Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today's harvest, tonight's dinner

Exciting stuff, planted second crop of potatoes for our upcoming wedding, as well as radicchio, mustard spinach and more cabbages.  Feels so good to do this all on my own (well with the exception of Mr I-want-to-find-a-worm who digs up baby seedlings) and know that it is all organic.

Wee snippet of what I harvested today; baby carrots, baby turnips and spinach.  Would you say it would be about $15 worth?  What did it cost me?  probably about $1.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kinda Chinese banquet for three

To help myself get out of this anti food rut I've been in, I organised babysitters and hooned off to the Mt Maunganui library, straight to the cookery section intending on arming myself with cookbooks galore.
One that has stood out for me is Kylie Kwong's book Simple Chinese Cooking.  Everybody loves Chinese food right? even better when it's banquet style.  What I love about Kylie Kwong is she offers Chinese cooking the healthy way.  No msg, or too many deep fried dishes.  Fortunately for me my AWESOME hunter/gatherer father put the crab pot out the night before so we had fresh local paddle crabs to eat!  Chilli crab is a dish originating from Singapore which funnily enough isn't meant to be spicy so obviously I tweaked it a little!

Chilli-salt Duck Breasts with lemon
Jasmine Rice
Stir fry cabbage and brocoli in soy sauce and ginger
Chilli crab

Chilli-salt Duck Breasts with lemon

Like Kylie Kwong this is my favourite dish in the whole book.  I honestly have only cooked duck twice before and failed.. This recipe is so easy though, first you steam the duck then deep fry with a coating of flour, chilli and salt.  Amazing.

4 x 200g duck breasts, with skin, trimmed of excess fat
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp sea salt
2 tsp Sichuan pepper, ground a little in a mortar and pestle
2 tsp sea salt
vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
2 spring onions, julienned
2 lemons, halved

Arrange duck breasts, skin side up, on a heatproof plate that will fit inside a steamer basket.  Place plate inside a steamer, position over a wok or large frying pan of boiling water and steam, covered, for 12 minutes or until duck breasts are half cooked.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, chilli powder and first measure of salt.  Carefully remove plate from steamer basket, transfer duck breasts to a rack and set aside for 25 minutes too cool slightly.
Add duck breasts to chilli-salt mixture and toss to coat well, shaking off any excess flour.  Heat oil in a large wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly.  Add duck breasts and deep fry for about 2 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned then remove and drain well on kitchen paper.
Cut duck on the diagonal into 1cm slices and arrange on a platter with a small bowl of Sichuan pepper and salt.  Garnish with chilli and spring onion and serve immediately with lemon halves.

Chilli crab

6-8 paddle crabs, rinsed, kindly end their lives first please then chop in half
big splash of vegetable oil
2 red chillies
3 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp tomato sauce (yes like the chips + sauce variety)
knob of fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
handful fresh coriander
2 tbsp fish sauce

Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan then stir fry crabs for 5-10 minutes or until they have all turned orange.  Add another big splash of oil, garlic, chillies, ginger and fry until fragrant.  Add chilli sauce, tomato sauce and a splash of water and mix everything together and crabs are well coated in the sauce.  Cook for a few minutes then splash in the fish sauce, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve.

Friday, August 12, 2011

comeback of a 1950's housewife

I have not posted for almost a month now, and I am going to put it down to writers block.  Mainly due to a lack of self esteem and a plethora of tasks relating to my upcoming nuptials.  Planting vegetables for the wedding, brewing cider for the wedding (well it wasn't really me), stamping serviettes, polyurethaneing (is that even a word??) tree slices for cake stands and painting black boards.  Not to mention the bride diet.

So I will leave you with this picture a friend let me have, and I promise to write a more food orientated post very soon.  I do have duck breasts in the fridge...Kylie Kwongs crispy chilli salt duck breasts with lemon anyone?