Blog Archive

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Valentine Anniversary

Valentine's Day brings about tens of thousands of flowers made ready in florists, supermarkets, and even at the roadside. Chocolates of every shape and flavour vie for attention. Soft plush teddies and bunnies wink at passersby. All of this in honour of a celebration of love. In 2014 Valentine's Day brought with it something else, it was the birth of Unleash Your Taste, and it has grown with thousands of readers ready to celebrate the first anniversary.

Unleash Your Taste has been a daily expression of the love of life and the love of food. The goals for Unleash were simple, to present recipes in easy, plain language and to endorse one basic principle: that anyone can cook.

So I decided to avoid the trap of repeating ideas like heart-shaped pancakes or for that matter anything heart shaped. Instead I offer a few recipes that warm the heart as they excite the taste buds. After all love should last far more than one day's celebration, and a favourite recipe comes to visit your kitchen over and over again.

Think of food as an extension of the emotions that you feel for your partner, your family and friends, and for yourself, dare to be different. These recipes come from varying cultures with one commonality shared; an explosion of taste that is subtle and sweet lingering in your memory. Isn't that what love is?

A big thank you to all who have stopped to taste and savour the joys of cooking with Unleash Your Taste. Today a new year begins with new adventures to discover and new friends to bring home to entertain your senses.

Tamarind Meatballs

3 oz tamarind in a block
1 cup boiling water
1 stalk lemongrass
2 eggs
1/2 cup jasmine rice, cooked
3 tbsp grated ginger root
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lbs ground pork or beef (or mixture)
1 can coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp Thai red or yellow curry paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
chopped fresh cilantro & mint

Add tamarind to bowl of boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes.
Trim of dry layers of lemongrass. Cut stalk in half lengthwise.
Remove tender inner core and mince to make 1 teaspoon.
Cut remaining in half, hit with broad side of knife to bruise and set aside.
Beat eggs with fork in bowl.
Stir in minced lemongrass, rice, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, salt & pepper.
Blend in ground pork.
Make into small balls and place on baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Transfer and chill.
Strain soaked tamarind through fine mesh strainer, pressing pulp with spatula
to extract as much tamarind as possible. Discard solids.
Heat 1/4 cup coconut milk until bubbling.
Add reserved lemongrass, remaining ginger, garlic and curry paste.
Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes till ginger and garlic are fragrant.
Add tamarind water, remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce, bring to a boil stirring often.
Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Remove lemongrass, transfer to container and chill.
To serve boil extra rice and place 2 meatballs on top and pour enough sauce.

(Serves 6)

Potato & Mushroom Frittata

2 tbsp butter
1lb mixed mushroom, sliced
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 1 tsp fresh, minced
1 medium oblong potato, peeled
12 eggs
1/2 cup cream (any type)
1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded

Melt butter, saute sliced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary for
10 to 15 minutes or till golden brown.
Shred potato on coarse side of box cutter – 1 cup.
Strain excess liquid and stir into mushroom to evenly combine.
Whisk eggs in bowl until frothy.
Whisk in cream, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.
Pour over potatoes and mushrooms and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 400° then let stand to cool.

(Serves 4-6)

Coconut Chicken Stir Fry

Coconut Stir Fry Sauce:
2 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 1/2 fl. oz sweet soy
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chili flakes
1/2 fl. oz fish sauce

4 chicken breasts cubed
2 tsp sesame oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup carrots, julienne
1/2 cup red onion, julienne
3/4 cup yellow pepper, julienne
1/4 cup green onion, bias cut
1/4 oz ginger, minced
4 fl. oz chicken stock
4 fl. oz white wine
2 tbsp basil, chopped
2 3/8 cup coconut stir fry sauce
24 - 31/40 shrimp
3 1/2 cup rice noodles, cooked
1/2 tsp salt & pepper

Heat pan to high, add sesame oil.
Take one fresh egg, crack into pan, scramble and add chicken.
Cook chicken with egg till chicken is 3/4 cooked then set aside.
Bring heat back to pan; add carrots, red onion, yellow pepper, green onion and ginger.
Saute for 3 to 4 minutes then add remaining eggs and scramble together with vegetables,
cook till egg is done.
Add chicken stock and chicken back to pan and cook for 2 -3 minutes, then set aside.
Deglaze pan with white wine, add chopped basil, coconut sauce
and cook on low till sauce bubbles.
Remove from pan, serve as a bed to vegetable chicken mix.

(Serves 6)


olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp clove
salt & pepper
2 lbs lean ground beef or lamb
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk, heated
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
275 g penne pasta
3 eggs
3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt

Heat oil and add onions, cook till soft.
Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, cinnamon, thyme, allspice, cloves, salt & pepper and cook
for 2 minutes or till fragrant.
Increase heat and add meat, cook till meat is no longer pink
and juices evaporate (about 15 minutes).
Stir in crushed tomatoes and vinegar and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring often until sauce thickens.
Discard bay leaves, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat, sprinkle flour in and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly.
Pour in hot milk whilst whisking.
Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes till sauce thickens.
Remove from heat and whisk in nutmeg, 1 cup parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. Set aside.
Cook pasta till desired tenderness and set aside.
Butter an oven pan (baking dish).
Pour in 1 cup of cheese sauce into pasta and toss to coat.
Spread on the bottom, then spread meat sauce evenly over the top.
Whisk eggs in bowl, whisk in yoghurt, add remaining cheese sauce and whisk till blended.
Spread gently over meat sauce and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375° for about 1 hour or until sauce bubbles and top browns.

(Serves 6)

Fettuccine All By Itself

1 box or pack of fettuccine of choice
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 small red onion, chopped finely
2 tbsp white truffle oil
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped for garnish

Saute finely chopped red pepper and onion till onion is translucent and set aside.
Boil and drain fettuccine, put in large bowl and drizzle with truffle oil
(white truffle oil is more reasonable on cost).
Mix in sautéed peppers and onions, then dust down with parmigiano-reggiano cheese
and mix through well.
Serve with a garnish of fresh dill.

(Serves 4-6)

Easy Chocolate Mousse

2 eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp brandy or favourite liqueur

Beat eggs and granulated sugar for approximately 3 minutes.
Heat 1 cup whipping cream until hot, do not boil.
Pour hot cream into egg mixture and mix gently until combined.
Put egg and cream mixture into saucepan and heat stirring constantly for approximately
5 minutes until combined mixture thickens, but do not boil.
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate till all is melted.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, add brandy or liqueur.
When chocolate mixture is cooled beat remaining whipping cream to get high peaks.
Remove chocolate from fridge and gradually fold through the whipped cream until
everything is combined and smooth.
Serve as is or garnish with chocolate shavings and fresh mint.

Pastel De Nata

1 sheet puff pastry
6 egg yolks
150 g caster sugar
2 tbsp corn flour
680 ml homogenized milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon peel

For the custard:
Dissolve the cornflour with milk and strain into saucepan; add sugar, egg yolks
and vanilla extract, mix well.
Add cinnamon stick and lemon peel.

Cook mixture over medium heat, mix constantly until it thickens.
Pour through and sift again into bowl and remove cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
Cover custard with cling wrap and press wrap down onto the surface of the custard, set aside to cool.

If using puff pastry as a sheet, roll out sheet then cut into 3 inch squares.
Fill muffin tins and bake at 375° for about 15-20 minutes till puff tarts are lightly golden.
If using prepared tart shells, bake for 15 minutes till lightly golden,
let cool and fill with custard mixture.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375° to have custard set, dust with icing sugar and serve.

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