never ending cookbook

Sitar’s butter chicken

While this isn’t mums and certainly made for our Aussie tastes it is still the best Butter Chicken in Brisbane. 

Sitar originally a one off restaurant in Albion is now a mini franchise in Brisbane. Fortunately it seems that the butter chicken recipe is part of the franchise because it’s been consistently good at 3 locations.

I am copying it to the cookbook in fear that Sitar might one day decide to remove it from their site! 

Ingredients :

1 whole chicken 

2 tomatoes puree in a blender

2 onions, chopped 

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste 

15 cashew nuts paste 

1 ½ tbsp butter 

3 tbsp cream 

1 tsp chilli powder 

Oil for frying 

salt to taste 


For the marinade :

1 tbsp tandoori masala 
½ tbsp garam masala (cloves, cinnamon and cardamom powdered) 

2 tbsp lime juice 

½ tsp jeera 

5 tbsp yoghurt

Directions

Marinate the chicken in the marinade for 1 whole hour. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry the chicken for 10 minutes. 

Remove the chicken and keep aside. In the remaining oil fry add the chopped onions till golden , then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry sprinkling little water now and then, till the oil separates. 

Add the cashew paste, chilli powder, tomato paste and cook for 10 mins. 

Add the butter and the cream and the chicken. Mix well and cook till done. Garnish with coriander.

Visit www.sitar.com.au

Pea and ham soup

This is Grandma’s recipe.

Ham bones, or a combination of ham and bacon bones
2 onions, quartered
A few sticks of celery
3 or 4 large fresh carrots, grated
Several packets of split peas, green or yellow, or a combination of both (the colour of the peas doesn’t affect the flavour of the soup, only its colour)
1 teaspoon prepared hot English mustard
Additional ham, finely chopped

Remove any good ham that may be left on the bones, and set aside. Place bones in a large saucepan or stockpot with the onions and the celery. Cover with water, and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that may form on the surface. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 4 – 5 hours, skimming when necessary. When you are happy with the colour and depth of the stock, strain it into a clean container and refrigerate so that fat can be easily removed.

Soak peas in cold water overnight, removing any black ones that will float to the surface when the peas are stirred.

Return the stock (with fat removed) to a heavy based casserole which has been greased on the bottom to stop the peas sticking during cooking. Add the strained peas, grated carrots and hot English mustard. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer slowly until the peas have lost their definition and soup has become thick. Take care that it does not burn on the bottom as the burnt bits will affect both the taste and the appearance of the soup. Lastly, add the chopped ham and stir in well. The soup should be thick, so don’t stint on the peas.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Mum’s letter to us

I thought tonight was appropriate to share mum’s letter which accompanied each of our first versions of the Never Ending Cookbook. Given it was written on Christmas Day 1999, I can well imagine it being sometime past middnight (since this first edition was wrapped and ready on Christmas morning), her sitting with a Scotch on one side, ashtray on the other in her study and typing out these words of wisdom.

I’m full of admiration for her insights into fads and phases and I can just imagine what she would think of us all with our slow cookers and Thermomixes!

The original word document is long since gone from the computer – a virus took out her entire hard drive shortly after she died, so my apologies for the scan. Having her ‘mum’ signature makes it pretty special though. xxx 

LetterfromMum1022

LetterfromMum2023

Poached eggs with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce

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If you asked ten people what Eggs Benedict was, I am sure nine and a half of them would tell you it was poached eggs sitting on smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce.

Which is what happens when restaurants (and some food writers) are sloppy with their naming. A similar situation exists with Eggs Florentine.

Nevertheless, I just love eating this, whatever it is called.

4 thick slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic (optional)
A generous quantity of smoked salmon
8 poached eggs (these can be poached in advance and reheated, as they would be in a restaurant situation)
Hollandaise sauce
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprig of dill or tarragon, to garnish

Brush both sides of the sourdough slices with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for 1 – 2 minutes each side, until crisp and golden. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove.

Top each slice of sourdough with a generous quantity of smoked salmon, top the smoked salmon with 2 reheated and well-drained poached eggs. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if using, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with a sprig of dill or tarragon and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Variation: Cook some spinach in a little butter to wilt, then chop finely. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and, using the back of a spoon, press out as much water as possible. Season the spinach with salt and freshly ground pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Top each slice of sourdough with the spinach, add the smoked salmon, the poached eggs, then the hollandaise sauce. Garnish as above.

Almond Christmas Wafers

christmas almond wafers

185g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
250g plain flour, sifted
100g ground almonds

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and almonds and mix to a firm dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very firm.

Divide dough into 4 portions, roll out one portion 5mm thick and refrigerate the remainder until required. Using biscuit cutters in Christmas shapes cut out the dough (Christmas trees, angels, stars, etc.). Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake on a greased and lined baking tray at 180C for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden.
Store in an airtight container. Dust some of the shapes with icing sugar before serving.

Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse

This is definitely the best salmon mousse recipe ever. It is from Beverley Sutherland Smith’s wonderful old (1975) book, ‘A Taste for All Seasons’.

2 x 220g tins of best quality red or pink salmon
1 tablespoon gelatine
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
1 tablespoon home-made mayonnaise
1 cup finely diced celery
2 teaspoons chopped capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped bread and butter cucumbers
½ cup cream, lightly whipped
Drain the salmon and reserve liquid. Remove any bones and dark skin.

Mash, or put the salmon into a food processor for a few seconds and process until it is well broken up. If a food processor is used, a little of the reserved liquid may be added so that the salmon is not too dry.

Add gelatine to water, (not the other way around) and stir to dissolve the gelatine over hot water. Mix the dissolved gelatine with sugar, mustard powder, salt, horseradish cream and mayonnaise and stir this into the salmon. Add the celery, capers, green onions and bread and butter cucumbers. Lastly fold in the whipped cream. Put into a lightly oiled mould to set.

Cover and refrigerate. Mousse will keep well for several days.

Serve with cucumber salad.

 Photo by: http://lindaraxa.blogspot.com.au

Bundaberg Rum Balls

Traditional and choc & hazelnut coated Bundaberg rumballs

Bundaberg Rum is a very Queensland spirit and not to everyone’s taste. Dad of course won’t drink any other kind of rum. It’s not even served in a lot of places south of the Queensland boarder. You can always use another rum, but use “Bundy” if you can.

These are very easy and quick to make (no baking required!), make great Christmas gifts and are perfect for when friends drop round during the silly season.

Recipe makes approximately 30-40 balls (depending on size of balls). I usually make double (or triple) quantities, as they go so quickly!

1 packet plain sweet biscuits – similar to Arnott’s Nice
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons Bundaberg rum (more if you like a bit of a kick)

1 cup extra desiccated coconut or 1 block of 80% Cacao chocolate and crushed hazelnuts

Finely crush biscuits in a food processor. Add cocoa powder, desiccated coconut, sweetened condensed milk and rum to crushed biscuits. Combine all ingredients well (you should end up with a stiff mixture). If it is a particularly hot day, or your mixture isn’t quite stiff enough for the balls to hold their shape, put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or so before rolling.

Take large teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls using your hands, then roll balls in extra coconut to coat. Alternatively, you can melt chocolate in a double boiler then dip the balls in chocolate and roll in finely chopped hazelnuts.

Place in a single layer on a baking sheet or shallow plastic container and put in freezer. Once frozen, put into a container and keep in the freezer until ready to use.