Chicken Peanut Curry

This curry is one of my all-time favourite recipes. It's rich and flavour-full, but the addition of peanuts takes it to an extra level of taste and texture. I made this one for the family a few weeks back and wanted to share it with you guys.

While I typically use chicken for this recipe, like most curries you can swap the meat for whatever your preferred meat is. Chicken is such a cheap meat here that it makes a delicious budget meal, but if you live in a country where poultry is more expensive, feel free to sub in whatever cut of meat you like. 
Let’s get started…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 33

Every so often, Philly have one of those deals where if you buy so many products you get a recipe book for free. Unlike most of the freebies you get in supermarkets, these books are actually amazing and usually cost $35-45 each to buy on their own. Each is filled with 75 recipes, most of which I'm keen to try out at some point.

A while ago I picked up volume 2 at the supermarket. My dad found the first volume at the op shop. On last week's grocery shop I noticed volume three was out, and eagerly snatched it up. Flicking through the newest copy reminded me of how fantastic these books are, so I decided to dig them out for the cook book challenge. This week begins with the first volume.

I've got a lot of baking on over the next couple weeks, what with the Daring Baker's Challenge, a couple of other challenges, as well as a personal project you guys will find out about soon, so I steered away from the desserts section for once. While there were a bunch of savoury options begging to be tried, I decided to go with something that involved a technique I've always been too intimidated to try.

Bacon, Olive and Almond Filled Chicken

Savoury Ham Rolls

I'm not much of a breakfast person simply because I feel ill if I eat soon after waking, but when my boyfriend stays over I find myself not just wanting to make breakfast, but wanting to make something nice for him. We usually go for something like baked eggs or bacon and egg muffins, but every so often I get the motivation to do something that takes a little more effort.

These rolls are made using a basic scone dough, with a little bit of a twist.

Step-by-step…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 31

Now that my mini-series of cook books has been cooked through, I'm back to indecision in picking a book for the challenge. This week was made a little easier for me, as dad picked up another couple books from the op shop for me. I was flicking through one whilst trying to decide on dinner and came across as recipe I just had to try.

The book is New Idea's "Let's Cook Chinese". I'm such a lover of Asian food, but it's something I seldom have at home. Neither of my parents were equipped to cook Asian dishes, so growing up the only Asian food I got was take away. I haven't learnt enough yet to be able to experiment much with Asian flavours, and so I tend to rely a lot of cook books when I'm making it at home. Some are more westernised than others, and I feel this one lingers half way between traditional and bastardised Asian cuisine, but as a Westerner I'm not picky enough to mind. This book had so many dishes I wanted to try, but there was one that caught my attention above all else. 

Crab Meatballs

Cook Book Challenge: Week 29

I've just finished another batch of research, and perhaps my final pending on how the data turns out. While I was getting up at 5am and coming home at 8pm, I didn't have the energy to cook anything. Dinner was usually my first meal of the day and often consisted of 2-minute noodles or a pasty. Anything I make quickly and shove in my mouth before collapsing into bed. Needless to say, I fell off the CBC bandwagon once more. This week, I was extra excited to pick it up again given that this week's book is Kylie Kwong "Simple Chinese Cooking".

Kylie Kowng is an Australian chef who is as charasmatic as she is brilliant. She takes the Cantonese cooking she learned from her mother and applies the chef-fy skills she's learned in her adult life. But my favourite thing about her is that she's a proponent of sustainable food and ethical eating. Her restaurant famously uses only local, organic and biodynamic produce and has won awards for it's sustainablity. 

I've been a nature and animal lover as far as I can remember, and in my adult life a Zoologist. Conservation, sustainablity and animal ethics are among my highest priorities in life. I've found that a lot of people think that to eat and live sustainably means to go without all the good things. Kylie and her restaurant show just how easy it is to have amazing food that is sustainable. 

Chilli-salt Duck Breasts with Lemon

Cook Book Challenge: Week 28

I'm a week late in posting this challenge. I've just started a new round of field work for my research project that has me up at 5am and home way after the sun has set. Ahh, the joys of working with a nocturnal species. But if you're as much of a fan of squid as I am, you'll agree that this one is definitely worth the wait.

This week's book is Tobie Puttock's "Daily Italian". Tobie is a local Melbourne boy who cheffed his way across Europe, working 18-hour days in Italian-speaking kitchens. He worked with many a high profile chef before bringing all this knowledge back to Melbourne. In 2006 he opened his restaurant, Fifteen — a Jamie Oliver founded chain many of you will know of, that gives opportunities to disadvantaged youths. The restaurant fell victim to arson a few years ago, but recently reopened as The Kitchen Cat.

Tobie is a fantastic foodie, and his book was full of recipes I wanted to try, and will do so soon. But I couldn't go past the squid recipe. Not only do I love it, I've never cooked squid myself before, and so it was perfect for the cook book challenge.

Recipe after the jump…

Daring Bakers Challenge: Crazy For Crackers

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

The challenge required us to bake two crackers using two of three methods: hand rolled, pasta machine rolled, or the icebox method. I don't own a pasta machine, so the choice was immediately made for me.

Unlike the last two challenges, these are something I've baked before. I've never blogged any of my recipes, however, so it was a good excuse to return to two of my favourite recipes and share them with you guys.

Let’s crack some open…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 27

Maggie Beer is one of my all time favourite cooks. Not only are her recipes intelligent, perfectly balanced wonders of deliciousness — she also has the most infectious personality. I still remember watching the Twitter feed exploding with adoration when she appeared on MasterChef for the first time. She's impossible not to fall in love with.

So are her cook books.

While her recipes are intelligent, they are also accessible to most everyone. Some require a bit more skill or practise than the next, but they're not recipes you'll feel too intimidated by to try. Her chatty style of writing talks you through the complicated steps and explains why you are doing what you are doing.

There were so many recipes in this book I wanted to try, but I simply couldn't go past the Olive Tart. Not just because I have an obsessive love for puff pastry…

Pastry, om nom nom…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 22

Unlike last week, I was really looking forward to delving into this week's cook book. Second on the list is Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion".

This is a really neat book. The book deviates from the usual entrée/main/dessert structure of cookbooks. Instead, it works its way alphabetically through a list of garden ingredients: herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. The header of each recipe features the name of the ingredient that starts in the dish. Not only is it unique, but I find it really handy for when you have something you need to use up, but can't think of a good use for it.

I had so much fun flipping through the book that I became spoilt for choice…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 21

For the next 10 weeks of the challenge, I'll be going through this Mini Cookbook Collection. This set of books was a collection released by The Herald Sun. I don't read that propaganda paper, but my dad is a big fan of it. So he picked up the collection for me.

It features a bunch of recipes from these cook's actual recipe books, meant as a teaser to encourage you to buy the real thing. At $2 a pop, it was hard to resist the little taste test,

First cab off the rank is Jamie Oliver’s "Jamie Does…"