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madras beef or lamb curry

This is one curry that may surprise you at how easy it is to prepare the spice mix for such a tasty meal with so few simple pantry ingredients. Roast and grind your own spices if you have the time and equipment to do so, but I mostly use ground spices at home for ease. The added bonus of a curry is that it will improve in flavour as it sits so prepare it on the weekend for a busy weeknight meal. For these reasons this curry, with some rice and steamed greens, has been on the menu most weeks during winter. I make it extra hot so I serve the kids something I have pre prepared, frozen and defrosted and reheated.

2 brown onions
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 kilo stewing steak or lamb
400 grams crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
200 ml beef stock

dice the meat into about a 1.5 cm dice. Brown the meat on all sides in batches in a hot pan on the stove top.  In a heavy based oven proof sauce pan saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in the butter for a few minutes  until soft add the spices and cook for a few minutes add all the other ingredients and braise covered in a low 160 C oven for 1-2 hrs until tender.

Or put all ingredients in the slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours.

Or in the Thermomix chop the garlic and onion add everything else cook 100 C for 1.5 – 2 hours on reverse

madras

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Thai green chicken (or roast duck) curry

I make this paste and split the paste into 3 batches freeze the extra 2 serves for other meals. When I was making it for a Restaurant I would use shrimp paste instead of the fish sauce, but I don’t really want a packet of shrimp paste hanging around in the fridge all year at home so I use a dash of fish sauce from the bottle that I use regularly in cooking. And I use ground spices at home rather than roasting the seeds to same time.

 

Paste
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ginger root
2 sticks lemon grass
1 bunch coriander
½ bunch basil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
teaspoon ground white pepper
2 large green chillies
4 kaffir lime leaves
tablespoon fish sauce
1 red onion
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander

extra chilli (optional)

600-800 grams chicken thigh or breast (bone out a chicken for the meat and then you will have a carcass for stock)
*or one roast duck
1 onion
500 ml veg or chicken stock
400 ml coconut milk
300 grams cooked rice noodles
4 cups vegetables – carrot, capsicum, bokchoy, greens, peas, corn, mushrooms, broccoli cauliflower

to make the paste blend all ingredients together this should make enough paste for 3 meals freeze to prions for later use.

To cook the curry, slice the onion and cut the chicken into about 1.5 cm pieces. Heat a wok over a medium heat until hot add a dash of oil and the onion and chicken and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is soft and the chicken is brown add other hard finely sliced vegetables (carrot, broccoli etc that take a little longer to cook)  and the stock and simmer until chicken and veg is almost cooked (4-6 minutes) add coconut cream soft veg  (spinach leaves etc that really just need to heat) and noodles and serve when it is all cooked and hot.

*If you want to replace the chicken with roast duck, lay at the bottom on a slow cooker with some chopped up onion, celery and carrot (if you save your peelings from these in a bag in the freezer like i do grab a few handfuls of this instead) put the duck on top great side up, season well with salt and pepper and leave to cook my SLOW slow cooker on high would take 8 hours, you need to get to know your own slow cooker as they differ a LOT!!

thai green duck

 

 

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Meal Plan 17th July

Eating seasonally and cooking form real food is the most economical way to feed your family, if there is enough interest I will continue to share how we eat for the week and ideas that may inspire you to cook with what is affordable (in Tasmania) that week.

As I am out of the house for the day every weekday at Tafe or working and I have a few late nights with kid’s activities during the week I meal plan and cook a few things the weekends.

Yesterday I made Tuesday nights lasagne ready to pop in the slow cooker with a timer on Tuesday so we can walk in the door and dinner is ready after the girls dancing lesson, necessary when you have a tired toddler and there is the temptation for quick takeaways!

Wednesday nights curry is already cooked, I try to always cook a family meal but sometimes I want something hot and spicy so the kids can have veggie packed spaghetti bolognaise that is already in the freezer. 2 vegie soups are made and I will do some baking today for the lunch boxes. I guess I am lucky that I enjoy cooking and I don’t find it a chore at all but even if you don’t enjoy cooking if your organised, cooking from real food is not at all tome consuming. And you might even start to enjoy it.

Before having my three kids I was a chain smoker and although at the time I always thought I was fat, I was always in my healthy weight range. Now after having kids and giving up the smokes I have kept a few kilos with each pregnancy, this absolutely isn’t a diet plan, I am not claiming that’s its perfectly ‘healthy’  as I’m not a nutritionist and there are now so many different opinions on what is healthy. However I lost 10 Kg last year and I’m a few kilos into losing a few more this year to get me back into my healthy weight range while still enjoying all the good things in life, a little less wine and more exercise and meals plans similar to this.  I don’t eliminate food groups, I think home made is best but I will sneak the odd packet of cheap packet pasta in to the groceries for a weeknight meal. I aim to feed my family our 5 serves of veg each day, 2 serves of fruit some protein and carbs but try to keep it all as home made as possible that way I know what’s in the food and its generally better. Obviously white bread for breakfast, white bread sandwiches and white bread with your dinner is not a smart meal plan but I think bulk packets of rice and potatoes are probably necessary if your family is on a food budget. I admire Jamie Oliver, Michelle Bridges and Tara from The Nutrition Guru and the Chef who all have a common sense approach to eating.

Breakfasts and lunches are pretty much the same all the time I will add to these lists as i remember things.

Breakfasts:

Fruit toast make your own fruit bread or buy store bought topped with ricotta, sliced apple and cinnamon.
Apple and cinnamon porridge
Toast and soft boiled (dippy) eggs
Cornflakes or an occasional better choice box cereal
Yogurt
Bircher musli
Toast
Savoury muffin or scone (on the go)

Lunches

Soup in the thermos- I make two vegie soups each week
i have made cauliflower & cheese and pumpkin, sweet potato & leek.
Baked beans in the thermos
Leftovers in the thermos
Sandwiches & wrapS
Saladas or corn thins
Sushi or rice paper rolls

PLUS
Cheese and biscuits (from the packet and the cheese block)

2 pieces of fruit

home made option small portion treat this week it is coconut berry loaf

veggie sticks -normally eaten on the way home in the car when there is nothing else left to eat. I think having 1-2 portions in the lunch box of veg is helpful  to ensure I get the 5 serves into my kids each day the soup also help with this. Apart from the one homemade treat I don’t add chips, lollies, biscuits etc.to the lunch box aside from being ridiculously expensive and a frustratingly huge amount of packaging waste, there is no way my kids would eat there veg if that is on offer, party food is for parties.

 

Monday crumbed fish and vegies

Tuesday Lasagne

Wednesday madras curry and spag bol for the kids

Thursday salmon casserole

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.34.16 PM

this recipe is from my new book Seafood everyday

Friday Thai green chicken curry

Saturday home made pizzas

Sunday Roast chicken

 

I have not got all these recipes for this week on this site yet, Oscar it about to wake up and I’ve got some cheese and bacon rolls to go and bake, hopefully i get time to adding the recipes soon. let me know if you are interested in weekly meal plans Thanks