made this original creation, check out my post on Fusion Vol-au-Vents

Thanks again Queen Jenn for initiating this very fun contest reknowned amongst the Food Blogging community as the Iron Chef of the food blogs!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Fusion Vol-au-Vents - Royal Foodie Joust


It's been a while since I took part in the Royal Foodie Joust with my last entry being in October 2008. I'm back though for the February Joust where the ingredients are rather simple with
Cauliflower and

My initial thought was to make a noodle dish or pasta dish. Then I thought this would be what most everyone would do so I left that idea on the back burner. We had some friends over for dinner on Chinese New Year Eve and while thinking of the menu, I hit upon the idea of Fusion Vol-au-Vents!


I used fish, cauliflower, oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, spinach and cream for the filling and then topped it off with thin rice noodles (or mee suah) tosssed in a little olive oil.

This is what I did.

1 pack ready rolled Puff Pastry
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 fillet of Dory (about 200g)
1 bunch of spinach
200g button Mushrooms
200g oyster mushrooms
1 small head of cauliflower - cut into small florettes
1/2 cup cream
50 g rice noodles
Soy Sauce
Black Pepper

Make pastry shells by cutting out two circles of puff pastry and then cut a smaller circle into one of the circles to form a ring. Place the ring over the first circle and press firmly. Use some egg wash if you like. With the circles that are cut out, you then then roll them out again to maximise the use of the pastry sheets. Bake in 200C oven till nicely puffed up and then let them dry out a while in the cooling oven.
Meanwhile make the filling. Fry the chopped garlic until soft. Throw in the oregano and give it a good stir. Then add in the cubed fish and stir fry quickly. Remove the fish and set aside. Sautee the the sliced button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms until tender. Throw in the cauliflower and cook till softened. Add in the fish and season with salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer. Meanhwile, boil the spinach and chop finely. Add the spinach to the fish mixture together with the cream. Mix well and allow to simmer till almost dry but still moist.
Before serving, fill the pastry shells with the filling and reheat in oven for about 10 mins. While reheating, soften the noodles in hot water and toss with a little soy sauce. Add to the top of the vol-au-vents just prior to serving.


These were a hit at our dinner party and as I normally do with Vol-au-Vents, I made two sizes. I liked the lightly flavoured soy sauce noodles on top as it gave it an interesting texture.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Citrus Prawn on Spiced Pumpkin

All Hail the Queen! Jenn, the Leftover Queen, organises a monthly Royal Foodie Joust where 3 ingredients are selected by the previous months winner. This month, the 3 ingredients were selected by last month's winner, Susan of Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy. She chose to challenge us with :
Acorn Squash

Acorn what?! Acorn squash. What? Apparently it is a winter squash. Since I live in South East Asia where winter is an unheard of occurence, there was no possibility whatsoever of finding an Acorn Squash. (Never mind that I have no idea what they look like!)

Jenn had allowed us to use "...pumpkin or some other orange fleshed winter squash." So I decided to use pumpkin. Then when I was doing the shopping, I noticed some tiny, green coloured pumpkin lookalikes and I got all excited. Only to be told that these were made of plastic and were simply decorations for Halloween...

When did Malaysia ever celebrate Halloween?? I guess this is due to the effects of globalisation...

Now October has been a rather busy month for me where I've also been away for two weeks even! So I just managed to squeeze in making this entry for the RFJ over the weekend.

The inspiration for this dish actually came while I was watching an early morning breakfast show (I think it was on channel 7) while waiting to leave for the airport from one of the hotels in Sabah (where I was on work the whole of last week).

The chef featured on this show, from Carcosa Seri Negara (a very, very swish hotel in Kuala Lumpur) had made a Scallop dish with a celery mash. This was a main meal for one. I figured why not make something similar but use prawns instead of scallops and use a pumpkin mash instead of celery. Sounds good right?

This is what I did.

Citrus Prawn on Spiced Pumpkin

4 large prawns - shelled and deveined leave tails on
black Pepper
Juice from 1/2 orange
quarter small pumpkin
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp curry powder
Black Pepper
Juice of 1/4 orange
2 cloves garlic - chopped
2 tsp sage
1 red chilli
celery leaf for garnish

Marinate the prawns in orange juice and black pepper.
Cut the pumpkin into small pieces. Fry the curry powder and black pepper together with the pumpkin until soft. Add some water to prevent it from drying out if necessary. Using a masher or fork, mash the pumpkin and then add in milk and orange juice and mix till smooth. Season with salt. Set aside
Meanwhile, in a clean pan, fry chopped garlic and sage until fragrant. Add in prawns and cook quickly until prawns turn pink. Serve by laying the pumpkin on a plate and then arranging the prawns on top. Garnish pumpkin with chillies and prawns with celery leaf.

The prawns tinged with citrus and sage were delicious on their own while the sweet pumpkin flavoured with a little curry powder paired very well with the prawns. The chilli lent an extra bit of spiciness to every bite of prawn in true Malaysian style.

I think this dish tasted rather fabulous, even if I do say so myself! My wife is a little allergic to prawns so that is why I only made a single serving. She did however try one bite of the dish and proclaimed it to be of "Restaurant standard."

All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the dish and I almost patted myself on the back for this creation.


Sunday, 21 September 2008

Roasted Fennel Chicken with Creamy Fennel Tri-Mushroom Sauce

The ingredients for this months edition of the Royal Foodie Joust were chosen by Protos of Souvlaki for the soul who won the previous months joust.

The brainchild of Jenn, the Leftover Queen, the Joust is a monthly event that is getting bigger and better and above all is a lot of fun.

These are the three ingredients:
Fennel (whole, ground, seeds)
Dairy (in any form)

I must admit that it took me awhile to figure out something that would combine Fennel and Dairy. I use fennel seeds a lot in my curries and almost considered just making a curry but decided to try something new.

So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to make a Roast Chicken seasoned generously with Fennel and then pair that with a creamy Fennel tinged Mushroom sauce. It turned out super and the slightly sweetish aniseed taste of fennel complemented the chicken and mushrooms very well.

This is what I did:

Roasted Fennel Chicken

1 whole chicken
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper
2 gloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tsp Olive Oil

Clean and Wash the chicken and then pat dry with paper towels. Grind the fennel, pepper, garlic, ginger and oil together to form a rough paste. Combine with the salt and then rub insides and out of chicken with mixture. Roast at 190C for about 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Garnish with parsley

Creamy Fennel Mushroom Sauce

250g mushrooms (I used a selection of Portobello, Swiss Brown and Button)
2 tsp fennel
3 tsp Oregano
6 cloves garlic
150ml milk
Black Pepper
2 tsp corn flour

Slice mushrooms thinly. Sautee the garlic with black pepper. Add in oregano and fennel and mix together. Fry till fragrant. Add in the mushrooms and cook till tender and juices come out. Add in milk and season with salt. Add in a little corn flour mixed with water and then mix well till mixture is thickened. Garnish with parsely

This dish was a hit with the Lovely Wife and the Kids. My daughter, in particular, liked the creamy mushroom sauce paired with the chicken. I was rather pleased myself with how well this turned out and will definitely make it again. The best part about this dish is you can also make the chicken on its own without the sauce.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Citrus Chicken and Oats Symphony in D Major

It's Royal Foodie Joust time again! For those of you that don't know what the RFJ is, all I can say is... WHAT?!!! The Royal Food Joust has been around for more than a year now and is one of the great food events in the blogosphere. The brainchild of Jenn, the Leftover Queen, the Joust is a monthly event where three ingredients are chosen by the previous months winner. You then need to make something using ALL three of the said ingredients. You can add as many ingredients as you wish, but all three ingredients provided Must be used.
This months ingredients were chosen by Kittie with Kittens in her Kitchen and her choice of ingredients was:

Whole Grains (or at least they have to be whole at the start of the recipe!)
Ginger (in any form)
Citrus (any, in any form!)

Quite a challenge if you ask me!

The Whole Grains part had me stumped for a while since Kittie had specified that you had to use Whole Grains and not a by product like wholegrain flour or wholegrain bread. Hmm.. Tough one. Then, a quick check on the internet showed that Corn was a whole grain as was Oats and also Rice. However, Rice would have to be brown rice or wild rice. I was deeply troubled by this joust!

Then I got inspired by a memory of Buttered Prawns with Nestum. (Nestum is a kind of cereal made by Nestle for those of you that don't know what it is).

I decided to try and do something like that but use Chicken instead and flavour the chicken with Ginger and Lemon. Then, as I got more excited about how this sounded, I decided to throw in some mandarin oranges as well for added citrus! This is what I did.

Citrus Chicken and Oat Concerto in D Major

1/4 cup oats
500gm chicken breast or fillet
2 slices wholemeal bread
1 can peeled mandarin oranges - drained
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp honey
2 red chillis
handful curry leaves
2 inches ginger
1 large onion
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp corn flour

Pound/grind one inch of the ginger and set aside. Cut the chicken into strips. Season with the corn flour, a little salt and pepper, sesame oil and ground ginger. Leave to marinate. Meanwhile, process the bread till you get breadcrumbs. Add in the oats and pulse till the oats are slightly fine. Heat some oil and fry the breadcrumbs and oats till crispy. Season with a little pepper and salt. Set aside.
Chop the onion and slice the remaining ginger into thin strips. Sautee together with the oregano in a little oil until the onion is tender. Add in the chicken and cook well till nicely browned. Mix the honey with lemon juice and add into the chicken, allow to simmer. Slice the red Chilli into thin strips and add to the chicken, giving it a good stir.
In another pan, quickly fry the Curry leaves until fragrant and crispy. Add the curry leaves, crispy oats and oranges to the chicken and give it a quick mix to combine.

I served this with some of my Spicy Aglio Olio Pasta which is simply Pasta stirred in Olive Oil, Garlic and Chilli Flakes. This time I used Tri Colore Fussili for some added colour. I reckon though that this would would have been just as delicious served with Rice or even on its own. The Lovely Wife was extremely pleased with this dish and declared it her favourite Royal Foodie Joust entry! Both the kids thought it was a lovely dish too and my son wolfed down his portion very very quickly.

Thanks Kittie for spurring me on to create this dish as I think it is definitely something very tasty and special - I mean, if the kids and the Lovely Wife liked it, that makes me a winner already!!

Since this dish was served with Pasta, I'm also entering this into the Presto Pasta Nights hosted by my friend Ruth at Once Upon A Feast

And whats with the name? Well,a symphony has as one of its definitions "anything characterized by a harmonious combination of elements". Since the flavours of Lemon and Orange together with Oats and Chicken produce a lovely combination, there you have your Symphony. And since I made it, and my first name starts with D, there you have the reason for D Major!

If you don't appreciate my creative naming or think that it's even a little funny, just imagine what the Lovely Wife has to put up with most of the time...

Monday, 14 July 2008

Spicy Fish baked in Banana Leaf on Sesame Street

Hi Bert!
Hi Ernie!
Yes Ernie?
Have you heard about the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, The Leftover Queen?
Ummm... No Ernie.
Well Bert, it's this competition where each month 3 ingredients are chosen by the previous months winners.
Sounds interesting Ernie, but why are you telling me this?
Well Bert, this month the ingredients include Sesame
Ahhh Ernie! You're always so clever, if there's Sesame involved, then we just need to add a Street to get Sesame Street!

Well Done Bert!

Thanks Ernie!

The ingredients for this months RFJ were selected by my friend Peter M who of course won last months joust. With his choice of Seafood, Sesame and Coriander there would be no debate on whether to go savoury or sweet. I really couldn't think of anything to make that would be sweet using seafood and coriander. Then again, if you know the kind of talent that lurks around the Royal Food Joust, anything is possible!

Coriander is a spice that is easily available in Asia as is Sesame. The one thing I did learn though was that although we don’t differentiate between Coriander seeds and Coriander leaves, apparently in some parts of the world there is a difference. Coriander apparently refers to the spice from the seeds while Cilantro is what we, in Asia, call Coriander Leaves. Usually Coriander leaves are used as a garnish or sometimes diced up and thrown into a curry or soup for extra flavour.

For this joust, I decided on double usage of everything except the seafood. So I used Coriander Powder as well as Coriander Leaves and also Sesame Oil as well as Sesame Seeds. I had tossed up using prawns as well but since the wife has a slight allergy to prawns, I decided against it. This is what I did:

Spicy Fish Baked in Banana Leaf

1 kg mackerel
2 red chillies
8 dried chillies
1 large handful coriander leaves
4-5 pieces mint leaf
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato sauce
Banana Leaves for wrapping

Steam the mackerel and then remove the flesh. Set aside. Grind together onions, chillies, dried chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic and ginger with soy sauce. Heat sesame oil and lightly fry the tsp of coriander together with some black pepper. Add in the ground mixture and fry well. Add in the fish and mix well. Add in the sugar and tomato sauce with a little water. Mix well until combined. Wash and dry banana leaves. Cut into 6-8inc pieces. Place two tablespoons of fish on each leaf and roll up completely. Fold the ends over and under to form a package or use toothpicks to fasten the edges. Bake for 20 mins in a 190C oven. Garnish with Sesame Seeds before serving.

There is a similar kind of dish in Malaysia called Otak-Otak. That dish uses fish paste and a bunch of different spices as well as coconut milk before being steamed or barbecued in banana leaves. The idea to wrap the fish in Banana Leaves of course comes from Otak Otak but the ingredients are rather different!

This dish was a lot of fun to think up and to make! I just wish I had done a better job of taking out all the small bones but nonetheless it was a rather tasty dish. Now excuse me while I sing...

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street...

How to get to Sesame Street

How to get to Sesame Street...

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Royal Foodie Joust - Poulet d'Abricot

It's Royal Foodie Joust time again. If my calculations are correct, this is the 12th joust and that means the RFJ is almost 1 year old!! I almost didn't make it for the Joust this time as I just couldn't find the time to do anything. However...
Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

Sorry, sorry. Does that ever happen to anyone else? You know, you start writing something and what you write reminds you of a song and you just cant get it out of your head? Anyone? Anyone??

Anyway, James Taylor has left the studio. As I was saying, just yesterday morning,
while in the midst of doing something very secret and that I can't talk about until the 29th, The Lovely Wife asked me if I wanted to do anything for lunch with some chicken that was in the fridge. I immediately thought of this month's Joust but realised I didn't have any apricots anywhere.

Nothing that a quick trip to the neighbourhood supermarket wont solve! I already had a rough idea of what I was going to make. My son came along with me for the ride and I was just planning to buy some mushrooms and dried apricots since fresh apricots are not only rather hard to come by but are rather pricey too. Would you believe that today they had some fresh apricots??!!!

I gave my son the choice of deciding whether we should buy fresh apricots or the dried ones (double in cost!!) so if I got in trouble with the Lovely Wife, I could always blame my son - as if I would do that :) We both reasoned that since neither he nor his sister had ever tried fresh apricots, we would get the fresh ones. So that was that.

The ingredients for this joust were Apricots, Ginger and Butter. Now usually, that would scream out something sweet like a pie or cake or even the Apricot Almond Cheesecake I made for my very first Joust. I decided however to go the unconventional route and do something savoury.

This is what I did:

1 chicken
1 inch ginger
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
3 apricots
3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 tsp Basil
1 tsp rosemary
250gm Portobello Mushrooms
Handful of almonds
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
200ml milk
Black Pepper

Clean and cut chicken into pieces.
Chop Onions and garlic and slice ginger thinly. Set aside. Cut mushrooms into large pieces and set aside. Cut apricots into thick slices. Heat oil in pan and sautee the onions, ginger and garlic together with the basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves. Add in the mushrooms and cook till tender. Add in the chicken and mix well before adding in the apricots. Add in a little water if necessary. Meanwhile make the roux sauce by melting the butter and then adding the flour. Cook the flour and then add in the milk. Continue to stir until mixture thickens. Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and allow to simmer until sauce is really thick and apricots are soft and have released their flavour. Season with salt and pepper. Before servings, toast some almond slivers and sprinkle on top.

I served this with rice and as a garnish, I added thinly sliced fresh apricots. That lent a nice crunch and extra tanginess to the dish. The kids were rather hungry and the creamy chicken was quickly devoured. Both my son and daughter loved the apricots in the chicken and they liked the fresh apricot garnish even more! The Lovely Wife loved it too and while stuffing her face, managed a "well done Honey!"

Now I needed a name. I contemplated naming this dish Creamy Chicken with Apricots and Mushrooms but I decided that I would make the dish sound exotic by giving it a French name and thus Poulet d'Abricot was born!

So with the Joust completed, a new dish discovered and even a fancy schmancy name created, I can go back to singing. Which is what I think I will do. Now, I just know the Lovely Wife is going to start wondering who Suzanne is...

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Oriental Fusion Chicken - or chicken with raspberries, lime, almonds and chilli!

The thing I like about the Royal Foodie Joust is that it stretches your creativity. I mean what in the world was I supposed to make with Raspberries, Lime and Almonds? I threw my hands up in frustration. I quite liked the action, so I threw them up again. Then I hit my fingers on the side of the door - Ouch!

No, no, that didnt really happen but it's something that I'm quite liable to do.

Anyway, I was in a bit of a quandary. Heck, even getting your hands on fresh raspberries in Malaysia is difficult not to mention bleeding Expensive! Then Elle, with the kitchen in New England - the winner of last months joust (and the person responsible for the choice of ingredients this month), suggested that I used canned raspberries or even raspberry jam. Thing's didnt look quite so bleek anymore.

The problem was, what to make? What to Make? WHAT TO MAKE??? I threw my hands up in frustration...(refer third line from top). Yeah, you get the picture. I was so bleeding frustrated that I was considering holding a lime, some almonds, puckering up my face, sticking out my tongue and Blowing a Raspberry at the whole Royal Foodie Joust. You know, Raspberry - Pbbbttttt!!

Then I heard a voice.

"Emotions your judgement they cloud. Yourself calm you must. Think. Focus. Feel the Force...."

No, that wasn't working either. Yoda wasn't a very good cook anyway - at least not in his old age.

I closed my eyes and tried to picture something. Then I saw it. A bat. A bat with madly flapping wings. A bat wearing a suit. No, not Batman silly, this was a real bat dressed in a tux. (humour me)

Suddenly - a cloud of smoke, Lightning, Thunder, evil maniacal laughter - Muuaahahahahahahaha!

I had it!

Muahahahahaha! More lightning, more thunder, more laughter.

This is what I did:

300 gm Chicken fillet
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
5 dried red chillies
50 gm almond slivers
5 small limes
8 young corn
1 green capsicum
2-3 tsp raspberry jam
1 tsp corn flour
Black pepper

Slice chicken into strips and season with a little salt and pepper.
Slice onion and ginger and chop garlic finely. Cut chillies into large pieces. Heat a little oil and fry onion till caramelised. Add in ginger, garlic and chilli and a little black pepper. Fry till fragrant.
Add in chicken and cook well. While chicken is cooking, toast the almonds in a hot pan.

Meanwhile cut corn and capsicum into large pieces. Add to the chicken and continue cooking, adding a little water if necessary.
In a separate saucepan, melt the raspberry jam with a little water until smooth. Pour into the chicken and mix well. Cut the small limes and squeeze juice into the chicken and mix well.
Add corn flour to a little water and add to the chicken. Mix well and allow to simmer for a while until chicken is nicely coated. Add in almonds.

I served this with rice but I reckon it would also make a nice pasta dish or even a chinese noodle dish.

How did it taste? Pretty much as I thought it would. It was akin to a spicy sweet and sour chicken and the raspberry taste was there but not overpowering. The lime lent a nice twang although again it wasn't overpowering. Both flavours complemented each other and they were very subtle.

The Lovely Wife liked the dish a lot especially the spiciness of the chillies contrasting with the sweet sour of the raspberry and lime. The kids wolfed it down with lots of rice but then again, they were really, really hungry!

On my part, I was very pleased with how this dish turned out and I now have another original to add to my collection. So thanks Elle for the wonderful choice of ingredients and for spurring me to create this new dish.

I have to go now and blow a raspberry (pbbbbt) at a certain bat before he flies away ...


Monday, 14 April 2008

Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns

Some of you may have noticed that I've taken a bit of a break from participating in the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, the Leftover Queen. I decided not to participate last month since I was helping the Queen with hosting the Joust. For the March joust, I just didnt have the time and of course for February, I chose the ingredients so I stayed out of the joust.

But I'm back!

Well, not really. You see, this month, The Lovely Wife came up with a killer recipe and although I did help her a tiny little bit, all credit goes to her for this Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns.

I had actually planned on making a pastry with the ingredients chosen by last months winner - Michelle (UsVfood). I mean, Mangoes, Brown Sugar and Cardamom just sort of scream out Pastry or Dessert don't they. I have to admit though that I'm not a great fan of mango - I mean I'll eat it and sometimes I even enjoy a really good mango, but it's not the kind of fruit that really excites me. The Lovely Wife on the other hand, LOVES mangoes.

So before I made the pastry/dessert I had in my head, I ran it past her. She would after all be eating the vast majority of it. She sort of wrinkled her nose at my ideas and said that she preferred mango in it's natural form - not baked, not moussed up, not mashed, not frozen. Just plain mango.

Yeah, okay. But there's this Royal Food Joust that I have to take part in you know, and I really want to make something, and there's Tupperware as an additional prize too! Her eyes kind of glassed over at the mention of Tuppperware and there was a slight trembling of the lips just before some foam started frothing at the corner of her mouth. Okay, so I jest. I sometimes forget this is the Royal Foodie Joust and not the Royal Jest...

Anyway, she suggested a Spicy Salad along the lines of a Kerabu but using ripe mangoes, with Chilli Padi (birds eye chillies) and shallots. I suggested throwing in some prawns or maybe beef strips. It looked like we had a plan!

In Malaysia, Mangoes are in season practically the whole year round. However, you dont always have to wait for the fruit to turn yellow. A green fruit that is soft when lightly pressed signifies that the fruit is already ripe. If you wait till it gets yellow, sometimes it is too soft and mushy inside! The mangoes we bought were green but lovely and sweet!

The Ripe Mango Fruit

The Fruit skinned

The seed that remains after slicing off all its flesh.

So much for the lesson on mangoes.

This is what we came up with:

Spicy Mango Salad with Prawns
10-15 medium prawns - shelled and deveined
100 g vermicelli - softened in boiling water
8-10 shallots
8-10 Chilli Padi (birds eye chilli)
2 Red Chillies
2 mangoes

1.5 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3 tsp Brown Sugar
5 cardamoms - pounded

First, boil the prawns till they are a nice pink colour. Set aside.

Thinly slice the shallots, red chilli and chilli padi and place into a large salad bowl.

Pare the mango and cut into strips. Add into the salad bowl together with the prawns and strained vermicelli. Mix well, taking care not to break up the mango strips.

Make the sauce by combining the Fish sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Pound the cardamom and then add into the sauce.

Let it steep for a while.

Strain the sauce into the bowl and then mix well.

And thats it!

The Cardamom lends a light taste to the sauce but more importantly, the fragrance tends to dull the smell of the fish sauce.

This is a delightful dish with a lovely complement of tastes. The sweet mango is offset by the hot and spicy chillies while the shallots lend a nice crunch. The vermicelli lends substance and texture to the mixture. You could substitute the prawns with beef or chicken or even go vegetarian and perhaps throw in some bean curd! This is perfect as a side dish and even better as a main meal!

If you like this recipe, try it out - its really delicious - but beware it is rather spicy due to the chillies!. But before that, please go over and vote for me. You see, aside from the Tupperware that the Lovely Wife wants, she has hinted that if she wins, she might wear The Apron for me - and ONLY the apron. Oh, and perhaps a smile as well!

Just to show you what Malaysian Chilli Padi (Birds Eye Chilli - although Padi is the Malay equivalent of Paddy - as in rice field) looks like. They are super hot and also available in red!

And since there are noodles in this, which sort of qualifies as Pasta, I'm also submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth - without fail every Friday and now into its second year!


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