Monthly Archives: June 2015

Spicy Sauteed Pineapple

 

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I’m a firm believer that when you’re going to do a Sri Lankan feast, like all good Asian food you need the bastions of sweet, sour, salty and spicy present. As we eat with our hands and mix rice with the curries, it’s important, not that all of these elements exist in a single dish, but that they exist on the table itself.

Pineapple curry often helps fill that little sweet spot, and a little on the sour notes too. Often made with coconut milk, this version is all about caramelised onion and pineapple. Its also simple enough and quick enough that it could make an appearance on a weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of pineapple chunks in juice
  • 3-4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. ghee/oil
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. maldive fish
  • curry leaves

Preparation 

In the medium frypan add the pineapple (with the juice), the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook over a medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple begins to caramelize.

To the frypan add the oil, and the remaining ingredients. Fry over a medium heat until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.
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Peach Friands

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I love the magic that is the stone-fruit of the Pacific North-West. As summer dawns upon us and the markets become laden with summer peaches I’m determined to use them in every way I can think of. Pudding, cakes, and even salads.

I bought a rather large quantity of almond meal from Costco some weeks ago and in an attempt to utilise both the peaches and the almond meal I settled on making friands for some friends that were dropped by for a lazy afternoon tea. On the day of, the temperatures in Bellevue was predicted to hit the 30s. After a late night, we rose at 8am to find sun streaming in and the temperature already rising. I was loathe to sit around separating eggs while the oven made the temperature inside climb even higher, so I went for a different version of these tasty treats, the whole egg version. It provides for a slightly different texture, but delicious nonetheless.

These are just as delicious with peaches, plums or berries. If you’re not feeling the fruit, a sprinkle of almonds and pistacio would work just as well.

Yield: 12 Friands (or 24 mini muffin size)

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Ingredients 

  • 195g (1 1/2 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • 155g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 180g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 1-2 peaches sliced
  • icing sugar to dust

Preparation

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 12 friand moulds or mini muffin tins with melted butter to grease. Dust with plain flour. Combine the sugar, flour and almond meal in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add egg and butter. Stir until well combined.

Divide among the prepared pans. Divide the peach slices and place on top of the friands.

Bake for 20-25 mins (for the friands) 15-20 mins (for the mini muffins) or until light golden. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool slightly before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Dust the friands with icing sugar to serve.

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Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk

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A few weeks ago, Seattle got a shipment of Copper River Salmon, it made the news. The Pacific North-West makes a huge fuss over this firm red fleshed fish. So much so that when I saw a piece of salmon, frozen in the deep freeze I contemplated getting rid of it. What was I doing not eating the freshest tastiest salmon from the markets? Especially the markets that were teasing me with loud, in your face signs telling me that they had “Copper River Salmon”. Instead I decided to make a curry with this salmon, something a little different!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • curry leaves
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 200g salmon cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 lime juiced

Preparation

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In a small saucepan, add the oil and wait until heated. To the oil  add the onion, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Saute until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.

To this fragrant mixture add the turmeric, curry powder and tomatoes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down.

At this point add the coconut milk, stir  and  bring the whole mixture to  boil.

When the curry is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the cubed salmon. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the salmon is just cooked (firm to the touch) and finish with the lime juice.

Serve immediately over lots of soft, fluffy white rice.

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Wild blueberry muffins with crumble topping

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Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at Mister C’s school. It’s an American tradition, a rather nice one I’d say, where you spend the week honouring and celebrating teachers. C’s daycare did a whole host of things, one of which was a potluck breakfast. I asked Mr Firehouse to sign me up for some baking. We both agreed on muffins.  When he came home later that day and I asked him what he’d signed me up for, he confirmed that I needed to deliver some muffins on the Wednesday following.

“What flavour?” I asked, hoping for some helpful suggestions.

“Bacon”, he replied. I laughed, certain he was being ridiculous. “The teachers and I got into a big discussion and we all decided that a bacon flavoured muffin would be amazing.”

“True,” I replied. “But how about a blueberry one with a crumble topping?” He heartily agreed and I set to work making these wild blueberry muffins.

We delivered them as agreed on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon I went to pick up Master C and as I’m walking past the staffroom I hear the director’s voice calling out to me.

” So, what happened to the bacon muffins?”

Now, I need to give you a bit of context. I never got in trouble at school. Mr Firehouse laughs at me, but I would tear up if the teacher looked at me the wrong way. Never mind the principal. The Principal at Mr C’s school (read Director) is a lovely lady, but when she called at me from the office I was seized by the same fear that had seized the 7 year old me…. ahh.

” I didn’t think you were being serious.” I stammered.

” We’re always serious about bacon,” she replied, looking stern and somewhat ominous . Thankfully, before I could feel too bad about it, and break down,  she informed me that a kindly parent had bought a tray of bacon.

So, I apologise that these contain no bacon. However, even Mr Firehouse, the great champion of bacon, declared they are pretty good. Even the teachers at Cal’s school agreed!  Originally inspired by a Bouchon recipe, I’ve simplified this recipe and made it nut free to cater to kids and schools alike.

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Ingredients

( Recipe based on a recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. unsulfured blackstrap molasses/golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract/vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

for berries:

  • 1/2- 1 cup frozen blueberries ( I used wild and recommend them if you can get them)
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

for crumble topping

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown/raw sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup butter

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To make the muffins: In a small bowl, toss the frozen blueberries and 10 g (1 tablespoon) of the flour until the blueberries are coated. Place the bowl in your freezer.

Add the remaining flour to a bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and whisk to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until it has a mayonnaise-like consistency. Mix in the sugar on medium-low speed until the butter-sugar mixture is fluffy. Add the molasses and honey, beating until well combined, and scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until just incorporated. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 2 additions each, beginning with the dry ingredients and finishing with the buttermilk.

Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is combined, then cover the bowl and refrigerate at least overnight, or up to 36 hours. I usually do it overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 F/220C. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Take the muffin batter from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it’ll soften slightly. Grab the blueberries from the freezer, and add them to the batter, folding to incorporate. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 2 tablespoons of the crumble topping.

Transfer the muffins to the oven, and immediately lower the oven temperature to 325 F/ 170C. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then remove them to the rack to cool completely.

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