Monthly Archives: April 2012

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

If you find yourself in the rut of the college student that includes at least one daily meal of pasta, you’re not alone.

Pasta is easy, quick and cheap. But sometimes it’s nice to add a little greenery to the scenery.

And so, we decided to make the tried and true Chicken Caesar salad.

Luckily there was also a grill on hand to give the dish a bit more flavour but you can cook your chicken in a pan too, we won’t judge you.

This meal may just be the slight segway you need to ease into a few more veggie filled lunches, for a day or two at least. We know exactly how it goes.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
1 large head of Cos lettuce
1/2 cup croutons
4 or 5 anchovies
Caesar salad dressing, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle

Coat the raw chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Heat up your grill and throw the chicken on until it’s cooked through. Wash and chop the lettuce and put it in a large salad bowl. Cut the anchovies into small pieces and add them to the salad with the croutons.  Pour over the Caesar salad dressing and toss. Once the chicken is done, slice it into smaller pieces. Plate the salad into two bowls, lay the grilled chicken on top and sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan.

Enjoy,

A

 

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Anzac Biscuits

Happy Anzac Day!

In the tradition of the holiday, we decided to make the most traditional dish we could think of. And happily for us we discovered it is the ultimate cheap-o student dessert.

Wives of the soldiers used to send the biscuits over since they don’t spoil easily and they transport well.

So if you make enough biscuits you can keep them for ages. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, dessert…you can eat them whenever. There aren’t any eggs in them either so you can just keep them in some tupperware and they’ll keep for a while.

We used a Donna Hay recipe which turned out really sweet and chewy. We ended up with almost sixty, enough for Anzac day dessert for us and our friends, plus more to take along for the next few days.

Time for Anzac day teatime, ie a cold beer and a biscuit.

Anzac Biscuits:
Makes 28

Ingredients:
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1/3 cups (150g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup
125g butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 160°C (320ºF). Mix the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Place the golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat and melt. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter mixture. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Place tablespoons of the mixture, leaving space between each one for spreading, onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and flatten to about 7cm in diameter. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a deep brown. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!

A & K

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Tio’s Cerveceria

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How often do you go into a popular bar in Sydney and approach the bar only to be asked by the bartender how your night’s going?

And for them to genuinely care.

100 points for Tio’s.

And then for them to ask how they can make your night even better?

An extra 50 points.

I asked for a bag of their FREE chipotle and sweet-paprika flavoured popcorn.

Plus 5645186486 points.

Safe to say that’s a win for Tio’s.

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It’s quite a different bar than the Baxter Inn or Shady Pines, it’s a bit more laid back and definitely a bit cheaper than the other two. We went in on a weeknight which was an excellent choice since there were free tables and space at the bar so that we didn’t get pushed around or even have to wait for drinks.

There’s not much that’s right next to Tio’s but it’s close to Oxford Street which makes it a good place to start or end your night out (if it happens to be a quiet one since it’s only open till midnight). The bartenders are very hipster chic and the decor is pretty chill as well. With a theme like Guatemalan Owl bar, how could it not be?

And to top everything off, they’ve got a list of ten cocktails for ten dollars. Students all over Sydney can rejoice. Throw on your sombrero and come party with the owls, tequila in one hand and a bag of free popcorn in the other.

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One of Tio’s delicious $10 cocktails

4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010

Mon-Sat 4pm-12pm

Sunday noon-10pm

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-A

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Vodka Pasta

This is our first two-way post! So you can feel free to take the fancy or the frugal option, for whatever fits your mood. We made the vodka pasta for Kahina’s birthday since it’s creamy and unbelievably rich and awesome. But it does require quite a few ingredients, plus vodka. Which down under is a little pricey. So if you don’t have the time or the funds you can make a simple creamy tomato pasta. It’s all up to you…

Vodka Pasta

Adapted from Cook Like A Champion
Who heavily adapted it from Williams-Sonoma

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves,
minced medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, plus additional for serving
1 pound penne pasta
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving

Directions: Cook pasta in well salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain pasta and set aside.

Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in frying pan, remove the casings from the sausages, break into small pieces and cook until browned on the outside and cooked through. Drain on a plate covered in paper towels and reserve for later.

While the pasta and sausages are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato paste and vodka. Cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, at least 5 minutes. Stir in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in basil and cheese.

Add pasta and sausage to skillet and toss to coat, adding pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve topped with additional basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And for the frugal option…
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 cup  of pasta
1 tablespoon of cream cheese
1/2 cup of pasta tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup of frozen prawns, defrosted
sprinkle of parmesan
olive oil

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. While you’re cooking the pasta heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Put the defrosted prawns in and when they’ve cooked add the tomato sauce, cream cheese and tomato paste and stir until everything melts and becomes a nice creamy sauce.

Pour the sauce with the prawns over the pasta, mix in and sprinkle with parmesan.

 

Enjoy,

A

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Red Velvet

When I think of velvet I think of fancy fat kings sitting on thrones in giant castles in England. They’re usually wearing capes or manly dresses (as manly as fancy men in the 18th century were). These garments are made of velvet, and the velvet is usually purple. Or dark green.

I don’t know why velvet conjures up that specific image in my head. It’s just what happens.

But I don’t think red.

And usually I don’t think baked goods.

So that chef in that fancy hotel that came up with red velvet cake was apparently on a whole other wavelength.

But luckily for him, he was a genius.

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is both of our go-to when we’re in the mood for these devilish, discolored delights. That is, in cupcake form.

But when one little cupcake just isn’t enough, and you need a whopper of red velvety joy you can use this recipe. It’s super moist and super tasty.

Enjoy!

-A

Red Velvet Cake
From Let Them Eat Cake and Ice Cream

Who adapted it from Bakerella

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
60 ml red liquid food colouring
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa

For the frosting:

500g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced. Spray two cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently whisk together eggs, buttermilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla and food colouring until combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cocoa until combined. Add wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for one minute. Pour batter into prepared pans, and thump on the counter a couple of times to release air pockets.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:

Sift sugar and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.

Add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.

Frost away.

By the way, Happy birthday Kahina!

And for the cupcakes:

Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

60g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda)
1 ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile for the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on top.

 

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Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

What’s one thing all uni students should have in their fridge?

The incredible, edible egg!

Cheap, easy, tasty…fun? I shouldn’t have to egg you on to start making some egg-tastic recipes. I’m sure there are just about as many awful egg puns as there are different ways to cook them.

Anyways, after having eggs on toast every day for at least a week I decided it might be time to give my eggs a makeover. So I added a multitude of great ingredients.

Warm, flaky pastry. Crisp, salty bacon. Soft, fresh mushrooms. Strong, rich feta cheese. And spinach to round it all out.

And thus, I got a quiche.

If you’re lazy (or time-efficient if you ask me) you can use frozen pastry for the crust and it’ll save you a bunch of time and effort. And other than that you’re sauté-ing for a bit, doing a quick whisk, pushing a few buttons on your microwave and voila! You just have to stick it in the oven and wait for a beautiful pie bursting with some pretty fancy looking eggs.

If you’re cooking for one, you’ll have about five or six servings (aka lunch/dinner for almost three days). Or two days if you can’t help yourself come breakfast.

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Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

Ingredients:

1 ½ sheets of frozen puff pastry
4 eggs
½ cup of cream
1 cup of milk
1 bag of spinach
¾ cup of mushrooms, chopped
4 pieces of bacon, diced
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
¼ cup parmesan

Directions:

Let your pastry sheets thaw enough that you can move them. Grease a pie tin with a bit of butter and then lay the pastry sheet in the pan, using the ½ sheet to make the sides even.  Chop the onions and garlic and sauté them in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft.

Put the spinach in a microwaveable container and put it in the microwave for 1 minute, or until wilted. Squeeze out the excess water.

Beat the eggs, milk and cream until light and fluffy, add salt and pepper.

Place the spinach into the prepared crust. Top with the bacon, onion, mushroom mixture and then pour the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the egg mixture and finish with the parmesan on top.

I baked this according to the instructions on the frozen pastry box, so at 200C fan-forced, for 35-45 minutes.

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Enjoy,

A

 

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Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger, and Lime

Ah, tuna steaks.

The steak for those lacking a barbecue. Or those lacking the knowledge to actually use a barbecue.

Either way, they’re basically the low-cal, low-cost distant cousin of your basic porterhouse. Pretty distant, like twice-removed, third generation half-cousin, but the similarities exist.

I got these hefty little chunks of tuna goodness for four bucks each, and the rest of the ingredients were pretty low-cost as well. To make the meal a bit more interesting I decided to add some Soba noodles on the side. As a sidenote, if you’re searching for soba noodles in an Asian grocery store, they’re actually called buckwheat noodles, this will probably save you the ten or fifteen minutes of frustrated foraging that I had to endure.

This recipe does take about an hour but it’s fresh and delicious and I’ll bet most of you college students out there haven’t been adventurous enough to throw a hunk of fish into your weeknight dinner, so now that you’ve got the recipe, what are you waiting for?

Pan-seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime
From the Food Network ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/pan-seared-tuna-with-avocado-soy-ginger-and-lime-recipe/index.html)

Serves 2

Ingredients:
3 big handfuls of fresh corriander leaves, finely chopped
1 red jalapeno, sliced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic clove, grated
1 1/2 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons soy sauce
A pinch of sugar
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 (6-ounce) blocks of sushi-quality tuna
1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted and sliced

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper.  Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 the corriander mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining corriander sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

Soba Noodles with Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce
From http://www.simplyreem.com

Ingredients:
1 9 oz packet of soba noodles
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted

For the sauce:
1 1/2 cup spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 cup corriander, chopped
2-3 tablespoons Sesame oil/any neutral oil
2 teaspoons chilli oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, check for the seasoning. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavours develop.

Boil the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.

Add the sauce, sesame seeds and toss the noodles well, check the seasoning one last time, give it a final toss and enjoy.

Enjoy,

A

 

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