Friday, 7 September 2012

In the kitchen - Round-up 31 August - 6 September

Things started of swimmingly in the kitchen this week. On Friday 31st, I used the murgh biryani (rice layered with chicken and potatoes) recipe from Hsiung et al.'s 'Fire & Spice' to make a vegetarian biryani. Basically, I marinated cabbage, spinach and zucchini in korma paste with ginger, garlic, coriander, mint, yoghurt, tomato puree and fried shallots, and then sautéed it. I soaked basmati rice with cumin, cinnamon and cardamom. And I fried potatoes. Then I layered it all in a pot, poured over milk, water and saffron, and cooked for an hour. Garnished with fried sultanas and almonds, and boiled eggs. Mmmm.

Vegetarian biryani.

Happily, on Friday my new SBS 'Feast' magazine arrived. The 'One Ingredient Four Cultures' section was squid and they had a recipe for muc nhoi thit (braised squid stuffed with pork) that was a little different to recipes that I've tried in the past so I made it for dinner on Saturday 1st. The pork stuffing was simply rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, pork, cellophane noodles and palm sugar, and the squid were steamed and then fried in fish sauce, spring onions, tomatoes and palm sugar. It was lovely on rice, but would have been even better (less salty) if I'd read the recipe telling me to add 80 ml of water to the fish sauce...

Braised squid stuffed with pork.

Sunday 2nd was Fathers' Day, so I made Darren some nalesniki z serem (cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce), also from the SBS 'Feast' magazine, for breakfast. These are pancakes, stuffed with a European cottage cheese (quark), sugar, cinnamon and egg yolk, and covered in blueberry syrup. Upon re-reading the recipe I realised that they were also meant to be dusted in icing sugar. One thing that this recipe did not need was extra icing sugar.

Cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce.

Feeling energised by his massive breakfast, Darren prepared a roast pork for dinner. He stuffed it with his classic Jamaican jerk seasoning (heaps of spices and herbs, including thyme, mace and pimento) and then did the whole salt-oil-crackling thing. The meat was delicious, the crackling could be even better. More practice required. He made sides of apple sauce, roasted vegetables (red onion, potato, sweet corn, carrot), as well as roasted beetroot and chick peas in cumin, coriander seeds, mixed spice, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Fantastic.

Roast pork.

It was about this point that I became ill. I'm not sure what I ate to make me disgusting, but no one else got sick. Blah. I checked out of all things involving food and on Tuesday 4th everybody had the vegetarian biryani again, the leftovers of which had been frozen for just such an occurrence.

On Wednesday 5th, I ventured near the kitchen again and marinated some chicken drumettes in honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic and lemon juice, according to the 'Small Food' recipe. They were lovely (I ate one drumette!) and sticky, served on rice, with stir fried carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and spring onion.

Last night, Thursday 6th, was pork chop time. I cooked tomatoes and mushrooms with garlic, basil and parsley, then seared the pork chops, and then cooked them slowly with a layer of roquet and the tomato sauce over the top. They were very nice with risoni.

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