Thursday, 18 October 2007

Sometimes, No Recipe, Just a Joke

But it does involve condiments....

A few years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco, and several members lunched at a local cafe.

While dining, they discovered that their salt shaker contained pepper and their pepper shaker was full of salt.

How could they swap the contents of the bottles without spilling, and using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa!

The group debated and presented ideas, and finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw and an empty saucer. They called the waitress over to dazzle her with their solution.

"Ma'am," they said, "we couldn't help but notice that the pepper shaker contains salt and the salt shaker ... "

"Oh," the waitress interrupted. "Sorry about that." She unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Fasoulia



NAME: _Fasoulia (Beans with Lamb)
(pictured here in early stages, just prior to simmering for several hours)


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1/2 kg lamb pieces (see notes)
1/2 kg green beans (see notes)
50g lamb suet (beef suet will do at a pinch, or olive oil)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp pomegranate syrup or molasses
1 tsp salt
1 large brown onion
2 garlic cloves
bunch fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried
1 tsp black cumin seed
5 to 10 bay leaves
1 tin crushed tomatoes or 1/4 kg fresh tomatoes peeled and chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
(optional) about 100g finely diced bacon


METHOD:
(See notes) Cut the lamb into small chop sized pieces, cut the onion into thin crescent slivers. finely chop the garlic and the fresh oregano. (See notes) Trim the beans but leave as long as possible.

Heat the suet and oil in a large heavy based pot, drop in the onion, and wait, tossing occasionally, until onion is glassy. Add garlic and the lamb pieces, allow to fry for at least another ten minutes so, turn the meat over every two to three minutes. Add salt, cumin seeds, bay leaf, and the oregano, fry for another five minutes to release flavours.

Add chopped tomato, tomato paste, pomegranate syrup or molasses, vinegar, and enough water to totally submerge the meat. Allow to come to a simmer and add the prepared beans and lemon juice, bring to a simmer again, and then leave on a low simmer for several hours, until meat is falling off bones and beans are very tender.


SERVING:
Serve hot to warm, in bowls, and with crusty dense bread. May be served with a dollop of yoghurt, too - in which case, supply lemon wedges too.

Serve four hungry people, or eight less hungry ones with the bread...


NOTES:
Lamb: I find that offcut ribs and belly flap makes the best meat for this dish, as you're anyway simmering it for hours and it will be tender and flavourful.

Beans: While a French cassoulet used fava beans or other, this is a dish for green bean pods, be they stringless, string, round, or other. The main thing is to get very fresh beans for this, make sure they are firm and that they snap not bend. The very best beans will give the very best flavour.



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Because this dish contains both tomato paste and grape seed oil, and also pomegranate, it is suitable for the Body Friendly Zen Cookbook diet.
FATS: approximately one full allowance of fats per person if feeding four, or about 1/2 the daily allowance if serving 8.
CARB: Depends on the bread and how much.

Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


Sunday, 23 September 2007

Silver Beet and Gnocchi

NAME: _Silver Beet and Gnocchi


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1 bunch silverbeet
1 tbsp flour
100g thin sliced rolled pancetta
1/2 medium onion
1 clove garlic
50g tasty cheese
2 tsp olive oil
500g potato gnocchi
salt
1 vegetable stock cube



METHOD:
Wash the silverbeet carefully and shake off the water. Cut the silverbeet leaves from the stems, cut into 3cm strips, place in steamer basket and put on to steam. Meanwhile slice the onion, garlic, and pancetta thinly and fry over low heat in the 2 tsp of olive oil. Select several silver beet stems and slice thinly across, add to the pan and continue to cook over low heat.

Place four slices of pancetta between paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes or until crisp. Allow to cool and crumble up, serve in a bowl to sprinkle over each plate. Dice or grate the cheese and set aside.

When the silverbeet has steamed to limpness, lift it from the steamer and place aside, boil water for the gnocchi, and when boiling, add the gnocchi and boil until they rise to the surface, then about a minute more. Drain the gnocchi, refresh with cold water and set aside.

When the onion garlic pancetta and silverbeet stem mixture has softened, add the flour and stir well, allow to fry a minute or two longer, then add about 250ml of water, the cheese, and the vegetable stock cube. Stir until thickened, add water (or, if desired, milk) to make a rich creamy sauce, then add the steamed silverbeet and stir through well. Salt to taste.



SERVING:
Serve immediately, spoon the silverbeet and sauce over each plateful of gnocchi and garnish with crumbled pancetta. Mild green olives are a nice side to this dish.



NOTES:
The whole meal takes about 15 minutes if you do things concurrently, and now in the spring is the time to find good fresh leafy greens for your diet. Light steaming preserves the taste and nutrients in the silverbeet, and the pancetta with a tasty cheddar cheese is a lovely counter to the slightly bitter taste of the silverbeet.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Cute New Vegetables

Okay a quick post on nutritive and local. I posted a bit here on the subject but there's a few things that aren't covered by that brief post nor the article I linked to.

I've been buying local and to me that means within a few kilometres of Perth (and specifically me!) where possible. Things that are cool at the moment are kohlrabi, a turnip-like vegetable that's currently in season, and some cool black potatoes you can see in this picture, which are purple inside. Only place I've found those potatoes to date is at the Magic Apple continental supermarket on the corner of Nicholson Rd and Albany Highway, who aren't always local produce but at least they are always fresh and of reasonable value.

The more observant among you might recognise the shopping bag in the background as coming from the Yuang Chan Vegetable Market at Canning Vale Market City, it's another place that has veges that just rule. What they sell is always fresh and crisp.

Now to those black potatoes: I have no idea what they are (I found them next to the kipflers but the two are not alike at all) and due to the beautiful plum purple colour of the flesh I am concluding that these are potatoes that have antioxidant properties. Due to the soft nature of the flesh I am also concluding that these are actually a variant of sweet potato, which is fine with me to because the are beautiful drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled which chopped chives. No I didn't peel them, the skins are washed and fine, and it hasn't killed us...

Anyhow - the main thing is that both these places are within a few kilometres of me and both have extremely good fruit and vegetables at the moment - so I'll make an effort to provide a few recipes as I come up with them.

For your part, you have to make the effort and break out of the "ColesWorth Rut" and start buying your fruit and vegetables from markets where the produce is more likely to be fresh and local! And if you don't, I'll send Ghostie after you!

Well, not really, he wouldn't know how to say "ROWR!" but he does get distressed every time the Big Supermarkets take away another choice from us. And you should, too, and remember to ALWAYS BUY LOCAL FIRST...

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Cannelloni Tricolore

NAME: _Cannelloni Tricolore


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
12 cannelloni tubes
150g finely minced pork
150g fine white fish
100g spinach leaves
100g ricotta cheese
white flour
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1/2 tsp gound fennel seeds
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tbsp tomato paste
150g butter
1 tsp salt
half a medium brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 litre milk
2 chicken stock cubes plus two cups water or
2 cups strong chicken stock



METHOD:
Chop the onion really finely, divide into half, divide one half into three. Chop/mince the garlic with the salt, divide into four parts.

Mix tomato paste, the pork mince, one of the sixths of onion, two portions of garlic, half of the fenugreek and fennel, and all the Italian herbs to a paste consistency, use this to fill four of the cannelloni tubes.

Chop the fish, mix with the remaining fennel and fenugreek, one part of garlic, one sixth of onion, a tablespoon of flour, and enough water to form a paste. Fill four cannelloni tubes with this mixture.

Chop the spinach leaves quite finely, mix with the ricotta cheese, the last part of garlic, one sixth of onion, mix together, and use to fill the last four tubes. With that you have the three colours of the flag, so now arrange the tubes in a baking dish two layers deep.

I make a "cheat bechamel" sauce because I don't mess about scalding milk nor with tradition, here's the cheat way:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the 1/2 of chopped onion that somehow ended up laying there on the cutting board looking forlorn, and lightly fry until the onions are transparent. Add about five to seven tablespoons of flour (you will need to make enough bechamel to completely cover the tubes, and it's better to have more flour as you can thin the bechamel easier than thickening it), and stir well. Gradually mix in the milk in a thin stream, making sure lumps are pressed out at this stage, then add the chicken stock or water and two chicken cubes. Stir until it begins to thicken, then keep stirring until it doesn't thicken any more. Adjust the consistency with extra water to a thick creamy consistency.

Pour the bechamel over the cannelloni ensuring it gets in between and under the tubes, and covers them, then cover the baking dish and place in an oven at 170 degrees for an hour.



SERVING:
One tube of each colour, covered with a bit of the bechamel, is a pretty filling serving. Don't serve grated cheese with this, it has fish. Fine chopped parsley makes a nice garnish. You can serve a salad or something - but not necessary, this will happily stand on its own.



NOTES:
Have to admit I prefer the spinach/ricotta and the pork mince cannelloni, but the fish is pretty excellent too. These are all pretty untraditional ways to fill the little suckers too, but then I prefer it that way. Tradition is good, good robust flavour is better.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Zucchini/Eggplant bake

NAME: _Zucchini/Eggplant bake


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
500g - 1kg Zucchini (or eggplant)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint
1 tbsp zartar or dried thyme
salt and a pinch of cumin to taste
1/2 cup grated yellow cheese (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled fetta, hamoumi, or similar cheese (optional)
2 very ripe tomatoes (optional)



METHOD:
Slice the zucchini or eggplant into 1cm thick slices. (If using eggplant, sprinkle generously with salt and leave to draw out the liquid for an hour. Rinse, squeeze dry. Test and if stil bitter, repeat. I find one good salting/rinsing gets most of the bitter liquid out.)

Mash or blend the spearmint and add the oils and tomato paste and mix together well. You can add a teaspoon of raw sugar or grape molasses if the tomato paste is a particularly acid one, mixing in well. You may wish to adjust the thickness with the 1/2 cup of water.

Brush the baking dish with EVOO and lay the sliced vegetable in a layer at a time. (I cut slices in half so they will fit all the way out to the edge, your choice.) Sprinkle the zartar or thyme over at each layer, and add some of the tomato paste, then when all vegetable has been laid in the dish, pour in the remaining tomato mixture.

At this stage you can either bake it as it is, or else add the sliced tomato in a layer, then the grated and crumbled cheeses.

Bake in a medium (180) oven for about 30 - 60 minutes, until the cheese is brown.



SERVING:
A side dish - or you can make it a main, served with rice or bourghul and some meat kofta or something.



NOTES:
Eggplant is the right vegetable for this dish but because of its flavour you may prefer zucchini. I've made both and I prefer the eggplant.


Sunday, 19 August 2007

Chicken breasts in yoghurt

NAME: _Chicken breasts in yoghurt


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
2 whole chicken breasts, halved.
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup unsweetened cream
1 cup chopped parsley leaves
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp cardamom seeds
2 cloves garlic
4 - 8 stalks spring onion
several sprigs or parsley and coriander
salt
2 eggs
1 cup of yellow cheese such as mild cheddar, grated
some crumbled fetta, haloumi, or peynir kasar type cheese

Ceramic or cast iron baking/casserole dish that will just hold the four half chicken breasts laid out flat, or four small baking dishes to the smae specification as above that are just the right size for a breast half each. (I recommend the latter, I have four small oval ceramic dishes that are ideal, made by Mayfair & Jackson, will add a picture here next time I make this recipe.)

METHOD:
Crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar, or put in blender, until all crsuhed fine. Add
1/2 cup each of the green leaves, spring onions, all the garlic, and blend or mash again until pretty much liquid. Add the yoghurt and cream, and either mix together or one quick burst blend to mix.

Add remaining finely chopped greens, mix in, and use about 1/3 of this mixture to marinate chicken breasts in a plastic bag for an hour or more.

Place each marinated chicken breast flat in its baking dish which you have brushed with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside to marinate some more.

Add the two eggs to the remaining yoghurt/cream mixtures and beat in. Pour a quarter of the mixture around and over each breast, put in the oven at 190 - 200 for 20 minutes. Add the grated cheese in equal parts over the top of each dish, similarly the crumbled specialty cheese, return to oven for a further 20 - 30 minutes, or until the yellow cheese has browned.



SERVING:
Leave to cool slightly and serve in the baking dish, placing this on the plate of each person. This dish can be served with couscous, rice, salads, or a dish like baked eggplant or similar - or any combination, and probably a few more I haven't even thought of yet.

The egg will set the yoghurt/cream mixture around the chicken breast, which is why it's better served in the individual ramekin or dish - but equally, you could make them all in one baking dish and serve to the plate along with the accompanying dishes.



NOTES:
The ceramic dishes I have are oval, about 10cm in the long direction, and about 1.5cm deep, and were part of a set with a much larger similar shaped dish that I have no idea what the set was for as it was a gift one Christmas. I'll do some research...

Monday, 13 August 2007

Homemade Dill Pickles

NAME: _Homemade Dill Pickles


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
around half a kilo of thin pickling cucumbers
half a litre of wine or apple cider vinegar (you can try different ones)
half a litre of water (see Method for exact amount of water + vinegar)
about 50g - 150g fresh dill
one packet "pickling spices" (see Notes)
level dessertspoonful of rock salt (NOT iodised salt)
half a brown onion (optional)
one clove garlic (optional)
Couple of heatproof jars with sealing lids



METHOD:
Slice the cucumbers to suitable slices, I make mine about half a centimetre thick, try out in jars - set aside as many jars as you will need to fit your sliced cukes with between 1 and 4 cm space per jar. Take the cucumber slices back out, fill the jars with reasonably hot water from the tap, make sure they don't shatter. If they pass the test, go to make the pickling liquid.

Half fill each jar you're going to use with vinegar, tip that vinegar into a stainless steel pot. Keep about a cupful back to place in a blender with most of the roughly chopped dill. (Keep a few small sprigs to decorate the jars.) Add the lightly blended dill and vinegar liquid to the vinegar in the pot, then do the same measurement (half the volume that jars need) with water and add that to the pot too. Add the salt and the pack of pickling spices and bring this mixture to the boil. Slice a few rings of onion per jar, half a crushed peeled clove of garlic if using, and get the reserved sprigs of dill ready.

Once the pickling mix is boiling reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for a few minutes, meanwhile refill the jars with very hot water and leave to stand for a few minutes, then use a tea towel to emtpy them and fill up with a few onion rings, the sprig of dill, the garlic if using, and then the cucumber slices as you did before. Using a fine strainer, pour enough liquid into each jar to come right to the top. Fish out a peppercorn or two from the pickling spices and add to each jar, then close the lids lightly. I do this stage with the jars sitting in the sink, just in case.

After about five minutes the jars will have cooled a bit, close the lids tightly and allow to cool to room temperature. Once at room temp, place in refrigerator or a very cool storeroom for a week. The boiling pickling liquid will have just blanched the cucumbers without taking the crispness out of them, and the flavours will have percolated through by then.



SERVING:
Anywhere that a side dish of dill pickles is called for. I loved these with the Borschtchi I made the other day, and they have a nice light flavour due to the water diluting the mixture.



NOTES:
These pickles will keep for a few weeks at any rate, but mine never last that long... Also, I realise that some people says that there should never be water involved in the pickling process but every rule is made to be broken, and this recipe needs the lighter flavours.

Pickling spices are sold in packs in most supermarkets but if you want to, just toss a dozen peppercorns in the mixture instead, and a couple of crushed dried bay leaves. Some fennel seeds will give an aniseed hint, or some caraway seeds a slightly more European flavour. Experiment is the key. Also, you may prefer not to use an onion ring for flavouring, nor garlic - and certain things go better with certain vinegars, I used white wine vinegar for this recipe and it is perfect.

I have a so-called "bullet blender" which means I tend to use it a lot - you can also fine-chop the dill and add it to the pickling mixture, but I find that the blender does the job faster than I could, and more uniformly. Your call...

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Borscht Stew

NAME: _Borschtchichi


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
about 1kg - 1.5kg beef belly/ribs (need some short bones for flavour and some fat and meat to shred)
50g - 100g bacon
2 large brown (white) potatoes
2 large brown onions
1/4 a large dense cabbage
1 turnip (optional)
1 swede or parsnip (optional)
1 carrot
1 stick celery (optional)
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 fresh red beet, raw preferred, or about 100g tinned beetroot and liquid.
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and pepper.



METHOD:
Separate the meat and fat from the ribs if you have ribs, put the bones aside. Cut the meat and fat across the grain into 1/2cm strips and chop/shred those strips. The aim is to have about a hlaf to one kilo of beef shredded. Place in a larg heavy bottomed pot and place over high heat, start rendering fat and frying the shredded meat. Add the half teaspoon or so of salt at this stage.

Cut the ends off the two onions and then cut them into 8 wedges each, lengthways, put in the pot with the frying meat. Shred the bacon, add that. If you are using the garlic (recommended) cut the ends off the two cloves, smash them flat with the blade of your knife, and add them to the pot at this stage. Unless the skins are very hard, don't worry about peeling the skins off, they add flavour and will be pretty well cooked by the time the dish is finished. Keep turning occasionally while:

Cut (shred) about half the amount of cabbage you have and add that to the pot. Keep turning occasionally (reduce heat slightly if it's burning too fast) and prepare the rest of the vegetables:

Cut the tops and ends off the root vegetables, peel one of the potatoes. Put the other potato and half the carrot aside for later on, along with the remaining cabbage and the celery if using.

Shred or grate the turnip, parsnip, swede, half carrot, and one potato, I grate them onto a plastic cutting sheet, feel free to use a large bowl. By now the shreds of beef should be browning and the onions garlic and cabbage also cooking nicely. Once there's a bit of brown happening, add the shredded or grated vegetables, they will form the basis for thickening the stew. Stir to coat with fat and browning, and to let the juices from the vegetables deglaze the pot. Add the vegetable stock and the beef bones, bring all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer in this way for at least two hours, preferably four, stirring every 30 minutes or so.

Chop the remaining cabbage roughly, cut the carrot and the potato into cubes, and the celery into thick slices. I don't peel this potato, just wash and clean it, this will add a nice touch to the schtchi. Raise the temperature slightly and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour. This is not critical, you just want the newest batch of vegetables you added to be "stew soft." Remove the bones if you like, or they can be left in - I like them left so they can be picked for their meat and marrow, your choice though. Skim the fat off the top and dispose of, it has done its job.



SERVING:
Serve in bowls with thick slices of buttered German dark rye bread on the side, otherwise buttered crusty rolls will have to do. A dollop of sour cream (or yoghurt, or plain cream) can be added to each bowl as well, and you take a spoonful of schtchi with a bit of cream each time, very yummy, don't stir the cream through. You can serve up to eight people, six is around the recommended number.



NOTES:
My grandma did the thing with shredded meat and bacon, and adding some cabbage to fry with the meat, to "give it some taste" as she used to say. I know she sometimes also added bay leaves, and/or mustard, or horseradish cream. I haven't seen that in any recipes online so maybe that was her particular foible. I prefer horseradish if I'm going to do this.

Also, don't be forced to sticking with beef - I use that as it's common, gran used whatever meat was around, the key thing was to have enough fat the fry the meat without using any other dripping or butter. If you prefer, you can shred lean meat and use oil to crisp it in but the flavour will not be there.

Also - you can during the simmering process decide if you want to evaporate the water and make more of a stew, or cover the pot and have a more liquid soup. Either way is good, Granma's was sometimes a soup one day and then had vegetables and a shot of paprika added and became a stew the next...



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not taken. This serves four to eight easily, and has about half an allowance of fats per person if serving six (and depending on how much fat was in the meat, of course -- and don't forget how much is on the bread.)


Monday, 6 August 2007

Casserole Pig (okay I don't know a real name for this...)

NAME: _Casserole Pig


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
0.5Kg diced pork, about 2-3cm (1") cubes
100g bacon.
1 medium brown onion
1 parsnip medium
1 carrot medium
6-8 small or 2 large potatoes
1 stalk celery
1 broccoli piece around 200g - 300g in size
0.5kg of brown mushrooms
2 cups stock, vegetable or beef
2 heaped tablespoons white flour
1 litre fresh water
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon grape molasses or 250g red grapes, preferably seedless.



METHOD:
Peel and cut up the root vegetables into chunks as large as, or larger than the pork. Cut broccoli into similar sized florets, and the celery stalk into 2.5cm slices. Roughly chop the grapes if using them, and chop the mushrooms quite fine.

Put a film of oil into the pot and heat, add the pork and bacon pieces and the caraway seeds. Fry until all the pork pieces begin to turn brown, add the flour, stir well, and allow to fry until pieces begin to brown and a layer of browned flour appears on the base of the pot. Add the chopped mushrooms and chopped grapes, stir through, add the stock and most of the water. Stir until all the browning has lifted from the base of the pot. Add the rest of the vegetables (except the broccoli) and bring to a simmer while stirring regularly.

Transfer to a casserole dish with a lid, place in oven at 170 degrees, and leave for around two hours. (Until vegetables are becoming soft. At this point add the broccoli, stir through, cover again and return to oven for a further 30 minutes.)



SERVING:
Serve with thick sliced buttered rounds of dark rye bread, preferably rye with caraway.



NOTES:
German Caraway Rye - Get it at Temptations Bakeries around Perth - it's perfect! for this dish.

My Mum made this and sometimes it went in the casserole and the oven, other times it went on the hob and got simmered for half a day - you could also use an electric slow crockpot I guess. Very filling and warming in the cooler weather. I don't know what to call it so - "Casserole Pig." Deal.



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: If you used lean pork, very little fat. I have not calculated the good active ingredients but it's definitely your full serving of vegetables.


Monday, 30 July 2007

Leek Soup - easy way

NAME: _Leek Soup


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1 leek
1 medium/large brown onion
4 medium or 2 large potatoes, brown skinned
50g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre chicken stock
salt, pepper



METHOD:
Peel the potatoes and put into simmering water, let the water continue at a low low simmer while you do the following steps.

Cut the leek top off at the point where the leaves open. Separate the leafy tops and wash all the sand out. There will be sand, make sure the leaves are clean, set them aside. You will eventually get to a central core that is tight and sand-free, so now wash that and the "stem" of the leek and slice them into 1mm slices. Set aside, peel your onion, dice that into small squares.

Put the butter and oil into a large pot and allow to melt, add the onion and reduce heat to barely sizzling, add the leek slices and allow to gently fry for five to ten minutes. Tear the leafy tops and add to the potatoes you have simmering and leave for another few minutes to thoroughly soften the leaves. Take off the boil and cool under water.

Put two cups of water in the blender and add the blanched leek tops, cube the potato into manageable chunks and put that in too, blend for around two to three minutes. Add water if necessary to make a blendable paste, and when ready pour this into the pot and stir in well. Add the chicken stock and salt/pepper to taste but bear in mind that the flavour will settle on simmering.

Bring to a boil, then put a simmer plate under the pot and reduce heat to barely simmering, leave for as many hours as you can, preferably more than three. I use a large slow crockpot for this, that way you can do as I do, prepare everything the night before, store, and then put in the crockpot for the day, when you get home your soup will be perfect.



SERVING:
Server with crusty solid bread spread with butter. I generally make this part of a meal menu, but there's nothing wrong with having this as the main meal. Serves 8 as a soup course, 4 as a main dish.



NOTES:
Cos it's winter here in the Antipodes, and this is a great warming soup. One day I hope to come up with a summer version of this, stay tuned!

I have two crockpots, and this amount definitely does not fit into the smaller one, so I generally save half of it in a re-used ice cream tub and freeze it so I have a quick soup I can just fetch out one morning and have a soup by evening.



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: have not been taken, as quantities may vary. The meal as cooked and if used for 8 portions has about 1/4 a serve of fats per serving.


Friday, 13 July 2007

TEdICHURRI Chicken

NAME: TEdICHURRI Chicken


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1 1/2 cups pasta spirals
1 cup strong chicken stock
6-8 small potatoes skin-on, washed
300g - 500g chicken pieces off the bone
24 stalks onion flowers (approximately - small bunch)
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mixed celery and celery tops
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 ripe avocado
1 small brown onion (or 1/2 medium brown onion)
splash extra virgin olive oil



METHOD:
Roughly chop the onion flowers and stalks and place in blender with teaspoon of salt, olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Blend for a few minutes, adding a drizzle of water if necessary to make a creamy consistency.

Chop the chicken into 1.5cm - 2cm cubes, place in a bowl, and pour the marinade over. Stir well to ensure all the chicken gets covered and cover and refrigerate for several hours.

When ready to begin, start the potatoes in a few litres of clean salted water, keep an eye and slow to simmering as soon as simmering starts.

Meanwhile chop the onion small, put in the pan with the tablespoonful of olive oil, start frying. Once onion is glassy, add half the parsley and half the chopped celery. Reduce heat to a gentle sizzle. Now take the chicken pieces from the marinade (but preserve the marinade don't throw it out yet) and place on aluminium foil under the grill. Scoop the avocado out and mash it with a fork to paste. Add a tablespoonful of the marinade to the avocado mash, mix together, and add this to the onion/celery/parsley and stir through. Increase the heat, stir for five minutes. Add the chicken stock and about half a cup of water. Turn the chicken under the grill when it starts to brown, until all sides are reasonably browned.

By now the potatoes will be half cooked, lift them from the water with a slotted spoon, turn up the heat, and put the pasta spirals in the water. Cool the potatoes and slice about 1/2cm thick, layer these in the bottom of a small deep casserole dish. Add the chicken on top, set aside.

Using a fork, mash the onion/celery/parsley sauce slightly, and then use the fork to lift solid bits out of the sauce and layer onto the chicken and potato. Pasta will now be ready so drain it (don't rinse) and put aside. Go back to the sauce, fine chop the remaining celery amd parsley and add that to the sauce, taste and add salt or more marinade to taste.

Put the well drained pasta on top of the potato and chicken, and spoon the sauce over evenly. Cover the casserole and place in the oven at 170 - 180 for 45 minutes to an hour, then uncover and bake for another 20 - 30 minutes.



SERVING:
Serve immediately, digging down through the layers to get someof everything. Serve this with a steamed leafy green to keep to the green theme, and this serves four people.



NOTES:
You may prefer less tang to the flavour in which case reduce the amount of vinegar not the amount of lime juice and add more water to get the consistency right. If you follow through my recipe the timings of everything will be pretty spot on - I've made this a few times now and it just sort of works out...



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not taken. High in fats due to the avocado but it's the right kinds of fat.
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
PROTEIN:____ ANTIOXIDANT:____ VITAMIN:____
DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____
Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Chicken Stuffed Capsicum

NAME: _Chicken Stuffed Capsicum


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
About three meaty chicken frames from making stock (see notes 1)
500ml strong chicken stock. (From the above, perhaps...)
half teaspoon turmeric
half teaspoon powdered fennel or assafoetida
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 small brown onion
1 clove garlic
1 parsnip
5 large red capsicums (or 4 large red capsicums and 1 large sweet chilli)
1 tablespoon of olive oil



METHOD:
I'll assume you've recently made chicken stock and have the frames reserved and about 200g - 300g of meat on them, otherwise you need to find around 200g - 300g of chicken meat and simmer it tender in about 500ml of the chicken stock. If you have the frames, pick the meat off and then dispose of the bones. Try and avoid sloppy bits and skin or fat, stick with lean meat. Pieces should be fairly small, nothing thicker than 0.5cm or longer than about 4cm, shred or cut if necessary.

Cut the onion into thin crescent wedges and place with oil into frypan and start heating. When onion starts going glassy add meat and the garlic clove (minced) and a bit of salt (about half a teaspoon) and fry over medium heat for up to ten minutes, when things should start to colour slightly. At this stage add the rice, the one red capsicum (or sweet chilli) trimmed seeded and cut into 1cm squares, add the turmeric and fennel, let all fry for another few minutes, stirring all the while, then add 1 - 2 cups of chicken stock. (Use the stock you poached the chicken in if you did that.) Bring to boil then reduce to a very slow simmer and leave for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally or use a simmer spacer to keep rice from burning. Use less to begin and add stock/water if the rice is not tender after 30 minutes.

Peel and grate the parsnip quite finely, add to the mixture, stir through, and remove from heat. Rice should have absorbed all liquid, if not simmer a bit longer.

Prepare capsicums by removing tops (which you trim to quite thin and retain) and scooping out, then either placing in oven at medium heat for 30 minutes or microwaving for 3 - 10 minutes to soften. You can do this while the stuffing mixture is simmering, save time.

Alternative: Cut capsicums in half lengthways and scoop out, trim the inside of the stalk end to quite thin, proceed as above.

When stuffing mixture has cooled enough to handle, fill each capsicum to the brim, place in a baking tray covered with foil or a lid and bake at medium heat (around 170) for an hour. If you cut the tops off, replace them before serving.



SERVING:
Serve as a full meal with something like steamed buttered garden vegetables and some nice sweet pickled gherkins or similar, or else as part of a larger meal. There are four meal sized capsicums if you just top them and eight side dish sized halves if you did the lengthways thing... Just sayin'...

Also - a few drops of some chilli such as harissa or Tabasco on top of each serving is delicious. Depends on tastes though.



NOTES:
1: I generally find a butcher that has chicken frames with a bit of meat still left on, and generally trim the thin stomach/chest wall skin away, then pick the best and most solid remnants of meat from around breast and thigh and neck. If your butcher leaves nothing on the frames then the bones aren't going to make much flavour either. One last thing, if your butcher's chickens are slow grown (i.e. free range and organic) then they will give a much better flavour.



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not noted, as this dish can vary considerably depending on the meat.
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
PROTEIN:____ ANTIOXIDANT:____ VITAMIN:____
DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____
Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


Friday, 8 June 2007

Chimichurri - something different

NAME: _Chimichurri


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
1.5 cups Spanish olive oil
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1.5 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
(please note alternative to above chopping in method, see below)
Salt to taste
pepper to taste



METHOD:
Method 1
Mix ingredients very well into oil, season with salt and pepper, and use immediately. For this to work you need to really chop ingredients very fine, also see Notes for some tips and hints.

Method 2
I tend to rough chop the ingredients, pour the oil and lime juice in a blender, then add ingredients a bit at a time while whizzing it all up. The flavours are way better, it's easier, and shoot me, I'm lazy...



SERVING:
Marinate meat in this for any time between 2 and 48 hours, the longer you leave it the better it penetrates, then grill fry bake roast the meat as you normally would. Chimichurri is excellent on beef, and not bad on pork lamb or poultry either.

If you're going to marinate for a long time do store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Also, a plastic bag makes a good marinating container, but don't trust it - still put the whole lot on a deep plate in case the plastic develops a hole, and cover with plastic wrap.

Argentinian
Steak
Cut about a kilo of flank steak across the grain into three pieces, place them in a flat dish and pour half of the chimichurri over it. Turn to coat; cover and marinate in the refrigerator. Let the steak come to room temperature before grilling, seasoned with salt and pepper. Grill one side until browned, turn, and grill the other side. About 4 to 5 minutes per side makes a medium rare, adjust times to suit. Let the meat sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain again into thinner slices, and serve with a bit more chimichurri as a dip sauce. You can also do this on the BBQ, in which case I'd part boil a few potatoes, cut in half and brush with olive oil and put them on the BBQ at the same time as the steak, by the time the steak is done the potatoes should be too.

Ribs South America
I've also marinated a belt of beef ribs, cut it in half and placed on a roasting tray covered with aluminium foil and baked for an hour followed by basting with a bit more chimichurri and then roasting uncovered until it looks appetisingly browned, and served with white rice and some cooked greens.



NOTES:
Firstly, adding 1/4 cup of water makes the mixture mix and blend more easily, and also allows it to cover the meat better.

Secondly, if you refrigerate the chimichurri for a day it allows the flavours to blend better and infuse into the oil, also the olive oil will set a little and that makes it easier to cover the meat in marinade.

Thirdly, once having marinated the meat you need to control the flavour by the time you let it marinate. Two hours is good, 48 is very strong. If roasting the meet though, it is better to have the marinade on for longer as the browning process will convert a lot of the strong flavours to milder ones.



ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: No ingredients list because this is just decadent...


Monday, 4 June 2007

Sauer"roo"laden - Australia meets Austria

NAME: _ ROOladen (kangaroo roulades in tomato/celery casserole)

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
500g kangaroo, preferably in one piece.
dozen or so tiny pickles
dozen or so olives black or green, no stone
two garlic cloves peeled
one small brown onion
one large potato
150g celery tips
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
several tabelspoonfuls of olive oil
double ended toothpicks

METHOD:
Slice the meat into 1/2cm thick slices with a sharp knife. Partially freezing meat allows this to be easily done. Each slice needs to be about 6cm - 10cm by 4cm - 6cm. Use the dimpled side of a meat tenderising mallet to further flatten the slices out.

Slice the pickles in half lenghtways, ditto the olives, and cut the garlic cloves into thin slivers about juliennne thickness. The best pickles are the ones you get at Continental delikatessen and are about 2cm - 4cm long and about the thickness of a pencil or smaller. They have a tart taste and crisp texture. If you use larger gherkins cut and sliver them to a similar size as above.

Roll meat roulades with a piece of pickle, piece of olive, and piece of garlic. Secure at each end with half a toothpick. Aim to get about 15 - 30 roulades from your piece of meat. Don't worry if you have pickles olives and garlic left over - in fact the aim is to have about a dessertspoon of each left over.

Put the olive oil in the frypan and when it is hot enough to sizzle the meat, place the roulades into the oil and reduce the heat to about half. Allow to slowly reduce away the liquid from the meat and then increase heat again.

In the meanwhile, finely (very finely!) dice the onion, the left over garlic olive and pickle slivers, then remove the browned roulades from the pan and set aside to drain, drain away most of the excess oil in the pan (carefully) and then brown the diced mix for about five minutes or so. Peel and dice the potato into 1cm cubes, set aside.

Allow the fried herbs to cool, and using whatever you like, blend to a puree. Return to the pan, add a tablespoon of tomato paste, the chicken stock, and the potato cubes. Salt to taste, pepper if you like it. Allow to simmer over very low heat for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Place the roulades in the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish, pour the potatoes and sauce over, place the lid on the baking dish casserols style, and allow to cook in a 180 degree oven for around another hour or until the potatoes are "fall apart" tender.

SERVING:
Serve as is or with additional pasta or bread or small spaetzle dumplings. Should serve four people as a main.

NOTES:
Okay okay you can do this with beef but kangaroo is almost zero cholesterol zero fat guiltless meat, very healthy for you.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
FATS:__1__ CARBS:__1__ FIBRE:__0.5__
PROTEIN:__2__ ANTIOXIDANT:__0.5__ VITAMIN:__0__
DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____
Remember, Active ingredients are approximate average per meal allowances for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


Sunday, 20 May 2007

Friday, 4 May 2007

Thermomix Kitchen Appliance


Having just had a demonstration of the Vorwerk Thermomix kitchen appliance, I'm in awe. The agents here in Perth sent Ms Nota to demonstrate the product, and it blew me away.



The machine is just - impressive. We ground wheat to baking flour then mixed it gently into a dough and then kneaded it. All in the same machine. We made a quantity of two cups of sorbet, then a half kilo of shredded salad. Followed by - well, that would give it all away in one, and I have a few more things to tell you about this machine...

One of the reasons I was looking at the Thermomix is the number of machines it replaces. I find that appealing because I intend to go caravanning for a year or two, and in a caravan every appliance you can leave behind is a Good Thing. And the Thermomix certainly replaces a few.

The first thing which I saw immediately, is that bits of the machine that contact the food are stainless steel. No plastics to leach nasty chemicals, no teflon[tm] - and being stainless steel means cleanup is a breeze. We cleaned the bowl by tipping a jug of water into it and running it, then tipping the water back into the jug and wiping the bowl dry. That easy. And I was impressed with using the same water to wash the bowl several times because on the road you're quite often water-limited. And of course saving water is a Good Thing at any time.

To start with, the machine is fast enough to function as a blender. The blades are sharp and solid, and engineered to sharpen themselves rather than blunt over time. And impressively sharp they are too. They are also very solid blades, and the bearings on the latest models are sealed for life.

The machine can blade-grind almost anything. Again, I was impressed with how little fuss it made at grinding a cup of wheat to flour. Set the speed lower and you could have made cracked wheat bourghul. The power in this machine is very controllable and useable.

Now the magic bits. To begin with there was no fussing with measures. Thanks to a clever design, this machine weighs ingredients directly! You press the zero button, drop the food in, stop when it reaches the required weight. Re-zero, add the next ingredient. It doesn't get much simpler than that!

We added the flour, water, yeast, and oil, and setting the machine to a "magic" setting produced a nice pulsed kneading action. Following the surprisingly short recommended time, the bread dough had balled nicely and was just right to leave rising.

At this point we could have made a 12 minute soup (but I'm saving this surprise for a bit further in so keep reading!) like a minestrone or similar but I wanted the quick version of the demonstration so we skipped over an hour of the usual two hour demonstration. I will have one of these really soon so I'll provide some recipes once I get to experiment.

Sorbet? I can honestly say under two minutes from whipping the ingredients out of the pantry to a finished sorbet. Oh and - did I mention that we started with whole brown sugar, milled that to caster sugar consistency, added the ice fruit and egg white and - voila! Instant. No fuss no messing around, this machine just gets on with it.

Salad? Take your ingredients, place in the bowl, put the top on, use a low setting, for a few seconds. Never seen anything like it. The big 500W motor starts almost instantly, and stops as quickly, leading to precise application of that power. The salad (which I'm still munching on as I type) is beautiful.

Two rinses later we added some onion and garlic and olive oil - and then processed and COOKED them! Yes, the machine has a 1000W temperature controlled induction heating system built in as well, enough to bring the bowl full of water to the boil in mere minutes. We added Arborio rice, stock and wine, and put the machine on a slow reverse stir for 16 minutes. Meanwhile, placing the steamer across the top of the machine gives two more dishes that can be steamed and that my friends is a complete meal, from soup to sorbet, and the whole lot would have taken under an hour if we hadn't been talking and sampling more than we were cooking.

The reverse stir is a secret - those same blades that could reduce that rice to fine powder in a few seconds at full speed, work with the butterfly stirrer accessory to keep the rice from clumping and sticking, or to constantly and gently stir anything like a soup or similar - in a word, this machine is brilliant.

And yes, the machine did ALL the work for the risotto, constantly stirring the rice to prevent sticking, and if I'd cared to, I could have added the stock a spoonful at a time but in the interests of demonstration time, we put it all in at once. I've never made risotto more easily.

So here's a machine that replaces a whole slew of machines for me:

  • Blender
  • coffee/herb grinder
  • flour grinder
  • meat mincer
  • bread maker (but need an oven then)
  • mixer
  • food processor
  • slow cooker
  • rice cooker
  • Coffee brewing (in a pinch)
  • steamer
  • slow crockpot cooker
  • scales

And that is a saving of around 40 kilos of appliances and any amount of costs.

I've already got plans for making Middle Eastern kibbeh style meat because the proccessor is so flexible and powerful that it will make a one hour job into just a 5 minute procedure.

THE HEALTH BENEFIT (and why I like this machine)
Also, because it's so easy to use wholefood ingredients rather than processed foods, this machine fits in perfectly with the aims and direction of the Body Friendly Zen Cookbook principles and makes cooking many of the recipes into a trivial task. I therefore have to recommend something like the Thermomix as the appliance of choice for many of my recipes, and will re-write many of them to take account of the machine, but with equivalent procedures for separate machines and hand-processing as well.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Recipes For Disaster

I read a lot about diet and health. Because it's important to eat good foods in order for your body to operate efficiently. And if your body is operating efficiently, then you are less prone to illnesses. I also read about (and develop - after all I needed it - ) diets to deal with illnesses such as cancer. And so I came across this simple and easy to follow explanation of what Type II diabetes is and how to avoid and reduce it. A lot of it is commonsense, some of it is medically sound, and some of it is not quite so easy to reconcile with healthy eating...

Let me start - my partner has Type II and is obese. She eats small portions of her foods but spoils that by eating unallowed foods in between. It's not so much the quantity that is foiling her efforts, it's the types of things she eats. As "localroger" points out, the medication itself sets you up for continued obesity, as does the illness.

I tend to cook Mediterranean and Middle eastern styles of foods, which are healthy and work well for me, but slightly less so for her. If she ate what I eat without the extras she would lose a lot of weight and her Type II would reduce in severity. If we tailor her diet even more, the results would be spectacular. But there is always a deeper reason for obesity, usually an almost addiction to the unhealthy foods...

Our modern diets tend to be filled with sugars and starchy carbohydrates. While "localroger" in his article does away with all carbs, I have to say right away that if a diet absolutely forbids a particular whole food group, I'm against it. The only food group I'd deny is the fast acting toxins and rat poison group. And even there, it's been proven that certain poisons in minute qunatities are beneficial to us, and some are even a requisite.

Let's face it, life is a balancing act all the way. Eat less fats and carbs and you (unless you have a very rare sort of fullness sensing mechanism) will feel hungrier and eat more. And while it may not be fattening food, it is still not a balanced amount for your body. When you eat food, there are byproducts. Eat the right amount of food and you will be excreting the right amount of wastes. Eat too much - even of the healthiest food you can find - and your organs are having to deal with a lot more waste than is good for your body to have to deal with.

My approach is much more balanced. I find that carbs and starches are needed. Our bodies make emergency sugars out of them remember? Fats are the best form of that, and animal fats best of all. On the flipside, fats are easier for our bodies to store, too. In the form of fat. Which becomes sugar only when the cells need it. And if you have Type II then your cells aren't listening to the insulin saying "go ahead and use this sugar" so the body stores it instead. Also as fat.

To get off that particular roundabout you need to add red and white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and malt vinegar to your diet. And red wine, tomato paste, oily vitamin E. These all reduce cell inflammation, which is what creates the "noise" that prevents the cells from seeing the insulin signals. (And yes, cell inflammation also leads to dysplasia of the cells, a form of pre-cancerous malformation of cells which doesn't take a lot to tip you over into cancer. In my case, prostate cancer, which I reversed using only my diet.)

Now - animal fats will convert to sugars and then to fat, in your body. Carb-high foods such as the sweet dough buns used for burgers will provide useful sugars to your body - which it will promptyl turn into fat... The additives that are used to bake modern breads and preserve the pickles and meat in that burger will cause cell inflammation, leading to cells that won't use that sugar, which your body makes from your fat and in fact makes less and less of as it is not being used. So I suggest that if you are having fat-laden meat avoid the highly processed carbs such as bread and pasta, the naturally easily assimilated carbs like potatoes, and stick to greens and beans. For that meal only! Put a reasonable amount of time between meals (an hour or two at least) before having some other meal with other ingredients.

That's the legacy of the burger kingdom - you have a meat patty which contains a fair percentage of animal fats fried in vegetable oils, and both have preservatives and additives which your body has no idea how to cope with and which ends up sometimes excreted as waste but more often than not just contributing to cell inflammation load and chemical "noise" in your system. Have you never wondered why Type II and the "obesity epidemic" seem to be recent phenomena?

Over millenia, our bodies grew to the point where we could make use of our food that was available at the time. Once we it was discovered that another animal's proteins were far more concentrated than eating the vegetables and converting them ourselves, it would have taken several hundred generations (certainly a period of some 10,000 years and possibly even ten times as long) before the mechanisms existed for making successful use of meat as a part of our diet. Okay - juries are out over precisely how long it takes to adapt, as a species, to a new food in our diet, but all agree that it happens in an evoilutionary blink, only a few hundred generations compared to the tens of thousands of generations that other genes take to enter the mainstream.

That means that, once we herded a few animals rather than hunting them, that we developed a tolerance for their milk, as that was a renewable resource from the animals which, if we could only keep our bodies from rejecting it, would allow us to better survive. Somewhere along the line where the Asiatic and European bloodlines split, the Asians never bothered much with milk and to this day are still lactose intolerant. From the timelines involved, scientists have calculated that we gained the lactose tolerance gene some 7,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Similarly, around that same timespan we discovered that fermenting grains and sugars made a very nice drink, which unfortunately left us dizzy and disoriented and easy prey to predators or hunting parties, but which substituted nicely for water, and thus we could avoid several water-borne diseases that would have been deadly back then. And hey - we also developed an "immunity" to alcohol back then, proof that not all evolution has to be boring and tasteless...

You know what was NOT around, ten thousand years ago? Preservatives, and processed flour that has been bleached to resemble chalk with about as little nutritional value, and E612 and all those other flavourings and modifiers and crap. Give our bodies fresh vegetables with as little chemical contamination as possible, meat that has not been treated with irritants to make it look red, and grains that have only been ground and baked - and they will thrive. You almost can't make a mistake there. Our bodies are survivors!

But put all that chemical in there and watch things go awry. Yes - diabetes was almost unknown when sugar was a brown and relatively unprocessed mass of goo. Even raw sugar today is megaprocessed, and it's one hundredfold better for you than white sugar. Because white sugar is bleached and processed and finally, ends up being nothing like a natural sugar.

So do read that article, but bear in mind that "localroger" is only seeing one side of a much larger picture. Buy a copy of my book, and begin to live healthier starting right now...

Austrian Cabbage Rolls

NAME: _ Kohlrouladen
These cabbage rolls are flavoursome, wholesome, and easy to make.



INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
One plain cabbage, medium-large.
250g very lean pork
1 cup long grain white rice
1 tin chopped tomatoes, or two-three cups fresh chopped tomatoes
tablespoonful of grapeseed oil
tablespoonful of either pork dripping or olive oil
1 large or two medium brown onions.
1 tin sauerkraut, or about three cups if you have bulk
20 - 50 g speck or bacon
salt to taste
5 chicken stock cubes in a litre of hot water or one litre of chicken stock

flat coverable baking dish (or cover with two layers aluminium foil)




METHOD:
Put the chicken stock on to simmer, put the grapeseed oil and fat (or olive oil) into a reasonably deep frypan. Chop the onion(s) about 1cm square, put in frypan with about a teaspoon of salt, allow to sizzle turning occasionally. Slice the pork across the grain and put in food processor, dice speck or bacon into half cm bits and put in processor too. Whiz for less than a minute, you want pretty coarse shreds of pork.

Once the onions are going glassy, add the pork/speck and keep stirring occasionally. When the food starts drying and frying properly, allow to fry until everything colours a bit, throw in the a cupful of sauerkraut and the rice and stir around for five more minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and two cups of the chicken stock. Place the lid on the pan and turn right down for about an hour, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile cut the core out of the cabbage and separate off as many outer leaves as you can. I dip the cabbage under hot water to loosen the leaves and peel off carefully. Once you have as many leaves as you can (they will need to roll up a spoonful of filling each so larger leaves are preferred) and blanch them a couple at a time in the simmering chicken stock, until they are limp. Cut the thick part of the stem away on each leaf (I slice it away leaving a thin bit of the stem still on the leaf) and stack them to cool.

Oil a baking tray and sprinkle half the remaining sauerkraut on the bottom in a thin layer. Once the filling is finished and has cooled, make the rolls - Place a spoonful of filling at the stem end, partly roll the end of the leaf over, then fold the sides across that, then continue rolling. Things you can add to these leaves as you roll are sticks of cheeses like fetta, haloumi, cheddar - pretty much any solid cheese - and a mint leaf, or a few slivers of crisped bacon.

Lay the rolls quite tightly on the bed of sauerkraut in the baking tray, until you've filled the tray. Space between the ends of the rolls is okay, but keep them tight in the other direction to stop unrolling. When you've used up your leaves, sprinkle the remaining filling around the rolls and shake down in between them. Sprinkle the last of the sauerkraut over the top, and then add one or two more cupfuls of the chicken stock. Cover with two layers of aluminium foil or place the cover on the dish.

Bake in 180-200 oven for 30 minutes, then remove the covering and bake for another 30 minutes. The liquid should all have evaporated or been absorbed by then, if not don't worry, use a bit less next time.




SERVING:
Serve right from the baking dish if you like, or else arrange on a serving platter decorated with a few sprigs of parsley.

You can also make a tomato/chilli/paprika sauce to serve over the rolls, in this case you need to adjust the aActivre Ingredients appropriately.

Serves four to six.




NOTES:
By using the animal fat here you're supplying some of the right kind of fat to your body. Because this dish serves six people, you're really only getting one sixth of each of the fats, a matter of some 15g - 25g in total.




ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
FATS:__1/2__ CARBS:__1 1/2__ FIBRE:__1__
PROTEIN:__1__ ANTIOXIDANT:__1/2__ VITAMIN:__?__
DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____




First Post

NAME: _ New Blog


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
Time and care



METHOD:
Posts will be added here as I try out different recipes. I'll try and analyse each recipe for nutritive values.



SERVING:
Grab the "RSS" feed link at the bottom of the page to get informed of recipes as I add them.


NOTES:
One day these will have their little recipe asses databased and be running on my own CMS/website. But for now, this is better than nothing.

Most recipes on here will tend to be biased towards The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook style recipes, i.e. healthy and designed to help fight cancers and inflammatory illnesses. This notes section will describe that more fully, and the active ingredients section below will aim to provide some quantities in "average servings."


ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
PROTEIN:____ ANTIOXIDANT:____ VITAMIN:____
DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____ DUNNO YET:____



COUNTER

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