Chicken tenderloins and salad
This one is very simple, clean, and light. The tenderloins were marinaded briefly (30 minutes) in some a olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and dried oregano and then cooked in a pan for approximately 4 minutes each side. This is a fair amount of time to cook them for in total - so I kept them nice and hydrated along the way with a few splashes of dry white wine and some of the marinade.
The salad is a little more detailed because you need to get the right balance between texture and dressing, while ensuring there is a variety of colour to appease the mind. I make sure to include a mixture of iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, chunky cuts of Lebanese cucumber, red onion, and some green bullhorn capsicum (try to get one that has a little orange colour on it just to keep the salad looking interesting). Mix the salad up with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar to taste. Finally, break up some meredith’s goats cheese into chunks over the salad after you’ve served it into bowls and then place the warm chicken over the top of all of this. The chicken will lightly melt the cheese and bring out a lot more of that awesome flavour.
- A perfect snack, entrée, or main. Highly addictive and very tasty. Go easy though, because you will be full before you know it.
- 300g lean pork mince
- 1/2 cup cabbage (finely chopped)
- 1/4 spring onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2cm cubed piece ginger (finely chopped)
- 2 small garlic cloves (finely chopped)
Mix all of that up as much as possible.
- Gow gee wrappers
- Spring onion (long thin slices)
- Soy sauce (or other dipping sauce of choice)
The gow gee wrappers are circular. Place a small amount of mixture into the middle of each, run some water around the edges and then bring top and bottom together.. clamping the edges along the way. You end up with a semi-circle that has a flat base. They should be able to stand up on their own like a wide (flat) base taco shell.
Grab a large (wide base) pan or pot with a lid… add a thin layer of vegetable oil, bring stove to low heat with lid off and add the gyoza in… rub the base across the layer of oil and let sit until the bases turn black. Once black, turn heat down to low-med and add half a cup of water in (be careful as it could splash oil) and put the lid on. Let that do its thing for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Leave the lid on for another minute and then take it off… swivvel the pan or pot a little to loosen any possible culprits trying to cling to the pan/pot. Then you’re ready to go.
Serve with the spring onion slices and soy sauce (or dipping sauce of choice). I love the taste of this with the fresh spring onion. Make sure you have some with every bite. :)
Grilled Lamb with Radish and Snow Pea Shoot Salad
The marinade on the lamb is a refreshing change to the typical Greek styled marinade I (too) often use. :) This dish is very light to eat, not too overt in the spectrum of flavours too (so it’s fussy person friendly).
This is perfect for a warm night where you may not want to feel too full or cannot eat as much as you may normally. Perfect again with a nice sharp and fruity white wine.
- Wholegrain mustard
- Snow pea shoots
- Lettuce leaf: a blend of baby cos, rocket, and endive
- Radish slices
- Lebanese cucumber slices
- Apple cider vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
A Habanero is Born
I am yet to decide what to do with you. I will work that out as you grow up. Until then, stay healthy, and reach your potential.
Orange and Dill Salad
This is a simple one and supremely refreshing on a mild summer’s day. Packing purely fresh herbs and fruit, you’d struggle to find something tasting any more clean and pure as this.
- Navel Oranges (anything ultra juicy)
Remove all the rind (the skin) and most of the pith (the white bit between the skin and the awesome part) and cut into large slices, no thicker than about 8mm. Break the dill up into large chunks and mix through lightly, ensuring that all the orange gets a bit and simply for aesthetics.
Best served at room temperature with some BBQ’d meat. Oddly enough this seems to work well with anything chilli based too. So consider that.
As a guide, 1 orange will probably do 1-2 people, likely more towards the 2… provided this forms part of a few dishes for the meal.
You could add a small amount of olive oil and salt, to taste, but why… enjoy how refreshing this mix is on their own. Why eat unnecessarily?
What’s in your shopping basket?
When you’re next at the supermarket, market, or local grocer, take a look at what you’ve collected. Think about what you’re spending money on. Do you really need one of the items? What could you swap something with to improve your own health. Think about what you might want to cook, or purchasing devices like food containers that may offer you more incentive to make your own lunch, areas of your own health you may want to work on… etc. Where could the dollars really go?
All the small decisions can really add up to something big!
Grow your own food
No matter how often you do a little bit of cooking, have a think about the types of things you use on a regular basis? For me it’s often cucumber, capsicum, tomato, oregano, rosemary, kaffir lime leaves, and bay leaves. That’s not all I use on a regular basis, far from it, but these are fairly easy to grow and fair well at this time of the year in suburban Melbourne, Australia.
The initial expense to get going with this kind of tiny edible garden all depends on how developed the plants you buy are. As you can imagine, the larger the plant, the more it will cost. Bags of soil suitable for pots are really cheap, usually around the AUD$3.50 mark for 25L. The large round pots were about AUD$8 and the rectangle ones were about AUD$15 (from memory). So yeah, if you considered these costs in light of how much these things cost individually at the supermarket or local grocery store, it’s probably on par in cost, potentially more or less expensive too - depending on the yield. Try not to think about this aspect of it too much though, because the satisfaction you get from looking after your own food, watching it grow, and eventually getting to eat it, is great! You can really appreciate the food you’re eating a whole lot more and know exactly where it has come from, what’s gone into it, and know that it hasn’t been hammered with any unwanted nasties such as artificial pesticides.
Give it a go. Start small. Be smart too, if you don’t want to pay for pots, you could ask around your friends or family, workplace, etc. to see if anyone has any lying around. You could use anything really, just make sure there are some holes in the base for drainage purposes.
Enjoy the process of building, maintaining, and eating! :)
Greek Lemon Potatoes and a Turkish Salad (Vegetarian)
A perfect combination on their own, or with some BBQ’d meat, on a nice spring or summer day. Before I started recently exploring my ability to cook seafood (Garlic Prawns | Prawn and Mussel Spaghetti), I had been meaning to start featuring (and making) more vegetarian dishes - @Maria_coolbeanz had reminded me of this.
These two dishes work extremely well together, probably because they are both super tasty and share some common ingredients, lemon juice and olive oil.
Ingredients (Greek Lemon Potatoes)
- 2 potatoes, cut into 8ths lengthways
- The juice and pulp (minus seeds) of 4 large lemons
- 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Some water (enough to cover the potatoes). This could be chicken stock too if you wanted… you can get the 100% vegetarian variety too, which I’ve tried and it comes out great.
Ingredients (Turkish Salad)
- Half of a green capsicum (diced)
- 2 tomatoes (diced)
- 1.5 inches worth of a cucumber, sliced, and then quartered
- Flat leaf parsley (large handful, finely chopped)
- Lemon (Juice and pulp of one medium sized lemon)
- Olive oil (1/2 tbsp)
The potatoes will take the longest at 1 hour total cooking time. Place the potatoes into a baking dish, along with the rest of the ingredients, and add some more water into the dish - enough to only JUST cover the potatoes - then place the dish into the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour. You can take it out close to that time to see if they are soft enough. They soak up all the goodness and taste awesome.
The salad is simple. Just mix all those ingredients together and then store in the fridge for about 15 minutes to let the ingredients soak up the lemon juice. Then remove from fridge, stir thoroughly and let sit in room temp for about 5 minutes before serving. Transfer into a serving bowl (which will be at room temp) to serve.
The key with all of this is to ensure you’re using REAL lemons and not bottled lemon juice. The freshness of the lemon juice is paramount!
This all should be enough to serve about 2-3 people… potentially more, depending on how hungry you are and what (if anything) you’re serving it all with.
This is something I will be trying (time and the absence of laziness permitted) to drink a lot more of in 2013. It’s particularly good in the morning as part of your breakfast routine. It’s a fresh and super healthy way to start the day and there are a lot of nutrients packed into this very drinkable glass.
- Silverbeet (half a bunch)
- Celery (half a bunch)
- Granny Smith Apples (x1)
- Lemon (half a large one, minus the rind/pith)
- Ginger (cubic inch)
- Cucumber (whole green cucumber)
- Spirulina powder (optional, 1 teaspoon)
Juice all of these ingredients up - I’m using a Breville Juice Fountain Plus. It’s freshest if you consume it immediately (duh), and will probably only last in the fridge no longer than a day. I lie, it may last longer, but the taste (and probably nutrients?) will have died significantly.
Serves 2 good sized glasses.
This is a slightly modified recipe for the version in the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”, where kelp was used instead of silverbeet.
Prawn and Mussel Spaghetti
This is very similar in method to the Garlic Prawns I made the other day. For this one i put more of an emphasis on quality ingredients. I did some google’ing around for some good seafood vendors in Melbourne, Australia, and consistently either the Queen Victoria or Prahran Market’s came up in the results. I had been to the Prahran Market a couple of weeks ago and was quite familiar with the stores there, one of which was called Claringbolds - which was recommended as the place to go at Prahran Market for their freshness and quality - despite the supposed increased cost. Well my goal was on quality and I didn’t want to start my seafood cooking exploration off on the wrong foot so I headed down there and bought about 150gm of green prawn cutlets (they were quite big - so 150gm was only 3) and about 280gm of Tasmanian Blue mussels. Total spend - $12. I figured that this would be enough seafood for this dish for one person, ensuring good balance and presentation once served. Next I needed a good tomato sauce for the dish. I found a few around the market around the $8-$12 mark, but the jars were too big for my liking and I didn’t need that much (hate waste!!). I managed to find a jar for $5.50 called Sugo Alla Napoletana by Don Antonio which was a good size (500gm) and smelt ‘real’ when opened. That concluded my shopping at the market - although, the seafood fan in the house did request that I purchase a fillet of swordfish too. That’s in the fridge as a write this for another (and most likely STINKY) adventure!
- Spaghetti (normal size)
- Olive oil
- Dry White Wine
- Tomato based pasta sauce
- Parsley (continental)
I’ve been using my wok for the seafood. So to start, steam the mussels in the wok with about 1/3 cup of the wine. Place a lid over to top of it to allow it to steam. Hopefully your lid is see-through and that way you can tell if the shells are opened. Anyway this took about 4-5 minutes. Once done, remove from wok and set aside with the residual juices. Add 2 tbsp’s of olive oil and then add the finely chopped garlic (about 6 cloves). Ensuring things are on med-high heat, at the slightest sign of change of colour in the garlic, add the prawns. Coat them thoroughly. Add about 125gm’s of the sauce and stir thoroughly. Add some freshly chopped parsley and mix through. As the sauce starts to simmer a little… add another 200gm’s of the sauce. As the prawns approach a white and orange look - add the mussels AND juices back into the wok, and stir thoroughly. Make sure the muscles get some of that tomato goodness! Meanwhile you will have had the pasta cooking away and checking it frequently for that al dente texture. Once you’re happy that the prawns are done (a nice white with orange tails), turn the heat off. When the pasta is done… strain water and mix contents into the seafood wok to ensure the pasta gets some of the tomato and seafood sauces over it. Serve on a plate and sprinkle some more freshly cut parsley over it to aesthetics and taste. Enjoy!
Note: The feedback I got was that it could actually do with some chilli in it and some more garlic to give it a stronger taste. 6 cloves were recommended above but when i cooked it I had only used about 3. So consider 6-8 along with some chilli (fresh) used at the point you cook the prawns.