Bunya Nut Satay Tofu

I. Love. Satay! From Chicken Tonight to actual authentic stuff to 'fusion' sauces - put peanuts and fish sauce and oil together and I'll drink it out of the bottle. This version turned out really really well. You could put it on meat/in a curry or stir fry too and it would be equally delicious.

You can buy Bunya Nuts online here

2 cups bunya nuts, boiled for 20-30 minutes and shelled. 
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch of corriander, stems only, finely chopped. 
Juice of one lime
500gms firm tofu

Heat up a splash of oil in a wok or saucepan and fry onion, garlic, bunya nuts and peanuts together until the onion is cooked through and the nuts are starting to brown. 

Pulse in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Tasting and adding more oil or lime as needed. 

Cut up tofu into thick strips. Toss the sauce through the tofu and leave for 20-30 minutes. Fry in a sauce pan or wok. Don't worry too much if the sauce doesn't really stick, just make sure the tofu is cooked and then make sure you scrape all the crispy bits of the sauce out on top when you serve it up. Top with corriander leaves. 

'Fruit Toast' Crackers & Labne with honey, fig and pine nuts

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Making labne is very easy (there's one ingredient and it's greek yoghurt) and way cheaper than buying it - but you'll have to start the day before you want to serve it cause it takes at least 12 hours to hang and get less watery.

These crackers are similar to the ones I made for the cheese board dinner, but I added fruit and cinnamon to give them a kind of 'fruit toast' vibe. Fruit toast is one of my favourite childhood breakfasts, but there's no way I would have been able to make it. 

Makes a couple of bowls of crackers and like HEAPS of labne.

Labne Ingredients:
500g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/ cup finely chopped dried figs
1 tablespoon of tahini
Honey

Put a sieve on top of a saucepan (so it's not touching the bottom). Line the sieve with a chux, 'cheese cloth' or other kind of clean fabric. Put the yoghurt in the sieve and leave to 'hang' for at least 12 hours, so most the liquid gets sieved out. 

Mix the chopped fig with the tahini, then stir it through the labne. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and drizzle with honey before serving. 

Cracker ingredients: 

250g Plain flour

150g linseeds
175g Sesame seeds
150g sunflour seeds

1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
Handful of dates, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
500ml cold water
1 tablespoon of sugar


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the sugar. It should be the consistency of wet cement, so add more flour or water if the ingredients aren't holding together properly. 

Line a large oven tray with baking paper. With a spatula, spread the mixture out on the paper as thin as you can (you may need to do a couple of batches if you have too much mixture). Don't worry if you get a few holes, you're going to  break them up into rough crackers anyway. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the dough. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn the big sheet of cracker over, peel off the baking paper, and bake on the other side for about 10-15 minutes, until it's completely dry and crispy. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. 

Break up into roughly-cracker shaped bits, and serve with the labne. 
 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Fruit Salad with ginger & lime syrup

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I feel a bit silly writing out a recipe for this cause it's just a fruit salad - but I didn't fully know how to make a syrup until recently, so maybe this will be useful.

I think this syrup would be delicious over a stone fruit salad - peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries. However even though it was STONE FRUIT SEASON when I made this my supermarket didn't have any except for a couple of plums. So I panicked and bought the weird assortment of fruits you see in this picture. 

Makes about a cup of syrup

Syrup ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
Half a cup of water
1 lime, zest cut off.
Thumb sized piece of ginger,
half thinly sliced, half crushed. 

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce the heat and add the ginger and lime zest and a couple of thin slices of lime. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it's a dark syrup-y consistency. 

Take out the whole slices of ginger if you don't want too-strong a ginger flavour. Leave to cool, then pour over your fruit salad. If the syrup gets too solid when it cools down, add a bit more boiling water and stir vigorously until it is liquid enough to pour. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Probably the Best Salad

I hate whenever recipes describe something as ‘delicious AND guilt free’ or like ‘you won’t BELIEVE it’s healthy’ – cause usually they’re talking about stuff with heaps of weird fake-sugar chemicals or under-salted microwave meals. Also if something is delicious you can’t feel guilty about eating it that’s the rule. But this salad, with honey and nuts and a bit of chili, tastes good (not as good as a grilled cheese but better than a can of tuna) and is relatively healthy. You could probably eat it for at least 3 days before you started really wanting a chicken burger.  

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

This recipe is very easy and you probably could have made it up for yourself – but I know sometimes it’s hard to think of a lunch idea that won't make you feel like shit, so here it is.

Ingredients:

¼ of a big pumpkin
2 cans of Butterbeans
300g Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 cup of nuts, roughly chopped (I used Brazil Nuts, but walnuts, pecans or cashews would work fine too)
Half a red onion, finely diced
200 grams of Rocket
1 Sprig Rosemary
Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sumac  (you could use Dried Chili if you want more heat/don’t want to buy sumac)
3 tablespoons of honey
Half a lime
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 108 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into bite sized-ish pieces.

In a baking tray, coat the pumpkin, nuts and Brussels sprouts in the honey, sumac or dried chili, rosemary and a big glug of olive oil together until everything is evenly covered. Bake for about 30 minutes – checking after 20 if you cut your pumpkin fairly small.

When the pumpkin is soft, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool.

Drain the butterbeans, then add to the cooled pumpkin and nut mixture. Mix the rocket and onion through, and finish with a squeeze of lime and salt and pepper to taste.

‘Fuck Minimalism’ Salad

I’ve never really subscribed to the ‘a few good things done perfectly’ style of cooking. If a few things is good, well EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE must be great. This doesn’t always work – but for this salad it does. When I first made this about a month ago it was a panzella (Italian bread) salad that I added heaps of other stuff too. Then I dropped it all on the ground on the way to the party I’d made it for. That was a bummer, but now it has been REBORN with EVEN MORE INGRIDIENTS (but no bread). I really like silverbeet in salads cause it’s like kale’s cheaper, more laid-back brother. I love kale, but I respect silverbeet.

Serves 12 - 15

Ingridients

2 Zucchinis
1 Bunch Asparagus
1 punnet (500g) ‘Tomato medley’ (different coloured tomatoes, cheap in summer but all other times you can use 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes instead)
2 Cans butter beans
½ Red Onion, finely diced
Half a bunch of silverbeet, green bits only, roughly chopped.
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or cut up as fine as you can)
1 Bunch of basil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Handful of shaved parmesan

Cut up the basil as fine as you can, and mix it with enough olive oil to cover it (you want more ‘basil oil’ than ‘oily basil’). Add the garlic and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Slice the zucchini lenthways so you’ve got long thin slices (about 1cm thick). Slice the asparagus in half lengthways. Put a frypan or wok on the stove and let it get hot. Throw the zucchini and asparagus in (without oil) and dry fry them until a little bit charred and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Slice the tomatoes in half, and mix together with the red onion, butter beans, silverbeet, and some olive oil, salt and pepper. When the zucchini and asparagus are cool, add them to the tomatoes. 

Toast the pepitas in a hot pan, moving them around constantly so they toast all over, be careful because they burn very quickly.

Cover the salad with the basil oil and stir through. Top with parmesan and pepitas (still hot is good but not important) and serve.

(Shoulda been) Soba Salad

If you look closely (or like, at all), you’ll notice that the noodles in these salads are definitely NOT soba. One is vermicelli (fine, gotta cater for my legit celiac friend Laurel) and one is Udon. NOT FINE. Udon noodles are great in soups or stir fries because they’re substantial and salty – not at all right for ‘delicate’ (as close as I ever get anyway) salads.

But when you’re rushing around the supermarket trying to get ready to feed 20 people, it’s very easy to pick up the wrong packet – and then what was I gonna do, walk back to the shops? In the middle of the day in summer? Nah. But please don’t make the same mistakes as me. For the love of god get the soba.

You could also definitely make your own sesame sauce (I’ve made one before with mirin, light soy, a little sugar and tahini that was pretty good) but the ready-made stuff is generally a much better consistency. It’d be worth going to a Japanese grocer to get the real deal (Genki Mart in Alderly is terrific if you’re in Brisbane) but the Kewpie brand one is available in most supermarkets.

Serves 12 + as a side

Ingredients:
2 packets soba noodles
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 packet tomato medley (if the multi-coloured tomatoes aren't in season regular cherry tomatoes are fine)
Sesame-soy sauce (see above)
1 Carrot
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Couple of handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
thumb-sized peices of ginger
500g raw salmon fillets (should be about 2 - 3 fillets) 

Wrap the salmon fillets individually in baking paper with the ginger, a splash of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of butter for each fillet. Cook at 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked. Leave to cool.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Cut the carrots into matchstick-sized 'julienne' pieces (you can grate them if you want, though it tastes different). Slice the cucumber in 1-2cm slices, then cut them in half into semi-circles. Cut the tomatoes in half (or smaller if you're using big tomatoes. 

Mix the cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, lettuce, shallots, soba, sesame seeds, and the sesame dressing of your choice together. Flake the cooked salmon over the top and serve.  

Empanadas for idiots (pumpkin and blackbean pastries with mole verde)

 

Part three in the 'Maddy fucks up dough' series - these were originally going to be empanadas, but I fucked up the (cornmeal) dough. I either bought the wrong kind of cornmeal, put the wrong amount of water in it, or left out another flour I should also have added - it's a mystery for the ages. As such, these are now blackbean pastries with green mole. So they're in no way 'right' but they were 'good'.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingredients:

200g Dried Black Beans
500g Pumpkin
3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
One brown onion, finely chopped
One big red chilli, finely chopped (with or without seeds - do you)
Couple of handfuls of corriander, finely chopped
2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
1-2 packets (6 - 8 sheets) puff pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

Mole verde:

1/2 Bunch coriander
1/4 bunch mint
1/2  cup sunflowerseeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Cup green tomatos, chopped roughly (if you don't know someone with a tomato plant that you can grab the unripe ones off, red ones would probably do, it just wouldn't be as aggressively GREEN as mine).
2 cups spinach
1 Lemon
1 Cup olive oil
a lot of salt

Cook the black beans according to the instructions on the pack (generally you boil them for like 30-40 minutes. You can also soak them overnight THEN cook them. I'm sure this has some benefit. But what?). Roughly chop and cut the skin off the pumpkin, then boil until soft (it needs to be quite soft to hold everything together).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli in a pan with some oil until the onion is translucent, then add the cooked blackbeans and pumpkin. Mix everything so it all comes togther into a bean-y paste. Add the spinach and the coriander. 

Let the pastry defrost for 10-15 mins, then cut some circles out by going around the edge of a saucer (you want the circles to be about lady palm-sized). You're aiming for about 4 circles out of every sheet (I did some big and some small circles cause by this time I was so mad about the empanada dough that I'd p much given up). Put about one teaspoon of blackbean and pumpkin mixture in the middle of each circle. Fold over the top to make a semi-circle, then seal the edges by pinching the pastry and folding it over (I didn't really describe that well but you'll work it out).

Now, make the weirdest most inauthertic mole ever. I just read the 'mole verde' section of this article and winged it from there, so I have no idea if it tasted right. It was kind of like a salty green-juice, so if you just wanna go with hot sauce or leave them plain I won't blame you. 

Toast the seeds in a fry pan. When they're toasted, blitz (you will need a blender or food processor for this one) together with the herbs, spinach, tomato and olive oil to form a kind of 'smoothy' consistency. Add the juice of the lemon and taste. Add salt, more lemon and oil until it starts talking less like a juice and more like a sauce. 


Mini Chicken Bastillas

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet


This recipe is pretty much a tweaked version of the one off this GREAT Moroccan cooking website called ‘Cooking with Alia’.  If you wanna do it right, follow her recipe (and check out a few more, while your there). Mine’s just a bit simpler, for lazy motherfuckers.

Real bastillas often have cinnamon and/or sugar dusted over the top – I bloody love them, but I thought it might be a bit much for some of my guests (sweet/savoury is a thing but some people hate it. Personally I hate fruit in savoury salads. Unrelated but I’d really like it to stop). If your mates are on board the swavoury (sorry) train though, definitely give it a go. You don’t HAVE to put the butter in at the end, but as my chicken mixture had been sitting in the fridge since the day before I was worried they’d be dry. And it worked, they were pretty perfect. Plus, fat’s good for you now. Everyone says so.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingridients

750g chicken breast
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tabelspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 Onion
4 Cloves of garlic
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
5 eggs
100g butter
2 packets filo dough
250 grams almond meal

Put the chicken, tumeric, cumin, coriander parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and a few splashes of olive oil in a pot with a lid. Make sure the chicken in covered in spices and oil, then cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is starting to colour all over. Add 1 cup of water, cover with the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until all the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken pieces out of the sauce and break up into small pieces. Reheat the sauce (add a bit more water if it’s more solid than liquid) and add FOUR of the eggs, mixing until they’re cooked through. Mix this egg mixture with the chicken.

Fry the almond meal with some olive oil, cinnamon, cloves and sugar until it’s browned and tastes toasted.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Cut up the butter into small (about 1cm square) cubes.

Get one square filo sheet on your bench. Put about 1 heaped tablespoon of chicken and egg mixture in the middle. Put one square of butter on top, and sprinkle with almond-meal mixture (about 1 teaspoon in each pastry). Fold up the sides, using the beaten egg to stick the pastry down. Put another piece of pastry on top of your parcel, then flip it over and fold up and stick down the sides again, so it’s wrapped in two layers. Brush the flat top of the pastry with egg, and sprinkle black sesame or poppy seeds on the top.

Cook at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is brown.

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet