Tuesday, 20 August 2013

S is for Sweet Chilli Sauce

In posting my satay sauce recipe, I use the one picture I had. This included a splattered jug of sweet chilli sauce.  I realized it made sense to post the recipe for that too as the bought version is nothing like home-made.

Sweet chilli sauce (left), satay sauce (middle) and simple Greek yoghurt (right) to accompany a BBQ
  • ½ red bell pepper, deseeded and the flesh cubed
  • 2 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 7 tblspns rice vinegar
  • 3½ tblspns sugar
  • 4 tblspns water
  • 2 dried chillies (deseeded for a milder version)
  • 1¼ teaspns cornflour mixed with 1½ teaspns water

  1. Put the pepper flesh, garlic, vinegar, sugar, water, and chillies in a food processor and whizz until smooth
  2. Decant the contents into a small saucepan and cook over a low heat for 10 mins
  3. Skim the surface until you've removed the red foam
  4. Whisk in the cornflour mix and then cook for another couple of mins
  5. Allow to cool before serving
As per the satay, this recipe can be multiplied easily to make a bigger batch and then freeze meal-sized portions until you need them.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A is for App

In today's busy world, I love a good app, but get cheesed off when an app is just a mobile version of the website.  It needs to do more than that to command space on my screen.

Here are my top ten apps for entertaining guests which do more than their websites (with one exception).

1. Time to Roast
All you need to do is select your meat (every roast I've had) and enter the weight.  It beeps at you when you need to change the temp (after searing a roast) and when it's time to check whether your joint is cooked.  And if it's not, you can simply let the app know and it'll beep again after some more time has elapsed.

2. Escoffier Cook's Companion
This handy app includes a measurement converter, a kitchen timer, an ingredients list (so you'll never again have to ask what adzuki beans are), an equipment list and a glossary of cooking terms.

Import all your favourite web based recipes into one (h)appy location, photo and all.  You can also manually add your own recipes too.  But the best thing about this app is that if you want to half or multiply the recipe, it'll re-proportion all the ingredients at the touch of a button.

This app helps you grow your own fruit or veggies whatever space you have.  But the best thing is the location-specific alerts for drought or frost to help you ensure that your plants stay healthy.  All the more homegrown food to serve to guests...

This free app features 180 recipes (and appropriate advice) from 12 of the country's best chefs.  Luscious!

6. Canadian Living (Magazine)
Yes it's a Canadian app but we have quite a lot in common with our Canadian cousins (after all we share a queen), and this magazine provides some of the most comprehensive advice without making you pay for every sentence.

This app delivers new recipes to your phone weekly, as well as a host of tricks and tips to get your barbecued food cooked to perfection.  And you can combine your recipe shopping lists into one for your trawl around the supermarket.

8. Houzz
So you've planned your feast but realise that your dining room decor will let the side down.  Use this app and choose from over two million ideas by room, location or style.

Now not many of us need to plan guests lists by excel sheet every week, but for the odd occasion you do, this is a great app.  It also helps you plot out seating plans, keeps track of budgets and timelines, and even lets you delegate tasks.   

This is my exception to the real estate rule, but since it's now much easier to link my phone snaps to my boards, it's made the cut.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

S is for Satay

The weather forecast is promising a lovely weekend and so I'm getting ahead and brewing up some satay sauce to go with barbecued chicken skewers on the weekend.

This recipe involves an enormous list of ingredients, but it really is a very simple sauce so don't be put off!

  • 2 bird's eye chillies (red or green)
  • 1 tblspn ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tblspn lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 tblspn groundnut/peanut oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspn turmeric
  • 1 teaspn ground coriander
  • 1 teaspn paprika
  • ½ teaspn cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspn black pepper
  • 1 tblspn ground cumin
  • 300 mls of coconut milk
  • 180 mls water
  • 85 grms peanuts, finely ground
  • 40 grms peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tblspn lime juice
  • 1 tblspn dark soy sauce
  • ½ tblspn light brown sugar
  • Dash of rice vinegar

  1. In a food processor, chuck in the chillies (seeds and stalk removed), the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and pour in a little of the coconut milk to loosen the mix
  2. Pulse until it resembles a slightly lumpy paste
  3. In a pan large enough to take all the ingredients, fry off the onion gently in the oil for 5 mins before adding in the paste
  4. Fry off everything gently for another 5 mins before adding in the turmeric, coriander, pepper, paprika, cayenne and cumin; cook off until the mix no longer smells raw
  5. If the mix starts to stick during this process, add in a little bit of the water
  6. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk and water and start to reduce slightly (simmering very gently)
  7. Stir in the peanuts and the lime juice
  8. Cook for a further 5 mins
  9. Add in the soy and the sugar and cook for another minute; add in the vinegar
  10. Adjust the seasoning adding in more paprika/cayenne/cumin and salt is wanted
  11. Serve warm
It can keep in the fridge up to four-five days if left to cool and reheated gently before serving.  This sauce can be frozen for up to six months and so I tend to quadruple the recipe and batch it up to last the summer.

Pictured here (in the middle) with sweet chilli sauce (left; amazing with sausages) and Greek yoghurt (right)