Category Archives: Rice/Noodles

Day 14 – Kedgeree

First published in 2010, this is a family favourite and worth a re-visit. While it’s not strictly vegetarian, it IS meat-free making it a marvellous choice if you want to observe Meat-Free Week (which starts today).

With its origins in British-Raj India, kedgeree is a spiced rice pilaf made with smoked fish. Usually made with the Brits favourite smoked fish such as haddock, it was often proffered as part of a British breakfast, but these days it’s more often served up as a Sunday night supper dish.

For years my mother made this without curry powder, simply basing it on fish, rice, hard-boiled eggs and loads of butter. I was in my thirties before my mother in law advised me that it was best made with curry powder. Continue reading Day 14 – Kedgeree

Day 1 – Suzanne's Chana Pulao

Every now and then I struggle for inspiration in the kitchen. Those of you who have about a dozen recipes or less in your repertoire would I’m sure read this and be tempted to throw something at their computer screen. Or at my fat head for being so insensitive. And that’s okay, because it does make me sound like a sanctimonious cow. Continue reading Day 1 – Suzanne's Chana Pulao

Day 9 – Mediterranean Quinoa 'Risotto'

To my mind, and palate, there is something all meat-free meals should have: Umami. Difficult to define, umami is the earthy, full-flavoured mouth-feel that gives depth and a subtle oiliness to one’s palate – and yet it doesn’t contain oil at all. Mushrooms are packed full of umami, which has been best described as food with a pleasing brothy flavour. It goes a great way to explain why we always feel full after eating mushrooms. Quinoa also has umami – it’s somehow meaty, even though it’s a seed. Continue reading Day 9 – Mediterranean Quinoa 'Risotto'

Day 12 – Long and Short Soup

I defy anyone who thinks that a quick takeaway is easier to arrange than cooking for themselves to try this soup and note the difference. Yes, it uses takeaway items – in this case six of steamed dim sims – but the rest was thrown together using bottom-of-the fridge vegies, a desiccated dried chilli or two, some pre-made stock and a packet of rice noodles.

Strictly speaking this is not a short soup as it has long noodles in it, and of course it doesn’t have prawns or barbecued pork in it, but you can easily add it if you want. I made this in a double boiler, meaning I could cook the vegies in the stock below and let the steam infuse the dim sims as they heated through. Continue reading Day 12 – Long and Short Soup

Day 10 – Rice Paper Rolls

I met her because she married my brother-in-law and for a while we were all part of the same family. Despite our differences, or perhaps because we were allies in a Cold War of attrition between the family and the imposter in-laws, we became firm friends, keeping in touch long after we each divorced our husbands. We were now refugees from a clan who no longer wanted us around and we were proud to know each other.

Our children still played as cousins, not really blood relatives but every bit as connected as any close group of people. Such was her way – she could invite you in and make you feel at home immediately.

And so it was that she invited me over to her house for a barbecue, or perhaps it was a birthday, or maybe even Australia Day, but there I was, one of the only white women in the room, feeling impossibly gigantic amongst my tiny friends, our heads bent over the production line of rice paper rolls. Continue reading Day 10 – Rice Paper Rolls

Day 8 – Mongolian Beef and Noodle Stir-Fry

Mongolian Lamb. It’s not authentic of course, no more authentic than sweet and sour pork, but it still consistently rates as one of the most popular of all takeaway items from chinese restaurants around the country.

It would be terrific to recreate at home, except for one small factor: Lamb is still the most expensive meat in Australia.

I’ve said before that cost is the main reason I don’t include more lamb recipes but that hasn’t stopped me from having a hankering for this meal for the longest time. It’s been on my to-do list to include this recipe for ages but at no time has the price of lamb dropped far enough to make it.

So, it’s time for an adaptation.

Mind you, beef isn’t exactly cheap, especially when you consider the cuts of meat you need for a quick stir-fry. The result I want is exquisitely falling-apart tender meat, providing the right contrast for the crunch of spring onions and the robustness of the sauce that accompanies it.  Beef so tender as to be velvety.

Continue reading Day 8 – Mongolian Beef and Noodle Stir-Fry

Day 7 – Lemony Chicken and Bean Risotto

My housemate went on leave and before she dashed out of the house for a four hour drive to her hometown, yelled instructions for using up some food in the fridge. Half a barbecued chicken needed using up, as did some green beans. Further offerings included a scant supply of parmesan and half a lemon from a previous gin and tonic session.

It was almost too easy to come up with this risotto, and it’s ridiculously tasty as well. My only regret is that she didn’t get to eat it, but the friends I did share it with appreciated it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, yes?

Of course.

Continue reading Day 7 – Lemony Chicken and Bean Risotto

Lunch Box Treats – Sushi Rolls

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Sushi or nori rolls are a marvel of gluten-free, high energy goodness, packed in its own wrapping and highly portable. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, it’s a terrific lunch box filler instead of sandwiches.

What’s not to love?

Well, er, there’s quite a bit not to love actually. They can be very expensive to buy individually. Fish-averse children may find the flavour too strong. Cramming them with fresh chilled fish such as salmon makes them difficult to keep cold in a lunch box. And, if you’ve never made them before, they can seem fiddly to make.

However, the good people at SunRice would like to help you change your mind the way they helped me change mine.

Over summer, SunRice sent me a goodie bag full of all the necessaries to make some nori rolls. Seaweed sheets, some wasabi, soy sauce, a bamboo rolling mat and three packets of their ready to heat and serve Sushi Rice. If that wasn’t enough, a brand spanking new and extremely sharp sashimi knife was included in the basket. Oh yes.

With everything I needed except the fillings at hand, my only question was then what to put into it. Luckily my housemate saved the day. “I make very good sushi rolls,” she said.

And so she does, because I would hate to have to admit publicly that her skills are rubbish. They’re not – she really is brilliant at making them. Continue reading Lunch Box Treats – Sushi Rolls

Day 12 – Spring Vegetable Risotto

The day I made this risotto, three loads of washing dried in record time, the air was heavily scented with jasmine and I had an urge to spring clean. This meal at the end of such a productive day only confirmed my instinct to turn my face to the sun and embrace the promise of bounty ahead.

There is something imperceptibly heart warming about food choices at this time of year. Just one or two weeks into September and early spring produce is already on the shelves. It’s impossible not to think of lighter food that takes advantage of these fresh green beauties, no matter if the weather hasn’t really sorted itself out.

Rather than weigh the whole affair down with lots of parmesan and cooking the rice to a gelatinous mass, I’ve erred on the side of fresh green produce – lots of it. There is almost double what I would normally put in a risotto, reducing the need for extra rice. It is satisfying without the clogging effect on our  stomachs. It’s ideal if you want to walk it off in the lengthening spring evenings. Jasmine scented air is optional.

Continue reading Day 12 – Spring Vegetable Risotto

Desserts – Slow Cooked Rice Pudding

We all love our slow cookers in The Challenge community but sometimes we forget that slow cooking can be utilised across a number of areas. There are people who swear they are the very best way to make porridge; others make jam.

And then there’s dessert.

The lovely Carol Duncan from ABC 1233 Newcastle called me and we chatted about using slow cookers and it was her enquiry that prompted this recipe. It is possible to make desserts, but you have to understand a little kitchen science to make it work well. Anything baked may have to be reserved for a conventional oven, where convected heat is a necessity, but certainly you can stew fruit, make eggy custards, bread and butter puddings, even silky cheesecakes.

Continue reading Desserts – Slow Cooked Rice Pudding