Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easy Peasy Lime & Sweet Chilli Salmon

I LOVE salmon. I have so many salmon recipes that are winners that I could eat it for every meal without getting bored. This particular recipe is not only quick, easy and tasty but hardly makes any dirty dishes - winnah!

This recipe serves two.

 2 salmon fillets (about 150-200g each)
handful of coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 spring onions, sliced
Salad or rice & lime wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Score the thickest part of the salmon a couple of times with a knife. Place each piece onto a 30x30cm piece of baking paper.

Combine coriander, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and sweet chilli sauce in a jug. Brush the mixture over the salmon. Top fish with spring onions.

Fold in baking paper to form a parcel.

 Place parcels onto a baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes (or until salmon is cooked through). 

Once cooked, top with coriander and serve with lime wedges and rice or a salad.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three line book review: Room - Emma Donoghue

I am addicted to books. I seem to go through phases, depending on how busy I am, and at the moment I am definitely in a ‘want to read read read phase’. I think it was partially fuelled by my discovery of The Book Depository about six months ago. When you can pick up a novel for $12 with free postage it can become very hard to control yourself. 

Now, I’m not going to give you a page long book review. To be honest, I wouldn’t have a clue how to write one. Plus book reviews can put you to sleep if all you really want to know if it’s good or bad (although even that depends on whether you have similar taste to the reviewer or not*). I'm sure you can all go to any online book store and read the back cover to find out what it's actually about ... but what everyone needs is the 'is it good or is it bad?' question answered. Thus I present to you: Amy’s three line book 'review'. 

Room - Emma Donoghue
I think what makes this book is the way in which it's written. It's narrated by a five year old. Sound absurd and like it's going to be boring? Most definitely not! After the first couple of pages you will fall in love with the way it's written though and you won't be able to put this one down! You must read it now!

*FYI – You have similar taste to me if you loved The Kite Runner and The Time Traveller's Wife but didn’t make it past the first couple of pages of The Lord of the Rings and think that you must have bought a dud copy of Twilight because your copy had no magical powers that left you swooning over Edward Cullen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar and Tomato

In the post Christmas sales I snapped up a drool worthy Le Creuset casserole dish, something that I have wanted for some time now. I have been dying to use it and I finally had my chance. Armed with Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion' (which was a Christmas present to my husband from his sister), and a big arse chicken I set out to make chicken with red wine vinegar and tomato.

This dish is seriously easy. The hardest bit was chopping up the chicken, mainly due to the fact that we don’t own a cleaver (will be adding that one to the birthday list).  With a little bit of muscular help from my hubby I finally managed to hack through it with our trusty chef’s knife. Fingers crossed I haven’t completely blunted the poor knife!

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly because it was the first time I had made it.  The only thing I really did differently was using tinned chopped tomatoes instead of making a tomato sauce. In the future if I’m making this dish and I have some beautiful fresh tomatoes lying around I will make the sauce, but this dish was brilliant enough done the lazy way.

The recipe - complete with butter splatters. Sorry poor cook book :(
Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar and Tomato – Serves 4

1 x 1.8kg chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
40g butter
8 cloves garlic, peeled
12 shallots, peeled
¾ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup fresh tomato sauce or tomato passata
¾ cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Joint chicken into thighs, drumsticks and wings and cut each breast fillet in half, keeping it on the bone. You should have 10 pieces. Season.

Heat oil and two-thirds of the butter in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole and, in batches, brown chicken, removing each place to a plate as it becomes nicely coloured.

In the process of browning the chicken.

Add garlic and shallots to casserole to brown, then transfer to plate with chicken. 

Browning the shallots and garlic
Pour off fat from pot. Return chicken pieces to casserole, putting thigh and drumstick sections on the bottom. Scatter garlic and shallots on top. Turn heat to high and, when there is a convincing sizzle, pour in vinegar. It should instantly sizzle and froth and bubble. Shake pot once or twice, and when not much liquid remains, add tomato sauce and stock.

Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Slip a simmer mat underneath pot and cook on top of stove for 25 minutes (or transfer pot to oven at 180 degrees Celcius).

When the chicken pieces are tender shake in the remaining butter. Taste sauce for seasoning and scatter over parsley.

The unveiling after it came out of the oven. It looked a lot better in real life, honest.
 The verdict? Nom nom nom. I loved that it was such simple flavours, but then with a little tang of vinegar making it a bit more interesting. I served it straight from oven to table as to not lose the rustic look. The way food is presented really does have an impact, and because I generally fail at presentation, this was the best way to do it for me. A side of mashed spuds went with it beautifully, making it so we could mop up plenty of the delicious juices. Definitely a winner, although I’m not sure whether I should attribute it’s success to the Le Creuset casserole dish, Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, or my mad skills.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome & Happy 2011!

Why hello! Welcome to my new blog.

 My name is Amy and I am from Perth, Western Australia. It is here that I will share with you my favourite things in life – mainly recipes & general musings, but also anything else that pops up along the way. 
I hope 2010 treated you all well. For me it was a crazy year. It was filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. I’m making a new stance this year to focus on the positive. I tend to get bogged down in the shit bits and overlook everything that is great in the world. Last week I had one of those days where the world seemed against me. It seems that everything went wrong. The next day I was still dwelling on what a crap day it was so I decided to write down three positive things about the day. They were only little positives, but you know what? It changed my outlook of that day completely. There was a mental shift and suddenly I was smiling again and thinking that the day had actually been pretty damn good. I’ve decided that for 2011 I’m going to try out this method & take note of 3 good things each day, no matter how small they are. So here’s to a year of my life where I can hopefully look back and smile at every single one of the 365 days! 

The other thing that I did in preparation for 2011 was to write a list of 5 things I wanted to do this year. They were only small things, but I find I often get so busy that it's the small pleasures that I miss out on. The list is very achievable:
1. Bake/cook a whole fresh fish.
2. Go for a full day hike.
3. Go camping. (I think 2010 passed without a single camping trip!)
4. Go to the wineries in Perth's Swan Valley.
5. Go to the ballet.

Are there any changes you will be making in 2011 or resolutions that you have made?