Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Portuguese Style Baked Chicken with Sri Racha Sauce

I use (Thai) Sri Racha chilli sauce with this baked chicken and it comes out..ahem…quite nicely with enough of a kick.

For 2, you will need:

8 Chicken Thighs with skin-on (rear end removed)
1-2 Tablespoon Sri Racha sauce
2 Tablespoons Canola oil
2 Teaspoon Paprika
Salt & Pepper
3 Potatoes, thickly sliced ( about 2 cm)
1 Red onion, quartered

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

In a bowl, mix Sri Racha sauce, paprika and canola oil together and whisk to combine to make the basting sauce. Brush the roasting pan with the mixture and then line with the sliced potato. Rub the chicken well with salt and pepper – brush all sides generously with the sauce and place them on the bed of potato skin side up, break the onion quarters and scatter over the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes – turn every 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and rest for about 5 minutes. Transfer to the serving platter and enjoy.

Note: You can also boil carrots and green beans separately and then mix them with the potato before serving.

Monday, April 28, 2014

ANZAC Long Weekend

The weather for the past weekend was a mixed bag with rain and sun – but in my opinion was much better than the Easter long weekend. In Auckland, the autumn colours are not as dramatic as in the south and it can be a bit wet and muggy at times.

Talking about Easter weekend – we just watched the BBC’s 2008 mini-series “The Last Enemy”  with Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Carlyle and Geraldine James. To be honest, if it were not only a five-parter, we would have ditched it after the second episode. Maybe it’s one of the reasons why the better Danish series “The Killing” was so popular around the same tim

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dinner for One: Easy Fried Rice

You will need:

1 cup cooked Jasmine rice
50 grams ham, julienned
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 big clove of garlic, smashed and chopped
½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
Salt & Pepper
Oil for frying
Coriander  leaves to garnish

Heat oil in a wok, fry garlic until fragrant and lightly golden – add ham and tomato. Fry until tomato is softened. Push ham and tomato to one side and add egg in the middle- when the egg starts to set, break it up with spatulas. Add rice, soy sauce, tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Turn to coat and break up any lump in the rice until heat through- remove from heat and enjoy.

Note: Fried rice is best cooked with leftover rice that has been in the fridge overnight.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter - hope you all have a good break. Enjoy your chocolate but remember that moderation is the key.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Curried Mince with Rice

This is my favourite dish that my mother cooked quite often when we were younger. It can be either beef mince or pork mince but beef is more original. Unfortunately, Bob does not like it so I have only cook this dish when he’s not home for dinner as one of the ingredients is celery.

For 2 you will need:
300 gram premium beef mince
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (unsweetened)
½ cup celery, chopped
¾ cup beef or chicken stock
2 teaspoons corn flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder plus extra for rice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups cooked rice, either basmati or jasmine will do
Salt and pepper
Canola oil

Marinate mince with salt and pepper, curry powder, turmeric, corn flour and a little bit of oil for 10-15 minutes.

In a deep pan on a medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil then add garlic. Fry quickly until fragrant. Add the meat, break the lump with spoon and brown evenly. Add half of celery, soy sauce and half of stock. Stir to combine. Add the rest of stock. Simmer until the liquid thickens up a bit. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Remove the meat sauce from the pan – leave a little bit of liquid in the pan and add rice. You might need to add more oil and turmeric and a little bit of salt. Stir often to break up the lump and to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove rice from the pan and divide into 2 bowls, top with meat sauce and garnish with fresh celery. If you like you can add pickled chilli (chilli slices in white vinegar). Voila – Bon app├ętit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is now upon us but the weather is still warm – like Indian Summer. We haven’t got our lawn mown for a few weeks as the ground is still quite dry, in Auckland at least.

This photograph was taken two or three autumns ago in Queenstown over Lake Wakatipu. April is a beautiful time in Queenstown and it is not too cold although you can get a cold snap from time to time like we did. Mind you, we seem to attract cold snaps – even in Las Vegas in April a few years back.

Friday, April 11, 2014

B & B

Bonnie and Bailey have been friends since puppyhood - when they were both 5 months old. Four and a half years on, they still love each other’s company - playing and romping together happily and often talk to each other through the fence. Bailey belongs to our neighbour, Babara. Barbara and I talk over the fence from time to time so I guess they copy us - not over the fence but through the fence where there are gaps wide enough that they can see and hear each other.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy and Simple Pan fried Tarakihi

Tarakihi is not expensive at the moment and the flesh is as nice as snapper’s in my opinion. For 2 persons, you will need:

400 grams Tarakihi fillets
Salt & Pepper
¼ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon Paprika
Oil for frying
A knob of butter

Mix cornmeal and paprika together in a deep dish of plastic bag. Season Tarakihi fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a little bit of oil in a frying pan on medium high heat, dredge the fillets in cornmeal mixture (or shake to coat in plastic bag) and fry until firm– add butter to the pan- fry a bit further and flip. Fry until golden on both sides.

You can have the fish with chips and tartar sauce or potato salad or with lemon butter sauce and boiled potatoes.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Super Yacht at Auckland Waterfront

Auckland waterfront is one of the favourite places for super yachts to moor around and Aucklanders have a wealth of chances to view these beautiful creations. New Zealand is also good at boat building and some of them might have been built here in this country.

This one is a humongous yacht. One can imagine she is well equipped with a swimming pool (or two!), one or two music rooms and cinemas. Small zoo for reptiles, amphibians and etc. but maybe not elephants. Her several guest suites will each have an assigned butler.

I would not be surprised if she also housed a private museum with a collection of Ming ceramics or some original Impressionist paintings.

Friday, April 4, 2014

T-Dub Again

We call her T-Dub for a reason. And T-Dub is short for time waster, that is. She wants my attention from time to time whenever she thinks fit and interrupts me at work. Consideration is not in cats' dictionary, I guess.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carrot Spicy Salad Thai Style (Som Tam)

In Thailand we use grated green paw paw for this dish (but now they add a little bit of grated carrot at some places!) When I was in Holland I used kohlrabi and it was not too bad. Here in New Zealand, carrots are yummy with their natural sweetness so they are fantastic for this Som Tam Salad.
You will need:
2 Carrots, coarsely grated
2 Tomatoes, quartered
10 Green beans or 2 yard long beans, chopped into 5 cm long pieces
Several cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons Roasted peanuts or 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts for people with allergy
2 limes
25 -30 grams Palm sugar
Fish Sauce
1-2 Fresh chillies
Ground dried prawns (optional)
And most important – mortar and pestle

There is no fix recipe for this salad – the amount of ingredients is for guideline only. You can adjust the seasoning to your taste – just don’t go to heavy handed with chillies and fish sauce.

Pound peanut roughly and set aside – if you use pine nuts, leave them whole. Roughly pound 1/3 of chillies, garlic and palm sugar in the mortar (with pestle, of course) – a little bit at a time and then place the mixture in a bowl. Bruise1/3 carrots, tomato pieces, bean the same mortar – there should be a little bit of juice coming out from vegetables – remove from mortar and add to the bowl. Repeat the process with the rest of ingredients. Add fish sauce (a little bit at a time) and lime juice. Taste and add more seasoning including sugar if needed. Sprinkle with prawns and peanuts – enjoy.