Monday, December 21, 2009

Cardamom Lamb Curry

I was planning on putting up a shortbread recipe today --it being the holiday season dontcha know-- but I've just found out that someone way up north is interested in a lamb curry. Specifically, a lamb curry that features cardamom.

Now, I don't have enough time to write a dissertation on cardamom (a spice I LOVE) cus it's already 4:30 pm and I've got a crew to cook for. And I also don't have enough time to completely list exact amounts of every single item. However, she won't mind cus she cooks this way too so I'm sure she'll figure it out --you will too, no worries.

I do have time to tell you that I make many many many different kinds of curries and that this particular one could maybe be classified as a massaman type curry (from Thailand, but this is waaaay different) but until 5 minutes ago I had never even heard that name.

Therefore I think I can safely claim this curry as one of my own.

Alrighty, clock is ticking and after this post I need to get cooking!

Here we... GO!

Dingo Dave's Cardamom Lamb Curry

What you need:

8 green cardamom pods
small palmfull crushed peanuts (put some shelled peanuts in the cupped palm of one hand and run the thumb from your other hand over it; tada! crushed nuts!)
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried mint

2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cinnamom powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder*
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger powder

2 lbs diced lamb --whether from chops, a roast, leg, etc. Doesn't matter.

2 or 3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 an onion, finely minced
1 tbsp lemon grass (just use the jarred kind), finely minced

1/2 glass lambrusco wine (it's what I had in my hand at the time)
1/2 glass dark ale (it's what I had in my other hand at the time)

1 can (400 mls --around 13 ounces) coconut cream

*coriander is called cilantro in North America. The powder is the dried, ground seeds of the plant; NOT the leaves.

What you do:

Put the first 5 ingredients (notice how I grouped the goodies so it's easy to see?) in a dry (no oil) wok. Fry for 3 minutes while tossing/stirring. Add the mixture to a mortar and go to town on it with your pestal! Don't worry about the shells of the pods, they'll get ground up and add to the flavour, trust me.

Mix the next 7 ingredients (tamarind paste through ginger powder) in a bowl. Add the diced lamb to the bowl and mix to coat the lamb pieces well.

Put the olive oil (traditionally you'd use ghee, but I use olive oil) in your wok and crank up the heat. After about 30 seconds it should be ready to add the coated lamb, the onion and the lemongrass. Cook and sear for about 2 minutes, tossing/stirring regularly.

Turn the heat down to low, add the wine and the beer. Stir to deglaze the wok. Add the cardamom spice mix from the mortar, stir it in. Let the liquid cook down by half --should only take 1 or 2 minutes. Add the coconut cream, stir everything together and simmer till the texture is to your liking. Just make sure you don't boil the coconut cream or else it'll separate.

Serve it over jasmine or basmati rice (I suggest you cook the rice). If it's too spicy for someone at the table just top their's with some plain yoghurt, no worries. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

This is good stuff, really.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quick and Easy Creamy Cheese Sauce

Have you ever needed to make a really quick cheese sauce to go on something? Then this is for you!

Cheap, easy, simple. I think anyone, and I mean anyone, can make this.

It all started the other day when I had to spin out 2 basa fillets to make a meal for 5 adults. I cubed the fish to about dice size, tossed them in some seasoned breadcrumbs (salt, white pepper, cumin) and then put the tray in the oven. They were to be served over a rice dish --something like a risotto but with way different seasonings.

As the rice was almost done and the fish ready to come out of the oven, I realised that this dish needed a sauce to drizzle over the top! I didn't panic, just took a quick look at what I had on hand so I could make a quick sauce, which would go well with the crumbed whitefish with rice, and decided upon a creamy cheese sauce.

Here's what you need:

1 cup cream
1 tsp crushed garlic
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated colby cheese
1 pinch of dried mint
1 pinch of dillweed

And here's what you do:

Toss everything EXCEPT the cheese into a small saucepan. Light a fire under it and heat till it simmers (DON'T LET IT BOIL OR BUBBLE, else there'll be trouble). Stir it a bit as it heats up. Once it's simmering, add the grated cheese, stir till the cheese is melted and then serve it up!

See? Couldn't be easier. This should also go well over poultry, any non-oily fish, pork or beef roast (drizzle over the slices of beef when you are serving). If you have other thoughts about what this would go well with, just lemme know in the comments.

Oh, if you make this with bleu cheese it'll work great, but the flavour is much stronger so the meat needs to be cooked differently --like fried pork chops with the sauce drizzled over.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dave's 2009 Holiday Feast

Yes, this year I've been told to keep Dave's Annual Super-Awesome Holiday Feast down to a more, shall we say, reasonable level than in years' gone by.

So to help with that, I've started making tofu.

Yes, tofu.

Turns out it's very quick and easy to make! Very cheap too AND you get a big batch of okara leftover to make things like fake burgers, fake roasts, fake pork, fake roast chook... well, you get the idea.

And then there's all the neat things you can do with tofu! Marinate it, smoke it, grill it, stuff it, feed it to someone you don't like... See? There's so much you can do with just some plain soy beans and magnesium chloride!

In fact, I have decided that this years' feast will be meat free and all the meat dishes will be made with my own homemade tofu!


But I have started making tofu. It will, however, of course, have practically NOTHING to do with any of the food this holiday season.

Many of you may be familiar with my previous menus, many of you may not. Just keep in mind that all but a few dishes on the menu are homemade. By me.

And the pots and pans are home cleaned. By me.

Yes, it's amazing what I go through, sigh...

Oh, if you want to learn how to make any of these, then just lemme know and hopefully one of these recipes will appear (like magic!) on this blog.

And don't worry, there'll be a funny pic of dave at the end of all this, so please read --NOTE: the funny pic of me appears at my other blog. And keep in mind that this is meant to be spaced out over 3 weeks. And it's in no particular order. And no food is wasted.





holiday feast 2009

stout beer n brats w onions

homemade pizzas

peanut butter cheesecake w/ hot fudge sauce --I've been told if I don't make this each year then I'd better sleep with one eye open.

3 sushi platters

homemade chocolates

homemade tofu, marinated, smoked, grilled, etc.

roast chook w/ all the fixins

baked pumpkin

roasted pumpkin seeds --from the above pumpkin

toasted chilli n garlic almonds & peanuts

pork roast wrapped in banana leaves and slow roasted with polynesian

highland oat cakes

apples n bleu cheese

various homemade cheeses

1 xmas fruitcake

1 xmas pudding

pineapple & maple syrup glazed ham

candied sweet potatoes

fried worms

cinnamon raisin bread

many loaves of white and wholemeal bread

grilled basa fillets

many servings of my extra special chips (thick fries)

advokaat cheesecake

1 bottle of advokaat for above cheesecake

lots of homebrews; stout, lager, dark ale, regular ale, chilli beer, etc.

garden greens salads

marinated fish & onion & cucumber salad

4 kilos of sausage --if we have a pool party

onions for above sausage

1 apricot cobbler

mexican buffet with all the fixin's

champagne n strawberries

green beans n red capsicums w/ bacon & peanut sauce

panforte --awesomely great xmas cake

souvlaki chicken w/ tabouli & tzatziki

devonshire cream tea

pineapple sherbet

pineapple topping

pineapple tarts

pineapple coconut pie

banana jam

charlotte rouse

O'Leary's Irish Cream


cask of red wine

cask of white wine


hot fudge sauce

waldorf salad

herbed, baked spuds


whipped cream stuffed crepes w/ dark chocolate sauce

See? I've kept it simple this year! Harumph.