GREEN CHICKEN CURRY
2 teaspoons peanut oil
600g chicken thigh fillets, sliced
⅓ cup green curry paste (see below)
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced as finely as possible into threads
400ml tin coconut cream
50g green beans, topped, tailed and sliced
230g tin bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
coriander leaves, to serve
Place 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat and quickly stir-fry a quarter of the chicken until starting to brown. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil only if required.
Reduce the heat to low. Place another teaspoon of oil in the pan and stir-fry the curry paste for two minutes or until fragrant. Add the chicken back into the wok and toss to coat in the curry paste. Add the kaffir lime leaves and coconut cream. Reduce the heat and simmer for seven to eight minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. In the last minute of cooking, add the beans and bamboo shoots.
Add the brown sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Remove from the heat. Taste and add more of any of these things as your taste dictates.
Scatter with coriander leaves and serve.
GREEN CURRY PASTE
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
1 bunch coriander
4 shallots, cut into 5cm pieces
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
4 Thai green chillies
4 garlic cloves
5cm piece galangal, peeled and sliced
¼ cup peanut oil
Thoroughly wash and scrape the roots of the coriander. Place the roots and stems in the bowl of a food processor. Reserve the leaves for salads or curries.
Place the shallots, lemongrass, chillies, garlic, galangal and oil in the processor and blitz until a smooth paste is formed. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. The curry paste will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
ROASTED BEETROOT, ROCKET AND WALNUT SALAD
SERVES 4-6 AS A SIDE DISH
6 small beetroots, scrubbed and cut into quarters
4 small red onions, bases intact, peeled and cut into quarters
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
⅔ cup walnut pieces
120g baby rocket
100g Persian feta, crumbled
3 shallots, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
zest and juice of ½ orange
¼ cup olive oil
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the beetroots and onions in a bowl with the olive oil and thyme leaves and toss to coat, then transfer them to the baking tray. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the beetroot is tender and the onion has collapsed. In the last 10 minutes, scatter the walnuts on the tray to toast. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Just before serving, assemble the salad. Arrange the rocket on a serving platter and drizzle with a little dressing. Place the beetroot, onion, walnuts, feta and shallots on top and pour over the rest of the dressing.
JULIE'S COCONUT CAKE
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp coconut extract
380g butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut extract
6 cups icing sugar mixture
1 cup apricot jam
4 cups toasted coconut flakes (see note)
1 cup moist coconut flakes (see note)
16 strawberries, hulled
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease two 20cm cake tins and line them with baking paper.
Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the eggs for four to five minutes or until pale and creamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the caster sugar and continue to beat for three to four minutes. The mixture is ready when it forms a ribbon. (When the paddle or spoon is lifted out of the mixture, it should leave a trail, like a ribbon, across the surface for a moment before it sinks in.)
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Fold through the egg mixture.
In the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heat the milk and butter until just melted. Add the vanilla and the coconut extract and gently fold the mixture through the batter. Pour half the batter into each tin.
Place the tins side by side on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until risen, golden brown, and starting to come away from the sides of the tins. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the coconut buttercream, cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until lighter in colour. Add the vanilla and coconut extract and mix for a moment to combine. Sift the icing sugar mixture into the bowl and combine on a low speed. When the mixture is all wet, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Place about half a cup of the icing in a piping bag with a 1cm star-shaped nozzle.
To assemble the cake, cut the two cakes horizontally in half to create four layers. Warm the jam in a microwave-safe jug in the microwave for 40 seconds on high. Starting with the bottom layer, spread the top with warm apricot jam and a 1cm-thick layer of coconut buttercream. Place the next two layers on top, each time adding a layer of jam and buttercream. Put the top layer on and spread a generous layer of buttercream over it. Use the remaining buttercream to evenly coat the sides of the cake. Carefully press toasted coconut flakes around the sides of the cake. Use the piping bag to pipe 16 small swirls of buttercream around the top of the cake. Sprinkle the moist coconut flakes over the top of the cake, avoiding the swirls. Place a strawberry on top of each swirl.
NOTE: Toasted coconut flakes and moist coconut flakes are available in the cake-making section of the supermarket.