Banana Cream Mini-Pies

The other night, my brilliant wife put together these banana cream mini-pies that rocked my family’s world.

Luscious? Check. Delicious? Check.

I brought a couple of these with me to the Canberra graphic design studio where I work, and I didn’t share. Sorry, boys. 

Can’t wait to try this Canberra wine!

Today, I got hold of a magnificent bottle of Australian wine from Canberra winemakers Kerralee Wines.

Darryl’s Drop is a 2013 Merlot Rosé created by Kerralee for their friend, Daryl Lawrence, “a good family friend who passed away on Canberra’s Centenary whilst our Merlot harvest was underway.”

This Merlot Rosé has a beautiful colour, with shades of orange, pink, and gold, depending on your light. Grown in their Canberra vineyard from cool climate grapes, Darryl’s Drop also features  lovely artwork done in pastels and watercolours by Dana Stewart-Thompson.

My mouth is literally watering.

[Darryl’s Drop and other fine Australian wines may be ordered on their website. I received no remuneration from Kerralee for this blog post.]

New seasons

This week marks the first week of my new job at Fresh Creative, a Canberra design studio that specialises in total communications solutions for print, marketing, digital, and signage across the ACT.

In the one week I’ve been working for Fresh Creative, I feel like I’ve been more productive than I’ve been in weeks. The people I work with are absolutely lovely, and we’re churning out quality work day in and day out.

As Little Orphan Annie sang, “I think I’m gonna like it here.” And she and I aren’t orphans anymore. Cheers to that!

Asian Chicken Stir-fry with Snow Peas

Last night, I wanted to put together a dish that had vegetables in it since I had a lot of veggies–including snow peas that I got at Coles for less than two dollars–and didn’t want them to go to waste.

So I decided to put together an Asian-inspired stir-fry with chicken as the star and colorful ingredients in phenomenal supporting roles. The end result was quite delicious.

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of cubed chicken breast
  • Three tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • One cup of organic chicken stock
  • Four tablespoons soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons cornflour
  • Four tablespoons of minced garlic
  • One cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • Two cups snow peas
  • Half a cup of broccoli florets
  • One red capsicum, chopped julien
  • One tablespoon sesame oil
  1. In a measuring cup, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, and cornflour.
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté the chicken and garlic until the chicken is cooked. Add mushrooms, broccoli, capsicum, and chicken stock mixture. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Add snow peas, cover the saucepan, and cook about five minutes. Add the sesame oil and stir about a minute, transfer to a large serving bowl, and serve.

Sizzling Tofu

My wife and I were able to secure a nice block of extra firm tofu last week, and we were excited to come up with something different that didn’t involve pasta or rice.

Then, boom! It hit us! Let’s do sizzling tofu!

In Manila, restaurants like Max’s Fried Chicken serve up in a sizzling hot plate some fried tofu that they mix with a flavored mayonnaise. It’s flavorful and delicious–not the healthiest way of preparing tofu, thanks to that mayo–and our kids enjoyed it. So here’s what we did!

Ingredients

  • A big block of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • Chopped red and green bell capsicums
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Cooking oil
Sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (pure egg, none of that soy mayo, ayt?)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Deep fry the cubed tofu until lightly browned. Remove from the saucepan and place on paper towels.
  3. In a separate, equally large saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the capsicums and onion in two tablespoons of butter. Add the fried tofu and fry about two to three minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce into the saucepan. Stir and continue to cook, about two minutes. .
  5. Transfer onto large serving plate and serve immediately.

Garlic butter pork steak with potatoes

A few days ago, I realized that I had some potatoes that weren’t moving. They’d been there a few days, and I hadn’t done anything with it.

So I looked in the freezer, found some pork steak, and put together a quick and easy fry that made this dish a home run with my kiddos! Check out this fast recipe for garlic pork steak with potatoes.

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of pork steak, cut into strips
  • Around a quarter kilo of potatoes, quartered
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • Three tablespoons butter, divided
  • Five garlic cloves, minced
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A third cup soy sauce, one tablespoon olive oil, and a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot for the pork marinade.

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork steak strips with a marinade of soy sauce, olive oil, and hot sauce. Leave for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, boil your potato quarters for about ten minutes.

3. Set a large pan to medium-high heat. Combine one tablespoon olive oil with a tablespoon of butter. Drop the potatoes in and cook until golden. Remove from pan.

4. Put two tablespoons of butter back in the same pan, and add the pork. Cook on both sides until lightly brown, then add the potatoes and remaining marinade. Cook until done, remove from heat, and serve immediately.

Beer-battered Barramundi Soft Tacos with Asparagus Fries

Over the weekend, we got ourselves some beautiful barramundi fillets from Woolworth’s. Normally, I’d make them with lemon-butter sauce, but this time around, my wife was feeling adventurous, so she decided to do fish tacos.

She went with a beer batter using potato starch. Loved that idea, because it gave the fish extra crunch. Add to that the salsa and salad greens, and some crunchy asparagus spears, and we had ourselves a partay! Also a nontraditional addition: kaffir-lime dressing!

Ingredients

Eight barramundi fillets
One bottle Hahn Premium light beer
1 cup potato starch
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus stalks
Eight small soft tacos/tortilla wraps
Salad greens
Tomato salsa
Garlic aioli
One pack of Five Tastes Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the vegetable oil for frying over medium heat.
    In a bowl, combine the potato starch and the egg. Once mixed, slowly combine with the beer to form a batter.
  2. Dip the barramundi fillets into the batter, then deep fry until golden brown. Lay on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Once all fillets are cooked, dip the asparagus shoots into the batter, then deep fry until golden brown.
  4. On a plate, assemble your taco to taste. I started with a layer of garlic aioli, then salad greens, the fish, tomato salsa, then the lime dressing. Roll the taco and enjoy!

No-Bake Shepherd’s Pie

The other night, my wife and I prepared a no-bake shepherd’s pie. A perennial kids’ favorite, we divided our pie into two sections–one with a vegetable medley of peas, corn, and carrots, and one that was meat-only–and served that to our kids.

The best part? It tastes great, even without baking! Give it a try!

Ingredients

0.5 kilo ground pork
05. kilo ground beef
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
0.5 cup, peas, corn, and carrots medley, defrosted (optional)
1 pack of mashed potatoes
Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Set your stovetop to medium-high, and place two tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Brown pork and beef in the pan.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir-fry until meat is almost cooked. Add vegetable medley and sauté until meat is fully cooked.
  3. Prepare instant mashed potatoes according to instructions.
  4. Put the cooked meat in a serving dish (drain extra oil, if you have any). Create a layer of mashed potatoes atop the meat. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.