A photographic food adventure

Archive for March, 2012

My Cheater’s Curry

LOL, I always get mocked for making a curry cause I do it ALLLL the time [only cause its so ridiculously quick, and I wants me food NOW.] So here is my version of a sneaky cheat curry. I have made this so many times in the past few weeks because when I am out of food and can’t be bothered wandering to the supermarket, lentils are my friend! Also, we now have a rice cooker, which is the bestest friend of all [Tory is pretty good competition though.]

I actually made this a week ago, but then I developed a slight obsession with One Direction, which kinda put the rest of my life on hiatus. Don’t judge! My upcoming test and two lab reports snapped me back to reality, so all is well… for now.

Ingredients
Dry lentils [sometimes they come in a handy soup packet, which is what i used this time, but the plain ones will do, just wash them first cause they will be starchy. You can also use canned lentils, they work just as well]
1 tablespoon oil
1 – 2 tsp curry powder [depending on how spicy you want it]
a sprinkle of chilli powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste.

Method
Rinse the lentils, cover with water and leave on high heat until boiling point.

Cheater Lentil Curry (3)Cheater Lentil Curry (6)

Once they start to boil, turn the heat right down and cover so that it simmers about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Cheater Lentil Curry (8)

Add the oil, chilli, curry, coriander, cumin, and tumeric powders. Stir well.

Cheater Lentil Curry (4)Cheater Lentil Curry (5)

Keep it simmering until the water has been absorbed into the lentils and they are soft enough to break with a fork. [not sure about you, but i like my lentils soft.]
Add more water if you have to and keep it simmering until it’s at a consistency you like. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cheater Lentil Curry (10)Cheater Lentil Curry (11)

Serve with rice. Or if you are fancy like Tory, serve with naan. Or if you are lazy like me, serve with regular bread. 😉

Cheater Lentil Curry (1)

The only thing i have to say is… PLEASE don’t overdose on the curry powder, or chilli powder, or just any of the powders. The last thing anyone wants is to stop themselves enjoying a meal because its too spicy and numbs your tongue.

Enjoy yourself!

Nurul.

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Tuna Pasta Bake

Hey guys,

This one is nice and easy and yummy. Like my last recipe it uses sauce from a jar but when I glanced at the ingredients on the bottle I realised I could have made it myself and better so I’ll work on that and post the recipe when I’ve perfected it! I’ve made enough for one person but you can make more by adding more tuna and pasta. You can use other meat in this recipe, like chicken or whatever but being semi-vegetarian, I wouldn’t.

Ingredients:

1 jar pasta bake sauce of your choice
1/2 a tin of tuna
1 cup pasta
Cheese

Method:

Boil salted water, add pasta when boiling.

When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add tuna and stir.

Add sauce and stir until pasta is well coated. Remember some sauce will dry out when you bake this so you may want to add a little more sauce than you need.

Put mixture into oven-proof dish and add cheese.

Bake at 160 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

See, easy!

Enjoy.

T.

Cheat Lentil Tikka Masala

Hey guys,

This recipe is a bit of a cheat, I bought a jar of Tikka Masala sauce and added a couple of my own things but it was yum, simple, cheap and easy, which is the point of this blog so it definitely counts. Although, I’m sure Nurul can do better and I challenge her to do that! Although in hindsight it would have actually been cheaper to try and make it myself but I have NO idea how to make a curry from scratch so spending up to $5 on a jar of curry sauce was a good choice and $5 is still cheap.

As a vegetarian, lentils are a very healthy high source of protein and a great meat alternative. I don’t eat a lot of lentils but I should start eating more.

Ingredients:
1 jar of tikka masala sauce (could also use butter chicken sauce or any other sauce of your choice)
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped and crushed
1 tin of lentils
Extra chilli if needed
1/4 cup of rice (That’s enough for me, you can make more if you like rice or are cooking for more than one person)
Naan bread from the supermarket or from your local Indian restaurant/take-away shop

Method:

First, boil salted water for rice.

While you’re waiting for your water to boil, open your tin of lentils. Tinned lentils are usually kept in brine, which is a gross brown liquid that I think smells like catfood. To avoid the brine, I always wash my lentils well so put your lentils in a colander and run cold water over them for a couple of minutes.

Add rice to the boiling water and cook til soft.

Chop and crush your garlic. (I really just wanted to show off my new knife, which I got from Countdown supermarket by saving stickers they give you after every $20 purchase). You could probably add diced onion too but I didn’t have one at the time. Like Nurul, every dish I make has a garlic or onion/garlic base, it’s called FLAVOUR. Although, I’m pretty sure, as a meat eater I never used garlic but now I’m unsure where I’d be without it. I use so much I can’t even taste it any more!

Fry the garlic in olive oil but not til it goes brown. Like Nurul, I start everything on high and turn it down when it starts to get hot. Garlic is best cooked on medium heat, it is gross as soon as it goes brown so it’s best to saute it on a low heat to get all the flavour  out.

Add lentils and fry on medium heat for 2-5 minutes. The lentils are already pre-cooked so you just need to heat them up.

Add your sauce, while on high heat then when it starts to boil, turn it to low heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While your sauce is simmering, take your rice off the heat and drain it (if you cooked it using heaps of water like I did).

Also while my sauce was simmering, I went to my local Indian restaurant and got a couple of pieces of garlic naan to go with the curry, naan is always my favourite part of a curry and although my local Indian restaurant (2 minutes walk from my house) makes terrible curry, it makes good naan so that was perfect for this situation.

Plate everything and enjoy!

Tory.

Simple Pepper Beef Stirfry

Hello hello! This recipe is exactly what it is, kinda like chinese black pepper steak but for the people who have random items in their pantry [and who doesn’t have pepper. I LOVE PEPPER]

As you know I love stirfry, its just so easy, especially on nights like tonight when I was rushing around trying to have dinner before a meeting. I was so speedy that I managed to cook, eat, have dessert AND do all the dishes within an hour [and ten minutes] BE IMPRESSED.

So here we go.

Ingredients
1 small piece of beef steak [the stir fry kind I guess? schnitzel could do also, but there is not a lot i know about meat to make that kind of judgement.]
half an onion
1 tsp crushed ginger paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
pepper to taste [depends on how much you like pepper. i put PLENTY in]
salt
soy sauce

Method
Slice the onion thinly, slice the beef into strips or chunks. [ignore the things in that picture that don’t belong…like the coffee. all mine. muahahaha]

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (14)

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil first [as you probably noticed, i start all my dishes like this.. and I am not even kidding, its how the dish tastes so good. Onion and garlic and ginger as a base make things ridiculously deeeeelish!!]

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (2)

Turn down the heat [had a discussion about this with the flatmates the other day, i tend to start off cooking things on high and then lower the heat before they burn. Not quite sure why, but it works for me!]
Add the beef strips and brown [if they are thinner than what i had then you may need to cook them for a little longer]

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (3)

Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder, salt and pepper to taste. Add a tiny amount of water if it is too dry. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (4)

Add the soy sauce [and maybe more pepper] and continue frying until the beef is cooked through [or how you like it]

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (12)

Serve on rice or noodles [and more pepper in my case] and enjoy!

Black Pepper Beef Stirfry (1)

Note: If i had any red capsicum, or any capsicum for that matter, i would totally add that in there. Feel free to add any vegetables you like into the stirfry, or on the side. I didnt actually bother with veggies today. Bad omnivore, Nurul!]

Nurul.

Winter Vegetable Soup

Hey guys,

Winter’s coming, last week we had a “weatherbomb” with wind and rain and general coldness so I felt it was the perfect time to make soup.

This soup is very easy but you may want to freeze some of it coz it makes a LOT of soup, unless you want to eat soup for like 2 weeks straight. I’m not sure if it’s possible to make a smaller batch.

Ingredients:

1 packet King traditional soup mix
9 cups water
Vegetables of your choice, diced into similar sizes (I used 3 potatoes, a quarter of a pumpkin, half an onion, 3 big cloves of garlic, 2 carrots and 4 sticks of celery)
A tin of tomatoes
A few tablespoons of tomato paste
Pepper
Salt
Stock cubes (If you taste the soup after an hour or two and it tastes bland)

Method:

As I said earlier, this recipe is VERY easy, it’s basically just throwing everything into a pot and boiling it for 2 and a half hours, or until your vegetables are cooked and the soup tastes like all the flavours have been incorporated into the soup.

The first step is to chop your vegetables (I don’t have a picture of this, I was too hungry and desperate to make soup fast!). Dice them into bite-sized pieces but all similar sizes so they cook evenly but you boil them for so long they’ll all cook eventually anyway but it’s best to cook them at a size to make them easy to eat in a mouthful with other vegies and liquid (the rest of the soup).

Put the soup mix into a large, large pot.

Add water and bring to the boil on high heat.

Using medium heat, add hard diced vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, kumara etc, things that take longer to cook than other vegetables. I also added my garlic at this point to start adding flavour to the soup.

Cook those vegetables for 30 minutes before adding softer vegetables like leek, celery, onion, whatever else as well as your tin of tomatoes and tomato paste and salt and pepper.

Stir in the soft vegetables and cover soup for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste occasionally also, if the flavour doesn’t start to develop, add a stock cube or 4 to add flavour.

Using a fork, try one of the hard vegetables to make sure they’re cooked (it would be completely stupid if they weren’t by this point). Try some of the soup liquid also. Add more salt and pepper if it doesn’t taste flavoursome.

Spoon into bowls using a ladle, cut some nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Tory.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Hey guys,

I finally got a new computer so I’ll be posting regularly again and by the looks of it, Nurul is all settled in as well and will also be posting regularly so The Young and Hungry is back!

I have a beautiful recipe for you today, it is never fail, which is such an important quality when baking. Baking is a lot more difficult than cooking, so much can go wrong so usually it’s important to follow the recipe EXACTLY.

The recipe is actually for vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting but this time I’ve taken the liberty of adjusting the recipe for chocolate, either way it is successful so worth a shot. It’s from the New Zealand Red Cross cookbook.

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
125g softened butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoons (or more) vanilla essence
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup self raising flour (If you don’t have self raising flour, use plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder)
1/4 cup cocoa (if you’re not using cocoa, add a whole cup of self raising flour instead and omit the cocoa)
3 tablespoons warm milk (warmed for 10 seconds in the microwave)

Frosting
125g softened butter
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk, warmed for 15-20 seconds in the microwave
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
(The amounts in the frosting recipe can be halved or quartered, depending on how much frosting you need/want, it is also more open to interpretation, meaning you can taste it as you go and add more of anything if you feel it needs it).

Cupcake Method:

Preheat oven to 180C, line a 12-hold muffin pan with paper cases.

Place butter, sugar, vanilla essence and eggs into a food processor. Process for 10 seconds.

Add flour and cocoa, process again til combined.

Scrape down the edges of the food processor. Add warmed milk. Process again til combined.

Spoon mixture into prepared paper pans.

Bake for 17 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

(My cupcakes always look like little volcanoes, for some reason they always rise in the middle instead of staying flat like cupcakes should but don’t worry about this, it will be covered with frosting later on.) 

Frosting Method:

To make the frosting, cream the butter with an electric beater until very pale, which should take 2-4 minutes.

Using a low speed, mix in the icing sugar and cocoa alternately with the milk and vanilla.

Continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Pipe or swirl the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. (I have bought plastic piping bags from the supermarket to decorate cupcakes, they’re pretty cheap in boxes of 4 or 5, which includes little nozzles to put on the end of the bags to make different patterns with the frosting but if you don’t want to do that, you can just use a spoon to put a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake.  If you’re using piping bags, put all the frosting into the bag (trying not to get too much air in the bag) and then snip the end of the bag with scissors).

Enjoy!

Tory.