Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicken Satay -w- Peanut Sauce

The Northern Rivers region of far north NSW is blessed with a sub tropical climate & its rich red soil will grow almost anything. This summer I have harvested beautiful heirloom tomatoes for my Insalata Caprese & now its time to put to good use some of my South East Asian crops.
For this post I am cooking a recipe by an acquaintance & fine chef Anthony Telford & will be using kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass & birds eye chillis all from the garden. I like to serve this dish with a Thai Cucumber Salad, the recipe for which, I will post at a later date.

Chicken Satay


1kg chicken thigh meat
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs ground cumin seed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm knob ginger, grated
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs curry powder
pinch turmeric
250ml coconut cream
100g sugar
1 packet long wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes before using.


Trim the chicken of any fat and sinew. Cut into strips about 2cm wide and place into a bowl.
Mix all the other ingredients into the bowl with the chicken. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 hour or even overnight. Make the satay sauce (below) while the chicken marinates.
After marinating, take pieces of chicken and thread onto skewers.
Heat the satay sauce slowly while the chicken cooks. To cook the chicken either place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 180ÂșC or grill on a barbeque until cooked through.

Peanut Sauce


1 brown onion
1 lemon grass stalk, use the bottom ¼ only
2 birds eye chillis
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp chilli powder
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 cups coconut milk
2 tbs peanut oil
300g peanuts, unsalted roasted and crushed
4 tbs sugar
2 tbs tamarind paste
4 tbs soy sauce


Chop the onion and place in a food processor. Finely chop the lemon grass, lime leaf, fresh chilli and add to the onions along with the shrimp paste, chilli powder, garlic, and spices. Add enough coconut milk (about 2 tablespoons) to moisten the mixture and blitz to produce a paste.
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the paste until it turns pale, pinky brown colour, then reduce the heat to low. If the paste begins to brown to quickly remove the pan from the heat, reduce the heat and then continue cooking.
Add the remaining coconut milk and the peanuts and stir to separate the nuts. Turn the heat up to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens. Add the sugar, tamarind juice and soy sauce.
Remove from the heat and serve. Keeps refrigerated for 2 weeks.

This post was entered into the "Grow Your Own" roundup, created by Andrea's Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Insalata Caprese

With summer's bounty of sun kissed home grown tomatoes flowing in, it is time to make one of the simplest, yet most delicious salads, Insalata Caprese.  This salad only works when tomatoes are at the peak of their season, plump, ripe & full of juice.
Insalata Caprese (or salad in the style of Capri) originates from the Italian region of Campania & is also known as a Tricolore salad due to its three colours of red, white & green, which mimic the Italian flag. 
In its pure form it is made only of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, plum tomatoes & basil, lightly seasoned with sea salt, black pepper & dressed in the best extra virgin olive oil.
There are of course variations to the traditional recipe, such as adding garlic, parsley or different vinegars, but I prefer my salad unadulterated. If the tomatoes are ripe & juicy there is, in my opinion, no need for any vinegar.  The juice from the tomatoes will be sufficient to form the dressing.
I was lucky enougth this summer to have some heirloom Black Russian tomatoes, some Grosse Lisse (both home grown) & also some Romas & fresh basil grown by my good friends Patti & Denis Hicks.
As you will see from the pictures I do not go for the tradional presentation of alternating slices of tomato & mozzarella artfully arranged on a platter.  I like a little more rustic approach by tearing the mozzarella & scattering it over the top of the tomato slices.
The following recipe does not give quantities, just use enough of the ingredients for the number of people dining.


Tomatoes sliced in rounds
Buffalo Milk Mozzarella sliced in rounds or torn
Basil torn
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


On a serving platter arrange tomatoes, scatter with torn mozzarella & basil leaves.  Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste & dress with extra virgin olive oil.

PS: I have entered this blog in the Grow Your Own competition.  Just follow the link for details

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Syrian Chicken –w- Ginger Lemon & Saffron

Hi folks,  it has been a while since my last post, but you know how easy it is to get bogged down in life from time to time. This is a recipe originally published by Karen Martini & passed to me by my foodie friend Jan Smith. Of course I have dabbled with the original recipe, but hey, it's all about personal taste & food should be ever evolving, right? It has everything I love about food from the middle east – it is redolent with spices, ginger, honey, dried fruit, saffron & a touch of chilli. Please don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients as your efforts will be greatly rewarded with a meal that your friends and family will love. This recipe will serve 4 people with rice or couscous.


2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
8 organic/free range chicken drumsticks
100 mls olive oil
1 brown onion thickly sliced
2.5 cm fresh ginger, julienned
5 cloves garlic peeled and bruised with the back of a knife
2 small red chillies split or finely chopped if you prefer
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
2 pinches saffron
½ tsp cumin seeds
5 sprigs thyme
1 lemon juiced & zest finely grated
3 tbsp honey
100g currants
chicken stock
!/2 bunch coriander leaves
cooked couscous or rice, to serve


Pre heat oven to 180c.

Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large plastic bag.  Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for 3 minutes, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Add tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.

Return chicken to pan and add lemon juice and zest, honey, currants & stock to just cover chicken. Cover with a lid and cook in oven for 30-40 mins until chicken is tender & cooked through. Remove from oven, take chicken out and boil sauce

Until it is slightly reduced. Return chicken to sauce & stir in coriander. Serve with couscous or rice.