Chimichurri

 

Ok, here’s the thing about chimichurri: everyone has an opinion, everyone has a preference, everyone thinks they know ‘authentic’ better than the next yanqui, and absolutely eeerrrybody has time for it. The authors over at Asado Argentina set a few things straight about all the fuss and the myths surrounding this magical green (and sometimes not green) sauce, and I applaud them for doing so. I mean shit, nobody can even decide if it’s a gaucho thing, an Italian immigrant thing, or if it’s from the Basque word “tximitxurri”: a mixture of several things in no particular order. I’m banking on a mix of all three.

What follows is how I like my chimichurri: chopped, not blended; parsley, not coriander; boozy, spicy, and onion-and-tomato-free. I’m not going to tell you it’s the best, or the most traditional, or that I should know because I’ve attended my fair share of weekend asados. All I will say is it went down pretty well at a barbeque the other day despite my mistakenly telling a house full of Brazilans that the sauce is from Argentina, circa World Cup finals week.

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Oops.

Also, we discovered that the stuff goes even better with kangaroo than it does with beef… ‘straya mate!

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Make a meal of it:

Note: I didn’t write down the quantities of everything, mainly because I was too busy chopping and mixing and taste-testing, but also because you just need to test it yourself till it tastes ‘right’. You basically can’t go wrong, as any combination of the main ingredients is going to end up pretty damn tasty anyway.

Roughly:
2 large bunches parsley, finely chopped.
2 tbsp dried oregano, plus a handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp paprika
3 tsp dried chili flakes
Juice of 3/4 lemon
A few shakes of pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Olive oil and red wine to make it saucy

Start with the parsley, oregano, oil, chili, and garlic to form the base of the sauce, then add the other ingredients to your liking. Personally I think the texture of chimi is part of the appeal, so I won’t blend it, and tomatoes & onions should be saved for the salsa criolla, I think – but each to their own. I really do think the bolognese rule applies here and wine makes all the diference. Make a big batch before a barbeque and freeze individual portions in sandwich bags to jazz up those boring steak and salad weeknights.

 

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Lassi a la Little L

 

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Wandering around Adelaide’s Central Market in a bit of a dehydrated, sleep-deprived daze, I saw some pretty Mexican mangoes arranged in one of the stalls. I thought mangoes. I thought coconut water. I thought smoothie. Then halfway through blending them I thought, ‘Hey, this is almost like a Lassi!’ So I added spices and bam! Delicious & guilt free mango almost-lassi.

Make a meal of it:

250 mls coconut water
1 mango
1/3 cup natural yoghurt or kefir
2 tbsp chia seeds, soaked for ten minutes in some of the coconut water
a pinch each of salt, cardamom and turmeric

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Sugar-Free Breakfast Muffins: Banana, Walnut & Oat Bran

 

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With crazy long work weeks over two jobs, a reasonably active social life, and a cottage with a broken heater, some mornings it gets REALLY hard to part ways with my electric blanket. How to get that extra ten minutes in bed and not have any breakfast dishes to deal with before running (literally, most of the time) out the door? Muffins, that’s how! These babies can be made ahead of time and are great to just throw in the handbag on those crazy-busy days. Use this recipe as a base and substitute the dates and walnuts for whatever fillings take your fancy.

Make a meal of it:

2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Handful dates, chopped
2 1/2 cups oat bran
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp baking powder
cinnamon & nutmeg to taste

1. Mix wet ingredients.
2. Mix dry ingredients.
3. Mix together.
4. Spoon the mix into patty pans and bake ’till cooked through & crusty on top.

Jack Daniels Sauce (TGI Friday’s Ripoff)

Yeah, I totally tried this.

It totally worked.

I’m totally gonna do it again sometime.

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I started with this recipe and pretty much followed the steps, though I doubled the portions to have enough to freeze. Also I think I more than tripled the Jack – next time I would skip the water nearly altogether and use Jack instead – otherwise, you get all the pineapple and onion, and none of the bourbon. I’d also use just a touch less cayenne. I found some of the steps quite time consuming, painful (mincing onions) and not really necessary since the texture of the sauce wouldn’t suffer if it were blended. The taste is spot on, though. Roasting the garlic is absolutely key, as is making a few too many Jack & Pineapples to drink while you wait for it.

End result: Little L Kitchen Karaoke: Tipsy, Pyjamas and Wooden Spoon Microphone Edition.

Sorry not sorry, neighbours.

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Make a meal of it:

Note: I followed the original recipe, give or give a bit of extra bourbon. This is how I’ll do it next time, because I found it an unnecessarily lengthy process and I’m pretty patient when it comes to… umm.. slow food?

1 head of garlic, roasted*
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1c pineapple juice
Dash of water
1/4 cup teriyaki
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/3 cups brown sugar (ideally I would cut this down, but I think it needs to be there for a thickener as well)
3 tbsp lemon juice
One small onion, roughly chopped and caramelised
1/3 cup Jack Daniels
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
Pinch cayenne pepper

1. Lightly caramelise the onion in the olive oil.
2. Put onion, pineapple juice and pineapple chunks in a blender till smooth.
3. Transfer back to saucepan and add sugar, lemon juice, jack, teriyaki and soy sauces.
4. Squeeze out roasted garlic from the head. It should come out like a paste. Whisk together with the existing mix.
5. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer, adding a little extra water if it’s too thick.
6. Allow to bubble away gently until desired consistency is reached: the original recipe advises 40-50mins but I have no clue how long it took mine, because I was too busy with the kitchen karaoke.

* To roast garlic, take a whole head and chop the stalk end off so the top of the cloves are sliced into, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake till fragrant and mushy.

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche.

Doce de leite.

Spanish Caramel.

…Milk Jam, anyone?

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So, Argentina made the World Cup final and I made dulce de leche to celebrate. As if you even need an excuse for something as brilliant as dulce de leche but hell, the restaurant’s opening at 3am for the game and I’ma need something to jolt my sleepy brain into bilingual bartender mode. For the uninitiated, it’s like caramel but so. much. better. Dulce de leche on a banana is the ultimate combination, but you can use it for topping on just about anything, as a cake filler, or for alfajores. I know I’ll be spooning the leftovers into my porridge, too. Just don’t tell anyone.

This is a very basic recipe and it won’t yield dulce de leche quite as good as the stuff in Argentina but it’s close enough, really. I make it in a batch and what I don’t use in alfajores gets given to friends or kept in a jar in the fridge. For reasons.

Make a meal of it:

3 cans condensed milk (okay, who are we kidding? Two and a half cans.)
2 pinches salt flakes
1 tsp vanilla essence

Bain-marie that bad boy, taking it out to whisk every 20 minutes or so until it turns roughly the colour in the picture. I use a pyrex dish inside a deepish baking tray with some foil over the top. Obviously, longer baking = thicker dulce de leche.  It’ll come out gluggy and lumpy and strange, but just keep whisking and you’ll end up with smooth, sweet deliciousness. I know it all sounds very vague, but you just have to trust this one. It really is that simple.

Yes, This Woman


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Because my male friends have used physical force to prevent me from leaving a bar and walking home alone.

Because I feel less safe in a taxi.

Because helping a woman escape unwanted attention = cockblocking.

Because apparently a man changing his opinion of my moral standing is the only motivation I have for turning him down.

Because the creep outside my window only left after he saw there was a guy in the house.

Because I didn’t realise how effective “I have a boyfriend” is until I got one.

Because I can’t work out at home some days due to the audience it gathers.

Because I was told I needed to make more of an effort at work when I didn’t wear make up one day.

Because I was told to remove my makeup when I wasn’t wearing any.

Because I got in trouble for insulting a boy at school who frequently lifted up my dress.

Because I also got in trouble for wearing shorts instead.

Because he was not reprimanded at all – boys will be boys, yadda yadda yadda.

Because taking bets on my bra size was deemed acceptable workplace behaviour.

Because I wear a sports bra if I am feeling particularly averse to attention that day.

Because it works.

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Because when a stranger put his whole face in my cleavage last weekend, it was “hilarious”.

Because men who make their wives uncomfortable by flirting with me are the best tippers.

Because I was told I would lose my job if I refused service to a male customer who physically hurt me inside the store.

Because I am not overreacting, I am not hysterical, I am not on my period and I do not need to relax.

Because I’ve watched people make rape jokes in front of friends who were raped.

Because NONE of them reported it.

My experience as a woman is unnacceptable, but unexceptional – which is exactly why I’m thrilled that #yesallwomen is making headlines and equally thrilled that #notallmen are passing it off as hysteria. Nice one, internet! 

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Madeleine’s Spiced Sangría

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Last Saturday we celebrated my friend Diana’s 21st at the Hutt (and by ‘we’, I mean everyone else celebrated at my house while I was at work, then I got to pig out on the leftovers when I eventually made it home). Diana’s Mexican, so she had the house decked out in my favourite colourful papel picado streamers with a gigantic piñata out the back, and the whole thing was catered with some seriously delicious tacos and other treats on offer.

My job? Give her the keys and fill an entire laundry bucket with sangría.

I used a colleague’s recipe as a base to work from, but I subbed the sugar syrup for pomegranate juice, added some chili to stick with the Mexican theme, and used up some of the Huttmate’s leftover rum instead of buying a whole bottle of cointreau. Yep, I know, I absolutely cannot stick to a recipe but hey, it turned out to be delicious!

Make a meal of it:

For syrup
2 cups pomegranate juice
10 cinnamon sticks
2/3 tbsp cloves
1/3 cup lime cordial
Rind from 1 orange, sliced thinly (keep the rest of the orange to slice and throw in the sangría later)
Decent slug of vanilla essence
2 shakes of chili (or to taste)

For Sangría
1 bottle red wine (I used a cab sav)
1 litre dry ginger
90ml brandy
90ml cointreau or spiced rum
Punnet of strawberries and two small granny smith apples, sliced and diced

1. Put all the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently until fragrant. Make this two days before the party so it can sit in the fridge and all the flavours can seep out.
2. The night before the party, combine the syrup with the wine, spirits, and chopped orange. Again, leave in the fridge to stew.
3. Before serving, add the ginger ale, strawberries and apple.
4. Serve over ice and get ready to festejar!

Note: I tripled the recipe to suit a big party, and had enough left over to poach some pears in during the week. Yum!

 

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