Recipes have a story and this is my family’s story
This is our cigron recipe or my mum Ines’s variation of my Nana’s recipe. We think the vinegar is definitely Mum’s Italian influence and we love its taste. When I visit my granddaughter in Brisbane, Mia always asks – Are you going to make cigrons Avia? It is one of our special family meals or special occasion meals. It connects my family to our Catalan heritage in a special way and I feel honoured that I have passed a love of cigrons on to the next two generation. Should they visit Catalonia, they will be disappointed with the traditional recipe served there. I have ex flatmates from over 30 years ago who still reminisce about my cigrons. I have a Namco Pressure Cooker which I bought in 1983 and it has chuff chuffed its way through a few decades and quite a few kilos of chickpeas.
375 to 500 g dried chickpeas
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
4 – 6 rashes of bacon, diced
3 – 6 cloves garlic, diced finely
¼ to ½ cup vinegar
Salt and pepper
Rinse the dried chickpeas and then soak them in a bowl of water for at least 8 hours.
Drain chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with boiled water. Add a large pinch of salt.
Bring the pot to the boil and scoop off any froth and bubble from the top of the water.
Seal lid and bring up to pressure. Reduce heat until gentle simmer (about 1/3 heats on my hotplates or a gentle chuff chuff chuff can be heard). Cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
Remove from heat, release pressure (safely). If there is too much liquid, reserve excess liquid (freeze to add to soups or pasta sauce or to add back into cigrons).
Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add bacon and fry until cooked.
Add garlic and fry until soft. Do not allow garlic to brown.
Just before garlic goes brown, add the vinegar. Simmer the sauce to evaporate off some of the vinegar and/or until sauce is slightly syrupy.
Taste test. If you need more zing in the sauce, add more vinegar and reduce sauce down again.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over the chickpeas. If a little dry, add back some of the reserved chickpea water. Stir to combine and serve.
Everyone has their own variation of this recipe so just remember to make it as plain or exciting as the tastes of your guests.
This is my plain version sure to please teenagers who don’t like too many vegetables in their fried rice.
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 cups jasmine rice
1 onion diced finely
3 rashers bacon, diced
300 g chicken breast sliced finely or 300 g left over roast chicken
1 carrot grated
3 shallots sliced on angle
50 g slivered almonds toasted
Handful of frozen corn and peas
Salt and pepper to taste
2 – 4 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
Prepare 3 cups jasmine rice as per cooking instructions for rice cooker.
Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and pour mixture into a non stick pan and fry until cooked. Cool and dice.
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in large fry pan and then add onion and cook until soft. Add in bacon and chicken and fry until brown.
Add in rice and 1 ½ tablespoons oil. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
Add in carrot, diced egg, peas and corn and stir.
Season with soy sauce and salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Serve rice with a sprinkling of shallots and almonds.
NB Other additions: finely sliced capsicum, celery finely sliced on an angle, cooked prawns, small pieces of broccolini.
I have to confess that generally speaking, for meals, I improvise: a bit of this and a bit of that. I am lucky to have a wonderful teacher in my mother who cooked according to this style of cooking. Use fresh ingredients, use what you have in your pantry and fridge, trust your taste buds.
But as my gf son is now cooking for himself, I look for recipes that will suit his budget, has an easy to follow recipe, is versatile and can be made easily from what he has in-house.
A simple way to prepare vegetables for a stir fry is to immerse them in boiling water quickly and the drain them before tossing them into your stir fry. The vegetables don’t burn, they remain crisp and their colour is retained.
800 g chicken breast fillets, cut diagonally into 2 cm wide strips
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
2 bunches steamed, halved Chinese broccoli or Pay Choy (or vegetables of your choice)
¼ cup kecap manis (use gf soy sauce)
2 tablespoons chilli garlic sauce
1 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup water
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Cook chicken, in two batches, in an oiled large, non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat, for about 3 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan.
Add sauce to pan and gently boil for 5- 10 minutes. Return chicken to pan, stir chicken and coat in sauce. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes.
While chicken and sauce are cooking, cook rice and steam vegetables.
Serve chicken on a bed of rice and vegetables.
(New Idea : New Food Ideas)
I learnt to eat lentils when I lived with a free spirited flatmate on the Atherton Tablelands. Jane preferred vegetarian and so one of her mainstays was lentil pasta. Different and interesting as was the lava rock home her boyfriend lived in which had a sauna but no kitchen sink.
We have rediscovered lentils after a visit to my cousin Monsterrat in Sabadell near Barcelona. Miquel her husband served us lentils as one of the many lunch courses and both my husband and I asked for seconds. Its simplicity gives it its taste: four ingredients and a little time to gently stir.
Ingredients for four people
1/2 onion, finely diced
400 g mashed tomato or can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 kg lentils, cooked as per instructions on packet
1/4 kg mashed meat or black sausage (butifarra), decased Italian sausage, chorizo
Use a big pan (paella) and a bit of olive oil 10 cc aprox.
Cut the onion into small pieces and when oil is hot, put it in the pan.
When the onion is golden, add the butifarra or mashed meat.
Wait until meat or black sausage is melted down.
Add the mashed tomato and mix well with onion and meat.
Add lentils that have been cooked previously.
Wait 10 minutes.
These chickpea fritters are cheap to make, vegetable based and easy to assemble.
500 g orange sweet potato, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 x 400 g chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 brown onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons gluten free plain flour
Extra finely grated parmesan cheese to coat
Olive oil spray
Mixed lettuce leaves to serve
Sweet chilli sauce to serve
Cook the sweet potato in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, return to pan and mash until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to cool.
Mash chickpeas or process chickpeas in another bowl.
Combine the chickpeas, onion, coriander, parmesan and flour to the sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 10 portions and shape each into a patty.
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place extra parmesan on a plate and press patties lightly into the parmesan to coat.
Place on the lined tray and spray patties with olive oil.
Bake in oven, turning once, for 30 minutes or until golden.
Serve with lettuce and sweet chilli sauce
400 g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup reduced fat milk
¾ cup gluten free self-raising flour
1 large zucchini, grated
310 g can corn kernals, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Olive oil cooking spray
Salad leaves and tomato chutney to serve.
Process chickpeas until roughly chopped. Whisk milk and eggs in a jug.
Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour, whisking until smooth.
Stir in chickpeas, zucchini, corn, mint and onion.
Spray a large frying pan with oil. Heat over medium-high heat.
Add ¼ cup mixture to pan. Spread slightly with a spatula. Repeat to make 3 more in the pan.
Cook for 2 – 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
Repeat with remaining mixture to make 12 fritters.
Serve with salad and chutney.
Nowadays, one would call this a beef ragu pasta sauce but to us, pasta sauce was just pasta sauce. There are no apologies for a lack of instructions. Generally speaking your start with heating the butter and oil then adding the onions and bacon. Add the meat and then the other vegetables then the liquids and herbs and spices. You can simmer over low heat until the meat is tender and falls apart or my mum always made her pasta sauce in the pressure cooker… 10 – 12 minutes. If the sauce is still too liquidy, then simmer until excess liquid is reduced.
1/3 block butter
2 medium onions (diced)
Chop rosemary bunch
Chop 2 cloves garlic
1 cup celery (diced)
1 carrot, chopped
½ red capsicum (diced)
Chop end of salami (diced)
2 rashers of streaky bacon (diced)
2 fatty pork chops, trimmed and chopped
1 piece of rump (diced)
1 chicken breast (diced)
All spice (little)
1 bottle Sugo
Tomato paste if needs more red
4 oz butter
1 large onion
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 to 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 bacon rashers (diced)
½ capsicum can diced
Rump steak, lean diced
Pork, lean diced
1 bottle tomato salsa – Bertolli
Small glass wine
1 teaspoon sugar
I cook a lot with chicken followed closely by mince. Both are versatile and can become a Mexican or Thai or Italian meal without too much effort.
I found this chicken recipe on the back of the tetra pack of chicken stock, also another important staple in my kitchen. The bonus is that not only is it a one pot recipe but also that once the preliminary preparations are made it is then baked in the oven. Remember for many of the supermarket products we buy, you can find recipes on their websites.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100 g bacon rashers, thinly slice
500 g chicken thighs, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
1 tablespoon rosemary finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
Finely grated parmesan, to serve
Preheat oven to 180C.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof ovenproof dish over medium heat.
Cool the onion and bacon in olive oil until golden brown about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook, stirring for 3 – 4 minutes or until golden.
Add garlic, lemon zest and rosemary and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute to coat the grains.
Mix the tomato paste and stock n a jug and pour over rice. Stir.
Bake covered for 35 minutes or until rice is just tender and the liquid has almost been absorbed.
Stir through parmesan. Serve.
500 g Carisma potatoes, peeled, grated and squeezed to remove liquid
100 g chorizo sausage finely chopped
1 tsp chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons gluten free plain flour
Combine potato, chorizo, rosemary, garlic, egg and flour. Season to taste.
Heat a large non-stick frypan over medium heat. Cook ¼ cupfuls of mixture for 4 – 5 minutes, until golden.
Turn and cook other side for 3 – 4 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Serve with salad leaves and aioli.
(Coles December 2013 Magazine)
Today was Pho Day. My son KJ and I have taken to grabbing takeaway Pho every couple of Fridays and sitting down for lunch at home. We have had a small Vietnamese cafe set up just down the road from home, Vietnamese Corner and what is even better is that the owners have an understanding of gluten and what meals they can make gluten free. Pho itself is gluten free but the hoisin sauce given as a small side is not. Just make sure you let them know that the meal needs to be gluten free and they will make you aware of any side sauces that contain gluten.
And if you want to venture past Pho, then there are several other meals that will also tempt gluten free-ers. Check out their list of Gluten Free Meals.
I look forward to my Pho Fridays.