Thursday, 25 December 2008

One More......

... bud to open.

My mum said she could never get these orchids to flower, and I have to admit that it did take 2 years for this one to flower, but like all good things, it was worth the wait.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Paper Chef - December Issue

Its my favourite time of the month - Paper Chef time!
Last months winners, MizD & Chopper Dave from
Belly Timber had the privilege of selecting 3 random ingredients from the nominated list & one of their own choosing. So what combination did we get to cook with?
Blood Orange
& their selection of Crustacean (lobster, crab, prawn etc).
There was a bit of leeway with the type of crustacean. I decided to go with prawns, though the Morton Bay Bugs I saw at the market last week had me tempted. As I usually do I went through a process of ideas that were quickly rejected (blood orange & prawn risotto?) and settled on an Asian influence with sweet & spicy flavours: Blood Orange & Brandy marinated Prawns with Coconut Rice.
After fighting the crowds to get to Prahran Markets I found my favourite fishmonger had some unusual prawns available, Schooling Prawns to be precise. these were quite small, about the size of your finger or smaller. Never having cooked with them before, & it being a Paper Chef challenge, I thought why not? Being so small I asked if they were easy to peel? & the response I got was - they can be eaten as is, like whitebait.
Next time I'm peeling them. While they were eatable with the shells, the texture wasn't that pleasant. Live & learn I guess.

Blood Orange & Brandy marinated Prawns with Coconut Rice.

For the marinade:
30ml Brandy
juice & zest from 1 blood orange (about 1/3 cup)
1 tbsp Balsamic or sherry vinegar
1 ½ tsp capers
1 tbsp slivered almonds, roasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped parsley
½ tsp dried chili or 1tsp finely chopped, de-seeded fresh red chili (add more or less to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well blended.
Let stand at least 1 hour.

Coconut rice:
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
½ cups water
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup jasmine or long-grain rice

Rice cooker:
Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear to remove any starch.
Place all the ingredients into a rice cooker & cook.
When ready fluff with a fork.
Stove top (you will need to double the amount of liquid):
Place water and coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the rice, return to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir well.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes.
Drain and fluff with a fork.

Blood Orange & Brandy marinated Prawns:
200g uncooked whole prawns
Marinade made earlier
1 blood orange, segmented & cut into pieces & allowed to drain

Shell the prawns & place in a bowl
Add the prepared marinade & marinade for 30-60 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a pan & add the prawns & marinade
Fry the prawns until they are just cooked.
Remove the prawns & cook the marinade until its sticky & thick.
Add segmented orange pieces & heat through.
Return the prawns & coat with the sauce.
Serve immediately with the coconut rice & Asian greens or rocket salad.