Showing posts with label dressing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dressing. Show all posts

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Community Inspiration - Chilli Fig Jam with Chorizo tacos

So you might be looking at this and thinking, really? ANOTHER fig recipe? But they’re in season, they’re plentiful and they’re currently being supplied to me for free from a friend’s tree. So I am using them in everything. And loving every single dish of them! And as they are in season, they’re popping up on my Instagram feeds quite frequently and one that caught my eye was from Perth Breakfast – she was making a fig and chilli jam. Um…yum! Two of my favourite things in a jam! Something I was definitely going to try!

As you probably know by now if you’ve read this blog a few times, I am more than slightly addicted to tacos. So my mind immediately went to tacos for a good use of said jam. So beyond the fig jam, the next idea of these was to use a big range of textures. So you have the chewiness of the chorizo, the soft, squishiness of the zucchini, the pop of the corn kernels the crunch of the peanuts and the stickiness of the jam (is stickiness a texture??), the smoothness of the cheese and the crispness of the cucumber. All at once. And it was wonderful.

I used venison chorizo because I have a stockpile in my fridge. When we head down south for a weekend, we tend to stock up on a few products without fail. Venison chorizo, chilli beer sticks and kangaroo biltong from the Margaret River Venison Farm are high on that list. Being venison, it has a more intense flavour than standard chorizos, slightly gamey but not super obviously gamey. If that makes sense? It’s perfect for adding sweet flavours like fig jam to. But any chorizo you’ll have will work. I also served it with the jam still warm. Do this. It blends in with the cheese better as you eat it.
I was deliberately light on the chilli in the jam for two reasons. Firstly, the chorizo already has a heat to it and I didn’t want to overdo the spice, but for all other purposes, I think I would prefer it hotter. And secondly, the jalapenos I used are from my own shrub and they are so inconsistent in their heat. Some are basically capsicum, some will knock your head off – I tend to err on the side of caution. I’m sure you know your own tolerance, add the chilli to your tastes. As per our Instagram conversation (and because I prefer natural sweeteners) the jam is sweetened with honey rather than white sugar. And traditionally, you would add some water but this I deliberately wanted super sticky and thick. You can add a cup of water to make a runnier jam.

Chilli Fig Jam
(makes one 300g jar)
10 figs, cut into 1cm pieces
2 jalapenos, de-seeded and minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey

First up, make the jam. Add the figs, jalapenos, vinegar and honey to a small pot, bring up to a medium low heat and allow to simmer away for half an hour so until the figs start breaking down and the texture goes all jammy. Around half an hour or so. Bottle in a clean glass jar when still hot.

Spicy Peanuts
1 tsp butter
½ cup raw peanut kernels (no skins)
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp smokey paprika
Pinch sea salt

Heat a frypan, melt the butter and throw the peanut kernels in, toss around for 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, paprika and salt, toss everything very well to blend. When the cumin seeds are at the ‘popping’ stage, the peanuts should be slightly brown and toasty. Remove to a serving bowl and allow to cool.

Chorizo Tacos
(serves 2)
1 chorizo sausage (around 250g)
1 medium zucchini, diced
½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
handful chopped coriander
To serve
Tortillas, cucumber strips, fetta (try get one that’s smoother rather than dry and crumbly)

In the same frypan as above, add the diced chorizo pieces. Leave to fry 5 minutes or so for them to render out some of their fat and start to get crispy. Add the zucchini and corn, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or so until the zucchini is cooked. At the end, stir through the coriander.

Serve all immediately with warmed tortillas.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Freekeh Salad with Capsicum, Tomato, Zucchini and Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

I don’t tend to follow recipes for salads, and as such I often don’t even think about posting my own. My salads are based on what vegetables I currently have in my fridge, and which of those I feel like eating. I’ll occasionally follow a dressing recipe to the letter, but that’s about the extent of it. And if it’s a green salad I very rarely dress it, so I really don’t think of that being a ‘recipe’ kinda dish. I don’t really think about people putting careful thought into creating their version of the perfect salad, which is a bit rude of me, I guess. For me, it’s all interchangeable. With that said, I do think about getting a harmonious mixture of textures and flavours when I’m rummaging through the fridge and cupboard. Crunch and crisp and soft and squishy all together! But I guess I more think of salads as a side dish, rather than the star. Even though I eat salads every day for lunch and absolutely love them!

This is more of a full meal kinda salad, so I’m giving it it’s day in the sun. I spent the weekend down on Molloy Island gorging on junk food (as well as overeating amazing food at El Rio and Cheeky Monkey) and felt like a nice big salad for dinner, you know, to ‘make-up’ for all the badness. I’ve bulked it up with freekeh, which I tried for the first time in this recipe. It has a nice, chewy texture. But you can substitute for any grain you’d like, I know that freekeh is pretty difficult to find in Perth – not to mention expensive. Brown rice or barley would be nice chewy substitutes. Depending on what grain you cook, you might need to cook the lentils separately. Similarly, walnuts or almonds can be used in place of the cashews. Dried cherries or chopped dates would be good in place of the cranberries. The meat can be anything you’ve got, or none at all. Some parsley and coriander would be welcome additions. The capsicum, tomato and zucchini are wonderful this time of year, so if you’re making it in summer, I’d suggest you stick with those. But hey, it’s up to you. I figure you know what you like!

And, because we re-stocked our wine cellar on the same trip, I highly recommend eating this with a nice big glass of Cape Naturaliste Semillon. You don't want to be too virtuous.

I’ve seen pomegranate molasses in a few supermarkets about the place now (mainly IGAs), but I got mine at the Nanna Shop.

Freekeh Salad with Capsicum, Tomato, Zucchini and Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
½ cup freekeh
¼ cup du puy lentils
3 cups water
1 cup shredded meat (I used a combination of lamb and chicken)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 small zucchini, cut into 1cm rounds, then quartered
2 kale leaves, stripped off the hard rib and shredded
Handful mint leaves
¼ cup cashews, roughly chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp harrissa paste
2 tsps honey
¼ tsp salt
½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Put the freekeh and lentils in a small pot with the water, bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the freekeh is swollen and chewy. Strain out any excess water and leave to cool slightly.

Prepare all of your vegetables and shredded meat whilst this cooks and put in a big bowl to serve.

Put the dressing ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously for it all to amalgamate.

Add the lentils and freekeh to the bowl, then pour the dressing in and mix well to combine.

I served mine with a scattering of dukkah, because I had an open jar, some fetta or goat’s cheese would go perfectly as well

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing

The days are (occasionally) getting warmer and brighter and the need for raw veges is slowly creeping in. My body craves crunchy, fresh produce and as I unpack my box of groceries, I can't help but pick at bits. A broccoli floret might have 'accidentally' ripped off into my mouth. A snow pea 'fell-out' of the bag on to the counter so I might as well eat it. Then Lance points out that it's lunch time.

There's some cooked quinoa in the fridge (ready for these biscuits), a few slices of chilli pancetta and a tiny bit of sheep milk fetta leftover in the fridge. Add some fresh vegetables, some parsley and mint from the garden and the tamarind dressing I'm currently in love with and you have the perfect weekend lunch. Make enough for lunch the next day, too. All of the vegetables are interchangeable for what you have or what you like. My aim was for pretty colours and a range of textures.

Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing

Quinoa Salad with Tamarind Dressing

(serves 3-4)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 small carrot
4 large cauliflower florets
½ capsicum
1 tomato
1 dill pickle
2 kale leaves, inner rib removed and shredded
3 slices pancetta
Sheep fetta
1 tbsp toasted pepitas
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
½ tbsp. cacao nibs
¼ cup shredded flat leaf parsley
¼ cup shredded mint
3 tbsps Tamarind dressing (recipe here)

Chop all the vegetables into similar size pieces, I went for a very small dice. Slice the dill pickle smaller still. Shred the pancetta into small pieces.
Toss all ingredients together, apart from the fetta and dressing. Slowly add the dressing, using just enough to coat, rather than drown it. Crumble fetta over the top and serve!
 Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing
Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing
Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing
Spring Salads - Quinoa salad with Tamarind Dressing

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kale "Salad" with tamarind dressing

I hesitate to call this a salad as really, it's just dressed leaves. But I don't know what else to call dressed leaves. I guess I only really hesitate now because of a conversation on the weekend in which salads of just leaves were accused of not really being salads. Which leads to a huge semantic discussion of what a salad "is", that I don't really care about. I am happy just to eat! I made this dressing and put it on the kale leaves in my fridge and some parsley from my pot plant and served it with sweet potato hash, Puerco pibil and an egg. It went perfectly together. I then made it with just the leaves and some toasted black sesame seeds with my red-sotto. Also a brilliant match. So salad or not, it makes a great side dish.

I guess the real "recipe" here is the dressing. You can make a much bigger, ingredient filled salad with this dressing. When the weather warmed up (for what felt like all of 2 days), I made  wonderful quinoa salads full of crunchy nuts and seeds and this dressing for a fun weekend lunch. Stay tuned for that.

I mainly used tamari in this dressing because tamari and tamarind are so similar in name. It amuses me. You can use soy sauce if that's what you've got. In my experience, soy sauce tends to be a tad saltier, so maybe start with less. And the tamarind syrup is sweet and sour at the same time, so you don't strictly need extra acidity, but a splash of lime as a kicker over the top would also be good. I have heard you can buy tamarind syrup, but I haven't seen any myself, so I included the simple version I made below. I made it initially in an attempt to replicate a different dish I ate in New York. It blew my mind! Stay tuned for that one, too! Tamarind is often available in the "Asian aisle" of supermarkets, or failing that, at Asian grocers.

Add the dressing a little at a time, it'll probably make more than it needs.


Tamarind Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
100g tamarind
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped

Bring everything to the boil in a small pot, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the tamarind paste "dissolves". Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove pits, tough bits of tamarind skin and the chilli. Leave aside to cool. Stir well before using.

Kale Tamarind Salad
serves 4 as a side
3-4 kale leaves, removed from the stem
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tamarind syrup
2 tsp tamari
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
toasted sesame seeds to serve

Pour the olive oile, tamarind syrup, tamari and pepper into a small jar with a lid and shake vigourously to blend. Pour over the kale leaves and use your fingers to massage in, to help soften and make all the leaves glossy. Toss through the parsley leaves. Garnish with sesame seeds.