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Featured Recipe: 37 Cucumber Recipes to keep you cool in hot Summer

Orange and Poppy Seed Friands

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Friand, originally from France, is traditionally made mainly with ground almond, melted butter and only a small amount of flour. In this recipe, the ground poppy seeds together with blood orange zest were added to enhance the flavour and aroma of those truly wonderful friands. Orange syrup is not a necessity, actually I find it too sweet.

  • 160 g Butter
  • 3 Blood oranges
  • 50 g Plain flour
  • 180 g Icing sugar
  • 150 g Almond meal
  • 50 g Poppy seeds, ground
  • 5 Egg whites
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Grease 7-8 rectangle friand pans. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, then simmer for 5 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly.
  2. Finely grate the rind of two blood oranges. Combine the flour, icing sugar, almond meal, ground poppy seeds and grated orange rind.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add to the dry ingredients together with the butter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter into the pans. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. Zest rind from remaining orange then juice the oranges. Place zest, juice and sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Allow to cool. Place friands onto serving plates. Drizzle with orange syrup and serve.

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Tomato Fig Salsa

Friday, January 28, 2011

The combination of dried figs, tomatoes, red onions, and honey vinaigrette gives this salsa a very pleasant slightly sweet tang that pairs perfectly with roasted meat or seafood.

Honey Vinaigrette
  • 180 g Ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
  • 50 g Cucumber, diced
  • 1 Small red onion, finely diced
  • 50 g Dried fig, finely diced
  • 1-2 tbsp Flat parsley
  • 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2/3 tsp Honey
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. To make the salsa, place diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, fig and parsley in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and gently mix until combined, then taste and adjust seasonings. Store the salsa in the fridge until ready for use.

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Pomelo Salad

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is an incredibly refreshing and tasty salad that combines together sweet pomelo, peanuts, toasted coconut and sesame seeds tossed in a spicy dressing.

  • 1 Pomelo
    , break into bite size
  • 1 Shallot, thinly sliced, separated into rings
  • 2 Piri piri, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce (or soya)
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tbsp Sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp Chopped parsley

  1. Separate the pomelo into sections, then peel and break up the sections into bite size chunks and transfer to a bowl. (check out Sharon's post on How To Cut Pomelo Fast)
  2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the shallot rings and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to paper towels to drain.
  3. In a small bowl, stir the piri piri with the fish sauce and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pomelo with peanuts, toasted coconut, sesame seeds and the dressing. Toss to coat. Mound the salad on a plate, then sprinkle the chopped parsley and fried shallots.

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Cod with Creamy Red Lentils

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This is really one DELICIOUS dish that is easy to prepare and loads with flavours. The red lentils, mixed vegetables braised in a combination of vegetable stock and sour cream make a creamy and tasty base for the white fish.

  • 100 g Onion, diced
  • 150 g Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 100 g Broccoli stem, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 200 g Red lentils
  • 400 ml Vegetable stock
  • 200 g 10% Sour cream
  • 1 tbsp Fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 4 Cod or sea bass fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in diced onion, carrot and broccoli stem until softened. Add in minced garlic and red lentils, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in stock and sour cream. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Add in chopped dill and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet until foaming. Season the fish lightly with salt and black pepper, then sear on both sides for 2 minutes until golden.
  4. To serve, spoon the lentils onto a serving plate and place the cod on top. Garnish with parsley leaf if desired.

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Bubble and Squeak with Ham and Avocado

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Bubble and squeak" is a traditional English dish made with potatoes and some leftover vegetables from a previous meal, usually cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking while it cooks.
Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine

  • 350 g Cooked medium potatoes
  • 350 g Cooked Brussels sprouts
  • 120 g Chopped cooked ham
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • Knob of butter
  • 50 g Rocket salad
  • 2 Avocados, sliced
  • Olive oil and lemon juice, to serve
  1. Put the cooked potatoes on a chopping board and break them up. Add the other cooked vegetables and chop it all up. Put into a bowl and add the ham, eggs and seasoning, and mix well. Roughly form the mixture into 4 large rounds.
  2. Heat butter in a frying pan and pan-fry the cakes for about 8-10 minutes, turning once, until golden and crispy.
  3. Divide rocket salad between 4 plates. Top each with a bubble and squeak and half an avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze over some lemon juice to serve.

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Chicken Diane

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Diane is an alternative to the traditional Steak Diane, which is a dish consisting of a pan-fried filet mignon with a sauce made from the seasoned pan juices. The dish takes its name from Diana the Roman goddess of the hunt.
Recipe adapted from Taste

  • 2 Chicken breast fillets with skin
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 80 ml Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 30 ml Brandy
  • 80 ml Heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • Rocket salad, to serve
  • Chickpea couscous patties, to serve
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown them 5 minutes each side. Place on a serving dish and set in warm oven.
  2. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add in chopped garlic, stirring briefly. Stir in stock, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brandy and cream, bring to the boil, then simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes to reduce by half. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.
  3. Pour over warm chicken and serve with chickpea couscous patties (oven-roasted potatoes, or pasta) and rocket salad.

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Caramel Walnut Slices

Friday, January 14, 2011

Caramelized walnut halves are encased in a buttery shortbread crust and topped with cut-out cookies. Extremely delicious and addictive.

  • 190 g All purpose flour
  • 120 g Butter, diced
  • 60 g Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 220 g Walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 50 g Honey
  • 70 ml Heavy cream
  1. Combine all the ingredients of the crust in a bowl until the dough forms together. Wrap the dough with a plastic film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Melt the sugar in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar caramelizes. Stir in chopped walnuts, honey and heavy cream. Cook until the mixture well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Remove the dough from the fridge and press 3/5 of dough firmly on the bottom and sides of a 25 x 20 cm baking pan lined with a parchment paper. Spread the caramelized walnuts into the crust. Top the walnuts with the remaining
  4. Roll out the rest of the dough about 2cm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Use cookie cutter to press out the cookies. Arrange the cookies on the top of caramelized walnuts. Bake for 25 minutes until nicely golden brown. Cool and cut into 12 slices.

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Oyster Beef With Broccoli

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is a rather convenient and delicious Chinese stir-fry. It comes with broccoli florets and thinly cut beef slices, sirloin or rump steak, gently blanched in hot oil and stir-fried with ginger, spring onion and garlic and well-enhanced with oyster sauce.

  • 300 g Broccoli florets
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 tsp Chicken bouillon powder
  • 350 g Rump steak, sliced into thin strips
  • Sunflower oil
  • 3-5 Ginger slices
  • 1 stalk Spring onion, sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp Maggi sauce
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • White pepper powder to taste
  1. Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices. Add in marinade and set aside for 20 minutes. Combine the ingredients of sauce in a bowl and set aside. Wash and drain the broccoli florets.
  2. Heat a large skillet with half cup of oil to 150C/300F. Add the marinated beef slices, stirring to separate, cook until the colour of beef has changed and nearly cooked. Remove the beef and drain on paper towels.
  3. In another skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil until hot, add the crushed garlic, stirring briefly until aromatic. Add the broccoli florets, sprinkle the salt and chicken bouillon powder over, and cook the broccoli, for 5 minutes, until they are tender but still crunchy. Remove and arrange broccoli florets around the edge of a serving plate, leaving the stems towards the center.
  4. Clean the skillet and add a tablespoon of oil. Add in sliced ginger, spring onion, and garlic. Stir until aromatic. Return the beef to the skillet. Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add to the skillet, stirring quickly to thicken. Turn the heat off. Spoon the beef in the center of the serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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Szechuan Guai Wei Chicken

Saturday, January 08, 2011

"Guai Wei", literally translated as "exotic/unusual/special flavour or taste", is one of main sauces used in Szechuan cuisine of China. The ingredients of "guai wei" usually consists of sesame, vinegar, Szechuan peppercorns, sugar, hot bean sauce and rice wine.

Guaiwei Sauce
  • 2 Chicken legs
  • 3-5 slice Ginger
  • 1 stalk Spring onion, sectioned
  • 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 30 g Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp Sesame seeds, roasted
  • 1 tbsp Spring onion, chopped
  • 10 g Szechuan peppercorn oil
  • 30 g Hot bean sauce
  • 30 g Roasted sesame oil
  • 20 g Sesame paste
  • 10 g Black rice vinegar
  • 15 g Maggi seasoning
  • 10 g Sugar
  • 5 g Chicken bouillon
  1. Clean the chicken legs in warm water. Fill a pot with water over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, add in ginger, onion, Szechuan peppercorns and rice wine. Now add in prepared chicken thighs and cook for 12 minutes until just cooked and tender. Remove the chicken and soak in a pot of ice water until cool. Remove the chicken and cut into small pieces. Arrange the chicken on a serving plate.
  2. Mix the Szechuan peppercorn oil, hot bean sauce, sesame oil, sesame paste, black vinegar, Maggi seasoning, and chicken bouillon in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the chicken, then sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onions on top.

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Spicy Fish Sticks

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Homemade fish sticks are one of my favourites. They are crunchy, spicy and delicious! If you can't take hot food, then skip the step of preparing chilli sauce and make a tartar or remoulade instead to accompany these fish sticks.

  • 2 Cod fillets
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 3 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 stalk Spring onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Sweet potato flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Handful of arugula to serve
  • 1 tsp Szechuan pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp Chilli oil
  • 1 tbsp Rice wine
  • 1 tbsp Light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp Roasted sesame oil
  1. Rinse and pat the fish fillets dry with kitchen paper. Slice the fillets into 3-inch strips. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish strips to coat with sweet potato flour.
  2. Fill a deep skillet half full with oil and heat to 150C/300F. Lower the prepared fish strips and fry until lightly golden. Increase the temperature to 200C/400F and fry for a further 5 seconds. Remove and drain.
  3. Leave a little bit of oil in the skillet and stir in chopped garlic, chilli, spring onion and all the ingredients of the sauce. Return the fish strips to the skillet and gently stir to combine. Serve them on a bed of arugula.

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Avocado Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The avocado gives this mashed potato dish extra taste and creaminess, and increases the nutritional value of the dish. The caramelized garlic cloves do the trick and give the dish a real punch! Recipe adapted from Essen&Trinken--Kartoffel Avocadopüree mit Knoblauchkaramell.

  • 20 g Sugar
  • 20 g Butter
  • 10 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 300 g Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 80 ml Milk
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 Ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 50 g Wholemilk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Curly parsley, chopped
  1. Caramelize the sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Add in butter and garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic cloves turned a beautiful golden brown.
  2. Place diced potatoes and 1/3 teaspoon of salt in a large pot. Fill with encough water to cover the potatoes. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Drain.
  3. Half the avocado and scoop out the flesh and place in a large bowl along with lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper. Reserve the avocado shells. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
  4. Warm the milk in a pot over the low heat. Mash the drained potatoes through a sieve into the hot milk. Remove, then add in avocado puree and chopped curly parsley. Warm up the mixture over the low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the avocado shells with potato puree, and top with some caramelized garlic cloves.

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