appetizers · food + drink · posts

Rice Cubes with Coriander Chilli Dipping Sauce

Rice Cube-0040Trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube was always a puzzle and one I never quite managed to solve, however, looking at my new culinary gadget… this bright red cube looked like something I could master. When family and friends know you love kitchen gadgets, it’s inevitable you will receive them as gifts. My lovely daughter thought the Rice Cube looked really cool (I believe the shop had a video demo running in the background) and decided to buy me one… or maybe it was a big hint to make sushi.

Invented by an Australian cook Ross Patten to impress the judges at a Master Chef audition, the Rice Cube is used to mold rice and other soft foods into bite-sized portions. I love stylish presentation and am definitely sold on the idea of tasty square morsels of rice. Information about the Rice Cube is found on the official website, which has recipes and ideas if you plan on buying one.

Rice Cube-0021The first recipe that came to mind was an appetizer I make for casual entertaining, cooked rice rolled into balls and served with a coriander chilli dipping sauce. Jasmine rice is naturally sticky and when compressed and molded, holds together without falling apart. Using the Rice Cube with this recipe seemed a good place to start.

Working with the Rice Cube felt a little awkward at first but I soon got into the rhythm after molding a few squares which looked so neat. This could be the start of a new obsession… a square one!Rice Cube-0053Some notes: Use a good quality peanut butter when making the dipping sauce, I used a peanut butter (made by Neshat) that I had bought from a farmers market in Bahrain, which tastes so good. When cooking the rice add salt to the water, otherwise the rice will taste bland. The rice cubes or rice balls and dipping sauce can be made a couple of hours in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator. If you are not a fan of fish sauce season the dipping sauce with some sea salt instead. Grilled prawns also taste delicious with this dipping sauce.

 Rice Cubes with Coriander Chilli Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of freshly cooked Jasmine rice (makes about 20 rice cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped coriander, (leaves, stalks and roots)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 or 2 small red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of roughly chopped spring onion (green part)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 100ml creamy coconut (homemade or canned)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (approximately)
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

How to make: If using the Rice Cube just follow the instructions. Molding by hand; when the cooked rice is cool enough to handle, gently compress small bite-sized portions of rice with your hand and roll into a ball, you will need to dampen you hands with a little water when doing this. Keep the molded rice covered at all time otherwise it begins to dry out. Garnish the rice squares or balls with the sesame seeds before serving.

For the dipping sauce, add the coriander, garlic, chilli, spring onion, lime zest, lime juice, coconut milk and peanut butter into a food processor or blender. Process all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a suitable container and season with fish sauce to taste. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Keep an eye out for more square recipes 🙂

desserts · food + drink

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream-0119Using left over Christmas pudding to make an easy pudding ice cream is a refreshing alternative and makes a delicious festive dessert. Anytime I’ve served this dessert its gone down a treat. Buying a good quality ice cream saves time with preparation but you could also make your own using this recipe, omit the Kahlua and replace the pumpkin with Christmas pudding. Use individual pudding moulds for dinner parties or, use a large pudding mould for informal gatherings.

The new year is around the corner so I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2013 and hope it’s filled with health, happiness, lots of good times with friends and family and of course… delicious food!

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter of good quality vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 175g Christmas pudding, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

for decoration

  • silver degrees
  • icing sugar

How to make: Before you start; chill the Christmas pudding (if not already in the fridge), bowls and utensils! Line individual pudding moulds (or large mould) with some cling-film, over lapping at the edges.

Place the ice cream, christmas pudding and nutmeg into a bowl and quickly mix until combined. Spoon into 6 (150ml) pudding moulds, cover with cling-film and place into the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

To serve, turn out the christmas pudding ice-cream onto plates and remove the cling-film. Decorate with degrees and dust with some icing sugar, if desired.

This dessert can be made a couple of days in advance, before serving you might want to leave the dessert in the fridge for about 10 to 20 minutes (depending on size) to soften.

This post is part of the December photography challenge by Simone from Junglefrog Cookingwho is also hosting the Monthly Mingle from What’s for Lunch Honey by Meeta Wolff!

posts

Food Photography and Styling Workshop

No matter what stage you are at in life or how much you think you may know… learning never stops! Wanting to improve my food photography skills, I recently had the opportunity to take a Food Photography and Styling Workshop in Dubai! The workshop was hosted by Sally Prosser from My Custard Pie and conducted by Professional Food Stylist and Photographer Meeta K. Wolff. With the days program in hand I knew we were in for some theory and practical sessions, plus a visit to Atlantis Hotel on The Palm… but what I didn’t know was the sheer amount of wonderful fresh and mouth-watering delicious food we would have over the two-day workshop!

Once all the introductions were made from the group (lovely bunch), we had a delicious Scandinavian themed breakfast/brunch laid out for us. A wonderful choice of smoked salmon, open-faced sandwiches, cold-cut meats, cheese, fruit and more, all prepared by Chef Russell from Lafayette Gourmet, so beautifully presented!  Naturally we all wanted to take some photographs before eating! This was a good opportunity for taking some photographs without my tripod as I rely heavily on it when taking food photographs for my blog! The beautiful Miele Gallery showroom/cooking and test kitchen had lots of natural light streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows, a perfect setting for food photography! Not very technically minded I was so glad that one of the participants Catherine showed me how to make a collage of photographs, otherwise I hate to think how long this post might have been! Thanks Catherine 🙂

Of course it was not all about eating and moving us on… Meeta ran us through very important elements of camera settings that can make a huge difference to the overall look of food photography, as well as sound advice on getting to know the capabilities of your camera! Theory and practical exercises saw us through until late afternoon… then it was off to the Atlantis, The Palm to visit some of their restaurants… with a surprise in store for us!

Meeting the charming Giorgio Locatelli himself at the Ronda Locatelli was a wonderful surprise, paired with a tasting of the first of the seasons white truffle menu! Giorgio sat with us, sharing some of his passion for sustainable food and memories from his childhood truffle buying trips! The wonderful heady aroma of the white truffle with its exquisite taste and the simple dishes (softly scramble eggs, cheese pizza and risotto, all with shavings of truffle) prepared for us to sample… definitely was a memorable foodies moment!

At the Asia Republic restaurant we sampled an array of delicious food from their menu, Pad Thai, Laska, Duck, Char Siew Bao and Gyzoa were some of what we tasted!  Afterwards a little fresh air and some respite from eating was definitely needed, so we spent some time in the Nobu garden!

Lastly the day concluded with dinner at the Saffron Restaurant with some relaxed conversation and more delicious food! Something sweet after all the wonderful savoury food was definitely needed!

Theory, practical exercises, taking lots photographs, eating and sampling a wide array of food… I fell into bed, exhausted and full… but very much looking forward to the second day of the workshop… another blog post!

Some other posts and photographs from the Food and Styling Workshop participants, not everyone has a blog so I will link-up where possible and include other posts when available!

Meeta K. Wolff from What’s for Lunch Honey (Photographer and Food Stylist conducting the workshop)

Minna from Naked Plate

Shy from Cooking with Shy

Catherine from Cat In The Dunes

Antone Photography on flicker