Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa

Looking at the title, are you wondering where the hell did I find ripe mangoes?

This recipe was developed for a client a while ago when mangoes were in season but I somehow never got around to sharing it with you guys. And since we are moving homes this week, I thought of making these tacos again since I had some leftover prawns in the freezer. That’s when it struck me that I haven’t shared these awesome tacos with you, so here we go – Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

The star of these tacos is ofcourse the prawns that has been cooked in a rich Mexican style tomato sauce with oodles of flavour. All the ingredients are pantry and refrigerator staples, nothing fancy at all. Just get your hands on fresh local prawns and the job is done. Any type of salsa may be used; the mango salsa was a delicious addition because of the sweetness which balanced out the spice kick from the paprika in the prawns.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Not going to keep you longer with small talk today…I am plainly tired from all the packing, cleaning and scrubbing going on so I promise we will talk more when I have finished with all the moving stuff.

And if you love tacos, then you need to check out this one too.

Ingredients:

For the prawns:

  1. 300 gms large prawns; deshelled and deveined
  2. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 small red onion; finely chopped

For full recipe, click here.

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa - easy and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

 

 

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns)

A taste of home!

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

The flavours of Kerala can throw a real surprise to those who are not familiar with the state. The style of cooking and choice of ingredients can be so varied from region to region inspite of it being such a small state in terms of topography.

Most people associate Kerala with non vegetarian food, which is understandable given the state’s fixation with seafood and beef. But the land also has a vast repertoire of vegetarian dishes, many of which are practically unheard of like today’s Kootu Curry. A disclaimer here…..there are a few versions of this dish that can be found across the state but the recipe that I am sharing with all of you comes from the Malabar region (which in my opinion is the most delicious!)

So the Kootu curry is essentially a mixed vegetarian curry and is always prepared using black chickpeas, raw plantain and Indian yams. This dish is a true representation of the state as the main flavour components are coconut and peppercorns. It is the Malabar region that gave ‘peppercorns’ aka ‘black gold’ to the world. So the Kootu curry is a befitting tribute to that discovery which changed the course of the world.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Black peppercorns - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I am yet to find the Indian variety yams in any of the Melbourne markets, most often I find the other Asian varieties. Now if you are not looking for the exact traditional recipe, you may use that though the taste will vary slightly. Or you could get these traditional Indian ones, which are available frozen in most Indian stores.

The Kootu Curry is also an integral part of the Onam sadya (the banana leaf feast which Kerala is famous for); it’s one of the several dishes that make up the feast. But for everyday purposes, this is best served as a side to steamed rice and dal. To complete, add some pappadums!

So add these ingredients to your shopping list so that we can get cooking Kootu Curry or Kerala style black chickpeas, plantain and yam curry with coconut and peppercorns.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup black chickpeas; washed and soaked overnight
  2. 1 medium sized raw plantain; cut into large chunks
  3. 100gms yam; diced
  4. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  5. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  6. ½ cup grated coconut
  7. 1 ½ – 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  8. 2 large garlic cloves
  9. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  10. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  11. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  12. 2 dry red chilli
  13. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. To a pressure cooker, add the black chickpeas with 1 ½ cups water, season with salt and cook till ¾ ths done.
  2. In another pan, cook the plantain along with red chilli powder, half of the turmeric powder, salt and 1 ½ cups water till done. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Add the diced yams to the black chickpeas and cook till the yams are lightly mushy (use the back of the ladle to mash the yams if necessary). Then add the drained plantain and mix well to combine.
  4. Coarsely crush the grated coconut, peppercorns and garlic in a mortar and pestle or grinder and add this to the cooked chickpeas. Add the remaining turmeric powder and mix well to combine.
  5. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Cook in low heat for 1-2 minutes and remove.
  6. To temper, heat coconut oil in a small pan and crackle the mustard seeds. Then add the curry leaves and dry red chilli. Pour this over the prepared chickpeas and mix well to combine.
  7. Keep covered for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy with a bowl of rice and dal/lentils.

Kootu Curry (Kerala style Black Chickpeas, Plantain and Yam Curry with Coconut and Peppercorns) - thespiceadventuress.com

July Favourites

Hello, all you lovely people……how have things been at your end?

For me, it’s been a good month…in fact a great month. I have reached that stage in life when great means that everything is stable and life goes on without much hiccups. Nothing exciting has to happen to make it great.

But life’s going to get a bit busy over the beginning of next month. Remember I told you guys about the house hunting, well we are moving in next month so it’s going to be hectic with all the cleaning, packing and rearranging. I am quite excited about the new home because after three years of living in an apartment, we are moving into a house with a backyard (small but a real backyard).

So I might be taking it easy over here. Have planned a few blog posts in advance but not sure how that’s gonna go.

Getting back to this month, here is the quote that I am trying to put into practice. I am a paranoid, clingy mother (who isn’t) but I am also a practical one and keeping the balance is so difficult. As my little fellow is growing up too fast, I need to constantly remind myself to loosen my maternal strings so that he is prepared to face this world on his own when the time comes.

Quote - thespiceadventuress.com

(This photograph was taken when Adi was around 2 at the Birla Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, South India)

I get a lot of messages asking about food photography, the most common being ‘how to improve my skills’. There’s just one answer……pick up your camera, learn the basics and then practice, practice, practice. There is no other shortcut to it.

I take copious amount of photographs, many make it to the social media and the blog but there are many I don’t share too. And here’s one that I really love…..

Lemongrass - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Most of you loved this Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms. And those who haven’t, please check it out….it’s delicious. There is also a $25 voucher up for grabs if you would like to purchase a WW Fresh Box.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And now it’s time to share my favourites for the month of July, hope you enjoy it. Ciao…

Passion……have you found it?

This is the way we must say welcome to those who come knocking at our country’s doors.

For the budding photographers, this is a must read.

Summer drinks list sorted.

This will be on my summer barbie list. Ok guys, I am getting impatient for summer to arrive.

The ultimate boozy frozen treats for summer. This is the last summer collection, I promise.

What does your astrological sign say about your drinking habits? I am apparently an ambitious social butterfly. Hmmmm…..

How awesome is this!!

I am not a big fan of energy bites but this one’s amazing.

This bowl has me written all over it!

These are what the famous food photographers love to eat. Very interesting.

Prop love for the month; just stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WWFreshBox by Aussie Farmers Direct + a Recipe for Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

‘So what do I cook tonight?’

How many times in a week do you ask yourself that question? I do…almost every single day. Friends often assume that meal planning is something I enjoy and ace at, being a food blogger. Definitely not, at least not most of the time because in addition to the everyday food, I have to plan ahead for the recipes that are to be created for the blog, clients etc…..

It takes me two days to get my meal plans and grocery shopping list in order and there are weeks when the whole exercise freaks me out. So you can imagine my excitement when I get a mail from Aussie Farmers Direct asking if I would like to review the new WWFresh Box that has been designed and created by Weight Watchers. Yes please….bring it on!

Aussie Farmers Direct and Weight Watchers – two brands that we are pretty familiar with and so I am not going into the details here. There’s plenty of information on their websites for the newcomers. Instead, I am going to talk about the WWFreshbox; this perfectly packed box full of absolutely gorgeous and fresh ingredients that has been sourced from local farms and food producers. And also, the printed recipes that got me really excited.

WWFreshbox from Aussie Farmers Direct - a review - thespiceadventuress.com

So my choice was the Family Freshbox which includes ingredients and fresh produce to serve 5 meals for 4 people. I have been testing out and cooking from the WWFreshbox for the past couple of days using the Weightwatchers recipes that was included. And here is what I think;

(Aussie Farmers Direct has also offered a generous discount for all the subscribers of The Spice Adventuress. More details at the end of the post)

Pros:

  • No more meal planning – You don’t have to break your head wondering what you are going to cook each day and then shop around for ingredients. You get the ingredients delivered straight to your door with the recipes included. Definitely a time saver!
  • Choose from different types of WWFreshbox – there are plenty of choices when it comes to the size of the WWFreshBox designed to serve 2 or 4 people for 3 or 5 meals. Ensures zero wastage.
  • High Quality Fresh Ingredients – that are packed to perfection in a special temperature controlled box. Aussie Farmers Direct does a brilliant job at sourcing all the produce from local farmers which means that you not only eat healthy and fresh but also support the local community.
  • Free Delivery – Yup, you heard it right….free delivery to your door.
  • Excellent Packaging – Since all the ingredients are packed in a temperature controlled box, everything stays fresh till you reach home and put it away. The vegetables are packed neatly, in sealed containers where necessary and all the protein is in a special cover with gel packs. The gel packs inside can be reused and if you do not wish to keep it, you may leave it inside the box and place it outside on the day your next delivery happens.
  • Delicious and Healthy Recipes – I mean it guys, really delicious recipes. All the recipes are designed by the nutrition experts at Weight Watchers and includes the Smart Points so that you can keep track. And even if you are not watching your weight, you still can eat healthy. The recipes change every week so it doesn’t get boring at all. Every week’s recipes are updated on the website so you can check out that before placing your order.What I really loved about the recipes is that there is no compromise on flavour and taste as you can see from the dish I will be sharing with you guys shortly.

Cons:

  • Delivery can be an issue for those who live in apartments with unit numbers; the box will need to be delivered to a friend’s place or your business address. Also, delivery is currently not available in certain suburbs. Do check if your suburb is covered on the website.
  • No dry ingredients provided.
  • No exclusively vegetarian WWFreshbox.

Getting to my favourite part; the recipe that I tried out from the WW Freshbox and absolutely loved – Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

We are not big on kale in our house. I don’t mind it but the boys are not very enthusiastic about it and the only way I have been able to make them eat it is in a lentil curry. So with this recipe, I was both excited and apprehensive. But went ahead anyway, hoping the bacon will work its magic even if the kale fails.

And let me tell you peeps, we loved it!

This pasta dish was a winner on all counts – it was light, refreshing, healthy, low on calories and super packed with flavour. From prep to finish, on the table in 30 minutes. All thanks to Weight Watchers, we have found our favourite kale dish.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

Serves: 4

7 SmartPoints® value per serve

Ingredients:

  1. 200gms dried pasta
  2. 5 tsp olive oil
  3. 125gms lean bacon (fat trimmed); chopped
  4. 1 red capsicum; chopped
  5. 200gms button mushrooms; sliced
  6. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  7. 2 small fresh red chilli; finely chopped
  8. 200gms kale; chopped
  9. 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. Salt; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions till al dente. Drain (reserve ½ cup liquid) and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes till the bacon pieces have turned golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and add the garlic, chillies and capsicum. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes till the mushrooms have softened. Transfer to the same bowl as the bacon.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the kale. Season with salt and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Then add ¼ cup water to the kale, mix and continue to cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or till the kale has become tender.
  5. Increase heat and return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Also add the lemon rind and juice; season with salt if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, half of the reserved liquid and toss on high flame for a few seconds.
  7. Serve warm

I served this pasta dish with a fresh salad made from cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you would like to make this delicious recipe or make several like these, all that you need to do is place an order with Aussie Farmers Direct for the all new WW Freshbox.

Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct, a special discount code has been offered to all the subscribers of ‘The Spice Adventuress’ (make sure you subscribe to my blog). Enjoy $25 off* with your first WW Freshbox. Use promo code ‘FRESHSPICE’ on checkout – T&Cs below.  

(Offer open to new customers. Minimum spend $65. For full T&Cs visit AussieFarmers.com.au. Valid until 31/08/2016. Order must be placed by 12 noon 30/08/2016.)

So go ahead, place your order today and enjoy fresh ingredients with healthy recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you prepare the above recipe, make sure to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I may see it too.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - delicious, healthy and ready in 30 minutes - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Aussie Farmers Direct. All the opinions stated in this review are mine; hope it helps you make an informed choice. 

 

Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies)

I have a small balcony garden at home, not too many plants but I do grow most of the herbs and a few leafy greens. And the hailstorm that we experienced last week was not very complimentary to my gardening efforts. Since I do not have too much space inside my apartment to move all the plants, I decided to be selective and move in only the curry leaves and basil along with a few other ornamental ones. But with the wind raging all day, all my herbs took a real beating. And then the hail started!

Hailstorm in Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Since I wasn’t sure if the plants were going to survive, I cut off all the herbs and thus ended up with a huge amount of parsley and a bit of coriander, mint and some rosemary too.

I didn’t want the herbs to just wilt off in the fridge especially the parsley so decided I must do something delicious with it. Chimichurri came to my mind immediately especially since I have made it before. I had some chicken thigh fillets stocked too so the decision was made; I will grill the chicken and have it with the chimichurri. But tweaking is something I love to do and what I finally ended up with was these absolutely gorgeous Grilled Chicken Skewers with fresh herbs and chillies.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Veered away from the traditional chimichurri as I was thinking of a marinade and not a sauce. So I wanted more flavour which is why the fresh red chillies and ginger ended up in it. Along with the freshness from the parsley, coriander and basil, this marinade has the depth of flavour from the aromatics and that mild kick from the chillies. Long red chillies which are not very fiery are best for this style of marinade.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

The chicken skewers turned out so good that I decided to share it with all of you. An extremely easy dish to make, hardly any prep work except for chopping up some herbs and a very affordable one too especially if you grow herbs. Perfect for an easy and healthy weekday dinner.

We had these grilled chicken skewers Middle Eastern style served up on my trusted wooden board. So pita bread, chicken skewers, garlic dip, tzatziki, olives and a green salad. Even better the next day to take to work….just put it all into the pita and roll it up for a delicious wrap for lunch. Winner, isn’t it!

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hope all of you enjoy these grilled chicken skewers (with fresh herbs and chillies). And if you make it, I would so love to see it so please tag me in all your pictures using #thespiceadventuress. Have a great weekend folks!

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms chicken; cubed into even sized pieces
  2. 2 heaped tbsps herb marinade
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Juice of half a lemon
  5. Bamboo skewers

Herb Marinade:

  • 1 cup parsley; finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil; finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  • ½ inch ginger; grated
  • 1 ½ fresh red chillies (long variety); seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • Salt; to season

Method:

  • Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes to prevent burning.
  • To prepare the herb marinade, place all the ingredients in a bowl and add the olive oil. Season with salt.
  • Place the cubed chicken pieces in a bowl and add the marinade, salt and lemon juice. Mix well to combine.
  • Skewer the chicken pieces and allow to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Heat a grill pan (or frying pan) to high and place the skewers on top. Since olive oil is already added to the marinade, no extra oil is required.
  • When grilled on one side, turn over, baste with more marinade and cook. Repeat till you get good caramelization all over and then finish off in the oven (another 2-3 minutes). You can continue to baste with the marinade as required.
  • Serve warm with dips, salad and pita bread.

Note – The marinade can be prepared in bulk; stays well in the refrigerator for upto 3 days and upto a month if  frozen.

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

Herby and delicious - Grilled Chicken Skewers (with Fresh Herbs and Chillies) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review

If you have read my review on Al Rahimi Restaurant in Dandenong, then you will know how much I love the cuisine of Afghanistan. And living just 5 minutes away from Lonsdale Street, it was high time I had a review of Pamir up on the blog.

Dandenong is quite an interesting suburb in terms of culture and food. It’s diverse and colourful; we truly practice ‘live and let live’ down here. Afghan food has a huge presence here, with plenty of restaurants and takeaways lining the Afghan precinct and also on Lonsdale Street.

Owned by the husband and wife team, Uzbekistani Chef Alisher Azizullaev and Shahini Ahad, Pamir is situated on the busy and vibrant Lonsdale Street. The exterior is rather unassuming, a small door which leads to a flight of stairs. The restaurant is situated on the second floor and if you are not familiar with traditional Afghan décor, you will be surprised by the ornate interiors and rich, dark woodwork. On the walls, you will find plenty of references to Afghanistan like pictures, maps, traditional outfits etc….

Pamir has a very warm and comforting ambience. There is plenty of seating space so bookings are only essential on weekends but you are likely to find a place even without one. But do make a call beforehand as the restaurant is often booked out for events and social gatherings.

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Within seconds, we were greeted by the hostess and seated at a comfortable table. Pamir does not have a bar but its BYO so remember that when you visit. The food mainly revolves around traditional Afghan and Uzbek cuisine. The menu is pretty self explanatory but if you do need suggestions or help to understand the flavours of a dish, the staff is always there to help you out.

If you are eating at Pamir for the first time or want to experience many dishes from the cuisine, then the banquets are the best choice. There are different types depending on the number of courses and also a vegetarian version. Since we were familiar with the dishes and have had the food before, we decided to go a la carte for the day.

The first to arrive at the table are the dips (also referred to as chatnis) followed by the salad and flatbreads. Three different types of dips or chatnis are served and these are the minty cucumber yoghurt dip, tomato chilli chatni and the carrot dip. The salad is a simple one with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and leaves drizzled with vinaigrette. And the flatbreads, one of the best I have had; soft and pillowy and perfect to scoop the chatnis.

Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Fresh Green Salad at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Freshly baked Afghan flatbreads at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dish we ordered was the Chapli Kebab which is basically grilled lamb mince patties flavoured with coriander seeds, chilli, herbs and onion. Chapli Kebabs are quite famous in northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Chapli kebabs at Pamir were just perfect, so full of flavour especially that hit of coriander which warms your tastebuds yet allows you to taste the meat. The kebabs were tender with the mince cooked just perfectly. Highly suggested!

Chapli Kebabs at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

There was no way we weren’t going to order to a plate of Mantu, one of our absolute favourite things to eat from this cuisine. Basically, these are steamed dumplings with mince and onions; then topped with a chilli chatni and a yoghurt sauce. An absolutely delicious experience! If you are a dumpling fan, then make sure you try the Mantu; you might not want to eat dumplings any other way. Another must try here.

Mantu (steamed dumplings) at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu and the next dish we tried was Potato Borani – finely sliced potatoes which are pan fried, flavoured with spices and herbs and finished off with tomato and yoghurt sauce. Nothing more to add except that it was really delicious and makes a great vegetarian dish.

Potato Borani at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

And we finished the meal with the traditional Uzbek Pallow, a rice dish with lamb. The menu calls it as lamb biryani but that name is rather misleading as biryani takes on different avatars in different cuisines; this one’s more of a pilaf. Long grained rice that has been flavoured with whole spices and has a generous portion of carrots and sliced lamb through it. Just this rice and the yoghurt dip can make me a very happy girl. Absolutely delicious.

Uzbek Pallow at Pamir Restaurant (Dandenong, Victoria) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

There isn’t much choice when it comes to desserts so we decided to skip it. But I would love to see a few traditional sweets or desserts on the menu apart from the lassi, gulab jamun and icecream. You can finish off the meal with the traditional black tea which is great for digestion too.

In a nutshell, a restaurant you do not want to miss if you are looking for delicious, high quality, traditional Uzbek and Afghan cuisine. Make it your weekend priority!

Pamir Restaurant

195 Lonsdale Street
Dandenong
Victoria 3175

Phone no: 03 9792 0197
Website: http://www.pamirrestaurant.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: closed (open some days, check website)
Tuesday – Thursday: 4pm-10pm
Friday – Sunday: 12pm-10pm

Pamir Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

Woodstock Pizzicheria has definitely carved a name for itself in the wood fired pizza scene of Melbourne. This award winning restaurant chain, built by the pizza champion, Tony Cannata is one of the best places in town to enjoy traditional Roman style pizzas.

I was invited a few weeks ago to the launch of their new menu and must admit, that this was my first time at the pizzicheria. The event was a brilliant and delicious one with an array of Sicilian style starters, cold cuts, cheese boards, pizza platters and of course a very impressive dessert platter.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu

I loved everything at the event; the ambience, food and service; so I decided to do a proper review for all of you by visiting Woodstock once again just like any other customer so that you have an idea of what to expect when you walk in.

The ambience and décor at Woodstock Pizzicheria can be best described as rustic Sicilian with a lot of fun elements and hints of contemporary thrown in. While the furniture and interiors have a very traditional feel, the bar is a contemporary addition to the space. The open kitchen is a hub of activity that adds to the appeal of the restaurant. It’s a place where you can spend good quality time with friends and family even when it’s packed to the brim.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

And they seem to love Nutella quite a bit, there’s plenty of references to that as soon as you walk in!

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

The service at Woodstock will remind you of Italian hospitality. The staff are attentive, warm and friendly; quite happy to help you out with suggestions from the menu and also help out in choosing the right wine for your meal. The wine list is good and features many Italian wines, which you might need help with unless you are familiar. The cocktail list was basic but I loved the choices they had.

The menu is a small one and I am beginning to enjoy restaurants which do that because it means that they focus on producing high quality dishes. Pizzas rule the roost and is made the classic Roman way; the rest of the menu is more Sicilian inspired.

Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review

So my friends went for the 2013 Majella Shiraz (Coonawarra, South Australia) and I chose their signature Nonno è Vivo (Disaronno, vodka and Kahlua. Topped with soda water, lime juice and crushed ice). Both the choices were perfect for our meal. I loved the cocktail especially with that Kahlua which gave it that warm bittery notes.

2013 Majella Shiraz (Coonawarra, South Australia) - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) – Launch of New Menu + a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Nonno è Vivo (Disaronno, vodka and Kahlua. Topped with soda water, lime juice and crushed ice) - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) - thespiceadventuress.com

We started the meal with Calamari fritti – calamari rings dusted in semolina with lime and black pepper, served with aioli. It was amazing; the calamari was so perfectly cooked, soft and melt in the mouth. The spices were subtle and the lime added a very refreshing flavour to the calamari. The perfect thing to munch on with the drinks.

Calamari fritti – calamari rings dusted in semolina with lime and black pepper, served with aioli - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next starter we tried was the Polpette della Nonna – traditional Sicilian style meatballs made from lamb and pork mince simmered in a Napoli sauce. I am a huge fan of meatballs especially the Italian ones and this didn’t disappoint at all. The meatballs were soft and flavourful and that sauce was delicious, very tomatoey but with the right balance.

Polpette della Nonna – traditional Sicilian style meatballs made from lamb and pork mince simmered in a Napoli sauce - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) - thespiceadventuress.com

I will also recommend the Crocché di Patate – potato croquettes with Provolone cheese and Salsicce alla griglia – homemade pure pork sausages, both of which I had at the launch event. The sausages were just divine so if you eat pork, do try it out for sure.

Time for the pizzas! We tried out the Woodstock with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, caramelized onion, potatoes, zucchini, grilled eggplant, oregano and Pecorino cheese. It’s quite unusual for me to order a vegetarian pizza (I am quite partial to the meats when it comes to pizza) but I am so happy I did. The Woodstock had beautiful flavours; the base was light, thin and crisp and the smoky caramelized flavours of the onion was awesome. Mixed opinions about the eggplant but that’s because I am not fond of it but overall, a brilliant vegetarian pizza that I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

Woodstock with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, caramelized onion, potatoes, zucchini, grilled eggplant, oregano and Pecorino cheese - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next one we tried was the Gamberi Piccante with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, tiger prawns, cherry tomatoes, fresh chilli and basil. The clear winner and highlight of the dinner was this beauty. Simplicity is best and this one is a clear example of that. Perfectly cooked prawns on a thin crispy base, with that beautifully flavoured tomato sauce, a mild kick from the chillies and the freshness of the tomatoes and basil. Spot on and highly recommended!

Gamberi Piccante with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, tiger prawns, cherry tomatoes, fresh chilli and basil - Woodstock Pizzicheria (Lygon St, Brunswick) - thespiceadventuress.com

Since I was out with friends, couldn’t do dessert as they wanted to check out another dessert bar nearby. But I would definitely go back for it since I ate some awesome stuff during the launch event.

In short, Woodstock Pizzicheria is a place you must visit if you love traditional Italian thin crust pizzas with really good quality ingredients. A beautiful ambience and excellent service completes the dining experience. Make sure to make a booking ahead!

Woodstock Pizzicheria
63-67 Lygon Street, Brunswick
Melbourne, Victoria
Phone no:03 9387 7770
http://www.woodstockpizza.com.au/

Timings:
Sunday to Thursday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-10.30pm
Friday, Saturday: 12pm-3pm / 5pm-midnight

Woodstock Pizzicheria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I was given a $50 voucher, the rest of the bill was paid for by me and my friends.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Spicy Green Salad and Tomato Butter Sauce)

Yes, I am back with yet another seafood dish. And it’s one that I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating. Not that I don’t enjoy the other recipes here, but this one’s special because this is our favourite way to eat salmon.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Spicy Green Salad and Tomato Butter Sauce) - a healthy and delicious weekday dinner - thespiceadventuress.com

The term holidays are still on and we aren’t doing much this time. My little champ was sick for a couple of days and coupled with our house hunting in full spree, there has hardly been time for any activities or fun stuff. Guess we will take a proper vacation once we are settled in the new home.

Coming back to the dish, simplicity is key when cooking with salmon. Do not get tempted to add too many flavours or spices to the fish itself which takes away from its real flavour. Instead, add flavour to the remaining components on the plate like this deliciously spicy green salad and a simple tomato butter sauce. Not much of a sauce actually, it’s more like a quick sauté and butter makes everything delicious right.

The spicy green salad is an awesome way to eat your greens especially if you think green salads are bland and boring. And isn’t it just gorgeous! Love how those purple carrots add that pop of colour to the greens. Use whatever seasonal greens are available in your area; you can even use the dressing for any sort of salad you like to have.

Spicy green salad - a very interesting spicy kick to make your greens interesting - thespiceadventuress.com

Pan Fried Salmon (with Spicy Green Salad and Tomato Butter Sauce) - a healthy and delicious weekday dinner - thespiceadventuress.com

Even with 3 components, this is a dish that comes together in no time at all which makes it perfect for weekday dinners. A light yet healthy and filling meal for the whole family. And if you make it, please tag me on the post #thespiceadventuress so that I could see it too. Enjoy peeps!

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 3 salmon fillets (with skin)
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Find the full recipe here.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Spicy Green Salad and Tomato Butter Sauce) - a healthy and delicious weekday dinner - thespiceadventuress.com

Pan Fried Salmon (with Spicy Green Salad and Tomato Butter Sauce) - a healthy and delicious weekday dinner - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

June Favourites

The weather’s been pretty rough lately…..cold, dark and dull but otherwise, it’s been a lovely month so far.

And to keep ourselves warm, we have been a drinking a lot of this chicken soup lately.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Brown Mushrooms - a bowl of comfort for a cold, wintry night - thespiceadventuress.com

This is my favourite quote for the month (my boys at the Lysterfield Lake, Melbourne)

Quote - thespiceadventuress.com

And these posts kept me inspired and entertained the whole month, so time to share it with you. Enjoy!

Spicy and cheesy….the dip of the month!

Lol…..would love to start my mornings with this milkshake.

Jackfruit has been a hot ingredient this season for chefs and homecooks alike. And now in icecream form too.

This salad is going to be my dinner next week.

The original Egyptian falafel; this is what I grew up eating and no other versions measure up to it.

Cocktail popsicles are trending and my current favourite is this.

Simple food is the best; do you agree? If yes, check out this delicious Indian style potato okra stir fry.

The latest slushy to hit the market!

This one’s for the gochujang lover in me.

The golden rules of writing.

Processed food is the biggest poison for our bodies; read this. Cook simple meals from scratch with good quality ingredients – there is no other short cut to good health.

I can get quite anxious and worried at times, feeling it arise from the pit of my stomach. Do you tend to worry a lot? Then this can be an insightful read.

And finally, join me in drooling over this bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massaman Curry

It’s Friday guys! Time to put up the tired feet and get some much needed rest or catch up time with family and friends. Not so much for me as we are currently house hunting and the whole thing is slowly beginning to get on my nerves. We just can’t seem to find a decent place especially with the zillion demands we have. Hopefully something comes up soon and then the herculean task of moving houses will begin. Telling you guys, I have amassed a ton of props and I know I am going to freak out during the packing and shifting process.

I am sure you will hear me whining more about that later but for now, let’s just feast on this deliciously comforting Beef Massaman Curry.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are familiar with Thai food, then you would have definitely heard of Massaman curry. It’s a staple curry from the region and often made with chicken, with beef and lamb not being far behind.

Massaman curry has a very interesting history to it. Also known as Matasaman curry, it is believed that this dish was introduced to Thailand by Persian merchants and soon became an integral part of the Thai Muslim cuisine. Infact, historical writers believe that the name Massaman could also have been originated from the word ‘Mussulman’ which is another word for Muslim. But there are many others who believe that it is more of a Southern Thai dish with influences of Malay and Indian cooking since the curry relies heavily on the use of spices and coconut.

Traditionally, this curry was always made using chicken given the Islamic dietary laws. Beef and mutton were also popular but hardly ever made with pork. But in the West, you can find all sorts of protein being used including pork. Personally, I prefer lamb or beef; hence I have made a Beef Massaman Curry today.

The recipe I have used today has been adapted from the Chin Chin cookbook (remember the copy I won for last year’s Social Feeds competition). The recipe is not just detailed out well but more importantly; there is also a recipe for making the Massaman curry paste from scratch. Now this paste is where the magic lies – a medley of spices and aromatics blended together to create a spicy, sweet and heavily aromatic blend.

Massaman Curry Paste - a spicy and highly aromatic curry paste from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Let me tell you straight ahead, this is not your ordinary quick fix weekday dinner. The Massaman Curry takes time, effort and a whole lotta love to make it from scratch. But believe me guys, it’s so worth it. And when you make the curry paste, make sure you prepare a larger quantity and freeze in small batches.

Coconut cream is another main component of the Massaman curry. Though I generally prefer to use homemade coconut milk, the weather at the moment made me quite lazy so I used store bought ones. Also look out for coconut cream rather than milk when you are buying for that thicker and creamier consistency.

The braising liquid for the beef is another crucial step for this dish. The meat is just so tender and once strained, this flavourful liquid becomes the stock for the curry. The whole recipe is about adding layer after layer of flavour to yield that rich, sweet and spicy curry that warms your souls and tummies.

Do not get put off by the long list of ingredients or steps involved. Prepare the curry paste one day ahead so that you have enough time on the day of cooking the curry. Substitute with lamb shanks or chicken or even mixed vegetables with tofu for a vegetarian version. Make it folks, I promise you will love it.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

Massaman Curry Paste

(yields more than 2 cups)

  1. 60gms large dried red chillies, seeded; soaked in warm water and roughly chopped
  2. 1 medium red onion
  3. 1 ½ heads garlic
  4. 1 large galangal knob
  5. 3 stalks lemongrass (only the pale part)
  6. 4-5 coriander roots with a bit of stalk
  7. 60gms roasted peanuts
  8. 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  9. ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  10. ½ tbsp cloves
  11. ½ nutmeg
  12. 3/4th tbsp mace powder
  13. 1 large cassia/cinnamon bark
  14. 3 green cardamom

For the braising liquid:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 large knob galangal; roughly chopped
  3. 1 stalk lemongrass (pale part); roughly chopped
  4. 2 large red chillies; seeded and sliced
  5. ½ red onion; chopped
  6. 300ml coconut cream
  7. 2 cups water
  8. 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  9. 1/3 cup fish sauce
  10. 100gms palm sugar

For the curry:

  1. 1 kg beef (chuck steak); cut into 5-6 large pieces
  2. 1 cup kecap manis
  3. 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 200ml coconut cream
  5. 5-6 tbsp massaman curry paste
  6. 2 shallots; diced
  7. 70gms pineapple; diced
  8. 1 tbsp palm sugar
  9. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 large potatoes; boiled and cubed
  11. 1-2 tbsp tamarind water
  12. ½ cup toasted peanuts; crushed
  13. Crispy shallots; for garnish
  14. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

Massaman curry paste:

  • Blitz the chillies, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, roasted peanuts and coriander root to a coarse paste.
  • Grind the spices and add this to the paste along with a good pinch of salt.
  • Blitz again to get a smooth paste (you may need to add water).
  • Freeze in small batches.

To make the curry:

  • Marinate the beef pieces in kecap manis for a few hours or overnight.
  • Wipe off the excess sauce and keep aside to be braised.
  • To get the braising liquid going, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large vessel and add the onions, chilli, lemongrass and galangal. Cook to release the aromas for a couple of minutes and then coconut cream, water, stock, fish sauce and palm sugar.
  • Bring to boil and add the beef pieces to this. Cover and slow cook on the lowest heat possible till the beef has become really tender (took me about 1 ½ hours). Alternately, braise in the oven at 150°C till the meat is tender.
  • Meanwhile, 2 tbsp oil and coconut cream along with a good pinch of salt in another heavy based pan. As the cream separates and the oil starts to split, add the massaman curry paste and cook on high (with frequent stirring) for about 10 minutes. The aroma as the paste starts to cook is so aromatic. Reduce heat a bit and continue to cook the curry paste with frequent stirring till the oil starts to separate. Takes a fair bit of time so be patient.
  • Once the meat has cooked, allow the pieces to cool in the liquid, remove and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain the braising liquid and reserve the stock.
  • In another pan, heat the remaining oil and cook the shallots till golden. Add the pineapple pieces and continue to cook until it has softened and cooked out. Then add the palm sugar to get a caramel like mixture.
  • Add this to the curry paste and continue to cook till the oil starts to separate again. At this stage, add half of the strained braising liquid along with the fish sauce and tamarind water. Taste and season with salt if necessary; also balance out seasoning with fish sauce, tamarind water etc….
  • Add the boiled potatoes and the beef pieces and simmer on low heat. Add the remaining braising liquid and simmer till the meat and potatoes have warmed through.
  • To serve, spoon into a large bowl and garnish with crushed peanuts, crispy shallots and coriander leaves.

Massaman Curry - a sweet, spicy and highly aromatic curry from Thailand - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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