Our latest feast

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quick Pork Ragu with Spaghetti

Nothing like a quick yet plain Jane homestyle dinner to fill everyone's bellies especially those that live here at the House Of Murray! 

This quick and very easy version of a pork ragu has all the authentic flavours yet without the long cooking time generally associated with this recipe.  Using pork mince instead of diced cubes decreased the cooking time and but still had that ragu style texture.  Thyme wasn't overpowering nor was the nutmeg.  The hint of chilli was evident but didn't cause you to break out in a sweat.

Overall a perfect mid week dinner that fits the bill of being quick, easy and full of flavour.

Quick Pork Ragu with Spaghetti
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 10
cooking spray
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
500 grams pork mince
1 cup white wine
400 gram can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
300ml chicken stock, heated
pinch of nutmeg
250 grams spaghetti, or pasta of your choice
50 grams grated parmesan, to serve

Heat a saucepan over low heat and spray with cooking. Cook onion for 5 minutes or until just softened. Add garlic, chilli and thyme, then cook for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, breaking up lumps with a spoon, for 3-4 minutes until golden. Add wine and cook for 3-4 minutes until nearly evaporated. Add tomatoes, paste, stock and nutmeg, then season. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened.

Cook pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain. Serve with sauce, parsley and cheese.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Satay Beef Noodles

Having a plate full of noodles placed in front of you is an amazing treat.... especially when enveloped in a rich yet creamy satay sauce.  But even more so when there was no plan to have noodles at all.  I defrosted beef strips without even knowing what I was cooking in the morning and came home fancying noodles.  So noodles it was.....
I got the idea for this recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Women's Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook, an oldie but a goodie!!! My book is actually falling apart.
With this dish I actually marinated the beef strips first which of course tenderised the meat but also added to the flavour.  Of course then there was a sauce that was added at the end of the cooking process.  A sauce that was actually creamy even though no cream was added.
Totally enjoyed by all of us...

Satay Beef Noodles
(recipe adapted from Women's Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 11
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water
500 grams beef strips, all fat trimmed
440 grams Wokka Singapore Style ready to cook noodles
1 1/2 tablespoons satay sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 clove garlic
1 brown onion, diced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 x 425 gram tin baby corn, drained and rinsed
200 grams snow peas, trimmed

Mix soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil, cornflour, and water together in a large bowl.  Add beef strips, stir well to combine.  Allow to stand for 20 minutes.

Soak noodles as per packet instructions in a large bowl filled with boiling water for 3 - 4 minutes or until softened.  Drain and rinse.

Mix together satay sauce, dry sherry, curry powder, water, soy sauce and sugar.  Set aside.

Heat oil in wok or pan, saute the meat until browned and remove from pan.

To the same wok or pan add onion and garlic, saute over medium heat until onion is softened.  Add capiscum and corn.  Cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes or until softened.  Add sauce mix and stir until boiling.  Return beef to the pan and add snow peas and noodles. Cook tossing, for 1 - 2 minutes, or until sauce covers beef and noodles and are heated through.  Serve immediately.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hot and Sour Steamed Fish with Thai Salad

One of my biggest bug bears when it comes to the family eating different foods is that we don't seem to eat enough fish. Noel and I eat a lot of shell fish (prawns, scallops, etc) but there is not much fish fillets consumed at all.  A little my fault I guess as I don't push it enough and a lot the family's fault as they will quickly put up their hands for Fish and Chip Shop Battered fish but not House of Murray cooked fish at home.
My mission is to try and introduce more fish into our diets afterall it's good for you.  One issue we do have is that none of us like strong flavoured fish... you know too fishy flavour.  We all prefer a milder fish such as Gummy Shark, Flatheads and I am quite partial to Blue Eye.  In saying that none of these are really firm fishes so it limits recipes and cooking techniques but like I said I am now on a mission.
Tonight's meal was a left field type of recipe that I actually knew before I started cooking it that we would either love it or hate it.  In fact two loved it, one thought it was okay and the other, just by looking at the facial expressions, hated it!  Oh well .....
A Thai influenced dish the fish was marinated in very bold flavours of the chilli, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.  It was every bit "hot and sour" just like the soup that Noel and I adore ordering when we are out for dinner.  Served with a salad of fresh herbs and chilli, drizzled with a Lime and Sweet Chilli Dressing, it was not only filling but this was such a fragrant meal my taste buds were jumping for joy.  This was a perfect summer night's meal and would make a nice lunch as the ProPoints are quite low. 

Hot and Sour Steamed Fish with Thai Salad
(Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Low Carb Low Fat Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 6
2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon brown sugar
4 x 200 gram Gummy Shark Fillets (or fish of your choice)
3 fresh small red thai chillies, seeded, thinly sliced
3 fresh kaffir lime leves, shredded finely
10 cm stick fresh lemon grass, chopped finely
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 fresh long red chillies, seeded, thinly sliced lengthways
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
50 grams snow pea sprouts

Make the Lime and Sweet Chilli dressing by combining sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, peanut oil, garlic, ginger and brown sugar in a screw top jar and shake well.
Place fish is a single layer of a dish.  Combine thai chilli, lime leaf, lemongrass and half of the dressing in a jug.  Mix well and pour over fish fillets.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line a large bamboo steamer with baking paper.  Place fish mixture in a single layer in steamer.  Steam, covered, over wok or large frying pan of simmering water for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked as desired.
Meanwhile, place the coriander, mint, basil, red chilli, spring onions and snow pea sprouts in a large bowl, toss gently to combine.
Serve fish with salad and remaining Lime and Sweet Chilli Dressing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dim Sum Scallops ~ Happy Valentines Day

Well it's Valentines Day and not that hubby and I actually celebrate it by buying each other lots of gifts and going out for a romantic dinner to declare our love for each other.  Usually I plan a special dinner for all of us.  This year there was only 3 as Alexandria had a sleep over birthday party.  So catering for the three of us I decided on the following menu:
Dim Sum Scallops
          Hot and Sour Steamed Fish with Thai Salad
                    Caramelised Pineapple with Toffee Sesame Icecream
Sounds delish right?
Well the Dim Sum Scallops were....
This is how the story of Valentines Day Evening 2014 went in the House of Murray.  All food prepared and ready to go.  Noel and Oliver have been to work together. Come home via video shop as they hire a movie to watch inbetween courses.  By the time everyone showers, gets sorted, takes Alexandria to her party and relaxes.  Start watching the movie - have the Entree of Dim Sum Scallops.  Watch some more movie and then tiredness sets in. Hubby goes to bed as he is working again tomorrow morning - son and I order pizza as I wasn't cooking all the fish for the two of us.

As I said the Dim Sum Scallops were good.

Dim Sum Scallops
(Recipe adapted from The Essentials Fingerfood Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 3
500 grams fresh scallops
2 tablespoons teriyaki sacue
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon greated fresh ginger

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place the scallops in 4 serving dishes.

Place all remaining ingredients in a small jug and mix well.  Divide the mixture amongst serving dishes pouring over the scallops.

Bake in oven for 5 - 10 minutes, or until scallops are tender and white.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Slow Cooked Beef with Pasta

Nothing more homely than a rich beef casserole anytime of the year - yes you heard me correctly I don't keep cooking casseroles just for a cold winter's night.  Just like roasts we have them anytime of the year.

This recipe is not only hearty but it's very easy to cook.  The beef was so tender, melt in your mouth in fact, and surrounded by a sauce that reminded me of a Hungarian Goulash.  Deep and rich from the paprika yet not overpowering nor spicy. 

Served on warm Tagliatelle put this recipe towards the top of my comfort food list. (Yes I do have a comfort food list which does not inclued Elvis Presley's Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches!)

Slow Cooked Beef with Pasta
(Recipe adapted from WW Cheap and Cheerful Cookbook)

500 grams lean beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm cubes
2 onions, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoon plain flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red capsicum, large dice
1 green capsicum, large dice
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams dried tagliatelle

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Heat a large non stick frying pan over medium heat.  Spray beef with oil and cook in batches until browned.  Place in a casserole dish.

Spray onions with oil.  Add to pan and cook over low heat for 3 minutes of until softened.  Add garlic, 1 tablespoon stock, paprika and flour.  Cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in remainng stock and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.  Pour over beef.  Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.  Add carrots and capsicums.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook for another 30 minutes.

When beef has nearly finished cooking, cook tagliatelle in a large pan of salted boiling water following packet instructions or until tender.  Drain and place in serving bowls.  Top with beef and serve.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lemongrass Pork Patties with Noodle Salad

Another Monday night and something quick needed to prepared for dinner.  Story of our lives at the moment - it's only February and we are all starting to get busy.  Doesn't hold much hope for any relaxation for the rest of 2014.

We are coming across many recipes that are surprising us not only for their flavours but for how easy and quick they are to prepare and cook.  This recipe comes from a cookbook Weight Watchers have published called as Easy as 1, 2, 3.   Each recipe has 3 steps that are simple and easy to prepare allowing dinner to be on the table with minimal fuss and quickly which makes these recipes the kind that busy working families look forward to cooking.
So this meal, a Vietnamese style dish, packed a powerful punch of flavours in both elements.  The Lemongrass Pork Patties full of lemongrass and ginger were delicate.  The noodle salad, different than one that I had made before, used soft noodles, laced with sweet chilli sauce and lime complimented the patties. 
We actually doubled this recipe as it was decided prior to cooking that a few of us would like it for lunch the next day - cannot complain about asking for healthy food for lunch.
Another dish that would be ordered at an Asian restaurant that anyone could easily create and enjoy at home.

Lemongrass Pork Patties with Noodle Salad
(recipe adapted from WW Easy as 1, 2, 3 Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 12
200 grams dried rice stick noodles
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
500 grams pork mince
1 lemongrass stick, pale section only, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 carrots, finely grated
1/2 baby wombok (Chinese cabbage) finely shredded
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
lime wedges

Prepare noodles following packet instructions or until just tender.  Drain.  Rinse under cold water. Drain.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Combine chilli sauce and juice in a small jug.  Set dressing aside.

Meanwhile combine mince, lemongrass and ginger in a large bowl.  Using clean hands, roll mixture into 12 balls.  Flatten into 8cm patties.  Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over high heat.  Cook patties for 3 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through.

Add carrot, wombok, spring onions, coriander and half the dressing on the noodles.  Toss to combine.  Drizzle patties with remaining dressing and serve with salad and lime wedges.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick and Easy Sausage Rolls

My family have been asking and asking "Mam when will you make some Homemade Sausage Rolls" followed by "you haven't made them for ages".  Guilting me obviously works as the next minute I was in the kitchen baking my heart out.
Sometimes I can be quite adventurous with fillings and flavours and Noel makes a pretty mean sausage roll also.  He even did a sort of Guest Blog for me with Noel's Homemade Sausage Rolls (well he cooked and I typed).
Not being as prepared as usual I went for an old trusted recipe, one that I have been making for as long as I can remember and a very easy recipe at that.  Like with all my good recipes they are jam packed with hidden vegetables and filled with flavour.
These pork and beef sausages rolls are perfect - quick, easy and have minimal ingredients.  The flavouring is infact just one jar of Rosella Fruit Chutney mixed with the meat, onions, carrots and zucchini - voila! Bake and your done.
These sausage rolls get eaten straight off the cooling rack while they are still warm at our house but they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or even frozen.
Quick and Easy Sausage Rolls
Serves: Makes 60
ProPoints per Serve: 3
cooking spray
500 grams extra trim beef mince
500 grams extra trim pork mince
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, finely grated
2 zucchinis, finely grated
525 gram bottle Rosella Fruit Chutney
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain flour
8 sheets Pampas Reduced Fat Butter Puff Pastry sheets, defrosted
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Prepare 2 or more baking trays lining with baking paper and spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl mix together the beef, pork, onion, carrots, zucchini and fruit chutney until well combined.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
On a pastry board or bench top sprinkle flour lightly to assist rolling mixture into sausage shapes the same length as the pastry making 16 lengths of sausage mixture.
Cut each pastry sheet in half lenghtways.  Place a sausage shape at the edge of 1 peice of pastry.  Brush edge of pastry with egg.  Roll to enclose sausage mixture ensure that the fold of pastry is underneath.  Repeat with remaining pastry and sausage mixture.
Cut each pastry into 4 and place on baking trays.  Brush with remaining egg.

Cook in oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and meat is cooked through.
Allow to cool slightly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Beef Larb Lettuce Cups

Due to both Noel and I having to attend a committee meeting so again (yes very regularly) we needed something very quick to prepare and eat together as a family.

These Beef Larb Lettuce Cups were perfect and were very tasty.  Crunchy, sweet, fresh and a little spicy all great combinations.  The meat mixture, laced with sweet chilli and lime, was the only warm element in the lettuce cup.  The fresh mint was vibrant yet not overpowering as it was a flavour that did not appear in every mouthful.

Best of all, the time factor, a 30 minute recipe that was a replica of a meal you would order at an Asian restaurant was the perfect treat tonight.

Beef Larb Lettuce Cups
(recipe adapted from WW Easy as 1, 2, 3 Cookbook)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 8

50 grams dried rice vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
500 grams extra lean beef mince
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
12 butter lettuce or baby cos lettuce leaves
2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into ribbons
1 carrot, cup into ribbons
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 cup fresh mint leaves
lime wedges, to serve

Prepare noodles following packet instructions or until just tender.  Drain.  Rinse under cold water.  Drain.  Using scissors, cut noodles into 6cm lengths.

Meanwhile, heat a large non stick fryind pan over high heat.  Cook rice, stirring, for 2 minutes or until light golden.  Transfer to a plant to cool.  Grind in a mortar and pestle until just crushed.

Heat oil in the same pan.  Ad mince and cook, stirring to break up lumps, for 5 minutes or until browned.  Add sweet chilli sauce and lime juice and stir to combine.

Arrange lettuce on serving plates.  Top with cucumber, carrot, noodles, beef mixture and sprouts.  Sprinkle with mint and toasted rice.  Serve with lime wedges.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spinach and Carrot Salad (Alex's Salad)

As it's the Australian Summer here at the moment, salads are plentiful - for lunches, for dinners, as a side dish at a picnic or a BBQ.  But I have to admit the good old garden salad gets a little boring after a while.  The other challenge besides making salad exciting is making it kid friendly.  Alexandria is one of my hardest salad critics.
So I put my creative hat on and thought to myself what raw vegetables does Alexandria eat and how could I make them into a salad.  So I opened the fridge door and just started layering.
First baby spinach, grated carrot, fresh pomegranate seeds and finely shredded fresh mint leaves - voila a salad fit for Princess Alexandria and everyone else of course.  This flavours went well together, each complimenting the other not to mention it was very healthy.  The bonus it was a 0 ProPoint salad.
Our dinner was Rosemary, Lemon and Seeded Mustard Lamb Chops, which were perfectly barbecued by Noel I have to say, Parmesan and Thyme Roasted Potatoes and this salad filled us all up nicely.

Spinach and Carrot Salad (Alex's Salad)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 0
2 cups baby spinach
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 fresh pomegranate, seeded
1/4 cup finely shredded fresh mint

Place spinach in a bowl.  Next layer the carrot on top of the spinach.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and then the mint.


(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Rosemary, Lemon and Seeded Mustard Lamb Cutlets

It was our first night back at football training for the kids tonight so another quick dinner was required.  A BBQ is always a great option for this.

This quick, simple and very tasty marinade was perfect for the lamb cutlets and was delicate as no to overpower the beautiful tender lamb.  I get worried with using lemon as it can be very strong but coupled with another bold flavour, rosemary, it worked very well.  Served with a stunning Spinach and Carrot Salad there were no complaints.
 Rosemary, Lemon and Seeded Mustard Lamb Cutlets
(Recipe sourced from Taste.com)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 5

60ml (1/4 cup) white wine
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
12 lamb cutlets, French trimmed

Whisk together the wine, mustard, rosemary and lemon juice in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.

Preheat a barbecue grill or chargrill on high. Lightly spray both sides of the lamb with oil spray. Cook on grill for 2 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rigatoni Milano

Pasta, pasta, pasta..... it's a favourite in our house especially with Alexandria.  She does get excited if it's on the menu - even more so if it's served with a creamy sauce.    The conversation last night went like this:
Alex: What's for dinner tonight mam?
Me: Pasta
Alex: (excited) With a creamy sauce?
Me: No - tomato with cream added
Alex: Cool - do you want help?
Me: That would be nice.
This pasta dish was very easy and fit perfectly in with the fact that I was once again busy at work meaning I walked in the front door later than preferred.
A very basic recipe the use of sausages as the meat was very nifty and considering we have a mulititude of flavoured sausages here in Australia I can only imagine that this meal would have a very different flavour depending on the sausage that is used.  Saying this we used a reduced fat pork sausage.
The sauce was delicate and full flavoured even though cream is mixed through at the end of the cooking process.  The use of passata, a tomato cooking sauce, meant there was more liquid that when I have used tinned diced tomatoes.  No herbs were needed and I feel this was from using the sausages.
Overall a yummy dish that was enjoyed by all - I can tell as there wasn't that much left over. 

Rigatoni Milano
(recipe adapted from WW Easy as 123 Cookbook)
Serves: 4
ProPoints per Serve: 12
250 grams rigotoni pasta
280 grams extra-lean pork sausages
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups passata
2 tablespoons light thickened cream
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet instructions, or until just tender.  Drain and return pasta to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, remove and discard sausage casings.  Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Cook sausage mince, onion and garlic, stirring to break up lumps, for 7 minutes or until browned.  Add passata and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Add passata mixture and cream to pasta.  Toss gently to combine.  Serve sprinkled with parmesan.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Creamy Mustard Chicken Casserole

I am back - hopefully on a more regular basis that what has occured over the last six months.  To be totally honest I have no idea where January has gone but I have to admit to having two enjoyable holidays with the family, one to Canberra and one to Tasmania where as you can imagine there wasn't a great deal of cooking done during either trips.
So with school back and a routine once again in place at the House of Murray I am back to attempting organisation!  First thing was to do a menu plan for this week.  Second a shopping list was created.... and from there here is Monday night's dinner and the first slow cooker recipe for 2014.  The recipe was adapted from a stove top recipe to a slow cooker recipe to ensure that dinner was ready for when Noel and I got home from work knowing that all we had to do was cook the accompanying dishes.
Creamy Mustard Chicken Casserole was totally enjoyable. The flavours of the bold tarragon and thyme against the creamy dijon mustard sauce was tantilising to the taste buds.  The herbs not overpowering infact they were quite subtle considering their flavours.  The chicken was so very tender and the casserole served with steamed veg (0ppts) and fluffly mashed potatoes (2ppts per serve) made this dinner was a wonderful mid week wonder which will definitely be cooked again.

Creamy Mustard Chicken Casserole
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Family Favourites)
Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 7
1 kgs lean chicken thight fillets, fat trimmed, cut into 3 cm peices
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cups chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Pauls reduced fat thickened cream

Place chicken, onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, tarragon in the slow cooker dish.

In a large jug combine wine, mustard and chicken stock.  Mix well. 

Pour over ingredients in slow cooker dish.  Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix ingredients to ensure the liquid in stirred through.

Cooked for 8 hours on low heat setting.

Combine cornflour with water and mix into a smooth paste.  Gradually stir cornflour mixture and cream into the chicken mixture.  Turn slow cooker setting to high and cook for a further 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)