Welcome back to Friday Picks! I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make recipes! I’d love to hear from you as to what recipes you’d like to see here – more side dishes, or more desserts, or more pasta? Less meat? Super quick ones, or slow cooker recipes? I’d love to hear about the recipes you might have tried from the Picks, as well.

Enjoy your weekend!

 Meatos

   Lamb Tagine 

    Beef and Cashew Stir fry    

    Creamy Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes    

 

Vegos

 Veggie Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash 

     Eggplant, Ricotta and Parmesan Bake 

  Vegetarian Phad Thai  

Our friends Connie and Fidelis had us to dinner recently, and we feasted on some seriously good curry. We had Bombay potatoes and a chicken curry, pickles and Fidelis’ own pickled green chillies, which blew my head right OFF (stop laughing, certain readers in Malaysia).

 

Pics by Fidelis Rego, Curry Chef Extraordinaire

Since then, I’ve been craving chilli hits at almost every meal. It wasn’t enough to just have my mouth tingle, but I was after some serious burn. So with that in mind, I set off to make my own curry, from scratch, from whole spices.

  

Mmm…whole spices smell amazing! Especially when I bash away at it with a mortar and pestle! Then I realise that while it’s an exhilarating sensory experience, it takes a loooong time to reduce it to a fine powder. Time for some reinforcements…

 

Put them all in a spice grinder…exert myself by pressing a button for 2-3 seconds…look! Fine powder! 

 

I chose to make this curry because, it’s really quite a simple one (relatively speaking) to make. All it needs is spice, meat and coconut milk, and then a gentle simmer until the meat is tender. If you don’t want to use whole spice (and having to grind them), just substitute with ground/powdered spice. I served this curry with rice and a very simple, tangy carrot salad. The tangy carrot salad/relish is not something I’ve made before, but I think now that I will always have that with a curry. The cool, tangy carrot perfectly balanced the rich, spicy curry. Now I understand why Indians love pickles with their curry!

You’ll find a similar recipe to the one I used, here. Enjoy!

I frequently get hot in the kitchen –  even in winter, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it gets in summer. Much as I love cooking, I love being cool even more. Quite often, when the mercury soars, my BBQ Man will sweetly offer to BBQ meat while I put a salad together. But I’ve read that too much charred meat is detrimental to one’s health, so I try and vary my summer survival strategies.

One of them is to cook in the morning, while it’s still comparatively cool. But it occurs to me that not every has the means (or let’s face it, inclination) to cook in the morning – some mornings are just as hot as evenings here in Queensland. Then it dawned on me that using the slowcooker (or hotpot or crockpot) would be a really good way of cooking in summer, for a couple of reasons.

The very nature of slowcooking means it has to be at a very low heat – so basically one needn’t heat up the kitchen or oneself, when cooking. The other wonderfully nice thing about using a slowcooker is that it needs minimum or absolutely no attention, for the however many hours that it takes to cook. It occured to me that the slowcooker really is a wonderful kitchen tool for summer cooking!

The challenge however, lies in choosing dishes that one would be inclined to eat when it’s boiling hot outside. I hit on make a pot roast that, once cooled, can be sliced and eaten with salads, and then made into sandwiches the next day. When I made a beef pot roast, we had it warm, with the vegetables that were cooked alongside the roast, then in sandwiches and finally tossed in a cold noodle salad concoction. Easy and oh-so-unsweaty to make. 😀

Cooking dinner that day took a moment’s work, in the morning. I cut onions, mushrooms and carrots into large chunks.

Into a hot pan went the onions, whole garlic cloves and some sprigs of thyme that I had bought fresh, and dried. In went the bolar beef, to sear.

 

I placed mushroom chunks in the bottom of my gleaming slowcooker

Topped it with the roast and other vegetables

I deglazed the pan with some red wine, which I poured over the roast, and then added enough water to just cover it. Then, on with the lid, all to be forgotten until 8 hours later. The long slow cooking tenderised the meat beautifully, and the flavours of the red wine and thyme were well absorbed into the meat.

This is the recipe that I adapted mine from.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25307/beef+pot+roast

Enjoy!