A Special New Year’s Eve Menu for Happy Ali By Top Chef Lyndey Milan

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A Special New Year’s Eve Menu for Happy Ali By Top Chef Lyndey Milan

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2022 is certainly a year we look forward to with hope.

So whether you are celebrating solo or with family and friends, it’s a great time for relaxed finger food.

This means you are free to roam and enjoy different conversations. Depending on your guests, ensure a balance of hot and cold, vegetarian and meaty, gluten-free, light and more substantial. It’s fun to mix up cuisines too.

Below are some recipes you might enjoy!

Smashed Broad Beans with Mint & Feta on Tortilla Triangles

Makes 24 triangles

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking: 10 minutes

1 1/3 cups (200g) fresh or frozen broad beans

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon (20ml) olive oil

½ cup (100g) firm feta, crumbled

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated

Tortilla Triangles

4 white corn or flour tortilla

1 tablespoon (20ml) olive oil

  1. For tortilla triangles, preheat oven to 220°C (200 °C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with paper. Cut each tortilla into six wedges and place on prepared tray. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt.  Bake for eight to ten minutes or until browned and crisp.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the broad beans and cook for two minutes or until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold water. Carefully peel the outer skins and discard.
  • Combine peeled broad beans with garlic and olive oil in a medium bowl. Using a potato masher, gently smash to a rough puree.  Stir through feta, mint and zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, spoon broad bean mixture onto tortilla triangles. Serve immediately.

Chicken Yakitori

Tare sauce is a versatile thick, soy dipping sauce used in Japan for everything from Yakitori to anything grilled and even gyoza.

Serves: 20 as canapes or 4 mains

Preparation: 19 minutes

Cooking: 12 – 15 minutes

20 mini skewers or 12 longer bamboo skewers

600g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm bite-size pieces

5 green onions (shallots), cut into 2cm pieces

White sesame seeds, to serve

Tare sauce

100ml soy sauce

1/3 cup (80ml) sake

1/3 cup (80ml) mirin

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½ tablespoons finely grated ginger

4 garlic cloves, finely grated

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water, or freeze for 30 minutes, then drain. Pre-heat oven to 180’C if using.
  • For the tare sauce: combine all ingredients except pepper with a 1 tablespoon (20ml) water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring, over medium-high heat then reduce to medium and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and syrupy. Stir in pepper then set aside to cool.
  • Thread one piece green onion, two chicken pieces and another piece of green onions per skewer then place in a flat non-reactive dish and pour over cooled sauce. Place in the fridge and marinate a minimum of one hour, but preferably four, or overnight.
  • Pre-heat chargrill or BBQ to medium-high, brush with oil then cook skewers for 10 minutes, turning once and basting with the remaining tare sauce. Alternatively pan-fry, or bake in an oven pre-heated to 180’C or an air-fryer 10 – 12 minutes, or longer if main course size.
  • Meanwhile place sauce/marinade in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce.
  • To serve, brush with thickened sauce (or use as a dipping sauce), scatter with sesame seeds and green onions.

Swordfish Souvlaki with Capers and Dill

Serves 4

Preparation time 10-15 minutes

Cooking time 3 minutes

700g swordfish steaks, skin removed, cut into 3cm cubes

16 small fresh bay leaves

1/3 cup capers, chopped

Half bunch dill leaves, chopped

Grated rind and juice one large lemon

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Freshly ground pepper

Green salad, to serve

Pita bread, to serve (optional)

  1. Thread swordfish onto 8 skewers, beginning and ending each skewer with a bay leaf.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients. Take one third of the mixture and brush it over the swordfish. Reserve the remaining caper and dill mixture to serve with fish.
  3. Preheat a char-grill to medium-high, brush grill with a little oil, add skewers and cook for 2-3 minutes each side, or until just cooked through. Turn once only.
  4. Serve swordfish skewers with caper and dill mixture and if desired, green salad and pita bread.

Lyndey’s Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 20 minutes or freeze overnight, this stops them burning.

Cauliflower Fritters

Makes 30

Prep time: 10 min

Cooking time: 15 min

 1 large cauliflower

300g self-raising flour

200g grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

4 garlic cloves, crushed

½ bunch chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Extra virgin olive oil, for frying

  1. Break up the cauliflower into small pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower and cook until soft (if a fork goes through the cauliflower easily it is cooked). Drain and cool in a bowl.
  • Add the flour, cheese, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper to the cauliflower and mix lightly. Add the beaten eggs and mix again. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water to bring it together.
  • Heat enough oil to cover the base of a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add tablespoons of the mixture, taking care not to overcrowd them. Cook until golden, turn over and flatten slightly with a fork. Cook on the other side until golden and cooked through to the centre.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature

Smoked duck with Spiced Pickled Cherries

Makes: 24

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

2 x 200g duck breasts, skin on

Smoking Mixture

1 tablespoon black tea leaves

1 tablespoon herbal tea (eg an earthy, spicy herbal tea such as cardamom and cinnamon)

2 tablespoons dried orange peel

4 tablespoons jasmine rice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 star anise

Spiced Pickled Cherries

4 cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup (60ml) red wine vinegar

1/3 cup (50g) fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and halved

  1. Line a wok or stir-fry pan with two pieces of heavy duty foil. Place smoking mixture on top, mix to combine and place over high heat. Place a rack in the wok and duck breasts, skin side up, on top. Cover with a lid or tightly with foil.  Once it starts to smoke, reduce heat to low and continue to smoke the duck breasts for a further five to ten minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare Christmas spiced pickled cherries by bruising cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a pestle and mortar. Add to a small saucepan with nutmeg, ginger, red wine vinegar and cherries, bring to the boil then simmer for four minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  • Remove duck from wok and place skin side down in a cold frying pan. Place pan over medium heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the fat renders and the skin is crisp. Turn and cook for a further one to two minutes. Rest in a warm place for five minutes.
  • To serve, thinly slice each duck breast into twelve slices. Place one slice on each serving spoon and top with a cherry half.

Churrasco Prawns with Aji Sauce

Churrasco is a Brazilian word meaning ‘barbecued’ or ‘grilled on skewers’. Although often served with chimichurri sauce – a lovely herby sauce with garlic, oregano and red wine vinegar – I’ve chosen the lesser-known aji sauce from Peru – a sweet onion and jalapeño combination that is a little like a South American version of Thai nam jim dipping sauce. It also goes well with empanadas, grilled meats and seafood.

Serves 4 as an appetiser

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking 5 minutes

4 green jalapeño chillies, seeded

3 spring onions, roughly sliced

1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander stems and leaves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 kg large green prawns, heads removed and peeled, tails intact

wooden skewers, soaked in cold water or placed in the freezer for 30 minutes

green salad, to serve (optional)

  1. For the aji sauce, place the jalapeños, spring onions and coriander in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the red wine vinegar, zest, juice and oil and continue to process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • For the prawns, insert a wooden skewer at the tail and push through the length of the prawn. Brush the prawns with oil and cook on a preheated barbecue or chargrill pan for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through. Serve with the aji sauce and salad leaves, if desired.

Recipe from Best TV Chef Book in the World at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia (Hardie Grant 2014).

Fish Balls with Lemon Grass

These little balls have much more flavour than plain fish and although they can be served simply as little balls, they look very pretty on the lemongrass ‘skewers’.

Makes: 24

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 4 minutes

315 g (10 oz) green prawns (155 g/5 oz prawn meat)

350 g (11 oz) firm white fish fillets e.g. gemfish, ling, snapper

1 clove garlic

4 kaffir lime leaves

2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1 teaspoon palm (or brown) sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

6 stalks lemongrass

1 tablespoon extra light olive oil or peanut oil

lemon wedges, to serve

  1. Peel prawns and coarsely dice both prawns and dish. Chop garlic and lime leaves in food processor, then add prawns, fish, curry paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Process until combined and still somewhat textured rather than a smooth paste.
  • Cut each lemon grass stalk into 4 lengths and trim to about 15cm (6in). Mould about 1-2 tablespoons o fish mixture around the end of each lemon grass length. (This can be done several hours in advance; cover with cling film and rest in refrigerator).
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook skewers, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, steam over boiling water — a great way to reduce the fat content).
  • Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

And from all of us at Happy Ali, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2022!

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