Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Time to call a spade a spade and be honest about one thing. Cous cous is two minute noodles for grown-ups. It’s just a bit of weirdly rubbery, but rewardingly tasty stuff that gets boiled in water, lathered in seasoning and inhaled at warp speed with a kind of undimmed fury.
I’ve embraced the notion of dressing it up here with salad that is as close as you might get to eating a bunch of flowers from a plate. Pretty non? There is an emphasis on fresh herbs and some zingy fruit pieces which lightens the whole proposition and if you were wanting to make a real meal out of it, serve it with a silky hummus whipped up with tahini and lots of fluffy, warm flatbread washed down with icy cold white wine. Yep that is definitely a meal for grown ups.
1 tbsp olive oil
170g Israeli cous cous
500ml chicken stock
pinch saffron threads
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, segmented
1 small handful of cranberries
1 small handful of watercress leaves
6 tbsp Persian feta
1 tbsp dried flowers*
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add couscous and stir to toast and coat (1-2 minutes). Add chicken stock, saffron threads and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside. While the cous cous is still slightly warm, add the Persian feta and stir gently to combine. Turn out into a serving dish and top with remaining ingredients.
Mix the dressing ingredients, stir to combine and dissolve the sugar then drizzle over the dressing to taste, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
* Available from the Essential Ingredient or the Melbourne Food Depot
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This is a quick, cheating version of dumplings where the craving outweighs the desire for a trip out for your secret local best; particularly so when that secret local seems to also be everyone elses and the idea of a line up or quick n dirty yum cha leaves you cold.
The need for dumplings often comes on hard and fast – they are easily one of the most intensely powerful comforting foods ever devised by a species – silky skins barely containing a bolus of what one can only presume is meat and vegetable in varying degrees – quite simply they are ahhhmazing.
Despite the shortcuts of bought bbq duck – there is still the folding and steaming effort involved here but the payoff is legendry. The sweetness of the hoi sin combined with the softness of the meat and the odd surprise crunch of crisp duck skin you accidently/purposefully left in there make these little pillows of goodness belong in the bedroom of your mouth. Immediately.
200g BBQ duck meat, coarsely shredded
2 egg yolks
1 carrot, peeled, grated
¼ cup Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
½ red onion, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon freshly shredded ginger
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 x 40 pack wonton wrappers (I used square wrappers)
2 green onions, finely chopped
½ tbsp. Aleppo pepper
½ cup hoi sin sauce or dark sweet soy sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
To make the dumplings mix the dumpling ingredients (except for the wrappers) in a bowl. Arrange 4 wrappers on a work surface; keep the rest covered with a damp paper towel. Brush the edges of the wrappers with water and drop 1 tablespoon of the filling in the centres then fold all four corners to meet at a peak in centre and squeeze edges to seal. Place peak-side-up on a lightly floured tray and continue with remaining wrappers and duck filling.
Heat oil in a large frying pan, add dumplings, peak-side-up (making sure they don’t touch one another) and cook in batches over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a large bamboo steamer placed over a wok of boiling water and steam until skins are slightly translucent and filling is cooked through (4-6 minutes).
Combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Toss the fresh and cooked shallots. Top dumplings with the shallots mixture and serve with the dipping sauce.