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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Corned Beef and The Reuben Sandwich

People of a certain age will remember corned beef dinners from their childhood. I don't ever remember loving that meal but I did love the corned beef sandwich the next day.
It was a relatively cheap cut of meat in the 60's and I think now its still inexpensive but as our culinary tastes have become more sophisticated the humble corned beef has been relegated to the back burner.
Well the other day I thought why can't this meat be better and set about doing a little more than the original recipe. If Kylie Kwong can make magic out of a piece of brisket.....
Delicious we all thought. I used it for Reuben sandwiches. Classically a Reuben has chunky quite dry bread which I don't love either, so we used fresh and toasted. I bought a red cabbage in a jar which is actually Dutch to replace the sauerkraut and made a mayonnaise. Not quite Katz's Deli in New York but pretty good none the less.

Piece of corned beef
15 cloves
10 peppercorns
1 chopped onion
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 whole orange squeezed of juice, use both skin and juice

Place the beef into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then empty and rinse all fat residue from the pot
Stud the beef with cloves. Add to a pot of fresh water with all of the ingredients.
Squeeze the  orange and add both to the pot.
Simmer gently for 3 hours.

Serve with a Russian Mayonnaise, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut or Red Cabbage and Pickled Gerkins

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons horseradish
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped onion

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Dahl Rasam or Spicy Lentil Soup

I was inspired by a soup I had in India called Rasam This is a thin watery soup consumed as a digestion aid with a tamarind juice base. Not really what we know as soup. It is a southern Indian dish and is often made with tomato juice as well. Pepper is always included as tomatoes and peppers are abundant in southern India.
However when lentils are added it becomes Dahl Rasam richer and thicker. It was delicious.
Ottolenghi and Claudia Roden also have a version of Lentil Soup.
So with all that inspiration and a cold day I set about making my version. Don't worry if you don't like lentils this will amaze you. Most people don't believe it is lentils once the coconut milk is added.
I am sure Indians would not approve, but as we like to do in this country tweak a recipe to our taste.
If you don't have curry paste you can use red chillies

2 onions chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/1/2 tablespoons red curry paste ( I used Thai curry Paste )
1 tablespoon cumin
2 lemongrass stalks bashed slightly to real ease flavour
good pinch of turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sugar
500 grams red lentils
400 mls coconut milk

Chop the onions and garlic and cook in a large pot with some canola or sunflower oil.  Cook on a low heat until the onion and garlic are very soft. Be careful not to burn it. Add the curry paste and cook for a further minute until very fragrant, stirring with the onion mix.

Add the lentils, lemongrass, ginger, mustard seeds to the pot with 1300 ml water.
Bring to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft .
When cooled remove lemongrass stalks and puree with a hand held bamix or pour into a blender.
Return to the stove and add  the coconut milk with cumin, turmeric, lime juice and sugar . Add  approx 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir all through whilst heating.

If you would like a thicker soup add less coconut milk. If would like it hotter add more chilli.
I serve it garnished with chopped tomato and coriander and a swish of extra chilli sauce in the form of Sriracha Sauce. You can use you favourite chilli sauce, but this comes in a squeeze bottle and has a thin consistency. Enjoy !