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Red Curry with Roasted Duck and Lychees

I received this awesome cookbook for Christmas one year. It’s HUGE and feature best food of the world. I’m talking about “The food of the world-a journey for food lovers” I put so many tabs over it that I wasn’t sure where to start. Strangely though, my excitement wore off because most of these recipes are not “quick to the table” meals and require some patience to assemble.

I flipped through the book one more time recently and the recipe “Red Curry with Roasted Duck and Lychees’ caught my attention. Perhaps it was the word duck, or maybe I was just curious to see if lychees would go well in curry. The book says that it is a Thai specialty dish. Any Thai people that could verify that? 😉

I was intrigued though-as the end result was a spicy and sweet dish. AR says that the lychee reduces the heat of the curry and is actually quite refreshing.  My guess is that Thailand is humid and hot so perhaps the lychee “cools” the curry?

I added heaps of veges in it to make it a one pot dish.

Red Curry with Roasted Duck and Lychees (serves 4-6)
60ml of coconut cream (I omitted this)
around 3-4 tablespoon of red curry paste
1/2 a roasted duck chopped
400ml of coconut milk (I used light)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of palm sugar (I used brown sugar) 
1 tin of diced tomatoes
around 7 kaffir lime leaves torned
1 red chili sliced
1 red capsicum chopped
1 broccoli chopped 
1-2 cups of chopped mushrooms

Saute curry paste till fragrant. Add coconut milk and simmer. Add roasted duck and simmer for 3-5 mins. Add the  fish sauce, sugar and all veges. Simmer for another 5 mins. Add tomatoes and lychess and cook for another 2 mins. Add kaffir leaves. Taste and season. Serve with rice.


Puff Pastry Pizza

I have not had take out pizzas for ages. I guess I have always thought that making pizzas using chapati bases or bread bases are a far more cheaper, faster and healthier way to do so. Don’t get me wrong though, I still enjoy my fast food. It’s just that I like to think that I can have that additional slice without adding inches to my waistline. 😉

Recently, I saw adverts for Puff Pastry Pizzas. And I thought..what a GREAT idea! Now, I guess the amount of fat and calories would be double or even triple the amount of normal pizzas so I thought I can try making 2 versions of it at home.It’s not the healthiest in the world, but at least it was better than eating out.That way, I can choose the ingredients carefully (re lower fat cheese, less cheese, type of sauces…etc)

It turned out to be like… a huge tart! LOL It was good though. We totally had a  blast eating it. My versions were Chili  Garlic Feta Prawns and BBQ chicken.

Puff Pastry Pizzas

2 pieces of puff pastry

 Chili  Garlic Feta Prawns

100 grams of shelled prawns
20 grams of feta
1 cup of low fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms 
1 tsp of  garlic minced
1 chili
1/2 red onion chopped
2 tablespoon of tomato paste

Spread tomato paste on puff pastry. Place onions first. Then sprinkle prawns and mushrooms over it. Crumbled feta and garlic over the prawns. Sprinkle cheese on it. Bake in preheated 200 C oven for 20 minutes.

BBQ Mushroom Chicken
1 cup of cooked chicken with bbq sauce
1/2 red onion chopped 
1cup of mushrooms sliced
2 tablespoon of bbq sauce

Spread bbq sauce over base of puff pastry. Add onions and mushrooms. Place chicken on it and and squirt some more bbq sauce on it. Sprinkle some cheese. Bake in 200C preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Served with salad!

Carmelised Pineapple with Banana and Grande Ice cream

Sometimes, the simplest sweets is enough to “finish” off a meal. If someone ever asks me if I have a preference between savory or sweet foods, I will have difficulty answering that. Truth is that I like both!

Pineapples are in season and boy…are they sweet. I wonder what did they add into this season’s crop of pineapples?!?! We have been having 1 or 2 pineapples every week. 

And Woolworths was having a sale on Connoisseur ice cream -$4 a tub! Seriously good stuff. I bought AR the Cafe Grande and it even has choc coated peanuts folded through the ice-cream. 

So I decided to jazz his ice-cream up a little more but caramelizing pieces of pineapples that was coated with brown sugar. Ah….. the sauce, the pineapple, the ice-cream.. what not to love spring?

Picnic Fun- Smoked Salmon and Garlic Teriyaki Chicken Sushi

So AR realized that I have been really tense recently. Work was getting waay into me. He suggested that we head to rural Western Australia, around 45 minutes drive from the city for a picnic. He even offered to make sushi and prepare dip and carrot sticks for the trip! He knows that sushi is my comfort food. I can have it any time of the day! How impressed I was!!

Except that it took him 30 minutes to cut the vegetables up.

And I got impatient.

So I got my hands into rolling the sushi, thinking that he will be done soon and will take over.

But I ended up rolling them all!!!

He was sweet though. And even packed a magazine for me to read during the picnic. Did you notice that he even packed soya sauce? He took the WHOLE bottle! =)

And all the lovely vegetables that he cut up for me to munch on (he also cut the veges for the sushi).

And the wonderful waterfall that we saw. 

I am very blessed with a caring and loving hubby (just not when he spent 30 minutes cutting vegetables!!!! ;P)

Sushi (I think we made more than 60 small size sushi-around 5 rolls. It was our lunch the next day too!)
3 cups of sushi rice (cooked using the instructions on the packet)
around 1 tablespoon of sugar
2-3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
150 grams of smoked salmon 
1 cucumber, 1 carrot and 1 avocado sliced longitudinally.
2-3 crab sticks defrosted
you can use mayo but I am on a health kick so no mayo for us.
5 pieces of sushi grade seaweed 

Garlic teriyaki chicken- cooked 100 grams of chopped chicken thigh with garlic and teriyaki sauce.

Season rice with sugar and rice vinegar. Taste to check seasoning. 

Place seaweed on sushi mat. Place around 2-3 tablespoon of rice on it. Flatten it using wet hands. It should fill around 3/4 of the seaweed. Swipe wasabi longitudinally. Place veges and smoked salmon/chicken on it. Roll sushi up. Making sure to tighten the roll as you go along. Cut sushi using a sharp knife. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.

Sweet Potato and Salmon Tarts- Two ways

I started making this dish in a “special” way. Like tartlets. I cut my puff pastry into quarters, score it (like drawing a border with a knife), place the mixture in it and glaze it with egg yolk. it’s all in the presentation right?

Then I got a tad lazy. Well… hmmm.. or shall we say… looking for an easier way out? I place the mixture in the middle of a piece of pastry, rolled it up, brush some egg over it and sprinkle poppy seeds on it. Ah.. either way, it’s salmon potato puffs to the best.

Sweet Potato and Salmon Tarts (Serves 2.5 – haha, if you are wondering why the half, it was for our dinner, lunch…and another lunch for AR)
1 medium size sweet potato chopped
around 100 grams of chargrilled capsicum. I bought it from the deli or from a jar (But u can roast it yourself if u would like to)
120 grams of smoked salmon
30 grams of low fat feta cheese
3 pieces of thawed puff pastry 

1 egg lightly beaten

optional-poppy seeds or even sesame seeds can be used. 

Pre heat oven 200C, Line baking tray with baking paper.
Mix sweet potato, crumbed feta cheese, smoked salmon and chargrilled capsicum in a bowl. Season with cracked pepper. Fill it up in the middle of puff pastry, roll it, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle poppy seeds. Bake for 25 minutes.

Or, cut pastry in quarters Score, then place mixture in the middle. The sides will puff up. Again, brush with egg yolk and bake for around 20-25 minutes.
Serve with side salad.

Best Ever Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

A chocolate cake is a chocolate cake. Right? Wrong!

A chocolate cake made without butter- and with little fat- is that even possible?

Like edible possible?

When I read this recipe, I thought to myself that this can’t be a good chocolate cake. I like my chocolate cake rich. I mean, if I have to indulge, I like to have the real thing. Well, this is the real thing alright…just without the high amount of fat that usual cakes have. The only fat it contains comes from the real dark chocolate that I used. And even that, I take it as extra antioxidants that my body needs…and the endorphins of course.

I’m guessing the moist airy nature of this cake comes from the egg whites. It’s also gluten free-with no flour to weigh it down. Rather hazelnut meal was used.

I picked up this recipe from an advertisement for CSR LogiCane Sugar (it’s a smart sugar with a lower GI). Hubby didn’t like the taste of this sugar, so i substituted it with normal sugar. Logicane sugar said 1/2 cup = 1 cup of normal sugar. Well, I used just slightly over 1/2 cup and the sweetness is just right. A dark chocolate cake should have a slight bitter undertone-which is what I love about chocolate! Sweet and bitter at the same time. Just like life.

Best Ever Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

250 grams dark chocolate chopped (I used 70% Lindt)
2 tbsp vegetable oil  
1 tbsp milk (I used soy)
5 large eggs separated 
180 grams hazelnut meal
slightly more than 1/2 cup of sugar 

dusting of icing sugar and some fruits to serve with it. I used strawberries.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Place chocolate, milk and oil in heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir with spoon till chocolate melts. Cool.

Combine melted chocolate with hazelnut meal, egg yolks and suagar. 

Meanwhile,  beat egg whites till stiff peaks.  Fold egg whites gently into chocolate mixture. Spoon into cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes or till firm.

Spring Bacon and Vege Soup

Spring doesn’t mean less soups! Well, almost. I couldn’t resist this one though. It has heaps of vegetables in it which I love! Peas, bacon, carrots and potatoes-what not to like? 😉

It’s such a quick soup to whip up. Perfect for our friday night meals. This was made in under 20 minutes, and a great way to use up vegetables left over in the fridge.

Spring Bacon and Vege Soup (serves 4)

150 grams lean bacon chopped
1 red chili chopped
1 red capsicum chopped
2 cups of peas
2 carrots chopped
2 potato chopped
1 ltre of vegetable stock
Spring onions chopped to garnish 

Saute lean bacon. Add veges and stock. Bring it to boil. Taste and season. Ladle and serve with some spring onions!

Thank you Kahakai Kitchen for hosting this event. Given my love of soups, I was sooo happy to stumble upon Souper Sundays! This is my first entry- and most definitely not my last!!

Teriyaki Lamb Macaroni

It’s getting harder and harder to come up with bulk meals. When in doubt, I always turn to ready made sauces. Something to jazz an old boring stir fry. I theme this teriyaki up with heaps of veges and actually quite like the turn out of it! The crunch and sweetness of red capsicum and celery seem to does it. Very spring.

I sincerely believe that stir fries are not completed without chili, garlic and onions. I wonder why I have this rule? Maybe it is to bulk the dish up more. 

Teriyaki Lamb Macaroni (Serves at least 6)

400 grams lamb mince
1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 red onion chopped
2 red chili chopped 
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2-3 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
few stalks of spring onions chopped
1 cup of garden peas
300 grams of cooked macaroni

Fry onions, garlic and chili. Add mince, breaking it up as it cooks. Add sauce and rest of the veges. Adding 1/2 cup of water if too dry. Toss macaroni through. 

Dishing out my love to friends at Presto Pasta. This week, it is hosted by Claudia from Honey from a Rock.

Salmon Carrot Quiche

Buying cheap sometimes mean that I am left to deal with the leftovers. At one point, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the remaining 5 pieces of puff pastry in the freezer.

Given that I’m frequently bringing sweet items to gatherings, I decided to bring something savory instead.

This quiche is certainly more eggy than the usual one you will have. I added some seeded mustard and it was beautiful. Carrots to make me feel like I am consuming 1 more serve of veges. What I like about this is the crisp pastry together with the eggyness wants you to have about! Abit like the savory version of egg tart. LOL It’s quick to do too which is always a bonus.

Salmon Carrot Quiche
1 sheet of puff pastry
50 grams of smoked salmon
4 eggs
1/2 cup of Bega low fat cheese
1/2 cup of milk (Soy milk)
1 tsp of seeded mustard
1 shredded carrot

Defrost pastry. Preheat Oven 200C. Line pan with pastry.Place slide smoked salmon randomly on pastry.

Beat 4 eggs and add cheese, milk and mustard. Season. Add carrot. Pour mixture into pastry case. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cranberry Scones

Sweet things come in small sizes too. It has been nearly 4 years since I made scones! I can’t believe how long it has been. I love scones for morning or afternoon tea. Who can resist fluffy carbs with fruits? Especially when slather with fruit jam. My colleagues love to have theirs with cream but I actually prefer scones and jam.

These scones came up in mini sizes before I used a smaller cutter, and so that there is enough for everyone. I think the recipe yields 12 but I made 20. Oops. I would have prefer them to rise abit more. I  blame my rough handling of the dough at the end.

I used the recipe from Essentials of Baking– One that I have for around 8-9 years now. Besides my Donna Hay Classics, this is the other one I look to frequently. Funny though, they have changed their cover (mine is white and hardcover) and I still prefer the older version!

Cranberry Scones (makes 12 normal size ones or 20 mini!) 

2 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
40 grams butter
1 cup of milk (I used soy)
1 cup of cranberries
1 tsp of sugar

Preheat Oven 220C. Line baking tray with paper.
Rub butter in flour, baking powder and salt until mixture becomes crumbly. Add one tsp of sugar. Pour milk and mix it with using a cutting action till dough comes together. Handle it lightly.. Using floured hands, gather dough and lift on to a lightly floured surface. Pat into a ball and roll dough to 2 mm thick. Using a floured cutter (use 6 cm if wanting a bigger scone), cut into rounds. Place close on baking trays, brush with some milk and bake for 12-15 mins.