Something on the side

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On the side

A plate of Iceberg Lettuce with Beanshoots, Cucumber, Herbs and Nuoc Cham went really well with the Gai Yang Chicken. Super refreshing.

Nuoc Cham
(While not a Chin Chin recipe, they do serve this classic Vietnamese dipping sauce at the restaurant accompanied by these greens.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar
1/2 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
2 long fresh red chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you like)
1 garlic clove, crushed

Combine the water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, palm sugar, lemon grass, chilli and garlic in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves. Serve.

Lunch

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Lunch

Today’s lunch break was filled with a yoga class followed by Salmon in Banana Leaf.

As an Australian living in Auckland, I sometimes feel as though I’m missing out on the new tastes and experiences my friends enjoy across the ditch. So, I like making recipes from my favourite places to get a taste of home from time to time. This recipe is from the iconic Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin and is nothing short of amazing. The recipe appeared on the goodfood.com.au website ahead of the restaurant’s book release. The time required to make all the elements would normally relegate this to a weekend recipe but, I couldn’t wait that long. I did all the prep the night before so it only took 15 minutes to cook today. It also gave the salmon the chance to marinate overnight which they recommend.

I’m definitely going to serve this at my next dinner party, it’s that good. And, as I’ve got left over curry paste and chilli jam it’s going to be a breeze. Click on the pic for the recipe and you can serve it at yours too.

Bringing a “plate” to my friend’s BBQ.

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My friend Kim hosted the second BBQ of the season on Sunday. She’s always a great host but has no confidence in the kitchen and can barely work her own oven, let alone sharpen a knife. Bearing this in mind, I was all too happy to bring a couple of salads along when she asked and took the opportunity to cook things that might be a bit higher in fat than I’d usually make. I made myself feel better about this with the knowledge that they were going to be shared around so, Alex and I wouldn’t be finishing them by ourselves.

Mixed Grain Salad
100g red quinoa, rinsed
100g white quinoa, rinsed
100g French green lentils, rinsed
100g pearl barley, rinsed
30g butter
2 cloves garlic. crusned
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
25g chopped almonds
1/4 bunch mint
1/4 bunch parlsey
2 spring onions, sliced
Sherry dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
120ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

For the mixed grain salad, place red and white quinoa in separate saucepans, cover with cold water to come about 1cm over quinoa. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of water for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain. Toast pearl barley in a dry frying pan until golden, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and when foaming add garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and cook until toasted. Remove from heat and cool. Coarsely chop mint and parsley. Combine grains, seeds and almonds in a bowl with chopped herbs.

For dressing, combine vinegar, sugar and oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with spring onions.

Serves 6

Dinner

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Dinner

Do you think there might be tumeric in this? Dinner is Neil Perry’s Tagine of King Prawns, Chickpeas, Almonds and Cherry Tomatoes served with cous cous and green beans. Delish and if you’re trying to lose weight like me, leave the oil out of the Chermoula. It will be fine.

Dinner

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Dinner

Along with the chicken I served Stuffed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce and some steamed greens on the side. The eggplant is another Neil Perry recipe and absolutely stunning. I adjusted things a bit as they only had large eggplants at the supermarket and I can’t bring myself to deep-fry things while I’m trying to lose weight. I also omitted the cornflour which it didn’t really need.

I ended up roasting my larger stuffed eggplants for an hour at 180ºC under foil and then at 230ºC with no foil for 20 minutes to crisp up the meat a little. This was so delicious, much better than I ever expected. I strongly advise you to click on the pic for the recipe.

Dinner

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Dinner

Marinated Chicken Breast with Spicy Tomato Sauce. I adapted this from a Neil Perry recipe for barbequed wings as they had none at the supermarket and rain put a stop to my BBQ plans. Instead I marinated the breasts, seared them and put them in the oven. Still pretty tasty. As usual, I left out all the oil and only used a spray in the pan first. Click the pic for Neil’s recipe.

Dinner

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Dinner

Frank Camorra’s Roast Carrot and Quinoa Salad. This was just what I needed last night. I absolutely loved it. As usual, I cut down on the fat by not dressing the rocket and only used a spray of extra virgin olive oil to dress the quinoa and roast the carrots and onion. Click the photo if you’d like the recipe. There’s also another nice salad using freekeh on the same page though it’s probably too high in fat for the diet I’m on.