Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lean and Mean

Asian Beef Noodle Salad

          I joined a gym which consequently made me think about eating a little healthier or maybe just lighter.   Eating healthily is not difficult, but  leaving the chocolate out of my diet might be making me lean but it's also making me a little mean.   To compensate for the lack of fat in my diet (and yes I could have trimmed my meat a little better) I've resorted to food that really packs a flavour punch lots of chilli, lime, soy and fresh herbs to make it lip smackingly good.   The taste buds tingle with sweet, sour, salty and hot.   This little dish also has plenty of texture crunchy vegetables and peanuts, soft slippery noodles and the slight chewiness of medium-rare steak.

Asian Noodle Salad

500 grams  rump steak (or for leaner cheap option try topside steak, just make sure you don't  
         Marinade:  1 tbspn soy
                             1 clove garlic, cruched
                              1 tsp grated fresh ginger
         Marinate steak for at least 30 minutes if you have time
200 grams rice stick noodle (prepared to packets instructions)
125 grams mung beans
1 large carrot cut into matchsticks (or grate)
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup Vietnamese mint
2 red chillies de-seeded if you don't want too much heat, thinly sliced
1 cup peanuts roasted and roughly chopped
          Dressing:  2 limes zest and juice
                             1 stick lemongrass the white only finely chopped
                             1 tbspns fish sauce
                             2 tbspns soy sauce
                             1 clove garlic crushed
                             1 tbspn dark brown sugar
                             1 tsp sesame oil
            Simply combine dressing ingredients and set one side

Sear steak in a hot frypan that has a little oil in the bottom use a high heat and cook steak for 2 minutes each side.  Rest or cool and slice thinly across the grain.  Set aside.
In a large glass bowl toss all of the ingredients listed with the dressing, serve as soon as possible as the dressing will wilt the vegetables and herbs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sticky Date Cake

           This recipe has stood the test of time it's a big recipe designed to feed crowds of people add the Bailey's Toffee Sauce  and fresh whipped cream and cake becomes a luxurious  dessert.    This is good for the soul not for the hips...enjoy!

Sticky Date Cake

375grms dates
375mls boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
175grms butter, softened
3 eggs (at room temperature)
3 cups sifted self/raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the syrup (cool syrup onto hot cake)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 tbspn butter
100mls brandy
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour boiling water over dates  add baking soda and put to one side.  Line a  22 cm round cake pan with baking paper.  Pre-heat oven to 175c.  Cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.  Stir through flour salt and date mixture pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer comes out of cake clean.  Pour over cool syrup.

For the syrup bring all of the ingredients to the boil and boil for 5min.

Baileys Toffee Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
1/2 cup baileys
1 tbspn butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Caramelise sugar you can do this either by heating the sugar slowly until it dissolves and becomes a nice golden brown. (this process can be sped up by warming the sugar in the microwave) or you can add 1/2 cup of water to the sugar and boil this until it caramelises.  once the sugar has dissolved do not stir if the sugar is catching on the side of the pan use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides.  Once the caramel has formed add the other ingredients
step well away as you do this because as soon as the cold ingredients hit the caramel it is going to splatter and caramel burns are nasty.  Bring back to the boil and its ready to go. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bringing the heat

Chile and Ginger Beef

         The beginning of winter has arrived and with it the cold and wet weather.  To warm us up I made this dish adapted from http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/shin-of-beef-with-chilli-ginger-and-soy/  My boys didn't enjoy the chilli heat but I found it to be lip smackingly good.  After I browned the meat and de-glazed the pan I put everything into the slow-cooker for almost 6 hours on the high setting I just walked away and left it be.  This is so simple and so tasty.
         If you have difficulty getting shin meat then try it with any of the casserole steaks chuck, gravy or blade.  After something leaner, then topside steak is a good option.  I bought  fresh rice noodles from my local asian grocer they have a luscious pillowy softness and absorbed the spicy broth beautifully.

Chile and Ginger Beef

1kg shin beef with the bone (naughty me loves the marrow)
2 fresh red chillis (cut in half and sliced, if you want to lessen the heat take out the seeds)
2 inches fresh ginger ( thinly sliced into 10cm rounds)
4 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
500mls apple juice
150mls soy sauce
1 tbspn brown sugar
2 star anise (also found at local asian markets)
salt and pepper

Season the meat well with salt and pepper.  Brown until well caramelised on  a high heat on both sides put in slow-cooker.  Use the apple juice and soy sauce to lift off the sediment at the bottom of the pan and pour hot liquid over meat.  Add in garlic, ginger, chilli, brown sugar and star anise stir through and walk away!  Leave for 6 hours in slow cooker on high.  The meat will be soft and unctuous as all the connective tissues break down.  Serve in bowls with noodles or rice and a quick stir-fry of your favourite green.