Monthly Mystery Munchies #27: Lamb Rogan Josh

Keep calm and curry on! I am a staunch proponent of curry – any curry, any time – I’m totally there! When Ann suggested July’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme – Indian – I was too excited. Give me any excuse to throw it down in the kitchen and I will take it. I know a lot of people don’t like to fuss, but I was in my element in the kitchen, trying various dishes for hours at a time, and after a stressful couple of months, I was blissing out on cinnamon, cardamom, masala, cloves, you name it. What a joy this past month has been! Oh, and my house smelled amazing! I’m sure my neighbours thought I was setting up a spice factory. I would absolutely be Ginger Spice, because I had that in abundance. Aah yes, I do like abundance of a culinary nature.

So, now the question was “which dish should I choose?”. Enter the willing guinea pigs: The Husband (always game), the sister from another mister, and a dear friend who inspires me with her incredible cooking, especially her Indian cuisine. We settled on lamb rogan josh, because lamb. It’s such a treat, being an expensive meat and it’s so not difficult at all! No slaving for hours upon hours (although, by my own admission, I kinda dig that) but not for this recipe. It’s fragrant and spicy but not hot, so it’s suitable for everyone.

Ann, inspired by Pinterest (it’s addictive) made Indian Bengali-style spicy eggs. Yáll, head on over to Grubbs ‘n Critters, like soon-ish, to check it out.

Now, let’s get curried away with this lamb rogan josh. Enjoy it!

Lamb Rogan Josh

  • Difficulty: Not brain surgery
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Supplies:

1kg diced leg of lamb
1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
10 black peppercorns
5 green cardamom pods, sliced
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garam masala
4 large tomatoes, pureed
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
175g double cream yoghurt
Fresh coriander
Basmati rice

Making it Happen:

Paste: Blitz the ginger and garlic with 4 tablespoons of water in a food processor. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottom non-stick pot, heat two tablespoons of oil, fry the lamb on medium heat until it’s browned on all sides. Remove from the pot.

In the same pot, heat the rest of the oil on medium heat and fry the peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon for 1 minute. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger paste, and fry for another minute. Take a deep breath and enjoy the aromatics emanating from the pot!

Sprinkle the rest of the spices into the pot and fry for 30 seconds, then add the lamb back into the pot, stir in the tomatoes, fill with water and simmer for half an hour, or until the lamb is tender.

Stir in the yoghurt and garnish with coriander. Serve with basmati rice.
(You can also make this ahead of time, refrigerate and reheat slowly on low on your stove.) 

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Monthly Mystery Munchies #26: Herby Lime Chicken with Fresh Jasmine Rice

Flower power! (I feel like I should gesture the obligatory peace sign now.) Oh, what a month! Our May Monthly Mystery Munchies has been packed with flavour, challenges, and fun. And swearing. And lots of broken electronics plus a hurricane thrown in for good measure. Here’s how it went…

I chose the theme, edible flowers, without doing much research. Ann at Grubbs n Critters, ever-willing, ever-keen, and not one to back down from a challenge, any challenge, embraced it. See, I have a jasmine shrub in my garden which would make it easy, right? Not so much! I tried a variety of jasmine recipes, each interesting, having never cooked with fresh jasmine before, I enjoyed playing around. Cooking, after all, should be fun! I finally found one I lurved. Ready to go? Nope. My laptop crashed, along with the recipe, photos (which I had deleted from my phone upon upgrading a few days earlier), and everything was irretrievable. Everything. Frantic email to Ann, with an expletive four-letter word as the subject, explaining the story, and she kindly agreed to postpone. Not to worry, said The Husband, he’ll organise a spare work laptop. Awesomeness. Erm, yeah, it was great until that too decided to crash. Yet another frantic email, yet another postponement, and Ann, ever-so-sweet and understanding, was very relaxed about it.

The Husband managed to revive his work laptop, so, onwards and upwards. Yay for being betrothed to an IT geek! A couple of days later, a hurricane hit Cape Town, or, as it was colloquially called, the “Moerse Storm”. Fortunately we have a gas hob, so cooking in the storm, with the concern of the power dying at any moment, was not an issue for this recipe, as it’s all done in a pan on the hob.

Back to the jasmine. Ann said she struggled with this challenge too, which made me feel slightly better. Sorry, Ann! Having moved to the Netherlands a while back, and being surrounded by beautiful flowers (check out her Instagram page for beautiful photos of said scenery – https://www.instagram.com/grubbsncritters/) Ann was keen. As always. What an amazing blogging buddy I have! Speaking of uhhh-mazing, check out her mucking afazing pansy and calendula flowers custard cake. Have. You. Ever!!!

Before I kill this laptop again, here is my recipe. One-pot (pan) limey, herby chicken with jasmine rice, using actual jasmine flowers, all in one dish. Check out Ann’s take on this month’s challenge here.

Herby Lime Chicken with Fresh Jasmine Rice

  • Difficulty: Totally doable for anyone
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Supplies:

 

500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 green chilli, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice; slice the other lime
3 bulbs of garlic, bruised and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups good quality chicken stock
½ cup water
1 can drained black beans
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup rice
5 jasmine flowers
Fresh coriander/cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a large pan on medium, heat the olive oil and fry the cubed chicken, onion, chilli and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, and turning the chicken pieces once. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the lime juice, oregano, stock and jasmine flowers.

Bring to a boil, add the rice and after 30 seconds, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the drained black beans and garnish with fresh coriander and lime wedges.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eatplayclove/

Monthly Mystery Munchies #25: Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme was difficult. I felt like a thief… A really confused thief, but I had theeee best time playing around with recipes. Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my sweet dear friend and my Monthly Mystery Munchies partner-slash-best-blogging-friend, suggested we do a recipe swap. How much fun!? Too much (there is no such thing!). The idea is to take a recipe the other has made over the last 24 months, and make it our own. I am easily confused, I openly admit, and I suck at making decisions, especially when all the options are fantastic. There were two I wanted to make, but I didn’t have the heart to change the first one in any way, so I decided to make Ann’s baked chicken cutlets in orange-plum sauce. It’s settled.

Or is it? No, apparently not. I made the recipe and I was like, really? How am I supposed to change this? How can I improve it? No pressure! I decided to try orange-pomegranate instead of orange-plum, and I was pretty happy with the results. I swapped Worcestershire sauce with balsamic vinegar, and baked the chicken breasts in the fruit and honey while frying the veggies. I was definitely apprehensive about this dish, because I genuinely didn’t want to change anything, but this is exactly why we do it – to challenge ourselves, and each other, and sometimes my husband, who has to put up with my to-ing and fro-ing and “but do you think it will taste as good?”, or “I’m definitely sticking with this recipe” until 5 minutes later “maybe I should try another one instead?”, the next day “what if I try granadillas instead?”. Bless. He deserves a medal, but since he got several of Ann’s delicious meals over the course of three weeks, I think he’ll be fine.

Ann has undoubtedly produced something amazing. She always does, every month, without fail. Please check it out here. Ann, thank you so much for your wonderful suggestion this month. Although this was the hardest one to date, I enjoyed it immensely!

Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

  • Difficulty: Dude, it's easy
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Supplies:

For the chicken marinade:

4 boneless, skinned chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
80g pomegranate seeds
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the veggies and rice:

1 onion, chopped
1 green, yellow, and red pepper, sliced
150g baby tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish
Brown and wild rice to serve

Making It Happen:

First check how long your rice will take to cook. Time it so that it’s cooked as soon as the chicken comes out of the oven (30 minutes).

Mix the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate seeds, orange juice, zest, honey and turmeric. Marinade the chicken for an hour or longer. Remove from the fridge half an hour before cooking, and let it come to room temperature. Cook in a preheated oven on 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes. At this stage, cook your rice.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the baby tomatoes, puree and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the fried veggies, and serve with the baked chicken. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Veggies

It’s our second anniversary! Yay, we’re toddlers! It’s been two years since Ann, the hardworking, dedicated, passionate chefsordinaire at Grubbs n Critters, and I, started our Monthly Mystery Munchies, and it’s been an awesome experience. It’s been challenging, exciting, interesting, but, most of all, it’s been a hugely rewarding and positive experience. Ann, thank you for your commitment, enthusiasm, patience and friendship! Here’s to another two years!

This month, the theme was simple: green, yellow and red. That was it. I loved the simplicity of it, but also the wide range. I mean, anything goes, as long as it’s those colours. That’s the fun thing – we could make a meat dish, veggie dish, side dish, main dish, dessert, baked dish, anything! Absolutely anything! And how fun when I made a cold couscous salad, and Ann made a swiss roll! It’s all open to interpretation, which makes it curious and fun!

I chose couscous salad with baby tomatoes, red onions, a trio of peppers, olives and chickpeas. I serve this salad as a main course, and when I say it’s ridiculously easy, I’m not joking. There’s no cooking involved, except for preparing the couscous. That’s it. The whole thing literally takes five minutes – wash and slice the veggies while the couscous is standing in hot water. Mix together. Top with chickpeas. Done.

Ann made a giraffe-inspired Swiss roll and it looks delicious AF. I basically produced a five-minute dish, and she totally pushed the boat out! She added peaches as her ‘yellow’, but the kids weren’t feeling the vibe. I personally think it’s a great addition! Aaand she used red velvet colouring as the base, and stuffed it with so much yesssness (that’s a word, I promise! (I’m looking at you, mascarpone cheese!) The result? Well, check it out for yourself. (It does not disappoint!)

So, if you’re into raw, fresh ingredients, and you don’t have much time to prepare dinner, this is your guy. You can serve this as a side dish, which works well too. No fuss, no missioning, just easy, quick food. YES! However, if you’re looking for a Swiss roll stuffed with all things cream, Ann’s recipe is the way to go.

Couscous salad with fresh veggies

  • Difficulty: My 5 year old niece could ace this
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Supplies:

2 cups cooked couscous (soaked in water and chicken stock)
500g halved baby tomatoes
1 sliced red, yellow and green pepper
1 sliced red onion
Kalamata olives
30g crumbled feta
1 drained tin chickpeas

Making it Happen:

Cook the couscous per package instructions but add chicken stock to the water.
While the chicken stock is soaking, slice the veggies.
Add the chicken stock to a large dish, then add veggies and the drained chickpeas.
Crumble with feta and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #23: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Yes, the title is a mouthful, but so are these cupcakes! This month’s theme made me so incredibly happy! I mean, I freaking love baking, and I love frosting, and filling of any variety, so let’s play! Ann’s instructions were: something with frosting and/or filling and you can use frosting as filling and vice versa. I mean!! Listen to this: Chocolate cupcakes hollowed out and filled with cream cheese frosting, then topped with chocolate ganache. Hashtag inheaven! When you first bite into the cupcake, there’s a distinct chocolatey taste, swiftly followed by a burst of creamy vanilla, then finished with a creamy ganache. Lots of creaminess, so much of!

Please click your way over to Grubbs n Critters and check out Ann’s delicious offering for this month’s challenge – choux (cream puffs) with Mascarpone cheese filling. The tummy wants what it wants! I have no doubt you will luh it!

Here we go…

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcake Supplies:

1 cup (100g) flour
¾ cup (75g) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup (80g) white sugar
½ cup (80g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling Supplies:

100g butter, room temperature
150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)

Chocolate Ganache Supplies:

80g dark baking chocolate
80ml cream

Making It Happen:

Cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F). Whisk the butter and sugar on high until well mixed.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk on low for 10 seconds. The batter will be crumbly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom well.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla essence, beat on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom and give it one last beat, about 5 seconds.

Fill the muffin cups half full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes our clear. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for half an hour.

While the cupcakes are chilling, make the filling, and then the ganache.

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling: In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese on high for a minute. about 5 seconds. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla paste and give it one last stir.

Remove the chilled cupcakes from the fridge and hollow out the centre using a serrated knife, slicing the top off and keeping aside. Using a piping bag, fill the centre of each cupcake with frosting. Place the top back on, kinda like a lid. Refrigerate again.

Chocolate ganache: Heat the cream and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and allow to cool. Once chilled, scoop one tablespoon onto the cupcakes.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #21: Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

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Delicioso! This month’s theme was chosen by Ann, and wow, it was a goodie! Breakfast, they say, is the most imprtant meal of the day. (Side note: Who exactly are the mysterious”they”? “They” say a lot, but I tend to agree with “them” on this one!) I entered into this challenge with curiosity and muchos excitement. We’ve never done a breakfast challenge for our Monthly Mystery Munchies, so this was an excellent, and challenging, idea.

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See, I frikken love all things spice. And eggs. Gotta love eggs. The result, you ask? Huevos rancheros – a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of a tomato-y veggie salsa, topped with eggs, and rolled in a tortilla. This dish is flexible though, so I served it on seedloaf. We also had it for dinner last night, and it was bomb! Yummers! I desperately wanted to make guacomole, but ffs, all the avos were hard. Blah. Anyway, we soldiered forth (we = The Husband and I. He loves giving input, because he is the guinea pig, a role he happily, uh, relishes. See what I did there?). Oh, and “ffs” stands for “for food’s sake” – get your mind out of the gutter!

As much as choosing one recipe was a challenge, this one is not only a fiery start to the day, but it’s easy to boot. Fry up some sweet peppers, chillies, garlic, and tomatoes. Add egg. Top with coriander. I mean! See, easy, yes? Yes! I played around with this recipe and the final result is, in my opinion, muy bueno! I’m pumped about Ann’s recipe – “Hearty Breakfast Quiche“! QUICHE, people! #BeStillMyBeatingHeart #QuicheForBreakfastIsTheNewBlack! Ch-ch-check it out at Grubbs n Critters, and feast your eyes (and tummies) on her latest offering and so much more.

Happy New Year folks, and may it be a year filled with gastronomical delights!

Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

  • Difficulty: Easy (or over-easy)
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Supplies:

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
Mixed sweet peppers, I used yellow and red, sliced
1 green chilli, sliced (I leave the seeds in for an extra bite, but you can remove them)
1 teaspoon dried cumin
2 bay leaves
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Tortillas/toast/whatever you want to serve it with
Fresh coriander to garnish

Making It Happen:

Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion and fry until softened and lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the cumin and chillies and fry for 30 seconds.
Add the peppers, tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry your eggs to your liking (I perfer them with runny yolk but solid whites). Scoop the salsa onto your tortilla/bread/whatevs, place your egg on top, garnish with coriander and remember to remove the bay leaves.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #20: Marinated Ostrich Fillets

ostrich-fillet-3-2Caaaaan you even believe it – Ann and I are four recipes away from our two year anniversary! I am as excited and enthusiastic about our monthly blog challenge as if it were recipe number one! Oh yeah! So you may have noticed that it’s the end of the year (where tf has time even gone?). It’s a time where everybody feels exhausted, over it, and soooo ready for a break. This month for our Monthly Mystery Munchies, my criteria was simple: marinade meat, either on the barbeque, or grilled in or on the oven/hob. You see, it’s braai (BBQ) season in South Africa. Actually, we braai in the rain too; we’re that committed. However, the sun is out, summer is here, and the fridge is stocked with beer (his) and white wine (mine) in anticipation of this quintessential South African pastime.

When I was tossing ideas around, The Husband happily agreed to oblige me because beer. He loves nothing more than standing around open flames, talking about whatever, having a beer (six pack) and enjoying the weather. Marinades are easy, delicious, and fun to play around with. The reason I chose ostrich fillet is because it’s something different. Although grossly expensive, it’s such a treat. It tastes like beef but it’s the healthier red meat alternative. It’s not fatty, on the outside or inside, and it’s just yuuuum.

Ann and I were on a roll. We have our Monthly Mystery Munchies specs planned until March. So much excitement. Ann always comes up with the best challenges, like her satay medley for this month. That’s right, not one, but two types of meat – chicken and beef. It’s winter in her neck of the hemisphere, so barbeques are no bueno, but she never shies away from an idea. Never ever. I adore her. Always game and enthusiastic! Ya know what? Head over to her site anyway… She has sheet loads of awesome recipes, jokes, anecdotes, you name it.

Here we go with marinaded ostrich fillets. Easy and delicious, the way it should be!

Marinated Ostrich Fillets

  • Difficulty: I mean, monkey easy
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Supplies:

500 grams ostrich fillets
125ml red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Making It Happen:

Mix all ingredients. Pour over ostrich fillets, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Fire up your barbeque or griddle pan and remove the meat from the fridge 10 minutes before cooking it.

Cook for 2 minutes per side, and serve immediately. See? Monkey easy.