Hola Mexico! Frijoles Charros (Cowboy’s Beans)

Frijoles Charros is fresh bean dish that is healthy and wholesome. In Mexico, this dish is commonly eaten as a soup with a watery consistency, but I added an extra twist to mine and I let it simmer for an extra hour until there was only a little bit of liquid left. This created a more concentrated flavor and a texture that was similar to  refried beans, except I did not mash them. I also added in extra chili for a delicious kick! I was surprised at how little ingredients you need to create such an authentically Mexican dish. This meal serves 4 and I had yummy leftovers for a delicious lunch the next day.

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The Ingredients

2 cups of dried pinto beans, you can use canned pinto beans at your own discretion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, diced

200 grams of bacon and pancetta, I used 100 grams of each

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 large green chili, and one small red one for an extra kick

2 tomatoes, chopped

Salt to taste

Coriander

The Method

To cook the beans, soak them over night in one liter of water, bring the beans and soaking water to the boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours.

Fry onions in oil until soft. Add bacon and pancetta, cook for a few minutes, add the garlic and chili and cook until fragrant. Add the beans and broth- I used 4 cups of broth. Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 hours or until most of the liquid has gone and the beans are starting to break down. Add salt to taste.

Serve with heated tortillas, fresh coriander, salsa (I combined tomato, red onion, coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper) and guacamole.

Enjoy!

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Exploring Indonesia: Sambal

BEWARE: HOT!…. (albeit delicious)

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The Sambal I made packed a huge punch. This is definitely one of those dishes that are so hot, yet as your mouth burns and the sweat starts to build up, you can’t help but resist just having that little bit more.

Sambal is great to add to any Asian dish that requires that extra kick! I’m going to be passing it around the table alongside my Laksa tonight.

There are around 300 versions of Sambal out there, so I recommend you have a Google and see what you would like to put in yours. The one I made was great and I would make it again except with a dash of lime to add an acidic kick.

The ingredients 

50 grams chilli

50 grams ginger

50 grams garlic

80 ml vegetable oil

1 tbsp  brown sugar

1/2 tsp shrimp paste

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

Juice of one lime (optional)

The Method

Roughly chop garlic, chilli, shrimp paste and ginger and place in a food processor or mortar and pestle.  Combine until a paste is achieved.

Heat oil in frying pan over a low heat and add paste. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add other ingredients and combine.

Yoghurt Lemon Cake

A deliciously moist cake that has worked out perfectly every time I’ve made it. The great thing about this cake is that it is super easy to make and the ingredients are easy to buy if you don’t already have them.
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Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup of sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Juice and zest of two lemons

1 cup of Greek yoghurt

1/2 cup  of vegetable oil

2 cups of self raising flour, sifted

Method

Pre-heat oven on 180 degrees celsius and line a cake tin with baking paper, or spray with cooking oil.

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric beater on high for 3 minutes, or until creamy.

Add juice and zest of one lemon and beat with the electric beater for an extra minute.

Stir in flour, yoghurt and vegetable oil until combined.

Add to prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked right through (I insert a skewer and if it comes out clean- it’s ready!)

As soon as it comes out of the oven sprinkle the cake with extra sugar and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon on to it.

Enjoy with with Greek yogurt and lemon zest.

 

Delicious roast vegetable salad with tahini yoghurt dressing

Never underestimate the power of a deliciously fuelling lunch. This is an extremely easy recipe which all your colleagues will be extremely envious of. The tahini dressing is my absolute favourite- it is so healthy and delicious. You could also prepare the vegetables and tahini dressing in the evening to save time.  I have not provided measurements for the salad ingredients so you can decide how much of something you want (you might be like me and be a fiend for beetroot!) However, the tahini dressing recipe  serves one.

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Tahini dressing

Tahini, 1 heaped tbsp

Yoghurt, 1 heaped tbsp

Juice of half a lemon

One small garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Mix all ingredients well. Add salt and pepper to taste. The consistency will be a little thick- but this is normal.

Salad

Butter-nut pumpkin (could use normal pumpkin or sweet potato)

Red capsicum

Red onion

Courgettes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Tinned beetroot

Feta

Poached or boiled egg- optional (will keep you satisfied for longer!)

Your favourite salad mix (I used rocket and baby spinach- yum!)

Method

Cut pumpkin, capsicum, onion and courgettes into bite sized pieces and scatter on a baking tray. Cover with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake one 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft.

Mix roast vegetables and all the other ingredients together. Dollop on the tahini dressing, add another splash of olive oil and serve with an ice cold lemon water.

Enjoy!

The Most Succulent Japanese Slow-Cooked Pork- Butaniku No Kakuni

The flavor from this delicious Japanese dish is slightly sweet with subtle hints of soy. The fat from the pork belly is so tender after being simmered for 5 hours and it just melts in your mouth. There are many different options for creating this classic dish; whether to make it and refrigerate it overnight, add dashi or water, if it requires Japanese vinegar or eggs and how long it should be cooked for. This is how I cooked it, within the ingredients and time-frame that I had, and it turned out perfectly! I  served it with Japanese fried rice and steamed broccoli to create a wholesome meal.

ImageThe Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

800 grams boneless pork belly

70 grams fresh ginger, cut into thick slices

1 litre of water- I used water but you are welcome to use dashi

300 ml sake- this is a necessity!

1 1/2 tbsp light Japanese soy

1 1/2 dark Japanese soy

60g dark brown sugar- don’t use normal brown sugar as a substitute!

Japanese Fried Rice

1 tbsp oil

2 eggs, beaten slightly with a fork

1 cup rice

1/4 cup spring onions, chopped

1 tbsp soy

1 tsp sesame oil

The Method

Add oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. When brown, remove from the pan and drain over a colander. Pour boiling water over it to remove the excess oil.

Add the sake, water, ginger and pork to a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove any fat that rises to the top.

Add a cartouche- it’s basically just a large, round piece of baking paper with a vent cut in the middle that serves as a medium for letting steam evaporate and keeping it in. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until you feel like the pork is tender.

Stir in the light and dark soy sauce and sugar. Cook for another hour- or until you feel like the pork is done. It should be very tender at this stage.

Remove from heat and let the pork sit and evaporate the liquid for 30-45 minutes.

Japanese Fried Rice

Heat half the oil in the pan and add the egg. When the egg is starting to cook, start to break it up into pieces. Add the rice, remaining oil, soy sauce, spring onions and sesame oil and cook on high heat for 2 minutes while stirring.

If you feel like the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove half of the liquid from the pork and simmer until it’s at the desired consistency.

Gently reheat the pork and serve with your favorite steamed greens.

Enjoy.

Turkey: Spinach and Feta Borek (Spinach and Feta Pie)

 

Borek is a Turkish filled pastry, which is commonly filled with cheese or meat. I have combined feta, spinach and dill to create a scrumptious pie that would be perfect at a party, as a snack, or as a side to a Turkish themed dinner.  I made lamb stuffed eggplant to go alongside the borek and it was a perfect combination of flavors.

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The Ingredients

5 sheets of filo pastry

300 grams of spinach; frozen, defrosted and drained or fresh, chopped spinach

2 eggs

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup grated cheese

1 tbsp dill

Salt and Pepper to taste

The Glaze

1 egg

 1/4 cup of milk

The Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Grease a baking tray and line with the filo pastry.

Following that, beat eggs and add spinach, cheeses, dill salt and pepper.

Place the spinach mixture in the baking tray and top with pastry.

For the glaze, beat the egg and milk together then brush over the top of the borak.

Cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy on top.

Enjoy!