Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spanish BBQ

Spanish BBQ, just prior to covering the patatas bravas in luscious sauce

BBQ season has taken us to Asia and the Americas, this week it's off to Spain. I got all my recipes for the meal from Cooking in Spain by Janet Mendel.

The meat portion of the meal was chuletón a la vasca or beef chops Basque style. The beef is marinated in lemon juice and oil, then grilled over charcoal, while grilling the meat is sprinkled with chopped garlic and parsley. It's served with grilled green peppers.

I also made Catalan speciality calçotada de valls (grilled spring onions) and tapas favourite patas bravas, roasting the potatoes in the BBQ makes this dish a bit less fatty than the regular deep fried preparation. So good.

Patatas Bravas
Serves 4
Adapted from Cooking in Spain by Janet Mendel

800 g waxy potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
90 ml tomato sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne

Parboil the potatoes. Drain and cut into 3 cm tubes, coat in oil. Place the potatoes in foil tray and bake in a covered BBQ for 40 minutes or until crispy and golden. Drain, salt and serve with the following sauce.

To make the sauce mix the tomato sauce, mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, paprika, cumin and enough cayenne to make the sauce picante - spicy hot.

February Leftovers

I cooked a few internet recipes this month:

*I made the Alice Mendrich cocoa brownies that seem to be doing the blog rounds this month. The recipe is great because it uses ingredients that you're bound to have in the house and produces a rich, fudgy browine. Expect to cook them for 30-45 minutes in a conventional oven.

*I made a celebratory flan to accompany a pseudo-Mex meal using a Diana Kennedy recipe, as I hadn't made a flan before I found the instructions from the Science of Cooking really helpful. Slightly panicked when the water bath almost dried out, I learned that this would just cause a bubbly flan, it will still be quite delicious.

*Similarly, then I bought a heap of tomatoes these instructions for freezing them came in handy.

*I also made cornbread and tuna melts that I mentioned in earlier posts and some internet regulars - black beans and Korean tofu.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Indian BBQ

Last weekend we had Indian BBQ. I cooked from The Food of India by Priya Wickramasinghe, making parathas, pork tikka and a delicious salad dish called kosambri.

To convert the pork tikka recipe for the BBQ I skewered the marinated pork and grilled over indirect heat. I made the sauce the recipe calls for in the food processor using red onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli, coriander, and added about 30 millilitres of vegetable oil. This was served alongside the pork like a fresh chutney, it was refreshing and complemented the lightly charred pork well.

The salad was worth repeating, make a larger batch so you also have some for lunch the next day. For the coconut I used McKenzie's moist flakes, which worked really well here.

Serves 4
Adapted from The Food of India by Priya Wickramasinghe

50 g moong dal
200 g carrot or white radish
25 g grated coconut
25 g coriander leaves
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seed
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice

Cover the dal in boiling water and leave to soak for at least 3 hours. Rinse well and drain.

Finely grate the carrot or radish in to a bowl and add the coconut, dal and coriander. Heat the oil in a small fry pan over a medium heat and add the mustard seed. When the seed begins to pop add the chilli and remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and stir, pour over the salad once cold and toss well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tuna Melt

Saw the tuna melt on the menu at Sweet Mothers Kitchen while in Wellington recently, I was curious, but I got a burrito. With my amazing (ha!) powers of recall I thought to make it for lunch today. One of my few food issues is warm canned tuna, but this was surprisingly tasty. Needs about ~1/4 the mayonnaise and I can't imagine the celery is necessary or essential, Swiss or Emmental cheese probably is.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Summer is a bad time for impulse buying fruit at the markets. This week I couldn't pass up ten kilograms of roma-ish tomatoes for $12, for that price they were in great shape and I only threw out about 250 grams of squashed fruit.
  • 1.0 kg became tomato soup with Christmas ham bone stock and lot of sweet basil
  • 1.5 kg were slow roasted for 4 hours to make Skye Gyngell's tomato and chilli jam
  • 2.0 kg were simmered with spices, onions, raisins, apples and apricots to make tomato and apricot chutney
  • 2.0 kg got peeled, chopped and frozen in 400g packs since I'm trying to stop using most tinned food
  • 3.0 kg of the smallest tomatoes were slow roasted overnight with herbs, salt and black pepper to pack in oil for later use

Hot Chilli

When we had the Texas barbecue I served a big pot of vegan chilli made from a kilogram of dried pinto beans and loosely based on a recipe I found online. I didn't try any but the guests really liked it and several requested the recipe, so I have recreated it with a more manageable quantity of beans.

There are several ways you could prepare beans; I like to precook them and then cook them with the spicy sauce in the oven, allowing everything to become rich and well-incorporated. Blending the onions and other aromatics is a trick I have picked up from doing lots of Indian cooking, it gives you a smooth and even sauce. Since the beans have been fully cooked this dish is good eating from the day it's made.

We ate chilli with this fresh corn and basil cornbread (as written but sugar reduced to 1/4 cup). It wasn't as fluffy and delicious as some other corn breads that I have made, but when cut into batons and served with the chilli the textures contrasted nicely.

Vegetarian Chilli
Serves 6-8 as a main

500 g dried pinto beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 brown onions
3 jalapeños
2 chipotle peppers with adabo sauce
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1-2 red capsicums (about 350 g), diced
700 ml tomato passata
4 tsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
4 tbsp fresh coriander

Preheat the oven to 120°C. Put the dried beans in a large oven-proof dutch oven, add the salt and water to cover by 4 centimetres. Bring to the boil, then cover and bake for 75 minutes or until soft, check the water level at 45 minutes and top up if necessary. When the beans are soft pour them and the cooking liquid into a large bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 150°C. Add the oil to the dutch oven, peel and dice one onion and sauté until brown. Peel and quarter the other onions and place them, the jalapeños, chipotles and spices in a blender or food processor to make a smooth purée. Pour the purée onto the sautéing onions and cook until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, diced capsicum, oregano, cooked beans and their cooking liquid and bring to the boil. Cover and bake for 2 hours, then remove the lid and bake for a further hour. Add the fresh coriander just prior to serving.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Asado is a South American variety of barbecue. To accompany some slow cooked barbecue veal ribs and chorizo I made chimichurri. Chimchurri is a hot vinegar sauce, this version is from Argentina and is really invigoratingly intense. To serve it with the grilled meats I shredded some fresh coriander and spooned over some chimichurri so that the leaves were coated and just suspended in the sauce, leaving a lot more sauce for later use.

As usual dinner was ready too late for photos.

Makes about 300 ml
Adapted from The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz

3 tbsp olive oil
240 ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp hot Spanish paprika
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the oil, vinegar, cayenne and paprika in a jar or bottle. In a mortar and pestle crush the garlic, peppercorns, oregano, bay leaf and salt to make a paste. Add the paste to the container and shake well to mix. Put the sauce in a cool place or refrigerate for four or five days to allow the flavours to develop.