Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry – slow cooker

I love my slow cooker, particularly so I can go out and let my appliances do the cooking for me.  I often ‘fire up’ the slow cooker when I am going out to the football for the day, smug in the knowledge that while I am enjoying the game, dinner is cooking at home, and all I have to do when I get home is tweak it, and it is ready to serve.

This is not quite as bad as it could be, as I used light evaporated milk with some dessicated coconut for flavouring, rather than coconut milk.  I also love this as there is very little preparation to do, no cutting or browning of meat, so it is very quick to assemble.  You don’t need to brown the chicken as it will pick up a lot of colour from the curry paste.  See what you think.

Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry

Massaman chicken and cauliflower curry

This should serve four people, accompanied with rice or whatever you fancy.

 

4 chicken thigh fillets (no bones)

Half a cauliflower, cut into florets

1/2 cup massaman curry paste

395g tin light evaporated milk

3 tbsp dessicated coconut

2 cinnamon quills

2 star anise

2 cardamon pods, bruised (do this by putting them on your cutting board, and pushing down with the flat of the knife until they are just squashed open)

1 bay leaf

1/2 fresh lime, to juice

1 tsp sugar

3 tsp gluten free cornflour

 

Place the chicken and cauliflower into the crock of the slow cooker.  In a jug, mix the curry paste and evaporated milk, pour over the chicken and cauliflower in the crock.  Sprinkle over the coconut, add the cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and bay leaf and stir well to combine.  Cover, and cook on low for 6 & 1/2 hours.

Squeeze the lime into a small bowl, add the sugar and stir through the cornflour until the paste is smooth.

Remove the lid and take out the cinnamon, star anise, cardamon and bay leaf.  Stir in the lime & cornflour paste, cover.  Turn the slow cooker up to high for 10-15 minutes, give it a final stir, and serve, sprinkled with a little parsley or even coriander.  The chicken should be so tender you can cut into it with your fork, no knives required!

 

Spicy one pot chicken

Assuming you have some leftover cooked rice, this is a one pot dinner – everything is cooked in the pot and the rice is put in towards the end for reheating.  This serves four.

Spicy one pot chicken

Spicy one pot chicken

3 large single chicken breasts, cut into strips (small enough for your fork though)

1 tbs olive oil

Aromatics

1 tsp finely chopped fresh chilli

1 cm finely chopped fresh ginger

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

3 spring onions, white part, cut into small pieces on the diagonal (reserve the green parts for later)

1 large carrot, sliced into small pieces on the diagonal

1 tbs finely chopped celery tops (the leaves are more aromatic than the stalks)

Vegetables

1/2 red capsicum, finely sliced

1 green capsicum, finely chopped

4 small tomatoes, quartered

Green parts of the spring onions, cut into 1 cm pieces

 

2 cups leftover cooked rice

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 tbsp gluten free cornflour

1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp sour cream

 

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan (I use a french oven, but you can use a large frypan if you prefer), fry the aromatics until carrot is just starting to soften.  Fry the chicken until browned.  Add the stock, a little at a time, reserving 1/4 cup to mix with the cornflour.  Fry the vegetables until just starting to soften, add the rice and stir to break up.

Stir through the soy sauce and stock/cornflour mix, make sure it is mixed and well blended, cook for two minutes to cook out the floury taste, then season to taste.

Garnish with the sour cream and some parsley or coriander.

Easter Bunny Cake – gluten free!

This is a very simple cake – and you can get bunny shaped moulds everywhere at the moment.  It isn’t a big cake, so don’t get a huge mould.  I tried to stop it rising too much, so the ground nut meal helped a bit there, and added to the chocolately, nutty taste.  I decorated it with a chocolate button for the eye, and just some icing for some detail on the ears, whiskers and nose, but afterwards realised that perhaps a marshmallow for the cotton tail might have been good too.

Easter Bunny cake

Easter Bunny cake

Preheat a fan forced oven to 170 celcius, 190 if not.

Grease your mould if it is metal, silicone doesn’t need any preparation, but you will need to stand it on a tray.

Cake:

60g butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup hazelnut meal

3/4 cup gluten free self raising flour (I would normally add xanthan gum, but the nut meals seemed to provide enough moisture to prevent cracking, you can add 1tsp if you want to)

1 tbs cocoat

1/2 cup milk

Icing:

30g butter

1 drop vanilla

1 tbs cocoa

2 tbs water

1/2 – 1 & 1/2 cups gluten free icing sugar (see instructions below)

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg and mix well.  Alternately add nut meals, cocoa, flour and milk and mix to a smooth batter.  Spoon into mould, making sure the mixture goes into all the corners and grooves.  Bake for 20-25 minutes – checking the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer – it should come out clean.

With the icing, it was a “mix and see” proposition.  Melt the butter in a jug then add the vanilla, cocoa and some of the icing sugar, and mix until smooth.  Add the water, then add the icing sugar bit by bit, mixing after each addition – you are aiming for a pouring consistency.  The mix needs to be thick enough to not run straight off but thin enough to pour and run into the grooves of the cake.  Add the eye and allow the icing to harden a little before continuing to decorate.

 

Easter Egg Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

This is almost like a lava cake, but because it is self saucing, it does have a different texture – this is an easter egg hunt with a difference!

Easter Egg chocolate self saucing pudding

Easter Egg chocolate self saucing pudding

For the pudding:

60g butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp cocoa

1 cup gluten free self raising flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

4 white chocolate easter eggs

For the sauce:

1 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1 cup boiling water

To serve:

Cream beaten with a small amount of cointreau (I used 1 tablespoon in one cup of cream, you won’t need it all for this pudding, so you could make a half quantity, or use it for something else – the alcohol will still be active, so if you need to have zero blood alcohol or are planning to serve it to children, use a few drops of vanilla instead)

Puddings out of the oven

Puddings out of the oven

Preheat a fan forced oven to 170 celcius (190 if not fan forced).

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well.  Stir in flour, gum and milk alternately, add cocoa.  Pour batter into four 1 cup capacity moulds.  Push an easter egg into the centre of each, it should be not sticking out of the top of the batter, but not touching the bottom of the dish either.  Mix together the sugar and cocoa for the sauce and sprinkle equal amounts on each.  Gently pour the boiling water equally into all four dishes, to prevent it hitting the batter too hard, I pour over the back of a spoon.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes, to test, insert a skewer to the side of the pudding, if you push it into the middle it will pierce the egg (which will be melting anyway) so you won’t know if the pudding is cooked.  Don’t push the skewer all the way to the bottom as the sauce will sink to the bottom and of course that will be liquid.

To serve, I place each container on a butter plate, then cover with a small bowl and tip it upside down.  That way when you lift the plate off the top of the bowl, the pudding will be at the bottom and the sauce is at the top.  The egg should still be hidden, I just broke into it for the photo above.  Put a little cream on the top, and enjoy.

Coffee & Kahlua flan (gluten free)

If you look closely at the photo, you can almost see a face I made when I was swirling the flan filling, I didn’t see it myself until I downloaded the photo!  This has almost a mousse like texture, and is quite soft when you cut it, so be careful and this probably isn’t the best dessert to serve on a hot day, but it is yummy!  The alcohol is still active as this isn’t baked.  The usual warnings about eating raw egg, but again – yummy!

Coffee & Kahlua flan (gluten free)

Coffee & Kahlua flan (gluten free)

Line the base of a large springform with baking paper, refer to this recipe for how I do it.

Crumb crust:

205g packet of gluten free arrowroot biscuits

125g butter

3 tbsp hazelnut meal

Flan:

2 eggs, separated,

1/2 cup castor sugar

3 tsp gelatine

1 tbsp espresso coffee powder

1 tbsp Kahlua

600ml thickened cream

Dusting chocolate, to decorate

Melt butter, grind biscuits and mix in with butter and hazelnut meal, press into base (not sides) of tin (you want a very thin covering as I don’t like thick crumb crusts) and pack down firmly.  Refridgerate to allow base to harden while you are preparing flan filling.

Mix together egg yolks and sugar.  Combine gelatine with 2 tbsp hot water and coffee, when well beaten, add Kahlua and then mix into egg yolk mixture.  Beat whites until they are stiff, then fold through the yolk mixture.  Beat the cream until very stiff (not quite until it turns to butter, but stiffer than you would normally beat it for whipped cream) then gently fold through egg mixture.  Don’t completely combine the colours, I like to break up the large wadges of cream, but swirl the coffee coloured mixture and white cream together.  Spoon gently onto base, swirl for final effect, then refridgerate at least one hour, but preferably at least three to four.

When ready to serve, carefully take the springform sides off, then I use a pizza server to slide between the crumb crust and paper and shift the flan to a serving plate.  Sprinkle with chocolate mixture.

Caution, as the crumb crust is so thin, you will need to be gentle when cutting and serving, you could make a thicker crust if you prefer, but I don’t.

Honey baked vegetables

I often use the oven to cook meats instead of frying them (I hate cleaning up splatter from sizzling sausages, chops or steaks) so since the oven is going anyway, this is the ideal opportunity to cook some veg for accompaniment.  Although the butter and honey aren’t so good for the waistline, they are yummy.  Here I had some corn and pumpkin, but you could just as easily cook sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, or whatever you fancy.

Honey baked vegetables

Honey baked vegetables

Preheat fan forced oven to 160 celcius, 180 if not fan  forced.

Vegetables sufficient for 4 – 6 people (this time I used six wedges of pumpkin about 1.5 cm thick at the thick end and three corncobs)

100g butter

1/4 cup honey

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp dried parsley (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh if you have it)

Prepare vegetables and place in baking dish.  In a microwave safe jug, melt butter, then add other ingredients and mix well.  Pour over vegetables and stir to coat.  Cover baking dish with aluminium foil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with extra parsley if desired.

Four Leaf Clover Irish Cream Biscuits (gluten free too!)

Ok, my last attempt at trying to “Irish up” my cooking (for this year, anyway).  I managed to find some chocolate buttons that are gluten free, so they tend to find their way into just about everything sometimes!  You will need a flour leaf clover cutter for these, but you should be able to get it at any good kitchen supply shop.  Or, you can use the basic recipe (omit the Irish cream and substitute vanilla or some other liquid flavouring) and make whatever shape you want of course.

Four Leaf Clover Irish Cream Biscuits

Four Leaf Clover Irish Cream Biscuits

Preheat a fan forced oven to 140 celcius (160 if not fan forced).

 

125g butter, softened

1 cup plain gluten free flour

1 cup self raising gluten free flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup sugar (you can use caster sugar, but just plain white sugar is ok too)

1 egg

1 capful of Irish Cream (or whatever liquid you prefer)

Green chocolate buttons – you should get about 36-40 biscuits, so will need at least that many)

 

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg and beat in well.  Mix in flours, gum and liquid – the mixture should now be doughy.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and roll to 1cm thickness.  Cut out shapes, re-roll scraps and repeat.  Place biscuits on trays which have been lined with baking paper.  Push a button into each and bake.  The biscuits should take around 15 minutes, or until lightly browned (watch them carefully, as they are too thin to allow to burn, they will just crumble).

 

Irish Cream Buttercake

Continuing with the Irish theme here (and excuses to dabble in the various bottles weighing down my sideboard) I thought putting green buttons and Irish Cream in a buttercake would give me justification to call it Irish!

Irish Cream Buttercake

Irish Cream Buttercake

Cake:

125g softened butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup Irish Cream

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free self raising flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup green buttons

For the icing:

1 & 1/2 cups sifted gluten free icing sugar

25g softened butter

1 capful of Irish Cream

 

Additional green buttons or whatever you fancy for decoration.

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160 celcius (180 if not fan forced)

Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat after each, alternately add small amounts of flour, gum and Irish Cream until well combined.  After the batter is prepared, slowly fold through the buttons.  Pour into a 15cm pan (I used a silicon pan, grease the pan if you use a metal pan) and bake.  Cake is cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean.  It should take approximately 35 – 40 minutes.  Let stand in the pan for a couple of minutes, then allow to cool on a wire cooker while you are preparing the icing.

For the icing – beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth, then add the Irish Cream.  Remember, although the alcohol in the cake has been baked out, the alcohol in the icing is active.  If you want to serve this to children, delete the Irish cream from the icing and use vanilla instead.  Spread over cake, decorate and enjoy.

Whole Irish Cream Buttercake

Whole Irish Cream Buttercake

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

We have been having a hot spell in Australia, so frozen desserts are very appealing, and with St Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought that something green would be a good theme.  So for all my Irish cousins out there – enjoy!  I made this with light cream cheese and light condensed milk, so while it is still high in sugar, it is lower in fat than it could have been.  That was my excuse for eating it anyway, and I am sticking to it!

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

Frozen Leprechaun Pots

250g light cream cheese

395g tin light sweetened condensed milk

3 tbs creme de menthe

 

Beat together the cream cheese and condensed milk until well blended and smooth, slowly add the creme de menthe.  If you want something violently green, you could add food colouring, but I didn’t and the result is a light green colour.

Freeze for two hours just to thicken (the cream de menthe will stop the mixture setting properly if you don’t freeze it).

 

Be wary – the alcohol isn’t cooked, so is still active.  If you need to have zero blood alcohol, don’t eat this the same day!