Basil Chicken In Coconut-Curry Sauce

Thai Green Curry Chicken with Basil

Photo courtesy of Mel at Masala Lover who was nice enough to try this recipe out.

Another old old recipe I made a while back. I copied it straight from the original source (which has since dropped off the internets), but from memory i think i bumped up the amount of tumeric and basil, and added a touch more coconut milk. This is really nice served over some steaming jasmine rice… So rich and creamy…

Basil Chicken In Coconut-Curry Sauce


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast h, alves (1 pound)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 large red onion, chopped (1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
1 can (14-oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp snipped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped gingerroot
1 small red onion, cut into wedges (optiona, l
1 fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 hot cooked rice


Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
Place chicken in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together the
salt, coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, chili
powder, and turmeric. Sprinkle over chicken; toss to coat. Cover and
let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator
for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large nonstick skillet cook and stir chopped onion, garlic, and
jalapeno in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Remove,
reserving drippings in skillet. Add about half of the chicken. Cook
and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or till chicken is tender and no pink
remains. Remove chicken from skillet. Cook the remaining chicken, as
above, adding additional oil if necessary. Remove from skillet.

Stir together coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to skillet.
Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Add chicken, cooked onion
mixture, snipped basil, and gingerroot to skillet. Cook and stir
about 2 minutes more to heat through. Serve over rice. Garnish with
red onion wedges and fresh basil if desired.

Colcannon Potatoes ( aka Bubble & Squeek )

Importing some old old posts from another blog I seem to have forgotten about… I did end up making these and now I’ve merged the recipe into my standard operating procedures for mashed potato… Which is always nice.

Another recipe i plan to make soon… Gourmet Comfort food… mmm tasty :) Colcannon Potatoes

A traditional Irish side dish also known as Bubble and Squeak. Our version is updated with green onions and parsley.

* 8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
* 1/4 cup white vinegar
* 3 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/2 cup 2% milk
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
* 1 pinch white pepper
* 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
* 3 cups finely sliced savoy cabbage, steamed until tender
* 2 green onions, thinly sliced
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and add the white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt.

2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until completely tender, about 25 minutes. Test that potatoes are done by piercing them with a fork. They should be tender.

3. Drain potatoes in a colander and let them steam-dry for 3 minutes.

4. Heat the milk in a small saucepan.

5. Place potatoes back in pot, add warmed milk and mash. Tip: Use a food mill or potato ricer to get the creamiest results.

6. Mix in butter, remaining salt, white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

7. Stir the savoy cabbage, green onions and Italian parsley into the potatoes.

Nutrients per serving: 159 calories, 2.5 g protein, 8.6 g fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre. Excellent source of vitamin B6.

Serves 8

My Favourite Food Blogs

Just a quick list of some of the food blogs I read on a daily basis (or whenever they post something).

The Food Palate – by Deborah – Sydney, Australia
The Stone Soup – by Jules – Sydney, Australia
Spice Blog – by Anthony – Perth, Australia
La Tartin Gourmande – by Bea – Boston, USA
Tomato – by Ed – Melbourne, Australia
Vicious Ange – by Ange – Melbourne, Australia

and some wine blogs:

Appellation Australia – by Cam, Australia
Basic Juice – by Beau, New York, USA
See, Sip, Taste, Hear – Collin & LA, Memphis, USA

I’ve found the trick is to steal a little bit from all of them…that way it always looks like I’m being original :) bom bom !

Lamb Stew with Garlic & Parsley Dumplings

Lamb Stew with Garlic & Parsley Dumplings

Every now and then my Irish / New Zealand heritage rears its ugly (hungry) head. I go walking through a butcher or supermarket and think, “That whole side of mutton looks pretty damn good”. Despite the fact that I don’t actually like mutton that much, and probably couldn’t even fit a full leg roast into my oven… the desire is still there.

Back in the day however, there was no trendy reason for lamb/mutton being a big part of our diet. We were living in rural New Zealand and my Dad was a shearer, and father of 5 children. You don’t need to be a genius mathematician to work out that pigeon & foie gras pies and wagyu beef medallions in a truffle jus do not go very far when you have 7 mouths to feed every night.

So lamb was the order of the day. Every now and then Dad would be given permission by one of the farmers he was working for to go out and kill a sheep, and he would take us kids along to join in the fun. Not everyones idea of a great family outing…but then I always remember having a good time, and learning a lot in the process about exactly where the food we eat comes from, and the sacrifice that gets made in the process. Check out this photostream on Flickr for an indepth look at the whole process from farm to table as documented by a chef who visited New Zealand recently.

Once Dad got it home and butchered up, it was Mum’s turn to take over. Whipping up chops, casseroles, and a lamb roast almost every Sunday that we children wolfed down with a fervency only a large Catholic family can, and a curtious “Thank you for the lovely tea” to Mum after the meal, before running as far as we could get away from having to do the dishes. Inevitably though… the call would come… “Arm yourself with a tea towel”… and it was all over.

So this dish is a bit of throwback to simpler times, to hearty meals cooking in one big pot on cold winters night, and to being in touch with the food thats on your plate.

For the Stew

  • 500g or so of Lamb/Mutton (I used lamb steak, but anything would work as the slow cooking makes it nice and tender)
  • 2 or 3 large potatoes, peeled, chopped into big chunks (I served my stew on a garlic mash, so you may or may not want to double up on potato… if you’re Irish, I’m sure you will)
  • Red wine (I used Shiraz Viogner, a little for the lamb, a lot more for me)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, sung to softly, and then chopped with reckless abandon
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a few tablespoons of flour (or an equivalent amount of cornflour to thicken)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Rosemary (lots of)
For the Dumplings

  • 200g plain flour
  • a few good sized knobs of butter
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • a handful of fresh italian parsley, shredded
  • a few splashes of milk

How I made the stew

Cut up your meat into nice juicy chunks. Coat them in a bit of oil and season with salt and pepper, then brown them in a pot to seal them. When they are just brown on the outside. Throw in the leek, onion, garlic, and let it soften. when thats gotten a bit soft, pour in a swig or two of red wine, and let your lamb simmer away and absorb it. Then throw in a bunch of rosemary and let those flavours soak in too. Once thats done, pour in 500 ml or so of water. Enough to cover the meat and a bit more…
Then add your hard vegetables, the carrot, sweet potato, potato… Then add enough flour/cornflour to thicken the soupy stock into a hearty consistency. When you’ve got it roughly to the consistency you want, add a little more water and then turn the heat right down to just a smidge above a simmer, put the lid on the pot, and walk away…

Bubble bubble toil and trouble

The longer you leave this stew cooking now at this heat… the more tender and flavoursome the meat and veges are going to be at the end. So try to resist if you can.

In the meantime, you should be preparing your dumplings.

How I made dumplings

Now I am by no means a dumpling expert. This is a relatively new thing for me to do, so if anyone has some sure fire dumpling making techniques, then feel free to let me know. I bastardized a couple of recipes I found online and came up with this idea.

Parsley Dumpings with Garlic Butter inside

Soften the butter and then work it into the flour until its a crumbly consistency. Then throw in your chopped parsley, a little pinch of salt, and a splash of milk. You should now have enough moisture to work the flour into a reasonable dough.Add a bit more flour/milk to make the dough all nice and soft, and then your done. Now roll the dough out into little circles, place a knob of butter and a teaspoon of crushed garlic in the middle of the circle, and roll it up.

I made about 8 or so dumplings… but of course its easier to make more, just add more flour/milk. So now about 20 minutes or so before you want to eat your stew… Toss the dumplings on top of everything, and watch them bob along the surface, slowly cooking, and absorbing all those wonderful flavours.

I served mine simply over a mound of garlic mashed potatoes (incidently, one way to get mash potatoes really smooth is to use cream or double cream and to pass it through a sieve a couple of times after mashing), with some more fresh parsley and lots of pepper on top.

Lamb Stew with Garlic & Parsley Dumplings

You’ll be downing a guinness and dancing like Micheal Flaherty before you know it.

Sol. Oils aint oils.

Enjoy Njoi

I love olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil that is. I use it in virtually every dish I make. I marinade with it, I fry with it, I make into sauces, and I’d probably drink the stuff too if I had to.

So when I was sent a request a while back to try out some Njoi olive oil, and to say what I thought of it, I said yeah, sure ! Free stuff works for me… (whilst premising the acceptance with the clause that it would not necessarily be an endorsement, but a fully disclosed review of a product I’d been given). So that was all good, and Andrew (aka oil man), sent me 3 bottles of Njoi extra virgin olive oil.

The package turned up and I had:

1 bottle of regional New England
1 bottle of regional Greater Southwest
1 bottle of Njoi blue (a non region specific blend).

The first bottle I tried was the New England. It was a lovely light bodied oil with a peppery finish (pretty much what it says on the bottle), and went really well with the toasted turkish bread I was dipping into it. I would have loved to try more of it, but a minor mishap while I was packing up to move house meant that I smashed the bottle all over the kitchen tiles. I can confirm it makes a really great tile buffer though.

The next one I tried was the Greater Southwest (which is pretty large area when you take into account that it extends down from New Norcia all the way to Denmark) was less impressive in my book. It’s still got a nice smooth finish to it, and is perhaps more balanced than the New England, but lacks the finess that premium olive oil needs to stand out from the crowd. I did a mini experiment with some blind tasting of this oil, and the olive oil I use for cooking on a daily basis, Beaming Hill, using Sharon and Dan as guinea pigs. I asked the highly specific question of “which one tastes better”. Dan picked the Beaming Hill, while Sharon picked the Njoi. Inconclusive of course, but it shows that there was not a clear distinction between this wine and what is a cheaper extra virgin olive oil.

The Njoi Blue blend is one that I have tried in the past and really liked. It was actually one of the first premium olive oils I tried a few years ago, when I ran into the Njoi stall at the Perth Food & Wine Festival. It’s a nice medium bodied oil and is great for marinading and bbqing.

Enjoy Njoi

And so to the reviewing part of the post. Is this good olive oil ? Absolutely. Would I buy it on a regular basis ? Possibly. I am rarely frugal when it comes to spending money on quality food, but I go through so much olive oil, that I really do need something a bit cheaper for everyday use. This oil is great for special uses like dipping and sauces, and the odd salad. But I think I need something that can cater for the masses without breaking my bank balance.

If you’d like to try some of this oil, feel free to check out Andrews store where he can give you a good deal.

Chilli Beef Noodle Stirfry

Chilli Beef Noodle Stirfry

I feel like a bit of a fraud making meals like this. It isn’t really cooking so much as arranging ingredients in a wok and applying heat. In saying that though, this is the kind of meal that started me off on my cooking adventures, when I was young and impetuous and carefree.

Back in those days (circa 1997), men didn’t cook at all. Certainly not ones that went to university anyway. So I would throw together my stirfrys with all the flair and extravagance of a young Ernest Shackleton, boldly trudging into the unknown (but with a cocky assurance that I’d be rewarded with rapturous praise if I managed to assemble anything vaguely edible onto a plate). My gratuitous use of peanut oil, and my willingness to embrace the exotic world of coriander, baby corn and bean shoots made all my meals an instant success. The world was my oyster sauce… and I squeezed it for all it was worth.

So here again is my homage to simple cooking. To getting people excited about making their own meals, and to preparing food in less time than it takes to get in the car to drive to McDonalds.


  • Sliced Beef (I used about 400g of rump steak, but anything is fine, topside was my original goto cut)
  • 2 chillis, chopped finely (less or none if you don’t want this to be spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1 pack of egg noodles
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Red wine / Chinese Cooking Sherry
  • Big handful of chopped coriander
  • whatever else you can find in the fridge that looks tasty

How I Made Mine
Fry the chopped chilli in oil by itself. This gives it a real kick, and will infuse your oil with capsaicin (the stuff that makes chillis hot). Fry the garlic now too, and when its soft, throw in the beef to get it nicely coated. Fry the beef until its just cooked, adding some red wine or sherry while its going for a bit of extra flavour in the meat, then take out of the wok.

Now fry your onion, capsicum, zucchini, and whatever else you’ve decided to use. When they are getting a little soft (but still have some bite), throw the beef back in, add in the egg noodles, toss it all around, splash in enough soy sauce and oyster sauce to get the flavour your after coating the noodles and veges, then toss through your coriander (cilantro for americans), and you’re done.

Then place in front of your partner/friends/family/cat, and wait for the praise you so richly deserve :)