Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweet 'n Spicy Fish

Why bother with ordering takeaway foods when you can whip up something easy, healthy, and so utterly tasty at home? This is one of those dishes that is easy to prepare and yet rewards you with a total taste sensation. Great for lazy evenings.  The ingredients used are things I always have in my cupboard, because I usually use them in my Indian cooking. But this is something a bit different. The flavours have a nice sweet and spicy combination, and the fish develops a nice crispness. I find it completely moreish.


1/2 teaspoon  chilli powder, or use a couple of red chillies if you have them
1 teaspoon turmeric
5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 heaped teaspoon tamarind paste (without the seeds)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
4 x 200g firm white fish fillets

Method:Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, grind all the spices, onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind, sugar, salt and oil.

Process until it forms a smooth paste.

Marinate the fish in this paste for a couple of hours in the fridge. If you're short for time, a half hour will still be fine, but longer is better.

Heat some extra oil in a fry pan over a medium heat and fry the fish for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Serves 4.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Over the last couple of weeks I kinda lost my baking mojo. I've been a bit sick (feeling heaps better now though) and then my fridge up and died. We still have yet to get a replacement fridge, but it should be sorted soon. This meant I haven't been stocking up on staples like milk or butter. But with the price of the stuff, I'm probably doing my wallet a favour. Nearly NZ$5 for a block of butter, that's insanity. But that's a rant for another day.

So anyway, I decided to give myself a kick in the pants and get back into my domestic goddessness, fridge or no fridge, sickness or no sickness. Besides, baking (and eating said baking) is a great way to perk oneself up. So armed with my no fail easy peasy biscotti recipe I was back in the zone, and these have become our dunking biscuit of choice. They are so easy to make and don't require butter. Bonus! Have fun experimenting with flavour combinations, I like using salted pistachios, oh and almonds with orange zest is awesome too. You could even dip, or drizzle, them in chocolate for extra indulgence. For the ones in the photo I used raw almonds (blanched almonds are good too) and the grated zest of one orange.


375g (3 cups) plain flour
170g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g nuts, e.g almonds, pistachio, hazelnuts, pinenuts
Other additions could include things like orange zest or crystallised orange, or spices such as cinnamon or aniseed.


Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Next, use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth dough.
Halve the dough.
On a lightly floured bench, roll each portion into a log about 20cm long.
Place the two logs onto a lined baking tray, and slightly flatten the tops with your hand.
Bake for 25 minutes at 180 Celsius, or until lightly golden.
Remove from oven and leave to cool for a little while.
Reduce oven temperature to 170 Celsius.
Cut each log on the diagonal, to create slices that are about 1cm thick.
Like this:

Slicing is easiest when using a large serrated knife.
Place the slices onto baking trays and bake for another 15 minutes, or until they start to brown

Makes approx 35-40

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lasagne alla Tuna

When I mention tuna lasagne, some people give me a funny look. They think it's a crazy combination. But these people probably have never tried tuna lasagne, especially my family's version.

As a child I grew up on this stuff, I guess it was an economical and no fuss meal to create. The fact that we loved it and scoffed it down without complaint, also must have helped make it a staple item on our dinner menu.

The flavour of this dish is distinctly Mediterranean, with the combination of herbs really bringing the dish alive. I also love how the soft onions offer a yummy sweetness. Even people who are not fans of tuna will probably be converted with this recipe, they just have to be bold enough to try it!


2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
1 green capsicum, diced
3 tomatoes, or you can use tinned tomatoes (300-400g tin would suffice)
Tomato purée (we use a 400g tin, but smaller amounts are fine)
1 tsp dried oregano (If you have access to fresh herbs, use 1 tablespoon instead)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp of beefstock powder
Pinch or two of pepper
425g tin of tuna in oil
500g of dried lasagne pasta
Cheese, to top


Drain a bit of the oil from the tuna into a pan (about a couple of tablespoons worth).
Heat this oil, then add the onions and garlic, cook for a few minutes until soft.
Now add the capsicum, tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs, spices and tuna (drain it first).
Leave this to simmer.
While the tuna simmers, cook the pasta (for 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time).
Layer the lasagne and tuna mixture in an oven-proof dish.
Cover with sliced or grated cheese of your choice.
Bake at 210 Celsius for approx 30 minutes until cheese is golden.