The Pseudo Epicurean on Austerity Drive

The Jman and I are on austerity drive! Given the dismal economic situation, we’ve decided to tighten the belt and start eating home a lot more. This is good news for me because I have lots more reason to be in the kitchen, which I am totally enjoying. As you may have noticed the increased activity on this blog, I have been cooking a lot more, not just dinners but lunches as well (I generally avoid eating the same thing for lunch and dinner so I usually cook another different meal for lunch).

Chicken & Corn Cakes

I had some chicken breast sitting in the freezer and was wondering what to do with it. Stir-fry? Curry? Pasta? Salad? I was kind of bored of the usual renditions of chicken dishes and so I decided I’d try something more adventurous this time. I’d made chicken cakes before with some leftover minced chicken before, so I thought I’d make some with the chicken breast. Besides, I could store the uncooked patties in the freezer and save any leftovers for another meal.

The chicken cakes were easy as. It barely took me 30 minutes from start to finish to make them and they were so incredibly delicious (I couldn’t resist frying one up for myself – all in the name of “taste-testing” – before these gems went into the freezer). They are also very, very healthy, you wouldn’t believe it.

Putting it all together

Putting it all together

The final product - golden cakes full of chickeny goodness!

The final product - golden cakes full of chickeny goodness!

Ingredients (makes approximately 8 mini cakes)

  • 1 large chicken breast – diced and put into a processor to mince
  • 1 stalk spring onion – sliced thinly (or chunky if you prefer)
  • 10 French beans – diced
  • 3 teaspoons of frozen or tinned corn (not the creamed type)
  • 1 large pinch of Maldon salt flakes
  • A good dose of dried chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • A swig of Thai fish sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Chopped coriander (I didn’t have this so I omitted it but I think this would really give the chicken cakes an edge)

Method

  1. Mix everything together with a fork.
  2. Shape into mini discs and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
  3. You could also shape them into little balls and put them in soup (chicken or vegetable broth – they make for fabulous warmers!)
  4. Serve with Linghams sweet chilli sauce

No oil was used in making the cakes, and since I used a non-stick pan with only a spritz of oil spray, there was very, very, very little oil in these babies making them INCREDIBLY low-cal.

Beef Curry

The other thing I made last night was beef curry. There was a packet of organic beef stir-fry on offer at Safeway last night going at half price, and anyone who knows me would also know that I am a sucker for organic meats. So into my shopping basket it went and beef curry was in order!

Beef curry

Beef curry

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 300g beef, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (not necessary but it makes your curry wonderfully fragrant)
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste (I used Patak’s vindaloo – the Jman’s mom, a fantastic cook whom I look up to, swears by Vindaloo. So if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me!)
  • 1/2 red capsicum, julienned
  • 1/2 small aubergine, julienned
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into wedges
  • Coriander to garnish (again I didn’t have coriander so I left it out but it was still very tasty!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. (This step is not necessary but I did it anyway because I like my aubergines extra soft and extra mushy) – Grill the aubergines in a pan until browned. Set aside on a plate until ready for use in the curry
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Saute the onions until fragrant. Add the curry leaves and continue to stir-fry for another minute.
  3. Add in the curry paste, then fry for another minute or until the paste has dried up a little, then add in the capsicums and the beef, and after a while, the aubergines.
  4. Keep tossing the ingredients about in the pan so that they cook evenly.
  5. Add in the water and tomatoes after a minute and allow the curry to simmer for another minute or so.
  6. Voila! Beef curry!
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