Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Food Stuff: Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4-8 hours

It has been a while since I had a home-made curry. I have many pots of curry paste in the fridge, and they will be expiring soon if I don't use them up. Luckily I can use this recipe with variations in vegetables and the type of paste to use, i.e. red, green, yellow etc. Each type of paste has its own unique flavour and spiciness. I have a bad habit of making my curries a tad spicy for Kien, but by now he is used to his Mama doing such things and is pretty good with spice.

I organised an inpromptu kids dinner on Tuesday, and I served this curry up with Jasmine rice. It was a hit!

700g chicken drumsticks (only because that's how many fit in a single layer)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 potato
1 kumara (sweet potato)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
2 T curry paste (it was red curry paste this time around)
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can coconut cream
2 cups mixed vegetables (freesh or frozen)

Chop the hard vegetables up, throw them into the cooker. Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer over the vegetables, followed by chopped onion and garlic. Mix tomatoes with curry paste and pour over the top.

I cooked mine on slow for 8 hours, but you can also cook on high for ½ the time. Half an hour before consumption turn the slow-cooker to high, pour in the coconut cream, mix through, and add the mixed vegetables on top. Put the lid on and allow the vegetables to heat through.

I made it easy for serving by tearing the meat off the bones into chunks so the kids could feed themselves.

Food Stuff: Banana and blueberry muffins (with hidden vegetables)

I did a lot of searching around the internet for The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious recipes that were really simple and easy - who's got time for anything else? I tried a number of recipes, and in the end I decided to use those as inspirations for this one. It really is dead easy, and so long as you have a supply of frozen fruit and vegetable purees in the freezer you are good to go (if you have a child like mine who did not progress quickly to whole foods then you will always have a supply of purees handy!).

Preparation time: 10 minutes or less *
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
Makes ≈ 24 mini muffins.


¾ cup of wholemeal flour
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 T soft brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (works out to be about 2 large bananas)
4 cubes vegetable (whichever you fancy), 1 cube fruit **
½ cup blueberries (I use frozen)

Preheat oven to 180° C. Spray muffin molds with cooking spray. In a large bowl beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs and beat well. Then beat in bananas and purees.

Add flour mix and blueberries to the wet mix. Fold in until just combined - do not over-mix (muffins will turn out dense and horrible).

NOTE: don’t worry, the mixture is supposed to be loose and wet.

¾ fill muffin molds with mixture, and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.

Let cool in molds for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out. Best served warm.

*A little planning goes a long way for me. To save time with the actual assembly of ingredients before baking I do a little of the preparation beforehand – like when I have a few minutes to spare in the evening when Kien is in bed. I put the measured flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a container. I put the frozen cubes of vegetables and fruit purees in a cup and they can thaw out overnight in the fridge.

**I make fruit purees like apple and pear by chopping up pealed fruit and microwaving them with a bit of water at the bottom of a bowl until tender – about 10 minutes on high using my little microwave. For vegetable purees I buy whatever is in season such as brocolli, zuchini or cauliflour. I steam the vegetables until still firm but not hard (al dente – although I’m not sure the Italian term can be used for vegetables). I use a stick bender to puree the fruit or vege, and freeze in ice cube trays.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Food Stuff: Beef Stroganoff (inspired) with pumpkin

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 4-8 hours

Another day where I am running around trying to suck the marrow out of every ounce of time I have on my day off. So the slow-cooker was back in action with my beef stroganoff (inspired) with winter vegetables.

I picked up some beef that was on special from the supermarket on my way home from work the night before.


600 grams stewing beef, sliced
1 onion
1 carrot
500 grams pumpkin
3 T tomato paste
½ cup water (or white wine)
A small can of coconut cream

Chop the hard vegetables up, throw them into the cooker, put the beef layer in next, then sliced onion on top. Mix tomato paste with water or wine (season as desired) and pour over the top.

I cooked mine on slow for 8 hours, but you can also cook on high for ½ the time. Half an hour before consumption pour in the coconut cream.

My dinner served up with mesclun salad. Kien likes his food all seperated at the moment so I fished out some pumpkin and carrots and threw some vegetables on the plate as well.

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