Category: Tasty Reads

The Dishiest Halloween Dish – Black and Blue Salsa

Wow!  It’s been sooooo very long since I have done one of these posts.  I think this is worth the wait though. Ever since I found the recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy, the Black and Blue Salsa, as I have come to call it, has been on high rotation in my kitchen! And it’s a perfect meal for a Halloween dinner, given it’s dark and spooky colour!

black-and-blue-salsa2You can see it top of the photo here as part of the salmon burrito bowl (except it was on a plate) that i had for dinner the other night. The main ingredients of the salsa are black beans and blueberries hence the black and blue name. 

 

If this combination appears strange to you, don’t worry it did to me as well. But trust me, it works!  It also looks quite lovely on a plate because the dark colours contrast nicely with against greens, chicken, fish etc.  Hugh describes it as “dark and devillishly well flavoured, ,this is hot sharp, sweet and smoky all at the same time”  He’s right, it is also totally delicious and highly addictive as well as being jam-packed with healthful ingredients!

black-and-blue-salsaI like this with some coriander added.  The original recipe does not have it. 

Black and Blue Salsa
A delicious and healthy salsa, perfect with chicken, fish or any grilled meat
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Ingredients
  1. For The Salsa
  2. 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  3. 200g blueberries
  4. 1 small red onion, chopped
  5. 2 medium hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  6. Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
For The Dressing
  1. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  2. juice of 1 lime
  3. 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 2 tsp cider vinegar
  6. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and Pepper
For The Dressing
  1. Combine the garlic, lime juice, paprika, sugar, cider vinegar and oil in a jar. Shake well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for around half an hour to let the flavours develop.
For the Salsa
  1. Combine the blackbeans, blue berries, onion an chilli in a bowl
  2. Strain the dressing to remove the garlic and pour over.
  3. Mix well.
  4. If possible, let stand for half an hour before serving.
  5. Just before serving sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.
  6. Enoy!
Notes
  1. You can also add diced avocado into this. I left it out this time because I already had avocado on my plate.
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Elsewhere in life….

Watching

I am mid way through S2 of Narcos and thoroughly enjoying it.  Ditto Stranger Things

Narcos

Reading

My  current read is Truly, Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty.  I loved one of her previous books, Big Little Lies but I am struggling with this one. 

Tasty Reads

The October Choice was Preserving.  I chose The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton. I loved this book and it is likely to be my Tasty Reads book of the year.  I have made so many things from it and every one of them has been great! 

The only book likely to beat it from top position at the end of the year is the November / December choice  – Free Choice.  On the back of some very high review praise, I have chosen Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden.

Described as a “new modern classic” by none other than Jamie Oliver, I am looking forward to picking this up and getting stuck in!

Podcasts

Seeing as my favorites Tanis and The Black Tapes are both on between season hiatus, I have started listening to My Favorite Murder.  It’s a comedy true crime podcast and I love it.  I think the two hosts are brilliant and I am so glad I still have 30+ episodes to go before I am caught up!

http://www.feralaudio.com/show/my-favorite-murder/

 Other

OMG.  I have started running.  Well, I have started staggering around the back streets and local track in a facsimile of running.  But it’s a start.  I am doing the Couch to 5k program and am midway through week 4. 

My aim is to be able to do a full 5k by Christmas.  We’ll see.  It really starts to ramp up after this week, I am a little nervous. And the thing is,  I totally hate doing it when I am doing it.  My chest aches, my legs ache, I am slow and ungainly and huff and puff like a pack a day smoker.  But everytime I do it, I get a little bit better.  And that feels marvellous!

This week I am looking forward to cooking the Cherry Flapjack Granola from Stirring Slowly and a Tom Yum soup from another Tasty Reads favourite, Adam Liaw’s Big Pot

What are you reading / watching  / listening to?

What are you looking forward to cooking?

Have a Happy Hallloween, a fab week and to borrow a catch phrase from my new favorite podcast, “Stay sexy; don’t get murdered”

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Adam’s Big Pot and Some Golden Rings of Aussie Deliciousness!

“I hope somewhere in this book there is a dish or two that you choose to serve to your family.  Something that gets asked for again and again, and each time you make it, it becomes a little more your own.  Then one day, years from now, when the people you cooked for have left and live their lives and come back to visit, you make that meal for them again.  And that’s what makes them feel like they’re home”

Adam Liaw, Adam’s Big Pot

Okay.  Now that there’s not a dry eye in the house we’ll talk Tasty Reads. 

 

Golden Rings - Salt & Pepper SquidOur latest theme has been Asian food and I kind of lucked out in that I already owned one of of the book choices, the absolute classic Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Asian Cookbook.  But ‘s that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.  Because, on high recommendation, I bought Adam’s Big Pot.

For those of you who have not heard of him, Adam Liaw was the winner or runner up or something in Master Chef a few years ago.  But you don’t need to know that.  What you do need to know is that apart from his annoying man-bun, Adam Liaw is immensely likeable. 

I on the other hand am not intensely likeable, in fact I am a contrarian at best and part of my reason for choosing this book was to take it down,  It was SO highly recommended I thought there was no way it could live up to the expectations that had been set. 

I stand corrected. 

This book is AWESOME.  

I have not been so excited about a Tasty Reads book since Persiana  – only 17 recipes to go after I totally botched the baklava on the weekend.  But we’re not here to talk about my cooking disasters.

OK, fine, seeing as you insist.  I overcooked the sugar syrup so when I poured it over the pastry it set like toffee so the top of the baklava is tooth breakingly hard and the bottom is, to use some Australian vernacular, as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.  My fault entirely, because after cooking the syrup for the requisite amount of time I thought it looked too watery.  And because having made Baklava precisely…let me see…never before, I considered myself a bit smarter than the recipe.  (Sigh, eyeroll, face palm).

But lets not focus on the bad, let’s talk about why I am excited by this book!

Adam’s Big Pot – Highlights

  • This is a very good primer in Asian food, lots of counties are represented – Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India.  A great variety without being too daunting.
  • There are lots of super photos
  • Adam’s descriptions of each recipe are great
  • He’s not too prissy – he offers lots of alternatives – eg if you don’t have a master stock handy, use chicken.
  • His tips are great
  • The book is beautifully presented
  • The meals are quick, easy and approachable
  • Cooking from this book is like cooking with an old friend.  He’s just so damn likeable!
  • The food is super delicious.  I have only made one thing I didn’t like (see Dishes Made below).

Adam’s Big Pot – Weaknesses

I feel like I’m being super picky here but you know, just so you know this isn’t paid for by Adam or anything (ha!  I wish!). 

  • If you were utterly unfamiliar with Asian cooking and you wanted to try a lot of the recipes in here you may have to buy a lot of ingredients that you may not use again if you did not love the dish and / or they may make you break out into hives (see below).
  • I think the Bits and Pieces section which is the very first in the book and contains the recipes for the curry pastes, the stocks and all the other base ingredients would have been better placed at the end of the book. 
  • No bread!  No roti, chapati, naan or paratha! I would have LOVED at least one bread recipe in here!

Adam’s Big Pot – What I’ve Cooked

Carrot and Cumber Som Tam. 

So good.  This is Adam’s version of my favourite, green papaya salad.  Lovely, fragrant, spicy, fresh. 

Adam's Big Pot - Som Tam (2)Tuna Takaki Salad.

Just divine!

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna Tataki SaladTuna, Corn And Avocado Salad

This is on high lunch rotation!  I have made it pretty much every week since finding this recipe.  The recipe calls for raw corn, I have used tinned and leftover grilled corn.  All super.

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna SaladChicken and Cashew Nuts

Something in this recipe made me break out into a horrible rash and massive hives.  I suspect it was the dark soy sauce because it was the only thing I have not used before.  This probably says more about the excitability of my skin than a real flaw with the recipe because the fussiest eater in the world was perfectly fine.  He had seconds and took it to work the next day. 

Adam's Big Pot - Chicken & CashewsTandoori Chicken

Starting with homemade tandoori paste!  I was RIDICULOUSLY proud of myself for making this. Who makes their own tandoori paste?  Isn’t that  what supermarkets are for?  But it was so easy to do.  I will never buy it again!  And you know, seeing as I am Ms Allergic to the World, the more things I can control in my diet the better!

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori PasteAnd then the chicken:

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori ChickenSalt and Pepper Squid

I love squid.  The Fussiest Eater in the World will, however, not touch it with a ten foot barge pole. So, I quite often make it for one.  Adam’s recipe is so quick to cook, it is a great after work meal for one or many! It’s also why I bought rings instead of tubes – easier to control portions.  Although there do seem to be quite a lot of rings in the pictures…I really like it.

I also had absolutely no idea that Salt and Pepper Squid was not a thing everywhere. 

Adam says

“You could argue that salt and pepper squid is Australia’s national dish.  It’s universally loved and you can buy it in just about any pub, Vietnamese, Thai or Chinese restaurant or Italian café around the country.  On top of that, it’s not commonly found in any other country.  It’s a truly homegrown favourite”

So, here it is rest of the world.  What are you waiting for? Make this tonight.  And thank me later! 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt & Pepper Squid
A super quick, easy and delicious dish from Adam's Big Pot.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres peanut oil for deep frying
  2. 500g squid tubes, cleaned (or rings)
  3. 3 tbsp rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 1 bird's eye chilli, thinly sliced
  6. 2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 tsp salt flakes
  8. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  9. Coriander leave, lemon wedges and aioli to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil to 200C in a wok or large saucepan.
  2. Cut down one side of the squid tubes and open them flat. Lightly score the surface in a cross -hatch pattern, cut into bite sized triangles and toss in the flour.
  3. Shake off excess flour an deep fry the squid din batches ffpr about a minute per batch or until just cooked and lightly golden.
  4. Drain well.
  5. Remove the oil, leaving about a tbsp in the wok. Heat the wok over medium heat and add the garlic, chilli and spring onion.
  6. Toss in the wok for about a minute, or until the ingredients are lightly browned.
  7. Add the squid and toss constantly scattering with the salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the squid from the wok, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges and aioli.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Now that you have seen some of the contents with this book, maybe you can help me to make a decision on what to cook for our book club meeting next week. 

I have some of the tandoori paste left so it would be sensible to make the tandoori chicken again.  And the naan and the rojak I made from the Charmaine book when I made the tandoori chicken were super and the flavours went really well together.

However, with so many other delicious recipes still left to cook, including:

  • Prawn and Grapefruit Salad
  • Tom Yum Fried Rice
  • Kuku Paka which is an African chicken curry
  • Whiting With Nori Butter
  • Tiger Skinned Chicken
  • Baked Thai Fish Cakes
  • Canonigo which is a Filipino desert made from meringue, orange custard and caramel

It’s a pretty hard decision to make. So what do I do?  Go for the tried and tested or branch out with something new?

Oh and seeing as I’m asking questions, do you cook asian at home?  What is your Asian favourite cuisine?  What is your favourite Asian recipe?  You know I’m nosy and love to know your business so please leave comments!

Anyhoo, I’ve loved cooking from this book and I’m awarding it Five Golden Rings of Squiddy Delciousness!

Let’s see if the rest of the Tasty Reads  team agrees!

Have a great week!

  • Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

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