Monday, 29 October 2012

Bulghur Wheat and Mango Salad

A nice riff on this recipe from summer last year: a bit more cucumber and mint, and a handful of basil, as we had no radishes. And a huge bbq'd sweetcorn, YUM.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

BBQ Asparagus

Another thing you must try on the BBQ: asparagus! (Served with sweet potato, pumpkin and some marinated pork, in this meal.)

Friday, 26 October 2012

BBQ Naan

I've made naan before, and this uses exactly the same basic recipe, but this time I made one of those kitchen mistakes that turns into a serendipitous discovery.

I put the dough on in the breadmaker and went out for a nice walk with my husband. I came back and floured a worksurface, and rolled the dough out into two large thin pieces: about half a cm thick, and each piece was the size of a baking tray. I usually find my naan is too thick so wanted to get it nice and thin so it would cook quickly at a high temperature. I popped each piece onto a large baking tray and left it for 10-15 minutes to rise. Crucially, I forgot to flour the baking trays!

We had decided to cook the naan on the bbq, since it's not entirely dissimilar to a tandoori oven, and thought the charcoal-y taste might be appropriate. So I brought the baking trays outside to the hot bbq, and tried to transfer them. But without flour, the naan had completely stuck to the baking trays, so as we pulled the dough off, it stretched and deformed and tore in places. I didn't want to roll it out again, because it had already had enough rising time, so we just shrugged, sprinkled a bit of flour on the mangled dough, and cooked it as it was, for about ten minutes in the hot bbq (lid down).

Eureka! Perfect naan: loads of crispy bits, doughy bits, tasty yoghurt-y charcoal-y yumminess... loads of fun to tear into and mop up the spicy curry we'd made to go with. So I guess the lesson is, roll out the dough so it's thin enough, but then mistreat it a little so it's not uniform, and you'll end up with a perfect naan :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Pan-fried Tofu

While away in Margaret River, we went out to a nice restaurant I'd visited before. After a day tasting wine and nibbles and a fairly hefty brunch, I wanted something simple and vegetarian, so ordered the 'corn-crusted tofu with noodle salad'. To my surprise, when it arrived, they had 'run out of corn-crusted tofu', so replaced it with a blob of silken tofu! Of course, you can't just eat silken tofu on top of a salad; it's an ingredient for say, vegan brownies or Chinese soup. Baffling to have it trickling down the side of my cold noodle salad... for maybe the second time in my life, I sent the meal back and asked for a speedy replacement (fish of the day, excellent).

So when I got back home, I still had a craving for properly-cooked tofu, so picked up a lovely firm block from my local Chinese greengrocers', along with a big bundle of cheerful, flowering greens. I cut the tofu into half-inch thick triangles and dipped them into a mix of half-flour, half Chinese spice and a generous grating of black pepper and salt. Pan-fried over a moderate heat until golden and crisp, but still moist and wobbly in the middle, hen served atop the greens and rice, it was exactly what I wanted. Yum!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fried Spicy Fish

Lazy meal for one tonight: a lovely fillet of bronzy shark from the fishmonger's, dipped in a mix of crushed dried chillis, coriander, turmeric and salt, then fried for a minute or two either side, and served on a bed of stir-fried Chinese greens. Minutes to make, heaven to eat. (Days of guilt over eating shark . :-/ )

Monday, 15 October 2012

BBQ Carrots

If you haven't tried carrots on the BBQ, you really should give it a go! The trick is to buy a big bunch of baby carrots with the tops still on; the big woody scrubbed-to-death carrots from the supermarket just won't cut it. Gently wash off any dirt and dry with a tea towel, or leave overnight to dry in a colander. Brush lightly with olive oil, making sure to coat every last patch, and season with a little pepper.

BBQ over a medium heat, preferably with the door closed. They're done when a little of the skins are just beginning to blacken and separate from the core, and they break softly rather than bending or snapping crisply. Also - they'll taste warm, nutty and sweet, with a tiny hint of bitterness from the charcoaled edges. Delightful! Dust with flakes of sea salt for further seasoning. We served them tonight with freshly wilted spinach and a lentil and feta salad, although only a few of the bunch made it to the plate without being snaffled!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Steak and Blue Cheese Sandwich

Super-indulgent, super-fast Sunday lunch!


  • a medium porterhouse or rump steak
  • a large bunch of spinach
  • a medium wedge of blue cheese
  • fresh granary bread

Season the steak on both sides, then pan fry in a smudge of oil until rare (90 seconds per side). Set aside to rest. Meanwhile, wash the spinach thoroughly and remove any tough stalks. Place in a large saucepan, still wet; cover with a lid and steam in its own juices for 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Remove and put in a colander; squeeze out the water with a spatula, or, when cool enough, your hands; finely chop. Cut the warm steak against the grain into thin slices.

Reheat the steak pan and, using the oil still in the pan, lightly toast each slice of bread on one side. Onto one toasted side, slice pieces of blue cheese, then top with spinach and steak; close with another toasted side facing in. Repeat for another sandwich, or two. Slice diagonally and serve immediately!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Huevos Rancheros

Decided to do something a little different after Zumba today - well, I decided the night before, since it helps to cook the refried beans in advance. In the morning, it was a matter of minutes to put the ingredients together, and then enjoy a protein-rich meal with a big cup of coffee.


  • 400g refried beans
  • three cloves of garlic
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tortillas
  • 4 eggs
  • fresh coriander
  • guacamole or sour cream

Put the tortillas on a large, foil-covered or well-oiled baking tray. Spread on the refried beans. Drain the tin of tomatoes and slice the tomatoes into wedges; dot on top of the beans. Try to make a bit of a well with the beans and the tomatoes. If you like your egg runny, separate the white and pour it into the well; cook under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until it is almost cooked. Cover with cheese and plop on the yolk, then grill for a further minute until the cheese is sticky and melted and the yolk is hot. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with a few leaves of fresh coriander, with plenty of guacamole or sour cream to go with.