Karaage Style Tofu

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you make something you haven’t made in ages then you wonder how you forgot how nice it is and you end up eating  lots of it over the next week or two? Well that’s happened to me this week with a dish we just call Broth. It a versatile dish and normally involves some form of noodle (this week it’s been Ramen) cooked and served in a flavoured broth with chicken (also usually cooked in the broth) or tofu (crispified) and veg. We’ve probably eaten it 3 or 4 times in the last week and it’s on the menu again a few times this week too.

In other news my mother gave me a Herman the German Friendship Cake. I have been stirring it and feeding it and I’m looking forward to actually baking it (and passing it on to others) later this week. I’ll try and remember to put up a photo of the finished cake next week.

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Also his week in the life of Lil I finally finished reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. I decided recently it was time to re-read the series and I got through the first book in a couple of days as expected but the second book took me weeks to finish. The third book is already going much better so I think it was just that book.

My top tip for this week would have to be don’t keep plastic chopping boards at the back of your stove or you may just find it melted. I went to move my big plastic chopping board today that I keep at the back of my stove over the oven vent and found the edge all melted. I was quite impressed as it’s a reasonably thick board but I think I’ll only keep the wooden ones there from now on.

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This weeks recipe is one we use to serve with our broth or sometimes we are a bit naughty and eat it all by itself as a meal. It’s a great way to cook your tofu if you like it crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and marinated too. You can freeze portions of it and heat it back up in the oven later for a quick snack or to add to your meal another day. I call it “Karaage Style” as while it uses the same technique as Karaage I like to play around with the marinade so its not necessarily the same flavour.

Karaage Style Tofu

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Ingredients:

250g Tofu

1 tsp minced ginger

2tsp minced garlic

2tsp soy sauce

3tbs plain flour

3tbs corn starch or arrowroot (tapioca starch)

Oil for frying

How To:

Press tofu for 8-10 mins to absorb excess water.

You can do this by placing paper towel on a plate then the tofu on the paper towel. Put another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu and then a chopping board on top. Weigh down the chopping board with whatever tined items you have in the cupboard.

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Chop the tofu into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Create the marinade by mixing together the ginger, garlic and soy sauce and pour it over the tofu. Give the tofu a gentle stir to make sure it is all covered in marinade. Let marinate for at least 15 mins. In a separate bowl mix together the flour and starch and set aside.

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To fry the tofu place 1-2 cm of oil in the bottom of a small pot. Heat oil to 160-170C. (use a candy or deep fry thermometer). Just before you start frying gently stir the flour mixture through the tofu to coat each piece.

Fry 5-6 pieces at a time until light brown then place on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Once all pieces are done heat oil to 170-180C. Fry pieces a second time until golden brown. You can fry 8-10 pieces at a time this time as they don’t take as long so won’t reduce the oil temperature as much. Place on paper towel again to drain excess oil.

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You can serve you tofu with rice and steamed veg or in a bowl of udon or ramen or just serve it with your favourite dipping sauce for a snack.

TIP: Feel free to play around with the marinade. Other ingredients I like to use include: lemon grass, coriander root, chili paste or sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and Cajun spice. It’s really up to you how you flavour it.

Simple Chicken Stew

This week has been a long one for me. particularly in an awake time sense. Lots of early mornings and late nights. This led to a lot of napping on Saturday after a particularly early start of 2am to go wake up a big hill and Knight one of our rover squires at dawn. I also did a bit of entertaining so at one point it felt like every dish in my house was sitting in the wash up pile. So my Sunday morning was spent cleaning all the dishes. On Friday night we found a cute visitor in the scout den. The possum happily sat in the craft cupboard the whole night despite all the noise of the kids running around outside. I’m looking forward to this week as I get to find out if I can return to driving with would be helpful for getting around. Today I’m having friends over for lunch which is nice. as I said on my Facebook the other day, I just can help it, I really really really like feeding people.

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Todays recipe for you is a simple chicken stew. this is an easy recipe to throw together then walk away and let it do its thing. It’s also great as its very flexible. you can put whatever veg you want or have in it really.

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew main

Ingredients:

500g chicken thighs

2 carrots

2 zucchinis

1 medium onion

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp gravy powder

1 glass wine

1-2 cups water

How To:

Chop veggies and put them in a large pot. Put pot on a medium heat and let veggies cook as you chop your chicken. Chop chicken and add to the pot. Add in feel seeds and gravy powder (or stock powder)and stir together.

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Add a glass of wine and enough water to come to the top of the veggies.

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Then cover and leave on a low heat for 1-2 hours. feel free to pour yourself a glass of wine and go relax but try not to then tip it all over yourself before you even manage to have any like I did. Serve with your favourite carbs (cous cous, rice, pasta potato, bread)

Bánh mì – Vietnamese Rolls

After a weekend of trying to keep my foot up after I hurt it when I managed to fall over on Friday night, I’ve done a fair bit of walking today. This is because I flew to Sydney. I’ve been looking forward to heading down here to visit all my family and a couple of friends. Normally I catch up with them when I come down for Sydney Supanova but as that trip was cancelled this year due to my health I made the effort to come down to see everyone.

I love coming to Sydney and my Grandparents houses are as much home to me as my own house.

This week I’d like to share with you my recipe for a super easy meal – Bánh mì or Vietnamese rolls.

We keep most of the stuff for this pre chopped in ziplock bags in the fridge as we use them quite often but it doesn’t take to long to chop the stuff up if needed.

Bánh Mì

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Ingredients:

Vietnamese Rolls (4-6 depending on size)

Pork (300g)

Carrot (1/2)

Chinese Cabbage (1/2)

Cucumber (1/3)

Coriander (a handful)

Aioli (2 tsp per roll)

Soy sauce (aprox 1 tsp per roll)

Cilli paste (to taste)

How To:

To start with I cut my pork into strips (or you could buy stir fry strips) and marinade it in a honey soy marinade for 30mins or more. I am lazy and just use a shop bought marinade but you can use your own.

While the meat is marinading I prep my veggies and put them in ziplock bags for easy storage. I Slice the Cabbage into strips. I finely slice the carrot (I use my Slicer to make life easier). I cut the cucumber into long wedges (usually 1/6s or 1/8s).

When the meat is ready  stir fry until cooked. when this is done you should be ready to start constructing your roll/s.

Cut your roll in half lengthways and scoop out some of the bread on one side to create a bit of extra room.

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spread your aioli and chill paste (if desired) on the flat side and sprinkle soy sauce on the dug out side.

Layer in your cucumber, cabbage, carrot and pork then top with coriander. Enjoy!

I’m Back – Chicken and Beans

And I’m back.

As some of you may know I have spent the last two months in hospital.

I was unfortunate enough to get something called Guillain-Barrè syndrome.

I ended up on life support in the ICU as they thought my airways might collapse. Fortunately I was only in the ICU for two and a half weeks but from there its been a big journey. My nerves and muscles were affected in a big way. I had to relearn how to walk and build the strength. Every person who has it has a different recovery time and i’ve been very lucky to recover to the level I have so quickly but there are still many more months of rehab and recovery to get back to where I was. I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by my amazing family & friends throughout this whole situation.

So now I am back home and back in my kitchen and it would seem my ability to cook has not left me though I have been sticking to easy things.

Todays recipe is the first thing I made when I was well enough to get back in the kitchen (other than tea and toast). When asked what I wanted to try cooking in the rehab kitchen this was my go to recipe as it is super easy but also one of my favourites to eat. It came about one day as a “what can I throw together from whats in the fridge” dish and has since become one of our favorite meals in the house.

Moroccan chicken and beans.

makes enough for 4 serves (though B and I usually manage to eat it all)

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500g Chicken Thighs

300-400g Green Beans

3 Tbs Moroccan Seasoning

Couscous or Rice to serve

Slice the chicken into strips and put in a bowl. Mix through 2tbs of the moroccan seasoning and allow to sit while you prep the beans.

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Remove ends from beans then cut into 2-3cm pieces. Put in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 4 mins.

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Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan (spray oil works well). Fry the chicken until sealed then add in the beans and last tbs of moroccan seasoning. Stir fry for another 2-3 mins then lower the heat and allow to cook for a further 2-3 mins stirring occasionally.

Serve with rice or couscous (we like purl couscous). I like to put a handful of dried cranberries or sultanas in the couscous if I have some.

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Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

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I spent most of my weekend between sickness and Scouting. After going home sick on Friday afternoon I managed to sleep a few hours to restore some of my health before it was time to start off on our ANZAC Day traditions. Our rover crew goes to Pancake Manor every year before attending and helping at dawn service in the city. We then go to our local march then go home and sleep all afternoon.  On Sunday I ran an info session for some rovers and then came down with a slight fever and so spent most of the rest of the afternoon on the couch with many blankets. TIP: if you are not well (eg. you have a fever) don’t expect your cooking to turn out as good as usual.  I decided I would make chicken and sweetcorn soup (a favorite of ours) to make me feel better but it didn’t turn out quite right because I forgot some ingredients and I took some shortcuts I shouldn’t have.

Today I am going to share my recipe. The correct one not the slightly dodgy version I made yesterday.

1 large onion

2 tsp crushed ginger

2 tsp crushed garlic

2-3 rashers of bacon (chopped into small pieces)

1 spring onion

500g chicken thighs (chopped into small pieces)

2 tins creamed corn

2 tbs soy sauce (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

 

 

In the bottom of a large saucepan brown the onions, ginger, garlic and bacon.

Add in spring onions and chicken.

when the chicken has started to cook on the outside add the 2 tins of creamed corn then add 2 tins worth of water.

allow soup to simmer for 30-60 mins (make sure chicken is cooked through).

add salt and pepper and soy sauce to taste.

I like mine served with a crusty bread roll or sometimes with an egg mixed through while its still hot.

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Note: you can make your soup in a crock pot but you definitely need to brown your onions, garlic, ginger and bacon first (something I learnt yesterday when trying to be lazy about it).

Dried Fruit & Almond Fritters

Finally we have internet!

It took 3 week but we survived. just.

So what did I do on our first weekend with internet?

I went on a bushwalking course. Yer, out in the bush, without internet.

And to top it off it rained most of the weekend.

Despite the rain I was a really great and informative weekend.

I brushed up on my navigation and light weight camping skills and met some cool people who’ve done (and do) some amazing stuff.

Todays recipe is Dried fruit and nut fritters.

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1 1/2 Cups Self Raising flour

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Powdered Milk

40g Sultanas*

30g Almonds & Dried Cranberries*

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground Cardamon

1 Egg

1 cup Water

* I use the small pre-packed snack boxes of sultanas and almonds & cranberries for convenience.

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Put all dry ingredients in a bowl then add wet ingredients.

Mix together with a whisk until smooth.

Place a frypan over a medium heat and spray with oil.

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Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into the fry pan and allow to cook for 2-3 mins. bubbles should be appearing and popping on the top and the bottom should be easy ti lift with a spatular.

Flip over and cook other side for 1-2 mind or until browned.

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Repeat spraying the pan between each one, until you’ve used the mixture or you have enough fritters.

Excess mix can fe kept in the fridge for 1 day.

Serve with butter and/or honey.

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Ratastewie

Sorry for the lateness of todays post, as you may (or may not) have notice we moved! As I learn to work my way around WordPress the look around here will probably change to. I’ve also been busy photographing and testing some new recipes so that i’m ready for the next few weeks as I am actually moving too.

This is usually our go to meal when we need to top up our veggie intake.
It started as an easy ratatouille recipe and somewhere along the line merged with my stew recipe. Its fantastic served with couscous or even just toast be we like to have it with polenta and sausages. This recipe serves 8-10 as I like to have left overs for lunches or easy dinner during the week. It can be done over the stove or in the crockpot.

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1 Eggplant

2 Capsicums

2 Zucchinis

4-5 Tomatos

1 tin Diced Tomatos

1 cup White wine

2 tbs Vegetable Stock Powder

2 tbs herbs or spices of your choice (I sometimes use an Italian herb mix or when I want to spice it up I use Cajun Spice mix)

Dice the vegetables and place in a large pot.

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Add the tin tomatoes, wine, stock powder & herbs or spices then mix through.

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Place on a medium heat for a minimum of 30 mins.

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You can now serve up your Ratastewie or turn down the heat and leave until its to your liking/you’re ready.

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I like to serve my Ratastewie with Polenta and sausages. Its also good with fruit & nut loaded couscous or just with crusty bread.