Recipes: Good food made simple


Good food made simple Good food made simple
Good food made simple Lamb satay stir-fry Good food made simple
Good food made simple Prawn and coconut curry Good food made simple
Good food made simple Thai curry pastes Good food made simple

We are pleased to offer an excerpt from Allyson Gofton’s new book, no doubt destined to become a classic.

Recipes: Good food made simple
Good food made simple

Lebanese lamb pizza

Sprinkled with jewel-like pomegranate seeds and drenched with sweet-sour pomegranate syrup, this pizza has panache to spare!

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 12 minutes | Serves: 4-6

  • 300 grams lean lamb mince
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large juicy ripe tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomato pesto or paste
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 x 23cm pizza bases, precooked
  • or rolled-out dough (see Basic pizza dough, page 288)
  • 150-200 grams feta cheese
  • 2-3 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to fan bake 220°C. Place two trays or pizza stones into the oven to preheat.

Brown the lamb mince in a dash of oil in a frying-pan, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as it browns. Set aside. Reduce the heat, add a further dash of oil and gently pan-fry the onion until tender.

Toss together the cooked onion and mince with the tomato, sun-dried tomato pesto or paste and pine nuts. Season if wished.

Place the pizza bases on the preheated trays and brush the edges with oil. Divide the lamb mixture evenly between the two pizza bases and crumble the feta evenly over the top.

Bake the pizzas in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden and hot and the pizza dough is cooked. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and scatter with fresh pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley leaves, if wished. Serve with a salad on the side.

Fast switches

Indian lamb pizza: Following the recipe here, brown the lamb mince with one tablespoon of your favourite Indian curry paste. Use cashew nuts in place of pine nuts and serve sprinkled with diced mango. Sprinkle over a little grated palm sugar in place of pomegranate syrup.

Moroccan lamb pizza: Following the recipe here, brown the lamb with two teaspoons Moroccan spice blend. Use almonds in place of pine nuts.

South African lamb pizza: Following the recipe here, brown the lamb mince with one tablespoon South African-style

Braai 'n' Grill spice blend. When brown, stir in a hearty spoonful of a spicy chutney. Use pistachio nuts in place of pine nuts, halved grapes in place of pomegranate seeds and a little treacle or apple syrup in place of pomegranate molasses.

Allyson's tip: How to deseed a tomato - Cut the tomato in half horizontally and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Lamb satay stir-fry

For a quick spicy meal, stir-fry lamb with sweet soy and spices, wrap in flatbread and serve with a spiked satay sauce on the side.

Prep time: 35 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons each ground coriander and cumin
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, or 2 teaspoons minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric or curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 500 grams lamb leg steaks, trimmed

Vegetables

  • 1 teaspoon each minced fresh garlic, chilli and ginger
  • 3-4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 red capsicums, finely sliced
  • 200 grams snow peas or beans, sliced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh mint and coriander

Knead the tamarind pulp and water together until it forms a thick, murky liquid. Strain and discard the fibrous pulp. Put the liquid into a blender or food processor with the coriander, cumin, lemongrass, sweet soy sauce, sugar, turmeric or curry powder and oil and process until smooth.

Cut the steaks into long thin slices. Toss with the marinade and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a wok or frying-pan and stir-fry the lamb over a moderately high heat for 7-8 minutes, tossing regularly until cooked (if cooked in a frying-pan, it's best done in batches to prevent the lamb from stewing). Set aside.

Add an extra dash of oil and stir-fry the garlic, chilli, ginger, spring onion, red capsicums and snow peas or beans until crisp and tender. Add the bean sprouts, lamb and herbs and toss well. Serve in flat breads or in bowls with the Creamy peanut satay sauce.

Creamy peanut satay sauce

  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup coconut cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon each minced fresh garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass (optional)

Stir all the ingredients together over a low heat until warm. Thin with extra water if required.

Peanut butter

Much loved by children, peanut butter was developed around the 1890s in Michigan. It has become a lunchbox sandwich filling staple for children the world over, though mainly in the US, where it is usually partnered with jelly (or what we know as jam).

Peanut butter can be used to create a peanut-based sauce, avoiding the need to roast and grind nuts at home, though the finished result will differ from an authentic satay sauce prepared from scratch.

Prawn and chicken coconut curry

Simply delicious! Brandy, not normally an ingredient featuring in curries, adds another dimension to this incredibly quick and easy dish.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 500 grams boneless chicken thigh portions, diced
  • 20-24 shelled green prawns
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 x 400 ml can coconut cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups finely shredded vegetables (such as carrots, snow peas, celery)

Pan-fry the garlic, curry powder and curry paste in a nugget of butter in a large frying-pan over moderate heat for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.

Add the chicken and prawns and toss in the hot spicy mixture to coat well. Add the brandy and flambé if wished, otherwise simmer for 1 minute before adding the coconut cream or milk.

Simmer without bubbling - to ensure the chicken and prawns cook gently, as boiling will make them tough - for 10-15 minutes (exact cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces). Add the fish sauce, mirin, tomato and shredded vegetables and allow to just warm through before serving in bowls with rice and prawn crackers on the side.

Thai curry pastes

Find favourite brands and keep a selection of Thai curry pastes on hand to vary this and other dishes.

Red curry paste: A synergistic blend of red chillies, shrimp paste, coriander, garlic and fragrant flavourings such as kaffir lime and galangal. Simmer with darker meats - duck, pork, beef.

Green curry paste: Hotter than red curry and herby from the green chillies, lemongrass, kaffir lime, fresh coriander leaves and roots, basil and galangal. Poach with vegetables, seafood and chicken.

Massam curry paste: A marriage of Indian and Thai flavours, originating from generations of Muslim traders to Thailand. Try with meat and poultry.

Yellow curry paste: Hot or mild, but with earthy and robust tones from the large amount of turmeric used. Enjoy with meat dishes.

Nam prik (aka sambal oelek): A gutsy blend of pounded chillies, garlic, dried shrimps and fish sauce. Occasionally peanuts and shallots are added. Stir into laksas, rice or vegetable dishes.

Essential Asian sauces

Nam pla or fish sauce: So pungent it's almost off-putting, nam pla offers a complex and unique flavour to many South East Asian dishes - it's a pantry essential (and will last indefinitely in the cupboard). Depth of colour and price are an indicator of quality: use sparingly or sprinkle on the dish at the table.

Mirin: Often referred to as rice wine, though it's brewed from rice rather than fermented and is used in cooking and is not for drinking. Readily available, it imparts a unique flavour and glossy colour to glazes. Vodka can be a substitute.

Copyright details: Reprinted with permission from Good Food Made Simple by Allyson Gofton. Published by Penguin Group (NZ). RRP $50.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright text and recipes © Allyson Gofton, 2013. Copyright photography © Allan Gillard, 2013.

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