It’s hard to believe it’s November already. For me, November heralds the start of the party season and the count-down to Christmas. As your calendar starts to fill up, it’s handy to have some tasty recipes for entertaining.
I actually “borrowed” this recipe from a friend who recently purchased a thermomix. Now I love my kitchen gadgets, but haven’t been able to make the commitment to purchase one, but I’ve heard they are fantastic and she was excited to be experimenting with new recipes. I’ve added my own twist to the ingredients and come up with the below version (no thermomix required). I used a store-cupboard standby with the roasted peppers, but you could roast your own fresh red capsicum if you desire. If you would like a chunkier version of this dip, process the ingredients without the cashews first, then add the cashews and pulse the food processor until you achieve your desired texture. If your dip is a little to thick, you could add a bit of the drained oil that the tomatoes came in to help in getting the desired texture.
Serve your dip with your favourite accompaniments – crackers or vegetable crudités.
What I was cooking this time last year: Passionfruit and Strawberry Gum Bavarian
Cashew and Tomato Dip
- 100g semi-sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 birds eye chilli
- 50g roasted red peppers or roasted red capsicum, drained
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 120g raw unsalted cashews
- 30g parmesan cheese
- Add the tomatoes, peppers, cashews, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and parmesan cheese to your food processor or thermomix bowl.
- Blend until you have achieved your desired texture.
- Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.
What is your favourite stand-by recipe when friends drop by? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
I was meeting friends in Centennial Park today for a baby shower picnic, and was responsible for bringing dips. I wanted to bring one of my favourite dips, tzatziki. After researching different recipes, it seems the secret with this dip is to keep things simple. I was thinking of experimenting with the addition of spices, but the only things that seem to be added are a generous amount of salt and pepper, and either mint or dill. I went with adding both herbs, and some lemon zest and lemon infused olive oil for an extra citrus kick.
The raw garlic actually adds a bit of heat to the dip, so taste as you go when adding the garlic and pepper. Some recipes ask you to peel the cucumber and / or scoop out the seeds, I didn’t but instead allowed the yoghurt and grated cucumber to drain to remove some of the excess liquid. Suspend your strainer over a bowl to allow the liquid to drip through.
Serve this dip with your favourite crackers, or vegetable crudités (I used celery and carrot sticks) or as part of a Middle-Eastern inspired feast.
What I was cooking this time last year: Asian Marinated Salmon
- 1 cup natural greek-style yoghurt
- 1 cucumber
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used lemon infused)
- 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grate the cucumber and add to a suspended strainer.
- Add the yoghurt to the grated cucumber in the strainer and set aside for the excess liquid to drip through.
- Set aside the draining yoghurt and grated cucumber for half-an-hour while you prepare your vegetable crudités.
- Discard the liquid and add the yoghurt and grated cucumber to the blow.
- Grate the lemon zest and finely mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
- Add the finely chopped mint, dill, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix with a spoon until everything is combined.
- Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.
What is your favourite dip? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
It is a long weekend in Sydney. The October long weekend is when daylight savings time kicks in, and the weekend that heralds the start of summertime. A lot of Sydneysiders use the opportunity to make a pilgrimage out of the city and head up the coast. Staying at a friend’s place for the weekend, and the start of BBQ season is the inspiration for this recipe, Marinated Fish skewers with Satay Sauce.
I used Monkfish for my skewers, as recommended by my fish monger. You could use chicken, tofu or prawns instead of fish if you prefer. Kecap manis is a thick, Indonesian soy sauce, normally found in the Asian section of your supermarket. Kaffir lime leaves add a citrus tang. You can add chilli to taste to the sauce – I like things spicy so added more to make sure there was a bit of heat to the sauce. This is not an authentic Indonesian or Balinese recipe, because I have added ginger to the marinade and sauce, but I think the flavours work well together.
It was hard to get an appetising photograph of the satay sauce, but I assure you it tastes delicious and quite different to anything you buy from the supermarket out of a jar or bottle.
Serve your skewers with the satay sauce as a snack on their own, or with rice, salad or vegetables for a more substantial meal.
What I was cooking this time last year: Guacamole
Marinated Fish Skewers with Satay Sauce
- 1kg monkfish fillets
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 2 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- wooden skewers
- 150g raw unsalted peanuts
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large tomato
- 2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 2 red chillies, or to taste
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water
- Soak the wooden skewers in water. This prevents them burning when they are being cooked.
- Add the shredded kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger, oil and kecap manis to a bowl.
- Chop the fish into cubes and add to the bowl.
- Toss to coat the fish in the marinade, set aside to soak up the flavours while you prepare the satay sauce.
- Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and add the raw peanuts.
- Cook the peanuts, stirring regularly, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. (The peanuts will continue to cook once they are removed from the heat so don’t allow them to get too golden brown when they are on the heat.)
- Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, tomato, kecap manis kaffir lime leaves and peanuts to a blender jug. Add 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Blend the sauce until smooth and combined. Taste, if required add more chilli or water until you are happy with the heat and thickness of the sauce.
- Transfer your satay sauce to a bowl and set aside.
- Thread the cubes of marinated fish onto the soaked skewers.
- On the BBQ or a medium-hot frying pan, cook your fish skewers for a couple of minutes on one side.
- Turn and cook for a minute or two on the other side, or until cooked through.
- Serve the cooked fish skewers alongside the satay sauce. Enjoy.
What is your favourite BBQ recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Classic mediterranean flavours include oregano, lemon, garlic and olive oil. I have combined all of these flavours in Mediterranean Inspired Baby Octopus.
Octopus has gained a reputation as being tough and chewy. Octopus is best cooked very slowly for a long time or very quickly over a high heat, anything else in-between will result in a tough and chewy dish. Octopus shrinks a lot once cooked, so bulk up your quantity of raw seafood to allow for the shrinkage factor. Most octopus purchased from a shop comes cleaned and ready to go, check with your fish monger if unsure. You could chop your baby octopus into pieces before adding to the marinade or leave them whole.
A trick I learnt about a while ago is to add some bicarb soda to the marinade to help tenderise the octopus. I have also heard of kiwi fruit or pawpaw being used to tenderise, but I haven’t experimented with these options so can’t provide insights on how well they work.
I recommend using normal olive oil in this dish, this type of oil is better for cooking with. Save your good quality extra virgin olive oil for dressings, drizzling or other uses not subjected to high temperatures.
You could cook these baby octopus on a barbecue, because it has been wet and miserable in Sydney, I have cooked mine in a very hot fry pan. Because of their unusual shape, you will need to turn them multiple times so they cook through. They could be served as part of a mezze platter or with a greek salad.
Mediterranean Inspired Baby Octopus
- 1 kg baby octopus
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon bicarb soda
- Finely chop the garlic, rosemary and oregano, pick the thyme leaves and add to a bowl.
- Zest the lemons, add zest to the bowl with herbs.
- Add the chilli, bicarb soda and olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine.
- Wash the baby octopus and pat try with paper towel.
- Add the baby octopus to the bowl and stir to coat in the marinade.
- Cover the bowl of octopus and put in the fridge to marinade. Leave for an hour or more, preferably overnight.
- Heat the barbecue or fry pan to a high heat.
- Cook the octopus in a single layer, in batches if required. Turn once the octopus is opaque and getting a little charred or brown.
- Transfer to a serving plate, accompany with wedges of the zested lemon. Sprinkle with salt. Your baby octopus is ready to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite Asian inspired recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?