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Tag Archives: family meal

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

Of course pasta has to make its appearance into my weekly menu. But this is the first time I am trying out a mascarpone based sauce.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

A no-brainer recipe and a great alternative to Bechamel sauce especially if you want a creamy one without the heaviness of a Bechamel. Also the process of making the Mascarpone sauce is much easier in comparison.

This dish could just be spaghetti and mascarpone sauce without the addition of anything else. But I wanted more flavour, something more meaty yet nutritious so mushrooms were the natural choice. And mushrooms lend itself very well to a creamy sauce like this one. Perfect for a busy day or when you need to feed a crowd with minimal fuss!

Do you make pasta often? What’s your favourite way to eat pasta?

Here are a few other suggestions if you are fond of pasta like my family….

  1. Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese
  2. Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms
  3. Penne with Tuna (in Chilli Oil)
  4. Spaghetti with Chicken Sausages in White Sauce
  5. Pasta stir fry with Asparagus, Broccoli, Peppers and Snow Peas

So let’s jump straight in to the recipe for Spaghetti, Mascarpone sauce and Mushrooms…

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 200 gms spaghetti
  2. 15gms unsalted butter
  3. 250gms mascarpone cheese
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 3 tbsp olive oil
  9. 1 ½ cups assorted mushrooms
  10. 1 garlic; grated
  11. 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  12. ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  13. A handful of walnuts; coarsely crushed
  14. Grated parmesan; to serve

Method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water as per packet instructions and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the grated garlic followed by the mushrooms. Stir fry on high heat and season the mushrooms with salt and chilli flakes. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, melt butter and add the mascarpone cheese. Mix well; add the milk to loosen up the sauce followed by the Parmesan. Season with salt and black pepper; cook till all the ingredients are combined to get a smooth sauce. Add the spaghetti, mushrooms and parsley; toss well to combine.
  4. Serve hot with chopped parsley, crushed walnuts and grated parmesan.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

 

 

 

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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..

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chillies

For all the prawn lovers out there!

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Personally, I find prawns the easiest yet the most indulgent seafood to cook and eat. Not just for the fact that it cooks super fast but also for its ability to absorb all sorts of flavours in minimal time. Agreed, prawns are slightly more expensive when compared to your regular fish fillets, but there’s so little you need to do to it for a delicious dinner on your table in no time at all.

In our home, prawns are most often cooked for mid week dinners. And that’s because, by Wednesday, I get into the when’s the weekend coming mode and I really need something to get me going. Sometimes, it’s a nice glass of wine or perhaps a late night movie (for which I curse myself the next day morning) and sometimes, it’s an indulgent plate of food. And prawns fit perfectly in that mid week indulgent category.

While I need that mid week luxury, I am not willing to work too hard for it. So today’s recipe, grilled prawns with herbs and chillies is just perfect.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

All you really need for this dish is a bunch of herbs, which makes it also a good dish to use up leftover herbs that let it go bad in the refrigerator. When I have an excess amount of herbs (I grow quite a few at home), I usually chop it all up finely, mix with a generous amount of olive oil and freeze for future uses like this dish. So that’s another tip for you!

So that’s it really, mix the prawns with the herb oil emulsion, a touch of chilli flakes to spice things up and then grill it. Top it over a big bowl of salad or a quick rice or noodle stir fry for a delicious and indulgent midweek dinner.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 350gms tiger prawns; deshelled (leave tails intact) and deveined
  2. 1-1 ½ tsp chilli flakes (adjust to heat preferences)….

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their website for the full recipe.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander)

‘Time Flies’ is an age old adage but the supersonic speed at which the flying is happening in my life currently leaves me so lazy to cook. Too many work and personal assignments that leave me completely drained of time and energy that the everyday meals has become such a chore.

And more often than not, it is not the actual cooking that takes time but rather than the planning of ‘what to cook’! So I decided to pull out my cookbooks (the few that I have) and find inspiration amongst the pages.

Today’s recipe is adapted from ‘The F-Word’!

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Yup, you heard it right. This fantabulous book by Mita Kapur is one of my most treasured ones because it is more than just recipes. It is a glimpse into Mita’s food crazed family and her constant juggles as a working mother. The recipes are from around the world with no borders whatsoever and perfectly suit my style of cooking. I have written more about this book here, if you would like to have a read.

And one of my all time favourite recipes from the book are these Malai Kebabs (minced chicken patties with spices, aromatics and cream).

This time, given the time situation, I chose a simple chicken stir fry. Just a handful of ingredients stir fried in a wok topped over rice or noodles; makes an amazing dinner in no time at all.

Chillies are a key ingredient and I have used both Thai red chillies and large green ones. The original recipe has much more heat but with a 7 year old at home, I had to tone down the heat factor. But it depends on what you like; adjust the number of chillies accordingly.

Always use boneless thigh fillets for making stir fries as the meat is much more tender and juicy while the breast meat often tends to go dry. And of course the wok, never undermine the importance of this cooking vessel in getting that perfect stir fry. A good quality wok is a must have in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms boneless chicken thigh fillet; cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3 Thai red chillies; chopped
  3. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves (with roots); chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves
  5. 2 large green chillies
  6. 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  7. 2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
  8. 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
  9. Salt; to season

For garnish:

  1. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; chopped
  2. 1 spring onion (leafy part); sliced

Method:

  • Using a mortar and pestle, pound the red chillies, garlic and coriander leaves into a coarse paste; keep aside.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in the wok and add the chicken pieces. Stir fry the chicken pieces on high heat till 3/4ths done and remove.
  • In the same wok (add a bit more oil if necessary), add the pound chilli mixture and sauté on low heat for about a minute. Add the oyster sauce, fish sauce and whole green chillies; also return the chicken pieces to the wok.
  • Stir fry on medium heat till done; add salt only if necessary.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions
  • Serve hot.

 

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs)

Usually I talk about the weather when I am tongue tied or when I can’t think of anything to speak, but today it’s simply because the temperatures are soaring in Melbourne and I just can’t take it anymore.

The new home we moved into does not have air conditioning and the poor fans, there’s only so much it can do. I am a summer person generally but not a fan of these intense heat wave days which leaves you feeling so sick and dehydrated.

Cooking becomes a chore because I like rich, bold, big on flavour dinners but I can’t imagine toiling away in the kitchen making it. Takeaway options in my suburb are rather limited which means I have to do the job anyway.

And thus the carbonara!

Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs) - thespiceadventuress.com

There’s hardly any cooking involved for a traditional carbonara; apart from cooking the pasta ofcourse. But I wanted something more meaty and delicious to complete my carbonara experience (without much effort though)! And spicy sausage meatballs were the answer…

Fresh sausages especially the flavoured ones are really delicious; all that you need to do is remove the outer casing and then you get the minced meat to make the meatballs. Easy!

You may use any type of sausage available at the deli but I have chosen hot Sucuk, which is a traditional style famous in the Balkans, Middle East and Central Asia. Both plain and hot Sucuk is available, but the hot one adds a lot of oooomph and flavour to an otherwise mild and creamy Carbonara.

Hot Sucuk - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Hot Sucuk - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

As I mentioned, you may use chorizo or any other sausage you wish to. Sucuk is a dry sausage, hence I used an egg to bring the minced meat together, or else the meatballs might disintegrate. If the sausage you are using is not dry, then the addition of the egg is not necessary.

And if you happen to try this recipe out, please do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your post; I love to see your pictures.

Ingredients:

  1. 250gms fettuccine
  2. 1 hot sucuk (approximately 400gms)
  3. 1 whole egg
  4. 150ml thin/cooking cream
  5. 2 egg yolks
  6. 20 gms grated parmesan (extra for garnish)
  7. Salt, to season
  8. 2 tbsp olive oil
  9. 2-3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method:

  1. Remove the casing of the sucuk and add the minced meat along with 1 egg to a food processor. Blend just enough to combine the egg with the meat.
  2. Divide into small portions and shape into small meatballs.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and shallow fry the meatballs in batches; keep aside.
  4. Beat the cream, egg yolks, parmesan till well combined in a bowl and season lightly with salt.
  5. Cook the fettuccine according to packet instructions; drain but reserving half a cup of the water in which the pasta was cooked.
  6. Return the pasta to the hot pan, add the cream egg mixture along with the meatballs and toss through. The residual heat in the pasta is enough; do not place on heat or the eggs will scramble. Add the pasta water if the sauce feels too thick.
  7. Garnish with chopped parsley and grated parmesan; serve warm.

Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs) - thespiceadventuress.com

Fettuccine Carbonara (with Spicy Sausage Meatballs) - thespiceadventuress.com

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