Sunday, September 28, 2008

Exotic Fruit and Vegetable Salad

This is a variation on the famous Indonesian rice salad known as Gado Gado. Choose some or all of the suggested fruits and vegetables to make an attractive centerpiece for an Indonesian or Thai meal. Recipe serves 6-8.


4 ounces (125 g) green beans, trimmed
2 carrots, cut into batons
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 head Chinese leaves, shredded
1/2 small cucumber, cut into thin strips
8 spring onions, sliced diagonally
6 cherry tomatoes or small tomatoes, halved
12-16 cooked tiger prawns
1 small mango
1 small papaya
1 quantity Lontong (compressed rice)
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
Fresh coriander
For the Peanut Dressing:
8 tablespoons crunchy or smooth peanut butter, preferably unsalted
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind water (see Tip) or juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Hot chili sauce, to taste


1. First, make the peanut dressing. Place all the ingredients except the chili sauce in a pan and heat the mixture stirring all the time, until it is very hot and smooth. Stir in chili sauce to taste. Keep the dressing warm, or allow to cool and reheat before serving.
2. Cook the beans and carrots in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until just tender but still firm. Drain, then refresh under cold water and drain again. Cook the bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh.
3. Arrange the carrots, beans and bean sprouts on a large, attractive platter, with the shredded Chinese leaves, cucumber strips, spring onions, tomatoes, and prawns.
4. Peel the mango and cut the flesh into cubes. Quarter the papaya, remove the skin and seeds, then slice the flesh. Add to the salad platter, with the lontong. Garnish with the egg quarters and fresh coriander.
5. Reheat the peanut dressing, if necessary. As soon as it is warm, pour it into a serving bowl. Place the bowl in the center of the salad and serve. Guests help themselves to the salad, adding as much dressing as they like.

Tip: To make tamarind water, break off a 2 inch (2.5 cm) cube of tamarind and put it in a bowl. Pour in 2/3 cup warm water. Using your fingers, squeeze the tamarind so that the juices dissolve into the water. Strain, discarding the sold tamarind, and use as directed in the recipe. Any unused tamarind water can be kept in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Orange and Mint Glaze

Delicious used on pork, veal or lamb. Add extra flavor to a lamb roast by basting with this glaze during the last 30 minutes of cooking.


1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon French mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons mint jelly, warmed


1. Place orange juice, mustard, honey and mint jelly in a bowl and mix to combine.
2. Brush over meat and grill, barbecue, pan cook or bake.

Layered Spicy Smoked Fish

Serve Layered Spicy Smoked Fish accompanied with boiled or steamed rice and buttered green beans. Recipe serves 4.


1 pound (500 g) smoked fish fillets
3/4 ounce (20 g) butter
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons curry powder
Cream Sauce:
1 ounce (30 g) butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Cheese Topping:
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, made from stale bread
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1 ounce (30 g) butter, melted


1. Place fish fillets in a large fry pan and add just enough water to cover. Cook over a medium heat until water boils, then drain and flake fish, removing skin and bones as you go.
2. Melt butter in a clean fry pan and cook onion for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute longer, then remove from heat.
3. To make sauce, melt butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens. Blend in cream and mayonnaise.
4. To make topping, place breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl, pour in butter and mix to combine. Arrange half the fish in an ovenproof dish, top with half the onion mixture, then pour over half the sauce. Repeat layers, finishing with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Chocolate Fudge Drops

These crunchy chocolate and nut candies are a sweet sensation. Recipe makes about 36 drops.


1/3 cup whole almonds
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 pint (150 ml) fresh cream
8 teaspoons cocoa
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 ounce (30 g) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spread the almonds on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the almonds have turned golden brown. Stand tray on a wire rack to cool completely. When cold, chop almonds coarsely.
2. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
3. Put the sugars, cream, cocoa and syrup into a heavy-based saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture is grainy and reaches a temperature of 230 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a sugar thermometer.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla and chopped almonds with a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Stir the mixture for about 2 minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Drop metal tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays. Let the fudge cool completely.

Tip: Roasting the nuts enhances their flavor, but it is not essential to do this. For a convenient alternative, used ready-roasted hazelnuts or other types of nut.

Ginger Diamonds

A light gingerbread cut into diamond shapes. Can be served warm as a pudding with cream, or, iced with lemon or vanilla icing, at room temperature with coffee. Recipe makes about 20.


5 ounces (150 g) soft unsalted butter, chopped
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons treacle
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 cup milk


1. Beat butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup until pale and creamy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well between additions.
2. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and spices together, stir into dry ingredients alternately with milk and mix well.
3. Pour mixture into a greased and base-lined 7 x 11 inch (18 x 27 cm) slab tin and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
4. If serving as a pudding, cut into diamonds and serve immediately. If not, cool cake in tin before turning out onto a plate and icing, as desired.

Note: Keeps in an airtight container for 4 days.

Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry

Served with rice this quick and easy dish is sure to become a family favorite. Recipe serves 4.


1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
1 teaspoon freshly crushed garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red pepper (capsicum), sliced
8 ounces (250 g) green beans, sliced
1 small pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon oil, extra
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons chili sauce (optional)
1 pound (500 g) chicken thigh fillets, sliced
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water


1. Heat oil in wok or fry pan, add ginger, garlic and onion and fry for 1 minute.
2. Add pepper, beans and pineapple. Fry for 1 minute, remove from pan.
3. Heat extra oil in pan, add sauces then 1/4 of the chicken, stir fry for a few minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from pan. Continue to fry remaining chicken in the same way.
4. Blend cornflour and water, add to pan with vegetables and chicken, stir fry until mixture boils and thickens. Serve with steamed rice.