Tag Archives: recipe

Poached salmon with ginger

Last night I prepared a lovely dinner! A dear friend was coming to visit and I wanted something new and special. I had the latest edition of the Australian Healthy Food Guide on the table and flicked through it while getting my shopping list together. One picture caught my eye: poached salmon atop peas and snowpeas in a bowl with broth and a wedge of lime. It looked so fresh and light! And finally, we have summer (only 2 months late). The last couple of days have been hot and clear.

I adapted the recipe a little. I bought some fresh shitake mushrooms which I knew would just be wonderful in this dish. I included asparagus as well to increase the variation with the vegetables. The result was a lovely combination of flavour and texture. While it was a little fiddly and hands on right to the end, which is not my preferred style of cooking when entertaining, it is something that I will definately make again.

The recipe below is written to serve two people, last night I served three (well three and a half). When cooking more salmon fillets you will need a larger saucepan to fit them all in at once, which means increasing the quantity of water, fish sauce, sugar and especially the ginger.

Poached Salmon with Ginger

1 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, sliced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2x 150g skinless salmon fillets
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup water
100g shitake mushrooms, sliced
10 snowpeas
10 asparagus
1/2 cup frozen peas
coriander sprigs
lime wedges
1 cup cooked white rice

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan. Add the spring onions and ginger and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar and water; bring to the boil and turn the heat down to low. Add the salmon. Cook for 3 minutes, turn the salmon over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and keep somewhere warm.

Increase the heat under the saucepan. Add the mushrooms. Boil rapidly for five minutes. Add the asparagus, snowpeas and peas and cook for 2 minutes.

Pack 1/2 cup of cooked rice in a small ramekin, turn upside down onto a plate; the rice will come out and keep its shape. Prepare the rest of the rice in the same way on a second plate. Serve the vegetables on the plate next to the rice, top with salmon. Ladle some of the broth on top of the salmon. Garnish with coriander sprigs and lime wedges.

Nutritional information
total: 4139 kJ, 46.1 g fat, 76.8 g protein, 64.4 g carb, 8.9 g fibre
per serve: 2069 kJ, 23.1 g fat, 38.4 g protein, 32.2 g carb, 4.5 g fibre

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Spicy Chicken Curry

Tonight I followed a recipe. Well… read ‘followed’ loosely. I used a recipe as a base for what became dinner. But more than that, I worked out the nutritional info and I wrote it up to post here.

I wanted to do something with chicken. I wanted something that I could make in bulk and freeze. I wanted something that would be tasty and healthy. I started looking through cookbooks and a recipe called ‘Hot and Spicy Chicken Curry’ caught my eye. It seemed to fit all the criteria.

My small boy is not up to hot foods yet, but he does get spicy foods regularly. To adapt the recipe for him I left out the chilli powder. I did leave in the white pepper so it will be interesting to see what he thinks. I also cut down the amount of oil called for from 60mL to 10mL. I only used 1kg of chicken thigh fillets, the original called for 1.7kg. I did this because I had only bought 1kg of thigh fillets and I did not want to go back to the shops. I left the amount of the spice the same even with less chicken but cut back a little on the liquid. So, I did mean loosly followed 🙂

There are alot of spices used in this dish. We like spicy food and cook frequently, so we had all of these in the cupboard except for the fresh lemon grass and the curry leaves. These are both available in asian grocery stores and larger supermarkets in Australia.

I thought about swapping the coconut milk for light evaporated milk with coconut essence… but decided against it. I am not using much in the total dish and it will add to the taste and texture of the sauce. But you could swap the coconut milk for reduced fat greek yoghurt. That would give the curry a slightly different taste but it would work.

The curry serves 5-8 people, depending on how much chicken you want. My diet is higher in protein so for us the meal served 5 (ish). I had 8 thigh fillets in my kg of chicken, that gave me 16 pieces of chicken. I served up 3 pieces of chicken for each person. If you only had 1 thigh fillet each, the curry would serve 8.

There was alot of sauce, which I like and it made me think that the recipe would work with more chicken but not increasing the quantities of anything else. The flavours are gentle because there is no chilli but still complex. The chicken was fall-apart tender. I needed to add a little salt and the coriander was important. I really liked this dish. I am glad there are left overs to freeze. It is not too heavy for a cool summer evening and it would be a good winter dinner.

Spicy Chicken Curry
(adapted from Woman’s Weekly Cook It Freeze It)

2 tsp olive oil
1kg chicken thigh fillets, halved
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
10 curry leaves
400g tin of diced tomatos
1/2 cup chicken stock
10cm piece of fresh lemon grass, bruised
80mL light coconut milk
coriander leaves to garnish

Spice blend – mix together the following:
1 tbs ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp ground cardomom
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Pre heat the oven to 160’C.

Heat the olive oil in a large flame proof casserole dish. Brown the chicken in batches, set aside.

In the same pan, cook the onion, stirring until soft and browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a further minute. Add the spice blend and curry leaves, cook stirring for a further 2 minutes. Add the stock, tomato, lemon grass and the chicken, stir to coat. Bring to the boil.

Cover with a tightly fitting lid and place in the oven. Cook for 60 minutes, stir and return uncovered to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk, stir to incorporate.

Serve with basmati rice, some steamed greens and garnished with coriander leaves.

Nutritional info (without the rice or the greens)
Total: 8110 kJ, 104.5 g fat, 190.1 g protein, 68.3 g carbohydrate, 8.7 g fiber
per serve (5 serves): 1622kJ, 20.9 g fat, 38.0 g protein, 13.7 g carbohydrate, 1.7g fibre.

Roast Banana Ice Cream

Fall down, wallow on the ground for a little while, try to pick self up again. That is what I am doing at the moment… picking myself up. Why and so on and so forth is another story and I am not yet up enough to elaborate. But I wanted to say that falling down happens, it is not all easy and happy. If I don’t write when I am there then it will never get posted…

So. Not doing great but doing ok. I have decided that chocolate won’t actually help me feel better. I remembered before I started. That is not to say I won’t start later. But I am looking for other things to amuse me till bed time which are uplifting and affirming.

Cooking is one of those things for me. I get captured in the idea of the recipe. I want to know how it tastes and smells. How it looks. I want to see if the method works well or if there are ways I think I can make it better. I want to think about the next time I make it and how I will change the recipe. Cooking takes me from where I am into a world that is fun; where I can play. It is not about the eating (although that does come into it at some point).

I came across a recipe in the week that I had wanted to try some time ago. I had once clipped it, stored it and then promptly forgot about it. And then I found it again. Roast Banana Ice Cream. I think frozen bananas are great. They have a creamy texture and are smooth and sweet. Roast Banana Ice Cream should have the same creaminess but also that caramel depth that comes from the roasting. As the bananas were roasting I could smell the flavours develop and it made me smile.

The original recipe was simple enough, take your bananas, cut them up, add some brown sugar and butter and roast till soft. Blend with some milk, vanilla, a pinch of salt. Chill then churn in an ice cream maker. You don’t want too much milk or you lose the creaminess of the banana. But if I used yoghurt instead that might work. Or what about coconut milk? But I don’t want the fat. I could use light evap milk flavoured with coconut essence… and so on. I think the first time round I will keep it simple and I can extrapolate next time. I have summer ahead of me… if it works, it might become an easy and healthy dessert option for hot summer days.

Roast Banana Ice Cream
3 ripe bananas
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs butter or margarine (I used margarine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs lemon juice
pinch salt
2 cups reduced fat milk

Cut the bananas into 2 cm chunks, place in a oven proof dish with the sugar and margarine and bake for 30 minutes at 400’F, mixing once half way through (our oven has the temps in F which is a bit frustrating since the rest of the country is in C…).

Scrape the banana and sticky mess into a blender (or a bowl if you are using a stick blender). Add the remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Chill in the fridge 8 hours or overnight and then churn in an icecream maker (or throw into a shallow container in the freezer for two hours, whisk through, back in the freezer for 2 hours, whisk again and then freeze. It won’t be as smooth but it will still be tasty.)

Total kJ 2976 which is just under 500kJ if you divide it into 6 serves. I don’t know yet how many serves we will get out of it… At least 4 for sure which is 744 kJ.

I haven’t finished yet so I can’t tell you what it is like. The mixture is currently in the fridge, chilling. I used to make custard based ice creams once and I like that this banana/milk mixture has an almost custard like consistency- I was a little worried that it might be too thin but I don’t think it is. The mixture tastes like banana and lemon and sugar. It is nice and gentle. And it made me smile again.

I will edit this post tomorrow night after I churn the ice cream and have some for dessert. But given the taste and texture right now, I am hopeful.

And I feel better. Which was the point.

Edit: Amazing flavour but churning failure. I was a little too enthusiastic and tried to churn the icecream this morning. The bowl was not cold enough and it did not work so I put the whole lot in the freezer thinking it would freeze quickly. I discovered tonight that my freezer is not cold enough… There were huge ice crystals in the mix. We had some for dessert anyway and my boy loved it 🙂 I will try again but really aim for a smooth creamy texture… But it was delicious. Well worth trying again.

Miso Grilled Fish with Steamed Greens

Finally! A new recipe that is not soup!!!

My sister and I both have the CSIRO Total WellBeing Diet books and the recipe book. We will occasionally recommend recipes to each other. While staying with her on the weekend she said that she loved one of the recipes for its simplicity and taste. I had glanced at this recipe but because it seemed similar to a chicken recipe I already cook regularly I had not made it.

Inspired by my sister I decided to cook her recommendation tonight.

The recipe calls for mirin and miso, two ingredients that I had not used before. Miso is a fermented soy bean spread with an earthy aroma. It reminded me a little of vegemite or mushrooms. Mirin is sweet rice wine only used in cooking. I found both of these in my local Asian grocer.

I also don’t cook alot of fish; it is not something that we ate often when we were growing up and it is not something that comes to mind when I am planning meals. I am trying and I have one fish recipe that I will cook regularly (ie once a month). I will also use prawns reasonably regularly.

It was easy and it was tasty. Not really like the chicken recipe I cook at all so I am glad that I have tried it. I didn’t think it was fantastic but for a low fat, high protein meal it was great. And I would make it again. Next time, I will try some different white fish fillets to see if that changes the dish. I felt I needed something on the side and we had some boiled rice left over from last night. I sautéed some onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil, added the rice and then some low salt soy. I packed the hot gingery rice in a small mold and tipped it onto the plates to try a presentation trick I had once seen. And it worked well.

Miso Grilled Fish with Steamed Greens

Serves 2
1 tbs white miso
1 tbs mirin
1 tsp olive oil
400g white fish fillets (I used ling)
Selection of Green Vegetables to serve two (Pakchoy, Bok choy, Garlic Chives, Asparagus, Snowpeas)

Mix the miso, mirin and olive oil. Spread the mixture over the fish fillets.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the fish fillets under the grill for 5-7 minutes.

Steam the vegetables until tender.

Serve the grilled fish over the vegetables, sprinkled with a little extra mirin and some low salt soy.

Nutritional Information (not including rice):
Total: 2350 kJ, 8.9 g fat, 89.3 g protein, 20.1 g carbohydrate, 10.5 g fibre
per serve: 1175 kJ, 4.5 g fat, 44.7 g protein, 10.1 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g fibre

Creamy Mushroom Soup

I will post a recipe that is not soup soon. But this one is really nice and I just want to post a recipe today.

I am still loving the soup maker. I have made more pumpkin soup and today I made chunky chicken and veg soup for lunch. But then I made Creamy Mushroom Soup. It actually has no cream in it but is soo smooth and creamy. And it tastes delicious. I am really looking forward to having it for lunch tomorrow. I am going to have a toasted cheese sandwich with it 🙂

Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 tsp olive oil
150g leek, sliced roughly
120g potato, peeled and roughly diced
300g mushroom, sliced
2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the leek, stir and saute till soft. I then threw all the ingredients in the soupmaker and pressed the ‘smooth’ button and walked away. But otherwise, I would add the potato, mushroom, stock and cook for 20 minutes and then blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. And, if I were not making it in the soupmaker, I would double the quantity.

Serves 3
Nutritional Information
Total: 1233kJ, 6.7 g fat, 21.9 g protein, 28.1 g carbohydrate, 11.3 g fibre
Per serve: 411kJ, 2.2 g fat, 7.3 g protein, 9.4 g carb, 3.8 g fibre

Zucchini and Corn Soup

I won a Morphy Richards Soup Maker a month ago and it arrived on Monday. Today I made some soup that is just wonderful.

The Soup Maker – I had some problems on Monday night. We did not get off to a smooth start. Actually, the soup I made was very smooth. The problem was I was not using enough stock and the pumpkin kept catching and burning on the base. It was frustrating. But I worked out what was happening and today I gave the soup maker a second chance.

It is remarkably simple to use. You throw in about 600g of chopped up soup ingredients (so far I have used roast pumpkin; pea and ham; zucchini and corn), add 500mL stock, flavourings, put the lid on and press ‘smooth’ or ‘chunky’ and soon you have 3-4 serves of soup. If you need more soup, you can make a second batch straight away. It is easy to clean with a wipe over the lid and a rinse and wipe of the body. If the ingredients catch and burn it is a little trickier to clean but not that bad now that I think about it. When you select ‘smooth’ the blender function works well and the soup comes out smooth. I have not yet made a chunky soup but I will be looking for something to try on the weekend.

Today I made pea and ham soup for lunch and it was easy, great and I was happy with it. Then I made something for lunch tomorrow. We had some home made chicken stock in the freezer that had citrus, ginger and garlic tones. I had some zucchini in the fridge which I also wanted to use. So, I decided to throw in some corn, soy and sweet chilli sauce. I snuck a taste at the end. It is very good. I am really looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

Zucchini and Corn Soup
300 g zucchini, shopped
300g frozen corn kernals
1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 tbs salt reduced soy
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
500 mL stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 shallot, finely sliced

Combine the ingredients in the soupmaker, press ‘smooth’. Serve when finished, garnished with finely sliced shallots.

Or, combine the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Process in a food processor or with a stick blender till smooth. Serve, garnished with the shallots.

Nutritional information
total: 2226 kJ, 7.6 g fat, 19.7 g protein, 81.5 g carb, 14.1 g fibre
per serve (3 serves) 742 kJ, 2.5g fat, 6.6g protein, 27 g carb, 4.7 g fibre

Hurrah for weekends! Prawn and Spinach Chowder!

Another rough week and I am so happy it is the weekend. I have exercised every day this week; it is going to be the first week in a while I will have done something every day. That makes me happy.

Today I made orange scented almond butter. That also makes me happy.

Today I also made a light creamy chowder for lunch with prawns, potato and smokey bacon. It was very good. And I think the recipe deserves to be here.

I don’t know where I got the original recipe from. I found it during the week when I managed to save some files from a laptop that was briefly resurected. We have family staying for a little while and the weather is cold so soup is a good thing to have. It was very good. I have changed it a little from the original, I have increased the prawns, decreased the butter and potato and replaced the cream with light evaporated milk. It is still rich and creamy but much lighter than the original. You can make your own stock to go in the soup but I did not have time today. If you do, buy prawns that are still shelled and use the shells with a bit of carrot, celery, bay leaves to make the stock. Then the soup will be spectacular.

Prawn and Spinach Chowder
(Serves 4)

20 g butter
1 onion, finely sliced
50 g lean smokey bacon, trimmed of all visible fat and finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tbs plain flour
300 mL light evaporated milk
3 cups fish stock
3 potatos, peeled and diced in 2 cm chunks
400g shelled green prawns
100g baby spinach
2 tsp worchestershire sauce

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and bacon. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the paprika and the flour, stir to distribute evenly and cook for 1 minute. Add the light evaporated milk and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat. Add the potatos and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Add the prawns and spinach, increase the heat and cook until the prawns are cooked. Stir in the worchestershire sauce.

nutritional information
total: 5486 kJ, 7.2 g fat, 33.9g protein, 112.9 g carb, 9.2 g fibre
per serve: 1372 kJ, 7.2 g fat, 33.9 g protein, 28.2 g carb, 2.3 g fibre