Thai Chicken Mince, Chilli Poppers, Lemon Drizzle Cake

I’m going to post three recipes in a row.

Why?

Three reasons:

1. I haven’t posted anything for the last two weeks, so I think I’m allowed to post excessively

2. The first two recipes, I’ve been asked for by lots of people

3. And the third, I just found the other day, and it’s easy and delicious.

That’s why!

Plus I’m still lazing around and recovering from our flight back from Perth, so I haven’t been up to much – getting old sucks!

Thai-style Chicken

I made this for our New Year’s Day party.

The chicken was supposed to be served in wonton cups – you spray/brush wonton wrappers with oil, push them into mini muffin tins and bake them.

Maybe I bought them at the wrong shop, I don’t know, but they were covered in a huge amount of flour which I couldn’t scrape or brush off no matter how hard I tried.

I experimented with a few – the flour became really brown but stayed put – when I taste-tested (which I normally never do – this time I had to – they just looked wrong) the flour turned to burnt glue in my mouth, and the crispy wontons cut my gums and tongue to shreds.

Rubbish!

So I made 1970’s bread cups instead.

Never again!

White bread, no crusts – roll it flat with a rolling pin, cut out rounds, push them into mini muffin tins, brush with melted butter and bake at 180C.

Sounds so simple.

Well – whether it’s Mauritian sandwich bread, or it’s the humidity, but no sooner did I flatten them and brush them with garlic butter, they just puffed right back up to normal thickness!

It took me over three hours to make around 150 bread cups. Double and triple rolling. Made no difference – they just went back to their original thickness!

Then once they were cooked, because of the re-swelling, they could only hold about a teaspoon of filling.

A big waste of time, but probably great with different bread or climate.

They did taste good – crispy garlic bread.

The chicken, however, was delicious, so if I made it again, I would go the Vietnamese route – warm spoonfuls of the chicken mix, rolled up in crispy lettuce leaves.

No bleeding gums, healthy, and quick!

Ingredients

500g chicken mince (I zizzed diced chicken breast in the food processor as I haven’t found any good chicken mince here)

2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 onion, finely diced (not in the original recipe)

A handful of green beans, finely sliced (not in the original recipe)

1 stalk lemongrass, white part finely chopped (I used 2 Kaffir limes leaves instead as I find lemongrass overpowering)

2 tsp green curry paste (not in the original recipe – but adds Thai flavour)

100ml coconut cream

3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 bunch chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken mince, onion, beans, garlic and lemongrass (or limes leaves) and cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked, stirring and breaking up lumps as you go.

Add curry paste and stir through. Add coconut cream, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice, and fish sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings: fish sauce for more salt, lime juice if too sweet, sweet chilli if too salty, or curry paste for more heat. Add more coconut cream if too dry.

Remove from heat, stir through the coriander.

Easy!

Baked Curry-Chilli Poppers (as opposed to Fried Jalepeno Poppers)

Chilli poppers

Mine did NOT look so good!

I don’t eat chillis, but the second I read this recipe, I wanted to make them.

They sound delicious, and they’re not greasy like the deep-fried version.

I haven’t seen jalepenos here, but hey, Mauritian curry-chillies look similar, so they’ll do!

Click here for the recipe

My Tips

  • If you prefer a milder taste, definitely remove all seeds and membranes with a teaspoon after you’ve cut the chillies in half. And wear gloves.
  • If you’re rolling out your own puff pastry, don’t roll it thinner than 2mm, or it won’t puff up well.
  • Cut one square of pastry first to work out how big they should be – I was in a bit of a rush and cut them all out at once – all too small, so I had to stretch them to fit around the chillies. The pastry ended up way too thin.
  • Brush the pastry with a beaten egg to add colour (I didn’t, and mine were very anaemic-looking!
  • Place your oven tray towards the bottom of the oven as the chilli juices drip down, and the base of the pastry will not cook as fast as the top.
  • If you have left-over cheese mixture, spread it inside a croissant and heat in the oven at 180C for a few minutes – brunch has never tasted so good!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Click here for the recipe

This has a beautiful soft texture and a sour bite to it. Delicious.

Next time, I’m adding ¼ cup of shredded coconut to the cake mix as I like the lemon/coconut combination.

I’ll then have to add a little more liquid – I might try orange juice. I read years ago that if you add milk to a cake batter, it doesn’t stay as fresh/moist? Could be rubbish of course – will google it first.

The icing looks a little excessive, but it works brilliantly. Keep pouring it on till you’ve used it all up!

Storage in Mauritius has to be in the fridge unless you’d like your cake to turn green within a couple of hours of being stored in an airtight container at room temperature!

However, the cake goes a little hard in the fridge, so about 5 minutes before you want to dig in, cut a slice and leave it where the ants can’t access it!

Bon appetit!

The Best Pizza Dough Ever

I love homemade pizza.

And so, I’m forever trawling through cooking blogs and websites, looking for the perfect pizza dough.

I’ve tried lots of them – they’ve been either too thin, too hard, too dry, or too stodgy.

Yesterday, however, my quest came to an end:

Pizza

Courtesy howsweeteats.com

Click here for the recipe

It’s crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. And tastes great.

I didn’t use garlic powder (had none) or dried basil (don’t like it). I also had to knead in a lot more flour as it was pretty sloppy.

The best advice I’ve read on making yeast doughs, relates to when you should stop adding extra flour whilst kneading: it’s when the dough sticks to nothing but itself. That is, it doesn’t stick to the workbench or to your hands, but still retains a slight tackiness.

It took me about 10 minutes to mix and knead the dough. It’s very simple to make, and seems pretty foolproof.

I used rapid-rise Instant Yeast so it took much less than 1 hour to double in size. Also, with Instant Yeast, you don’t have to let it sit for 10 minutes to foam up.

Last night, I used a simple topping of oregano garlic butter and grated cheddar cheese, as we were having it as an accompaniment to chilli con carne.

Garlic BreadIt was pretty thick (which was good for a garlic bread style of pizza – but very filling!), so when I make a proper pizza, I’ll halve the recipe, and just press it out more, as we prefer a thinner base with lots of topping.

I’ll also be a bit more careful with the cooking time – it got a little too brown, which meant the garlic got slightly burnt, and so was a little bitter.

But not bitter enough to stop us eating it!

I just had a slice for breakfast – it’s a little heavier than last night, but it’s still delicious.

Pizza slice

I can see a Barbeque Chicken Pizza in our near future – with BBQ sauce, pan-fried chicken, bacon, green capsicum, caramelised onion, and fresh pineapple. And lots of cheese. Mmmm!!

Three Desserts

I’m Australian, so I’m biased, but I love Australian recipes.

I love the way they borrow ideas from different cuisines and come up with something completely new.

These are some of my favourites – and it doesn’t hurt that they’re easy to make!

MANGOMISU

MangomisuClick here for the recipe

I follow the recipe exactly, except I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese instead of marscapone, and I stir a few raspberries and a little liqueur through the cream cheese mixture. Also, I make it as a dessert in a serving dish rather than as a cake.

LEMON MERINGUE CHEESECAKE

Lemon Meringue CheesecakeClick here for the recipe

I follow 2 bits of advice from the Comments section:

  • Add another eggwhite and an extra ¼ cup of sugar to the meringue, otherwise there’s not enough meringue for the volume of cheesecake. Use the same amount of coconut – I lightly toast it.
  • Bake the cheesecake the day before, cool it in a slightly open oven to minimize cracks, and stick it in the fridge overnight.  Don’t worry if there are cracks – the meringue will fill them.

In the morning, make and cook the meringue, and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours.

STRAWBERRIES WITH RASPBERRY ZABAGLIONE

This is from the Australian Women’s Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook No. 2 – published in 1991.

I tasted it at a dinner party way back then and bought the book the next day just so I could make this. I still have it. Most of the recipes are pretty dated. But not this one.

Apart from the photo.

Raspberry Zabaglione

Marsala is a sweet Italian liqueur wine, also used in Tiramisu.

I’ve rewritten the instructions, therefore any mistakes are mine.

The zabaglione must be made just before serving – so don’t have too much wine with dinner!

Also, make sure your electric mixer can reach the stove.

Serves 4

2 tbsp Marsala

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 punnets strawberries, hulled

Zabaglione

5 egg yolks

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup marsala

125g frozen raspberries

Vanilla ice cream to serve

Combine marsala, sugar and lemon juice, add hulled strawberries, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavours infuse.

Thaw and puree the raspberries, and press through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. Refrigerate the puree till needed.

Just prior to serving, divide strawberries and juice between 4 glasses.

Bring a quarter-full pot of water to the boil. Reduce it to a simmer.

Meanwhile, place egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl, and beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes until well combined. Add the marsala and the raspberry puree, and mix in.

Place the bowl over the simmering water and beat continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat.

Top the strawberries with a scoop of ice cream. Spoon zabaglione over the top.

If you can, wait a couple of minutes to allow the ice cream to melt slightly.