Thursday, March 26, 2009

Corn, Chilli and Prawn Fritters

Donna Hay
Issue 43 - Summer

These were so yummy! And easy. I made them for lunch before Russ went to work on afternoon shift. I accidentally read the recipe as "high" heat instead of medium so mine came out a little more dark than I would have liked, but this was my first time making them so I can forgive myself. They rise up nicely and become quite springy when cooking because of the self-rising flour. The mouth-feel is excellent because of the crunch of the corn, the springy prawn, and then the light pancake-like fritter. Will make again! oh, and I don't really like spinach but.... it's good for you so I try to eat it :)

Curiosity of the day: Australian spelling of chilli is with two l's
American spelling of chili is with one 'l'

I'm trying to spell it with two but it looks so bizarre.


1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 egg
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
sea salt and cracked black pepper
3/4 cup (150g) fresh or canned corn kernels
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
120g green (raw) prawns (shrimp), peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, plus extra, for sprinkling
2 tablespoons veg oil, extra
lemon wedges, sliced tomato, coriander, baby spinach leaves, and olive oil, to serve

Place flour, egg, oil, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the corn, green onion, prawns, coriander and chilli and stir to combine. Heat the extra oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture, in batches, for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve with lemon wedges and a tomato, coriander and spinach salad drizzled with oil and sprinkled with chilli. Serves 2.

Monday, March 23, 2009

One of the great pleasures of a life-abroad: Amazon.com

Hallelujah.

I ordered some books on March 7, 2009 from Amazon and didn't expect them till April 3-5th. So imagine my surprise and delight when 2 of the 3 packages arrived today (9 business days early)! I selected the option where they will ship the packages separately, but at no extra cost to me, so that they arrive faster.... ahhhhhh customer service!

Anyway:


The books I ordered:

Augusten Burroughs - A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

Burroughs is one of my favorite authors. He grew up in a rather messed up household and I really "get" his twisted humor. The finding things funny, or ordinary, when they are totally not funny, or ordinary. He's gay, he's wry, and he's a tad OCD. I love him. This latest book though is not supposed to be a dark-humor memoir like the rest of his books, it's really a memoir of how it was to grow up with his alcoholic father and his attempts to gain his approval, supposedly sans humor.

Marsha Mehran - Pomengranate Soup: A Novel

Iranian sisters move to Ireland, open a cafe, and a "foodie-lit" book ensues. I enjoy books that make me hungry, and this one has recipes as well!

Bill Bryson - In a Sunburned Country

Bill Bryson was born in the Midwest of the U.S. but lived in England for almost twenty years, and he's a travel writer. This is his book about traveling to Australia. I bought it soley based on this quote, which describes his impression of cricket:

listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.

Now this quote is based on listening to the game on the radio, but I will tell you, it's equally boring watching it on tv, or in person.


Richard Yates - Revolutionary Road

Saw the movie. Loved it. Had to get the original novel.

Andrew Doughty - Maui Revealed

We're going to Maui and Oahu in June (2 months and 19 days.....) I've heard that this "Revealed" series is the best from several places.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Salmon-Potato Parcels

One-bag wonder
Donnay Hay Spring '08 Issue

recommended ingredients:

4 x 200g salmon fillets, pin-boned
400g chat potatoes (baby), thinly sliced
2 x 175 bunches asparagus, trimmed and sliced
70g butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
sea salt and cracked black pepper


before



et viola!

Comments:

I've made these parcels a few times before, but this time was different. First of all, I actually was going to make a different recipe, from Delicious magazine which called for first boiling some asparagus, then grilling/frying in a grill pan some skin-on salmon. I misplaced my magazine, so I went back to this good old staple but with some twists. Normally this recipe calls for broccolini. (baby broccoli.) Instead I had the asparagus, which I was a little afraid to bake (who BAKES asparagus?) but it actually turned out great! Very tender and flavourful, and much better than the broccolini ever tasted. (It tended to get too dry in the oven and overly crunchy.)

Then, instead of chives for the butter and lemon rind sauce over the top, I had fresh tarragon. I've never used fresh tarragon before, only the dried kind for steaks. On first whiff I wasn't too sure, but once I cut into it, it smelled quite pleasant and a little bit like licorice. (Which I don't like to eat, but the smell was good.) I wondered if it would morph into some foul black-licorice smell in the oven, but it didn't.

(by the way: Liquorice = U.K. / Australia spelling. Licorice = U.S. spelling. THAT's a doozy.)

Overall: would definitely do again with the fresh tarragon (if I can find it again) and the asparagus. Husband's complaint: still not enough baby potatoes, even though I used 350g and the original recipe only calls for 250 g. The man likes his carbs.

Recipe changes:
changed butter from 100g to 70g
substituted asparagus for broccolini
used 350g chat instead of 250 g chat, but I recommend 400g

Preheat oven to 180C (355F). Cut 4 x 30 cm-squares of non-stick baking paper. Lay the potato in the centre of each piece. Top with asparagus and salmon. Combine butter, lemon rind, tarragon/chives, salt and pepper in a bowl and spread onto the salmon. Fold the paper to form sealed parcels and place, seam-side up, on a baking tray. (The "parcels" never seal for me, don't worry about it.) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove parcels from the over and set aside for 5 minutes before opening. Serves 4.

To pin-bone: ask the fishmonger or just feel for the small bones with your fingers before preparing.

Risotto Bianco Con Pesto

white risotto with pesto

Recipe from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy


While it cooking was in my "big orange miscellaneous pot"



Finished cooking, but before lovely garnishes (the green bits are celery)



Topped with freshly made pesto, lightly warmed pine nuts, baby basil leaves, and freshly grated Parmesan.

Review:

So I write this with a slightly cheese-addled and starched out brain. I enjoyed making this, but it took much much longer than expected, even though I've made this before. I had just mentally blocked out quite how long Jamie's version of risotto takes. I much prefer Donna Hay's (stick some arborio rice, mushrooms, prosciutto, butter, stock, etc into a baking dish, cover with foil, stick in oven, and out pops PERFECT risotto.) Oliver's version is much more labor intensive. It probably takes about the same amount of time (45 minutes to bake a risotto I think) but with this one there is considerably more labor. AKA stirring. for 45 minutes.

I did enlist the husband to help me chop the 1 large onion and half a head of celery. I don't think he could help himself when he saw my carefully applied house-wife for a week mascara streaming down my face from the onion. Ten minutes later, however, he was having a tanty over our lack of kitchen space so I kicked him out and I finished it up.

Deliciousness: 8

I think I need to figure out a way to combine Jamie's gourmet-ness (the freshly made pesto, with mortar and pestle, my FAV, and the 2 wine glasses of dry vermouth added before the stock) with Donna's easier method.