Category Archives: Recipe

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Chipotle sauce

Penray in Otaki have pick your own chillies for $5.95 a kilo at the moment, so I was more or less obliged to take some late season red jalapeño off their hands in order to make chipotle sauce. A true chipotle is a completely dried and smoked red jalapeño chilli, and these are rehydrated in hot water to make a sauce. After a bit of looking online, I took an average and cut some corners, and I seem to have managed a good chipotle sauce with a fair amount of heat, a bonny colour, and a good blend of smoke, sour, citrus and fruity chilli flavours. First, equipment you will need:

  • A large roasting pan
  • Mortar & pestle
  • A smoker
  • Hickory chips for smoking
  • A very large jam saucepan, at least 8 litres (2 gallons)
  • Stick blender

Ingredients (these are approximate amounts, I pretty much made it up as I went along):

  • 7 kg (15 lb) red jalapeño chillieschipotle_20140418_1
  • olive oil
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2-3 large onions
  • 2 tbsp cumin seed
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 450 g (1 lb) tomato concentrate paste
  • 300 ml (½ pint) juice of lemons and limes. That’s quite a lot; about 5 lemons and 10 limes, probably more
  • 300 ml (½ pint) cider vinegar (other vinegars would probably do)
  • Lots of boiling water, to stop it glooping and spattering everywhere

chipotle_20140418_2Preheat the oven to grill at least 240°C.

Pour all the chillies in the sink, fill it up with cold water and give them a good old wash to get all the mud, insect poo and residue off the outside. De-stem and halve the chillies and place cut-side down in an oven tray. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves; my arms were rather pleasantly on fire, from fingernail to elbow, for the rest of the day.

Put the tray of chillies in the chipotle_20140418_3oven to grill for at least 15 minutes or until the skins are well blistered and just beginning to blacken. (I had to do this step several times… 7 kg is a lot of chillies!)

While this is going on, get the smoker fired up with a few pine cones and kindling, and leave to burn down to form a good bed of embers.

chipotle_20140418_4Once the chillies are done, optionally remove the blistered skins (I left some of them on for a bit of texture and colour) and place them on trays in the smoker.

Pile up a load of hickory chips on the ember bed and close the lid on the smoker. Go drink some good wine, and leave chillies to smoke for a good few hours (at least 3 hours if you can manage it), the longer the better. Whenever the smoke starts to die down, get in there with some more wood chips and your best brass player breathing practice. Rinse and repeat for as long as you can be bothered, really.

At some point during the smoking stage,chipotle_20140418_6 grind the cumin in the mortar & pestle, and finely dice the onions and garlic. In a hot frying pan, dry-toast the ground cumin seed until fragrant, then tip in a bit of oil and sauté the garlic and onion with the cumin, and set aside.

Pull your now gloriously smoky chillies out of the smoker and tip into a truly gargantuan saucepan (I don’t actually have one, so I used two merely enormous saucepans instead). Add the sautéed onions and all the other ingredients, and stick-blend it, adding sufficient boiling water to thin it to a sauce consistency.

chipotle_20140418_8Bring it to the boil then simmer it for about 2 hours, stirring as needed to keep the bottom from sticking. It should reduce slightly and thicken. Like any pickle or jam, if it is glooping and spattering everywhere and sticking to the bottom, it is probably too thick; add water.

Once it has reduced and become slightly glossy, transfer it into pre-heated jars and seal immediately. This is where you re-use all those jars with quarter-turn metal lids you kept. These jars are best because unlike plastic lid jars, they will vacuum seal as the contents cool, and won’t leak air over a 2-3 year shelf life.

This recipe made sauce for 13 x 330 ml jars and 4 x 500 ml bottles, which is about 6.5 litres (1½ gallons) altogether.

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Paneer Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 turmeric root
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 2cm bit of ginger
  • 2 chillies
  • ghee or oil for frying
  • ½ lb (250 g) paneer, cubed
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, pepper
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • ¼ cup of cream
  • handful of fresh coriander

Grate the turmeric, garlic, ginger and chop the chillies, add some oil to a pan and fry for 30 seconds, then add the paneer and move it around until it’s browned on all sides (about 3-4 minutes). Throw in the tomatoes, spices and capsicum, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add cream and coriander at the very end and serve immediately on rice.

Salmon cakes

Here’s how I made yummy salmon fish cakes out of last night’s leftovers.

  • 275 g cooked salmon, bones and skin removed, flaked
  • 275 g leftover potato bake, stovies, frittata etc. (or use mashed potato with a little grated cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • a little chopped red – e.g. red pepper, chilli
  • a little chopped green – e.g. fresh herbs, rocket, spinach, green beans
  • 1 tsp paprika and/or chilli powder
  • salt and pepper
  • flour

Bung it all in the processor and pulse until combined (but not puréed). Turn into a bowl and fold in enough flour to make a soft, not firm but not sloppy, mix.

For the crumb mix:

  • 2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

Grind to a coarse powder in a processor or mortar.

Roll the mix into patties and dust in a little of the crumb mix. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden. Since the ingredients are already cooked the mix only needs to heat through; they won’t take long! Serve immediately.

Testing steaks

How do you know when your steaks are done? Here’s a handy rule of thumb.

My cousin’s a bit of a chef. Poke the steak with the index finger of your right hand. Now touch the thumb and index finger of your left hand together, and poke the fleshy bit of your palm at the base of your left thumb. That’s rare. Now touch the thumb and middle finger together, and poke the same bit again. That’s medium rare. Thumb and ring finger, that’s medium, and thumb and little finger for well done. (photo to follow)

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 2, Preparation time 30 mins max.
If you’ve got some mushrooms lying around that need eating, this one’s perfect. Even though the earliest Stroganoff recipes didn’t have them, so what? Here’s a hark back to the original, but with mushrooms, otherwise it’s just wrong.

Beef Stroganoff on potatoes and spinach
Beef Stroganoff on potatoes and spinach
  • 2-3 large brown field mushrooms
  • oil or lard for frying
  • 12 oz (400 g) beef, sirloin, topside or similar
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds (or 2 tsp mustard powder)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 glass of red wine (and one for the cook)
  • crême fraiche or sour cream (yoghurt if slimming)

Accompaniment:

  • 3-4 potatoes
  • 8 oz (250 g) spinach
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and diced as a garnish.

Cut the mushrooms into strips and fry in a casserole with a little oil. Cover to sweat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Cut up the beef into thin strips. Grind up the mustard seeds (or use mustard powder) and combine with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss the beef strips in it to coat with the mustard mixture. Fry the beef in a skillet until browned, then add to the casserole. Add the wine to the skillet and stir to pick up the flavours, and pour into the casserole. Add the crême fraiche and stir. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.

This should be enough time to slice the potatoes thinly and sauté in the skillet for a few minutes. Add the spinach, cover and sweat until the spinach is done.

Mound the potato mixture in the centre of the plate as a base, and pile the Stroganoff on top. Drizzle the gravy over with a spoon, and garnish with deseeded diced tomato.

Professional!

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Refried beans are awesome with salsa and yoghurt.

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder or paprika (to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 dollops of Frijoles Negros (see recipe)

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the chopped bacon, garlic, and spices and fry for a couple of minutes. Ladle in some beans from the pot and mash with a potato masher. Continue to fry and stir for a good 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown and stick to the pan.

Serve in tortilla with yoghurt and a good fresh salsa made from diced deseeded tomato, red pepper, chili, garlic, spring onion and lemon juice.

YUM

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using lately to make Frijoles Negros – black beans, Mexican-styles. The Flying Burrito Brothers can go take a leap. This is also surely one of the easiest things to make.

  • 450 g (1 lb) dried black or turtle beans
  • 900 g (2 lb, two tins) tomatoes
  • 750 ml (3 cups, two tomato tins-ful) water, or stock
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • chili (to taste), seeded and diced
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of extra water to allow them to swell up.

Strain and discard the water from the beans and put them in a large casserole pot with the chopped tomatoes, water, onions, garlic, chili, bay leaves and wine. Bring to the boil gently and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are al dente.

Crush the cumin seed, coriander seed and pepper together in a mortar and pestle. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and toast the spices until aromatic. pour into the beans and stir.

Corn Fritters

Why is it that cafes can never get corn fritters right? They always try and add all these other things, make them far too thick, fail to cook them for long enough, burn them, and so on. Corn fritters are a basic foodstuff, a simple yet noble testament to the pleasurable but delicate flavour of corn. They should not be sullied with bacon or diced capsicum, overpowered with twelve herbs and spices, or made out to be more than what they are and what they do best. To that end, I propose that the simplest possible recipe is still the best:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • one 400 g tin whole kernel corn
  • salt and pepper

Beat eggs and milk until frothy. Stir in dry ingredients until a thick pourable batter is formed, then stir in the drained corn kernels. Fry spoonfuls in butter over a medium heat. Serve immediately.

Salmon Vegetable Ensemble

  • Two 150g salmon fillets
  • Two large field mushrooms (at least 10cm across)
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 glass of white wine

Sauce:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • A few capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • dash of milk

Mash anchovies, garlic, rosemary and capers in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Stir in sour cream and enough milk to make a good sauce consistency. Set aside to allow flavour to infuse.

Steam the broccoli for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the spring onion and saute in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the pan, stalk-side-up, add the wine and cook covered for 2-3 minutes until just tender.

Place the mushrooms on heated plates stalks-up, and assemble the spring onions and broccoli on top of each mushroom. Keep plates warm.

Meanwhile, steam the spinach, and add the salmon fillets to the pan skin-side down to cook for 2-3 minutes, and 1 minute on the other side.

Pile the spinach on the vegetable ensemble, and place the fillet on top of that. Drizzle any liquid from the pan over the food if desired.

Garnish with the sauce prepared earlier and serve.

Chicken And Mushroom Lasagne

  • 30 g clarified butter
  • 350 g skinned boneless chicken, cubed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 200 g mushrooms, chopped (or whole button)
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 200 g lasagne sheets, uncooked
  • 100 g Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • optional breadcrumbs

Heat the clarified butter, and fry the chicken and pepper over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Saute the garlic and onion in the remaining butter. Add the mushrooms and sage, and stir for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Add the wine and stock, simmer for about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the cooked chicken with the ricotta cheese. Layer a casserole dish with alternating layers of chicken mixture and mushroom sauce, with lasagne sheets in-between, starting with chicken and ending with mushroom sauce. Top with Mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes or until the lasagne sheets have cooked (test their tenderness with a fork), and the topping is golden brown.