Saturday, February 13, 2010

Core Moroccan Eggplant Dip - Moroccan Cooking Class

Serves: makes about 2-3 cups

Difficulty: Easy

  • 2 eggplants, diced to about 1.5cm
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp Moroccan spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • fresh coriander, about 4 clumps, cut fine
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (Sugar Bello style tomato puree is fine - the ones in the really tall jars)


Boil eggplant on medium heat for about 30 mins.
Add all to pot and simmer on lowest setting for 15-20 mins, stirring every few minutes.

Serve hot or cold with bread or as a side dish

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 0 pts, not counting bread

Core Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives - Moroccan Cooking School

Pictured with eggplant added

This traditional Moroccan meal can be cooked on the stovetop in about an hour or in the slow cooker for about 4-5 hours. You do not need an expensive tagine pot.

Instructions given are for stovetop with slow cooker timing in [square brackets]

Optional - you can bulk this out with other vegetables if you wish.

Hard root vegies like carrots and sweet potato go in with potato, cut chunky.
Soft vegies like eggplant, zucchini go in 15 mins from end [SC 30-40 mins from end]

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch or 5 'clumps' of fresh coriander, roots removed, leaves and stalk chopped fine
  • 1 TB or Moroccan spice mix (note as spice mixes vary, you may wish to taste towards the end and add more if needed)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 12 small chicken drumsticks, skin removed (or 12 'lovely legs' = drumsticks with skin and the 'handle' removed)
  • 2 TB cooking or sea salt
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp Hoyts artificial saffron colouring
    This is sold in the racks of spices in bags for refilling jars. Be careful with this powder as it is very strong and stains big time - I have 3 yellow fingers - and use it sparingly in your cooking. It is much cheaper and more effective than saffron for getting that lovely exotic orange-yellow colour
  • 600g potato, cut to 1.5 - 2cm chunks
  • kalamata olives, 12-18 pitted or unpitted
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped fine - I will be posting a recipe to make your own soon!
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Optional - extra vegeatables

In a large soup or stock pot, add the oil, onion and coriander and cook on medium until it starts to wilt a little [SC on high for about 20-30 mins]
Meanwhile, remove the skin on the drumsticks by scoring around the ankle with a sharp knife, insert knife under skin to loosen and pull.
Soak chicken in a tub of water with a couple tablespoons of salt for 10 mins and wash (why? Try it and see all the gunk that comes off that you are not eating!)
Add Moroccan spice and yellow colouring.
Stir, then add chicken drumsticks and enough water to about 1cm below chicken line.
Simmer on medium heat for 30 mins, giving occasional stir [SC high for 1.5 hours, no stir]
Add potato, olives, preserved lemons and frozen peas (yes, this early - Moroccan-style mushy peas) and cook for a further 20-30 mins on low, giving occasional stir [SC high for 1-1.5 hours, no stir]
Taste, adding more Moroccan seasoning or white pepper.

Serve with cooked rice or couscous

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 20 pts, or 5 pts each serving 6

If serving with rice, don't forget to add the points for rice - 1/2 cup cooked rice is 1.5 pts

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Core Lemon Grass Drink (tasty and medicinal) - Thai Cooking School

Lemon grass has been used in Asian medicine for thousands of years.

It is well known for:
  • settling all digestive ailments
  • recovering from colds and flu
  • reducing fever, cramps
  • "gas" (yes the polite word for farting)
  • relieving aches and pains (great for 'girl pains')
  • relieving any sort of cramps
  • relieving athritis symptoms

And it is also apparently good as an antifungal. If you have athletes foot, don't tell me about it, but try soaking your tootsies in a diluted solution.

Lemon grass also makes a tasty beverage which is particularly refreshing on hot muggy days.

Serve icy cold with heaps of ice cubes.

Also can be drank hot as a "tea" if you prefer.

This was my favourite drink in Phuket - the drinking water is icky and I avoid all artificial sweetners (I react to them).
OK - my favourite drink was cocktails, but I didn't drink them all day :)

Serves: 10+ glasses

Difficulty: Super Easy - chop and boil

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, chopped to approx m]5mm rounds (about 1 cup worth)
  • 2 1/2 litres cold water
  • your choice of sweetener - sugar (pts), Equal, Stevia or Xylotil

Put cold water and lemongrass into a large pot and slowly bring to boil with lid on
Allow to simmer for about 10 mins, until the lemon grass is vaguely green and the water is tinged yellow.
Turn off heat, strain and allow to cool.

This makes a concentrate which you have about 1/2 and 1/2 with cold water, according to your tastes. Try with soda or mineral water too!

Sweetening - sweeten according to your tastes. If using a liquid or a powder which dissolves quickly, you may prefer top do this in the glass rather than sweetening the concentrate.

If you want to sample the drink straight away, add about 1/2 cup to a small jug and add 3 or 4 large ice cubes, stir until ice cubes stop melting. Then serve with more ice cubes and stir in your sweetener.

Store in a airtight jug or bottle in the fridge for up to a week. I prefer to store as concentrate to save room, but you may prefer to store as ready to drink.

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 0 if you don't use sweeteners with points.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Core Gai Kratiam - Chicken with Garlic and Pepper - Thai Cooking School (Core +1pt)

I learnt this authentic Thai recipe at Thai cooking school in Patong, Phuket in January

The accompaniments in the photo are chilli sauce and rice vinegar with cucumber, chilli and shallots

Serves: 1

Difficulty: Easy

  • 80g chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic (don't use garlic in a jar for this one, you need real garlic)
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • * 1 teaspoon brown sugar or palm sugar (*1pt)
  • 4 pinches of ground white pepper (black pepper looks like burnt flecks)
  • 1 TB vegetable oil


In a bowl, add together all of the ingredients except the oil and allow to sit for 10 mins.
Turn on fry pan or wok to LOW heat and add the oil.
Fry the chicken mix until the chicken is cooked.

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 3.5pts
If serving with rice, don't forget to add the points for rice - 1/2 cup cooked rice is 1.5 pts

On Core, allow 1 pt for the sugar.

Core Khao Tom - Thai Rice Soup - Thai Cooking School (Core + 1pt)

I learnt this authentic recipe at Thai cooking school in Patong, Phuket in January.

If using chicken, it's called Khao Tom Gai
Beef = Khao Tom Nua, Pork = Khao Tom Moo, Prawns = Khao Tom Goong

Serves: 1

Difficulty: Easy

  • cooked rice, 60g or 1/3 cup
  • 500ml water
  • meat - handful of meat of choice, sliced thin (for Pointing, 80g chicken breast or lean steak, you can also use 2 pts of pork or seafood if you wish)
  • * 1 TB brown sugar or palm sugar (*1pt)
  • 3 TB light soy sauce
  • 2-3 pinches ground white pepper (note black pepper may be used for taste, but it looks like burnt flecks)
  • 4 baby corns, cut to 2cm
  • 1 handful cabbage, cut to 2-3cm square
  • 1/3 small carrot, sliced thin

In a small pot bring the water to the boil.
Add meat and keep boiling until meat is cooked.
Add cooked rice and remaining ingredients.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to over cook the vegies.
Serve and enjoy.

This is traditionally served with 2 garnishes - 2 pinches of pickled radish and a pinch of fried garlic.

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 4pts for a large bowl

On Core you need to allow 1 pt for the sugar

Me in cooking school serving Khao Tom. Yes I am very sunburnt from snorkelling the day before.

Core Chicken and Thyme Cottage Pie

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced to about 2mm thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 red capsicums, deseeded, diced to 1.5cm
  • Chicken - either 300g roasted chicken (no skin or bones, chopped chunky) or 500g raw chicken breast or thigh fillets (diced to 1.5cm). I used 2 large roasted chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup chicken gravy, made as per instructions (I use instant)
  • 1.5 cup frozen beans
  • 1.5 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 400g potato, peeled and chopped chunky


Spray a large non stick frypan with oil.
Fry onions, capsicums, garlic and raw chicken if using, until all is cooked and brown.
Add thyme, gravy, cooked chicken if using and vegetables. You probably need to add some more water so the liquid level is just below the level of the chicken/veg mix.
Simmer for 5 mins, then pour into a baking dish or 4 smaller heatproof dishes
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. You want them breaking apart soft.
Drain potatoes and mash with no milk or butter and add to top of baking dish/es. Fluff potato with a fork or draw decorative lines on the top.
Alternatively, use a potato ricer or push through a sieve to give squiggly potato "worms". I used a ricer
Put dish/es under grill until the potato turns a nice golden brown on the raised bits.

Not on Core? The total Points for this recipe is 21 pts, or 5 pts for a generous serve