Friday, February 29, 2008

bbq chicken tandoori kebabs

tonight i was supposed to be in on my own, but like most well laid plans, it came to and end very quickly, following a call from my friend M.

luckily this morning i put some chicken on to marinade, so she's coming around for bbq chicken tandoori kebabs. these are really, really delicious. the yoghurt in the marinade softens the meat but also keeps it beautiful and moist on the bbq, while the heat cooks the spices and gives a exotic smokey flavour. of course they'd be better done in a tandoor, maybe when i re do my back garden i can put one in (i already have plans for a wood fired oven).

anyway, i got this recipe from the fabulous SBS Food Safari website.

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs
for the marinade combine:
200g natural yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely
1 tbsp garlic, grated finely
1 tbsp tandoori paste
½ tsp tandoori food colouring (optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder

I use this quantity of marinade for about a kilogram of chicken, obviously choose the cut that you like best. if you're worried about fat, use breasts, if you're worried about taste use thighs ;-) . the meat needs to be cut into standard sized chunks, so that they cook evenly through, and small enough that they absorb all of the flavour, as well as making good mouth sized little piece of joy. i normally marinade overnight, but today i put these on before work and i'm sure they'll be deeeeelicious. i really love these, i cook them all the time.

i bbq mine. obviously a tandoor oven is the best way, but even placing them in a very hot oven, or even on a stove-top grill would work too.

normally i serve them with aloo parantha.

Aloo Parantha
take a handfull of plain flour for each parantha (not too big a one, see how precise i am with my kitchen measurements)
a HEAPED teaspoon of yoghurt per parantha
salt
add milk enough to form a pliable dough, kneed a couple of times.

make a filling by mixing mashed potato, finely diced red onion and chopped fresh corriander, in a ratio that makes you happy.

make a ball of dough for each prantha and using the palm of your hand push it out to form a fairly thin disk. place enough of the filling in so that you can comfortably enclose it in dough, making little buns. then roll out into disks of bread. the filling will break through the dough at this stage, this is fine as long as the dough:filling ratio is high enough that it all stays together. fry these in a really hot, well greased pan, turning a couple of times. the bread needs to cook through but the fat from the yoghurt and the milk will make them lovely golden and crispy. if i'm looking for an instant heart attack (as opposed to one a couple of years from now) i brush them with melted ghee and add them to the bbq with the kebabs.

tonight however we just ate ours wrapped up in pita bread with a little salad and a simple sauce of plain yoghurt,chopped fresh mint, salt and pepper and a little white wine vinegar.


and in this is what i love about this type of food, and cooking. there's no exact measurements, it's a 'handful' of this and 'the ratio that makes you happy'. because after all that's why we bother cooking isn't it? it's not just to have something to eat - because then we'd just have toast. or to give our bodies nutrition - because then it would be fruit and veg 24/7. it's about feeling at one with the food, and the generations of people who have cooked it before us (and for most of us women it's the women who have cooked it before us. fancy pants restaurant food is dominated by male chefs. heartwarming homecooked food is dominated by women). and it's about giving those we care about something good to eat, to make them as happy as cooking it made us.

mercy, this started as a kebab recipe but has got very sooky lala (as BBITW would say).

anyway, if you read this and cook the kebabs i'd love to know if they make you happy too

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

a day of feasts

i could talk this evening about all of the crappy things that happened to me at work, after a sleepless night worrying about all of the crappy things that happened to me at work.but instead i shall show you some pictures and talk about some of the things i ate today. it started with breakfast at lucias, in the wonderful adelaide central food markets. i had my usual, flat white and a bacon and salad lepijna. they put such lovely vegetables, and all in the right combinations in their lepijna, capsicums and red onions and carrot and lettuce. mmmm.. and antonio bought me my first easter gift, this little chick with really lovely easter chocolate hidden underneaththe day progressed in a very ho-hum fashion, until I met the best boss in the world for dinner at the dumpling king. this is what was left over (the empty plate once held a dozen pork and cabbage boiled dumplings. they were far, far too good to have any left overs).
I guess it's better than last night, when i had a packet of skittles for dinner - i was just too tired to do anything else. hey, they're a serve of fruit, right?

and when i got home, i had this video in my inbox from princess. the story goes that these two guys reared a lion cub in england until it got so big they were made to take it to a wildlife park in africa (which, let's face it is where lions belong). they went back a year later but were warned the lion wouldn't remember them... I'd like a lion please


Sunday, February 24, 2008

madness

i'm not sure if i mentioned it, but my television bit the bullet early in the week. it's nearly as old as me, so it's served my family well. i have decided not to replace it (at least in the short term). i am going to through the first semester (until about mid june) with out one to see just how much i miss it. if the answer is 'not really' i will leave in a tv-free zone. i must say i got home from the fringe opening on friday night and really just wanted to watch rage for a bit before i sunk into bed (my mobile phone also kicked the bucked over the weekend, but that's another post all of its own).

the hope is that i will do a lot more study, keep a cleaner house, read more and generally be a more well rounded person. i am listening to chinese dialogues as i type this - wo bu jiao lili.

it also means that i have been spending far too much time on line looking at stuff. i bought the entire okkervil river back catalogue the other day, looked at the ABC's greatests speeches of all time, googled some sites about perikles, and - of course - looked at a lot of food.

i'm thinking of having a week where everything i eat will have come off of someone else's site. it's hard becuase, living on my own, a recipe's worth of food normally feeds me for a week. maybe i'll have to have someone different over every night so i can cook for them. and take the baked goods to work (work are already sick of eating my left over baked goods). if i do this i think i'll start with joy the baker's flax meal muffins. they look greeeeat.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

the passion and the pain

i've just got back from the st jermone's laneway festival (maybe collecting photos of festival drinking age wrist bands will be my new hobby). the main reason was to see okkervil river. they were just dreamy. i hung around for the next act (broken social scene), but they just weren't doing it for me, so i came home. ended up paying $75 for a 45 minutes set. worth every single cent! mixed crowd, even laid eyes on some blasts from the deep, dark, distant past.

however princess metioned to me that the Jesus and Mary Chain (hereafter refered to as JAMC), who are playing the V-festival, are doing a side show in melbourne, so the first thing i did was go online to book tickets.

DISASTER

they are playing the same night that the freakin' technology show opens - and i am supposed to be running the opening. although we haven't actually confirmed that there will be an official opening this year. i'm thinking not. it's very expensive to run and no one comes.....

please, please, please let there be no opening so i can fly to melbourne and rock it out at the corner hotel with the kids to jamc. pleeeeeeeease......

now i'm sitting here eating a very lack-lustre bowl of pesto and scheming. what i want is something seriously delicious. i am supposed to be being careful with what i'm eating. i've turned into a right little porker recently.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

it's just not cricket

well actually it is cricket. i've just got back from my second day night match in three days. on sunday india were beaten by australia (yah boo sucks, couldn't hit a squashed tomato etc), but tonight beat sri lanka by just four balls. it was quite exciting at the end.

if you don't understand cricket, as an adult it's rather difficult to get the hang of it (or care enough to get the hang of it). there are rules. even though the basic premis is very simple. let's just say i'm more than happy to explainit to anyone who would like to know!

here are some random photos! hurrah!

more about me

i was just mucking about with my flickr site, and while changing my icon looked at my profile. i can be funny sometimes when i want to be:

a travelling freak, boring history girl manages to stave off itchy feet for no more than half an hour at a time. her aim is to kiss the animals in every nation on earth.

while waiting for fund for the next ticket, she works in an office. At these times she is not boring history girl, she is just bored.

china is her new favourite place on earth

it is quite possible that china is still my new favourite place on earth (although i am thinking lots about india and italy at the moment), and i would still very much like to kiss the animals in every nation on earth. cheques can be sent directly to me please....

Monday, February 18, 2008

gnocchi made easy

whilst looking for something today – not sure what, think it might have been bus timetables – i came across canela y comino's lovely site full of delicious things, like peruvian chilli paste ...... mmmmmm.... peruvian chilli paste. but she mentioned her trouble with gnocchi.

avid readers of BHG (yeah, right), will remember i mentioned gnocchi last week and how easy it is to make. it seems that this is not the case for all. maybe i have been blessed with some suppressed italian gene, or perhaps it’s just one of those things that people are told is hard, and therefore they get so wound up about it that they doom themselves to failure. Kinda like brain surgery.

anyhoo, this is how i make potato gnocchi,

you’ll need: 1 potato per person, plain flour, an egg, a pot of boiling water, a fork.

  • Peel and dice the potato and boil until well cooked. Drain potatoes and mash well
  • As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, put them out onto a floured surface. Add a handful of flour and mix it into the mash by hand
  • Crack an egg into the centre and mix in. Also add approximately a handful of flour for every potato
  • Continue to add flour while kneeding until you have a dough similar in texture to bread dough.
  • Roll the dough out into sausages. It doesn’t really matter how thick as long as their diameter is consistent. Using the fork cut the individual gnocchi off the sausage (you’ll be glad i told you to get the fork out at the beginning. I always forget and have to rummage around my cutlery drawer with hands caked in potato dough)
  • You can just cook them like this. If you want to get the little stripes on them you can either just press a fork down onto them, or i get the fork, and place it on the far corner of the gnocchi (cutting the gnocchi will have formed little rectangles). i then pull the fork across the dumpling, rolling my wrist up, so that the diagonal corner folds in over the gnocchi. Very hard to explain, but this almost creates little ‘cups’ to hold the sauce.
  • Add the gnocchi in batches to fast boiling water. Once they rise to the surface they’re ready to eat. Make sure the water comes back to the boil between batches. Once they’re cooked scoop them out of the water between batches with a slotted spoon and add to the pot of sauce to keep them warm.
  • You can freeze uncooked gnocchi on a floured baking tray and then transfer to a plastic bag. But once you get the hang of making them, they’re so quick and easy you probably won’t bother anymore. They’re much, much nicer fresh

Buon apetito!

On a personal note i went to a new argentinean restaurant tonight with the brother who is in town from up north. Big pieces of steak! mum ordered the goat leg. and that’s what she got. a whole goats leg. i kid you not (boom boom). i seriously wish i had a camera. we all helped out, but she took at least half of it home. it was truly delicious!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

pecans and well hung frenchmen

i've seen a post somewhere for pecan cupcakes. do you think i can find it now? can i hell. did find one on batspit, which i have adapted. whilst they were baking i watched this rather strange short film i found on her site too. it's very very french, even though it seems to have been made by a bunch of englishmen. I love the women too. even though they're not all really beautiful per say, they're all so glamorous and attractive. that's france for you!

pecan cupcakes
125g raw caster sugar
125g butter
125g self raising flour
2 eggs
vanilla extract
approx 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
50g pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
a shake of cinnamon

cream the sugar and butter together until smooth. add the flour, vanilla and eggs, then add sour cream half a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. meanwhile crush pecans with the brown sugar and cinnamon in a mortar and pestle until the nuts are crushed.

place half of the mix in 12 paper lined muffin tins. sprinkle with the nut and sugar mix and cover with the remaining batter. bake for approx 15-20 mins at 180 degrees, or until a skewer comes out clean.

when cool ice with 100g butter creamed with 200g of icing sugar, then mixed with 1 tspn instant coffee in 1 tblspn of boiling water.

here they are, already in their container, ready to take to work for morning tea tomorrow

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

finally, a recipe

The lovely ladies whose tastebuds i am vying for in this month’s CCH prize, slush at quirky cupcake and tempered woman, have informed me to be in the running i need to supply all of you out there in your cyber kitchens with a recipes for my cocktail party of cakes.

The basic recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson, with some modifications to make it cocktaily. I’m not a great baker, because i’m not used to working with precise measurements as you’ll see from what ensues (see my ‘handful’ measurement below):

Basic cakes

125g of each unsalted butter (at room temp), caster sugar and self raising flour.

2 large eggs

½ tsnp vanilla extract

Cream the butter and the sugar, sift in the flour then add the eggs and vanilla and mix to a smooth batter. Now for the fun part! The original recipe calls for 2-3 tablespoons of milk. In place of this add approx 1 to 1½ cap fulls of spirit, to form a nice batter that drops easily into muffin tins lined with cake papers. Different spirits affect the liquidity of the batter differently, so start with half a cap and continue to add until the batter is smooth, but not too runny.

cosmopolitans: cointreau

strawberry daiquiris: plain vanilla (add milk). Pipe a good quality, not over sweet strawberry jam into the cakes after they are cooked.

mango daiquiris: mango pulp and milk

cowboy cocksuckers: bailey’s irish cream

B52s: kahlua

mojitos or margaritas: juice of approximately 2 limes

affogato: plain vanilla (add milk)

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated 200 degree celsius oven. Transfer to cake rakes and ice when cooled.

For the icing

For the basic batter sift 125g of icing sugar into 100g of softened cream cheese. This makes the icing quite stiff, but the spirit added can easily make it runny. If you want extra punch in your icing, you will need to add a little more icing sugar

Cosmopolitans. A few days before take a handful of dried cranberries, place in a bowl or plastic container and just cover with vodka. Leave to sit until the cranberries are plump and the vodka is coloured. Add the liquid to the icing, and top the cakes with the fruit.

Strawberry daiquiris: add vodka, and some red food colouring for effect. Top with strawberry slices

Mango daiquiris: add vodka and some mango pulp to icing. Top with more mango

Cowboy cocksuckers: add butterscotch schnapps to the icing and top with crushed butterscotch lollies

B52s: baileys icing

Mojito: add lime juice to icing. Garnish with a sugared mint lolly

Margaritas: lemon juice and tequila icing (be careful not to add too much juice or it will make the icing too runny. You could go easy on the tequila instead but...well, you know). Garnish with lime wedges

Affogato: frangelico and coffee icing. Garnish with coffee bean


And that’s it. Off course making a batch of each of these simultaneously will leave you very full, or very drunk. And if you’re doing this to get drunk, you’re probably better of just drinking the tequila. I made a batch with one of each cake. The recipe is for 12 cakes, but by the time you’ve divided them up into separate bowls to add the flavours, and lost batter on the side of each bowl, and each spoon, you end up with around 10 cakes anyway, same with the icing. For this challenge I tried a few others that either didn’t work (note: blue curacao and cakes just don’t mix), or were a little too obvious: vodka and orange. However there were flavours i was using just to get into the spirit of it (no pun intended) that really did work – the tequila in the margarita icing was particularly nice.

One of the joys of these would be making them for some sort of girlie party. You get to eat cake and have the flavour of the alcohol without ending up completely messy. The pink of the cosmopolitans is extra cute. Of course they’re not particularly appropriate for children’s parties or prohibitionist gatherings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

happy heart

yes, i have a happy heart tonight. the merit ceremony is over and done and i really don't have to stress about anything until... well until the art show in a couple of weeks, but that's OK.

i have celebrated with lasagna di melezzana e carne, arcade fire and okkervil river albums, and the wonderful lazy eye by silversun pickups. this song reminds me of the first time i heard pavement or superchunk, and my heart sings (and my heart sings in much better tune that the rest of me)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

cupcake hero, february 08





these photos are from my first ever cupcake hero entry. this month's theme is liquor. i'm not sure, but i think american's use the term liquor the way us australian's would use the term spirits. normally i'm a coopers pale ale, or a gin and tonic person. neither of these really lend themselves to the cupcake realm.

my next favourite drink is a cosmopolitan (although unfortunatley they're so delicious i drink them too quickly and become quickly very, very messy). So i decided to soak some dried cranberries in vodka to make cosmopolitan cupcakes. then i thought about affogato, and thought i could do a vanilla cupcake with a coffee and frangelico icing (i always have a shot of frangelico on the side when i order affogato). in the end i did a whole freakin' cocktail party - i just got carried away. i did screwdrivers, and daiquiris (mango and strawberry) and mojitos and blue hawaiians and margaritas and B52s and cowboy cocksuckers. These photos are of the cosmopolitan, the mango daiquiri and the margarita. the margarita was acutally really nice - who would have though of putting tequilla in a cake??

of course i had to flavour both the cakes and the icing individually, which meant using a million little chinese bowls, which created a hell of a lot of washing up, and also gave me lots of bowls to lick (any adult who says they no longer lick the bowl is likely to be lying). so i'm feeling a little sugar'd (and vodka'd) out at the moment. i can see something very savoury in my future for dinner....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

three things


well, that sauce sat in my fridge for about a grand total of 4 hours before i was forced to do somethign with it. gnocchi. oooooooo.... can anything be more comforting that a big plate of freshly made potato gnocchi.

there are three things that people think are difficult to make and pay a fortune for: pizza, gnocchi and risotto (oh, and jiaozi, but this is a european food post). these are three things that i really resent paying restaurant prices for, because i know how cheap and easy they are to make at home. i always make extra gnocchi, for work lunches and the like, and it's always a great temptation just to eat the whole lot in one go. i've found the trick is to make the first serve really small, so you can still have a second helping, but not eat the lot. todays batch were particularly silky and delicious. i normally cook them in a tomato, bacon and chilli sauce, so the batch of sugo i did this morning was perfect for this.

as i mentioned yesterday, since i started this blog, only a month or so ago, a lot of it has been about food. and while writing it i've realised just how many other food bloggers there are out there. and there are lots of women out there who can eat what they want and not put on a gram. i am about as far away from being one of those people as it is possible to be. i look at butter and i gain a kilo. the only reason i am not totally enormous (and trust me, there's plenty of me to go around), is a reasonable attempt at self control and the love of the pool and my bike.

however, not only are there hundreds of food bloggers, they all seem to be talking about dessert. now i'm more of a gnocchi person than i am a dessert person, but all of a sudden i have a million desserts i want to try, like dulce de leche cheescake squares. not something i should be putting in my mouth. errrr... and tomorrow i'm making cupcakes. these should be interesting, I have lots of different flavours to try (i bought tequilla today, say no more). so tomorrow's post should be a good 'un.

oh, and if there is anyone out there who acutally reads this (and i'm pretty sure there isn't), the spell check on blogger has given up the ghost, so please excuse my horrible spelling. it gets worse when i type.

roasted



just an hour later and this is what my tomatoes look like now. leaning over them to take this photo the smell was so divine i could have just eaten them whole straight from the roasting pan.

sugo

my lazy weekend started with a ride (not lazy i know) to the bottle shop for minatures for my cupcake hero cakery tomorrow, and to get bottles of wiltons colouring for the same purpose.

then it was home to roast some tomatoes. this is them before they went in the oven (with a head of garlic of course)

i'm not italian - curses - so there are no fields of lovely vine ripe tomoatoes in my back garden, or zias and zios gallore to help fire up the copper and cap the bottles of sauce... so i got mine at the markets and am roasting them in the oven. and only enough to last a week or so, because i can't bottle them so they're just going in the fridge. but i think it with be gnocchi tonight, which will also give the less than new potatoes in my cupboard a home, and tomorrow it will be pizza.

Friday, February 8, 2008

lazy weekend


when i first started boringhistory girl, it was supposed to be about history. i envisioned myself regaling the world with tales of second century african bath houses (a favourite topic of mine. no - really) and the delicacies of athenian red figure pottery (another great read). However all it seems to be about is food. maybe i should rename it to boringgreedygirl. of course i am that too, but at the heart of it i am boringhistorygirl, as any of my friends will tell you.

but this weekend i am boringstayathomeonmyownandeatandcookgirl. mmmm.... it’s been one hell of a week, so after work i went to the central markets and shopped up big. adelaide is often thought of as being a little slow, the leader of a rival state recently referred to it as a backwater. And quite frankly, it is. it does, however, have a few redeeming qualities, and the central markets is top of the list. i like to think i’ve seen a little bit of the world, but nowhere have a encountered a food market like adelaide’s. barcelona was the closest i’ve come, and it was still a long way off.

of course it’s chinese new year too. xin nian hao to all you sinophiles out there. so i should be cooking chinese food. But i’ve a hankering for italian. lots of pasta and lots and lots of pizza. so i got a tonne of tomatoes and i’m making sauce tomorrow morning and then turning it into all sorts of lovely things. got two very large bags of flour. one for pizza dough, and one for cupcakes. but more about that later.

at any rate expect lots of food related posts this weekend.

on an entirely different note – dinosaurs. lovely greggie gave me a dinosaur egg during the week. he could tell i was stressed i think. photos of the birth available thanks to the nice folk at flickr.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

synopsis

the last week or so has been totally mad!

firstly work has been really demanding. after the departure of the best boss in the world, i have been working my arse off whilst trying to get the most important event of the organisation's year off the ground. this has involved me sucking up to both the governor and the minster (through their respective people), which is something i really hate doing! ooopps... just remembered no one is meeting the minister while she arrives. must email self to get this fixed!

but now to the fun stuff. BDO on Friday was just wonderful. Arcade Fire were completely amazing, it's been a long time since i've seen anyone as good live. pleeeeeease let them tour here again soon! also caught some of billy bragg, the hilltop hoods and bjork, who were also all good. too many bogans there though - tony was right. but managed to get home at a reasonable hour and stone cold sober.

this meant that i was able to get up nice and early to start the cooking for young luke's christening on the sunday. he's such a cutie. i've never been to a christening before (and all my friends thing i'm catholic), and it was quite interesting. lainiebird’s family are somewhat mad and heavy drinkers, but there is no surprise there and i had a lovely time. But again was totally exhausted and had to crawl home to bed early.

this weekend i have promised myself a quiet one, with lots of baking. I will go to the markets on the way home from work and do my food shopping and then stop in and prepare my entry(s) for my first ever cupcake hero event. It’s liquor this month, which has given me so much food for thought i can’t tell you. also had a package waiting for me when i got home, and had the terrible melvin twins for dinner, so all is good with the world.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

child of god


today was luke's christening, and having done the catering i am again too tired to think. i would like to be able to say that this cake was done by me. however it was done by his father, who can be a prat sometimes but is also a pastry chef, so i'll let him get away with making a better cake than me. the rest of the photos are here

Friday, February 1, 2008

tired and emotional

although i could of, i didn't. never do at the big day out, but always seem to get the age verification band any way
just got in and am too tired to write much, other than arcade fire were brilliant! long day tomorrow, so i am off to sleepy poos.