February 2016 is New Zealand’s First Watermelon month, the key producer of the great watermelons that are grown in NZ is LeaderBrand and they are the brains behind this idea. This post is a part of a competition to create recipes using watermelon or to use a great pun, to use your melon.
I have had my thinking hat on for a while thinking about watermelons and #NZWatermelonMonth. In my head I have file cabinets full of recipes and ideas I have seen. It took a while for my brain to find this idea and when I did I made it my own and cooked my heart out.
Now, I didn’t make this idea up and it doesn’t look pretty. It tastes mighty fine and is a fab way to use all of the melon. The taste isn’t unlike cucumber or marrow but better.This is based upon an Indian dish which was stored in my vast head files, this dish is called ,tarbooz ke chile ki sabj. It hails from the Rajasthan region which is the region of India that calls me back and I hope to visit again one day.
This dish is more of a side dish and will go perfectly with just about every Indian main I can think of. I have kept the spices to ones likely to be found in your cupboard but feel free to experiment. I am sure my dish is not very authentic but it is the flavours I love. Be brave, use your melon…..your whole melon.
I am sure you can come up with things to do with the normal people’s part. There are many recipes out there for wonderful salads, sorbets and smoothies.
I don’t usually post many pictures with my recipes but I wanted to add a couple here so you can see how to best cut the watermelon. The rind on my watermelon wasn’t huge but it still worked fine.
This amuses me, it looks as if the watermelon is getting undressed.
Spices and Rind cut up.
Cumin seeds and spices.
The rind added to the spices.
Watermelon Rind Curry - Muffinmum.com
400g water melon rind chopped into 2cm rough square (you can increase the spice ratio to suit how much rind your watermelon yields)
1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt and pepper
1/4 c water
Heat oil in a pan, you need just enough to cover the bottom.
Add cumin seeds and cook until you can smell them release their flavour.
Tip in garlic and give a good shake and let cook for a minute.
Next add the spices.
Tip in that rind and stir well so it is coated in the spice oil.
Add the 1/4 c water and cover the pan.
Cook for 10 mins on a low heat, give the pan couple of shakes.
Remove lid and cook until the rind is soft.
Serve warm as a side dish and enjoy.
We love these spuds and the name of the company. I find that when I pick up a bag of Lucky Sod’s I know I am getting quality potatoes.
Summer in New Zealand means little potatoes and invites to barbecues that ask you to bring a plate. For those not in NZ, it doesn’t mean you have to take a plate but to bring some food with you to be shared with all. Potatoes are often over looked and I have the perfect recipe for you to impress the host. These cumin potatoes are excellent for dinner too, we had them tonight with stir fried vegetables and a sausage.
With the recipe you can crisp the spuds up two ways. Either carry on cooking them in the fry pan and keep flipping or pop them in the oven in a roasting pan. I have used a disposable baking tray to take them to barbecues and they have vanished quickly. They are best kept at room temperature.
Cumin Potatoes- Muffinmum.com
This recipe can be increased easily and they work just as well. Make sure your pans are big enough to have a single layer of potatoes.
500g potatoes (I use Lucky Sod Little Diggers)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom
Salt and pepper to season
Oil for frying
Cut potatoes so they are all even sized
Boil potatoes in salted water until a knife can be interested
In a large fry pan heat enough oil to just cover the base
Add the cumin seeds and brown
When they are brown add the potatoes
Stir the potatoes so they are covered in seeds
Cook for 2-3 minutes and keep stirring and
Add remaining spices, salt and pepper
Give everything a very good stir so all are covered and yellow
You can either keep cooking in the fry pan and stir regularly until brown and crispy
Place in a roasting tin and pop into the hot oven at around 180℃ and roast for 40-45 minutes stirring occasionally until nice and crispy.
I was lucky enough to receive happy mail thanks to Lassoo Media and PR. A courier knocked the door looking a little flushed and asked for Muffin Mum with a parcel in his hands, I did sign the device as Emma. In that parcel was a box containing three of the brand new sauces from Barker’s Of Geraldine. In my box there was a lovely cute wire rack containing Central Otago Rich Red Plum Sauce, Chunky Salsa Tomato & Capsicum Sauce and last but certainly not least Really Useful Chipotle Sauce. I engineered our dinner to include the later.
That is actually a bit of a lie, I planned a roast for Monday night but it was a hot day in Wellington. I decided to do a fancy meal similar to a roast but with a bit of a flavour boost. I stuffed chicken breasts with feta and tomato and ramped up the good old roasts with a good coating of the Really Useful Chipotle Sauce. This spuds were mighty fine and the Really Useful Chipotle Sauce has a very good kick. We are having burgers on Friday and I am looking forward to putting too much sauce on my bun.
Chipotle Roast Potatoes- Muffinmum.com
Heat oven to 180
1 kg of good roasters (Agria)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Really Useful Chipotle Sauce
Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly 4 cm chunks, don’t worry too much about the size but do make them roughly the same size.
Place in a pan, cover with cold water and add a little salt.
Boil the potatoes until you can insert a knife (around 10 mins)
Drain, tip back into the sauce pan.
Tip 2 tbsp olive oil over the potatoes and give the pan a good shake.
Tip into a roasting tin and place back into the oven.
Cook for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Mix Really Useful Chipotle Sauce and the remaining tbsp olive oil.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and tip the sauce over them.
Give them a good stir and stick back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
When they are nice and golden remove from the oven.
I love India. I plan to spend time living in India at some point, I love it that much. I have been 3 times and want to go more, I wish it was easier to get there from New Zealand. I also love Indian food. I say that in a generic way but there is only one thing I have come across that I didn’t like, soft idli.
I think cooking anything that might come under the heading ‘Indian’ frightens a few people. You can cook the grand food with all sorts of ingredients and spend a day doing it, you can also change recipes. You aren’t going to insult any one if you use a generic curry powder, find what you and your family like spice ways and work with what you get. I have been cooking my Indian homestyle food for as long as I can remember and lost my fear long ago.
This recipe is not classy and is not at all authentic. It is a good family feed and an easy midweek dinner. It can also be good for using things up like that scraggy chicken breast in the freezer, the ends of frozen veg and the last bit of rice. It is also a good place to start adding an Indian feel to family meals.
My Chicken Biryani- Muffinmum.com
1 tbsp flavourless oil (canola)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 large chicken breast ( or 2 small) in small cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves chopped
2c chicken stock
1 1/2 c basmati rice
1 1/2 c frozen veg
On a medium heat, heat oil in a wide fry pan with a lid
When hot add chicken and cook until sealed on each side
Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is transparent
Then add rice and give a good stir to coat
Tip stock in and give another stir
Cover, lower heat and let cook for 10 mins (check it has not gone dry a few times, add hot water if it has)
Add frozen veg, stir yet again
Cook with lid off for another 10-15 minutes (add more hot water if dries out)
Serve with cucumber and mint yoghurt, naan or what ever floats your boat.
*makes excellent left overs
So, Tuesday, or Taco Tuesday as it is commonly known, should not include Slow cooker BBQ chicken unless you plan to shower afterwards. Stick to wraps for this filling or even just have rice and enjoy it as it is. Just don’t do tacos, not even the fancy stand and stuff variety.
Back to the chicken, this is a good keeper of a dish. Not something we would have often but a good one all the same. A nice easy dish to get ready the night before, put the meat in the sauce and turn on as you leave the house. When you get in, shred the chicken and leave to cook a bit more.
This recipe comes from my folder and is dated 2005, I must admit to not knowing the origin of the print out.
Don’t be fooled, the juice ran everywhere.
Slow cooker BBQ chicken-Muffinmum.com
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove
1 teaspoon chilli pepper
1 teaspoon coffee granules
Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to coat.
Leave to cook for 5 plus hours, shred chicken in sauce about an hour before serving.
Serve with wraps, rice, salad but not TACOS
Last night I posted about my marvellous meal planning and polenta chips being part of tonights dinner. I thought I would share what I learnt and what I will do next time. For this first batch I decided to start with a healthy recipe from the March 2015 edition of NZ Healthy Food Guide. I figured as I always tweak things if we started at a healthy base I could tweak away and know they came from a good place.
This NZ HFG recipe does not contain stock and didn’t have enough salt for our liking. I thought the parmesan cheese might make up for this but this wasn’t to be. I actually only made 2/3 of the recipe below and I would say that would easily be enough for 4.
I will make them again and seek other recipes, we enjoyed having something different with our piece of steak and they did go rather nice and crusty. That word just doesn’t sound right, but that is what they were.
HFG Parmesan Polenta Chips - Muffinmum.com
2 cups of milk
2 cups of water
1 cup instant polenta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Line a 16 cm x 26 cm baking tin with baking paper,
Pour milk and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil,
Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the polenta, keep stirring,
Keep stirring and Cook for 6-7 minutes until thick,
Stir in parmesan cheese and parsley,
Tip into the baking tin and smooth,
Cool to room temperature and then place in fridge fro at least 30 mins,
Preheat oven to 200
Turn the set polenta out on to a clean chopping board and cut into thick chips,
Put the chips on to a prepared baking sheet and spray with oil,
Bake for 30 min or until golden, turning halfway through.
My recipe folder-going back to 1997.
I always plan our dinner before we go shopping, I am not the kind to stick to the list completely and will swap things in and out depending on what be on sale for the week. I also look for things that can be used over several dinner, like a family bag of salad. Recently on the New Zealand’s own Campbell Live Show there was a segment on food waste and it got me thinking about how good we have got at not throwing food away.
Back in the day, when we were young and childfree, we were terrible. When I think about the things we threw away I want to hang my head in shame. Not saving the half of the Indian takeaway for the next day was one of our worst moves. All that wasted curry and rice. Bad, or what?
So, how did we get better? We started to use the freezer more, planned dinners and shopped weekly. We also stopped doing one thing, buying all the things. There now has to be a reason to buy something. It isn’t about money saving, it is about use. With eating out, we started going out at lunch time and having a full meal. On the rare occasion we do get a take away we either share one dish or save it for the next day.
If you want to read a few more ideas have a look on the Facebook page- Love Food Hate Waste.
This weeks meal plan-
Monday-Steak with polenta chips
Tuesday- Slow cooker BBQ chicken in taco’s
Wednesday- Broccoli pesto pasta- didn’t happen, we had Tomato sauce and 5 minute bread instead.
Thursday- Beef mince chilli ( Miss Muffin will have a toned down version)
That is far as I have gone this week, I am out on Friday so I am pretty sure the other two will have bacon!