Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lamb koftas

Last night for dinner we had lamb koftas.

I really like koftas for a variety of reasons. It's a great way to eat lam that's lean and relatively inexpensive. They're a change from an everyday burger, which I guess is exactly what they are in a deconstructed kind of way. Oh yes and they're yummy.

Koftas are essentially a big meatball on a stick.

I served these in Lebanese bread with tabbouleh, lettuce, and Greek yogurt.

Simple and delish.

My camera was having a bit of a moment so sorry the photo isn't so great.

Lamb Koftas
Bamboo skewers (soak for an hour in water to stop sticking)
500g minced lamb
1/2 an onion finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
zest of 1/2 a lemon
handful of chopped parsley

To serve
Lebanese bread
Greek yogurt
salad of choice eg lettuce avocado etc

1. Combine lamb, onion, garlic, lemon, cumin and parsley in a bowl.
2. Form sausage shapes around bamboo skewers (my recipe made 10).
3. Refrigerate 1/2 an hour.
4. Cook on a BBQ or chargrill about 15 minutes till cooked (I browned mine and then finished them in the oven).
5. Serve in Lebanese bread with salads.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Slow-cooker bbq ribs

I'm not sure how to label this recipe. Basically this is  a recipe pork ribs that you pre-cook in the slow-cooker and then finish off on the BBQ or in the oven. You can skip that step but we like that nice char-grilled taste.

This is a great meal to share with friends. Pork spare ribs used to be a frugal option but now they're a bit trendy so they've gone from $7-8 a kg to a standard $14kg. (I guess they are the pork equivalent of the lamb shank). I tend to watch the sales and buy them then for about $10kg. While they taste great you do need quite a few because there's lots of bones.

As part of a BBQ when entertaining you can add other things that are cheaper to bulk it out (burgers, sausages etc). The way I look at it is ribs at somewhere like Hogs Breath or The Hard Rock Cafe are around $30 a person and we all ate for about $20 plus sides so that's still a good deal.

Slow-cooker BBQ ribs

Ribs (I had about 500g pp)
1 bottle generic BBQ sauce
1 cup brown sugar

1. Put frozen ribs and bottle of sauce and 1/2 cup brown in slow-cooker. I did 3.5 hours on high but 8 hours on slow works too.

2. Remove ribs and pour sauce into saucepan/skillet, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Whisk to combine and reduce by half.

3. Then put ribs on the BBQ and cook basting with sauce till browned.
4. Serve with sides. we like corn, baked potatoes and beans with ours. Other times we have cornbread and coleslaw.


Chicken and Mushroom Gnocchi Bake/Mushroom stock

Gosh the weather in Sydney has been dismal. Honestly I think we've had about two years' worth of rain in as many weeks.

It leaves you wanting to eat warm comfort food.

Last night my daughter requested pasta. I couldn't face a bolognese or a spaghetti and meatballs meal. I had some gnocchi in the freezer so I decided on a gnocchi bake with chicken, bacon and mushrooms.

Once I got started I realised I probably didn't have quite enough mushrooms....what to do?

Then I remembered that on one of my favourite cooking TV shows The Cook and the Chef Simon would use ground dried mushrooms to add flavour( though he might have used the word depth) to vegetarian cooking and stock. Well I had some dried mushrooms so I threw them in the spice/coffee grinder and ground them up, added them to some boiling water and made some rich mushroom stock which I added to the sauce. Perfect!

Chicken and Mushroom Gnocchi bake
1 500g pack of potato gnocchi (or make your own)
1 chicken breast diced
1 onion diced
3 slices of bacon sliced
1 cup of mushrooms sliced
Italian herbs (your combo of garlic, basil, rosemary, oregano etc)
1/4 cup of dried mushrooms (ground)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup of cream
1 cup of grated cheese (we used  a Parmesan and tasty/cheddar combo)

1. In a pan soften onion in oil. Add chicken and brown.
2. Add mushrooms and bacon and herbs and cook till bacon cooked but not browned.
3. Combine dried mushrooms and boiling water and stir. Add to the pan and let simmer about 10 minutes till it reduces and chicken cooked.
4. Meanwhile prepare gnocchi as per directions on pack.
5. Add cream to sauce and stir through gnocchi.
6. Pour into casserole dish and top with cheese.
7. Bake in moderate oven about 30 minutes till browned.
(I added some chopped parsley because it wasn't photographing well at all!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Skillet potato topped seafood pie

It's cold, cold, cold here in Sydney this week and last night I raced home from doing a million things with no clear idea of what to make for dinner and when I looked at the meat I had everything was large pieces that would take forever to cook.

Then I found I had 500g of seafood marinara mix (mixed seafood) so I thought of making a seafood pie.  I did not however have the energy to fiddle around with pastry so a potato topped pie was called for. Even better than that aside from a pot to boil the spuds this was a one dish wonder.

Skillet potato topped seafood pie

500g mashed potatoes
knob of butter and a splash of olive oil
500g seafood marinara/mixed seafood
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced
2 celery sticks diced
6 mushrooms (all I had) chopped
dried dill (about a teaspoon)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 a cup of cream
1/4 cup each grated tasty/cheddar and Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil and butter in skillet till hot. Add onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, garlic and dill and saute on low heat till onion translucent and veggies softening.
2. Add seafood mix and cook about 5 minutes. Add wine and let cook down by half.
3. Add cream and warm through (don't boil).
4. Turn off skillet and top with mashed potato and grated cheese.
5. Place in the oven and cook till top is browned (about 30 minutes).