Saturday, 25 January 2014

{CNY: chicken & jellyfish in hermie}

Chinese New Year is one of those celebrations that is always celebrated in my household. We may not be the most 'Chinese' of families however, I like to think that we keep a couple of the most important traditions to the celebration; the reunion dinner (a feast!) and the giving of 'hong pau' or 'red envelopes'. The reunion dinner is celebrated on the eve of Chinese New Year and we either go to a chinese restaurant or someone's house. With our families ever growing and little ones about, in recent years we have done less of the restaurant and more 'pot luck' where everyone brings 1 (or 2) traditional dishes. This year being the first year that I've got Hermie (or the Thermomix) I'm interested in seeing what I can cook in it to make this time of year easier.

The first dish that I'm trying is a Chicken and Jellyfish dish. Jellyfish you say? It sounds weird to non-Chinese people but in fact, it does not taste like much but instead provides texture to this dish. It can be found in Asian Grocers as is (usually near the green vegetables) or pre-prepared in packets sometimes with assorted flavourings. I buy the 'as is' variety as often the pre-prepared packets have MSG which I stay clear of.

When you have a look at this recipe, there's a bit of cooking and lots of mixing. However, I have found that using Hermie makes a big difference. You see, the most tedious part of this dish is the cooking and shredding of the chicken. I'm impatient and always want to shred the chicken apart as soon as it leaves the hot water and end up burning my hands. However, with Hermie, once the chicken is poached, you can literally shred the chicken in a few seconds. Time Saved! I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you try it.

1 good size handful of bunch coriander
1 chicken breast (about 350 grams)
330-350 gram uncooked jellyfish
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2/3 tablepoon sesame oil (preferably Ghee Hiang brand)
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha chilli sauce (or to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1. Rinse off salt from jellyfish and soak in cold water for 2 hours. Change the water about every 30mins to reduce the amount of saltiness.
2. Meanwhile, place coriander into TM bowl and chop 2-3secs/ speed 6. Set aside in a bowl to be used for serving.
3. Place 1000 grams of water and chicken into TM bowl. Poach for 14mins/ 100C/ speed1/ reverse.
4. While the chicken is cooking, boil a kettle full of water. When done, empty the water soaking the jellyfish and give the jellyfish a final rinse. Place back in bowl and pour over hot boiled water. Once it 'shrivels' up (about 1-2minutes), drain from the water and slice thinly. Place into the serving bowl with the coriander.

Jellyfish soaking
After hot water
sliced thinly
5. When chicken has finished, drain off the water and shred 3secs/ speed 4/ reverse. We want a rough, coarse shred, one that is not too fine so be careful as 1 second can make a big difference.
6. Place chicken into serving bowl with the rest of the sauces and mix through. Put in the fridge until cool and serve as part of a banquet style meal.

Tips: This is best made the night before or morning of the dinner as the flavours develop further and should be served cold.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

{3-ingredient coconut ice-cream in hermie}

There are so many ice-cream flavours around that I can't even imagine some of them when I hear what a friend has recently tried. Having said that, one of my favourite ice-cream flavours is coconut. However, this is a flavour that is rarely sold in the shops in Australia and I'm sure that if it was, it would be full of additives and numbers that I don't want to be putting into my body. I have found it once in an Asian Grocer, however it was very watery and a granita-like consistency that was very hard to scoop when frozen solid.

So, when I received Adam Liaw's latest recipe book for Christmas, "Asian After Work", I was pleasantly surprised to find the simplest coconut ice-cream recipe in there. I had to give it a go and took it to a friend BBQ for dessert. It was a great hit! Here it is "Thermomix" converted. Enjoy xx

100 grams raw sugar
420 grams coconut milk (1 400ml can)
300 grams thickened cream (about 1 300ml carton)

1. Place sugar into dry TM bowl and mill 10secs/ speed 10.
2. Add coconut milk and cream to bowl and cook 6mins/ 90C/ speed 2 until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warmed through.
3. Pour into a freezer proof container and chill in the freezer for about 5 hours.
4. After 5 hours, pour mixture back into TM bowl and churn 10secs/ speed 6. Then, 2-3 times/ 2 secs/ closed lid position. Re-freeze for about another 5 hours or even better overnight.
5. Serve as is, with a banana fritter or with some sweet tropical fruits like Rambutan & Pineapple (as above).

Makes about 700ml.

Tips: If you don't have thickened cream, you can use pouring cream. However, you may need to repeat step 4 again (which will add time to the freezing length).

Monday, 6 January 2014

{chicken nuggets in hermie}

I was looking around the internet and social media trying to gain a little inspiration for something new Miss A could try eating. Everywhere you see, children love eating with their hands to feel what a new food is like and nuggets fit perfectly into this category. The trouble is, is that nearly every recipe I have found, contains a bit of parmesan cheese and uses an egg wash before crumbing. These are 2 things that Miss A cannot eat. 

Therefore, the below recipe is my take on the classic Chicken Nugget albeit a bit healthier and full of those ‘hidden’ vegetables that all parents like to sneak in. I find by adding a good amount of veggies means that the chicken breast does not dry out too much and the nuggets are still moist to eat. Enjoy xx

6 weet-bix
500-600 grams chicken breast, cut into ~4cm chunks
drizzle of garlic oil
1 small zucchini
1 leek, white part only, cut into 2 
300 grams sweet potato, cut into ~1 cm slices
5 turns of the ”Chef’s Choice” Sicilian style seafood seasoning or to taste (optional) - See note

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
2. Place weet-bix into TM bowl and crush 3secs/ speed 6. Set 2/3’s aside in a small shallow bowl. Place the rest of the weet-bix in a large bowl that will be used to combine all ingredients.
3. Place chicken into TM bowl. Mince 2-3 times/ 1-2secs/ closed lid position/ turbo. Set aside in the large bowl. 
4. Place zucchini, leek & sweet potato into TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed6. Add garlic oil over the chicken. You don’t have to add the garlic infused oil however, I find it adds another layer of flavour to the nuggets. Saute 3mins/ varoma/ stir speed/ reverse. Add to chicken in bowl & add seasoning or salt if using.
5. Mix with your hands and form either nugget style shapes or balls. Coat in the reserved weet-bix crumb and place on a lined oven tray. (This mixture is quite wet but works well if you use one gloved hand to make the nugget and one ‘naked’ hand to crumb the nugget.)
6. Once all nuggets/balls are complete, give them a quick spray of olive oil over the top.
7. Place in a pre-heated oven for 15minutes. Take the nuggets out and flip them over. Increase the temperature of the oven to 220C and bake another 10 minutes or until golden.
8. Take out of the oven when done and cool slightly before serving with your favourite tomato sauce.

Makes 40-45 nuggets.

Tips: These can be cooked in a frypan instead of oven baked however, they might end up a bit oilier. Also, I have used weet-bix to absorb a bit of the moisture in the mix however, a good batch of bread crumbs thrown in would do the trick too. Finally, I like to use a white zucchini because my Miss A loves to scrutinize her food before eating and it does not stand out as much in the mixture as the more common green zucchini.

Note: This seasoning looks like this: