Everything Slaw

Sometimes you just crave flavours and textures, on a warm afternoon as it starts to cool down with the setting sun I crave something fresh, crunchy and light yet creamy and amazingly tasty.

At this time of year salad vegetables are a plenty so you can add in or leave out what ever you like- and the dressing… well i could eat it on anything… it would go wonderful on a cold japaneese noodle salad with toasted sesame seeds and even some grilled chicken…

Everything slaw with Creamy Asian Avocado dressing

Carrot

Red Cabbage

Radish

Cucumber

Red Onion

Bean sprouts

Capsicum

Coriander (mint would also be lovely)

I like to cut the vegetables in long thin pieces like a traditional coleslaw.

Toast in a dry pan a selection of nuts and seeds, I used:

Cashews

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Creamy Asian Avocado Dressing

Avocado

1 small clove Garlic- finely grated

1/4tsp Ginger- finely grated

Small handful Roquette or Spinach

1Tbs Tahini

Tamari/ Soy sauce to taste

Sesame Oil

Juice 1 Lime

Salt

Optional- Chilli

Blend everything till creamy- Adjust flavours to desired taste

Add a little water to thin if you want to use as a salad dressing.

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Warm you from the inside

Spring has sprung down here in the Southern Hemisphere. The days are getting longer and the sun is warming up.

Although the other day I was enjoying the beautiful Vitamin D on the deck when BAM the sun disappeared and it was freezing.

Sometimes I wish I could have my own little sun shining down on me like it does on the comics… alas no such luck.

To me Spring is the time to start eating for summer- you know when your meals get lighter and healthier in preparation for that Summer wardrobe.

But when it is cold and Wintry and you are torn between the seasons what is a better way to warm you up than a curry?

But not just any old curry a Detox curry that is tasty and warms the cockles of your heart but isn’t full of creamy coconut. Trust me its yum- and you can add anything you like..

Detox Vegetable Curry

1tsp Ground Coriander

1 1/2tsp Ground Cumin

1 1/2tsp Garam Masala

1 1/2tsp Fennel Seeds

1 1/2tsp Curry Powder

Small knob of Ginger

1 Clove Garlic

Onion

1Tbs Tomato paste

1 Large Tomato

Blend Onion, garlic and ginger into a paste. Add to a pan with some oil and the spices- cook out till mix starts to brown and dry out.

Add tomato paste and cook till it caramelises- add diced tomato.

Add water (about 2 cups) and turn onto a low heat- at this stage add vegetables- anything and everything- its a great way to empty the fridge of straggly vegetables.

I added carrots, parsnips, leek and kumara.

Put on lid and let simmer till cooked.

before the veg are almost cooked- I like to add peas and  I had some broccoli. Add these last as to not over cook.

The Photo does not look glamorous or styalised- but it does look hearty, comforting and heart warming…

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Long and slow bow-wow-chicka-bow-wow

I am sure I have said it before but there is something about slow cooking that is satisfying, sexy and calming at the same time- the marriage of flavours over time the way they thicken and enrich, the way meat becomes so tender it falls apart, and vegetables soak up coking liquor they become plump and tasty…

Stew, casseroles, goulash, melange what ever you like to call it, I think they are awesome.

All they really are is slow cooked meat with vegetables and some liquid to make a sauce.

I know that is very primitive of me but its true…

Basic stew formula

Meat- the cheaper the cut the better- on the bone is always more tasty, could be poultry, beef, veal, pork, lamb even fish.

Vegetables– you cant really go wrong with a mirepoix (its a cooking term for celery, onions and carrot, pronounced me-er pwah) I also like garlic, leek, kumara, pumpkin, turnip, swede, parsnip- Usually root vegetables.

Alcohol– white wine, red wine, beer, these are lovely to impart a richness to the stew but not a necessity- use to deglaze the pan as to burn off some of the alcohol. (To deglaze a pan means adding liquid such as stock or wine to a pan to loosen and dissolve food particles that are stuck to the bottom.)

Liquid– stock (either homemade or store bought- both are fine- just watch salt levels)

water, tinned tomatoes (or fresh), juice

Optional

– A thickening agent such as flour/corn flour can be added

-Then later addition of softer vegetables (mushrooms, courgette, capsicums etc)

-Herbs and spices

The general method of preparing a stew is:

Sear meat on all sides in a little oil/ butter until deep brown. Set the meat aside.

In the same pan, cook chopped mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) or any vegetables you like until golden brown. Add any dried herbs and spices at this point.

Deglaze with liquid – wine, beer , stock, water- whatever the recipe, or your taste, calls for.

Add the meat back to the pan. Pour in enough liquid to just cover the meat, and bring it to a simmer.

Cover tightly, and finish stewing in the oven at a low temperature – around 160-180c.

This could take anywhere from just 10 minutes for some vegetables and fish to upwards of two hours for tougher cuts of beef or mutton. Again, check your recipe.Remove the pot from the oven, and skim off any unwanted fat. If the liquid is thinner than you want it to be, you can thicken it with some cornstarch or flour dissolved in cold liquid, make sure you bring the cooking liquid up to a boil so the starch can cook out and can thicken the cooking liquid

-You can also dredge chunks of meat in seasoned flour before frying (this will help thicken the stew later.)

Tonight I am making Beef shin- carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bayleaf, white wine, tinned tomato also some tomato paste for richness

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Not the most glamorous styled photo but to be honest I had to take it quickly before Mr Lid devoured it!!