Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday dinner #3 - Pizza

I have a confession to make. I don't actually ever make pizza dough. Paul (my bro) always makes the pizza dough. And rolls it. I always 'dress' the pizza. But never make the dough. So, half the credit has to go to Paul - because we all know that the base makes the pizza.


1 c water
1 tspn sugar
1 sachet dry yeast
3 c flour
1 tspn salt
4 Tbspn olive oil

Boil water and pour into large bowl. Mix in sugar and leave it until it has come to room temperature.
Pour yeast sachet overtop and leave for 15 minutes.
Add flour, salt and olive oil to wet mix. Mix this all together (use your hands, go on!) to form a slightly tacky, elastic dough.
Cover bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it to sit somewhere warm for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Grated mozzerella cheese

Tomato pizza sauce
Bocconcini - sliced thinly
Procuitto - rolled
Green pepper (sliced thinly)
Fresh basil

Spread the pesto or tomato sauce across the bottom of each pizza.
Top with the rest of the ingredients - in the order listed.
Crack some pepper ontop and put in the oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until base is cooked and crisp - and slightly brown.
Cut and serve with beer and/or wine...mmmmmm!!!

Use home-made pesto, it makes it taste so much better!
Buy quality pizza bases - the ones with holes in the bottom are best.
Drain liquid off olives/capers or otherwise the pizza will be soggy.
Wrap the procuitto into small rolls, and don't put too much on, or it will go soggy as well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday dinner #2 - Rogan Josh with lemon pickle and mint yoghurt

I got this recipe from the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals cookbook. It actually took me around 40 min to do, and I modified it a bit, by removing cauliflower and adding beef and other things (otherwise dad wouldn't have been happy). Actually, it is pretty different. It made heaps of food, at least two nights of dinner and one set of lunch - winning!

Pappadams, lemon pickle, and curry with yoghurt...mmmm!

Rogan Josh with Pickled Lemons and Mint Yoghurt

2 onions - diced
4 cloves garlic - crushed
1 fresh red chilli - sliced
400-600g beef (I got the cheap stuff) - cut into cubes
1/2 butternut squash - cut into cubes
1 bunch fresh coriander
1/2 a 283g jar pataks rogan josh paste
1 tin chickpeas
1 large (or 3 small) zucchini - sliced
1 packet baby spinach (the $3 coles packs)

Rice and pappadams to serve.

Lemon Pickle

1 lemon
2 tspn mustard seeds (or seeded mustard if you're like me)
1 tspn tumeric
1 small fresh chilli

Mint Yoghurt

500g tub natural yoghurt
1 bunch mint leaves
Dash of olive oil

First, get your yoghurt started. 
Empty the yoghurt into a coffee filter and sit in a sieve over a small bowl. Place in the fridge.
This lets all the excess moisture out of the yoghurt.
Leave in the fridge for <1 font="" hour.="">
Remove yoghurt from filter, put into clean bowl. Add the mint leaves and a dash of olive oil. Mix well.

Next, lemon pickle.
Put the pan you will use to cook the curry onto the stove to heat up.
Cut lemon into eights, then deseed and slice thinly.
Slice the red chilli finely.
Add a dash of olive oil to the pan, followed by the mustard seeds, tumeric and chilli. Stir well to avoid burning.
Once it starts to sizzle, add the lemon and stir for around 10 seconds before removing everything from the heat and leaving in a small bowl to cool.
Leave the pan on to cook curry.

Now, curry.
Place the diced onion, chilli and garlic in the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
Add beef and continue to cook until outside is brown.
While this is happening, loosely cut the coriander (including stalks) - save some for garnish.
Add the squash, coriander and chickpeas (with juices). I also added another half tin of water. Stir, and cover pan with lid. Let the curry simmer, stirring occasionally.
Check the curry after about 10 minutes - add more water if needed.
When squash is almost cooked (after 15-20 minutes), add zucchini.
Cook for a further 5 minutes - or until zucchini is soft.
Remove from heat, add spinach and stir through.

Serve curry over rice with coriander ontop and pappadams, yoghurt and lemon pickle on the side.

ps. this was dessert - fresh raspberries, cream and meringues. WINNING!

Mix the lemon pickle into leftover curry - the flavours will develop and taste amazing!
Add more vegetables (cauliflower, capsicum, tinned tomatoes) for a healthier/larger meal.

Sparrow Indonesian Restaurant

Sparrow Indonesian Restaurant
301 Lord St
9228 2238

I'm saving my pennies. In 3 months I am flying to America, for a looooong time, and I am trying to cut down on spending. This means going out to dinner 2 nights a week instead of 4. And only buying clothes from op-shops!

When I heard about Sparrow, I thought it was too good to be true. $9 for a main meal? Surely not. Surely that was 5 years ago. Noone does a meal for $9 anymore - unless it is fast food - which doesn't count.

So, I called up my friends, and we made a date. Sparrow at 7pm.

I got there early and have to admit, was slightly off-put by the faded paint and sercurity grills on the outside. Inside wasn't much better. There wasn't enough room to swing a cat, and the tables were so close you could reach over and grab the food off your neighbours plate. But, the aircon was pumping away and the 'man in charge' greeted us warmly, moved a 'reserved' sign, gave us some menus and sat us down, while answering the phone twice.

There was a good range of food on the menu, entrees, mains, vegetarian, desserts and exciting Indonesian drinks. We decided to settle for the krokettes (chicken meat and cheese cake (???)), vegetarian me-goreng, beef rendang (3 pieces) and satay chicken (3 pieces). Oh, and ice tea was so cheap I couldn't refuse.

When we first sat down (7pm) the cafe was quiet, with a few people coming in for take-away. By the time our food came out, it was half full - and getting quite noisy. When we left, it was full to bursting, there were people waiting for tables and the kitchen was going full steam ahead.

The food came out - all reasonably at the same time. We started with the kroquettes. Lets just say interesting. There was some weird tasting sauce with them and although they were crunchy, and had the right texture, I was pretty dubious about what else was in them. The chicken satay sauce was AMZZING. Soooooo tasty. But, the chicken was that processed stuff that comes pre-skewered - it would have been a little bit fancier if it was real breast they had cut/skewered themselves. The me-goreng was greasy and slightly bland, and there werent very many veges. But...the beef rendang. omg the beef rendang. the beef was so tender it just fell apart. It was a lovely cut (hardly any fat) and the sauce was just the right amount of spicy. The beef came in large pieces - you basically ordered one piece per person.

The best part about this meal? When we went to pay it came to $32. For everything. Not each, EVERYTHING. Which made the slightly greasy me-goreng and dodgy chicken worth it :)

So, will I go back? Yes. I have also been telling everyone about it. It's not flash, it's super noisy, but its cheap, and tasty.