Dumplings!

Usually I get¬†creative with titles but this time around there is nothing much to say except “Dumplings!” because what more could you want when the meal itself is made up mainly of these smallish parcels of crispy, juicy meaty delightfulness. For the uninformed the humble dumpling is a wheat based pastry dough flattened to the size of a coaster that is carefully enclosed around a filling made of chicken or pork mince with egg, chinese cabbage or pak-choi (literally white vegetable) some salt and pepper. Really the whole idea is quite simple however the execution requires time to make the lot and then to cook it properly. We could embellish our dumplings with other fancy stuff like shiitake mushrooms or prawns or some fancier vegetables and maybe spices however basic flavours are best as you can vary the amount of ginger and dipping sauce you put on top to change the flavour to suit. Continue reading

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Experimental Kitchen: Pork Fillet with a crust

It’s time to try some new things in the kitchen. I’ve been cooking the last few nights (we usually cook together) and made a winter couscous with bacon, mushroom linguine and Gong Bao chicken with rice.

Pork fillet is delicious and if you put it in the oven for the right amount of time, it remains juicy and tender.

Ingredients

For two people, we got about 400g pork fillet
1 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon honey
1.5 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
a spritz of tabasco
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 bundle parsley
salt
pepper
oil
potatoes (optional – you can also eat this with rice or noodles)

Pork fillet: before

Pork fillet: before

Method

1. Preheat over to about 180-200 degrees.

2. Heat oil in a pan and sear the pork fillet from all sides, sealing in the juice of the meat.

3. Mix the herbs, honey, mustard, pressed garlic, vinegar, tabasco, some oil (depending on how much meat you have) into a paste.

4. Rub the paste on the entire piece of meat and then place the meat in a baking form. (If you are eating potatoes, you can halve them and place them in the baking form as well.)

Pork fillet: after

Pork fillet: after

5. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes. About halfway through you can get a brush and put some of the oil and sauce back on the meat. The pork will need to be removed after 20 minutes so that it doesn’t dry out. It should be a bit crispy if possible. The potatoes can be left in the oven while you cut the meat into smaller pieces.
Also it’s the wee hours of the morning now in Australia, finally 4th March so I’d like to wish Shaun, my big bro, a very happy birthday!! Still in your 20s!! Hope it’s a productive, positively-life-changing year full of growth, good times and happiness ūüôā
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Meatballs with Mash & Gravy

Ingredients 

Mashed potato, to serve

1 Brown Onion

750g minced pork (beef will also do)

Olive oil

Cracked peper

Sea salt

 4/5 Strips of Bacon

Crackers (any will do)

Brown onion gravy (depending on what you like)

Method

Mash potatoes.

1. place potatoes in boiling water with approx.
  3cm of water to cover cook until tender. Drain potatoes and mash until smooth add butter and salt and pepper to taste and stir again. place aside until serve.

Meatballs.

1. Chop onion finely and break stack of crackers in breadcrumb consistency

2.   Slice bacon into approx.. 5mm strips long ways then mix the bacon onion and crackers in to the mince

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3. This is where you can choose how large you would like the balls I suggest a medium size

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4. Place in tray lined with baking paper and place in to 200 degree oven until brown

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5. Place potatoes on plate and make slight well place meatballs in well and pour gravy on top.

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6. Enjoy!

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Experimental Kitchen: Hasselback Potatoes

No, not Hasselhoff. We’re talking about delicious, mouth-watering treats all the way from Sweden, to you.

And as usual, we’ve made our own variation with seasoned oil instead of butter. Quick and easy to make!

Ingredients

Small – medium-sized potatoes (for a side dish, about 3-4 potatoes per person)

Olive oil and/or butter

Sea salt

Pepper

Paprika seasoning

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celcius.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half longways.

 

3. Using a small knife (use a knife that is not so precise, rather one that is a bit serrated…something between a steak knife and a dinner knife), and cut fine, vertical slits almost all the way through, into the rounded side of the potato. A tip that I read online is to put the potato half into a spoon and then slice. The knife won’t cut all the way through!

4. Rinse the potatoes in cool water to get rid of any starch that may try to keep the potato from fanning out while in the oven.

5. Put the sliced potatoes into a large bowl. Add olive oil/melted butter, paprika seasoning (to taste, about 2 heaped tablespoons – depending on how many guests), sea salt and pepper and stir through, coating each potato.

6. Lay out the potatoes on a baking sheet on an oven tray, sliced side up. The grill function can be used to make sure the potatoes get a crispy surface.

7. Put the potatoes in for about 40 minutes, brushing on any extra oil/butter seasoning when the potatoes start to look dry.

8. Can be served with sour cream mixed with chopped up herbs. We used something called Quark (never heard of it until I came to Germany, but it’s similar to sour cream, only with less flavour) chives and greek seasoning for ours.

We then used the Hasselback potatoes as a side dish to our pork and served it with veggies.

Bon appetit!

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Experimental Kitchen: Martha Stewart Style

Each day we are posed with the same, nagging and somewhat difficult question: What should I make for dinner tonight?

Living away from home and not being treated by mum’s legendary cooking skills, this has become a daily struggle. Not that I’m complaining because I know I’ve got it good compared to many, and it also allows me to experiment and be creative in the kitchen. As we do nowadays, I turn to Google. I’ve used a number of sites and searched for recipes as well as used Apps but now I’m trying something else. I’m turning to Martha.

Recently I tried this recipe and it turned out really well. It was simple yet delicious and looked impressive. So here’s my slightly altered version.

Chicken breast stuffed with tomato, basil and mozzarella

Ingredients

Chicken breasts (at least 1 for each person) – Martha Stewart recommended to use chicken breast with bone but I used boneless and it was still juicy and tasty.

1 Mozarella ball (125g)

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Sundried tomato (approx. 4 slices – can be more)

1 fresh tomato

2 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Juice of a lemon (fresh or from a bottle)

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220 C and line a tray with aluminium foil.

2. Use a sharp knife to cut a slit through the side of each breast. Carefully create pockets in the breasts for the filling.

3. Finely chop up the basil leaves, sundried tomato slices, garlic cloves and fresh tomato and garnish with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Spoon the filling into the chicken breasts and insert a slice of mozzarella in each. Close the chicken breast pockets with toothpicks or metal sticks.

5. Arrange chicken breasts on the tray, rub/brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in over for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

6. In the meantime, to create a sauce, heat up chopped up tomatoes from a can/carton and then stir in chopped up basil leaves and season to taste.

7. Serve with spaghetti noodles or cous cous.

Eat and enjoy!

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Experimental Kitchen: Asparagus with Strawberries

Kokstars: Introducing Michael to our modest site. He will be writing about photography and photo editing and today, a dish that he learned to make during a cooking course in Germany.

It is asparagus season here in Germany and it is very common to make dishes with white asparagus, though Steph tells me that in Australia it’s mostly all green.

Some things go together very well, even though they don’t look like they do. Here is a perfect example and also a quick and yummy dish for you to try:

White asparagus with strawberries on pasta

White asparagus with strawberries on pasta

Ingredients
300g Asparagus (green or white)
300g Strawberries
300g Pasta

Salt
Pepper
Parmesan (grated)
Honey
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil
Sunflower oil

Method
1. Cut the strawberries into quarters, larger strawberries can be cut into eigths.
2. Chop up about 10 leaves of fresh basil and stir with 2 teaspoons of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and stir well.
3. Stir the mixture with the strawberries and set aside.
4. Wash the asparagus (if you use green asparagus you only have to peel the bottom part. For white asparagus peel the entire stalk otherwise you’ll be left with hard-to-chew pieces).
Next, cut off the bottom of each stalk and then cut the remaining asparagus into 2-3 cm long pieces.
5. Set 2 pots of water on the stove – one for the pasta and one for the asparagus.
6. Put the pieces of asparagus into one of the pots of boiling water and cook until al dente. It should take no more than 5 minutes. Just make sure that the asparagus does not become too soft.
Put one cup of the boiled water from the asparagus aside and sieve the asparagus out.
7. Put the pasta into the pot of boiling water and when done, add them to the pan and stir thoroughly. Then add the cup of water from the asparagus and stir through again.
Add salt, pepper and basil to taste.
8. Heat up a pan with oil, put the asparagus in and fry for about 4 minutes. Then add the strawberries and fry for another minute. Make sure they don’t cook for too long
otherwise the strawberries will become mushy.

Garnish each dish with parmesan.

Guten Appetit!

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Pan toasted cake with ice cream

I don’t usually do these kinds of posts but me and shaun pulled it out of no where and it was great so here you go.

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4 x Slices of Cake loaf (any kind)

Butter

Ice cream (any but suggested vanilla)

Lindt drinking chocolate

1. Slice Cake in to 1.5 cm slices.

2. Heat pan and add butter spread on pan until it begins to bubble.

3. place cake slices in pan and cook until crisp on both sides.

4. Serve in plate with ice cream.

5. Use Approx. One tablespoon of Lindt chocolate for sprinkling

If you have Reeses peanut topping it can be used before the chocolate for taste.