Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mussels with Bacon and Leek

I think this is the first seafood recipe I've posted up. Needless to say that's because I'm not a big fan of seafood. I find that there is a fine line where it tips over to a fishy, ocean, briney taste and then it just makes me gag on the spot. I still eat it but I don't always enjoy it. Dad loves to steam a whole fresh fish and most of the time I'll only pick a bit of it. I know I know it's wasted on me! To have someone cook you a fresh steamed fish and I still can't enjoy it. That's not to say I dislike all types of seafood. It's just that I only like specific seafood cooked a specific way eg mud crabs in ginger and shallot sauce or salt and pepper squid. What seafood do I hate the most? Anything cold but at the top of the list I think it has to be the cooked but cold blue swimmer crabs you get with some seafood platters *shudders* oh and oysters.....gag gag gag!!!

Putting my dislike of seafood aside, I stumbled upon this mussel recipe when surfing the net and was curious to try. Reading the ingredients list and the instructions convinced me it was simple enough to prepare and I figured if I didn't like it, my family should.

Browning the bacon

Sautee the leeks

Adding the mussels

I would try this again but I would probably use less bacon as it was a bit on the salty side but still very good.
Would I add mussels to my list? Not right up there with mud crab ; ) But my husband and dad liked it so I know this recipe is fine, it's just me with the issues. I'd be happy to cook mussels again with a different sauce just to compare.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Pasta Bianco

Following on from the last post is Jamie Oliver's Pasta Bianco. I wanted a somewhat simple sauce to go with our freshly made pasta so that I could enjoy the pasta itself. This is a really easy recipe which only requires 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper. I would definitely make this again.

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
40g butter
455g tagliatelle
2 or 3 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta. Meanwhile fry the grated garlic in the butter without colouring it for a couple of minutes and pour into a big bowl. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, but reserve at least 5 to 6 tablespoons of the pasta water.
Add the pasta to the bowl with the garlic oil, add the Parmesan cheese and the pasta water and toss well.
Serves 4

The garlic oil

2 to 3 handfuls of Parmesan cheese
Freshly cooked pasta

Tossing the pasta

Pasta Bianco

Home Made Pasta

I've was contemplating on whether I should buy a pasta maker or not recently. It looked easy enough to prepare the pasta, but would I make use of it? Would it just be a fad I was going through? Before I got the chance to buy one, my wonderful aunt comes over one night (at 10pm) excited to give me this pasta maker she won in a raffle! When she saw that the pasta maker was one of the prizes she bought 200 raffle tickets to try and win it for me. I asked her how much is 200 raffle tickets worth....she said $20.....I think she is lying. Either way, I'm very thankful and eager to try it out. Mind you I think my husband was more excited about it because he started on the pasta the very next day while I was out shopping for pasta sauce ingredients. I came back to a cursing, flour covered husband about to throw the machine out. He's since fixed the fault but it took quite a while to make approx 500g of pasta, I think it took us around an hour....when you compare it to the guys on Masterchef who say they can make it in 7mins!
5 eggs
500g plain flour

Thin setting

Now that the machine is fixed and works properly I'll be happy to make more of my own pasta. I'll still keep some pre-bought dried ones in the pantry but making your own is great as long as you have it fresh.
We made a pasta Bianco for our first batch of home made pasta. Up next.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chilli Jam Thai Restaurant

This is my new favourite Thai restaurant. Tuk Tuk Thai in Balmain use to be my favourite, but it's a bit far to travel and parking is a *bleep*. However, if I was venturing that way to Balmain Markets or Adriano Zumbo it would be worthwhile to grab their Chicken Green Curry.

We discovered Chilli Jam one day whilst walking down Majors Bay Road and eating gelato sussing out the restaurants and cafes we could visit in the near future. There are many to choose from but Chilli Jam caught my eye. With the really modern furnishings, funky atmosphere and not to mention it was packed full of patrons. I knew I had to go back to try it one day. So when my in-laws (this going back to the beginning of the year now. Yes how late is my post!) came for a visit we decided to try Chilli Jam.

The prices I have put up are from the take away menu. I'm pretty sure the eat-in price is more

Chicken Satay Stir Fry ($12.90)
Chicken Green Curry ($12.90)

Pineapple Fried Rice ($16.90)

Marinated Lamb Cutlets in Garlic and Pepper Sauce ($19.90)
You only get 3 pieces which is rather disappointing

Chinese Broccoli with Marinated Pork

It's a great place for a casual dinner. I'd even suggest taking someone here for a first date. Casual and friendly with lovely food and it's not pretentious at all (plus it had that "mood" lighting haha!). And if the date goes really well, extend it by offering to go for gelato afterwards just down the road ; )

Friday, June 4, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana

After looking up numerous recipes for this I decided not to do a deep fried version because I was 1. Trying a more healthy option
2. Forgot to buy bread crumbs and
3. Lazy and figured I'd save time skipping this extra step
And I'm glad about it too because it turned out really well. Next time I'll attempt the breaded deep fried version but I think I'd still prefer this way more.

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
2 eggplants
1 cup grated or chopped mozzarella
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt & pepper

1. Cut eggplant into 1cm slices and sprinkle salt over both sides and let stand for around 3omins
2. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towel
3. Saute the onions then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 10mins
4. Pour a layer of sauce into a baking dish, then layer with eggplant, then add the cheese on top of each slice of eggplant, continuing on layer upon layer, finishing off with the mozzarella on the top.
5. Bake for approximately 3omins

Tomato Sauce

Salting the eggplant

All the layers with heaps of mozzarella on top

After baking for 3omins
Close up

Served with a pan fried lemon & oregano chicken, green beans and rice