Archive for spinach

A: Meat and 2 veg.

Posted in Meat, Vegetables with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

It’s always nice to have family visit. I find entertaining family a far more relaxed affair than when friends come around. Someone’s always keen to do the dishes and clean up after and you don’t feel too bad letting them do so! Most importantly, when they’re halfway around the world most of the year it’s just really, really good seeing them every so often– the food only makes it better!

30 degrees (that’s celsius, to you northern hemisphered dwellers)+ sunny+ blue skies= BARBECUE!!!!!

We were given a beautiful barbecue by R and GFM for our wedding, and are keen to use it every chance we get. Yesterday was just perfect for a sunset dinner on the balcony, and that’s just what we did.

Stopped by Dubrovnik butchers (featured here for all the wrong reasons) on my way home from work for the all-important sausages, then decided to add a touch of Asia for my homesick Aunt as I marinated the chicken wings and porterhouse steaks.

Don't forget to chuck as much of the marinade on the meat when you cook it. WASTE NOTHING!

Thai-style marinade (enough for 1 kg of chicken wings)

Blend/grind:

2 stalks of lemongrass, hard bits trimmed off and discarded

Zest of 2 limes

4 cloves garlic

5cm knob of ginger, peeled

2 large red chillies

4 tbsp palm sugar

Add The juice from 2 limes and 3 tbsp fish sauce and blend till reasonably smooth. Marinade chicken for 30-60 minutes (the combination of the lime juice and lemongrass will cook the chicken quite quickly and toughen it if you leave it for too long). Cook on the barbecue or in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes.

The sesame seeds crisp up and add a nice texture to the thinly-sliced steak.

Korean style marinade

Combine:

3 heaped tbsp Korean hot bean paste (see below)

3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

1 tbsp dark soya sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sesame seed oil

2 tbsp sesame seeds

Marinade beef for 2-3 hours before cooking.

I love this stuff. Hot, sweet, salty all at once. A great addition to stir fries and marinades.

Korean hot bean paste: I love this stuff. Hot, sweet, salty all at once. A great addition to stir fries and marinades.

Man did a good job cooking up the meat, as men do. He even made a decent effort plating up this carnivorous feast!

Gordon Ramsay, eat your heart out!

Got meat?

Made a couple of salads to accompany this heart-stopping platter.

Warm potato salad

As the salad doesn't contain mayonaise, it actually makes for a decent late-night raid through the fridge or even a morning-after brunch addition!

As the salad doesn't contain mayonnaise, it actually makes for a decent late-night raid through the fridge, or even a morning-after lunch addition.

I do this one a lot. It’s really easy and comprises of dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and whatever herbs you can get your hands on. I opted for chervil, parsley, dill and spring onion. Chop it up, toss wamed potatoes in the mix and voila!

Not so good as a leftover, although the pumpkin on its own makes for great eating!

Not so good as a leftover, although the pumpkin on its own makes for great eating!

I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe for spicy pumpkin from his first book and simply toss the hot pumpkin through spinach and snow pea sprouts for a really hearty side-dish.

Good food, great company and fine weather. Every weekend should unfold like this one!

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A: Spring lunch

Posted in gardening, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

5 weeks in and it’s finally starting to look like spring. What better weather than this to enjoy some precious balcony time with my fellow holidaying teachers?

Having people over always motivates me to clean and tidy. Spent 2 consecutive days at Ikea, initially to purchase some glasses for school and ended up with new shoe racks, napkins, placemats, glasses for home as well as for work. At least I didn’t forget to buy the glasses! On arrival I insisted everyone worship my newly sprouted rocket and lettuce seedlings.

Only after all my guests had oooooh-ed and aaaaaah-ed to my satisfaction were they allowed appetizers! I am genuinely excited about my seedlings. On R’s advice I had opted for the haphazard-sprinkling technique when planting my seeds. Step 1: Open packet. Step 2: Sprinkle seeds on soil. Step 3: Sprinkle some soil over seeds. Step 4: Water in. Step 5: Watch like a hawk!!! My seedlings sit in the same pot as my dwarf lemon tree, which means I am able to dedicate a solid watch-plants-grow session every possible moment of my day!

A great one-stop-shop for food to impress, I decided to head down to the Boatshed to stock up on some gastronomic delights for my 4 guests. This is where I discovered this:

I think they showcased about 4-5 different types of spinach, among which lay this beautiful deep purple mountain spinach. It’s flavour profile is quite similar to radicchio but with more sweet than bitter. Either way, it looked real pretty sitting among the green of its other spinach friends, roasted pumpkin and nut-brown roasted pinenuts.

This is also where I go for sicilian olives– my new favourite antipasti dish. Almost flourescent green, the sicillian olive is mild and EXTREMELY morish! Nowhere near as salty or tart as the kalamata but far more interesting than black olives. I still have some leftover in the fridge, which I plan to attack Nigella-style later tonight. 🙂

While putting together my pre-lunch munchies, I realised that I’d inevitably created some sort of edible united nations! Let’s see– Sicilian olives, pita crisps (middle eastern?), Persian feta, Mexican salami (lots of chilli, beware!) and finally the unavoidable cacciatore sausage!

And don’t forget the West Australian olive oil, egyptian style dukkah, Australian semi-sundried tomatoes and home-made marinated artichokes!!!

Despite the gourmet spread laid out before her, little K decides that a dusty old table looks far more palatable. STOP EATING TABLE!

Despite the gourmet spread laid out before her, little K decides that a dusty old table looks far more palatable. STOP EATING TABLE!

For lunch we had a roast that was horrid (seriously), balanced by a gorgeous 4-cheese baked polenta and a warm pumpkin and spinach salad! Then there was dessert…

Chocolate mousse and strawberries marinated in balsamic and basil, inspired by Karen Martini’s Where the Heart Is. The mousse was so rich only the brave and the greedy (which happened to be the same one person) managed to finish the entire 200ml serving! I am constantly amazed by the transformation that occurs when strawwberry meets balsamic. Pure alchemy. Plus basil? Genius.

So that was my mid-week lunch special, courtesy of fine weather and good company. Highly recommended for the disheartened and the bored. 🙂