Bitsa Dinner

oct2013_91 - CopyI’m trying to empty the fridge-freezer so I can defrost it. So we are having some odd meal combinations. This is Teriyaki  marinated Eye Fillet w/ BBQed Kipfler Potato, Grilled Eggplant and pan fried Haloumi on toasted Multigrain Brioche topped with Red Wine glazed Onion.

Winging it

A healthy lunch deserves a wicked dinner. This is chicken wings, harmless enough? But the sauce is mandarin juice, honey and ginger and its sweet and sticky and fresh all at once. It actually cuts through the fattiness of the chicken wings and makes it seem less indulgent…I reckon.

Yahoo The Markets Going Belly Up

I love Pork Belly…there I’ve said it! The cunning buggers from the Pork Mafia have made it so readily available and reasonably priced that us poor CRACKling addicts have no chance of getting clean. I think the secret is to limit your intake at any one sitting. Being so rich and fatty allows for much smaller servings. I’ve played around with different cooking methods and quite frankly old fashioned roasting is probably the quickest and with crunchy crackling is always a good thing. If you are looking for excellent presentation it is worth taking the time to double cook and press it over night. This forces a lot of the gelatinous material out of the meat giving it a tighter and cleaner meaty texture. The gel can be added to stock or sauces as its full of porky goodness. Recently I split an extra large belly and roasted one half for dinner and Sous Vide the other half in a curry marinade. I used the resulting curry flavoured pork belly to make Curried Pork Noodles…yum. Pork belly is well priced here as far as pork goes anyway and lets face it any meat that can sustain its place on the US futures market ( people invest and gamble on its future price) has got to be good.


Pickled Tiger

It’s probably ironic that it was a South African that first told me that they call Corned Beef “Pickled Tiger‘ what with there being no tigers …in Africa! But then when I was a kid and would pester to know what was for dinner, not once did the often threatened Sh#T On A Stick appear at the table, irony or good fortune?…Anyway if you grew up in NZ you probably call it corned silverside or just silverside. I know families hand down their own versions of this semi national dish, including MUST have accompanying vegetables namely, mashed potato, carrots, and cabbage and the MANDATORY Sweet Mustard Sauce. If you are eating Silverside all is good in the world and someone loves you. We have all done the three-day binge. Silverside and veg for tea thursday, silverside sandwiches friday lunch and silverside fritters saturday brunch!…haven’t we…Just me? This silverside was excellent I cooked it in the pressure cooker for an hour and half. Now I don’t usually mess with the ‘Classics’ But it was such a nice one I thought I’d Tart it up a bit. I’ve kept it fairly true, there is mash, and carrots and silverside, I usually do fried cabbage with it but I caramalised some thin sliced fennel to go on top, and a little broccoli for colour with the sweet potato puree. And of course Honey on the carrots, we got given some locally homemade honey a couple of days ago, its much nicer than shop bought.

From Budget To Banquet

I love taking really cheap ingredients and turning them into something plate worthy. Recently I was looking for something for dinner in the freezer when I found a kilo of chicken wings. Usually I use chicken wings for making sticky Buffalo wings with some sort of sweet sticky sauce as finger food or as a Saturday lunch.

Being in the middle of a vege craving I wanted more than just nibbles, so I decided to halve and bone the chicken wings and stuff them with something and have with some nice fresh veg’s. Never having bothered to bone something as small as a half chicken wing, it was a bit finicky to start but after doing a couple it only took a minute or two to bone each one. I left the skin intact so I could have crispy skin. As a concession to Paula I stuffed them with ham cheese and pineapple then rolled them up in clingwrap to make little balotines. I then poached them off in chicken stock dried them and then pan-fried them until golden and crispy. They came up really well, good enough that with a bit more care and different filling it could be a restaurant worthy entrée.

It was well worth the effort and for $2.99kg looked pretty good, not to mention there was a good deal of satisfaction in the process and result. I have since done whole wings stuffed with mushroom compote and garlic puree emmmmmmm.

The process is much the same for stuffed chicken leg or duck etc and the filling is open to your imagination. If you wanted a lower fat version remove the skin and just poach the balotine in stock, skip the frying. Another way I want to try the chicken wing is to thread about four pieces onto lemon grass stalk and barbecue in a Weber, maybe baste with sweet soy and chilli. The other thing the chicken wings would be great for is a canapé or as finger food at your next party.

Meat and Three

Steak & Chips

Another Meat and Three

Meat and Three Veg, how many times have we all cooked that. One good thing is there are a multitude of options to allow us all to put some variety into it. I find we are eating smaller portions of red meat lately so mixing it up with veg’s is a great way to keep it interesting. This dish is pretty much just Steak and Chips with veg, but if you are writing a menu it becomes Choice centre cut Grass Fed Rump Steak served on Garlic Cauliflower Puree, Hand cut Duck Fat Fried Chips w/ Moroccan Sweet Potato Mash & Glazed Baby Spinach and a Red Wine De-Glaze’. While that might be a bit long-winded It pays to be descriptive on menus, personally I like to be a bit more succinct but often the sound of a dish is what sells us. The next step is, we eat with our eyes first. Have fun making your meals look good, ultimately it is taste that seals the deal but a great looking plate goes a long way to making us enjoy the experience.