Veggie Pasta in a Tomato Sauce
4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1/3 – 1/2 cup capsicum, chopped (I used a mix of red and green peppers)
1/2 zucchini, thickly sliced
A handful of broccoli florets
1/3 cup corn kernels
10 olives, sliced
1 cup passata / tomato puree / canned tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Red chilly flakes, to taste
1 tsp mixed herbs (dried)
1/2 tsp oregano (dried)
1/2 tsp sugar
Parmesan cheese, to grate over the pasta
Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, season the water generously (I use 1.5 tsp salt) and add the pasta to the pot. Stir immediately, to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other and to the bottom of the pot.
When the pasta is cooking, heat another pan.
Add olive oil to the warm pan and add the garlic. Saute till the garlic turns fragrant.
Add the onions and cook over a medium heat till they soften a bit.
Add the peppers and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or till they start to soften.
Add the broccoli florets and saute for another minute or so.
Now, add the zucchini and corn and stir through. Cook for another minute or two.
Season with some salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the red chilly flakes and the herbs. Stir through.
Add the passata and the stock.
Let it come to a boil and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes or till the veggies cook through and the sauce develops good flavor.
Add the olives and the sugar and stir through. Take off the heat and set aside.
By now the pasta should be cooked. Reserve 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain t
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Place the pan on medium low heat. Add a couple of tbsp. of the reserved pasta water. Stir through and let the extra liquid cook off for another minute or so, or till your pasta reaches the desired consistency.
Grate some parmesan cheese over the pasta and serve.
Early last month, Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, who happens to be our SRC boss lady 😉 called out to all the club members and announced an SRC reunion event. Of course, I signed up for it and for this event, I was assigned Micha’s blog, Cooking Mimi. Micha’s blog is packed with great recipes. I had an absolute blast going through her blog and picking a recipe for today. After a lot of looking around I narrowed my choices down to this Hawaiian Pork, Potstickers (she even makes her own potsticker wrappers), Quick and Crispy Pork Cutlets and her Sweet Chili Pork. Have you spotted the trend here? I somehow happened to be zeroing in on Pork recipes. So this much was clear, I knew I was making Pork. When I saw her recipe for Sweet Chili Pork my mind was made up. This is what I was going to make.
Before we move on to the recipe, let’s talk about this Sweet Chili Pork, shall we? This dish has it all with juicy little pieces of pork tossed in a sweet sauce with mild heat from the Sweet Chili sauce and the crunch of the onion and capsicum just rounds it off beautifully. I could not believe how easy this recipe was. I wanted to try it just to see if a recipe this minimal would hit the spot. And hit the spot it did. I am so glad I tried this out. My husband is not a fussy eater but he is my biggest critic and helps me work on recipes and tweak them. He was floored by this recipe. And I agree with him 100%. This recipe is very similar to the kind of takeaway meals we got back in Bombay, albeit not with pork, but with chicken. Thank you Micha, for an absolute stunner.
I only made a couple of minor additions to the original recipe. I added some finely chopped ginger and garlic and some pieces of capsicum (green peppers) to the recipe. We served this up with some fried rice, but this would work very well with some noodles too.
Sweet Chili Pork
1/4 kg boneless pork
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into cubes
1 /2 green capsicum, cut into cubes (similar in size to the onion cubes)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet over moderate heat.
Crack the egg into a small bowl, whisk it and set it aside.
In another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.
Cut the pork into bite sized pieces. Toss the pieces in a little salt and lime juice. Toss the pork pieces in the flour mix. Then dip them in the egg and in the flour mix again .
Fry the pieces of pork in batches for about 3-4 minutes a side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in another pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and capsicum and stir fry till the pieces have just started to soften. I like mine a little crunchy. Cook it to your desired level of doneness.
Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and stir it around.
Add the sweet chilly sauce and the fried pork pieces. Stir to coat everything in the sweet chili sauce. At this point, if you want a little more sauce in the dish, add some more. Toss well.
Here’s a peek at all my previous SRC posts.
Don’t forget to see what the others have whipped up for our 2018 reunion –
I hope you’re having a great week. I am super excited today. Yes, partly because it is Friday and that is one of favorite days of the week. It is also because, today in a first of many (hopefully), I’ve made a video for this recipe. I have wanted to do this for the longest time, but I’ve been putting it off because I thought I needed to have the perfect kitchen, the perfect cookware and so on. But I have come to realize that not everyone has the perfect kitchen, but we still love to cook up great food and learn new recipes. So instead of waiting for the perfect kitchen stars to align, I was going to start sharing my videos with you to show you that you can cook great food no matter how small or dated your kitchen may be. Since we’re renting at the moment, there’s not much we can do about the situation at the moment, but the focus will always be on delicious food.
In the last few years I’ve cooked on gas stoves, hot plates and ceramic cooktops. All of them have their own set of quirks. Like they say every oven is different, I think every cooktop is different too and you just need to spend some time getting to know it.
On to today’s recipe. This cashew chicken is a quick and easy recipe. You can get it on the table in under 20 minutes. This is the perfect low carb meal when served on a bed of lettuce. You could, however, also serve it up with some fried rice or noodles too. I love it with lettuce and it makes a perfect summer’s meal.
Here’s the video. Let me know what you think. I sure hope you will like and share the video and Subscribe to my channel too. This is my first cooking video, so it’s not perfect and I’ve learnt a lot from this experience. The detailed recipe will also be listed below.
Cashew Chicken on Lettuce
Recipe from: As Easy As Apple Pie
250g boneless, skinless chicken
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (Use a little lesser if you’re using regular soy sauce)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilly paste
1/2 tbsp olive oil (cooking oil of your choice)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped (fresh ginger is best but you can also use lightly dried ginger like I did here)
1/2 cup raw cashew seeds
Iceberg lettuce leaves (or any lettuce of your choice)
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Cut the chicken to bite size pieces.
In a bowl, mix the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilly paste and toss well. Set this aside for about 10 minutes to marinade.
While that is happening, chop the ginger and garlic. (Fresh ginger is best, but I didn’t have any so I used some from Gourmet Garden.)
Chop the lettuce leaves into bite size pieces and place them on serving plates.
Now, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for about 30 seconds or till they release a lovely aroma and are gently sizzling.
Turn the heat up to medium high and add the chicken and the marinade liquids. Add the sesame oil to the pan.
Stir fry for about 4-5 minutes or till the chicken has cooked through. (Please note, the cook time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces, so watch the pan and make sure the chicken pieces are cooked on all sides and have cooked through.) Stir the contents of the pan frequently, so ensure they don’t burn.
When the chicken is cooked, add the cashew seeds and stir through for about a minute or till they’ve heated through.
And that’s it. Your cashew chicken is ready to serve.
Spoon some of the chicken on the bed of lettuce. Make sure you have a few cashew seeds on each plate.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and serve.
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When its this hot, all cooking and baking activity in my kitchen drastically falls. We mostly have salads, some sandwiches and any cooked dishes are usually quick and easy ones. I’ve been eager to increase my repertoire of such dishes and after some searching online, I came across this amazing Satay Chicken Noodle Stir Fry recipe. There are a few stages in the recipe, but they’re all really easy and come together very quickly. The beauty of this recipe is that you can serve this either cold as a salad or like I did, slightly warm as a Stir Fry. I can’t tell you how immensely flavorsome and delicious it turned out. You get the nuttiness from the peanuts, the flavor from the curried chicken pieces, the tang from the fresh lime juice, the creaminess from the coconut milk and the freshness from the fresh coriander. In all, it is a beautifully balanced dish. I am so very glad I tried out this recipe and it sure is a keeper.
Satay Chicken Noodle Stir Fry
Adapted from: Recipe Tin Eats
For the dressing –
1/3 cup roasted peanuts (you could also use 1/4 cup peanut butter instead)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp sour lime juice
6 tbsp coconut milk
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
For the Satay chicken –
350g chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise and then slice thinly
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp palm sugar
1 tbsp peanut oil (You can use any cooking oil you have)
For the Stir Fry –
1 pack flat dried rice noodles (I used a 200g packet of Pad Thai rice noodles)
1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned
12-15 green beans / french beans, edges trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (Use this only if you are serving this as a stir fry. If you are serving it as a salad, leave it out and just use carrots, cabbage and spring onions)
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
(You can use 1 cup of finely sliced green / red cabbage or a combination of both. I didn’t have any, so I left it out this time.)
To serve –
1 red Birdseye chilly, finely sliced on the diagonal (optional)
3 tbsp roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander stalks and leaves, finely chopped
A wedge of sour lime
In a bowl, place the sliced chicken and all the satay chicken ingredients except the oil. Toss well and set aside for about 10-15 minutes to marinade.
While the chicken is marinading, make the dressing. Place all the dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz till you are left with a smooth dressing.
If it is too dry, add a tiny splash of water (1-2 tbsp of water) and heat through and toss well. (I didn’t need to do this.)
It is especially at times like this that I love big salads. While I’m quite happy to put together a tossed garden salad a few times a week, I think I need to add a few new salads to my repertoire. We’re trying to cut down our meat intake and substitute it with as much vegetarian food as possible. So salads like this Lemon, Sun-dried Tomato & Almond Quinoa Salad are perfect. Its all vegetarian yet hearty, involves minimal cooking and so very tasty. And its not just my opinion, my husband had a second helping of this salad for dinner.
I have tried cooking with quinoa before, but it was a total fail. So I was very skeptical about trying it out again. But I decided that trying something once and never trying it again, wasn’t giving it a fair chance. So on my last trip to Costco, I just picked up a bag of quinoa. Now that I have this great big bag of quinoa, I was going to have to use it. So recently when I was looking for a salad recipe with Italian influences to pair up with my eggplant patties, I decided to look for one with quinoa in it. And when I stumbled upon this recipe, it sounded perfect. There was just one problem. I didn’t have any parsley at home. So I just used the next best thing, coriander leaves. Personally I love the flavor that coriander leaves add to any dish and I thought it worked very well with this salad. But I also know there are folks out there that cant stand it. If you are one of them, feel free to use parsley instead. I can’t wait to try it out with parsley the next time. I’m very happy to have another wonderful salad to include in my meal rotation now.
Lemon, Sun-dried Tomato and Almond Quinoa Salad
Adapted from: Averie Cooks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cups of water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly cracked lack pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (I used the ones bottled in oil and drained them before slicing)
2 tbsp coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
1/2 cup roughly sliced almonds
1 tsp red chilly flakes (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
Add the onions and cook till the onions have softened and have just started browning.
Add the quinoa and stir. Let it toast for about 30 seconds.
Now add the water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop up the rest of the ingredients.
Place the quinoa in a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and toss well.
Taste and add more salt or pepper or lime if needed. If, at this stage, you find the salad too sour, add a tiny bit of sugar to balance it out. I just stuck with the quantities listed above and I didn’t need to add anything at this stage.
It stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. This can be served either as a warm or cold salad.
Serve up this salad either as an accompaniment at a meal or a slightly larger portion as a meal in itself.
I love trying out new recipes and cuisines. Now I know Mexican food is hardly a new cuisine, but for me, this was a new recipe. My ground beef recipe is a little more involved than this one. I love the simplicity of it. The method was a little different than what I was used to, but by the time this taco meat was ready, it looked and smelt great and tasted fantastic. I can guarantee this tastes so much better than any packaged taco meat that you buy from the store. And you know exactly what has gone into the pot.
You could, as the name suggests, use this in tacos, but since we are trying to eat healthier, we enjoyed this with some iceberg lettuce and a bean salad on the side. Who said healthy eating had to be boring or tasteless. This was healthy and delicious and is going to make quite a few appearances on our dinner table. I do hope you try it out too.
Homemade Seasoned Taco Meat
Recipe from: Premeditated Leftovers
1/2 kg lean ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup water
2 green onions, sliced
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Add the ground beef to the pan and cook the meat till it is browned and no longer pink. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
Now add the onions and tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes or till the onions have started to soften.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the water and the green onions. Stir everything together and saute for a couple of minutes. By now all the spices should have started doing their job and should be fragrant.
Now add the water and bring the pot to a simmer.
Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Now uncover the pot and cook the meat uncovered till almost all the liquid has evaporated.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the green onions.
Today’s post takes me back about 16 years. Back to when I first started working (gosh I feel old now). Back then, our meals were taken care off by the work place. And for me that was novelty because growing up we almost never ate out. My mum would cook up every meal and snack for us at home and as kids we were content with that. But eating in the office cafeteria was interesting. Here, I was introduced to such a variety of food from different parts of the country (India). But I wasn’t too keen on cooking then. During those days I only enjoyed making our traditional Goan sweets (Kuswar) for Christmas and other Goan sweets that my Nana would whip up for us for afternoon tea or an after school snack.
One of the dishes I encountered in the office cafeteria, that eventually became a favorite, was Methi Malai Matar (meaning Grean Peas in a Creamy fenugreek gravy.) It has strong Indian flavors but is mildly spiced. After moving to Sydney, I began craving some of this stuff. And it was only then I decided I was going to have to learn to make this dish myself, much like I had to learn so many other Indian recipes that I wanted to enjoy. Now the challenge was finding fresh Fenugreek leaves. The only place I’ve found fresh leaves is at one vendor at the Paddy’s Market in Flemington. But that’s a long drive from us. So I thought I’d try and find a recipe that used dried leaves (known as Kasoori Methi) which is easily available at any Indian grocery store. And let me tell you, I found one. I couldn’t believe how easy this little curry is to put together. With just a handful of ingredients, in less than half an hour you can be sitting down to a warm bowl of Methi Malai Matar for dinner. This goes really well with roti / chapatis, but you can also enjoy this with some bread or plain rice.
Methi Malai Matar
Recipe from: Sharmi’s Passions
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen will both work, if using frozen let it thaw before using)
3 tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup milk
5 cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for cooking)
Salt, to taste
Soak the cashewnuts in a couple of tablespoons of milk for about 15 minutes.
Grind this to a smooth paste and keep aside.
In a pot / saucepan heat the oil on medium heat.
Add the cumin seeds to the oil.
When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and saute for a minute.
Now, add the chopped onions and saute till they’ve slightly browned.
Add the cashew paste and fry it for a couple of minutes, stirring to avoid burning.
Now add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder and the garam masala powder. Add salt to taste and stir well.
Now add the rest of the milk and stir.
Let it come to a boil and then simmer for about 2-3 minutes and the gravy will start thickening.
Add the cream and stir in.
Now add the green peas. Let the peas heat through and let the gravy come to a boil again.
Now add the kasoori methi and stir.
If the gravy is too thick at this stage, add a little water to achieve desired consistency. Just make sure the gravy comes to a boil after the water is added and simmer for a couple of minutes.
If the gravy is not thick enough, let it continue cooking, stirring occasionally, till it thickens to your liking.
Serve hot with rotis / chapatis.