Healthy Eating

Bi Bim Bap – Cooking Class 8

Friday, June 5th, 2009

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When Nick chose his next Cooking Class dish, no one had heard of it (and don’t ask me to say it, because I’m sure my Australian accent does it no justice, I’ve already spelt it wrong a couple of times).

It was described to me as a Korean stir-fry without the actual stir-fry. More of a combination of flavoured vegetables and some beef all cooked separately, then laid onto each person’s bowl of rice, with a fried egg with soft yolk placed on top. Break the yolk and eat different sections, or mix and match.

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It took a bit longer to make then we expected. We had to cook each part separately in the wok, although it was worth it, and the hot rice helped heat up anything that had cooled slightly. Nick was happy with it too, saying it was quite similar to what he had previously tried (even though he’s only tried it once or twice).

Bi Bim Bap
(Recipe adapted from Maangchi)
For 4- 6 servings

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups rice
3 cups boiling water
salt
a package of bean sprouts
a bunch of spinach, sliced in long strips
2 zucchinis, peeled and cut into long thin slices
8 Shiitake mushrooms (if they are dried, you need to soak them for 2 hours), sliced thinly
200 grams of ground beef (about half a pound), or diced beef
3 carrots, peeled and cut into long thin slices
4-6 eggs
soy sauce
6 cloves garlic
sugar
sesame seeds, sesame oil, and vegetable oil
A platter for vegetables

Green onion sauce
4 green onions
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Rinse bean sprouts 3 times and put them in a pot with a cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for 20 minutes. Half way through add 1 clove of minced garlic, sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Drain and place on platter.

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Heat a medium saucepan on medium/high heat. Add butter and then stir in rice to coat. Add a few pinches of salt, stir, then add boiling water and stir. Once water has come back to the boil, turn down to as low as possible, place the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Put spinach in a pot of boiling water and stir it for a minute. Then rinse it in cold water a few times and squeeze it lightly. Mix it with a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 clove of minced garlic and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.

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Sprinkle zucchinis with a pinch of salt and mix together. A few minutes later, sauté zucchini in a wok over high heat. When it’s cooked, it will look a little translucent. Put it on the platter.

Sauté shitake mushrooms with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in wok. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir it for 2 minutes. Add some sesame oil, and put it on the platter.

Add some oil to the wok and cook ground beef. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ½ tablespoon of sugar, a little grounded black pepper, and sesame oil. Place on platter

Sauté carrots it for 30 seconds and put it on the platter.

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Add a little butter to a pan and cook eggs with sunny side up. (Crack into pan and cook until egg white cooked and yolk still runny).

For the sauce, add all ingredients together and mix.

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Spoon rice into bowls and attractively display all your vegetables and meat. Place the sunny side up egg on the centre. Serve it with green onion sauce, sesame oil and hot pepper paste. Lastly, mix it up and eat!

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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I’m not the best person at remembering to send someone a recipe they’ve asked for. Unless I get reminded or leave an email in my inbox marked as “unread”, it’s unlikely I’ll get around to it, especially if I haven’t had a chance to type it out. So I felt a bit bad when a friend of mine asked for a Bruschetta recipe and I still haven’t emailed it to her.

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Well here is the Bruschetta recipe I use. It’s nice and quick, with lovely flavours… even for someone who doesn’t like eating raw tomatoes… now who could that be? 😉 De-seeding the tomatoes reduces extra liquid which will cause the bread to soften and go soggy, so make sure you serve very soon after spooning the tomato mix onto the bread.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

(Recipe from Super Food Ideas)
Serves: 4

1 loaf day old sourdough bread
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 large tomatoes, quartered, deseeded
4 basil leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Slice bread into eight, 1cm thick slices (traditionally straight across the bread, not diagonally). Lightly toast (under grill) both sides bread until crisp on outside but soft on side. Cut garlic cloves in half lengthways. Rub cut side of garlic over 1 side of hot bread.

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Drizzle 1½ teaspoons oil over garlic side of bread, Season with salt.

Cut tomato quarters in half again and dice. Place in a bowl. Add basil, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Spoon onto toasted bread and serve.

Variation: Replace the fresh tomatoes by combining 1 cup chopped semi-dried tomatoes and ½ cup chopped feta-stuffed olives with the basil.

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Cannelloni and Quick Cannoli – Cooking Class 4

Monday, May 4th, 2009

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It’s my turn for our family cooking class!!! And the “theme” is TUBES 🙂

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I wanted to make both a main meal and dessert and what better than Cannelloni and Cannoli? I knew I wanted to make spinach and ricotta cannelloni, so that was an easy choice. When it came to the Cannoli (which I have never even tried before, let alone made before) I wasn’t organised enough to find somewhere that actually stocked cannoli tubes or forms (metal tubes used to stick the pastry together, which is then placed with the pastry into hot oil). I searched the internet and called stores around Sydney City and there was nothing to be found! Essential Ingredient said they normally stock them, but unfortunately they were out of stock too! (Not that I had much time to go and get them anyway). Guess I will put this on my birthday or Christmas list – along with a pastry bag, sugar thermometer and some new cookbooks 🙂 .

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So I guess the quick version will of cannoli will have to do and I bought some pre-made brandy snap tubes. I’ve seen the majority of recipes using ricotta, although the pack suggested using whipped cream, so seeing as it was already not exactly what I wanted to make, I went with the cream version.

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The spinach and ricotta cannelloni turned out lovely, with the tomato sauce a MUST! (even more could have been made). The cannoli was beautifully tasty, with sweet vanilla cream, chocolate and pistachios.

Cannelloni

Serves: 8-12

2 packets lasagne sheets (16 sheets altogether)
1.8kg ricotta
3 packets finely chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
parsley
basil
salt and pepper
2 cups grated cheese or mozzarella cheese

Tomato Sauce
Oil
3 onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 x 800g can diced or crushed tomatoes
5 tablespoons tomato paste

Make the tomato sauce by sautéing onions in oil in a large saucepan heated over medium heat. Once onions soften and become translucent, 5-10 minutes, add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, stir then add salt, sugar and tomato paste. Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat until reduced slightly. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender in the saucepan. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix ricotta, spinach, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

Pour a third to half the tomato sauce into two lightly greased lasagne dishes. Preheat oven to 180°C.

Lay each lasagne sheet out on a clean bench or board (you may cut the lasagne sheets in half if you want less pasta). Add a spoonful or two of tomato sauce onto the lasagne sheet and spread around the middle, missing the rolling ends. Sprinkle with some grated cheese. Add a large amount of spinach and ricotta mix onto the short edge of the sheet, making it evenly distributed. Roll up to form a tube and place on top of the tomato sauce with the loose edge down.

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Continue with remaining lasagne sheets, until all mixture is used up. Place the remaining tomato sauce on top of the cannelloni and sprinkle with cheese. Cook in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until browning on top. Serve with salad or herb bread.

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Quick Cannoli

1 packet (approximately 8 ) brandy snap tubes or cannoli tubes
150ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon caster sugar
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
100g chocolate, chopped

Beat thickened cream with vanilla and sugar until medium peaks form. Fold in chopped pistachios and chocolate and place in pastry bag with star nozzle (or place in cake decorating bag without nozzle attached. Pipe into tubes and dust with icing sugar or icing mixture. Serve very soon after piped.

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Stuffed Capsicums – Cooking Class 3

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

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You may be wondering what has happened to our family cooking classes… Well they have continued, even with the busy process of moving. Although there was an added delay due to possibly deleted photos – and I didn’t want to post without photos 😛 . Yay – photos found… now I’ll continue…

Our third family cooking class was a lovely stuffed capsicum dish, with a rice, lamb, onion, tomato and spice stuffing in capsicums which had been boiled in salted water (a step I had never done before) then cooked on the stove (another step I hadn’t done – I’ve always cooked them in the oven) in diced tomatoes and lemon juice.

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It may have taken a bit longer than we had expected, as it often takes a while to figure out what you’re meant to be doing from the recipe and trying to make sure everyone gets a go. They are relatively easy though, even though I mentioned it took a while, especially if you have made the rice or filling beforehand. I’m sure for those who do not want or are unable to get lamb mince, that you could substitute it with beef mince or a vegetable filling of mushrooms, eggplant etc and it would still taste fantastic!

Nonetheless, once you’ve got these capsicums in and cooking, there is plenty of time to make naan bread and/or clean up from the preparation.

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Stuffed Capsicums
Recipe adapted from rice and risotto (sorry I’m not sure of the author as this isn’t from one of my books)

Serves: 6

6 capsicums
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 spring onions, finely chopped
150g minced lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/2 – 1 cup cooked long grain rice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon cinnamon
juice of two lemons
2-4 tablespoons tomato puree
400g (one or two cans) chopped tomatoes
tablespoon butter
salt and ground pepper
natural yoghurt and naan bread, to serve

Cut the tops off the capsicums, remove seeds and core. If the capsicums are going to fall over, trim a little off the bottom, so they stand. Cook in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Place the split peas in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook onion and spring onions until golden brown. Add the garlic and lamb and cook over medium heat until well browned. Stir in split peas, cooked rice, herbs, cinnamon, juice of lemon and tomato puree into the meat mixture. Stir to combine, then stuff into the capsicums. Place capsicum lids on top.

Place chopped tomatoes, butter and juice of one lemon into a large saucepan. Place capsicums on top of tomato mix with stems upwards. Bring to boil, cover with lid and cook on low/medium for 40-45minutes until peppers are tender.

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Serve with the tomato mixture, yoghurt and naan bread.

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Pumpkin Soup

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Now after all the baking and rich dinners that I cook, it’s only reasonable that once in a while we make something which doesn’t contain loads of carbs or sugar. Many of you may not think this is an appropriate recipe to add to my blog, but it’s more put up to remind people of easy, budget meals (especially in these times) that anyone can make any time. It fulfils a lot of requirements for dinner:

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Cheap – I was able to buy a 3.7kg Kent pumpkin @ $0.98/kg = $3.65 for the entire batch of soup– if this serves 8 people it’s 46c per serve – Bargain!
Not many ingredients required
Low in Kilojoules – If you’re on Weight Watchers it’s 0 points!! (as long as you don’t add cream or eat bread with it)
Easy and Fast
Able to freeze (Just thaw and reheat)

What more could you want?
You only really need two ingredients a pumpkin and some chicken or vegetable stock, or stock powder – for those who won’t use up the rest of container of stock.

You can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers and reheat in the microwave or on the stove (it may form crystals when frozen, but once mixed through it’s fine).

Pumpkin Soup
Serves: 8 or more

3.5kg Jap or Kent Pumpkin (any other pumpkin will do e.g. Butternut, etc)
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable stock powder (or one cup stock)

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Peel and de-seed pumpkin. Cut in small pieces (4 x 4 x 1.5cm) and place in a large pot. Add enough water to almost cover (1-2cm below) the pumpkin pieces. This will make a thick soup, so you can add more water now or after blending if you prefer it thinner. Add the stock and heat over medium heat until the pumpkin is soft and a cake tester or sharp knife goes in and comes out easily.

Stir occasionally to make sure all pumpkin is cooked evenly

Stir occasionally to make sure all pumpkin is cooked evenly

Use a hand blender to blend up the pumpkin.

Blend then serve

Blend then serve

See – I told you it was easy!
Now you can eat your cake or a lovely decadent dessert and not feel so guilty! 🙂

Variation:
You could always fry up one finely sliced onion before adding the pumpkin, a bit of cream after it’s blended to add some more taste and serve with tasty herb bread. Of course the bread and cream make this a bit less healthy, but it certainly tastes great!

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