Memoirs of a Budget Mum

Mother to five, parent in progress and occasional kitchenista cookerella

Category: Budget Recipes (Page 2 of 4)

Black Pepper Beef Linguini

I’m such a Black Pepper fan girl.
If tomorrow was the end of the world, I would have black pepper crabs without a blink.
If I ordered steak outside, I would opt for black pepper sauce by default.
At Swensons, I can’t seem to stop myself from ordering the black pepper seafood pasta and I’m not usually a creature of habit.
Or maybe I am….as this post may be proving me to be.
And now, in beef country*, where I can have my beef (cheap) and eat it, I love this black pepper beef linguini recipe which is my go-to one-dish-saucy-budget stir-fry for lazy days heaped onto linguini pasta.
Black Pepper Beef Linguini is the latest on my black peppery menu. It’s my stand-in for black pepper crabs for now, but also deserving in its own right.
Black Pepper Beef Linguini

Black Pepper Beef Linguini

The dry chilli adds kick (add chilli padi for more umami) and the beef absolutely rocks with BLACK, green and red pepper bell(e)s in a spicy and spunky gravy mix.
This 30min prep and cook is pleasurable enough to get the little ones to fight off the spiciness as they “sweat” through it!

Currently, I’m working on expanding the membership of the Little Black Pepper Fan Club so that I can have this more often .

Black Pepper Beef Linguini

500g linguine
250g mince beef
2 ½ tablespoons cooking oil
3 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small green bell pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
1/2 small red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
1 onion, cut into pieces
1-2 dry chilli (optional)
1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt, to taste
Marinade:
1.5 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. Marinate the beef for at least 15 mins
2. Bring a pot of linguine to boil for about 8 min till al dente. Drain.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry the garlic and until aromatic, and then add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion, beef and black pepper. Stir-fry until you smell the aroma from the ingredients in the wok. Adjust the sauce amount to your liking. Dish onto 1 serving of pasta and mix in. Garnish with coriander.

 * This post was written when we were residing in Melbourne, Australia!

Japanese Curry: A Family Favourite

Japanese curry Kare Raisu

Japanese Curry

Japanese curry has a tender spot in our household as the kids were initiated into the world of curries and spices primarily through it. For one, the cloying gravy (naturally sweet with onions, carrots and apples) is so appealing to their little taste buds that it takes them away from the heat, if any at all.

It can also taste more like a stew than a curry especially in its mildest form and thus de-mystifies curry as “hot”, “stinging” or overly spicy. It is the indisputable kid’s starter to curries compared to say Indian curry, which can be a little strong in spices or even Chinese curry, which can have substantially more chilli oil and coconut (otherwise known as “kick”).

And so, because of the Kare Raisu, the kids are able to earn their medals of valour for braving their tongues through “fire”. The rite of passage is pleasurable to watch each time as you see them overcome their preconceptions of spice: at the mention of the word “curry”, they recoil and are reluctant to venture in. However, when its “Japanese curry” instead, they relax and everyone’s game for a good meal with options for seconds, priding themselves each with the titles of ” He/She who did not even need to take one glass of water”.

Making your own curry roux is also the most achievable thing, especially when you’re short on store-bought cubes. It’s also a cheaper alternative too with the option to customize the level of spiciness. We attempted our own roux that day, with some mince beef and it was just as good. Otherwise,

On top of that, Japanese Curry is easy to pair with any kind of meat: chicken, beef, pork work well with some definition of unique flavour. It is also very versatile and can be eaten with rice or pasta. Pool some sauce over white rice, crack an egg on top and layer with cheese will make this dish more than awesome.

Definitely a family favourite!

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk is a classic and simple dish with an atypical formula. Milk, cinnamon and chicken, make cosy bedfellows. It is a spectacularly easy and exceptionally convenient dish – the braising liquid is none other than your regular carton of milk along with copious amount of butter, aromatics and herbs, the requisites of every good dish.

Here’s the basic process:
Brown some chicken in olive oil or butter.
Pour in some milk, two lemons’ worth of zest, a cinnamon stick, and fresh sage leaves. Scatter in a handful of garlic cloves in their jackets.
Bake for 90 minutes.
Pull apart and eat.

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk


http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/chicken-in-milk

Beef Rib Stew with Tortillini

You know you’ve grown an inch or so as a cook when you make a dish pretty much instinctively without referring to a recipe, and basically just trusting your senses of sight, smell and taste in working out the best flavour forward. So a few weeks earlier, I posted about a red wine beef stew. Then, I was scrawling back and forth my phone trying to internalize the “mechanism” of making the dish. This time round, I made a couple of refinements which I feel enhanced the flavour of the beef stew by leaps. Also, I didn’t need a recipe (so pls pardon if I don’t have precise measurements; I will share the general gist of making the dish)

The extra step (I thought)that made the difference, is roasting the beef ribs BEFORE the cooking process. It really added an intense depth and flavour to the dish. The ribs will be ready to pull apart from the bone and it will also rid the meat of impurities. Dump the bones in a separate pot to make beef broth while the meat goes in to braise in red wine.

This is not a fast and quick dish. In fact, the key ingredient is patience as you need to wait for each element to cook its time. However, the good thing is it can be done in parts. I roasted the beef bone first and then did the braising and soup stock for about 1.5 hours, went out shopping for 3 hours, came back reheated the pot and added the root veggies, mushrooms for another hour or so. Though required a little effort, it was well worth the wait as the flavours worked together like magic. I thought I’d get to keep some but there are no leftovers. I haven’t come down to making my own tortellini (ring-shaped pasta typically stuffed with meat/cheese) yet, but some fresh ones stuffed with veal on the supermarket shelves and figured they might be a good accompaniment 🙂

What you need:
1.5kg beef ribs (any combi of meat and bones)
4 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
4 bay leaves
some herbs (rosemary/thyme)
1 can chopped tomato
root veggies of choice
Fresh mushrooms
double cream (optional)
corn starch
sour cream (optional)


Here’s how:
1. Wash the beef ribs (I like some meat with bone coz they give me a flavourful stock), pat dry. Lay on roasting pan, a drizzle of olive oil, salt,pepper, sprinkling of herbs. Roast at 180degrees, for 45 minutes or till browned, turning once in between. (Meanwhile, go hang your laundry:)).

2. Remove from oven. When ribs are cool, pull out meat and set aside. Place bones in a stock pot, fill to cover bones, add residual liquid from roast in and boil on medium high for about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pot, prepare 4 cloves garlic smashed and 1 big yellow onions sliced. Fry with olive oil till slightly onions are soft, add beef meat and fry for another 5 min. Add 2 cups of red wine (add more or less depending on preference) to braise the beef till tender (about 1 hour). The wine broth will reduce so check regularly to see that it doesn’t dry up. Add more red wine if too dry.

3. When flavour has set into the beef, add your root veggies (parsnips, potatoes, carrots, celery etc), and mushrooms (I used portabellos), 4 bay leaves, together with beef broth (from the bones) and let the flavours cook out (another 30-40 minutes). Towards the end, add a can of chopped tomatoes for tang. I added a 1-2 tablespoon of cream, and 2 tablespoon of corn starch solution to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve over fresh tortellini, pasta or rice, with a dollop of sour cream.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

If there’s anything that spells “comfort” to my kids, it is probably cheese. Not just any kind of cheese, but mac and cheese. In fact, to say my kids love mac & cheese, would be an understatement. They love the browned cheese goo that tops it off, and everyone has their eyes on it like little pirates breaking into a fresh pot of gooey gold.They looooove the creamy, gooey, oozy, sticky cheesy sauce which hangs on its coattails when pulled out of the warm, mushy, mash of macaroni.

For mommy me, it spells “comfort” to know that there’s a fantastic vegetable that blends in superbly and unobtrusively into the macaroni mesh. The cauliflower’s nuttiness and moistness actually enhances the creamy texture significantly. Incorporating a veggie that so effortlessly camouflages itself with its tubular counterparts, is invigorating to say the least. The kids get their cheese and carbs (aka filled stomachs) and I sneak in my cauliflowers- the perfect accomplice to this criminally good dish!

INGREDIENTS (modified fromwww.kitchentreaty.com)

2 cups macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
3 cups of cauliflower
DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside.

2. Steam your cauli florets, with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper till just soft.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Over medium heat, melt the butter.Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.Stir in the milk.

4. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese, stirring until melted. Lay the macaroni, combined with the steamed cauliflower. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.

5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

 

Herb Crumbed Fish with Butter Rice


Earlier this week, I made the all-in-a-rice-cooker butter rice dish and experimented with an all-in-the oven herb-crumbed fish. Here’s how the “duo” looked together on our lunch plates. Definitely a delicious repeat dish! In case you missed them, just check back on my recent posts with visuals or just read off text here. Have a lovely weekend! 🙂


Herb-crumbed fish
1. Season fish fillets with 1/4 tsp of salt. In a bowl, whisk:
-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3tbsp of lemon juice (& grate zest in), 1/2 cup white wine, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 5 cloves smashed garlic. Coat fillets with dressing & arrange them skin-side down.
2. In another bowl, prepare any 2 tablespoons (chopped fine) of fresh or dried herbs you have in your pantry: parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, mint etc should do the trick!
Add:
-1/2 teaspoon of salt.
– 3 tablespoons of ev olive oil.
– 1/2 to 2/3 cup bread crumbs(depends on fillet size)
– dash of pepper
Toss well, until the bread crumbs are moist.
3. “Dress up” your fish by laying the crumbs on top. Bake at 190C for 15-20min till crumbs brown!

Butter Rice:
1. Pix left: Melt 40g butter in a pan. Throw in 2 tbsp( about 5 cloves) of chopped/minced garlic. Fry till fragrant.
2. Pix top right: Prepare
2.5 cup rice grain in rice cooker washed and add equal cup water. Grate 1/2 to 3/4 carrot in. Throw in 2-3 tbsp, 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (or cinnamon stick, & 1 teaspoon of tumeric powder for the gorgeous yellow colour. Add in butter n garlic. Give it a swirl n mix well.
3. Cook in rice cooker.

Soup Leek No Other

A dear friend alerted me to the fact that Gordon Ramsey has in fact a home cooking channel. At first I thought that strange. It’s hard to shake off his onscreen persona in Hell’s Kitchen as a kind of lean-mean-nasty-machine and on his home cooking series, he actually appears, well, affably nice. You see him in action at home, with his kids (he’s got 4) looking every part a relaxed and doting dad who cooks (bonus points) darn well (superbonus points). No wonder he’s got 15 Michelin stars to his name. So off I went to watch him in “Home’s Kitchen” and saw him work his magic on this charming soup, perfectly warm for a blustery day.

His recipe is titled “smokey-bacon-sweetcorn-and potato soup”, which I think doesn’t quite do justice to the star of this creamy broth which apart from the corn, HAS to be the leek. The kids have not been real hot fans of leek primarily because of its chewy texture but they’re since converted as the leek is melted down soft in the smokey bacon and sweet corn broth. And as you know, any recipe that gets my kids to eat leek without saying “eek” is a winner.

Make some: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/gordon-ramsays-home-cooking/articles/all/smoky-bacon-sweetcorn-and-potato-soup-recipe

 

Curry in a Hurry

Just caught an episode of the latest season of Masterchef and tonight was Chinese cooking night, with guest judge Kylie Kwong, a Chinese chef maestro, whom I used to watch occasionally on cable tv. The dish of reckoning that each contestant had to come up with was,… you guessed it, none other than our traditional Chinese staple – fried rice. It was entertaining watching the various permutations of fried rice with the weirdest combination coming from a Malaysian-Chinese contestant (irony) who delivered a “two kinds of pork” fried rice (pork belly with prosciutto) with ensuing disapproving looks from the judges. To them, belly fat and Italian ham did not make a happy marriage.

Guts vs glory aside, there’s truly a fine line between taking risks (that might lead to failure) in cooking and pushing the boundaries towards creativity. The decisions you make about what you cook, really does reflect who you are as a person. Are you a heck-it and whack-it kinda of person or do you try to keep close to the authenticity of the original. I think I fall somewhere in between. A case in point, is this green curry I dished out the other day; threw in some leftover pumpkin and mint to give it a ‘twist’… worked pretty well for me but not sure if it would have worked on every palette 🙂. In any case, my head is not on the Masterchef chopping board. No guts to get there, so no glory. What about you, care to share what kind of cook you’d rather be?;)

 

Giant Berry Pancake Escape

Giant Berry Pancake

Giant Berry Pancake

I have been dreaming about desserts since I got here and kicking myself that I left most of my baking ware back home. But when I stumbled upon this exciting mid-afternoon dessert, that is still making my heart flutter as I type, I was sold. It’s this Giant Berry Pancake.

In fact, this recipe had me at the word “Giant”–also equivalent to “upsized”, also equivalent to “good for feeding hungry children”. I am not really a strawberry person nor a pancake lover, but I HEART this pancake. Basic pantry ingredients and pancake batter all in one pan. No need for flipping, one oven delish. A stack of pancakes in the city would easily cost us $12 but this homemade delight that will send you straight to pancake “heaven”? Priceless.

Giant berry pancake

Slicing the berries

So here’s what we did to make the Giant Pancake happen. Little E was bored post-lunch and before she could start on her typical “Mom, I am hungry..” autopilot semi-whine right about 3pm, I executed the perfect plan.

“I am making a pancake and you can help me! How about you help me slice some strawberries?” “Yippee…!” she exclaims with relish and does a happy dance chanting “I am cutting strawberries, I am cutting strawberries (sung to “ne-ne-ni-poo-poo”). “Cut it into half, then cut it in half again.”….while she’s at it, I take the chance to throw in a few liners introducing her to the concept of halves and quarters. Here’s the berry happy girl (also a Strawberry Shortcake fan) doing her fair share for a piece of the pie.

Giant Berry Pancake

Folding the whites in and dropping in the berries

R gets home and jumps at the word “Pancake”. Immediately, he can’t contain his excitement. “I want Giant Berry Pancake!”. “Well, then you’ll have to help me, ” I say wryly. Swiftly, he throws his bag down, washes his hands and gets started. Both he and his sister start to jostle for the best position next to Mama.

Next, comes a round of musical chairs, where they start fighting over who gets the stepping stool to see better. Finally, they settle on a truce. E steps and watches her brother while he has a go at mixing the yolks and sugar and folding in the whites. When it’s done, they both dig their hands in the bowl of chopped strawberries and plop them into the goopy batter.

Giant Berry Pancake

Giant Berry Pancake Escape!

Finally, the plate of homemade awesomeness that we have all been waiting to enjoy has arrived on a plate accessorized with fresh strawberries and served with Vanilla ice cream. Really. Good. SHARE this page to save it on your timeline!http://picklebums.com/2013/12/16/baked-berry-pancake/

Okay No-Kay Okonomiyaki

I’m linguistically challenged and this pancake gave me a few doses of that reality.

Hur hur…. Oki…No, Oko as in Yoko Ono, yaki as in “yucky” is me scrambling at feeble word association only to be shut down by my kids who decided to take it up a notch…

“Mom, say this: “garbledegook”, “Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious”!,
another countered.
I could do that…I thought, rolling my lips to begin but not before proceeding to roll my eyes at their attempted mum-bashing efforts.

“Wait mum, try this…”Yakiniku, Makizushi, Takoyaki and Furikake. All at once.”

There. Slayed in an instant.
So anyone care to enlighten me: what’s the Japanese word for “surrender”?

Back to business. Here’s how you make (ahem) Japanese Savoury Pancake. Perfect for when you have nothing much on the fridge (some straggly cabbage/carrots/a crabstick/bacon bits or two).

http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.sg/…/okonomiyaki-japanese-sa…

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