Chicken, Chive and Cabbage Dumplings

Who doesn’t love good old dumplings? I for one absolutely love them, and I often head over to a good dumpling or yum cha place for lunches and dinner. Aah the chilli oil ❀

Now dumplings are actually so easy to make at home! Yes they do take some time, but if you are prepared to put in some time and a little effort, you can make your own delicious dumplings at home. Now normally I would show/write about making the dumpling pastry too, however this time I actually used pre-made store bought gow gee wrappers which are perfect to make these delightful morsels πŸ™‚

20170215_170604

For me dumplings are like comfort food. In winter, in particular, you will fine me, a big bowl of dumplings, some chilli oil, and the entire series of New Girl, or Friends or Grey’s Anatomy. *Sigh* now you know I’m weird

Okay back to the recipe. I used Chicken mince, chives and cabbage as the title suggests, but I also added shitake mushrooms, shallots, ginger and garlic to the filling. I like to start the recipe by actually cooking off the vegetables, and mixing in rice wine vinegar, chili and soy while cooking these together. Then I mix in the chicken mince once the vegetables have cooled slightly.

I steamed my dumplings, and then pan-fried them. Nowadays you can find bamboo steamers everywhere (i.e. look in Kmart!), or you can use an Idli steamer (not even joking here). If you are using a bamboo steamer, it is IMPORTANT that you line the base. This is a MUST!! I line mine wither with baking paper (greased paper) OR some banana leaves or cabbage leaves.

You can alternatively pan-fry the dumplings, and then add some water, cover and then steam. I find my way a little easier, and there’s less a chance of any dough sticking or getting very mushy. It also means you get a lightly crunchy texture along with the smooth steamed dough when you eat these.

20170215_172044

Oh and the dipping sauces? I made an instant chilli oil – so simple. Make a quick paste of fresh chili, chili flakes and fresh garlic and mix the paste well into vegetable oil. Add some salt and pepper just to season, and set aside for a few hours.

The other dipping sauce was a mixture of fresh chilli, coriander stalk, soy sauce and some rice wine vinegar… and that’s it!

Folding the dumplings can be a bit tricky, but thankfully there are HEAPS of you-tube tutorials showing you the different ways to fold them. You basically have to stretch the dough and make tiny folds along the length of the dumpling, so it ends up looking slightly like a crescent moon. A pretty crescent moon.

20170215_16104320170215_16220420170215_161048

Alright now for the recipe. It’s a bit long, but trust me… these are worth it

chicken dumplings.jpg

A couple of tips! Place your dumplings, once filled, onto a tray lined with baking paper (greased paper) to stop them from sticking to any surfaces. I basically use this lined tray for the entire process, and even serve the dumplings on them!

To serve, remember the dipping sauce! I also add some lime, fresh chili slices and a drizzle of chili oil πŸ™‚

20170215_173827.jpg

 

Advertisements

Vegetarian Pizzas Four ways

I invited my friends over, fairly last minute I must say, and decided I should cook something EASY for them. Mainly because every time we do end up cooking, it is so complicated or attention heavy that we don’t end up spending quality time together. So I figured some yummy home-made pizzas were the easiest way to go.

DSC09946.JPG

Now… i bought pre-made pizza bases from Aldi because not only are they cheap, but they come with a an oily-garlicly spread all over it. I find that these bases don’t dry out AT all which is wonderful.

I chose to make 4 different pizzas to mix things up a little you know. Keeps things exciting πŸ™‚ To start this big post post, we need to make my pizza base sauce first. I use this sauce all the time for my homemade pizzas because it just works and tastes really great on the pizza. Here is my simple recipe, and you can make it a few days in advance and just keep it in the fridge before you use it.

DSC09945.JPG

pizza sauce.jpg

Now we move onto my balsamic glaze. This is the thing that can make your ordinary pizza into something truly extraordinary. You can drizzle it over almost any pizza topping, but I love it over my Rocket and Goats cheese pizza. It just compliments the goats cheese so damn well! I add a little extra sugar and salt to my reduction just to cut down the really strong flavour of the vinegar. Here is the recipe!

balsamic glaze.jpg

Now to the main star(s). I’m starting with my Spinach and Feta pizza. I pack it with capsicum, onion and olives too for a really vege-ful bite. Basil is an essential piece of the pizza too, along with some cherry tomatoes. This is just a classic pizza, packed with flavour.

spinach and feta pizza

 

DSC09962.JPG

Number two is my honest favourite pizza – rocket and goats cheese pizza with balsamic glaze. It is so freaking easy, and it is one I love. My friends enjoyed it too. They mmmm-ed so I’m going to say yes they like it very much.

rocket and goats cheese

DSC09960.JPG

Number three is the easy magherita. Packed with tomatoes, basil and cheese, you can never go wrong with it.

maghertia

Number four is basically a variation of the maghertia, just with a pesto base. It changes the flavour completely and just changes up the tastes. It’s a great way to use up any left over basil pesto in the house πŸ˜€

pesto marg

DSC09981.JPG

So have a go at these four super simple but yummy pizzas. I asked my friends like 10 times to tell me if they enjoyed it… and they said yes… so if you all hate the recipes…

Blame it on them.

❀

 

Spicy Garlic and Tamarind Fish

With this recipe I think I’ve realised that I cook way too much fish. I need to start cooking or at least sharing some of my chicken and other vegetarian recipes! That just means a little extra effort to come up with new and fun recipes. It’s okay… I am looking forward to it πŸ˜›

DSC09685.JPG

Now a friend actually asked me to make a few more Indian recipes, like I mentioned in my Lahori fish recipe. So here is one of my family’s favourite simple fish curries that just works great with rice and roti. It’s a fairly basic curry, but I add a little twist to it to make it a bit more fun.

I use, like I always do, Basa fillets, which are great because they a cheap and work great in curry, BUT they are very flaky and break apart too easily. When it comes to curry, this makes working with Basa a bit difficult. To overcome this I went ahead and did a gram flour coating to the fish and fried the fillets off before making the entire curry. This process really is optional if you are using a more robust fish such as cod or haddock, but works fine either way!

Tamarind fish is one of my favourite dishes to make, and it works so oddly well with garlic! The sweet and sour flavour is complimented so well with the pungent and strong flavour of the garlic. This with the flavours of dried mango, cumin and coriander… you end up with this magnificent beast.

DSC09675.JPG

Here is the recipe!

 

garlic and tmarind fish

It’s a bit long isn’t it :/ It’s okay… it really is fairly straightforward!!

Let me know what you think about this recipe! I don’t really know what else to write today haha. Just make it and eat it. Okay?

 

❀

 

Apple and Date Halwa

Halwa, or Indian pudding (I guess we could call it that) is a seriously delicious dessert with roots in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. It is typically served warm, but tastes wonderful cold too. It is truly a favourite in my house, and we make it as a treat for a celebration or festival.

SONY DSCSONY DSC

Now, my mother usually makes Halwa using semolina and banana, while back in India I have had it made with carrots and milk solids (mawa or khoya) OR believe it or not… bottle gourd. It’s fairly heavy on the sugar, which is obviously not so great for anyone trying to lose weight, or control their sugar.

This recipe is 100% inspired by the Happy Pear but it is most definitely a superbly different halwa recipe. Why? Because this one is 100% sugar FREE! Yup. That’s right.

SONY DSC

Now this halwa does turn out not so sweet, which I personally don’t mind, but as a note I think next time I will definitely add over some agave nectar or some rose syrup. Honey would work too, but really to each their own πŸ™‚

Before starting this recipe, make sure your dates are really well soaked. This is where we get the sweetness in the halwa and it’s essential that these are softened prior to cooking. They should break apart wonderfully once in the pot and caramelize with the rest of the halwa.

DSC09486.JPG

Now, I used semolina in my halwa because it is a great standard ingredient. Traditionally, ghee would be used to cook Β the halwa and I do recommend using some. My first attempt, I went with all coconut oil and i found that most people didn’t enjoy the coconut undertones to the dessert. It would be better instead to use grapeseed oil as it’s flavour profile isn’t as deep as coconut.

SONY DSCapple halwa

Oh and better yet… Diabetic Daddy Dearest actually ate thirds of this halwa. SCORE!!! The texture turned out really smooth and has a really nice apple flavour with hints of the sweetness from the dates… and that sweetness is like a really subtle and soft caramel πŸ™‚

I would realllly love to hear what you think about this recipe, and I would love you to know what kind of recipes you want to see! πŸ™‚

 

Spinach and Ricotta rolls

SONY DSC

Spinach and Ricotta Rolls fresh out of the oven

We had plans to head over to the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema here in Sydney, and boy was it a fun plan. The general brief among the group was to bring some snacks and drinks along for everyone to enjoy. To me that honestly meant one thing… it’s time to pull out those snack food recipes.

I’ve made these countless times before, and my recipe remains pretty standard but a little bit different that the other ones you’ll find. To me a really good spinach and ricotta roll should have that wonderful spinach taste, with some nut-iness, some creaminess and a little bit of a kick. This doesn’t mean I want a spicy roll… it just has to give a tiny punch to make it extra special.

The smell of these is truly so wonderful, and they make for a really classic and crowd-pleasing snack. I love pulling this recipe out during the spring time for those fun outdoor activities.

Now I’m usually a little too lazy to make the pastry myself, and quite honestly just stick to some store bought puff pastry or filo. I used frozen spinach for this time round, but I often do switch between fresh and frozen. It really just depends on what you find!

SONY DSC
Wrapping these babies up

My recipe is an interesting combination of a few different recipes you have come across. I balance out the classic spinach and ricotta with a little spice from cumin, a little kick from chilli, a little tang for lemon, a little sweetness from cooked onions and a little added flavour from good ol’ garlic. Honestly I don’t think I cook without garlic at all… it is just my favourite.

Here is my recipe!!

spinachricotta

 

And bam! Snack food is sorted!