Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Roast Turkey with Ricotta Stuffing

I have always wanted to roast a turkey for christmas. This year, I did it! This recipe from Neil Perry was so delicious with the ricotta and butter rub- only thing was his recipe was for a very very big bird (7.6kg!), so I tweaked the oven cooking time/method to suit the 4kg turkey I ordered.

4kg whole turkey
extra virgin olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup baby spinach
200g fresh ricotta, drained
1 T chopped thyme
1 T chopped flat leaf parsley
90g raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained
75g unsalted butter, finely diced (room temperature)
1 egg
sea salt and white pepper

Serves 6 adults with plenty of leftovers

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with absorbent paper.
2. To make the stuffing, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Microwave the spinach in hot water for 2 minute, drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze the excess water from spinach. Chop coarsely.
4. Combine the onion mixture with the spinach, ricotta, herbs, raisins, and butter in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
5. Spread the stuffing between the skin and breast/legs, until it is firmly packed in. Rub the skin with plenty of olive oil and season the turkey inside and out with sea salt and white pepper.
6. Place the turkey on a greased wire rack in a large baking tray, and roast breast side down, on top, cover with greased aluminium foil and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
7. Turn turkey, breast side up, and roast uncovered for a further 20 minutes or until cooked (When tested with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the breast should be 74°C and the legs 80°C).

1. If the turkey was frozen, start defrosting in fridge at least 2 days before cooking.
2. For gravy, heat up the juices from turkey in a pan with 20g butter, 3 T plain flour, 2 cups of water. Stir and let reduce to gravy consistency. 
3. When seasoning the skin and inside of turkey, rub with ALOT of salt (I used at least 1 Tablespoon).
4. Meat thermometer is essential to make sure the turkey's cooked perfect.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Glutinous Rice Balls 湯圓 in sweet ginger syrup

Becoming a mom this year got me thinking of the value of rituals and traditions, and I would love to create some for our family. Winter solstice festival fell on the 22nd of December this year, so glutinous rice balls are the 1st Chinese tradition I'm starting us with! This brilliant recipe was passed on to me from my mom and aunties. Using a variety of sweet potatoes gives it lovely colour, much healthier than the usual food colouring.

250g of glutinous rice flour (divide into 3 parts)
1 cup purple sweet potato, diced.
1 cup red sweet potato, diced.
1 cup white sweet potato, diced.
2 stalks pandan leaves (screwpine)
3 T white rock sugar
4 cup water
3 thin slices of thumb size ginger

1. Steam sweet potatoes in separate bowls until soft, then mashed finely or puree.
2. Mix glutinous rice flour into separate puree bowls until 'play doh' consistency.
3. Shape the 'play doh' into little balls (1-2 cm in diameter)
4. To prepare the ginger syrup, boil pandan leaves and ginger in water for 10 minutes. Lower heat and add sugar.
5. Put the glutinous rice balls into the bubbling ginger syrup. When the balls float to the surface of the water, you're done.
1. If you could not reach the 'play dough' texture, try mixing in more glutinous rice flour if the dough is too wet, or mixing in some water if the dough seem dry. You'll get it in the end by process of trial and error, keep trying.
2. Use an ice cream scoop to divide your dough into equal parts, shape into thin rolls, cut rolls into 1-2 cm sections then shape into little balls.
3. You can also use steamed pumpkin, or any other fruits to get a variety of colours (beetroot?!).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Karen Martini's Son in law eggs

This is one of my favourite Thai appetiser! Restuarants like 'Chin Chin' and Gingerboy generally charge a hefty A$8 for 2 eggs. When I saw Karen Martini's recipe published on the Sunday Age couple years ago, I HAD to make it. To make at home, this would only cost A$8 for all the ingredients, and will yield triple the portion + lots of Nam Jim sauce left over for future meals.  So easy, and mouth watering delicious! My husband absolutely love it!!

Nam Jin Sauce

3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 pinches salt
12 red chillies (long, skinny), seeds in and sliced
350g caster sugar
320ml red wine vinegar
2 T tiny dried shrimp
1 T fish sauce

1. Pound garlic and salt to paste. Add chilli and pound to rough paste. Place paste in saucepan with sugar, vinegar.
2. Pound dried shrimp until fluffy. Add shrimp to saucepan.
3. Bring saucepan mixture to boil over medium heat.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes or until slightly syrupy. 
5. Add fish sauce and simmer for 1 minute, then transfer to sterilised jar and allow to cool.

Son-in-law Eggs

5 soft-boiled eggs, peeled and cooled to room temperature
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned
1 / 2 bunch watercress, trimmed
1 / 4 bunch mint, leaves only, torn
5 T Nam Jim Sauce
2 t crispy shallots
juice of 1 lime

1. Cut eggs in half and place on serving plate.
2. Sprinkle lime leaves over eggs and scatter with watercress and mint.
3. Spoon Nam Jim sauce and lime juice over salad, then spinkle with crispy shallots and serve.
1. For perfect eggs, I used the Cuisinart eggcooker. It was a gift from the Fat Rascal (bestfriend) many years ago, extremely handy tool which I use all the time.
2. You can make the Nam Jim sauce few days in advance. On the day of the meal, only assembly is required. Sauce can keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Such a versatile sauce, I've even used it in place of tomato sauce for BBQs.
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