Saturday, 20 October 2007

No photo week :-(

except for this one, that is

I started off this week cooking Szechuan Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce (the only recipe with a photo, see above). It was quite interesting, because I've never had a non-tomato based meat dish over spaghetti before. It's gotten heaps of good reviews, but I found it to be too heavy a dish. I felt ill after eating it, not because it tasted bad, but because it was a really heavy, almost gluggy sauce. I don't know about this one. It tasted really good, but I don't think that's enough to make me want to try it again.

It was easy enough to make. Brown some beef mince in a frypan, then remove and drain. Saute some onions, garlic, fresh ginger and some dry chilli flakes in some sesame oil until tender. Add some cornflour mixed with beef stock, some hoisin sauce and soy sauce to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the mince, then serve over pasta.

I do wonder if my problems came from the hoisin sauce I was using. I bought this jar of hoisin from an Asian supermarket in Chinatown and it is really thick. I don't use hoisin often, but I suspect that the normal supermarket bought stuff is actually more liquid. Or I could be confusing it with something else, so I don't know.

Monday night was a completely different story. Dinner was so good that clouds parted and bells rang out and the kitchen was flooded in brilliant beams of sunlight. Well, not really, but dinner was good.

Next up was Easy Low Fat Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki. First, you marinate some chicken breasts (I used stir-fry chicken strips) in 1 cup buttermilk, 2 tbs honey, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil and 4 crushed garlic cloves overnight. Apparently the original recipe had lemon added too, and I was going to try it with lemon but I forgot. I also forgot to marinate it overnight, so mine only had an hour. It did not effect the flavour.

After the chicken has marinated, simply grill it over a low heat or broil in the oven. I should have broiled it in the oven, but I didn't think about that until later, so I cooked it in a frypan on the stove, draining off the juices every so often.

The tzatziki was just as easy and so delicious. The recipe calls for 4 cups of Greek yoghurt, I halved the recipe and used two and it made heaps. I couldn't use it all, which was really disappointing. I tried hard, even going so far as drizzling it over some salads.

This tzatziki has the requisite cucumber, greek yoghurt and garlic, but also uses red wine vinegar and some dried mint. It was the best tzatziki I've ever tasted.

We had the souvlaki and tzatziki in wraps with lettuce, and I sprinkled some lemon juice over the chicken.

Tuesday was Macaroni and Cheese. It was a quick version, using a roux as a base and then just using the cheese roux as a sauce for the pasta. I hated it. I couldn't eat it. It was awful. I don't know what it was, because it is very similar to the Creamy Garlic Penne and I liked that. I didn't use nasty cheese, it was just a normal cheddar and I ate some of it before adding it to the sauce. DD, on the other hand, claimed to have enjoyed it.

On Wednesday we were back on the pasta bandwagon with Pasta Amatriciana. It's another fairly simple dish, simply saute some onion, garlic and chopped bacon in a pan, add some white wine and boil for a bit, and then add some pureed tomatoes and water. Throw in some chilli flakes, and then simmer for half an hour.

It was really nice. I used really cheap bacon bits from the supermarket (*blushes*) and they smelled pretty nasty when I cooked them, so I must admit I was surprised it turned out as good as it did. I took it to work the next day for lunch, and it tasted even better. I will definately cook this again, but with better quality bacon.

Only four new recipes this week. We repeated Chinese Brown Sauce Chicken with great success on another night, and had an absolutely horrendous experience with takeaway on another night (I'll put up a separate post about that one). I've gotten some new magazines today, so I'm going to go look for some non-Recipezaar ideas. I've also given in to temptation and ordered Nigella Express from, and I have Jill Dupleix's Lighten Up and Linda Collister's Quick Breads on order too, so hopefully lots of cooking to come!

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