Category Archives: Mains

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous)

‘Busy’ would be too small a word to describe the frenzied state of activity in my life these days.

As many of you would be aware, my parents are here visiting us for a few months. It’s the last couple of weeks so most days seem like an extended holiday. Lots of short trips coupled with shopping expeditions mean I hardly get time to sit down for a blog post though my folders are overflowing with tons of delicious recipes.

So without much talking, I am gonna jump straight to the recipe today – Tandoori Chicken Thighs served with Grilled Veggies and Couscous.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of my absolute favourite things to do at the moment is introduce my parents to cuisines from different parts of the world. They are in awe at the kind of food that’s available in Melbourne, the beautiful produce and ingredients from around the globe.

I came up with this dish just to showcase how a simple Indian marinade can be used in a slightly contemporary way but still appealing to their Indian tastebuds.

Tandoori needs no introduction at all; it is a global favourite and has staunchly become the face of Indian cuisine in most countries apart from the curry ofcourse.

Even though most of us might not have a traditional tandoor at home, it’s quite easy to prepare it on a barbecue grill, oven or even on a stove top grill depending on the kind of protein or vegetable that is being cooked.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

I always make the tandoori marinade from scratch. Not a big fan of store bought masalas and moreover, the marinade is super easy to make. Many versions call for the addition of gram flour but I use only yoghurt which I feel imparts more flavour without that doughy taste to the coating.

For this dish, I have used the tandoori marinade for both the chicken thighs as well as the vegetables. While I cooked the thighs on a barbecue grill, I used a regular stove top grill for the veggies. Couscous pairs beautifully with a dish like this; it’s light and fluffy texture is a perfect accompaniment to the chicken and veggies. And a drizzle of the tangy mint coriander chutney completes the dish perfectly.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

(Recipe for the mint coriander chutney can be found here.)

Recipe:

Tandoori marinade:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup thick curd
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
  • ¼ tsp black salt/kala namak
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp dry ginger powder
  • Salt, to season
  • 2 garlic cloves; grated
  • 1 inch ginger; grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped

Method:

In a bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk well to get a smooth consistency.

For the chicken:

Ingredients:

  1. 5 chicken Maryland/thighs; score lengthwise
  2. 1 cup tandoori marinade
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Vegetable oil, for barbecue

Method:

  • In a bowl, add the required tandoori marinade to the chicken thighs. Season with salt (remember the marinade has salt) and rub the marinade well into the chicken. Keep refrigerated for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Bring to room temperature before grilling.
  • Fire up the barbecue and grill the chicken pieces till done.

Grilled vegetables:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 red onion; cut into cubes
  2. 1 red bell pepper; cut into cubes
  3. 1 medium zucchini; cut into cubes
  4. 1 punnet baby corn
  5. 1 small broccoli; florets separated
  6. 1 small fennel bulb; cut into cubes
  7. ½ cup tandoori marinade
  8. Salt, to season
  9. Vegetable oil; for grilling

Method:

  • Place all the vegetables in a bowl, add the marinade and season with salt if necessary. Mix well and keep for at least 1-2 hours.
  • Heat a stove grill to high, brush with oil and grill the veggies in batches. Remember to grill on high to get the char but still keep the crunchy texture.

Couscous:

  1. 2 ½ cups couscous
  2. 2 ½ cups water
  3. Salt; to season

Method:

Add 2 ½ cups boiling water to 2 ½ cups couscous (1:1 ratio), season with salt, cover and keep aside. After 10 minutes, use a fork to lightly fluff up the couscous.

Note – Do check packet instructions as the ratio of water to couscous can sometimes vary.

For garnish:

  • Lemon wedges
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves; finely chopped

To assemble:

  • Place the couscous in the middle of a large platter and arrange the grilled veggies around it. Garnish with half of the coriander leaves
  • Place the chicken thighs on another platter, garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and mint coriander chutney.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign)

Curry for change!

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Great Australian Curry – an annual fundraising campaign by Opportunity International Australia is back and this is my second year of pledging support for the cause.

(You can view details of the previous campaigns here and here.)

Opportunity International Australia works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes in developing countries including India. And the ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

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This year’s campaign was officially launched last month with a spicy cook-off between Stephanie Rice (Triple Olympic gold medallist) and Courtney Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on one team and Michael Kasprowicz (former Australian Test Cricketer) and Valerie Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on the other team.

It’s a great cause and with curry being a favourite at most Australian homes, it’s so easy to organize a small fundraiser in your home or office. Invite a couple of your friends home for a dinner (plenty of delicious curry recipes on the blog to help you with the cooking) and organize a small fundraiser of your own. Or perhaps arrange a curry potluck in your office where you can pitch in with your colleagues to raise a target amount. Remember that even the smallest amount can go a long way in being a helping hand to those in need.

Robert Dunn, the Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, said that last year the campaign was able to raise $108,000 which was used to help out 1500 families start small businesses and provide a livelihood. ‘We hope to help even more families this year through the generosity of Australians.’

And if cooking is not your thing, you can still make a donation and show support.

For more information about the campaign; visit the fundraising website, Great Australian Curry.

There are also many exciting prizes up for grabs this year to encourage you to start a campaign.

“The first 20 people to set up a fundraiser on Opportunity’s website will receive Rick Stein’s mouth-watering cookbook, ‘India’. The book features a wealth of simple curry recipes that’ll come in handy for your Great Australian Curry events. The colourful cookbook features the best recipes from Rick Stein’s Indian odyssey in search of the perfect curry.

There is also a writing competition and the prize is a signed copy of renowned Sydney Quay chef Peter Gilmore’s cookbook ‘Organum’. Peter’s book delves into the four essential ingredients for the perfect dish “nature, texture, intensity and purity. Just tell us in 25 words or less why taking part in the Great Australian Curry is important to you. Details of this competition are on the Great Australian Curry website.

And while you can find lots of delicious curry inspiration on my blog, here’s another one to get you started…Chettinad style Duck Kurma.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Today’s recipe comes from the Chettinad region in South India, which is famous for its cuisine especially curries.

Kurma is a type of curry preparation that was bought to India by the Mughals. While it has evolved much over the years, the kurma is essentially a rich creamy curry and can be both vegetarian and non vegetarian.

However in the Chettinad region, the kurma is prepared slightly different as the cream gets replaced by coconut which is blended with poppy seeds, cashewnuts and other spices to form a rich and flavourful curry. Personally, it’s this kurma preparation that’s my favourite as I am not too fond of cream based curries.

I have veered away from the usual proteins, opting for duck instead of chicken or lamb as it’s a delicious meat that pairs beautifully with the spices and coconut. And also because we get such high quality duck meat in Australia.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Note – Use any meat of choice or replace with eggs or mixed vegetables/paneer/tofu for a vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

Wet spice paste:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 tsp fennel seeds
  3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 3 fresh green chillies; broken in half
  5. 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  6. 10 raw cashewnuts
  7. 7 garlic cloves; crushed
  8. 2 tbsp roasted Bengal gram (split)
  9. 1 ½ inch ginger; crushed
  10. 60gms fresh grated coconut

For the curry:

  1. Whole duck (approximately 1.1kg); cut into curry sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 2 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 4 green cardamom
  5. 1 large onion; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  7. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  8. 2 large ripe tomatoes; pureed
  9. 2 tsp red chilli powder
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

To prepare the wet spice paste:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and add the cumin, fennel seeds and green chillies. Then add the poppy seeds, cashews and garlic; sauté for a few seconds.
  2. Next add the Bengal gram, coconut and ginger. Mix well and sauté for a minute or two till the coconut turns a little toasty but not too brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Blend with just enough water to get a wet paste.

To make the curry:

  1. Heat the remaining oil in a large wok/kadhai and add the cinnamon and cardamom followed by the onion. Sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
  2. Next add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and curry leaves; mix to combine.
  3. Add the tomato puree and season with salt. Cook on medium heat till the mixture comes together and you can notice oil appearing at the sides of the masala.
  4. Next add the wet spice pasta and mix well to combine. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes on low to medium heat stirring continuously.
  5. Add the duck pieces; mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1-2 cups water (depending on how much gravy you prefer) and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently till the duck pieces have cooked perfectly and the gravy has thickened. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  6. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This duck curry is delicious with hoppers, flatbreads, rice, pita breads etc… I paired it with steamed rice, flat breads, a green salad and my favourite tomato chutney.

Enjoy…but don’t forget to take part in the fundraising too. A little help from us can go a long way to help out another family in need.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post was bought to you in association with Opportunity International but all the opinions and musings are mine.

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus)

Father’s Day came early for us this year!

Though we are not big on celebrating days like this, my job as a food blogger means that often I end up creating a special dish or menu either for the blog or for other websites. So when ‘Stuff Mums Like’ got in touch with me for a Father’s Day recipe, I thought of coming up with a dish that I know Sam would love.

And nothing better to tickle his taste buds than a juicy steak with the works!

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - the ultimate Father's Day recipe - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is pretty simple inspite of a long title. It’s delicious, very satisfying and extremely easy to prepare even for a novice cook. All you need is a wee bit of time, patience and loads of love.

Before getting onto this delicious steak recipe, a sneak peek into our Father’s Day gift this year.

When Jord watches reached out to me couple of weeks ago for a media campaign, I was both apprehensive and excited. Surely stepping out of my comfort zone here (but it’s time, literally and figuratively), also it seemed to be the perfect gift to celebrate the man in my life.

Jord specialises in hand crafted, all natural wooden watches. Featured here is ‘Ebony and Iron’ from the Hyde series, a classic and elegant dark wood strap with sapphire crystal glass. Sam has been using it everyday for about a month now, so that I could share an unbiased review with all of you. And he couldn’t be happier! (Though the sizing chart on the website is spot on, we had requested extra links so it was taken to a watch shop to size it perfectly. But that’s just us.)

Ebony and Iron, Hyde series, Jord Watches - the perfect Father's Day gift - thespiceadventuress.com

And the best part…you can now win a $100 gift card towards a Jord watch of your choice. Click here to participate in the contest; ends 08/27/2017 11:59pm. Everyone who participates but did not win will receive a consolation prize of $25 off gift code.

Giveaway open worldwide!

Now let’s get back to the steak.

I used Scotch fillets but you may use any cut; just make sure that the cooking times are adjusted accordingly.

Instead of the classic mash, I opted for the smashed potato salad which is so creamy and delicious but requires only half the effort and time. Hardly any butter, instead it’s buttermilk that lends creaminess to this salad along with a lot of punchy flavours from the red wine vinegar and mustard. And a generous sprinkle of herbs to complete….

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - thespiceadventuress.com

As for the red wine jus, it’s the simplest sauce but one with loads of flavour and meatiness that perfectly complements the steak. I would strongly recommend the use of homemade stock if possible.

And when you have an indulgent dish like this, you need the perfect wine to match – The Barkly Durif 2010 Rutherglen from Campbell Wines . Rich, complex and deeply textured with the taste of intense fruits lingering on your palate, this is one of the best reds I have had in a long time. Great for cellaring too!

Barkly Durif 2010 Rutherglen from Campbell Wines - thespiceadventuress.com

So go on and check out the recipe for Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) on Stuff Mums Like and a Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures in your life. And if you make this dish, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I could see it too.

Ingredients:

(Serves 3)

  1. 3 x 200gm Scotch fillet
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Get the full recipe here...

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - thespiceadventuress.com

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes)

What’s winter without slow cooked lamb shanks!

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

We love lamb shanks and it is always one of our top picks when we dine out during the colder months. But this time, I decided to give it a go at home because all that you need for this delicious dish is time and patience.

The recipe is really simple and as I mentioned, these lamb shanks only need time to get tender, juicy and fall-off-the-bone. So slow cook it on your stovetop or braise in the oven, or perhaps put it all into your slowcooker just before heading out for work. And when you return, you will have the most delicious, indulgent lamb shanks that can be served with couscous and a simple green salad. Feeds a crowd!

And if you are a curry lover, you will be mighty pleased with the flavours of these slow cooked lamb shanks. The addition of garlic, chillies, paprika and tomatoes lend rich earthy undertones that make the dish an ultimate comfort.

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

On the weather front, Melbourne is grappling with the change of seasons. Spring should be here soon but winter does not want to leave us yet. So while some days are warm and sunny, others are bone chilling freezing. So check out the forecast and get these lamb shanks on to enjoy it best before winter fades away….

And do tag me using #thespiceadventuress if you make these slow cooked lamb shanks; it’s always a joy when you share your photographs with me.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 lamb shanks
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Stuff Mums Like, so find the full recipe here. 

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad

I know, that’s a long title!

It’s really hard to name a dish that is an amalgamation of so many different ideas, so I decided to just state what it is rather than a coin a word or phrase. But you must agree; it does read like a dish out of a fancy restaurant menu.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

I love to visit and browse around artisan food stores, especially those that stock small batches of ingredients or products by local food producers. One such amazing place I discovered last year was Craft & Co. I was invited to their annual Christmas Market, which was an amazing experience as I got to learn about so many unique handcraft food products and also have a chit chat with their makers.

Now this can be a highly inspiring experience, something you will not get when you buy a product off a supermarket shelf. When you have a chat with these food producers, you will be amazed at the passion they have for their products. Sometimes it’s just one product; for eg: a lady might be selling jam but then that would be a recipe that she has perfected over many years, completely handmade and bottled. She would use the best quality ingredients when in season and make small batches. And make it again next year when the particular fruit is back in season. That’s how food used to be generations ago…..local and what’s available in season.

While there were so many products on display, I was quite drawn to Red Rock Olives. Excellent quality olives and olive oils but what really caught my attention was the ‘olive salt’. Now I had never heard of an olive salt till then and I was so intrigued by how it would taste.

The lady at the counter (sorry dear, I forgot your name though I remember your beautiful smile) sensed my interest and encouraged me to try some. She asked me to dip a sourdough piece first in olive oil and then a bit of salt before tasting. It was quite different to anything I had tasted before; at first, you get the hit of salt which then gives way to the tangy familiar taste of olives. It’s subtle but it’s there….

So I bought two bottles of Red Rock olive salts, the ordinary olive salt and the chilli infused one. The ordinary one was part of a giveaway I did last Christmas and the chilli infused one, I kept for my personal needs.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Even though I have used it so many times before, I somehow never managed to do a recipe for the blog. And since it’s a product I really enjoyed using, I thought of sharing it with you guys. This post is not sponsored, just me telling all of you about this amazing product. And if you are visiting the Grampians, do visit Red Rock; I have heard it is a stunning place.

Today’s recipe is actually a super simple one in spite of the long name. I used salmon fillets and marinated it with some of the olive salt, sweet paprika, olive oil and then pan fried it. The couscous salad is again a no brainer, but a delicious one since it works as a salad and side. Great option for lunch boxes!

The butter sauce is not strictly necessary but I wanted to add more flavour. Again, extremely easy….

The whole dish comes together in under an hour, and works perfectly as a midweek dinner.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Note – The olive salts (and other olive products) can be purchased from the Red Rock website. And of those who cannot get their hands on this, you can still make this dish by using any sort of marinade or dry rub for the salmon.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 6 salmon fillets (with skin)
  2. 1 ½ tsp Red Rock olive salt
  3. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil

For the butter sauce:

  1. 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 2 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  3. ½ large red chilli (less heat variety)

For the couscous salad:

  1. 1 cup cooked couscous
  2. 1 medium red onion; sliced
  3. 6 cherry tomatoes; halved
  4. 6 baby radish; sliced
  5. 1 small Lebanese cucumber; sliced
  6. A handful of green olives; chopped
  7. 1 medium yellow bell pepper; sliced
  8. A handful of capers
  9. ½ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  10. Juice of ½ lemon
  11. Salt; to season
  12. Freshly cracked black pepper; to season

Method:

Salmon:

  1. Make sure that all the fish bones are removed, wash and pat dry.
  2. Add the olive salt, paprika and olive oil to the salmon; rub well all over and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a pan and pan fry the salmon fillets in batches. Since you have already added oil to the marinade, extra oil is not needed but you can add more depending on the type of pan you are using. Also fry skin side first to get really crispy skin.

Butter sauce:

  1. Add the butter, garlic cloves and chillies to a cold pan and place on low heat. Let the flavours infuse into the butter slowly so make sure it’s on the lowest heat.
  2. Remove when the butter starts to take on a light brown colour.

Couscous salad:

Prepare the couscous as per packet instructions or you can follow this method which works for me every single time.

  1. For 1 cup couscous, use 1 ½ cups water. Bring the water to boil, season lightly with salt and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the water starts to boil, add the couscous, mix well and take off heat. Keep covered for 5 minutes. Open the lid and gently fluff the couscous using a fork. Transfer to a flat plate or container to cool the couscous faster or the ambient heat can overcook.
  2. Once cooled, add all the veggies to the couscous and refrigerate till it’s time to serve.
  3. Just before serving, add the lemon juice, parsley; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss well.

To serve, spoon a portion of the salad on the plate, place a salmon fillet and drizzle with a little butter sauce on top. Tuck in!

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo)

Tacos are delicious morsels, packed with flavour and these fish tacos are no exception!

Crispy slivers of barramundi with sweet n’ salty pickled onions and carrots, finished off with jalapeno mayo to spice things up a bit. An easy dish to put together that brings the whole family around at the dinner table.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s been a little crazy out here, with all of us getting sick and that paired with the start of the school holidays, when every routine gets unfollowed. A death in the family further put me back on spirits so there’s been very little work that I have actually been doing. Top that with the early winter sunsets, I hardly get to shoot any food if I haven’t prepared it on time.

I made these tacos for a client, so thought this was a good time to share it with you especially if you live Down Under and have hungry kids all day at home. Tacos are one of my favourite things to make in the kitchen because even though there is a bit of prep involved, it’s easy and everyday ingredients that can be put together really quickly.

You could use any white fish for this recipe; buy whatever is in season and locally available. We are lucky to get local and really fresh barramundi out here so that’s why I have used it. But any white fish with a relatively firm flesh can be used.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

I always have an assortment of pickled veggies in my refrigerator; it’s just a convenient, affordable and simple way to add oodles of flavour to your food. For these tacos, I have made pickled slaw using carrots and onions with whole spices for that extra hint of flavour. And the jalapeno mayo, which is the simplest thing to make. I have grown quite fond of homemade mayo, it’s such an easy job once you begin to do it regularly and so much healthier than the bottled stuff. So do give it a try if you have never made it before.

Ingredients:

  1. Wheat tortillas
  2. 1 large carrot; julienned
  3. 1 large red onion; julienned

Find the full recipe here…..

 

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood..

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

My love affair with pork began only after moving to Australia.

Pork was an almost non-existent meat in my childhood, since I lived in the Middle East. And it only made an occasional appearance when I visited India during holidays. There is a myth that pork is not very popular in India but that’s so far from the truth. Agreed, it’s not the most preferred meat due to several cultural and religious reasons but there are communities where pork is revered and is considered a delicacy. And in Kerala, it’s extremely popular among several Christian communities.

When I moved back to India, pork became a more regular meat in our household because my mom absolutely loves it. But I really didn’t enjoy it at all and would just pick at it. I think it must have been the preparation and also the quality of the meat itself that put me off.

After moving to Australia, the fact that prompted me to buy pork is the disappointing ‘vindaloo’ that is served at most Indian restaurants. I was on a mission to learn how to make a good vindaloo (which I did) and pork ofcourse was the meat of choice.

Australian pork was a revelation. The quality of meat is absolutely amazing and I could not help but fall in love with it. I cook with pork a lot these days, not just in curries or stir fries but also a variety of ways and one of my absolute favourite is steak.

Australian pork - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I usually cook steaks based on intuition but for pork, I usually follow the 6-2-2 method. You cannot miss the Australian pork ads that run on TV with a catchy tag line like ‘get some pork on your fork’ and that’s where I first got to know about the 6-2-2 cooking method. Basically what it means is cook the steaks for 6 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on the other and finally rest for another 2 minutes before serving. I have been using this guideline for a while now and it always delivers the best result.

The thickness of the steak is important while using this method. If you like the meat well done, then use 2cm steaks for this method but if you prefer that blush of pink (highly recommended), then get steaks slightly bigger than 2cm.

So here’s the final dish, pork steaks with a simple coriander fennel rub, creamy potato mash, roasted carrots and Madeira reduction. Now let’s get cooking….

Madeira - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Recipe for Roasted carrots can be found here.

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  1. 4 pork steaks (approximately 2cm)
  2. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  3. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  4. ½ tsp black peppercorns
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil

For the Madeira reduction:

(adapted from Heston’s Fantastical Feasts)

  1. 85gms shallots; finely chopped
  2. 30gms leek (white and pale parts); sliced
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  4. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  5. 1 dried bay leaf
  6. 375ml Madeira

For the mashed potato:

  1. 500gms potatoes (I used russet but you can use any which lends a creamy texture)
  2. 2 large garlic clove
  3. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. 1 tsp dried oregano
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Black pepper, to season
  8. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped
  1. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped

Method:

For the pork:

  1. To prepare the rub, pound the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add to the pork steaks along with the olive oil and season well with salt. Rub thoroughly on both sides of the steak and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a pan to high (you may use a grill) and then reduce to medium high. Place the pork steaks and cook on one side for 6 minutes. Then turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and rest for another 2 minutes (cover while resting). I do not add more oil to the pan as the steaks are oiled well but you may add if you wish to.

For the Madeira reduction:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes or till the liquid has almost halved. Strain and keep aside.

For the mashed potato:

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water till soft.
  2. Add 2 tbsp butter to a small pan along with the garlic; cook on low heat till garlic turns golden. Remove from flame and add the oregano. Keep aside.
  3. In another pan, place the potatoes, milk and remaining butter. Mash and cook on low heat whisking continuously till you get a smooth, creamy mixture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; remove when desired texture has been achieved. If you want super creamy texture, pass the mashed potatoes through a sieve (I didn’t do this, though).
  5. Add the melted garlic infused butter to the mashed potatoes and stir through; garnish with chopped chives.

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Australian Pork and Social Soup. I have been using Australian pork for years so the opinions as well as the recipe are unbiased and entirely mine.

 

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Time management has always been a roller coaster ride for me. Some weeks, I am organized, motivated, super productive and all the good stuff but other weeks, it just drowns and overwhelms me completely. And this is not something that has happened post my blogging/self-entrepreneurial journey; it has always been the case.

Last week was one of the latter. I have no clue what went wrong but nothing was really getting accomplished. My mind was not in the right space, a wavering mish mash of random thoughts that left me emotionally drained for no reason at all. And soon the writing work was getting piled up which left me all the more frustrated.

Unlike many people who say that cooking is a stress buster, I cannot bring myself to even boil water if I am not in the right mood. But takeaways do not sit too well with me so I had to force myself into the kitchen. Instead of elaborate meals, I opted for no fail recipes that required minimal prep time, one pot meals etc…. and these chicken drumsticks fit perfectly.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

Fried chicken is an all time comfort food. If crunch is the end result of dunking anything in oil, then it wins my heart…always. And if it’s savoury, then all the better.

So as the name of the dish goes, these are fried chicken drumsticks with some Asian flavours going on. You can use any part of the chicken; I went ahead with drumsticks because it had been a while since we had it. The only difference from any regular fried chicken is the Asian style marinade in which the drumsticks are marinated before going through the flour-egg-flour routine.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are not a fan of the flour coating, then use breadcrumbs instead. And if you can find Panko, then all the better for the crunch. Remember that you only need a light dusting of the flour or the outer coating can be quite floury and gluggy. And get that oil temperature right before frying the chicken if you need the crunchy deliciousness.

If oven baked is your preference instead of deep frying, then I suggest the breadcrumbs as I feel the texture is better with crumbs than flour.

So there you go; so many options to make these delicious fried chicken drumsticks. And please do tag me #thespiceadventuress if you are posting on any social media; gives me great joy to see your creations.

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 8 medium sized chicken drumsticks
  2. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  4. 2 tsp sesame oil
  5. 2 tbsp sriracha (can be replaced with any chilli sauce)
  6. 3 tsp crushed ginger
  7. ½ tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  8. ½ cup cornflour
  9. ½ cup plain flour
  10. 2 eggs, beaten
  11. Salt, to season
  12. Vegetable oil; for deep frying
  13. Sichuan pepper-salt
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 50gms salt

Method:

  • To prepare the Sichuan salt, toast the peppercorns in a pan (without any oil) on low heat for about 2 minutes. Shake the pan constantly to avoid burning the peppercorns. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, lightly heat the salt for about 30-40 seconds and then add to the peppercorns. Using a mortar and pestle (or grinder), crush well to get the Sichuan peppercorn salt. If you prefer a fine powder, you may sieve this but I like to use it a bit coarse.
  • To prepare the marinade for the chicken, mix all the sauces, wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and pepper. Add the chicken and mix well; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer if possible. Taste and season with salt only if required.
  • Combine the corn flour with the plain flour in a bowl. Add ½ tsp Sichuan salt to the flour and mix well.
  • Beat the eggs well in another bowl.
  • Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and then coat lightly with the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour before dipping in the beaten egg. Return back to the flour mixture for another light dusting and keep aside.
  • Heat oil for deep frying and fry the drumsticks in batches till golden brown and crispy. (Remember if the oil is too hot, the outside will brown up quickly without cooking the chicken inside properly).
  • Serve hot with Sichuan pepper salt.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Moroccan Lamb Chops + Snippets from my Early Easter Party

It was an early Easter party for us this year. Actually totally unplanned; it was meant to be a barbecue party with a few friends which eventually turned out to be sort of an Easter lunch.

Succulent - thespiceadventuress.com

Before we get to the party and the recipes, let me share with you the story of my Weber and how it came into our lives. Way back in 2013, when I had just started blogging, I came across a giveaway hosted by Kikkoman in association with Weber. The prize pack was the new Kikkoman condiments being released that year along with a Weber Q200.

And on a lark I participated (I enter a lot of giveaways guys and its pretty common knowledge amongst my friends) and won!

The prize pack arrived and the interesting bit is that we were living in an apartment at that time where the Weber could not be used. And it stayed in a box for the longest time till we moved homes late last year. So finally the Weber that I got in 2013 was inaugurated in 2016 for a Christmas party. So naturally we are very excited to use it after waiting all these years that every party planned eventually ends up as a barbecue themed one.

There were a few recipes I had scheduled to be developed and photographed for the blog as well as clients and two of these fit in perfectly for the party menu. So the idea of a casual get together turned into an early Easter party. And coupled with other dishes, we soon had a feast on our table.

So here’s what I had on the menu for the day…

For starters, we had Cajun sausages and grilled corn.

The recipe for Cajun sausages has been there on the blog for the longest time and is a favourite in our home. It’s quick to put together and hence features regularly on our weekend entertaining.

No barbecue would be complete without grilled corn and we had it the classic way, rubbed with butter, lemon and chilli powder (substitute with paprika for less heat).

Cajun sausages, a delicious party starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled corn with butter, lemon and chilli - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had two meat dishes – Moroccan lamb chops and the Middle Eastern style beef kofta platter.

I have been dying to try out Noha’s beef kofta recipe for the longest time and this seemed to be the perfect occasion for it. No adaptations or tweaks; just followed the recipe as such. And yes, good quality beef mince with a bit of fat is highly recommended.

If you aren’t already following her, please do for all the deliciousness she puts up on her space.

Middle Eastern beef kofta platter - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming to Moroccan lamb chops, I had to share it with you guys because it’s simple, tastes awesome and everytime I have made it, it’s been a big hit.

Lamb chops with a bit of fat attached is recommended especially while grilling because it helps keep the meat moist and tender. The marination is simple and is best done a day ahead. I have frenched the lamb chops because it looks nice and pretty that way but you don’t strictly need to.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Our choice of wine for the day was the Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015, a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb chops; frenched
  2. ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  3. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  4. ½ cup fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
  5. Salt; to season
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  8. 1 tbsp paprika
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds; crushed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the herbs and spices with olive oil.
  • Add the lamb chops; season with salt and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
  • Grill on high heat on both sides till done.
  • Enjoy!

And finally it was time for dessert. I had created an Easter themed icecream cake as a guest post for Stuff Mums Like. Since it was a warm day, the icecream cake made the perfect dessert to end our happy meal.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

An extremely simple one, this cake consists of three different icecream layers on a base of cookie crumble. Store bought icecreams were used; saves time and great for parties. Choose whichever flavours you prefer and the number of layers too. A totally customizable cake, it’s great for birthday parties too especially if you are hosting one at home for children.

The addition of the chocolate nest and chocolate filled Easter eggs add that special touch of festivity.

So hop over to their website for the full recipe.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Clams

Clams………do you find it delicious? The answer should be yes if you are taking the time to read through this post.

I love it! But then I love all sorts of seafood which includes all sorts of shellfish too. And clams are high on the favourites list….

Clams are little morsels of deliciousness; there’s not much you need to do but today I have gone all out to re-create this English summer classic.  It’s light but flavoursome from the butter, cream, cheese and white wine. Please don’t start counting calories; let’s just tuck in without any remorse whatsoever.

I found the most amazing fresh clams at the Hellenic Seafood Store inside Dandenong Market. By the way, have you read my previous post? If you haven’t, you need to because it is a guide to some of the best stores in the market and there is also a $200 voucher waiting for a lucky reader.

Clams - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Usually I prepare this South Indian style clams dish but this time, I thought of trying out this recipe. I am a big fan of white sauce, cheese, wine etc… etc…. (Yup you get the picture!). And this recipe for baked clams from an old Rachel Allen cookbook just seemed perfect.

It’s a pretty simple dish actually and extremely easy to prepare even though there are a few steps. It’s important to get your hands on really good quality fresh clams; very little time needs to be spent on cleaning and it also affects the taste.

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

These baked clams will not take you much time which makes it perfect even for a weekday indulgence. A bottle of crisp white wine and some sourdough bread is all you need. But a salad would be a great idea too if you want to balance out the richness of the dish.

So let’s dig in this deliciously creamy and indulgent Baked Clams!

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg fresh clams (weight with shells)
  2. 20gm unsalted butter
  3. 20gm plain flour
  4. 2 tbsp shallots; finely chopped
  5. 1 ½ tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  6. 120ml dry white wine
  7. 100ml water
  8. 200ml double cream
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Freshly milled black pepper; to season
  11. 40gm unsalted butter
  12. 40gm Cheddar cheese (you may use Gruyère too)
  13. 25 gm white breadcrumbs

Method:

  • Wash the clams well under cold running water. If there are any clams which will not shut when tapped on the shell, then discard those as it might not be fit to eat.
  • To prepare the roux, heat butter in a pan and add the flour when the butter has melted. Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes taking care that the flour and butter does not burn. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  • In a large pot, place the clams, shallots, parsley, wine and water. Cook on high heat allowing the liquid to boil for a couple of minutes and all the clams have opened.
  • Remove the clams one by one from the pot and place in another bowl. If there are any unopened ones, allow more time to cook which will open up the shells. But if any remain closed even after cooking a few minutes, then discard those. Sieve the remaining liquid through a muslin cloth to remove any remaining grit.
  • Return the strained liquid back to heat, bring to boil. Then add the cream slowly and stir well; allow to boil and then add the roux to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining butter, cheese and breadcrumbs.
  • To assemble, place the clams in an oven proof dish, pour the sauce all over the clams and then add the crumb mixture evenly on top. Place in a hot oven or under a hot grill for 1- 2 minutes or till the crust is golden.
  • Serve warm

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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