Category Archives: Mains

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

The kids are on school holidays at the moment and I am enjoying a slightly more relaxed approach to daily meals, which makes a nice change. Normally I am a bit more time pressed and manic. It’s a good opportunity to try out some new recipes and in this case make one of my favourite dishes, which the kids hadn’t tried before.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are simple to make and are fresh, tasty and healthy. It’s a fantastic dish to make in summer and saves you slaving over a hot stove. Just arm yourself with the freshest ingredients and off you go. The kids can join in to help make them as well!

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The rice paper is cheap and can be bought at the supermarket or an Asian Grocer. You must soak each sheet in warm water to soften it and then they are ready to be filled with whatever filling you desire.

I used shredded BBQ chicken to save cooking and added capsicum, carrot, bean sprouts, coriander and mint from my garden.

You could also use cucumber, prawns, vermicelli noodles, wombok cabbage or snow peas.

They are fantastic with a chilli dipping sauce. Although the dipping sauce in the recipe is wonderful, I didn’t follow the recipe this time, but instead just used sweet chilli sauce with a dash of oyster sauce mixed in. It does the job when you are in a hurry. The only hurry I was in was a hurry to start eating them!

Here is the recipe I based mine on. Its from the Women’s Weekly ” New Finger Food” book, which I have had for a while so probably not so new anymore. The page is splattered with sauce…a good sign of a well used recipe!

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

Ingredients

1 tblsp peanut oil

2 chicken breast fillets

24 rice paper sheets

1 small red capsicum, sliced thinly

1 1/4 cups bean sprouts

1 cup firmly packed mint leaves

1 cup firmly packed coriander leaves

Dipping Sauce:

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tblps fish sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup finely grated palm sugar

2 thai red chillies, seeded and finely chopped

Method

Heat oil in small frying pan. Cook chicken until browned all over and cooked through. Stand 10 mins, slice thinly into 24 pieces.

Place one sheet of rice paper in medium bowl of warm water until just softened, carefully lift from water. Place on board and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place filling ingredients in the middle, fold in ends of rice paper and roll up to enclose filling. Serve cold with dipping sauce.

Sauce:

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until cold.

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European Roast Turkey

You may be familiar with the large frozen turkey in my freezer. It’s still there. Taking up way too much room.
But, relief is on the horizon!

My dear mother-in-law read my last turkey post and took pity on the poor unwanted bird, and declared a home for it in her freezer until the 25th! Hooray! Moving day is hopefully in the near future. M, if you are reading this, your turkey awaits!

She got so excited about this new addition to her family (yes, it is that large that it warrants a respected place in the family), that she promptly sent me the recipe for her traditional Christmas Turkey.

We have it every year on Christmas Day. It’s a labour of love in the Aussie summer heat, but its warmly welcomed onto our table and into our tummies with many an ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’!

What makes it special is the delicious fruity stuffing inside and crispy bacon on the outside. It’s a fantastic combo, salty and sweet, perfectly complementing the succulent turkey meat.

Here’s my mother-in-law’s Russian recipe.

Ingredients

One (5.5-6.5 kg) fresh whole turkey
500-750 gram bacon
3-4 Granny Smith apples peeled and chopped
250-300 gr. pitted prunes
250-300 gr. dried apricots

Directions

1. Rinse turkey with cool water and dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat oven to 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit
3. Combine apples, prunes and apricots and stuff turkey cavity
4. Place turkey on a rack inside a large baking dish and then wrap in bacon.
5. Cover in alfoil and put in the oven.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
7. Remove alfoil. Baste turkey with pan juices. Cook another 30 to 60 more minutes, basting after 30 minutes. Allow bacon to crisp.
8. To check that the turkey is cooked, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature should reach 180. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

My mouth is watering already thinking about the masterpiece my frozen turkey will become.

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Asian Salad, Meatballs and Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

I have the house to myself tonight. Silence….that’s what I hear!
I decided to whip myself up a little healthy dinner to celebrate my solo, no time limits, no kids to feed and put to bed, mummy time!

I made a little Asian influenced salad with baby spinach, coriander leaves, bean sprouts, shredded carrot, cucumber, shallots and capsicum.

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For the dressing, I followed a thermomix recipe from the EDC cookbook which used garlic, ginger, coriander, light soy, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Delicious – use sparingly though.

I made Kid 1’s favorite Won Ton Soup the other night. Lo and behold, Kid 2 wolfed it down for the first time too. The boys made the broth from the recipe. I think it helps when kids can be involved in cooking and I felt proud of them. It really was the yummiest broth too, but now I’m digressing.

The point is, that I had some pork mince mixture left over, (I ran out of wonton wrappers) so I froze the remainder. The perfect amount for one. One. It’s very rare that I am cooking for one.

This wonton filling is really tasty. Pork mince, grated ginger, chopped shallots, a little oyster sauce and sesame oil. I made the mixture into meatballs and pan fried them.

In the meantime, I tried out the sweet chilli dipping sauce from the EDC thermomix cookbook. I nearly burnt my lips off testing it when it was done. I used small red chillies instead of the large. Hot, hot, hot! I thought it might have been a thicker, sticky sauce but mine was runny. Maybe I did something wrong. Who knows! And quite frankly, who cares because it was a hit with my meatballs.

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Dinner for One was a treat! I should do this more often!

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Moroccan Chicken Pie

This recipe is for all tired mums (dads, folk in general..) out there who come home from a hard day’s work, the kids are hungry and you don’t know what to have for dinner. It’s also for those times when you are down to the dregs in your fridge but still want to feed your family something nutritious.

A friend of mine made a similar pie to this a while ago for me, I lost the recipe and so this is my attempt to recreate it. Easily done in a pot on the stove, or in the Thermomix.

It is based on the “Fast Chicken Curry” recipe from the Everyday Cookbook (EDC) for the Thermomix. Don’t you just love a recipe with ‘Fast’ in the title?

Instead of curry paste, I used about a tablespoon of Masterfoods Moroccan Seasoning and 1/2 tablespoon of Ceylon Curry Powder. If you are looking for a low fat option, you could substitute Carnation Evaporated Milk (coconut or regular) for the Coconut Milk in the recipe.

The recipe requires about 200g of chopped vegies – Use whatever you have in your fridge or freezer. I used potato, beans, carrots, broccoli and corn. I’ll suggest celery, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, pumpkin as well. It would all work!

Once you have cooked the recipe as in the cookbook, throw it into a pie dish without too much of the liquid, top with a defrosted pre-rolled Puff Pastry sheet, brush with egg and into the oven for 20 mins. If you like a thicker sauce, you could add some cornflour to the recipe when you add the coconut milk.

If you cook it on the stovetop, saute your onion, garlic and spices first and then add the other ingredients together. Mix your cornflour in a little water before adding to the pot and be sure to stir until it has reached the boil.

Maybe it was the fact that I exercised today and was hungry, or just the fact that it was really tasty, but I had seconds. So did Kid 1. Kid 2 opted for egg and bacon on toast – you can’t please everyone and at least he cooked it himself.

You could adapt this idea to any of your favourite casseroles or curries. Use leftovers. Once that pastry is puffed and golden on top, it looks amazing and impresses the fussiest eaters. Have curry with rice and pappadums one night, and curry pie with salad the next. Too easy.

Do you have a favourite pie recipe? Please share it below in the comments section. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Moroccan Chicken Pie

2 cloves garlic

1 onion, peeled and quartered

30g oil (you can reduce this if you prefer)

1 tblsp Moroccan seasoning

1/2 tblsp Ceylon Curry Powder

300-400g coconut milk

2 potatoes, chopped into bite size cubes

salt to taste

500g chicken, diced

200g fresh or frozen mixed vegetables, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tblsp fresh coriander leaves

1-2 sheets frozen pre-rolled puff pastry

1 egg

1 tblsp water

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C.

Place onion and garlic in TM bowl and chop 5 secs on speed 7.

Add oil, Moroccan Seasoning and Curry Powder and saute for 3 mins at 100C on speed 1.

Take your puff pastry sheets out of the freezer and place on bench to defrost.

Add coconut milk, salt and potatoes and cook 10 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

Add chicken and mixed vegetables and cook for 15 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

Once cooked, mix in coriander. Place in shallow pie dish, with only a small amount of the liquid.( you don’t want your pie too runny).

Top with puff pastry. If one sheet is not big enough for your dish, just cut some strips from the second sheet to fit the gaps, or use two sheets joined down the centre.

Brush with egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water.

Place in oven for approximately 20-30 mins or until golden brown and puffed.

Eat with gusto and enjoy!

The Best Mushroom Risotto

I’ve been a bit like a multi-tasking mad woman this afternoon.

I’m baking a cheesecake for a birthday at work tomorrow, but it was nearing dinner time so decided to do my favourite mushroom risotto at the same time. The kids poo-poo anything with mushrooms, so I prepared fish and chips for them as well (That was out of a packet. Don’t tell anyone! They did have steamed veg with it).

I’ve come up for air now and have a moment to write. The kids are fed and bathed, I am fed and the cheesecake is in the oven…for two hours. Then another two hours in the oven with the heat turned off. I launched in and didn’t read the whole recipe first. It’s going to be a long night.

So, back to the topic at hand, my favourite Mushroom Risotto.

There will be something for everyone today. I’ll share the original Bill Granger recipe with you, which I have also converted to suit the Thermomix.

This recipe uses dried porcini mushrooms. It is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta and risotto. The porcini mushroom really holds its flavour when dried and then reconstituted. It is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.It is sold commercially but it is difficult to cultivate. It is mainly available fresh in the Northern Hemisphere but is distributed dried worldwide. You can find dried porcini mushrooms in most good fruit and vegetable shops and I am pleased to say that Woolworths is now stocking them in 20g packets, which is enough for 2-3 meals. You should look for large porcini with a predominantly creamy colour and avoid packets with small, dark crumbly pieces of mushroom. If they are gritty, just rinse them under cold water before you soak them. You can also filter the soaking water if there is dirt in the bottom of the bowl, by pouring through a sieve lined with muslin or paper towel.

I have usually made risotto the ‘proper’ way, by standing at the pot and stirring for 20-30 minutes, ladling in my hot stock spoon by spoon and making sure it is absorbed before the next spoonful. Now I say ‘proper’ with tongue in cheek because Bill Granger’s recipe, “Cheat’s Porcini Mushroom Risotto” from his ‘Simply Bill’ cookbook as shown me that this laborious process is not necessary. Praise the Lord! For those of you who own a Thermomix, you will know even more so that risotto can be the simplest, and yummiest meal ever!

I’ll share Bill’s recipe at the end, but for now, I will step you through the Thermomix one. It is based largely on the Everyday Cookbook Mushroom Risotto recipe on page 85, but with a few differences.

Start by soaking 10g of dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of luke warm water for about 15 minutes.

While they are soaking, follow the first couple of steps from the EDC Mushroom Risotto recipe. I omitted the garlic this time but that is totally up to you. So, I whizz up my parmesan and get my onion sauteing as the recipe states.

Keep following the recipe by adding the rice and wine and cooking for 2 mins as usual.

Once your porcini has rehydrated, take them out of the water (keep the soaking water – it’s needed!), chop them up smaller if you like depending on the size of the pieces.

Instead of the Vegie Stock Paste, I add 380g (2 cups) of the porcini soaking water to the Thermomix Bowl, along with 720g chicken stock. This liquid equates to the 1100g water in the EDC recipe. Throw in your porcini mushrooms and 200g regular sliced button mushrooms as the recipe states. and proceed with the normal method from there.

Once the cooking has finished, add parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.

The porcini give it a really hearty mushroom flavour. It is one of my favourite comfort foods.

Here are the recipes. Please note that BIll Granger’s recipe is for a smaller amount of risotto than the Thermomix Recipe. Feel free to adjust accordingly.

Bill Granger’s Cheat’s Porcini Risotto – click here for the recipe

Thermomix Version of Bill Granger’s Porcini Risotto

50 g parmesan cheese, cubed

1/2 medium onion

Handful of parsley (optional)

50g olive oil

400g arborio rice

100g white wine

200g fresh mushrooms, sliced

380g (2 cups) porcini soaking water

720g chicken stock

20g butter optional

Method:

Place the parmesan cheese into the TM bowl and pulverise for 10 secs on speed 9. Set aside.

Place onion and parsley if using (or chop your parsley and sprinkle on at the end) and chop 2-3 secs on speed 6-7.

Add oil and suate for 2 mins at 100C on speed 1 with MC off.

Insert Butterfly. Add rice and wine into TM bowl and saute for 2 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

Add porcini soaking water, chicken stock and mushrooms and cook for 16-17 mins at 100C on Reverse + speed soft.

(Check you risotto after this. If it is really liquid, put it on again for another few minutes. Check the consistency of your rice. It will thicken up more once it has been standing for a few minutes as well)

Season with salt and papper to taste. Pour into Thermoserver and stir through parmesan cheese and butter if using. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy my favourite risotto. What’s your favourite kind?

 

 

 

 

Beef Stroganoff and Heavenly Potato Mash

The Thermomix Everyday Cookbook is keeping me pretty entertained at the moment. So no, this is not a fancy, made up recipe of my own, but just a simple road test for those of you new to Thermie like me.

My husband loves Beef Stroganoff and it is something I have made often for him. I think it reminds him of the dishes his Russian Grandma would make as he grew up. The EDC recipe is a little different in its ingredients, but vastly different in the method. Obviously, because it uses the Thermomix, and with that comes a lot less hassle and a lot less cleaning up. Hooray to that.

Traditionally, you toss the beef strips in seasoned flour, coating them lightly and pan fry them. They brown off nicely, BUT, what you also get is a crusty coating stuck fast to the bottom of your pan, which you then add wine or liquid to in order to incorporate the flour into the sauce to thicken it. And keep your fingers crossed it all lifts off the pan, otherwise get your steel wool scrubbing arm ready for wash up time.

Many steps and many dirty dishes make Beef Stroganoff, not light work.

And then on the other hand, we have “Beef Strog Thermie style” (to the tune of Gangnam Style)!

Chop your onion, saute it for 2 mins, throw all other ingredients in the Thermomix and 20 mins later, out comes Beef Stroganoff! It was very tasty. My other recipe doesn’t use wine, so I will be interested to hear Hubby’s verdict.

I threw it in the Thermoserver to keep warm while I made the best potato mash ever!

First time I have made it with my dream machine and certainly not the last. Even mash-phobic Kid 1 thought it was good!

Farewell most ridiculous, bent, lump-leaving potato masher! I won’t miss you. Ever.

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Tonight it was a mash made in heaven. (He, He!)

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Chicken and Cashews

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I’ve been working through the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook since receiving my dream machine, making notes on how to tweak the recipes next time I make them, seeing what works and what needs a second or third attempt. Mostly I have been surprised! Everything has been delicious.

Chicken and Cashews was on tonight’s menu. It tasted just like a dish from a Chinese restaurant, except I knew exactly what went into it.
Apart from a little sesame oil for flavour, there was no oil or fat in it. The chicken is steamed as you cook the rice, then the vegies are steamed on top of the chicken, cook your sauce and throw it together!
It was colourful, healthy and looked fantastic!
I didn’t have quite enough Chinese cooking wine (my substitute for sherry) but I improvised with chicken stock and light soy sauce and it still tasted yummy.
There was PLENTY and I think we will have leftovers after hubby has had his share when he gets home.

Chicken and Cashews from the Thermomix EDC

Ingredients:

900g Water

200g-400g Basmati Rice

200g Chicken , cut into 2cm cubes

300g broccoli

1 carrot, thinly sliced

3 celery sticks, cut into 4cm lengths

6 shallots, cut into 4 cm lengths

1/2 capsicum, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 small can bamboo shoots, drained

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1-2 handfuls unsalted cashews

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:

40g Cornflour

100g dry sherry

soy sauce to taste

300g cooking liquid – retained from steaming

Method:

Place water in TM bowl. Insert basket with rice. Place the chicken into the bottom of the Varoma Dish and cook for 13-15 mins at Varoma Temperature on Speed 4.

Remove rice once cooked and place in thermoserver or other warming dish.

Loosely place vegetables on top of the chicken (or on the Varoma tray). Sprinkle with sesame seeds, cashew nuts and a little sesame seed oil. Place the lid on the Varoma and put the Varoma into position. Cook for a further 10-15 mins at Varoma Temperature on speed 4 or until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Once cooked, place the vegetables and the chicken into a serving bowl, pour over sauce and mix through. Serve with rice.

Sauce method: Place all ingredients into bowl, cook for 3 minutes at 100C on speed 5.

Have you tried this recipe?
Have you experimented with other Chinese dishes?
I’d love to hear about your dishes. Leave me a comment below!

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