Chickpea Jalapeño potato salad

Chickpea Jalapeño potato salad

Potato, Chickpeas, White onion, Chilli, Pickled jalapeño peppers, Spring onion, with wasabi mayonnaise and king prawns. I also added some Cracker Barrell maple-infused cheddar with toffee bites!

Lorraine Elliott, who is also known as Not Quite Nigella inspired this meal. This is her recipe with a few additions from me.

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Kewpie wasabi mayonnaise
  • White onion
  • Pickled sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Chilli
  • Tinned chickpeas
  • Spring onion
  • Iodised salt
  • Whole black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Boil the spuds until you can use a long sharp tool and penetrate the skin and flesh easily with no resistance.
  2. Remove the boiled spuds from the water and refrigerate overnight to permit the formation of resistant starch.
  3. Smile knowing my microbiota will be grateful (if bacteria were sentient).
  4. The next night, cut the cold boiled spuds into bite-sized pieces with a sharp knife.
  5. Put the spuds into a large mixing bowl and then squirt in some Kewpie Wasabi mayonnaise and a small handful of pickled sliced jalapeño peppers.
  6. Finely dice a white onion and add the chopped onion to the mixing bowl.
  7. Finely slice the spring onion and add the spring onion to the mixing bowl.
  8. Add in the tin of chickpeas because legumes are also useful for my microbiota.
  9. Gently mix everything to avoid disintegrating the spuds.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix.
  11. Peel the shells from the prawns and undertake a colectomy to remove the alimentary canal.
  12. Transfer everything to a serving bowl and garnish with some peeled prawns.
  13. Grab a fork, take the bowl, sit in front of the TV, and watch a movie while enjoying the potato salad.

What movie did I watch?

I watched one of my favourite movies, viz., Chariots of Fire. I love the story of Eric Liddell and how he put God and principles before King and country.

What’s all the microbiota talk?

Readers who know me know that I like listening to books. I’m not much of a reader of books, but I’ll happily listen to a book. 

I’m a fan of the Audible app and buying audible books from Amazon. To get more users, Audible has provided some free books to get people in.

One of the recent free offerings has been a 10 episode podcast by Dr Joanna McMillan. Joanna is a nutrition scientist and a practising nutritionist. Check her out at her website.

I think some people assume that we learn everything we need to know in medical school about nutrition. Given I went through medical school from 1983 to 1989 (yes that’s seven years, I did an extra degree during the course) it’s no surprise I’m a bit behind. My interest in our microbiota has been in the context of pathology and infection. It’s only recently, as I’ve endeavoured to improve my health that I’m thinking more about my microbiota.

If you’re interested in gut health, I reckon you’ll enjoy listening to Joanna. Her Scottish accent also helps!

Resistant starch

One topic that Joanna bangs on about is resistant starch. For a good synopsis of resistant starch, you cannot only listen to Joanna, but you can read about it on the CSIRO website.

You’ll see more legumes and raw oats in my Instagram feed in the future.

Potatoes and rice are useful sources of resistant starch if you cook them and then allow them to cool before eating them. That’s why I cooked the spuds yesterday and then refrigerated the potatoes.

How was the potato salad?

It was good. It certainly had a big kick to it with the jalapeño peppers, wasabi mayonnaise, and the red chilli. I split it in half and will finish it off tomorrow night. 

Chilli garlic prawns and rice

Chilli garlic prawns and rice

I did a linguine and garlic prawns a few weeks ago. Tonight, I thought I’d do something with an Asian bent.

Stir-fried Garlic, Ginger, Chilli, and Prawns with white rice.

Ingredients

  • Raw prawns (large banana prawns)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Garlic (sliced with a mandolin)
  • Ginger (grated)
  • Chilli flakes
  • Chilli (cut in strips)
  • Spring onion
  • White onion
  • Whole black peppercorns (freshly ground)
  • Rice
  • Broccoli florets

Instructions

  1. Marinate the raw prawns (with the shell on) in a bowl of tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and chilli flakes.
  2. Leave the prawns in the marinade in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  3. Cook the rice however you please.
  4. Heat a wok until it’s smoking hot.
  5. Add in some high vapour point oil, e.g., Queensland nut oil.
  6. Fry off some garlic, ginger, spring onions and white onions and then add in the prawns and marinade.
  7. Cook the prawns by stir-frying them until they turn red. 
  8. Add in the broccoli florets and mix everything until the broccoli florets soften a little.
  9. Serve in a bowl and eat with the rice using chopsticks.
  10. Some people will want to eat the prawns by sucking them off and then breaking the head off and sucking its head. The next step is peeling the prawns and eating the chilli-flavoured hot flesh. 
  11. I do it differently; I hold the prawn with my chopsticks and suck the juice off it and then eat the whole prawn, including the shell, head, and legs.
  12. If I was cooking this for someone else, I would peel the prawns and remove the alimentary canal first because I know most people would prefer it that way.

Final thoughts

How do you eat prawns?

10 hours slowly cooked lamb shoulder

10 hours slowly cooked lamb shoulder

Lamb shoulder in its packaging.

During the week, a work friend, viz., MH, mentioned that she cooked two legs of lamb for 10 hours each for Christmas dinner. MH has a large family who all live in rural Victoria.

I’m quite fond of lamb, but I prefer the forequarter rather than a hind leg (also known as the shoulder). I am aware a lot of people aren’t keen on lamb meat. The odour from cooking and cooked lamb is distinct, and some people are put off by it. One of my daughters isn’t keen on lamb meat. Part of her distaste is that she eschews all animal fat and lamb can be quite fat. I like eating breakfast with this daughter because she cuts off all her bacon fat. Guess who gets the discarded bacon fat?

Stolen rosemary with garlic and white onion.

My anatomical preference for lamb is in contrast to my taste for chicken. For chicken, I am a thigh lover over the breasts and wings.

As I was thinking about this meal, I thought I’d try to get things started in the slow cooker at about 6 am so I’d have the meat ready well before my 6 pm dinner deadline.

Lamb shoulder after browning in a frying pan.

The day didn’t start as planned. Oddly for me, I slept in and didn’t start the preparation until about 6.30 am.

Last night, I went for a walk and foraged (stole or acquired) a large amount of rosemary from a few bushes on the footpath outside a local hotel.

I browned the fat and muscle meat in a large frying pan over high heat to prepare the lamb.

Halfway point in a 10 hour slow cook lamb shoulder.

I added all the rosemary in the slow cooker after I scrunched it up and rubbed it vigorously in my hands to break down the leaves a little to release the natural oils. I also cut a knob of garlic in half, sliced one white onion and put it into the cooking vessel.

Add about ¼ cup of dry oregano leaves and a cup of stock.

I then put the lamb into the slow cooker and discovered it was slightly too big. I had to get a knife and cut away some muscle bundles to get the lid to seal correctly.

A wedge of Kent pumpkin rubbed with olive oil, black pepper, iodised salt, chilli flakes and sugar. Ready for the oven.

After ten hours, I opened the slow cooker and removed the shoulder. The fat and muscle meat were coming away from the bones, making the transfer to a tray in one piece difficult. The meat’s tenderness wasn’t a problem because I wanted to pull the muscle bundles off than carve away large cuts from the bone.

Most of the lamb meat is now in an airtight container and refrigerated. Lamb will be a feature of lunches and dinners this week.

Lamb shoulder bones

If you’re wondering what I did with the cooking juices, well wonder no more. I filtered out the rosemary, garlic, and onion and used the liquid to make a gravy. 

I made a roux with a little flour and butter in a saucier pan and cooked it for about 3 minutes. I added the meat juices and cooking liquid and stirred it until a gravy consistency developed.

To accompany tonight’s lamb shoulder roast, I roasted a wedge of Kent pumpkin as well as some broccolini.

I coated the pumpkin with black peppercorns, iodised salt crystals, hot chilli flakes and refined white sugar which I ground in a mortar with a pestle. I like adding a little sugar to help with the caramelisation of the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in an oven at 180 °C for about 45 minutes.

I gently rubbed the broccolini with some olive oil and cooked it with the pumpkin for the 20 minutes of the cooking period.

MH and another workmate, viz., AP, gave me a cultured butter gift on Thursday. I see lamb and gravy rolls on buttered bread being a thing next week.

I have the best workmates who really know me. Cultured butter, biscuits and a microorganism!

Cheat’s shepherd’s pie

Cheat’s shepherd’s pie

Shepherds pie with roast pumpkin and broccolini

I cheated by buying lamb that was already minced (ground for North American readers) and microwave potato mash.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 500 g lamb, minced (80% lean 20% fat)
  • 210 g Mutti tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 packet potato mash (I used Bird’s Eye)
  • 1 cup provolone, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Prepare the vegetables.
  2. Sautée the onion and carrot and then add the lamb.
  3. When the lamb is brown add in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomatoes.
  4. Mix and cook until it has thickened sufficiently to hold its own.
  5. If this is taking too long and if you feel you’ll be dead and buried before it thickens, add in a few teaspoons of corn flour to thicken the sauce.
  6. Turn on the oven to 180 °C.
  7. Put the cooked mince into a baking tray.
  8. Mix the cheese into the potato mash which has been cooked using microwave radiation.
  9. Pray there is enough potato mash to cover the lamb. If there isn’t make sure the centre is covered and use cheese for the edges.
  10. Spread the cheesy mash over the cooked lamb.
  11. Put the tray into a hot oven for 20 minutes or until the cheesy potato mash is golden brown.
  12. Allow the shepherds pie to rest for at least five minutes so it doesn’t wobble if you shake the tray. You need to make sure when you take a large serving spoon and penetrate the crust of that cheesy potato mash that it cuts through cleanly and you get a firm portion of cooked mince with cheesy potato mash on top.

If you don’t like lamb

If you don’t like lamb, use minced (ground) beef and it’s a cottage pie.

Don’t hate on people who don’t like lamb. Not everyone likes it. I like it and whenever someone says they don’t like something I like rather than make fun of them, I usually say thanks, that means more for me 😊

Be kind everyone. We’re in 2021 now and we need to be kind to everyone.

Fried rice with pork three-ways

Fried rice with pork three-ways

Wok
Wok

Ingredients

  • Pork belly
  • Long grain rice
  • Chilli
  • Chinese sausage (lup chong)
  • Speck (smoked pork belly)
  • Spring onions
  • Red onion
  • Frozen peas
  • Soy sauce
  • Marmalade
  • Cooking sherry
  • Queensland nut oil
  • Iodised salt
  • Black pepper
Chilli, Lup Chong, Marmalade, Pork belly, Red onion, Speck, Spring onions
Chilli, Lup Chong, Marmalade, Pork belly, Red onion, Speck, Spring onions

Instructions

  1. Cook rice in the morning and refrigerate.
  2. Slice the lup chong.
  3. Dice the speck.
  4. Cook the pork belly in a hot oven (220 °C) for 40 minutes to create cracking.
  5. Slice the spring onions. Slice the white on an angle for a fancy look and the green on a right angle for a more traditional look.
  6. Slice the red onion into large slices.
  7. Slice the chillies. You need to figure out whether you want to remove the seeds or not. The chilli seeds add to the heat. I kept the seeds, mainly because I’m lazy.
  8. Heat a wok to a smoking hot.
  9. Squirt in some Queensland nut oil and start to fry off the spring onion greens and red onion.
  10. Add in the speck and lup chong and stir fry until the Chinese sausage and fancy bacon takes on some colour.
  11. Toss in the chilli and stir fry and add a splash of cooking sherry along with the marmalade.
  12. Add in the cold rice and break up with the spatula. Add some soy sauce and keep everything moving in the wok.
  13. With a sharp, heavy knife cut the pork belly into cubes.
  14. Press down the spatula on the rice to get more contact with the hot metal of the wok. Doing so enables a better Maillard reaction. I add marmalade because the sugar will assist with this process.
  15. You want a crunchy rice texture and mouthfeel.
  16. Once the rice is crunchy, turn off the heat and then stir through the pork belly and the fancy shaped spring onion white bits.
Cooking fried rice in a wok
Cooking fried rice in a wok
Cooking fried rice in a wok
Cooking fried rice in a wok
Fried rice with pork three-ways
Fried rice with pork three-ways
Fried rice with pork three-ways
Fried rice with pork three-ways

Notes

I know there are lots of spelling variations for Chinese sausage. The way I’ve spelt it in the ingredients is how we used to say it as kids at home. I don’t mind how you spell it.

Gary’s special burger

Last week in Brisbane I had my first Betty’s burger.

I thought I’d make my own version.

I used 80% beef and 20% pork (belly fat). I minced the meat myself.

I made 70 g balls and then cooked them smashburger style by heating up a cast iron skillet until it was smoking hot and added some Queensland nut oil and a little butter. After adding a ball I squashed it flat with a spatula and applied force on the spatula with a heavy metal coffee tamper.

After flipping the burger patty I added some Dairylea burger cheese and provolone.

I made Gary’s special sauce with wasabi mayonnaise, American mustard, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Prawns and linguine in a tomato, chilli and garlic sauce

Prawns and linguine in a tomato, chilli and garlic sauce

Check out the full story at Yummy Lummy.

Ingredients

  • 150 g “fresh” linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2–3 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
  • 1 fresh red chilli*, finely sliced 
  • 210 g chopped tomatoes (I use Mutti™ brand tinned tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime* juice
  • 250 g peeled cooked prawns 
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Iodised salt flakes
  • Whole black peppercorns, crushed with a pestle in a mortar

Instructions

  1. Hone your knives on a honing rod.
  2. Prepare everything ahead of time.
  3. Boil some salted water and add the prawn heads to add a little extra flavour to the water.
  4. Boil the prawn heads for about five minutes to extract the flavour from them. After five minutes, remove the prawn heads with a strainer or whatever tool you have that works.
  5. With the water in a rolling* boil, empty the packet of “fresh” linguine into the boiling water and cook according to the maker’s instructions for use.
  6. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet or wok and add the garlic and chilli.
  7. Cook the garlic and chilli for about a minute then add the lime juice and tomatoes.
  8. Cook for about 5 minutes on high heat until the sauce begins to bubble and has reduced slightly.
  9. Add in the prawns and heat them through, this should only take about 30 seconds. Don’t ruin them by overcooking them because that would be a tragedy of epic proportions.
  10. After the instructed cooking time, drain the spaghetti, add it to the tomato and prawn sauce, and then add some parsley. Toss everything together over low heat combining the spaghetti with the sauce.
  11. Transfer everything to a bowl and garnish with more parsley as well as some salt and pepper.
  12. The question that beckons is how to eat this meal. When I look at it, it looks like a noodle stir fry so do I grab a pair of chopsticks? In deference to Italian friends though, I went with a fork and a spoon.

Optional extra lobster meat

I was keen on a Moreton Bay bug (slipper lobster) but ended up with a small lobster tail. This tail had been frozen and was thawing when I bought it. I completed the thawing and then cooked it in some salted water for about 4 minutes. To stop overcooking the lobster meat, I plunged the cooked lobster tail into ice water. 

I could have sliced the tail and combined it with the prawns, however, I chose to keep the lobster meat separate and ate it along with the meal adding a forkful of pasta and prawns to a slice of lobster meat. 

Notes

  • “Fresh” in this situation with the packet refrigerated linguine means not dry.
  • Rolling or roiling boil? Roiling is an old word, so it’s suited to old farts rather than young people. 
  • Lime juice or lemon juice? I know many recipes suggest lemon juice, but I like the freshness of lime juice. 
  • Should you remove the seeds from the chilli? It’s really up to you. Last Saturday night, I ate a very hot chilli with my brother and his daughter on a dare. We all suffered. Our eyes watered. It felt like the mucosa in our buccal cavities was sloughing off. I was producing copious volumes of saliva. The pain lasted for about 30 minutes.

Speck and mushy peas

I need to clean out my freezer and refrigerator of bits and pieces.

I had some speck, some baby green peas, some onions, mushrooms, and a handful of cherry tomatoes on the cusp of blooming some mould.

Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Speck is smokey bacon and sold as a block rather than rashers. I had an open packet after I’d used some speck a few weeks ago for some other dish.

I also have some frozen baby green peas in the freezer because frozen peas are so versatile. When I make mushy peas, I use sour cream, and I had a little left after having it with avocado during the week.

Because I ate a sweet lunch on Friday rather than my usual caramelised onion and mushrooms on Italian bread I had some brown mushrooms getting a little dry in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Ingredients

  • Speck
  • Onion
  • Cloves
  • Chicken stock
  • Baby green peas
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Claire’s whiskey Seville marmalade
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Golden syrup
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Instructions

Speck and caramelised onions

  1. Cut the speck into thick slices. When I write thick, I’m thinking, at least 1 cm thick. You want to be able to bite into the smoked bacon and experience the smokiness as your teeth cut through and the fatty meat juices burst from the moist, tender flesh over your tongue. 
  2. Quarter a brown onion with a sharp knife. I use a Chinese-style meat cleaver which I like to hone with a cook’s steel each time I use it. I love the sound of iron on iron.
  3. Put the speck, onions and some cloves into a saucepan and pour over enough chicken stock to cover the meat.
  4. Bring the chicken stock to a simmering boil and cook for about 40 minutes.
  5. The idea is to get the speck soft and floppy.
  6. After 40 minutes, take the saucepan off the hob and allow it to rest off the heat.
  7. With a mandolin, slice a couple of white onions and remove the stalks from the mushrooms.
  8. Begin to caramelise the onions in some olive oil over low, slow heat. Add in the mushroom caps and stalks and put a lid on the frying pan.
  9. When the onions and mushrooms soften and begin to take some colour, add in a little balsamic vinegar and continue to cook slowly. For some extra kick add a dessert spoon of Claire’s whiskey Seville marmalade. Watch the onions and mushrooms because you want them caramelised and not burnt.
  10. Towards the end, add in some golden syrup for a little extra sweetness. Adding the golden syrup is an optional step.
  11. When the onions and mushrooms are ready, take the frying pan off the heat and transfer the caramelised onion and mushrooms to a bowl.
  12. Remove the pieces of speck from the saucepan. Dry the surfaces of the meat and fat with a towel.
  13. In the frying pan used for the onions and mushrooms, fry off the speck along with the cherry tomatoes. Fry the meat until it takes on some colour and a little crispiness.
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

Mushy peas

  1. Put the frozen baby green peas into a silicon mixing jug with a little water and cook using microwave radiation. Cook the peas until they just become soft.
  2. Drain out the excess water and add in a nudge of butter and a dessert spoon of sour cream.
  3. Blend with a stick blender.
  4. The sour cream keeps the peas bright and green.

Serve the food

  1. Put everything on a dinner plate.
  2. Shoot a photograph.
  3. Sit down and eat with a knife and fork.
Speck with caramelised onions and mushrooms with mushy peas and cherry tomatoes

What have I done this week?

I’ve been out twice. I know, right? What a gadabout. I like the description of gadabout in the British Engish Thesaurus (see below).

On Monday evening I went out with some pathologists (specialist microbiologists, as a colony) to XO in Narabundah and we enjoyed the Christmas menu.

On Wednesday evening, I went out with some work friends to Tipsy Bull in Braddon and enjoyed a collection of vegetarian tasting plates.

What have I watched this week?

I watched the food show Ugly Delicious produced and starring US-based celebrity chef, David Chang. David is of Korean heritage, and this is important to know when watching the program.

David spent the series highlighting the differences between the sophisticated Italian and French cuisines against the messy and ugly south-east Asian and Indian cuisines. The premise being there is inherent racism because Asian food is quick and looks sloppy, and the service is often curt. In contrast, Italian and French food is refined and sophisticated with the food elements and plating being elegant, and the service is polite and courteous.

I could see his perspective, but I don’t see it as racism. Eating at a fine dining restaurant with attractive looking food and courteous service is enjoyable with the right company. Likewise going for cheap eats in an Asian restaurant with cheap tables and chairs, newspaper for table covering, and disposable chopsticks can be just as enjoyable with the same company.

Final thoughts

Have a good week. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

British English Thesaurus

gadabout: gallivanter, pleasure-seeker; wanderer, rover, rambler, drifter, bird of passage; traveller, journeyer, explorer, globetrotter.

Natural yoghurt with no added sugar and Kensington Pride mango

Chicken salad

I’ve always said I prefer thighs when compared with breasts.

I thought I’d try something different this week.

Chicken breasts

I’ve been cutting my portion sizes and eating leftover food for lunches at work.

I’m also conscious that I enjoy too much skin and fat.

This weekend, I bought two large plump breasts which I hope will do me for the week.

Chicken breasts

Ingredients

  • Breasts
  • Iodised salt
  • Red onion
  • Fennel
  • Radishes
  • Parsley
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Rocket
  • Lime
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Goat cheese
  • Beetroot
Chicken breast and Red onion, Fennel, Radish, Parsley, Sugar snap peas, Rocket, Lime, Olive oil, Black pepper, Goat cheese, Beetroot

Instructions

  1. Season you breasts with liberal amounts of iodised salt.
  2. Vacuum seal the breasts in bags.
  3. Cook the breasts for 2 hours at 76 °C in a water bath under vacuum (sous vide).
  4. After cooking, refrigerate one bag and open the other and dry the chicken with some absorbent kitchen paper.
  5. Slice off enough breast for the meal and then put the rest into an airtight container and refrigerate it.
  6. Thinly slice some red onion with a mandolin and put it into a bowl.
  7. Thinly slice some fennel with a mandolin and put it into a bowl.
  8. Thinly slice a radish (or two) with a mandolin and put it into a bowl.
  9. Chop some parsley with a sharp knife and put it into a bowl.
  10. Cook some sugar snap peas in boiling salted water for about five minutes and cool rapidly in ice water.
  11. Toss some baby rocket into a bowl.
  12. Drain and dry the sugar snap peas and add them to a bowl.
  13. Squeeze the juice from a lime and mix it with some olive oil to make a simple dressing.
  14. Add some heat to the dressing with freshly ground black peppercorns (in a mortar using a pestle). I usually grind with some salt and a little sugar.
  15. Toss the contents of the salad bowl and season with some salt.
  16. Toss in the slices of chicken and toss the salad.
  17. Dress the salad and then crumble in some goat cheese and add the baby beetroot.
  18. Transfer some salad to a bowl for dinner and keep the rest for lunch tomorrow.
Chicken breast and Red onion, Fennel, Radish, Parsley, Sugar snap peas, Rocket, Lime, Olive oil, Black pepper, Goat cheese, Beetroot

I think this would have been better with thighs.

What would you prefer?

Purple cauliflower cheese and pork knuckle

I made purple cauliflower cheese and pork knuckle 

Check out the whole blog post and recipe on Yummy Lummy.

Click on one image and scroll through the gallery.