Thursday, December 31, 2009

December Leftovers

Roasted sweet potato salad

Cooking in December was unpredictable, these are the recipes I made from the internet:

*I made Spanish-style grilled fish using whole whiting. It was good, but not notably Spanish.

*To accompany our Jamaican barbecue we had a roasted sweet potato salad based loosely on this recipe from Mark Bittman. I roasted the sweet potato on the barbecue sprinkled with some chilli flakes and raw sugar, once cooked I left them to cool. I added a can of drained and washed kidney beans, some diced red onion, young rocket and some finely sliced radish. The salad was dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and seasoned with salt and black pepper. It was really tasty and made a great accompaniment to the jerk chicken.

*The glaze for the Christmas ham and the rub for the South Carolina barbecue. Both of these were very successful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

South Carolina BBQ

This week we moved on from the Caribbean to the USA, South Carolina to be exact. There is fierce barbecue rivalry between the states in America, which means more delicious styles of barbecue for us to try.

This barbecue was prepared without much planning, so I had to use two boneless pork shoulder roasts instead of a big bone-in shoulder. I also couldn't be bothered hiking over to Bunnings in the heat to investigate the availability of wood chips for smoking the meat. Get yourself a bigger hunk of meat and some smoking chips for a more authentic South Carolina barbecue. But if you can't be bothered doing either of those things, this barbecue still comes out rich, smoky and delicious.

To serve the cooked pork pull it or chop it into small pieces, serve it in a soft white bread roll with coleslaw and the vinegar and pepper barbecue sauce

Blackjack Barbecue Dry Rub
Makes 1 cup of rub
From here

2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp brown sugar

Grind all the spices and combine.

Vinegar and Pepper Barbecue Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp crushed red chilli
2 tbsp black pepper, ground
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt to taste

Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced to one cup.

BBQ Pork Shoulder
Serves 8-12

3-4 kg pork shoulder
1 cup dry rub

Cover the pork with dry rub and let it sit while you light the BBQ. The Webber site has comprehensive instructions on how to barbeque the pork.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas was cool and rainy. Much of the menu was served warm, it included:

Smoked shoulder ham with pomegranate molasses and mustard glaze
Smoked salmon with capers
Lentil and rice pilaf
White bean and tomato salad
Roast new potatoes with thyme
Chickpeas, carrot and beetroot roasted with sumac, served on baby rocket
Cornichons, mustard and sourdough

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Enchilada Sauce

My partner in fruit crime is mostly vegan, which I find pretty easy to cater for since I was a vegan for eight or so years - I wish I had invented this sauce back then. My red enchilada sauce is made with tomatoes, roaster red capsicums and chipotle peppers, it bears no resequence to an authentic Mexican red sauce, but is rich and spicy and totally satisfying anyway.

If you can't get chipotle peppers might be able to imitate the flavour with Spanish smoked paprika and chilli powder, but you really should try and get some chipotle peppers in adabo sauce, I stocked up when I was in America earlier this year. In Canberra you can get canned Chipotles at Deli Cravings at the Belconnen Fresh Food Market and you can buy them online here. Freeze the canned peppers you don't use in twos with a tablespoon on the accompanying sauce for later use.

I used this to make enchiladas with kidney beans (using this method, again). Serve with avocado and green salad, cheese and sour cream on the side for those OK with dairy.

Red Enchilada Sauce
Serves 3-4 for enchiladas

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium red onion
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried marjoram/oregano
2 canned chipotle peppers and 1 tbsp adabo sauce
3 red capsicums, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft. Pour the tinned tomatoes and juice into the pan and crush with a wooden spoon. Add the dried herbs, chipotles and adabo, and the roasted red capsicum. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and  purée with a immersion (stick blender), then return to the stove and let the sauce simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt.


During my morning bus journey and my evening walks, I have been making a list of neglected loquat trees currently filled with an abundance of blushing yellow fruit. We relieved a tree of some this weekend just past, with all last years preserves gone, I decided to turn our first harvest into chutney. Should I find the time to go scrumping again before the rest of the fruit falls, I'd also like to make this loquat barbecue sauce.

Date and Loquat Chutney
Makes 1.25 litres

1.5 kg loquats, washed, deseeded and chopped
225 g dates, chopped
450 g brown onions, diced
200 g brown sugar
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic crushed
250 ml vinegar

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer, cook the chutney for 1 1/4 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Uncover the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Transfer the chutney to warmed sterile jars and cover immediately with new lids. Allow to mature for one month before eating.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jamaican BBQ

This week we took a detour from Asia and moved to Jamaica. Jerk isn't a style of BBQ I have come across in Australia, but with all the ingredients for the marinade readily available it's a easy style to try and recreate on a charcoal BBQ.

I marinated some whole butterflied chickens in jerk marinade for about 3 hours, then cooked the chickens over coals with the vents partially closed.

To accompany the chicken we had a roasted sweet potato salad and a cold watermelon for afters.

Jerk Marinade
Makes enough for 2kg of meat
Adapted from Jerk form Jamaica by Helen Willinsky

1 brown onion, chopped
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
2 tsps of fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 jalapeño chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one month.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eggplant Curry

I've made this eggplant curry a few times and each time I am rewarded for persisting with the frustrating unordered list of ingredients. The recipe comes from a book from a historic Indian restaurant that was located in the Canberra in the 1980s called Shalimar, the owner and author of the book gallantly refused to moderate the intensity of his food - a sentiment I agree with entirely. The curry delicious and  well-suited for those who can't handle heat as it's not very spicy.

Brinjal and Tomato Curry
Serves 4 or more with other dishes
Adapted from A Heritage of Indian Cooking by Joseph Cotta

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
2 green chillies, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
4 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 kg eggplant, diced
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until golden brown. Add the spcies, chillies, garlic and ginger and fry until aromatic. Mix in the tomatoes and allow them to begin to break down, stirring frequently,  until the oil rises to the top. Add the eggplant and stir well, add the lemon juice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and cover, allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through, then season with salt as required and serve.