Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheater's Sushi Stacks

I had the girls around on Friday night for Wine and hors d'oeuvres and had a terrible hankering for sushi.  Living in the Midlands, that's generally impossible to satisfy without driving to Dublin.  Even to make my own I would have to be extremely confident in the freshness of the fish and being so far inland and having only access to one fishmonger who I don't particularly care for means I won't be making sashimi at home any time soon.  I decided to use some gorgeous Irish smoked salmon instead. I was slightly pressed for time, so didn't want to mess with vegetables and rolls, so I made stacks!  This is super easy and very appealing to sushi newbies with all the ingredients available at Tesco!

Smoked Salmon Sushi Stacks

  • 1½ cups sushi rice 
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons mirin 
  • 2 teaspoons sake (can use water)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt 
  • 4 sheets toasted nori 
  • 1 tsp wasabi 
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon
  • Pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi to garnish and serve
Bring rice and water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, mirin and sake in a small saucepan and cook until salt and sugar are dissolved. 

When rice is cooked, mix in vinegar mixture and spread out on a clean surface to cool.

Mix mayonnaise with wasabi until combined and light green.

Lay one sheet of nori on a clean surface and spoon 1/3 of the rice on top. Spread out over the nori using wet hands and press down to seal.  Top with a layer of smoked salmon. Using a pastry brush, brush with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Top with another sheet of nori and press down frimly to seal. Repeat twice more finishing with the fourth sheet of nori, shiny side up.

Wrap the square in plastic film and refrigerate for a few hours.

When ready to serve, get a very sharp knife and run the hot water.  Wipe and run the knife under the water before each slice using the wet blade to cut the stack into one inch pieces.  

Serve topped with pickled ginger and leave out soy sauce, wasabi and some extra wasabi mayonnaise for people to add as desired.

Submit to: Recipe Sharing Monday

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Better than Take-Away Cashew Chicken

It's a rare thing that I cook something that everyone raves about.  I've made this before as per the original recipe and it was ok, but this time I added some twists and it was out of this world.  Both the girls raved about it and had seconds and himself kept saying it was better than take-out.  I would have to agree, this is a simple and delicious dish that comes together quickly and pleases just about everyone.  You could certainly add any other vegetables you prefer.

The recipe is a little odd in terms of the oil used, but basically it makes an emulsified sauce that somehow works and isn't at all greasy.  This comes together really quickly as well, so have your rice cooked and ready to go!

Better Than Take-Away Cashew Chicken

  • 4 large chicken fillets, cubed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups unsalted cashews, roasted
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, thinly chopped
  • 1 package of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced diagonally
Marinade chicken by adding oil, tamari, chilli powder, honey, garlic and ginger to a bowl with the chicken.  Stir until emulsified. Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better.

Heat up a wok and remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon.  Reserve marinade. Stir fry until cooked through and remove from wok and set aside.

Pour marinade into wok and cook for a few minutes at a high boil to kill any bacteria from the raw chicken.  Remove all but 1tbsp from wok and set aside.

Add carrots and onions and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and stir until cooked through.  Add cashews and chicken and enough of the sauce to coat.  Sprinkle chopped scallions on top and serve with white rice.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Messy Tasty Kiddy Fun: Making Truffles

"I'm bored" and "I'm hungry" seem to be favourite sentences around here of late.  I decided to tackle both problems when the girls had some friends over.  I let them make truffles. Pretty gourmet for kids, but this easy recipe is so simple that it's perfect for kids to have some fun with. You can play around with flavourings too adding orange or raspberry extract for fruity versions and you can definitely experiment with toppings. I asked if they wanted coconut but got a resounding "ewwwww!"  For adult versions you could add some grand marnier.

Easy Cream Cheese Truffles

  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese
  • 12oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cocoa, icing sugar, sprinkles, coconut etc to decorate
Beat the cream cheese with a spatula until softened. Add in sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.  Stir in chocolate, it should start to thicken right away.  Once combined, refrigerate for 20 minutes to an hour.

Use a teaspoon and scoop out a spoonful of truffle mixture and roll into a ball in your hand.  Roll in topping of choice, eat immediately or refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!

Places to earn money or vouchers online

Pardon the recent hiatus, had lots of stuff to deal with IRL. Been a rough couple of months, but life goes on.  

Was discussing making money online with some other Mammies recently and agreed to come up with a list and some suggestions. All of these are free to sign up for and have no investment as far as I'm aware. I have tried them all at one point or another and still use many. I know there are some other cashback sites, but as far as I know they all use tradedoubler (i.e. they all have the same merchants due to the third party they use to track the affiliate sales) so you get more or less the same benefits from each site and because of browser cookies can only use one at a time per shopping transaction, so I just stick to Fatcheese as I've never had any issue with them.  So for those of you wishing to make a few bob with little effort, hopefully this will help!

Here's what I've got so far. What am I missing? I will edit to add as suggested! 

Volunteer for Panels - A place to sign up for a variety of internet panels, they will contact you when a suitable vacancy is available.

Irish Opinions - Earn money for taking surveys, paid in vouchers.

Toluna - Earn points by completing surveys, participating in polls and their community. Redeemable for vouchers.

RedC - The survey company, earn points for surveys, cash in for vouchers. Probably the more interesting surveys, often political as well as marketing.

MySurvey - Another survey company, earn points and cash in for vouchers.

Fatcheese - Cashback on many popular internet shopping outlets. Great if you buy Groupon or Pigsback deals as well as bigger purchases, Apple and Dell come to mind.

Europinions - Another survey company, earn points and cash in for vouchers.

Gapbuster A secret shopping company. Secret shop for McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Texaco etc. All training is online and easy to pass, payments are swift and I've had no problems, other than the extra calories! ;)

Pigsback - Earn points by clicking on ads, completing offers and shopping. Redeemable in vouchers.

Catalyst - Another secret shopping company. I've done shops for Smyths, An Post and Vodafone. Quite straightforward and decent payment, the Smyths ones also reimburse you for a toy you can keep.

Swagbucks - US based, but becoming more EU friendly, can cash in points for Amazon UK. Earn by completing offers, watching videos, taking surveys, polls and using their search function. Current offer: Use code HOLIDAYSWAG to get an extra 70 points when you join.
Shop and Scan - Scan your groceries with a scanner when you get home. A bit time consuming, but points earned can be redeemed for high street vouchers.

Opinion World - Another survey site, earn points, exchange for vouchers.

WhoseView - Write reviews of local companies and earn points, cash them in for vouchers. Seems to be only major cities for now.

MenuPages - Write reviews of restaurants and earn points, cash in for restaurant vouchers and coupons. Can review all over the country, but unfortunately cash-in offers appear to be mainly Dublin/Cork.

*Disclaimer - one or two of the above links are my personal referral ones, feel free to use or disregard as you see fit. :blush: